3916 – Alpha Omega Tracing Board Wings Diagram

Physical description:
Cream coloured card with black, purple, and red ink.
Museum classification:
Ritual Magic
Size:
24cm x 30cm
Information:

These tracing board diagrams were most likely used as a way to test the knowledge of the members of the order of Alpha et Omega (initially called The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) and allow them to progress further up into higher levels (grades) in the order. It appears that some, if not all, of the boards were hung in the temple during rituals of the inner order. For example, this particular board diagram was shown to Associate Adeptus (a member of the First Order being tested to pass into the Second Order) who was supposed to explain the diagram to a member of a lesser grade in order to pass further. See the Alpha Omega tag for more tracing board diagrams. 

The first of the three diagrams on this board is labelled Seraphim of Isaiah, referring to Isaiah 6:2 'Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly'. Seraphim is the plural of Seraph, which is a sort of angel recognised in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. 'Seraph' means 'burning one'. The words, along with the six wings of the Seraphim, are enclosed within an encircled hexagram. The second diagram is labelled Cherubim and Wheels of Ezekiel. Cherubim is the plural of Cherub, and they are also angels - but with four wings this time. Cherubim are supposed to have four faces, the lion (which represents wild animals), the ox (who represents domestic animals), the man (who represents humanity) and the eagle (who represents birds). Within the circle that encases the wings, the four faces are ranked differently on each side. It is unclear why this is, but may have something to do with the four points of the compass. The final diagram is entitled Cherubim of Apocolypse, and also consists of six wings within a hexagram, but has an additional Greek-style cross shape within the circle. It is unclear what this extra cross means, and why these cherubim are related to the apocalypse. The ends of each of the four sides of the cross contain the words Calf, Man, Eagle, Lion. This appears to be more or less the same concept as for the previous diagram, but it is unknown why the Ox is represented as a calf in this one - a younger version of itself perhaps?

The reverse of the board reads 15. North. Portal of 5=6. Executed and presented by V. H. Frater Fide et Amore. Oct 4th 1908. 

The "5=6" inscription pertains to the structure and grading of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (also known as Alpha et Omega, or the A.O.).

The structure of the Golden Dawn:

First Order
Introduction—Neophyte 0=0
Zelator 1=10
Theoricus 2=9
Practicus 3=8
Philosophus 4=7
Intermediate—Portal Grade

Second Order
Adeptus Minor 5=6
Adeptus Major 6=5
Adeptus Exemptus 7=4

Third Order
Magister Templi 8=3
Magus 9=2
Ipsissimus 10=1

Resource:
Object
Materials:
Card and Ink
Copyright ownership:
MWM

These tracing board diagrams were most likely used as a way to test the knowledge of the members of the order of Alpha et Omega (initially called The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) and allow them to progress further up into higher levels (grades) in the order. It appears that some, if not all, of the boards were hung in the temple during rituals of the inner order. For example, this particular board diagram was shown to Associate Adeptus (a member of the First Order being tested to pass into the Second Order) who was supposed to explain the diagram to a member of a lesser grade in order to pass further. See the Alpha Omega tag for more tracing board diagrams. 

The first of the three diagrams on this board is labelled Seraphim of Isaiah, referring to Isaiah 6:2 'Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly'. Seraphim is the plural of Seraph, which is a sort of angel recognised in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. 'Seraph' means 'burning one'. The words, along with the six wings of the Seraphim, are enclosed within an encircled hexagram. The second diagram is labelled Cherubim and Wheels of Ezekiel. Cherubim is the plural of Cherub, and they are also angels - but with four wings this time. Cherubim are supposed to have four faces, the lion (which represents wild animals), the ox (who represents domestic animals), the man (who represents humanity) and the eagle (who represents birds). Within the circle that encases the wings, the four faces are ranked differently on each side. It is unclear why this is, but may have something to do with the four points of the compass. The final diagram is entitled Cherubim of Apocolypse, and also consists of six wings within a hexagram, but has an additional Greek-style cross shape within the circle. It is unclear what this extra cross means, and why these cherubim are related to the apocalypse. The ends of each of the four sides of the cross contain the words Calf, Man, Eagle, Lion. This appears to be more or less the same concept as for the previous diagram, but it is unknown why the Ox is represented as a calf in this one - a younger version of itself perhaps?

The reverse of the board reads 15. North. Portal of 5=6. Executed and presented by V. H. Frater Fide et Amore. Oct 4th 1908. 

The "5=6" inscription pertains to the structure and grading of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (also known as Alpha et Omega, or the A.O.).

The structure of the Golden Dawn:

First Order
Introduction—Neophyte 0=0
Zelator 1=10
Theoricus 2=9
Practicus 3=8
Philosophus 4=7
Intermediate—Portal Grade

Second Order
Adeptus Minor 5=6
Adeptus Major 6=5
Adeptus Exemptus 7=4

Third Order
Magister Templi 8=3
Magus 9=2
Ipsissimus 10=1