We are a practical ritual magic group and our Study Course is exclusively for preparing students to become an active member of the group. To enquire about membership, please see our contact page.
There are three aspects to the course, which constitute a fully integrated 'threefold way':
1. Hermetic/Qabalist Magic
2. Green Ray/Faery/Elemental/Natural Magic
3. Devotional/Esoteric Christian Magic
Our approach is one of balance between head and heart; belief without sentimentality or credulity, analysis without cynicism. Magic requires dedicated students of a strong constitution, and participation
by those with no deep-seated psychological imbalances, because we are working with vibrant forces which cannot fail to have effects in our daily lives.
Our work is conducted under the aegis and protection of Christ – not through the accepted Christianity of the established churches, but the Christ of ‘The Chapel in the Forest.’
All students are individually supervised by an experienced member of the group, initially through a correspondence course. However, much of the practice of magical work is taught during the group’s meetings which take place regularly throughout the year at Hawkwood College, Stroud. After progressing past Lesson 6, students are usually eligible to attend meetings and are given plenty of opportunity to experience magical ritual at its best, to work alongside the experienced members of the group and gradually to take more responsibility. These weekends provide a concentrated and powerful experience of the spiritual worlds and the purpose and use of magical ritual.
The cost of the Study Course is £50. This is a one-off admin fee for enrolment. It is not refundable if you drop out but there are no further fees levied for the course.
The First Degree consists of 10 monthly lessons, which include:
Daily meditation on a series of given symbols and Inner concepts.
Reading and study of the Qabalah and the symbolism and attributes of the Tree of Life.
Study of the theory of magical ritual.
Study of the hidden traditions of Arthurian and Grail legend.
Reading and study of Knowledge Papers on the Qabalah and other related magical topics.
Additionally, four textbooks will be required in the first year:
Gareth Knight: A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism (Kahn and Averill)
Gareth Knight: The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend (Skylight Press)
Dion Fortune and Gareth Knight: An Introduction to Ritual Magic (Thoth Publications)
Gareth Knight: Experience of the Inner Worlds (Skylight Press)
All these books are readily available.
Students are also encouraged to read widely in myth and legend, Qabalah, esoteric Christianity, and the world of Faery, and particularly some of the original Arthurian and Grail legends.
Second Degree and Dedicand
The Second Degree is a programme of personal work taking approximately two years to complete.
Work at this stage is more personalised according to the needs and talents of each individual, but will typically involve study of Dion Fortune's The Cosmic Doctrine and creation of a set of Elemental cards. There is also the option to design your own Tarot images. We also offer an optional 'orange ray' course focusing on the Hermetic aspect of magic.
Students at this stage are encouraged to develop their own interests and contacts as part of a programme of regular meditation, and to begin the process of writing rituals and pathworkings. The learning process is greatly enhanced by attendance at group meetings and participation in practical magic. (There is no two-tier system in the Gareth Knight Group – students attending meetings take part in the full work of the group and attend all rituals except Initiations.)
In the Second Degree, students are strongly encouraged to read The Cosmic Doctrine.
The Dedicand stage is a period of preparation for the deeper, on-going work that lies beyond the study course. Completion of this stage may lead to Initiation into the Greater Mysteries.
Group meetings at Hawkwood
After successful completion of the first six lessons of the 1st Degree, students will usually be invited to attend group meetings. There are five meetings each year, mostly running from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon, or occasionally midweek. Each meeting lasts around 24 hours with accommodation provided by Hawkwood, which has good food and a beautiful setting in the Gloucestershire countryside overlooking the Stroud valley. Our association with Hawkwood goes back to 1973, when our group was founded in the dining room there!
The cost of attending a meeting at Hawkwood is currently (2021) £135 for a single room and £115 for a shared room, or £85 non-residential. This covers use of all facilities, food and accommodation. Meals are served in-house, and vegetarian, vegan and other dietary needs are catered for. These fees are set by Hawkwood and paid directly to them – the Gareth Knight Group does not charge any fees of its own and does not make any profit from group meetings.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What happens if I want to leave?
You are free to leave at any time, with our blessing. We do expect you to keep all information regarding the group and its members completely confidential.
2. How do I know if this is the right group for me?
Generally speaking this is a matter of intuition. You will probably ‘just know.’ You will find it helpful to have read some of Gareth Knight’s and Dion Fortune’s work beforehand, as this will give you a good idea of the general feel of the group. But as you work through the study course it will soon become clear whether or not this is the right group for you. We follow the ‘threefold way’ of hermetic/pagan/Christian magic, and you will need to be open to working with all three traditions in balance.
3. How much time will the meditation and study take?
You will need to set aside 10 – 30 minutes each day for meditation. The reading and written work takes approximately 2 – 3 hours a week to begin with, but you may wish to spend longer on it as you progress.
4. Can I be a member of the Gareth Knight Group and still continue my other esoteric practices, studies, beliefs, groups etc?
Yes, we won’t tell you to give up your other esoteric practices. But you may find in time that if you are studying in two different disciplines this produces a ‘divided loyalty’ within yourself which makes it necessary for you to choose one or the other.
5. Is there any age limit?
There is no upper age limit. But many of the lessons of the ‘Lesser Mysteries’ have to be experienced and worked through in the outer world before you are in a position to undertake magical work, and it is unlikely that you will have done so before the age of 25.
6. Who will supervise my work and what is their role?
Your work will be supervised by one of the experienced members of the group. Their role is to support, assist and guide rather than to teach: there is rarely a right or wrong answer in this type of work, and students are encouraged to develop their own individual understanding of the work and their relationship to it. If you stray from the path this will be pointed out to you, but our general approach is that ‘the course is the tutor.’
7. Can I study the course as a standalone correspondence course?
Our course is an induction course for those seeking group membership, and the greatest part of your learning comes from direct practical experience of attending meetings and participating in the group's work. There is no substitute for this experience.
Very occasionally we accept a limited number of external students to study the course on a standalone basis, but places are only offered when we have spare capacity among our supervisors, which doesn't happen often. If you wish to enquire about this anyway, please contact us.
8. What happens if for any reason I’m not able to study or meditate for a period?
This will be discussed with you and any decision made will be appropriate to your circumstances. We normally allow students to take time out if they need to, but we request that you keep in regular contact with us so that we know you haven't lapsed. If we don't hear from you for a certain time we will assume you have withdrawn. Resuming after this point may be possible, at our sole discretion, though you may be asked to repeat earlier lessons.
9. What ritual work will I be eligible to take part in when I attend meetings?
Everyone who attends a meeting participates in all of the work. There is no separate Lodge for initiated members – students take part in the full range of work alongside experienced members. This is an important part of the Gareth Knight Group ethos, as we work as a 'Round Table' in which all members are treated as equals. This can be a little overwhelming for the first couple of meetings, but those who have an aptitude for the work soon adapt to it! The only ritual from which non-initiated members are excluded is the Greater Mysteries Initiation – for the very good reason that keeping it secret means they will get more from it when they're ready to go through it themselves!
10. I've already got magical training and experience with another group. Can I skip the course?
Everybody coming into the group does the course, regardless of how talented or experienced they are, because its function is not just for basic training but to keep us in alignment on inner levels. Maintaining a standardised course for everybody is important to our working together as a harmonious group.