Nature of Initiation

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Nature of Initiation

Postby DavidH » Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:50 pm

93!

Jim, can you make some comments on the nature of initiation? I've been discussing it with several people on the internet and everyone has a different idea as to what it is exactly.

Some comments I heard were:

1- It is a magical link from initiator to initiated, going back to the beginning? and thus creating an egregore and a place to tap into energy.

2- It is a graduation ceremony simply confirming your already attained knowledge by someone who has been there and done that.

3- It is purely psychological as a way to mark in your psyche a major life change (a new way of looking at things.)

4- It plants a seed in your subconscious that later develops, thus you attain the knowledge after the initiation, the opposite of #2.

or something else missing?

Any insights would be appreciated.
In LVX,
David

"Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains."
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Re: Nature of Initiation

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:54 am

David, I'm likely to disappoint on this one - it's too big a topic. But I can make a few remarks off the cuff (when too tired and too rushed) on what you've already posted.

One of the areas of confusion is that the word "initiation" has come to mean, in many places, nearly any ceremonial rite of passage. I think that's way too broad - at least in our tradition, and in most related. The word should mean a specific threshold inauguration of a certain magnitude. For example, in Temple of Thelema, there are only three initiations - 0°, 5°, and 8°. The other degrees are called something else and serve other purposes.

Additionally, there is the more general fact that the term has different implications in different traditions or other contexts, and each tradition is entitled to its own language. For example, I wouldn't consider more than one of the Garnerian rituals to be an initiation (if that). I wouldn't consider any Masonic-based degree to be an initiation with the possible (probable?) exception of the Masonic 3° - and in Aspirants to Light we scrupulously avoid the term, considering the three degrees pre-initiatic degrees of Fellowship. Nonetheless, Masons call their 1° an initiation, and they're entitled to do so regardless of what I think.

DavidH wrote:1- It is a magical link from initiator to initiated, going back to the beginning? and thus creating an egregore and a place to tap into energy.

That's an apostolic-type succession, as in the creation of a Bishop. Generally, I wouldn't regard this as a feature directly - however, there may be some related elements not so much in the definition as in the collateral phenomena. For example, an initiation in a group context would include incorporation into a group mind, and includes the conveyance of a particular linkage.

2- It is a graduation ceremony simply confirming your already attained knowledge by someone who has been there and done that.

Not a usual use of the term. Pretty misleading IMHO.

A.'.A.'. grades are pretty unique in being an acknowledgement of work already undertaken. Nonetheless, the only actual initiations - 1=10, 2=9, 5=6 - are inaugurations. The fact that they occur at the completion of a prior amount of work is almost incidental to the initiatic quality. That is, they are genuine commencements (which probably isn't what was meant by "graduation" despite the pun).

3- It is purely psychological as a way to mark in your psyche a major life change (a new way of looking at things.)

I think this speaks more to method than to definition.

4- It plants a seed in your subconscious that later develops, thus you attain the knowledge after the initiation, the opposite of #2.

This is a major component of ceremonial initiations.
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Jim Eshelman
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Postby Rev.D » Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:34 pm

To me Initiation is a beginning, a crossing.

Sorry for the briefness, I like to keep things as simple as possible :)

But then, my own initiation is most likely something out of the ordinary and something I refer to as my awakening.
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