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Hermetic Order of the Red Dragon (HORD)



HORD is a ceremonial magical order established in Australia by an adept of the original HORD in the UK.  The original temple was established by former members of the Weston-Super-Mare temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD or GD for short).

In spite of the mythology it has been know for some time that the original GD was developed by Freemasons; particularly a group of high-ranking members of the Societas Rosicrucianis in Anglia (SRIA), an offshoot of Freemasonry.  The GD followed much of the structure of the SRIA such as a grading system for advancement in the Order based on the diagram of the Tree of Life (Kabbalah).  But whereas the SRIA studied the occult, it did little or no magic work.  Also, membership was restricted to 3rd degree Masons; which debarred non-masons and women.  On the other hand, the GD focus was the practice and philosophy of magic and getting it to work.  Also, although being established by Masons, membership was open to anyone; regardless of their gender or whether they were Freemasons.

The Hermetic Order of the Red Dragon is not affiliated with any Masonic organization and, as with the GD, accepts candidates regardless of gender, religion or Masonic affiliation.


The working system of the GD, as with the SRIA, was based on the Tree of Life diagram of the Kabbalah.  The Tree of Life is a symbolic representation of the universe and its study is quite complex.  For our purposes the Tree of Life diagram is used basically as a ground plan to explore the magical universe.


The Tree of Life, very basically, consists of ten sephiroth.  Each sephira is assigned certain characteristics such as a name, a number, a colour, a planetary association and an element.


The first three sephiroth (numbered 1 to 3) form a pyramid and represent God/Goddess/The Divine Principle/Universal Law.  This is the realm of pure thought or ideas.

The next three sephiroth (4 to 6) form an inverted pyramid representing a mirror-like reflection of the first three sephiroth.  This is the realm of the archangels.  Here the ideas from the first three sephiroth begin to condense into  tangible form.

The next three sephiroth (7 to 8) is not a mirror image of the three above.  Rather it is a further condensation of the form into energy as it passes down the Tree.  This is the realm of the angels.

The final sephira (10) is the manifest universe.  Here the energy of the form finally condenses into Matter.  This is the realm of the manifest universe, elementals and daemons.  (Note:  The word ‘daemon’ is from the Greek and simply means ‘spirit’.  It is now largely accepted that ‘daemons’ are the manifestation of angels on the physical plane.)

The ten sephiroth are connected by 22 paths which, conveniently, allowed the Tarot to be superimposed on the Tree of Life.  The sephiroth numbered 1 to 10 are associated with the Minor Arcarna; so, the first sephira is associated with the four Aces of the Tarot.  Similarly, each sephira is associated with its corresponding card number down to the tenth sephira which is associated with the four 10s of the Tarot.  The twenty two paths linking the sephiroth are associated with one of the 22 Major Arcana cards.

Advancement in the SRIA, GD and HORD is by degrees or grades.  Each grade is attributed to one of the ten sephiroth.  Advancement is upward through the sephiroth of the Tree of Life.  So that the first grade of the Order is set in the 10th, or lowest sephira on the tree.  The grade is thus designated as 1=10  (1st degree equals 10th sephira).

The lower four sephiroth (7 to 10) are attributed to the four ancient elements.  These are the elemental grades.  These four sephiroth constitute the Outer Order and was the Golden Dawn proper.  The next three higher grades (5=6, 6=5 and 7=4) were the adept grades and constituted the Inner Order called the Rosea Rubea et Aurea Crucis (Red Rose and Golden Cross, RR et AC for short). 


In the SRIA and GD, each grade constituted a syllabus of knowledge to be learned; starting off with basic outlines of such things as Astrology, the Hebrew alphabet, and the pantheons of Greek, Egyptian and Hebrew mythology.  A candidate wishing to advance to the next level had to pass an exam based on the knowledge acquired at their present level.  Although meditation and scrying were taught in the elemental grades, no magic work was taught.  It was not until the aspirant became an adept was the magical work begun.  The student was expected to spend about nine months in each grade, therefore it could be five years or more before the student would be permitted to get to learn any magic.

Over the years since the original GD, many have questioned the policy of not teaching magic in the Outer Order grades.  The original HORD changed the original GD policy and began its magical training in the elemental grades (1=10 to 4=7).  Advancement is made by demonstrating the ability to perform three magic workings at the member’s current level.  These tasks could be such things as finding the answers to questions or manifesting predetermined outcomes or objects.  The magical work and the method had to be approved by the Chief Adept.  The acquiring of knowledge, such as the Hebrew Alphabet or Astrology, is not required before advancement can be made.  This method is continued by HORD in Australia.

There is no time constraint on advancement, so that time spent at any level depends solely on the skills developed by the magician.  It should be pointed out, though, gaining degrees is not the aim; this is not a race.  Each grade attained adds more energy and power to the magician.  It is better to be certain that one can truly handle the beings and power encountered in the current grade before facing the next level.  HORD is not interested in armchair magic.

It should be noted that an initiate of HORD is free to study and practice any philosophy, religion or system of magic they choose, in any way they choose.  They are also free to be members of other groups or even to work with non-HORD members.  However and oath is required from each Neophyte that they will not reveal the rituals and inner workings of the Order.

Grades and their associations:

Grade         Name                          Sephiroth      Planet        Element

10 = 1          Ippsissimus                  Kether        

  9 = 2          Magus                          Binah

  8 = 3          Magister Templi          Chokmah          Saturn

  7 = 4          Adeptus Exemptus       Gedulah            Jupiter

  6 = 5          Adeptus Major             Geburah            Mars

  5 = 6          Adeptus Minor             Tipareth            Sun

  4 = 7          Philosophus                 Netzach             Venus           Fire

  3 = 8          Practicus                      Hod                   Mercury       Water

  2 = 9          Theoreticus                  Yesod                Moon            Air

  1 = 10        Zelator                         Malkuth             Earth            Earth

  0=0              Neophyte


In its group magical work, initiations, etc., the Tree of Life is used as the ground plan for ritual.  The many pantheons and the emphasis on Egyptian gods and symbolism is not part of the current HORD group workings.  HORD, as a group, works with Archangels, angels (including the Enochian), elementals, planetary and Olympic spirits & daemons (Goetic or otherwise).  In their own work, members are free to explore, experiment and work any system or entities they choose.

The aim of the aspirant in the GD was ‘to become more than human’.  This was often referred to as ‘the Great Work’.  Crowley called it ‘gaining the Knowledge & Conversation of your Holy Guardian Angel’.  The aim of the aspirant in HORD could also be described perhaps as ‘gaining enlightenment’.  Much of the work should be undertaken by the aspirant alone.  Group workings are important as training sessions and performing initiations.  The magical work undertaken by HORD includes, but is not restricted to, conjuration of spirits (invocation or evocation), scrying, meditation, astral projection and talismanic magic.

It is assumed that the methodology and practice used in HORD will evolve and change over time as more effective and useful methods are discovered.  This is why the emphasis in HORD is on gaining demonstrable results.

Link to HORD facebook page

The Esoteric Bookshop can make robes to order for HORD, HOGD, the OTO or other Orders.  We also make Neophyte sashes suitable for both HORD & HOGD.  The other HORD Outer Order sashes are slightly different to Golden Dawn sashes but can be made to specifications.

Click here to see Tau robes

Click here to see Neophyte sash