The Golden Dawn Portal grade is an initiatory grade in the Golden Dawn. Its full title is "Lord of the Paths of the Portal of the Vault of the Adepti." It represents the "outer court" of the sixth sephirah of Tiphereth on the Tree of Life, although the initiate does not enter Tiphereth-proper until he or she reaches the grade of Adeptus Minor. The grade is symbolized by the element of Spirit.
The Portal Ritual is pregnant with alchemical symbolism and is conducted by five officers: the Chief Adept (representing Tiphereth or Spirit), the Second Adept (Netzach / Fire), the Third Adept (Hod / Water), the Hegemon (Yesod / Air), and the Hiereus (Malkuth / Earth).
The Chief Adept spends most of the ceremony behind a veil drawn over the eastern part of the temple, from where he or she speaks but is not seen.
The initiate first enters the temple and demonstrates his or her mastery of the four elements, and of the four elemental grades of the outer order. In the second part of the ceremony, the initiate is presented with the various tarot cards representing the Paths leading to higher Sephiroth. The initiate is turned back from the Paths of Kaph (the Wheel of Fortune) and Mem (the Hanged Man); but instead comes to learn that the true path of progress is that of Samekh (Temperance), which is the straight and narrow path between Death and The Devil (the paths of Nun and Ayin respectively).
It is at this point, traversing the path of Samekh, that the Veil is parted and the initiate sees the Chief Adept for the first time, carrying a white lamp. The element of Spirit is revealed to the initiate, as pentacles representing the four other elements, together with the initate's own motto, are dropped into a Brazier. The Chief then explains the full symbolism of the grade.
The "Badge" of the grade is in fact a plain white sash, which the new "Lord of the Paths of the Portal of the Vault of the Adepti" wears on his or her right shoulder, slanting down to the left, over their Philosophus regalia.
Work of the Portal GradeEdit
Unlike the Outer Order grades, where the work is mainly intellectual and meditative, the initiate of the Portal is expected to undertake a number of practical tasks as well, leading to their Psychic development. These include:
- A Thesis on the Portal Ritual and the rituals of the outer order;
- A meditation on the crosses which have been used as admission badges in the Grades; further meditation on certain aspects of the sybolism of the Portal grade;
- A complete diagram of the Tree of Life;
- The practice of control of the Aura;
- The placing of the Tree of Life in the Aura;
- Astral exploration of the Tattvas; and
- Astrology and Divination (e.g. Geomancy and Tarot).
The initiate of the Portal must wait a minimum of nine months before he or she can be initiated into the grade of Adeptus Minor.