Astrum Argenteum

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Seal of A∴A∴

Astrum Argenteum , also known under the names Argenteum Astrum , Argentinum Astrum ( Latin for "silver star"), Astron Argon ( Greek for "shining star") or abbreviated A∴A∴ , was or is a magical order, which in 1909 from by the British magician and occultist Aleister Crowley .

The A∴A∴ is a thelemic order with the official goal of gaining light and knowledge. The motto of the order is the formulated law of Thelema “Do what you want, shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law. Love under Will ”. The Order shares this fact with the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) of the English Section , directed by Crowley . Both groups were separated in terms of their statutes and degree systems and worked completely independently. Where the A∴A∴ works with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life , the OTO used the chakra system for degree work.

With the concepts he derived from the Liber AL vel Legis , the magic of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn became obsolete for Crowley. Crowley learned the rituals of the Golden Dawn , which strongly shaped his views on magic. The order disbanded around 1903, and Crowley subsequently founded the A∴A∴, in which he continued and developed many of the knowledge and practices of the Golden Dawn.

The A∴A∴ in fictional literature

The order also appears in Robert Anton Wilsons and Robert Sheas Illuminatus! -Romantic trilogy in which the letters AA stand for nothing, and in which anyone who claims to know what they mean exposes themselves as an impostor.

The A∴A∴ today

Various lines of succession of the A∴A∴ currently claim to go back to Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones , the co-founders. One of them founded the actress Jane Wolfe (religious name Soror Estai). According to the current state of research, this line is based only on a candidate charter (the probationer degree) Crowley's. Accordingly, it does not transfer any rights to found its own group. Another line is that of the Brazilian Marcelo Ramos Motta . He was a former student of Karl Germers , Crowley's successor in the OTO Motta remained a sharp competitor of the Californian OTO under Grady McMurtry until his death , because both claimed the highest office of the OTO, the so-called OHO post. OHO means "Outer Head of Order" and describes the head of the order. There are also a few other succession lines of the A∴A∴.

The secrecy anchored in the system of the A∴A die makes it difficult to decide which of the succession lines is in the right. On July 17, 2015, the then Grand Master of the US Grand Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis , Frater Sabazius, published a note in which he clarified that the London-based A∴A∴, which goes back to J. Daniel Gunther and Motta, is the one from the OTO for the purpose of which is recognized succession line. At the same time, however, he makes it clear in the letter that it is not the task of the OTO to evaluate the "spiritual merits" or to determine an ultimate validity for a line.

The A∴A∴ in Germany

In Germany there is a German organization, the group that appears today as the Thelema Society , which was originally founded by Michael Dietmar Eschner as the " Thelema Orden des Argentum Astrum eV" . There is no connection to the historical A∴A∴.


The A∴A∴ hierarchy is unusual in that many only know the member directly above and directly below them. There are no regular group rituals, and precautions are taken during the few initiation rituals in the temple to hide the identities of the officers involved. Members are expected to work and study alone and to consult their superiors in the Order as necessary. The founders of the order hoped to prevent many of the problems that caused the collapse of the previous organization, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The A∴A∴ says of itself to be a spiritual organization focused on individual enlightenment , with a strong emphasis on the chain of teacher-to-disciple initiation. All efforts of the members should be directed towards the individuals who follow them.

All members of the A∴A∴ must fulfill certain main tasks. These include:

  • The discovery of the true will
  • To live life according to True Will
  • The recognition of the Liber Al vel Legis as the guideline for the new Aeon
  • Acknowledging the word of the law θελημα (Thelema), as well as the motto “Love is the law. Love under will. "
  • Acknowledging the authority of the offices of “Beast 666” and “Scarlet Woman”.
  • The recognition of Ra-Hoor-Khuit as lord of the new aeon that has been in effect since April 8, 1904.
  • The achievement of a mystical state known as “knowledge of and conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel ”, which can be read in Aleister Crowley's Liber Samekh. It was developed from the Abramelin operation known in the Golden Dawn, which is based on the work of the Jewish magician and mystic Abraham von Worms .
  • The experience of the overrun abyss , the abyss, which denied access to the divine states of being.

In addition, the members learned, among other things, different meditation and yoga techniques as well as basic knowledge of ritual magic . Knowledge of the philosophies and religions of various cultures was acquired. In general, the discipline of comparative religious studies plays a major role in thelemic systems. The Order also published The Equinox magazine, in which most of the articles were written by Crowley himself, using a wide variety of pseudonyms .

Degree structure

The tree of life, the basis of the degree system

The A∴A∴ consists of eleven degrees, which are divided into a preparatory phase and three initiatory orders. Two of these medals are borrowed from the Golden Dawn and have seen few changes. The name A∴A∴ can also stand specifically for the Third Order, which itself bears the name Silver Star . The “magic” formula belonging to the degree is given in the form x ° = y , where the first number corresponds to the degree, the second number to the Sephira in the kabbalistic tree of life to which the degree is related. For some degrees, the original English title is also given if it is important for the understanding of the same. Initially the Astrum Argenteum had almost the same organizational form as the Golden Dawn, but after closer contact with the German Ordo Templi Orientis, Crowley began to introduce sexual magic into the Astrum Argenteum based on its model . The structure of the order was based on the Sephiroth of Kabbalah , as Crowley understood them. The degrees were based on the progression from Malkuth to Kether .

Comparative overview in tabular form

Degree system in comparison
Outside the order
Degree formula designation Explanation
- college student Its task is, according to the ideas of the order, to acquire a general intellectual understanding of all systems for the acquisition of spiritual knowledge, as they are explained in the books prescribed by Crowley. At the end of a fixed period of time, the student's acquired knowledge is tested and, if successful, he is promoted to the degree of probationer in a short ritual which includes reading the history lesson from Crowley's text Liber LXI .
0 ° = 0 Candidate (probationer) This degree exists primarily to see whether the candidate proves himself capable of working on the “Great Work” and to prepare him for the actual initiation into the A∴A∴. The aspirant begins mainly with the disciplines he prefers and writes a carefully kept so-called “magic diary” about his exercises and their results over a period of one year. Crowley described the main task of this practice as "obtaining a scientific understanding of nature and the forces of one's being". He also mentioned that the candidate must be proficient in the core rituals of the Order, as in his Liber E and Liber O are mentioned. These are the ritual-magic foundations that are largely borrowed from the practice of Golden Dawn. This is important if the aspirant rises to the degree of neophyte so that he himself has enough experience to teach his own aspirants. After at least a year, the candidate is promoted to the degree of neophyte through a ritual called Liber Throa.
The Order of G∴D∴ (Golden Dawn)
1 ° = 10 neophyte The name of this grade comes from the Greek neophytos , which means something like 'newly planted'. The degree of neophyte is the first degree in the order with proper initiation in which the candidate is to be placed in a spiritually fertile soil to grow there. The neophyte has the task of being able to control “the nature and the forces of one's own being”. This is done by learning and practicing the technique of " rising on the planes ", in which one travels the astral plane in a controlled manner . Initiation into the degree of Zelator is possible after at least 8 months and is mediated by a ritual called The passing through the Tuat .
2 ° = 9 Zelator The main task in this degree is to successfully master asana and pranayama . The Zelator also begins to study the formula of the Rose Cross . The word Zelator probably comes from the Greek zelos , which means something like 'passion' and 'enthusiasm'. This name is intended to recall the energy building asanas and pranayamas which are the main work of this degree. The oath of this degree says that the Zelator degree is for attaining "the control of the underlying principles of one's being." This is an allusion to the Sephira Yesod associated with this degree. The promotion to Practicus happens without an initiation ritual and can be given at any time by the superiors.
3 ° = 8 Practicus In this degree, the candidate should complete his intellectual training and, above all, study the Kabbalah. The name of this grade indicates the "practical" use of the skills acquired in the previous grades. The Practicus should “gain control over the indecision of one's own being”, which means that he should learn to control one's own consciousness and become purposeful in thoughts, words and deeds. The promotion to the degree of Philosophus is just like the promotion to the degree of Praktikus a purely administrative process that can take place at any time.
4 ° = 7 Philosophus At this level, the Order is expected to complete their moral training. He will be tested to what extent he is dedicated to the order. This degree particularly emphasizes the worship of various deities as described in the Liber Astarte . The oath of this degree expresses this by describing Philosophus as one who "gains control over the forces of attraction and repulsion of one's being". This task is primarily intended to transcend one's preferences and resistances and thus to be able to willingly reject one's own morality . The goal is to break out of the predefined idea of ​​the self and achieve a perspective of perfect mental balance. The promotion to the next degree, the Dominus Liminis, is granted after the perfection of the tasks of the Philosophus and can be granted at any time without a prescribed ritual.
- Dominus Liminis The connection: The degree of Dominus Liminis is a bridge that connects the outer order of G∴D∴, which has its center in Yesod , with the order of R∴C∴, which has its center in Tiphareth . The work of Dominus Liminis expands and refines the work of the previous degrees and creates a coherent whole from them. The self-control of the neophyte, the energy of the zelator, the purposefulness of the Practicus and the sublime indifference of the Philosophus are united here to strengthen the main area of ​​aspirations. This is exactly what the oath of this degree says by saying that the candidate should gain "control over the ambitions of his own being." The title Dominus Liminis means "Lord of the Threshold", a replacement for Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers ' (1854–1918) old Golden Dawn grade "Lord of the Portal". This portal or threshold is a reference to the ascent from the lower mysteries of the outer order of the GD to the higher mysteries of the inner orders of the RR and AC.
The Order of the R∴C∴ (Rose Cross)
5 ° = 6 Adeptus Minor The Adeptus Minor degree is devoted to one of the main goals of A∴A, the acquisition of knowledge and conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel. The original technique for this can be found in the Book of Abramelin , a text of Jewish origin probably from the late 15th century, the author of which is called Abraham von Worms. Crowley condensed these techniques into his Liber Samekh. This ritual was adapted to the conditions of the new eon in the eighth aethyr of Liber CDXVIII - The Vision and the Voice.
6 ° = 5 Adeptus Major The function of this degree is the understanding of the Order to use magical powers in support of the authority of the superior Adeptus Exemptus. He gains independence, learns the correct handling of the magical powers and acquires the authority to lead the lower grades.
7 ° = 4 Adeptus Exemptus The adept must prepare and publish a thesis that outlines his knowledge of the universe and his plans for the welfare and advancement of the universe. To this degree the adept in the AA system is almost at the top of meditation and should be prepared for the fact that his destiny is to devote himself entirely to the help of his fellow creatures.
- Child of the Abyss (Babe of the Abyss) The connection: The child of the Abyss is not a degree in the actual sense, but the bridge between the order of the R∴C∴ and the order of the S∴S∴, the actual A∴A∴. In this degree all boundaries that make up the self are to be removed. According to the teaching of the Order, all complex things dissolve into their individual elements and thus cease to exist, since things can only be known through their relationship and reaction to other things.
The Order of the S∴S∴ (Silver Star, English Silver Star)
8 ° = 3 Magister Templi The main task of a master of the temple in the AstellungenA∴ conception is to achieve a “perfect understanding of the universe”. The essential focus consists in the complete dissolution of the personality, which has a limited and limiting effect and suppresses the true will. The Magister Templi is considered a master of mysticism . This is to show that the holder of this degree is completely free from internal contradictions or external darkness.
9 ° = 2 Magus Devoted to wisdom and is master of all magick in the highest sense. According to the ideas of the Order, his will is completely free from internal distraction and external opposition. His job is to create a new universe according to his will.
10 ° = 1 Ipsissimus According to the ideas of the order, this degree is far above the understanding of the lower degrees. An ipsissimus (Latin: owning oneself ) is free from all limitations and necessities and lives in perfect balance with the manifested universe. It is the highest degree of devotion that can be achieved.


  • Andreas Ludwig: Aleister Crowley's Scientific Illuminism. Magic and mysticism as applied psychology for the transformation of humans , Tectum-Verlag, Marburg 2005, ISBN 3-8288-8869-0
  • Aleister Crowley: Magick, Vol I. . Kersken-Canbaz 1993, ISBN 3-89423-007-X
  • Aleister Crowley: Magick, Vol. 2 . Kersken-Canbaz 1989, ISBN 3-89423-008-8
  • On account of the A∴A∴ , in: The Equinox, Vol. I . Kersken-Canbaz 1993, ISBN 3-89423-078-9

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Marco Pasi: Aleister Crowley and the temptation of politics . Ares-Verlag, Graz 2006, p. 41.
  2. a b Brother Sabazius: OTO and A∴A∴. In: The Invisible Basilica Blog. July 17, 2015, accessed on December 2, 2015 : "It is not the place of the OTO to judge the spiritual merits or ultimate" validity "of these various claimants, but it is also not the case that OTO can have a" close alliance "and working relationship with a multiplicity of A∴A∴ administrations. For its purposes, OTO recognizes a single administration of A∴A∴. "