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I am still not able to find a credible source on the 666 Rituals of Detestation apart from the satirical 4chan link.

Have they ever been written down?

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  • @Daft doubt it was one person though
    – Rover Eye
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 19:59
  • 2
    You mean a list? I am pretty sure that this is something GW put in the fluff of Grey Knights to make them look even more badass than normal Space Marines and, as many things, left the details to the imagination of the reader. Lexicanum says: "(...) each recruit must pass the six hundred and sixty six Rituals of Detestation, to prove that he is capable of withstanding horrors that would break even the greatest of 'normal' Space Marines." No source is given for that particular info, but the Grey Knight novel and (surprise!) the Grey Knight Codex are sources in the same section
    – Taladris
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 22:56
  • @Taladris I do not mean an exhaustive list, but a brief one so we can get the flavour of what the trials are? (and yes I have already read the ones about being dropped on titan, surviving to their monastery, and the trek to Xanadu explained briefly)
    – Rover Eye
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 23:05
  • OK. Then maybe the 2 references from my previous comment couls help.
    – Taladris
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 6:39
  • I don't think GW ever goes into detail when it comes to Space Marine initiation rites. I've read a lot of 40k stuff and I can't recall ever reading much about them. Maybe in one of the Ultramarines books? Definitely never anything about the Grey Knight's rites.
    – Daft
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 7:19

1 Answer 1

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TLDR; It has probably never been revealed, what the Rituals of Detestations are (or even given one example). But using the Codex Grey Knights, we can learn the goal of them: harden the soul of a potential Grey Knight against the temptations and lies of Chaos.


Even while researching this question with several Codex Grey Knights and other sources, I could not find any example of a Ritual. Given that none of the wikis (Lexicanum or Fandom) have any details, it probably has never been detailed by GW in a source like White Dwarf.

But we know the goal of them (emphasis by me):

He must also perform the Rituals of Detestation that harden his heart against the lies and temptations of daemons. Should he pass these final challenges, the neophyte will be raised to the rank of Knight and take his place in the fight against Chaos.

From the 9th Edition Codex Grey Knights, page 15

This is basically the same wording as in the 5th Edition Codex Grey Knights:

Most important of all, he must perform the many Rituals of Detestation that will harden his heart against the whispered temptations of Chaos and the honeyed lies of Daemons. To wade in the stuff of damnation and walk away without the slightest blemish on the soul requires the most resolute will and the purest heart. Should these final challenges be met and passed, the neophyte will be raised to the rank of Knight.

However, their extend can be imagined with what a potential neophyte has to go through before even being allowed to get the implants:

The Chamber of Trials is where aspirants arrive and their training begins. Even those whose suitable talent and purity are detected by the Gatherers will be weeded out if their fortitude is found wanting. The knowledge and gene-seed a Grey Knight receives — known as the Emperor's Gift — is too valuable to risk wasting, and barely one in a thousand survives the first rite of passage: the pilgrimage through the haunted plains of Xanadu Regio. Most who do are slain in the second rite, during which they must trek through the pitch-black, glyphite-stalked caverns beneath Ganesa Macula. Many more trials await, and a fraction of novitiates make it through the physical and mental challenges to be deemed worthy of receiving the Emperor's Gift and beginning the transformation to Grey Knight.

We therefore have a lower bound. As an upper bound, we can use Paladins and Purifiers:

PALADINS

The Hall of Champions is the seat of the Paladins - the Grey Knights’ greatest warrior squads — and many of the statues there represent former companions of the Paladins’ fraternity. As the Order of Purifiers stand as the Grey Knights’ sanctified elite, the Paladins are the Chapter’s martial exemplars. If a Grey Knight wishes to prove himself worthy of a place amongst such a lauded elite, bravery and skill at arms are not enough. He must complete eight quests to establish his character and cause. Each more arduous and deadly than the last, they culminate in the hunting down and banishment of one of the six hundred and sixty-six most powerful daemons known to have manifested.

From the 9th Edition Codex Grey Knights, page 24

The quests a potential Paladin has to endure in order to reach the status:

Membership is only accomplished if the aspirant manages to complete eight quests to establish his character; simple bravery or skill are not enough to prove the aspirant's worth. To begin these trials, the aspirant must spend a day and night in the haunted caverns beneath Mount Anarch without losing their sanity or sense of purpose. If they endure, they must then match their will against the evil within the Abbiallach tome located in the Sanctum Sanctorum. With their mental fortitude tested, they must then prove their strength of arms by taking part in a pilgrimage to Lansel's Tomb on the doomed moon of Tethys. They must do so without their armour to preserve them against the warp-spawned beasts trapped there. Their mission during this time is to kill each of the four types of Daemon Herald in the service of the Chaos Gods and return with some proof of the creature's demise, such as a horn or tooth. The four following quests are each more grueling than the last, the final task being the most difficult of them all. In the final quest, the aspirant must hunt down and banish one of the 666 most powerful Daemons to ever manifest in the material realm. This they must do with only a Nemesis Force Weapon and the creature's true name, taken from the Iron Grimoire. Completion of this task allows the candidate to ascend to the rank of Paladin.

From the Lexicanum article on Paladins

Purifiers:

The Purifiers epitomise the Chapter’s sanctity of purpose. There is neither training regime nor set process by which a Grey Knight joins their dour and taciturn ranks. Membership of the Order of Purifiers is not granted through skill, valour or a tally of grim deeds, and a Grey Knight may serve with unblemished distinction throughout his functionally immortal lifetime without being granted this singular honour. Rather, Purifiers recruit only from those Grey Knights whose souls are held to be utterly incorruptible — even beyond the usual exacting standards of the Chapter. So painstaking is the selection and so rarely bestowed that there are seldom more than a few score of Purifiers.

From the 9th Edition Codex Grey Knights, page 23

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