Below are the pages, known as the Cipher Manuscript, from which the original Golden Dawn initiations were derived. Using the key to unlock these original outlines provides an invaluable experience to the serious Golden Dawn practitioner. The mystery of the cipher manuscripts is outlined in more detail in the tradition section of this site.
The "Cipher Manuscripts" are a collection of 60 folios containing the structural outline of a series of magical initiation rituals corresponding to the spiritual elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire. In 1888 the Cipher manuscript became the first order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (comprising the Neophyte (0-0), Zelator (1=10), Theroricus (2=9), Practicus (3=8) and Philosophus (4=7) grades). Wynn Wescott claimed to have obtained these manuscripts from A.F.A. Woodford, who had found them in a secondhand bookstall on Wellington Road in London, and who gave them to his friend Westcott to be decoded. The cipher folios are drawn in black ink on cotton paper watermarked 1809.