An occult term or title signifying an initiate that has consciously achieved the highest attainment in the mastery of psychic powers. In general terms, a leader within the occult magical disciplines generally referred to as Western Mysteries. The term describes one who has completed training to an advanced degree and risen through the initiatory ranks. Adepts are small in number, are at the apogee of strictly hierarchical pyramids and are venerated by their followers.
A magus may be referred to as an adept too. Occasionally the title is associated with the Great White Brotherhood (see HERMETIC ORDER OF THE GOLDEN DAWN), which supposedly exerts great influence over mankind.
Such people may also be known as Inner Plane Adepti.
Also, the title applies to a person reaching the highest stage of yoga. In Theosophy the title Adept signifies the person has passed through the fifth stage of initiation and is therefore skilled in esoteric wisdom.
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one defintion may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differring practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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