Introductory Elements of Initiation
Written by Gary L. Stewart, Imperator R+C and OMCE Knight Commander
Initiation is the essential aspect and cause of the elevation of consciousness to the sublime realities of higher states—to that transcendental state of awareness where the True Being functions according to its degree of awakening on a plane of existence which allows for unfettered service. It functions on one of many planes, each with its own reality, its own creation, that may or may not parallel a world to which we are accustomed. Our individual point of work depends solely upon our degree of awakening and the particular level of reality into which we have been initiated.
To some extent, the nature of our initiations are chosen by ourselves though, perhaps, not solely as a result of intellectual choice. It is our sincerity within, our attitude, and our purity of motive which determine on what level we function. It is easy to realise that our intellect cannot make these decisions on its own; rather, it merely serves to assist us in attuning to the God Within, from which springs our unfoldment to reach a point of true initiation of true choice.
The Order of the Militia Crucifera Evangelica is an initiatic and ritualistic order, in that the Path that we have chosen utilises the traditional esoteric initiatic technique which evolved from the arcane system understood at the dawn of consciousness. The Traditional system flows from a current without beginning or end. This current was not created; it is ever present. Our process of initiation takes the initiate from his or her individual reality and opens to the student a portal through which each initiate must voluntarily step of his or her own accord. The exoteric manifestation of the initiation will not bestow upon this initiate anything other than a choice. And that choice must be made by the initiate from the heart. Once the choice is made and the initiate truly begins to flow with the current available, the initiation has fulfilled its purpose. Its tools are no longer needed, and the initiate must then prepare for the next initiation, attuned to the current chosen.
The purpose of this article is not to discuss our symbols or rituals, or what they are meant to convey. This article is, rather, an introduction to the elements of initiation whereupon the tools of the traditional physical ritual and the psychic world can be utilised to awaken our true purpose of spirituality.
When we say that the OMCE is an initiatic and ritualistic order, we are saying that through our methodology we recognise an ever-present Path which is structured in a hierarchical system. I am not referring to an exoteric hierarchy of officers who lead the Order and guide its purpose, but rather to an esoteric hierarchy that transcends personality. Whether or not a member of the Order or one of its officers is a part of this hierarchy is irrelevant. In fact, the whole concept of the popular idea of masters or enlightened personalities does nothing more than to detract from the Work which they idealise. Why? Because such masters are nothing more than the creation and personification of the limited understanding of the people who create them.
In the so-called "New Age," which is a reference for our time in the same way as earlier periods were known as the "Reformation" and the "Age of Enlightenment," we find many who claim to be exclusive channels of master personalities, and for the first time in the history of humanity they are making themselves known to us for the purpose of salvation. How does this differ from the Medieval host of saints brought to us by the church? Or from the gods of the Greeks and other peoples? How can humanity today be so arrogant as to think that for the first time in history we are going to be saved by the personal interaction of masters, gods, or saints?
We are not in a "New Age," just as we were never in any other "age," really. We are simply in an age that has always been present. As in centuries past, people are now turning with renewed interest to higher ideals, but for the most part they have not placed their faith in a personification to lead them to enlightenment.
Here lies a trap that only initiation can help to avoid. It is true that many people today are sincerely channelling masters. But these masters are not of the esoteric hierarchy. What is being channelled is nothing more than the created beliefs personified by the collective consciousness of those who believe. Those people who are proficient in travelling in astral or psychic realms will attest to the fact that they can meet face-to-face with the god Apollo or the Master Kuthumi. But only an initiate can truly differentiate between what is real and what is a created manifestation. A created manifestation has life, it has personality, but it has no spiritual substance. And to touch the true esoteric hierarchy requires the recognition of that substance and the ascendance to that level of manifestation.
The astral plane is not so much different from the physical plane, except that matter as we understand it is not present. Consequently, our perception into the astral world views a condition of a more ethereal nature, which is much easier to create into a visible form. Much of that which is of a positive nature, when seen in this astral realm, is people materialised in a manner which cannot be accomplished on a physical level. Also, we must contend with the negative traits of fear and hatred which also manifest in this realm. Together, they form a parallel world which still contains deception and illusion. Many people often think that when they have had an experience in this realm, they have attained, because they find their beliefs personified there. But if those people had truly experienced an initiation, they would first be very disappointed to discover that what they thought they had attained was only a part of themselves. Yet if they were sincere, the true beauty of the initiation would unfold and their disappointment would give way to an exalted state of understanding in knowing that a veil had been lifted and the true esoteric hierarchy of masters is a little more clearly understood.
The problem in our world today, when it comes to esoteric matters, is that initiation is not present as a real system in popular "New Age" advocacy. Only initiation can take us beyond physical and psychic limitations and deceptions. At the same time, we must realise that an initiation is not physical or psychic, even though physical and psychic methods are used. A true initiation is purely spiritual. It happens from within each individual as a result of his or her own preparation and readiness, and is inspired and quickened by a physical ritual which, at times, accompanies a psychic experience. Look at the claims of different organisations and individuals. How many utilise the initiatic process? Do we not agree, when our eyes are opened, that most claims of spirituality are personal beliefs formed from the intellect? Even those few organisations which profess to use the initiatic technique create their initiations to conform to their preconceived ideas.
It is imperative that we divorce ourselves from these traps. Otherwise, we are guilty of assisting the forces destructive to nature. There exist today only few readily available strains of initiatic orders that are accessible to all sincere students. Only the true initiate can find any of them. Even then, they are open only to a limited few. There are also other schools that serve the true esoteric hierarchy, but their technique slightly differs from the initiatic lineage but yet, only an initiate will understand them and they too are very few and seclusive.
Why does this state of affairs exist? Two World Wars, materialistic technology, nationalism, and bigoted religion have all been contributing factors. Even from the "enlightened New Agers" we find a prevalent attitude concerning initiation buried within the philosophy of the New Age. This attitude is best paraphrased by the words of a modern "mystic" in promoting a particular school, when it is stated that according to the masters, the age of the initiatic orders is of an age past, that their technique is no longer applicable to today's world, and it must be replaced by a new order and a new technique corresponding to and meeting humanity's already attained state of elevated consciousness.
Such a statement is the height of arrogance and reveals ignorance of the initiatic current. To make such a claim on behalf of the esoteric hierarchy is, among other things, absurd. The initiates who have gone before us and have transcended the known planes and who guide us through their ideals could never make such claims because it was the initiatic technique which took them to where they are now. Nicholas Roerich once said that it was possible that an initiate would evolve beyond the school of thought that first introduced the initiate to the mysteries. In fact, it is expected that such would happen. But he also stated that the initiate would always look back with fondness and reverence to that which guided him or her onto the Path.
What, then, is this initiatic technique that it is our duty to protect? And what does it teach? In an elementary state, initiation is simply a beginning, as the word derivation from the Latin initium so implies. Initiation is a beginning of a new state or condition opening onto a new path. There are three traditional states of initiation which we will consider: (1) common, (2) rare, and (3) detrimental.
The profane is considered to be a blinded prisoner of darkness who wanders in the various realms of deceit, illusion, and error. If the profane is sincere, he or she will eventually encounter an initiation which truly places that person into a new condition, free from lies and prejudice. In a word, that person becomes enlightened and is known as an initiate, thereby being stronger and more powerful. A new path is opened to the initiate, and Cosmic Truth is revealed by means of symbolism, a key that is to be used to unravel the hidden mysteries of the profane world.
The consequence of the initiation is both a possibility and a duty to utilise the newly acquired light on behalf of humanity, a possibility in the sense that the initiate can refuse to enter through the portal; and a duty in the sense that, if entered, the initiate must become a focus of the radiation of light. The initiate must become free of all selfishness and self-centred interests. If such fetters are shed, the emission of light is, at one and the same time, love, energy, and power.
The nature of this power is a transmission through mental induction from the initiator to the initiate, which creates a new mental condition or realisation. The initiator may be another person, or it may be simply Nature; but the act of initiation creates an equilibrium within the initiate, recognised as harmony. Once harmony is attained, the power becomes realised and thereby becomes permanent. That which is done cannot be undone--the initiate finds that he or she can never return to the profane world. Yet, at the same time, there is no guarantee that the initiate will remain on the Path. This is why it is extremely important that the link with the original initiator is maintained and that all future travelling is done progressively. To deny the original initiator is to negate the Work. Thus, we are reminded of the words of Roerich, as mentioned previously.
The link or lineage from initiator to initiate is a transmission of power through an uninterrupted chain of initiates who are essentially human vehicles of Light. Usually a special ritual accompanies such a transmission, and its purpose is to unlock a current of celestial assistance, causing the attunement with spiritual forces which assist the initiate to burn away his or her profane qualities. A true ritual of initiation far exceeds a simple drama. A drama will only touch the emotions and intellect. The ritual will touch the spiritual essence and bring into being spiritual assistance by way of an awakening.
When a true ritual of initiation occurs, it is accompanied by the responsibility of the initiate to uphold the transmission of spiritual power through the initiate's obligation to radiate it from within his or her being. Also, there is the obligation of each initiate to make certain that the Light is perpetuated and passed on to successive generations, thereby ensuring the continuity of the technique. However, it is still possible for the initiate to turn away from the lineage and use the power for selfish ends. If such is done at this stage, we are not dealing with an individual who is simply ignorant of Light, but rather with one who knowingly serves the Dark Forces.
The true purpose of this type of initiation is to serve humanity, to ensure that Light is radiated amidst darkness. We can truly see that the obligations and responsibilities upon the initiate are great, and we also realise that the importance of a continued and unbroken initiatic lineage is paramount, so that the power of Light grows and transcends the limitations of the individual initiate. The individual can turn away from Light, but the initiatic chain and lineage of centuries of initiates creates a condition that surpasses the individual as it cannot be destroyed by the failures of any one person. No one person or small group of people have the strength to undo what has been done. It becomes a force and power of Light that cannot be diverted. This is why it is so absurd to hear the claim that initiatic orders are obsolete, and why it is foolish to think that a completely modern, "New Age" creation can replace a system which has worked and done great service for countless centuries.
The OMCE system is the type of initiatic chain just discussed. Only if the majority of initiates become lax in their obligations and responsibilities can the system be hampered. Even then, it would only take one true initiate to revive the Work.
The second form of initiation is exceedingly rare and is perhaps the source of all initiatic orders in that the recipient of the initiation receives it directly through a spiritual osmosis, and not from a human initiator. Such individuals as Pythagoras, Raymond Lully, and Louis Claude de Saint Martin are examples. The validity of their initiations can be proven by certain signs representing certain Cosmic secrets which are revealed by such individuals through their works or the orders which they started. The rare initiation will be covered further in a separate article.
The third type of initiation we will consider is the detrimental or negative initiation. Of these, there are two kinds: those created by the destructive influences of a human who uses the initiatic technique to acquire selfish ends; and, second, those initiations produced by the actions of ignorance and deceit commonly referred to as the Dark Forces. The initiate of the Dark Forces is one who attunes to the astral creations of greed and hatred, thereby never entering the spiritual realms. They are indeed illusions, but at the same time a force to be reckoned with at our level of manifestation.
Spiritual Light knows no darkness, but to receive Light we must transcend the darkness and reach to its level. We must, through initiation, leave darkness behind through our own efforts. We cannot take darkness with us in approaching Light. Light will not come to us if we allow darkness to be present. This is why masters do not channel through mediums on our plane of existence.
Copyright © 1987 by Gary L. Stewart