The Adeptus Astronomica is largely composed of psykers; its non-psykers are hereditary servants. The process of constantly transmitting mental energy ultimately destroys these psykers, though there are always more to take their place.[2a] This act, however, allows Imperial ships to travel through the perils of the warp at great speeds.[2b] The organization is based in Terra's Forbidden Fortress, where even Judges and Inquisitors must receive invitation to enter. The task of the Adeptus Astronomica is to train the young psykers they receive from the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, so that they can serve in the Chamber of the Astronomican. The whole organisation is basically a training institute run by a class of older members known as Instructors. Some of the Instructors are given the title High Instructor and given control of a certain area of teaching. The day to day tasks such as maintenance are taken care of by a body of administrative functionaries.[Needs Citation]
Organization & Recruitment
The overall head of the Adeptus Astronomica is the Master of the Astronomican, who represents the organization as a High Lord of Terra. In terms of composition, the organisation has an administrative elite along with a large pool of young trainees who will one day become part of the corps of ten thousand that power the Astronomican. These trainees are taught to release their psychic potential by way of mental exercises which is a process that takes a few months. Afterwards, they are called into the psychic battery in the Hall of the Astronomicon and can be called at any time as old members either die or fail. In this state, the trainees rarely last more than two or three months with a hundred dying every day whilst within the spherical chamber. This process sees their very lifeforce being slowly drained away by strange apparatus at the focal point of the great spherical hall. Though these individuals sadly give their lives away, it is the ultimate sacrifice needed for Humanity's continued survival. Due to their duties, members of the Adeptus Astronomica are rarely seen off Terra though its leaders who are responsible for the continued use of the Astronomican are allowed to travel freely. Similar to the Adeptus Mechanicus, this organisation is a monastic order and its members wear clothing similar to religious devotees, which are blue and hooded. Those fully trained members have their heads shaven and are ready to receive the neural implants which will one day drain their lifeforce to power the Astronomican.[2c]
Young psykers are initiated into the Astronomica as Acolytes. They are taught not just how to use and control their psychic powers but are introduced to the Lore of the Astronomican. They learn the value of their lives, study philosophy and are gradually brought to an inner understanding of the universe and the nature of the warp. Those who achieve this mystic state become the Chosen and are eventually called to serve in the Chamber of the Astronomican. The status of Chosen is considered a great honour. To fall short of attaining this goal is not a failure; rather they go on to become Instructors or are absorbed as administrative functionaries in the Forbidden Fortress. Those who do make it to Chosen status, often Space Marine Librarians or Sanctioned Psykers of the Imperial Guard are considered above the Instructors and even the Master of the Astronomican. Their heads are shaven and they wear yellow robes and the scarlet badge of the Chosen. The rest of their lives are spent in prayer and contemplation until they are called to serve in the Chamber of the Astronomican.[Needs Citation] Like the Psykers sacrificed before the Throne, the Chosen are in time killed in service to the Emperor.
- 1: Codex Imperialis (Background Book), pg. 94
- 2: Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader
- 3: Dark Heresy Rulebook, pg. 247
- 4: Vaults of Terra: The Hollow Mountain (Novel), Chapter 18