AskDefine | Define adept

Dictionary Definition

adept adj : having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude; "adept in handicrafts"; "an adept juggler"; "an expert job"; "a good mechanic"; "a practiced marksman"; "a proficient engineer"; "a lesser-known but no less skillful composer"; "the effect was achieved by skillful retouching" [syn: expert, good, practiced, proficient, skillful, skilful] n : someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field [syn: ace, champion, sensation, maven, mavin, virtuoso, genius, hotshot, star, superstar, whiz, whizz, wizard, wiz]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Well skilled; completely versed; thoroughly proficient.
Antonym: inept


  • 1837-1839: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
    Adept as she was, in all the arts of cunning and dissimulation, the girl Nancy could not wholly conceal the effect which the knowledge of the step she had taken, wrought upon her mind.


  1. One fully skilled or well versed in anything; a proficient; as, adepts in philosophy.


  • 1841: Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge
    When he had achieved this task, he applied himself to the acquisition of stable language, in which he soon became such an adept, that he would perch outside my window and drive imaginary horses with great skill, all day.
  • 1894-95: Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure
    Others, alas, had an instinct towards artificiality in their very blood, and became adepts in counterfeiting at the first glimpse of it.


Related terms



Extensive Definition

An adept is an individual identified as having attained a specific level of knowledge, skill, or aptitude in doctrines relevant to a particular author or organization.


H. P. Blavatsky

Although Madame Blavatsky makes liberal use of the term adept in her works to refer to any caretaker of ancient occult knowledge, in her 1877 work Isis Unveiled she asserts the capabilities of the adept as being able to take active control of elemental spirits as well as the physical and astral conditions of non-adepts.

Alice Bailey

In Alice Bailey's body of writing she outlines a hierarchy of spiritual evolution and an initiatory path along which an individual may choose to advance. In her works an Adept is defined as a being who has taken five of the seven initiations.


Various occult organizations have steps in which an initiate may ascend in their own magical system. Some call these steps degrees or grades.

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

In the initiatory system of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an adept is one who has taken the oath of the 5=6 grade and has been granted the title Adeptus Minor. Symbolically this degree represents a spiritual aspirant who, having mastered the union of the four elements under an upright and balanced spirit, is allowed passage from the Portal of the Vault of the Adepti into the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz in the center of the Rosicrucian Mountain of Initiation, Abiegnus, at the center of the universe. The grade of Adeptus Minor and subsequent grades, Adeptus Major, and Adeptus Exemptus form the Second Order of the Golden Dawn, also called the Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis (The Ruby Rose and Golden Cross). These grades correspond to the kabbalistic sephirah of Tiphereth, Geburah, and Chesed respectively.
The oath of the Adeptus Minor includes a provision to "unite myself with my higher and Divine Genius", a process which is more commonly referred to (by way of Aleister Crowley) as Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. To undertake this process the Adeptus Minor must reconfirm the work of earlier grades (Zelator through Philosophus) with their newfound knowledge before passing to the Adeptus Major degree, as a full-fledged adept.


Aleister Crowley, who formed the A∴A∴, restructured the Golden Dawn system. This system still holds to three forms of adept.
  • Student
  • Probationer
--The Order of the Golden Dawn--
  • Neophyte
  • Zelator
  • Practicus
  • Philosophus
  • Dominus Liminis
--The order of the RC (Rose Cross)--
  • Adeptus Minor
  • Adeptus Major
  • Adeptus Exemptus
  • Babe of the Abyss
--The Order of the S. S. (Silver Star)--
  • Magister Templi
  • Magus
  • Ipsissimus

Temple of Set

The Temple of Set, calls their steps degrees, and places adept second. Its system is as follows:
  • Setian ( First Degree )
  • Adept ( Second Degree )
  • Priest / Priestess ( Third Degree )
  • Magister / Magistra Templi ( Fourth Degree )
  • Magus / Maga ( Fifth Degree )
  • Ipsissimus / Ipsissima ( Sixth Degree )

Illuminates of Thanateros

Also disinguished as degrees, the Illuminates of Thanateros, is a newer style of magic called chaos magic, which places adept closer to the top of their system.
  • 4° Neophyte
  • 3° Initiate
  • 2° Adept
  • 1° Magus

See also

Notes and references


  • Bailey, Alice A.: Initiation Human and Solar. New York: Lucis Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN 0-85330-110-7
  • Blavatsky, H. P.: Isis Unveiled. Theosophical University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-911500-03-0
  • Eshelman, James A.: The Mystical & Magical System of the A∴A∴. Los Angeles: College of Thelema, 2000. ISBN 0-9704496-0-7
  • Leadbeater, Charles W.: The Inner Life. The Theosophical Publishing House, 1978. ISBN 0-8356-0502-7
  • Regardie, Israel: The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. Scottsdale, AZ, USA: Falcon Press, 1984. ISBN 0-94140412-9
  • Golden Dawn FAQ
adept in German: Adept
adept in Esperanto: Adepto
adept in Finnish: Adepti
adept in Swedish: Adept
adept in Ukrainian: Адепт

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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