Thz Gates Of Initiation

The initiatory system of the Ogdoadic Tradition comprises three distinct levels, or "halls" as they are termed in Aurum Solis. These three are said to be transmissible—that is, they may be received by the aspirant at the hands of duly initiated persons. Beyond them is a further stage, that of full initiate, which does not so much comprise another level as represent the completion and perfection of the "third hall." This later stage can only be attained by individual effort and realization, and is therefore said to be non-transmissible.

Our concern here is with the three levels first mentioned, which correspond to the "three stages in the development of the initiate" referred to in the preceding chapter.

It is undeniably true that no process of initiation can impart to a person any power or faculty which he or she does not, at least in potential, already possess. The purpose of the transmissible initiations is thus to assist the candidate to realize by experience, in stages which reflect the natural evolution of the functions and faculties of the psyche, those inner powers whose due awakening and correct ordering result in the attainment of magical power, with the dynamic integration of all aspects of the personality.

It is, furthermore, the purpose of the initiations not only so to mark out the parameters of advancement but to encourage the growth of the various faculties which are evoked thereby. This is an art, and a high responsibility on the part of those who would confer initiation by ritual means.

In the Aurum Solis, the first level of initiation does not bind the candidate to involvement in the corporate life of the Order. The Rite of Induction is conducted on the candidate's behalf, and is freely bestowed as a spiritual gift.

The officers of initiation prepare the Temple at material and astral levels and link their intention to the ancient Qabalistic-Gnostic pattern of spiritual advancement. "Let us upraise the Distyle Temenos of our aspiration," says the Magus, the senior officer of the initiation. "Let us establish PNEUMA and SARX; let us make salutation of DIKE, ELEOS and KUDOS."

The candidate is received into the temple with the words:

Child of Earth and Starry Heaven, thou who seekest this day the experience of the Mysteries, who seekest a clearer vision of Truth; thou who seekest worlds within worlds until for thee all worlds are one in eternity: the High Company of the Glorious Star greets thee.

Before we proceed, know this. Whoso enters the Mysteries can nevermore return to the evening world of unenlightened selfhood. To take the first step upon the sacred Way o f Return is to be committed to it for ever. To enter upon this path is to find New Life in the morning world of Divine Inspiration, until all shall be caught up and assumed into the transforming Fire of Godhead.

i ask thee most seriously, therefore, art thou determined to make this venture and to undergo this transformation ?

Following the candidate's assent, the Magus, the chief officer of the rite, confers the first blessing:

May the glorious sunlight of the Supernal Life inspire and vitalize thee, Child of Earth and Starry Heaven, that what thou art may grow to the stature of that which thou art to be.

The officers then, by ancient gesture, by visualization and with Words of Power, evoke a current of light and power throughout the physical and astral levels of the candidate's being; following which, the Magus confers the second blessing.

Flanking the candidate, and exchanging words one with another in compelling and rhythmic pattern, the officers now proclaim the ancient fivefold pattern of the House of Sacrifice, concluding with the phrase, 'Worlds beyond worlds and within worlds."

Now in the rite, the establishment of the Dyad is commenced

The primal breath of instilled life is bestowed by the magician-initiator, and then the receiving body is acknowledged and honored.

Next, in increasing solemnity and power, the Triad is evoked for the candidate.

The Higher Self of the aspirant is witnessed, and he or she is girt with the cord and circled with incense. Here is figured no mere earthly restriction, but the feminine and formative power of the worlds and the holy concealment which is the Sheknah, the overshadowing and never-absent presence of "the Lord of the Worlds." Following this ritual action, which is symbol of an eternal verity, the candidate subscribes to the oath:

I, N, aspirant to the first hall ofAurum Solis in the Ogdoadic Mystery Tradition, and henceforth to be known by the magical name _, do hereby and hereon solemnly undertake to pursue the Great Work of Self-realization in abundance of love and in generous devotion, to the end that my whole being shall, in the ecstasy of a supreme attainment, be irradiated and divinely transformed in the splendor of Light Supernal...

Now the second aspect of the Triad is invoked.

The candidate is 'baptized": the centers of power of the astral body, corresponding to the location of the chakras, are sprinkled with specially charged water, and the candidate is marked upon the brow with the salvific symbol of the Tau, "as sign and seal" of dedication "in the regenerative mysteries of the Ogdoadic Tradition."

The third and highest aspect of the Triad is now brought into play.

The attention of the aspirant is directed to the single lamp upon the altar. "Child of Barth and Starry Heaven," proclaims the Magus, "this lamp, set now in its place of honor ... represents the Undying Flame of Godhead which burns eternal at the center of all worlds. It represents too the single light of thy Higher Self, thy personal Star of Destiny which participates in the Divine Life, which shines always in the inmost and highest sanctuary of thy being. It is that supreme and inmost Light which shall, in fulfillment of thine aspiration, fully irradiate all the levels within thee in the mode, and according to the nature, of the fivefold pattern of the House of Sacrifice."

Now, immediately, the Magus raises the signed oath of the aspirant. "Behold this oath of aspiration which thou hast sworn and signed," he says. Then he ignites the oath in the name of the lamp, saying, "As now in a symbolic act this paper is consumed in the name of the Lamp, so in reality may all the levels of thy being find their consummation m the transmuting fire of Godhead."

The oath is entirely consumed in name, and its ashes are borne away by the Magus' attendant. The commitment of the aspirant, you see, is a matter of the heart, not of Order authority.

But the Magus proceeds. "So simple and yet so primal an act is the token of a changeless bond, of commitment to an unending ideal in the Light of the Spirit. Yet let not the symbol of name seem to suffice."

To the aspirant the Magus now offers the cup of wine, with the words 'Truly the [powers of thy Higher Self] f 1 ood ever into thy being; and be thy inner awareness open to this thou art illuminated and transformed indeed.

May the chalice of thy soul freely receive the wine of thy spirit, and experience divine intoxication thereby.

The Magus now increases the light and power of his aura and, having invoked the highest aspect of the Godhead, imparts to the candidate a charge of high astral energy. In this manner he not only seals the initiation but provides a spiritual catalyst which will, increasingly as the candidate advances in the Great Work, call forth deep level response from his or her psyche.

In bringing the rite to its due conclusion, the companions utter the sublime adoration of the hermetic mysteries:

Hail thou One, thou All!

Hail O Creator Spirit!

Thy Power and Resplendence outpoured sustain and illumine the House of my being!

The powers within me chant in harmony with thy Will, upraised and united in thy Wisdom and Love! O Goodness whose Truth dwells in Beauty—

O Shepherding Mind enrobed in Form Divine

In living light and luminous life, from us to thee the praise passes!

The new initiate subsequently begins a program of work designed to heighten awareness of the levels of his or her being which were named and evoked in the initiation, to help the initiate experience their interaction, and to bring under willed control the natural psychic faculties which are thereby liberated.

The initiate does not, at this stage, participate in the group workings of the Order, but is given personal tuition by a designated member. In addition to the program of psychic development indicated above, with study of the Holy Qabalah and certain particulars of Order teaching and practice, the initiate concentrates on building the magical personality and utilizing the powers of the Body of Light.

When the time for advancement to the next level arrives, he or she participates in the Working of the 32nd Path of the Tree of Life as a prelude to the second initiation.

The second level of initiation, The Rite of Integration, admits the candidate to the corporate life of Aurum Solis.

The Temple is resplendent with banners and the Lamps of the Seven Planets. West of the center of the Place of Light a triangle, formed of the cincture of the candidate, is displayed upon the floor.

At the opening of the rite, the Magus intones a triple invocation, drawn from the Greco-Egyptian magical papyri, the third part of which he declaims while standing within the triangle.

After further invocations, of the supernal and archangelic forces, with salutation of the Inner Plane powers of the Ogdoadic Tradition, the officers of the rite clothe themselves in the astral forms of the high gods and identify their consciousness with the deific forces represented thereby.

The Magus, from within the triangle, now calls upon the operative god-force of the working with the words, "Thee we invoke, thee, the Secret Flame that abideth in silence in the luminous vesture of the Agathodaimon . . .," and after invocation of the Spirits of the Elements and assent of the members to the intended initiation, the candidate is conducted into the Temple.

Following the words of reception and the conferral of the first blessing, the candidate—standing within the triangle and with right hand resting on the blade of the magick sword—assents to the obligation of secrecy, "freely and for love of the Great Work."

By action of the magick sword, with visualization and archaic exorcisms, the candidate is now "sundered" from "all vain invidious astral shadows ... all negative conditions" of the outer world.

This banishing is followed by a powerful blessing which is to be "a vestment of radiance" for the candidate; and certain signs, "watch-lights of protection," are astrally emplaced in his or her aura.

The Magus now says to the candidate:

Let the Centers of Activity of thine astral body be now, by our action, powerfully moved to increase of life and lumninosity, that their effulgence may resonate more dynamically at astral level the functions and faculties to which they correspond.. .

Using now an ancient formula of the Ogdoadic Tradition, the Magus breathes vital force upon four areas of the candidate's body, and immediately thereafter the officers of the rite unite to accomplish by action, visualization and utterance of words of power, the energization of the candidate's Centers of Activity, the chakras.

Following the historical address (as given in the Introduction to this series), and utterance of the third logos of the Divine Pymander, the Magus invites the companions to "renew the divinely-inspired Adoration of Thrice-greatest Hermes," primal Grand Master and Flame-bearing Lord of Topaz:

O thou the holy God, Father of the All, self-completed in wisdom!

0 thou the holy God who wiliest to be known and who by the devoted art known!

Holy art thou from whom all nature took form. Holy art thou to whom nature gave not form. Holy art thou who art mightier than all might. Holy art thou who dost transcend all transcendence.

O thou surpassing words!

O thou surpassing all expression!

O thou who art invoked by a cry which is silence!

Standing in the West of the Temple, the candidate is now directed to project his or her Body of Light into the triangle.

The Magus now addresses the projected astral of the candidate:

Creature of Astral Forms, Child of Light, whose nature is a mirror to reflect the images of heaven's bright luminaries! Thou shining and gentle dweller in the clear deeps of the World of Formation, thou voyager in illimitable and uncharted regions of delight, of terror and of wonder; thou whose nature knows the impression of the senses alike with the tempestuous sway of emotion! Thou who dost possess hidden powers that the body knows not: to see beyond sight, to hear beyond hearing, to move that before which the mighty forces of Earth would falter! Thou interpreter between the world of matter and the world of mind... .

It is to thee, O shining and sentient Presence, that we speak Hear thou the voice of our utterance!

We stir thee up, we move thee, and we charge thee that thou receive with heedful care, and nurture within thee lastingly and fruitfully, the impress of the Powers of the Circled Cross which we are about to confer upon thee. So, with ever greater fidelity and truth, shall the presence of those Powers be established within thee, secure and ready when thou shalt be called vpon to give aid in the Great Work.

So shall the Ruach, through thy co-operance, have image at hand to cradle inspiration, joy in the Work and desire of attainment to give wings to reason... .

Thus shalt thou further the spiritual weal of the psyche in which thou art participant, and thereby win thine own enduring happiness and fulfillment in the unity of the Higher Self.

The officers of initiation now project into the Body of Light of the candidate the images of those high gods whose essence and activity are the cosmic counterpart of the supernal functions of the candidate's psyche.

This stage of the initiation is sealed with words of power, with blessing, and by an alchemical infusion of light and energy into the candidate's Body of Light.

The rite now progresses to a deeper level of magical intensity and psychic action.

The candidate again enters the triangle. The cord which has formed the triangle is raised and girt about the candidate's waist.

And now he or she is overshadowed by the astral image of the Agathodaimon, the Winged Serpent of Light who is the central deific "hero" of Aurum Solis and age-old symbol of magical attainment. In this moment of astral and spiritual vibrancy, "the spine rises swaying, the Serpent of Fire quests upward ... Out of the Serpent flashes a living tree" and "roses of flame" blossom to life and power in the spinal column of the candidate. The chakras now, indeed, are truly "active" as spiritual force interacts with, vitalizes and brings to living reality, the work and intention of officers and candidate together.

The candidate is directed to further attainment:

Upwards, O Theourgos, on wings of flame, within thyself from power to power ascending, in the mystery of KNOUPHIS adore thou the divine presence within the seven planetary spheres. So, as we invoke the forces of those habitations of holiness, may the gates be opened within thee to the divine inspirations which they radiate and to the endowments which they confer.

And even as those powers themselves are united in perfect harmony in the kosmos, so may their energies be united in perfect harmony within thy psyche, that thou mayest have access to explore them magically and that their bounties may be open henceforth to thee in thy workings. Thus mayest thou achieve the fulfillment of thy magical destiny and the realization of thy True Will.

With utterance of the sacred tones of the cosmic harmony, the music of the spheres, with mystic sighs and words of power, with ritual gesture and symbolic allusion, the present stage of the initiation is "confirmed" and the rite enters its final phase. The Magus proclaims:

Thy feet, O Theourgos, have been set upon a secret path, and thy gaze directed with a new significance upon the mystic Agathodaimon, in whose light thou art to proceed upon thy further way Thou host ascended the three hidden and mysterious steps of the Foundation of the House of Sacrifice. Thou host been conducted through the House itself, the House of thine own life, to experience the principles of Breath, Body, Justice and Mercy in a special manner, to inaugurate thy magical life in the second hall of Aurum Solis, and to open to thee the mighty powers which shall avail thee therein.

Among these great sources of force and of sure strength, the luminous gates of the seven Planetary Powers have been magically opened, that in thy following of the Great Work thou mayest draw at need upon their illimitable bounty, the many-faceted splendor of high qualities and empowerments which are the deep archetypal founts of all life and action in this world.

Yet not this alone has been done. At thy first steps upon this new way, thy footfall has echoed in the heights, thy words of affirmation have been heard and the inner gaze of thine aspiration has flashed upwards to its objective. For that which we perform in this rite is witnessed, aided and ratified, by the high adepti of the worlds invisible. At every level of thy being, thy unity with the corporate life o f the Order is wrought: even now, O Theourgos, thou art uplifted in the power of the Glorious Star!

Let us, therefore, in the ambience of that Star, proceed now to the completion and confirmation of that which we have this day undertaken!

In rising sequence, the tones of the cosmic harmony are again sounded, Latin words of affirmation are intoned, the candidate is anointed with holy oil and the final blessing is conferred.

And now, with salutation of the Inner Plane forces of the Ogdoadic Tradition and in the presence of the veritable splendor of the Glorious Star, in established bond of frankness and fellowship, the candidate is proclaimed as true initiate of the second hall of Aurum Solis.

A corporate adoration is made, of the "Infinite Flame, secret and holy .. .," and the rite is duly brought to Its spiritual and material conclusion.

The new initiate of this level will now attend group workings of the Order, for he or she has been integrated into the corporate life of Aurum Soils. Pathworkings and Sphereworkings lie before the Theourgos, deeper studies and a more exacting physical and spiritual discipline, to prepare the initiate for the next step, which is adepthood.

The night before initiation to the third level, the candidate participates in the Working of the Twenty-fifth Path of the Tree of Life, then enters upon lone vigil in the Place of Light.

Of the third initiation, The Rite of Elevation, properly called Palingenesis, less shall here be said.

The first stage of the rite is conducted in the temenos, the outer Temple of the Order in which the preceding initiations, and all ceremonies of the first and second Halls, have taken place.

Following the sonorous invocations and the vital magical action of the opening, the candidate is conducted into the Temple. The greeting is given and the candidate expresses his or her desire to enter into the Greater Mysteries of the third Hall; whereupon the Adept-initiator proclaims:

That which thou shalt accomplish this night is a primal mystery of utter simplicity and stark holiness, of beauty and power. Thy Neshamah speaks even now through thy Nephesh: yet when thou host accomplished the Regeneration, it shall speak directly to thy Ruach. For this night thou shalt be raised to adepthood by the living power of the Lapis Philosophorum; and in the crucible of thy heart thou shalt fashion the alchemical gold.

There is, in essence, but one rite of the Regeneration; and never through the ages has it been revealed to the world. Wilt thou keep faith with us and with thyself, and for ever guard this precious thing?

The assent of the candidate is witnessed in the Light of the Glorious Star, and the Initiator continues:

Child of Light, now wilt thou enter with us the Temenos of the Adepti, wherein shall be undertaken the work of the Portal; and this shall be to thee both a fulfillment of the Lesser Mysteries and a preparation for the Greater. And when thou art so prepared, thou wilt enter with us the Telesterion of the Adepti, the inner sanctuary and secret shrine of holiness wherein thou wilt accomplish the Regeneration.

The candidate is now deprived of the physical faculty of sight by the emplacing of a blindfold, and the Initiator and the companions "enter" the inner level of the temenos, formulating by word and by image the astral "reality" which underlies the material Temple. Not only is the first stage of the present initiation to be achieved in this environment, but this is the "nexus between the worlds," the essential meeting-place of incarnate and discarnate minds of the Ogdoadic Tradition in that meditative practice which is referred to as "channeling from the Inner Planes."

The astral temple being thus established, the candidate is led in torch-light procession upon a course, a veritable pilgrimage, whose pattern is of ancient usage in the Western Mysteries and whose symbolism calls urgently to the primal deeps of the soul.

The adept-to-be is now invested with "robes of honor and tokens of divinity," such as have been accorded to initiates of the Western Mysteries at this stage of their advancement, throughout the past two thousand years.

Two ancient and evocative "visions" are now presented to him or her, each concluding with the words, "If thou wouldst understand the mystery, look thou within thyself." In the power and significance of this revelation of "the Joyful Light" and of the "Meridian of the Sun," sight is restored to the candidate, who looks now into the Mirror which is stationed in the east of the Temple to perceive—not the form of the earthly self, but—the image of "the self made perfect." The candidate is again blindfolded.

A further "vision" is now given, foreshadowing the great integration of faculties which the candidate is about to experience in Palingenesis, and holding every promise of past years and former incarnations.

But now, "through Death into Creative Darkness" is the watchword; and "into Light and the New Life." Says the Initiator:

May he [the highest god] send unto thee this night a holy angel, to dwell with thee as a living flame of beauty and to rest upon thy heart as a thrice-sacred seal of love.

Thou host completed the work of the Lesser Mysteries, and now must thou leave the Temenos. But let thy contemplation rest within the light of thy Higher Self as thou awaitest entrance to the Telesterion and the work of the Greater Mysteries.

The next stage of the work is conducted in the traditional "lower chamber" of the Ogdoadic Mysteries, the telesterion or dedicated place for fulfillment of purpose.

Physically, the inner temple is situated underneath the temenos. Therein, the House of Sacrifice is set up in three-dimensional form. Upon a platform of three steps, representing the subliminal faculties of the psyche, four pillars support a pyramidal roof. Talismans of inexorable strength, holy symbols, and the numen, the divine presence, assure the inviolability of this secret shrine.

In entering here, into the ambience of great peace and vibrant potential, the candidate enters into the domain of "the self."

The officers of the rite formulate the astral level of the place of working. The forces of Light and Life are invoked and the presence of the highest gods are awakened; the witnessing powers of the Ogdoadic Tradition are invited to participate in the working. The Initiator requests:

Receive her into your high company, O Hidden Adepti, for she has ascended the Three Steps and the sigils of power are upon her brow.

Accept her offering of herself, O High Ones, for her soul is pure and her heart is consecrated as the altar o f the Work.

So be with her as she passes through Death into the New Life.

So uphold her as her aspiration flashes to the height and the lower elements of her personality are released from the governance of her Ruach.

So empower her, as the sacred fíame o f the Neshamah enters into her heart, illumining her mind and soul and drawing upward the elements of chaos that they may be transmuted and ordered in the crucible of the solar flame.

Deeper and deeper yet is the candidate drawn into the past of the Western Tradition and of Psyche, to experience the essence of Agathodaimon as Spirit of Life and as former of the soul. An invocation and blessing of immemorial age is intoned. From an alchemical process of fermentation the candidate is drawn to "wholeness," then subjected to calcination, during which the progressive strengthening of the magical components of adepthood is accelerated and amplified. Then he or she is dissolved and has awareness of self as nothing but the vertical "fieiy serpent." Now another process supervenes, for gradually a pleasant dark coolness pervades and replaces every other sensation.

Within the psychic veil thus drawn, the candidate makes offering of the self as vehicle of the cosmic powers, with childlike trust but in fullness of maturity and experience.

Again the Initiator speaks:

Thou shalt enter into darkness. Thou shalt tread upon the threshold of Death. Thou shalt be whirled throughout the elements and returned to thy place. In the middle o f the night thou shalt behold the sun gleaming in radiant splendor

All that has gone before is but preparation for the palingenesis, the Regeneration, the making of the Adept.

The candidate, now supine, is covered by the pall, a shroud of deepest black emblazoned with the symbol of the Tau Cross in blood-red.

The initiator performs the ancient Egyptian ceremony of "the opening of the mouth" for, and upon, the candidate, using the Ur-Hekau instrument, the ram-headed scepter whose form is patterned according to the spinal column. And now, a sequence of words, drawn from the classical mysteries, is uttered to "lock" the intention of candidate and initiators.

The candidate is drawn to her feet and forth, and the symbols of restriction, of darkness, which have characterized the preceding action, are removed from her.

The candidate participates now, by gesture and intent, in the central mystery of the rite. She takes, as her many and many forebears in the Ogdoadic Tradition have taken, the "Adept's Step." And as she maintains the age-old posture with intent and knowledge, the Adept-initiator emplaces the Topaz Lamen, the sign and seal of attainment, upon her breast.

No mere placing of an earthly jewel is signified here. A symbolic "lamen is subsequently bestowed, but the reality of the Topaz is profoundly other:

"Let us raise our hearts that we may impart the Living Flame," declaims the Initiator, "that temporal and eternal may nash and fuse into unity, for the perfect accomplishment of the Regeneration."

The Adept-initiator elevates his consciousness by the process known as "Rising on the Planes," and in certainty and power lays his hands upon the candidate's breast. "Deep calls unto deep" and like responds to like: an intensely powerful process of equilibriation now ensues. Within the psyche of the candidate, lower and higher are integrated, resolved and sublimated. The candidate is enwrapped in a transformative effulgence. Spiritual exultation passes into divine ekstasis. The true mystic Topaz flashes to life and power within the heart, hereafter glowing as a sacred n ame of perpetual alchemy. The adept is born!

With solemn anointings, with proclamation of attainment, with congratulation and due magical process, the rite is brought to its conclusion.

From this time the initiate will participate in inner ceremonies of Aurum Solis and will, by right and power, undertake works of the highest magick.

But still further adventures lie before our adept, our alchemist, as he or she progresses upon the Path of Light.

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