Sub Rosa: The Ceiling of the Vault

The term Sub Rosa denotes that all meetings and activities taking place "under the Rose" are to remain secret and confidential.  This has been a long standing tradition across centuries and societies.  It is said that even some confessionals had roses painted on their ceilings to assure confidentiality between the parishioner and the priest.

The vow of secrecy is focused on again and again in the Neophyte Initiation of the Golden Dawn, even to the point of saying "thy blood may be poured out and thy body broken" if the vow of secrecy is compromised.  The crowning achievement of the Golden Dawn system, and of the aspiring Neophyte him/herself, is then the admittance to the Inner Order, or the Roseae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, through the Adeptus Minor Initiation.  This initiation takes place in a seven-sided chamber often referred to as the Vault of the Adepti or the Tomb of the founder of the Rosicrucians, Christian Rosenkreutz.  So would it be any wonder that, on the ceiling of the Vault itself, is painted a large, brilliant White Rose?

I have seen a few Vaults in which the Rose on the ceiling is painted as per the petals on the Rose Cross of the Adept.  Although aesthetically pleasing, I find this to be technically incorrect.  In various Inner Order ceremonies, it is said that "The Heaven is above and the earth is beneath, and between the Light and Darkness the Colours vibrate."  It is clear to me that the ceiling is the undifferentiated Light, the floor the Darkness, and the colors vibrate on the Walls of the Vault, and everything that exists in between.  Furthermore, based on the diagram below, if the petals of the Rose were to be colored in, they would at least show some grayscale shading, and they do not.

The diagram below is the common image we think of when laying out the ceiling of the Vault:

Diagram 77: The Ceiling of the Vault from Crowley's The Equinox

As you can see, the Rose is exactly the same configuration as on the Rose Cross, with the Venus door in the West, the Mars wall North by East, and the Jupiter wall South by East.  In Flying Roll XVII, the Chief Adept, when standing in the East "has Mars and Geburah at his right hand, and Jupiter and Gedulah at his left hand. He faces Venus in the West..." 

Now take a look at the following diagram, showing the Chief Adept in the Pastos:

Second Entry: 5=6 Adeptus Minor Initiation

 Again, Venus door in the West, the Mars wall North by East, and the Jupiter wall South by East, as specified.  But note that this is a view from the ceiling downward.  So if Diagram 77 before has the same configuration as per the arrangement of the walls, that view must be from above the ceiling downward.  If that is the case, the view from inside the Vault itself, looking upward, would be a mirror image of what is actually shown in the diagram.

This is actually relatively easy to confirm, by the second layer of petals in the Rose, which are seven in number and are attributed to the planets, just like the walls are.  So the Peh petal, which is attributed to Mars, should be pointed toward the Mars wall, the Resh petal toward the Sun wall, etc.  (So if you're looking up at the ceiling of the Vault wall and the Peh petal is on your upper left, then it is pointing towards the Jupiter wall and your White Rose is technically reversed.)

The proper arrangement actually lines up a number of different elements within the Vault as well.  The Heh petal in the East, attributed to Aries and Fire, should be lined up right above the disc of the Lion, the Fire Kerub, on the Altar.  Just so, the Ayin petal, attributed to Capricorn and Earth, will be above the disc of the Bull, the Earth Kerub, the Lamed petal, Libra and Air, above the Man, and the Cheth petal, Cancer and Water, above the Eagle.  Lastly, the Adept lying in the Vault, will align his multi-colored Rose Cross with the White Rose on the ceiling, petal per petal in columnar fashion.  This makes perfect sense, if you consider the petals as rays of Light, descending vertically in the Vault, passing through the volume where the spectrum of colors vibrate, to manifest upon the Rose Cross of the Adept, whom while laying in the Pastos, is still above the floor, where the black Darkness reigns.


I just double-checked the Virtual Vault of the Adepti video on Youtube to make sure I got it right there. I did! LOL I don't really remember it, but I must have spotted and fixed this discrepency while putting the textures (images) together.

July 16, 2012 at 3:41 AM  

However, I do notice that I did NOT switch the names of the seven lower Sephiorth. As it stands, they run clockwise around the Vault. But if you switch them they'll run counter-clockwise instead.

Another close look also shows me two issues with the Rose in the video. First, I apparently used Regardie's old image as a guide - which switches the proper places of Kaph and Tau. (I likely left that as a blind - much in the same way I used the "alternate color scheme" mentioned in the 5=6 for the walls.)

However, I didn't mirror-image the Rose. I have to admit, I wouldn't have felt comfortable doing that - even though it clearly does not align the letters of the seven inner petals with the walls.

I'll have to take another look at our (real life) Vault ceiling to see how we handled these issues.

July 16, 2012 at 4:05 AM  

Hey, at least you guys have a ceiling, lol.

We recently painted ours on a canvas top.


July 16, 2012 at 4:36 PM  

As I see it, the original diagram is exactly how th Ceiling should look, as if you were looking at it from above. The names of the lower seven Sephiroth run as they should, which is clockwise, when you look at the ceiling from below.

However, I would suggest that, along with flipping the image of the Rose as viewed from below, so should the names of the Supernals be flipped as well. Keter would remain at the apex, but Chokmah should be on the southern basal angle and Binah the northern basal angle. That would then make them align vertically with the Qlippothic names of Aaugiel/Ghogiel and Satariel on the Floor, as well as properly align with the Pillars of who lies within the Pastos.

July 16, 2012 at 8:44 PM  

That works, Frater!

I know of one particular Vault which was collapsible. The seven walls slid neatly into a metal framework. Very cool. Unfortunately, there was little else. No ceiling, no floor, no Pastos, you get the picture. That part was kind of disappointing. But the people there were absolutely fantastic, and the experience was very rewarding.

July 16, 2012 at 8:53 PM  

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