Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

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Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby DullianDreadz » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:51 pm

I've been looking for an useful method to begin my studies in thelema, yet I don't see any improvement...
I found a reading list for A.'. A.'. Initiates and started by reading the equinox vol 1 but I sure have a difficulty with these books because what is discussed there don't seem to me too helpful for someone without any background in these topics...the only one I deem comprehensible is LIBER LIBRÆ SVB FIGVRÂ XXX, sure It seemed logic to me.

However, I'll try to be direct and short with my doubts:

1.Which books could give me preliminary grounding in this religion's ? I mean, some overviews of the methods, means and aims to attain a initial development and basic comprehension of thelema

2 .When I think about thelema instantly comes to my my mind terms like kabbalah , magick and this kind of resources and l think I seriously need to have an objective, comprehensive and clear overview of the use of these on the search of the true will. well, obviously I deem this advanced, but after the first steeps I'll need a way to keep my developing, won't I?

3. I don't quite understand the influence of other religions within thelema. For example, in a reading list there were recommended books from other religions, and my question is if the beliefs of those religions should be added to the thelemitic way of living? (I'm reading the bible, but I consider the reading of this as a study of christian philosophy not to be added to my beliefs, I don't have anything against it, but Jehovah seems to me a barren and unprofitable belief)

4.This is only curiosity: In that reading list mentioned above Alice in wonderland and through the looking glass were also recommended because of their cabbalistic significance, or something like that.
Now there, I would ask: which are the means employed to attain this(gematria?)? and what is the aim of that cabbalistic significance? Well, I have already read Alice in wonderland before that and now I'm reading through the looking glass, though it's not an intent to discover those significances, but because I've always wanted to read those books since childhood (but that wasn't possible then because in my native language I never saw the books, maybe they haven't been translated yet, and that could be logical, for the puns and rhymes are a charming element of the English original and in my language that wouldn't be present)

I'm interested in thelema because after so much reflection and conclusions I separated myself from any joy residing on materialism and wealth, and that was eventually replaced by utter disgust for materialist conducts, and a bit of regret for have been in that misleading path.

Well, I hope this doesn't seem to ignorant or desperate to you all.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:15 pm

DullianDreadz wrote:I've been looking for an useful method to begin my studies in thelema, yet I don't see any improvement...
I found a reading list for A.'. A.'. Initiates and started by reading the equinox vol 1 but I sure have a difficulty with these books because what is discussed there don't seem to me too helpful for someone without any background in these topics...the only one I deem comprehensible is LIBER LIBRÆ SVB FIGVRÂ XXX, sure It seemed logic to me.

So the first step should be to get a teacher, and pledge yourself to that teacher for an extended period of time. Pur yourself in the hands of someone who actually knows what he or she is talking about!

1.Which books could give me preliminary grounding in this religion's ? I mean, some overviews of the methods, means and aims to attain a initial development and basic comprehension of thelema

It's an error to lump "religious" principles of Thelema with practical steps of initiation. Those can be pretty divergent subjects (especially becaue the best initiation system pointedly places little importance on theory). But, for the former, I'd suggest Crowley's commentaries on The Book of the Law, and for the broadest answer to your question - if you insist on a single book - Gems From the Equinox.

But it seems that you really sound some foundation work, so I return to my recommendation to find a good teacher as Step 1. To try to get this out of a book is a fool's journey (small "f").

2 .When I think about thelema instantly comes to my my mind terms like kabbalah , magick and this kind of resources and l think I seriously need to have an objective, comprehensive and clear overview of the use of these on the search of the true will. well, obviously I deem this advanced, but after the first steeps I'll need a way to keep my developing, won't I?

You won't find that (exactly the thing you described) in any book known to me. Nobody has written such a book. But the closest I know is my own book, The Mystical & Magical System of the A.'.A.'.. I can't say that the overview there is comprehensive on each of the subjects, though. Rather, it intends to show the place and relationship of the various studies, and to refer you to other basic references where they are actually covered in more depth.

3. I don't quite understand the influence of other religions within thelema. For example, in a reading list there were recommended books from other religions, and my question is if the beliefs of those religions should be added to the thelemitic way of living? (I'm reading the bible, but I consider the reading of this as a study of christian philosophy not to be added to my beliefs, I don't have anything against it, but Jehovah seems to me a barren and unprofitable belief)

The purpose of the Student reading list you found is to expose you to a range of thought. It isn't to address what you do or don't believe. Crowley once expressed it this way: "You are expected to spend three months at least on the study of some of the classics on the subject. The chief object of this is not to instruct you, but to familiarise you with the ground work, and in particular to prevent you getting the idea that there is any right or wrong in matters of opinion."

4.This is only curiosity: In that reading list mentioned above Alice in wonderland and through the looking glass were also recommended because of their cabbalistic significance, or something like that.
Now there, I would ask: which are the means employed to attain this(gematria?)? and what is the aim of that cabbalistic significance? Well, I have already read Alice in wonderland before that and now I'm reading through the looking glass, though it's not an intent to discover those significances, but because I've always wanted to read those books since childhood (but that wasn't possible then because in my native language I never saw the books, maybe they haven't been translated yet, and that could be logical, for the puns and rhymes are a charming element of the English original and in my language that wouldn't be present)

I'm pretty sure that Crowley was speaking of the mode of thought demonstrated throughout the work.

I'm interested in thelema because after so much reflection and conclusions I separated myself from any joy residing on materialism and wealth, and that was eventually replaced by utter disgust for materialist conducts, and a bit of regret for have been in that misleading path.

There's nothing in Thelema necessarily consist with disgust for the material, nor the separation of oneself from any sort of joy whatseover.

Well, I hope this doesn't seem to ignorant or desperate to you all.

We all start somewhere! Welcome to the forum.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby underabloodredsky » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:56 pm

There are two books I highly recommend, "The Tree of Life" and "The Garden of Pomegranites" both by Israel Regardie. If you are going to understand Crowley, it often helps to become familiar with the Golden Dawn first. I also recommend Dion Fortune's "The Mystical Quaballah", but The Garden of P. covers the material well.

I have do disagree with the advice on the first thing one should do is find a teacher and commit to an extended period of time. That's kind of like marrying the first girl (or guy) you have sex with. Sometimes that works, but usually no.

Experiment, talk to people, read, and pray. And by praying, I mean aspire to the light within you.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Persephone » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:43 am

underabloodredsky wrote:I have do disagree with the advice on the first thing one should do is find a teacher and commit to an extended period of time. That's kind of like marrying the first girl (or guy) you have sex with. Sometimes that works, but usually no.
Experiment, talk to people, read, and pray. And by praying, I mean aspire to the light within you.

Underabloodredsky, Interesting analogy. I agree with you that finding a teacher is not something to rush into. But on the other hand, some people can't ever commit to marriage or to a teacher and later in life they may wonder what they have missed. :)
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:47 am

Persephone wrote:I agree with you that finding a teacher is not something to rush into. But on the other hand, some people can't ever commit to marriage or to a teacher and later in life they may wonder what they have missed. :)

The first teacher isn't a life commitment :D

The single biggest mistake people make in this is assuming that they can do it on their own. Especially kin the beginning, acknowledge that you don't know anything and find somebody who does. Even the mistakes you make in choosing will be valuable training in discrimination.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby underabloodredsky » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:06 pm

Jim Eshelman wrote:The single biggest mistake people make in this is assuming that they can do it on their own. Especially kin the beginning, acknowledge that you don't know anything and find somebody who does. Even the mistakes you make in choosing will be valuable training in discrimination.

Unless I'm misunderstanding you, that's where I have to disagree with you firmly. While I think teachers may be immensely helpful, I absolutely disagree with the notion that one can't do it on one's own. The reality is that we are all on our own.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:19 pm

You're entitled to your opinion, of course.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby gurugeorge » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:56 am

DullianDreadz wrote:I've been looking for an useful method to begin my studies in thelema, yet I don't see any improvement...
I found a reading list for A.'. A.'. Initiates and started by reading the equinox vol 1 but I sure have a difficulty with these books because what is discussed there don't seem to me too helpful for someone without any background in these topics...the only one I deem comprehensible is LIBER LIBRÆ SVB FIGVRÂ XXX, sure It seemed logic to me.

However, I'll try to be direct and short with my doubts:

1.Which books could give me preliminary grounding in this religion's ? I mean, some overviews of the methods, means and aims to attain a initial development and basic comprehension of thelema

You've had great responses, but I'd just like to say that re. books, "Magick Without Tears" is a mature work, and it does what it says on the tin. Also look at "Little Essays Toward Truth". Also "Eight Lectures on Yoga". In fact all the "later" works are IMHO easier to understand, for the layperson, than the Equinox period stuff.

2 .When I think about thelema instantly comes to my my mind terms like kabbalah , magick and this kind of resources and l think I seriously need to have an objective, comprehensive and clear overview of the use of these on the search of the true will. well, obviously I deem this advanced, but after the first steeps I'll need a way to keep my developing, won't I?

There are two practical things, IMHO: do some sort of meditation practice or breathwork, and learn the Qabalistic correspondences. Jim's advice to find a living teacher is very important, but in the early stages it needn't necessarily be someone in this tradition, as meditation practices in the beginning stages are pretty similar across the board, so something local - a reputable Zen, Theravada or Tibetan Buddhist school, or a Hindu system - would do (be wary, there are charlatans in all traditions). If you do this, follow whatever you're taught strictly for as long as you follow it (i.e. don't try and mix and match yet).

For learning the correspondences, it takes a while (a few months) of boring memorisation, but once you get into the groove it starts to get easier. Just memorise a column from 777 every day, something like that - small amounts regularly.

Once you've studied the Qabalah for a bit and it starts to get internalised and automatic, a lot of the stuff that's baffling you now will make more sense. All these magical writings have several layers of meaning, and lots of subtle allusions based on Qabalistic correspondences, that give the writing a kind of three-dimensional depth. Any good literature has this sort of depth, but magical writing has it in a way that's structured around the correspondences, and it teaches you as you read.

These two things are preparatory for the two "branches" of mysticism and magick. Meditation sets you on the road to mystical experience, and the learning the correspondences prepares you for astral travel.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Mephisto » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:44 am

underabloodredsky wrote:
Jim Eshelman wrote:The single biggest mistake people make in this is assuming that they can do it on their own. Especially kin the beginning, acknowledge that you don't know anything and find somebody who does. Even the mistakes you make in choosing will be valuable training in discrimination.

Unless I'm misunderstanding you, that's where I have to disagree with you firmly. While I think teachers may be immensely helpful, I absolutely disagree with the notion that one can't do it on one's own. The reality is that we are all on our own.

True, but there are certain common mistakes a teacher can help one avoid, like doing the LBRP with the wrong quarters for over a year. :D While studies in isolation build character and resolve, it's nice to have a guiding hand. Besides, every teacher I've encountered in various Thelemic orders has been most gracious and accomodating--really unlike any other system I've encountered.

But again, "Do What Thou Wilt."
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Avshalom Binyamin » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:08 pm

Even Jung had his Philemon.

Everyone needs their own personal guru. After reading this thread, I encountered the following comment from an indian sage, to Jung, once (in the course of reading "Memories, Dreams, and recollections):

"Most people have living gurus. But there are always some who have a spirit for teacher."

Of course, before this, Jung had Freud as a mentor, and learned from much from him - even from his flaws...
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Mephisto » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:57 pm

AvshalomBinyamin wrote:Even Jung had his Philemon.

Everyone needs their own personal guru. After reading this thread, I encountered the following comment from an indian sage, to Jung, once (in the course of reading "Memories, Dreams, and recollections):

"Most people have living gurus. But there are always some who have a spirit for teacher."

Of course, before this, Jung had Freud as a mentor, and learned from much from him - even from his flaws...

That's a good point. I remember a passage in the Fama that spoke to me, about how aspirants need only to make an inward choice to undertake the Great Work, and the Powers that Be will see that they are taught, each according to his measure.

But, in the end, Fraternities are exactly that--a fraternity! If you think about it, no great religious teacher acheived "enlightenment" by his fellowship with men. Jesus went into the desert. Mohammed had his cave. Guatama chained himself to a tree (or something like that); Crowley spent most of his early adulthood climbing desolate mountains (when he wasn't worshipping Satan and performing sex acts on children, that is :wink: )--the list goes on. It's a deeply personal thing, and the final leap is always undertaken alone. All a fraternity can provide is guidance, and well it works for some. Others are assigned specific gurus, or have "spirit guides" (one wonders about Jung and his Philemon: HGA?). Most will learn by simply eliminating themselves from the gene pool.

But again, once you make that choice, the deed is done. Initiation happens long before anybody joins an order. Like marriage, the ceremony is a mere formality: the real romance needed no Priest to take root.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby FiliusBestia » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:05 pm

93,
Fooling yourself into thinking you can do it all alone only means you haven't reached that point yet. Yes, the work lies on us, the work is ours, but to do it alone means you fall alone without that helping hand to get you back on your feet. Which leads to the lengthy process of getting back up. Who knows, though, maybe this works for some. I did it alone for long enough.
I have to agree with Jim, taking a teacher, for the good or bad, is a teaching process. And if you got half a brain cell, you'll not leap into the first teacher's arms, but feel it out. I don't think the analogy fits very well, with the wife thing. While most aren't virgins when they marry, it's pretty much exactly what's wrong with marriage today. As far as the teacher, it's not permanent, it's not going to take your kids, house, and money, and even if (s)he proves incapable of teaching, you've still learned something to move on with.
Just something to think on. Then again, my teacher found me. Not the other way around. The world presents many opportunities every day.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby FiliusBestia » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:08 pm

93,
A second thought: A teacher is not there to control you, but to guide you. That's the idea behind the A.'.A.'. system. You learn from someone who has passed through that point, and someone who will guide you through the ups and downs, the pit-falls, and the false revelations, etc etc....
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Allogenes » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:57 pm

93

JPF wrote:True, but there are certain common mistakes a teacher can help one avoid, like doing the LBRP with the wrong quarters for over a year. :D

Or unwittingly performing the rituals as published in the popular literature, blinds and all.

93's

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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:23 pm

JPF wrote:If you think about it, no great religious teacher acheived "enlightenment" by his fellowship with men. Jesus went into the desert. Mohammed had his cave. Guatama chained himself to a tree (or something like that); Crowley spent most of his early adulthood climbing desolate mountains... It's a deeply personal thing, and the final leap is always undertaken alone.

Yes, the final leap.

But - going by the biographies attributed to the individuals you cited - this was, in all cases, something that occurred after many years of earlier spiritual training. They didn't start at the end - they ended there.

All a fraternity can provide is guidance

Using the word "fraternity," I might agree. Had you said "genuinely contacted Order," I'd disagree much. It can provide far more than you apparently can even dream of.

Initiation happens long before anybody joins an order. Like marriage, the ceremony is a mere formality: the real romance needed no Priest to take root.

That is totally silly. It may be true of a rare person here and there, but, in general, you might as well say that copulation occurs long before losing one's virginity - your statement is that absurd. Initiation is not just a formality. Initiation into a contacted, live extrusion of the Inner Order provides a life-altering linkage that generally inaugurates - initiates! - the most important journey one can and will ever take in life.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby underabloodredsky » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:40 pm

Just to clarify, I did say teachers can be helpful; and what I mean by that, partially speaking, is that one is and can be on their own, and choose a teacher to assist at the same time, if one wishes, or it is one's will to do so, or not to do so. For the record, teachers can be equally and distinctly unhelpful as well.

I think that the notion that one can't initiate oneself or that one can't do it on their own is a huge red flag. This totally puts me off. Regardless of all the other knowledgeable things said here regarding magick, quabala etc., I only listen to and trust my self, and I don't mean my ego, but my HGA, and I don't require anybody for that. Like I said, if I want a teacher, a friend, an enemy a mentor, a student, I can learn from all of them, but I am solely responsible and capable.

There are only two kinds of religion: true and false. True are those that teach Gnosis, that the truth and initiation can only be found and bestowed from within. False are those that teach the same can only be found or bestowed from without.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Avshalom Binyamin » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:44 pm

Did you have teachers that helped you get in contact with your HGA, or did you do it alone?
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Persephone » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:11 am

underabloodredsky wrote:There are only two kinds of religion: true and false. True are those that teach Gnosis, that the truth and initiation can only be found and bestowed from within. False are those that teach the same can only be found or bestowed from without.
Let him who has ears to hear, hear.


I really can't think of a religion that doesn't require membership or alignment in some form. All major western ones do, before a person can fully participate in all the rites of that faith. If I may use an old aeon example, only Catholics may receive communion. The point is that, in that tradition or in a magical one, something is passed along to the person in a rite, whatever you want to calll it, that you can't get even if you became a scholar in that tradition. I remember Joseph Campbell saying a little sadly to Bill Moyers in one of his interviews, that he knew he was a scholar, not an initiate, of any of the many traditions he studied. I think it may be possible rarely, to bypass that route. But not having anyone to compare notes with could be confusing for even the most gifted person, I would think. And most of us are far from that. :)
And yes, it is true that you may find a teacher who turns out to be abusive or too controlling. It happened to me. If that's the case then its time to leave. But one bad teacher does not condem the whole system.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:47 am

I continue to chuckle that so many are speaking of the end as if it's the beginning.

Every joke has its punchline; but it isn't very effective without the right setup. :twisted:
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:10 am

Exactly!

And how things actually are for almost everyone is... We approach this subject ignorantly, uneducated, unskilled, without clear direction. The best solution for this is: Find someone informed, experienced, and skilled that can teach and give direction.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:18 am

Alrah wrote:
Jim Eshelman wrote:Exactly!

And how things actually are for almost everyone is... We approach this subject ignorantly, uneducated, unskilled, without clear direction. The best solution for this is: Find someone informed, experienced, and skilled that can teach and give direction.

So... all new students are numbskulls? *raises an eyebrow* :D

Everyone born is ignorant. That is, we are born not knowing stuff.

Notice I didn't say stupid. Just uninformed, unskilled, etc.

You aren't born knowing language. Or how to form and maintain a relationship. Or how to repair a computer. Or how to play chess. Or, for that matter, how to train yourself to exceed the baseline of human evolution and move into leading edge spiritual realms that the species as a whjole won't tap for centuries. These things all have to be learned.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:33 am

Alrah wrote:Or they can preordained.

I'm not talking about the four or five on the planet at any given time who are in that Dali Lama like category. I'm talking about most people.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Mephisto » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:53 am

Jim Eshelman wrote:Using the word "fraternity," I might agree. Had you said "genuinely contacted Order," I'd disagree much. It can provide far more than you apparently can even dream of.

I wasn't trying to denigrate any Order of Thelema. In fact, I have nothing but good things to say about you guys. But the fact stands: intitiation is not dependent on, nor will it ever be dependent on membership to one order or another. For one, mundane initiation is a proper and necessary step. Others appeal directly to the source, the fountainhead of all Light, Love and Power.

All according to one's Will.

That is totally silly. It may be true of a rare person here and there, but, in general, you might as well say that copulation occurs long before losing one's virginity - your statement is that absurd. Initiation is not just a formality. Initiation into a contacted, live extrusion of the Inner Order provides a life-altering linkage that generally inaugurates - initiates! - the most important journey one can and will ever take in life.

Perhaps it is silly of you to assume who is rare and who isn't. :wink:

Some people need no middleman: they have an intimate and tangible link with the divine.

Again, I mean no disrespect to any Order or School or System. But it is not everyone's Will to be initiated in that way. There are many here who are members of no Order, students of no School, and yet they have as tangible a lnk to the Source of Life as any "Initiate." Not everybody, sure, but sometimes the Powers that Be take an aspirant's training into their own hands.
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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Edward Mason » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:06 pm

93
JPF wrote:
But it is not everyone's Will to be initiated in that way. There are many here who are members of no Order, students of no School, and yet they have as tangible a lnk to the Source of Life as any "Initiate." Not everybody, sure, but sometimes the Powers that Be take an aspirant's training into their own hands.

Surely, though, the two combine? Even the most exalted tulkus in the Tibetan traditions - and I do include the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama and the other top-ranked bodhisattvas - are put through the empowerments. The Sixth Dalai Lama, who was not formally recognized until his teens, had become a very non-priestly person by the time he was discovered. He is still recognized as a valid Incarnation of Chrenrezig, but his career wasvery non-standard.

It's simply assumed by the Tibetan authorities that anybody needs guidance and correction. The Dalai Lama has always had his own teachers, for example. This thread seems to assume that a teacher in Thelema is an Indian-(or other Asian) style guru, to whom you might offer worship and unquestioning obedience. Teachers in our tradition are guides, and in the early stages they take you into and through Malkuth, which teaches the virtue of Discrimination, not slavery.

A person working on his or her own can make great progress, but is still closed to fresh info and fresh perspectives that could both accelerate progress, and broaden understanding.

93 93/93,

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Re: Doubts about initiation. Suggestions, please :?

Postby Edward Mason » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:26 pm

Alrah, 93,

I wouldn't say Crowley got an 'open house' reception' from most people. He knew he needed training, and looked for it almost frantically in the late 1890s.

And he had training at key junctures - from the G.D. and Mathers initially, then Allan Bennett, then (extremely important for dhyana) Oscar Eckenstein. The yoga training Ceylon followed. He was an apt pupil, but he never shunned nor disparaged the need for initiation and training. You should also note (I'm taking both Regardie's and Kenneth Grant's remarks into account here) that often, he withheld direct instruction. He wanted students to seek on their own.

I'll place a small land-mine in this discussion, by saying I don't think it's actually about initiation and teachers. Rather, it's about the fear of finding yourself once again stuck with a bad parent. Reprising childhood is, for many people, a terror worse than anything the adult world can offer.

Similarly, teachers - any of them - take on a parent projection, and they need to have been through the mill themselves to handle this. So the first question anyone should ask someone who might become a teacher or instructor is on the lines of : "Can you tell me if you ever made a total fool of yourself in your own training?" The answer to that should tell you whether to proceed or not.

93 93/93,

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