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What Is Self-Initiation?

Occult initiation typically involves joining a well-established occult fraternity that arranges its members into class, grade, and degree systems. Each degree is comprised of a particular doctrine of esoteric knowledge and ritual, to which end is to be cultivated for predetermined self-development. These distinctions are successively organized towards unfolding both principal and particular doctrines, while furthering self-development of respective members. The focus of any legitimate occult fraternity should be primarily directed to the moral and spiritual growth of its members, which will ideally furnish them with the will and resolve to improve the human condition as a whole. The newly initiated member, often called the neophyte, is technically a probationary class or degree. The word neophyte is derived from the Greek word neophutos, meaning "newly planted". A ritual of some kind may be performed to impress upon the candidate the importance of particular virtues now to be adhered to in joining the occult fraternity. One benefit of joining such fraternities and passing the probationary period is that they have well-established and time-tested methods to esoterically aid the member in the processes of rapid self-development, potentially leading to initiation into the mysteries of life and death.

There is a great host of esoteric knowledge encrypted into the symbology of all fraternal varieties, and it is only with progress does the member begin to unlock these mysteries further. While members are at times segregated, the fraternal brotherhoods swear oaths to support each other whenever possible. Many fraternities have also collected a considerable amount of esoteric literature, some private, some public, which serve as an educational curriculum to expand the knowledge that one will most undoubtedly need for rapid self-development of character; for it is the character of a member alone which is his most valuable asset for advancement.

We should not underestimate that there is an appreciable benefit to joining any organization at all. Whether it is for work, leisure, or worship, the sheer presence of dozens or even hundreds of members of one particular persuasion gathering together for a single purpose is a powerful force respectively, and affords new members access to an incredible source of informational wealth and support from veteran members.

With any organization there are rules and structures that have been set up in place, and changed as the times necessitate by the leading members who deem them appropriate to maintain the purpose and integrity of the organization at large. The compulsory methods and approach of one organization or one fraternity for example, may not be necessarily suitable for all members equally, but are designed for the progress of the group as a whole. Therefore if one has been dedicated to esoteric studies for many years before joining an occult fraternity, much of the knowledge in the first few grades might seem rather rudimentary. In such circumstances belonging to a religious organization for group devotional purposes while continuing esoteric studies at home might be more ideal. Such a student might have to purchase books for their own course of self-development, but they would avoid the membership fees and oaths of secrecy that come with fraternal territory.

In the past, many of the occult fraternities recruited members from religious organizations. Typically these would be members who had a marked reverence for the divine, or God, but wanted a more precise intellectual or morally satisfying theology than his congregation could provide. With a solid foundation to “serve God while serving others”, the groundwork was laid to offer a greater spiritual horizon starting with initiation into the order. These recruits would continue to belong to their previous religious organization, but would supplement their spiritual needs with a secret occult life.

Initiated into the esoteric doctrines, the fraternity leads the member up rung after rung on the ladder of self-development and study, until authorities deemed the candidate worthy for initiation ceremonies into the higher worlds. Just as one visits a new country for the first time, and it is always desirable and perhaps advisable to have trusted companions, guides, and aides along the way, the same is true with the “spiritual countries” one visits during initiation. The atmosphere, education, and brotherhood of the fraternity accommodate this rapid self-transformation with admirable fortitude and friendship.

There is a widespread legitimate fear which should be addressed pertaining to occult fraternities. Namely, that because of their hierarchical structure of knowledge and ritual, even a senior member can be mislead into nefarious pathways and rituals. This is indeed a danger when one with esoteric nescience enters such a society and unquestionably accepts their dogmas. To a certain extent this can be counterbalanced with a sufficient amount of objective occult studies but this comes with one caveat: if one enters an occult fraternity with a personal disposition on these matters too large, one may lose the novel and beneficiary impressions for the soul that the rituals performed righteously are capable of achieving. For those who are uncertain of these potentially grave consequences, this is where being “self-initiated” can be a much safer approach.

Now that we have described initiation in a fraternal environment, what is self-initiation? Its representatives have been the hermit philosophers of all ages who persistently sought out the arcane knowledge despite the dangers, eventually becoming "self-initiated" into the esoteric doctrine themselves. Followed wholeheartedly, self-initiation of this kind has always led to genuine initiation into the higher worlds. It is the former which our platform seeks to serve, and the latter naturally provides its teacher when the student is ready.

It is indeed true that saints and monks of every creed have in seclusion spontaneously attained to initiation experiences, also known as mystical states, sometimes using techniques of concentration, meditation, and contemplation, but unconscious spontaneity in occult training is highly undesirable, and can become detrimental to objective esoteric development. This is the prime advantage of the guidance given when belonging to a reputable brotherhood of one respect or another.

It is absolutely required that in order to obtain objective knowledge of oneself and of the higher worlds, that the fundamental properties and dynamics of these higher worlds/states must be first ascertained by the mind-soul in physical-waking consciousness. This is because the first two higher worlds/states- the only two which can be reached by unguided methods- are ruled, dictated, and distorted by the mind-soul to a substantial degree. Devotion is indeed requisite for initiation experiences, but without the wisdom required by the mind-soul to objectively rationalize such experiences, they are likely to become personal ecstasies and fantasies which gratify only the personal self. And can even lead to schizophrenia and insanity.

In its proper historical context, the primary goal of initiation throughout the ages has been to develop in a relatively short series of lives, the exact same faculty of the soul which humanity as a whole would be intended (not guaranteed) to evolve at the culmination of the respective epoch. For instance, the birth of the intellectual-soul heralded the logic, reason, and dialectic of the classical Greek philosophers. This faculty crept into new ontological territory when Aristotle funnelled them into the physical classifications of material science. Philosophy in his era seemed to be a birthright of the few (not a faculty widely exercised among the Greeks themselves), and this new faculty now directed by a select few towards the physical world, only began to be broadly utilized by humanity during the enlightenment period- approximately 2,000 years later.

Most westerners believe European enlightenment was the product of scientific revolution instead of the spiritual attainment of the intellectual-soul that precipitated it; first blossoming predominately in Europe and America, and now the world over. For this cultural inequity we can point to secular scientists and philosophers who continue to treat the configuration of the human soul as static throughout the ages. Without this keystone of the soul's evolution, the present-day condition of the human soul is mistakenly applied to interpret our historical past. It is the intellectual-soul that must be developed and channelled into spiritual activity which is the true purpose of our present epoch. Instead of being funnelled into materialism, mankind must learn to use this mental capability to gradually apprehend the spiritual worlds directly.

“The seat of Self-consciousness is moved from the lower mind to the higher by strenuous thinking, by the intellectual travail of the student, the philosopher, the man of science- if the latter turn his thoughts from objects to principles, from phenomena to laws. And as strenuous thinking can alone lift the scat of Self-consciousness from the mind to the intellect, so can deep concentration and meditation alone raise that seat from the intellect to the Spirit”.
-Annie Besant


When we earnestly tread the literary path of the lesser mysteries revealed in Theosophy and Anthroposophy, we are given the metaphysical keys needed to apprehend ourselves, religious traditions, and a closer union with God. We involve ourselves in a sublime course of transformation- not activation. The former involves harmonizing living processes of the soul, while the latter only reflects the mechanistic and materialistic thinking of the age. Only by directing our intellectual soul towards a true scientific understanding of the spirit can we fructify our soul and truly become “self-initiated” in the twinkling of an eye.

October 19th, 2021.
Chief Editor of Self-Initiation.com

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