Esoteric Encyclopedia

Esoteric Encyclopedia Entry of the Week: Initiation

In esoteric terms, “Initiation” is a process of training – where a disciple begins to break through the boundaries of ego in order to transcend to higher levels of consciousness and energy. This process is a series of stages, or degrees, and each disciple advances at his/her own pace.

According to Esoteric Golden Dawn:

The magical path is difficult; it may be the most difficult task that you will ever undertake. Anyone who tells you different is simply not rendering to you accurate information. In fact, considerable effort must be invested before even one step is placed upon the path. We can reasonably regard the antecedent and prerequisite work leading toward full initiation as self-initiation, because unless the individual proactively pursues the magical way of life entirely on his or her own accord, they will not claim ownership of the traditional Golden Dawn current or any other magical path.

The first step leading toward full initiation is self-improvement: we all reach a point at least once in our lives where we feel the need for major improvements, and this necessarily involves self initiated, positive changes. Self-improvement is the practice of changing one’s self in pursuit of a better life. This could be anything from quitting a bad habit, starting an exercise program, taking a college class or simply reading educational books: the main thing is that it requires an investment of effort and it changes one’s self image in a positive way. Wherever someone is at in their life, they will make positive changes in preparation for their magical journey.

The second step is self-empowerment: this runs deeper than self-improvement and it will demand a greater level of commitment to pursue. Self-empowerment is preceded by self-improvement, at least in part because a greater level of self-esteem is needed to claim empowerment. One important distinction between the two is that empowerment necessarily demands courage to pursue; this could involve, ending a bad relationship, changing one’s career or simply facing an anxiety or phobia: the main thing is that it brings one to a higher level of courage and inner strength. Everyone, regardless of their ultimate goal will at one time or another, undertake the process of self-improvement and self-empowerment; it is a natural part of the human experience to grow and increase the quality of one’s life and influence over one’s environment.

The third step is self-initiation: this step is far more focused than the previous two; it involves choosing one’s magical path. The previous steps may or may not involve magic or the occult, but self-initiation specifically, expresses the desire to immerse one’s aura into a particular, magical current. The forth step is full, traditional initiation, that is to say, initiation into a traditional, magical order, performed by an authorized Hierophant and temple officers either physically in full temple, or through astral initiation. Self-initiation is a positive step toward one’s committed magical path. Since initiation into a traditional order necessarily involves profound commitment, many may prefer to remain in the third step and elect to avoid deeper involvement in the mysteries, however, any reduction of magical investment in one’s personal power produces correspondingly disparaged results. The question then arises as to whether or not the full benefit of traditional initiation can be derived from self-initiation. It is important to understand the nature of full initiation and how it compares and contrasts with alternative forms of initiation in order to assess what results can and should be anticipated in either case. Magical initiations have been performed on aspirants since before recorded history, and they are still an integral part of the magical path of modern times. Throughout history traditions have emerged from mystical primordial soup and their fires burned for a time only to become extinguished when their teachers ceased teaching and initiating new members. In some cases, traditions evolved and adapted into thriving modern philosophies; they may even scarcely resemble what they once were. The mystical fire, which keeps the magical heart of a tradition beating, is passing the torch of initiation from teacher to student.

To learn even more about initiation into new realms of consciousness and magic(k)al practice – click here or watch the video below…

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