They are constructs; but they seem to me constructs which both clarify the progress we’ve made, as well as set up our expectations for what we will to achieve; “claiming a grade before its realistic manifestations appear” is a way that aids in the individual eventually achieving that grade (via self-fulling prophecy), but also – with the confidence it takes to claim that grade to begin with, this in itself is the channeling OF a prophecy.
In Thelemic terms, the aspirant’s Will to claim a grade was unknowingly a message from his HGA, and his HGA made certain of the aspirant’s fulfillment thereof. It is only upon reaching Tiphareth that the aspirant then knowingly receives messages from his HGA, and after crossing the Abyss “becomes” his HGA, where his same function applies to “sending messages” to his ego shards which grow back within him.
All of this is reliant upon the aspirant taking the grades & system seriously enough to begin with, of course.
I am under the impression that all thaumaturgical works work this way; and that the only difference between thaumaturgy and theurgy is essentially the awareness of their differences – not unlike the first distinctions between ego-want and True Will, which end up being metaphysically the same, but ontologically different.
Thoughts/actions neither precede results nor proceed after results; there being no metaphysical difference between “thoughts/actions” and “results,” the only differentiation we make is arbitrary due to its non-linear process – in reality, both influence one another.
After all, what is magick if not the “modification of the interpretation and inner response after each and every event?”
By assimilation of the internal of the external; the result is that these results are fluid and modify each other.