3906 – Alpha Omega Tracing Board Diagram The Flaming Sword

Physical description:
Cream coloured card with black and red ink writing. Holes and ribbon used for hanging. On the back is more handwritten writing.
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. See the Alpha Omega tag for more tracing board diagrams. 

The front side of the board features a drawing of two horned faces, one female and one male, with a sword in the shape of a zig-zag between them, and Hebrew words. The same image can be found in The Golden Dawn by Israel Regadie, titled The Flaming Sword with Kerubs, pictured below with what seems to be the Latin-alphabet equivalent of the Hebrew on the board. 

According to the Bible, a Kerub (also spelled Cherub) wielding a flaming sword was placed at the gates of Paradise after the banishment of Adam and Eve. 

 

The flaming sword, which resembles a lighting bolt with its zig-zag shape, is formed by the natural order of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. It symbolises the downward moving stream of Divine energy. It is surrounded by two Kerubim who are the guardians of Eden - Metatron on the right by the White Pillar, and Sandalphon on the left by the Black Pillar. 

The Tree of Life is a representation of the entirety of creation. The Tree is composed of ten spheres - referred to as the Sephiroth/Sefirot as a whole, each sphere denoting a universal quality, such as wisdom or beauty.
"Within the beliefs of the Golden Dawn, each sephira (the singular) has associated with it a number, a divine name of God in Hebrew, an archangel, an order of angels, a colour, and an element (from the Aristotelian four elements) along with other symbols. This array of ten spheres is connected by 22 paths, which are also numbered. In a manner similar to the sephiroth, the associations for the 22 paths connecting them include the assignment to each of one of the 22 Hebrew letters of their alphabet, one of the 22 Major Arcana tarot cards, a divine name of God in Hebrew, and an elemental association. (...) The numbering of the sephiroth and the paths, and the term “sephiroth” are both derived from the Sepher Yetzirah, an early Jewish mystical text which refers to the sephiroth as the ten primal numbers (one through ten) and also to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in conjunction with these first ten numbers." (source)

 

On the reverse side, writing in red and black ink reads: "2. First Point Altar. 9. 2=9 Second Point Front of Altar." Further writing in blue ink reads: "The Kerubim and Flaming Sword. The Symbol of Active and Passive. 1=10 Grade of Zelator, First Point. 2=9 Grade of Theoricus, Second Point. Executed by V. H. Frater "Fide et Amore" 5=6 September 1910. Isis-Urania-Temple".

Isis Urania Temple was originally the first temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888 in London.

The "2=9", "1=10", and "5=6" inscriptions pertain 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

 

The following illustrations from The Golden Dawn feature the Flaming Sword.

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. See the Alpha Omega tag for more tracing board diagrams. 

The front side of the board features a drawing of two horned faces, one female and one male, with a sword in the shape of a zig-zag between them, and Hebrew words. The same image can be found in The Golden Dawn by Israel Regadie, titled The Flaming Sword with Kerubs, pictured below with what seems to be the Latin-alphabet equivalent of the Hebrew on the board. 

According to the Bible, a Kerub (also spelled Cherub) wielding a flaming sword was placed at the gates of Paradise after the banishment of Adam and Eve. 

 

The flaming sword, which resembles a lighting bolt with its zig-zag shape, is formed by the natural order of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. It symbolises the downward moving stream of Divine energy. It is surrounded by two Kerubim who are the guardians of Eden - Metatron on the right by the White Pillar, and Sandalphon on the left by the Black Pillar. 

The Tree of Life is a representation of the entirety of creation. The Tree is composed of ten spheres - referred to as the Sephiroth/Sefirot as a whole, each sphere denoting a universal quality, such as wisdom or beauty.
"Within the beliefs of the Golden Dawn, each sephira (the singular) has associated with it a number, a divine name of God in Hebrew, an archangel, an order of angels, a colour, and an element (from the Aristotelian four elements) along with other symbols. This array of ten spheres is connected by 22 paths, which are also numbered. In a manner similar to the sephiroth, the associations for the 22 paths connecting them include the assignment to each of one of the 22 Hebrew letters of their alphabet, one of the 22 Major Arcana tarot cards, a divine name of God in Hebrew, and an elemental association. (...) The numbering of the sephiroth and the paths, and the term “sephiroth” are both derived from the Sepher Yetzirah, an early Jewish mystical text which refers to the sephiroth as the ten primal numbers (one through ten) and also to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in conjunction with these first ten numbers." (source)

 

On the reverse side, writing in red and black ink reads: "2. First Point Altar. 9. 2=9 Second Point Front of Altar." Further writing in blue ink reads: "The Kerubim and Flaming Sword. The Symbol of Active and Passive. 1=10 Grade of Zelator, First Point. 2=9 Grade of Theoricus, Second Point. Executed by V. H. Frater "Fide et Amore" 5=6 September 1910. Isis-Urania-Temple".

Isis Urania Temple was originally the first temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888 in London.

The "2=9", "1=10", and "5=6" inscriptions pertain 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

 

The following illustrations from The Golden Dawn feature the Flaming Sword.