3917 – Alpha Omega Tracing Board Typhon

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 front side reads 'The Symbolic Figure of Typhon' above a drawing of the mythological serpentine beast. He is depicted as rising from the sea, with his snake tail pointed at the end in the same way that is present in many popular images of the devil, indicating the demonic nature of the monster. There is a number 11 on his tail, which is believed by some to be a Satanic number. In Judaism, the number 11 is seen as an excess of divine energy, according to the Arizal. This is because “The world was created with ten utterances”. His torso and arms are human, with grotesque miniature snakes for fingers. The ring finger snake has an extra long tail leading all the way to the top of the shoulder, which probably relates to the ring finger supposedly containing a vein that leads all the way to the heart (hence why it is the marriage finger). The torso also contains a mess of snakes. The upper half of the image indicates a storm, with raindrops covering his chest, lightning spitting from his mouth, and a cloud filled with sparks above his head. His hand gesture seems to show him physically brewing the storm.

The reverse reads '6. East.', followed by the typical sticker found on most of the tracing boards. Underneath it says 'Portal of 5=6' then '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 front side reads 'The Symbolic Figure of Typhon' above a drawing of the mythological serpentine beast. He is depicted as rising from the sea, with his snake tail pointed at the end in the same way that is present in many popular images of the devil, indicating the demonic nature of the monster. There is a number 11 on his tail, which is believed by some to be a Satanic number. In Judaism, the number 11 is seen as an excess of divine energy, according to the Arizal. This is because “The world was created with ten utterances”. His torso and arms are human, with grotesque miniature snakes for fingers. The ring finger snake has an extra long tail leading all the way to the top of the shoulder, which probably relates to the ring finger supposedly containing a vein that leads all the way to the heart (hence why it is the marriage finger). The torso also contains a mess of snakes. The upper half of the image indicates a storm, with raindrops covering his chest, lightning spitting from his mouth, and a cloud filled with sparks above his head. His hand gesture seems to show him physically brewing the storm.

The reverse reads '6. East.', followed by the typical sticker found on most of the tracing boards. Underneath it says 'Portal of 5=6' then '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