“Initiation” is a widely used term in the magical community. Nearly every practice and every book seems to be about Initiation in one form or another; Initiation into magical Lodges, Initiation into higher states of consciousness, Initiation by beings from the celestial spheres, Initiation by other magicians or Initiation just by doing the work – walking the PATH. Thus Initiation comprises the act of experiencing something, that hasn´t been experienced before, a higher state of consciousness or an event of ascension that brings (in a spiritual sense) power and a deeper understanding of the universe and its workings. Maybe even of the godhead (if this is important to the practitioner).
So, lately I heard the claim of a widely renowned magician, that the only “true” Initiation is the one given by other magicians. Dear brother in the Art, I respectfully disagree!
I did have the honor of receiving this form of Initiation during my magical “career” too, but this doesn´t exclude or were supreme to other forms of initiation, especially self-initiation.
The simple question of “Who gave the first Initiation?” may open the mind for the conclusion, that there are as many ways of initiation as there are magicians. The expanding of consciousness, the very act of empowerment can be done by many ways. The first step for example could be the “becoming aware” of the own potentialities, the first Awakening of everything the human being is capable of – and in my experience this can be achieved just by doing the training. Thus, even mundane sports – especially Martial Arts – can be a form of initiation, as they expand the capabilities of the athlete. If this increase of capabilities expands to the Soul and the Spirit it becomes mystical. And when taken another step further, when the magician becomes capable of manifesting his own experience in his surroundings, they enhance the Initiation from the mystical to magical. Thus, true Initiation is about the practitioner and no one else.
The way of Initiation I chose for my PATH of exploring my innate power was and still is the book by the Czech magician Franz Bardon “Initiation into Hermetics” (dt. “Der Weg zum wahren Adepten”).
My experience shows, that none of the several forms of external Initiation exclude nor are supreme to the Initiation that happens to the practitioner while seriously practicing Bardons “Initiation into Hermetics” – nor the other way round. By doing the work of exploring the inner planes and capacities of the student, the student progress on the every form of spiritual ascension, I described above as connected with the idea of initiation. But: the only one who is the initiator as well as the initiate is the magician himself. Of course, the path of the lone practitioner laid out by Bardon also includes Initiation by outside entities – but only for the magician, who is capable of doing the work *himself*. It does not substitute walking the PATH; it simply makes it easier and sometimes faster. While the spirits and the godhead are the ones who give the highest forms of Initiation to the prepared applicant, the only „priest“ the magician needs is themselves. As long as the preparation is done thoroughly, the vessel is duly prepared for the receiving of the Abisheka – who gives it finally, even can be secondary. Most people just don´t walk the PATH as designed, but quit sooner or later as they get discouraged for the amount of work; and thus and believe they need initiation first…
In magical traditions the act of Initiation generally aims at one of two things:
First, it opens the initiate up to some special current, mostly by ritual work, giving them access to certain powers, as in most African and Tibetan initiations, even the ordination of priests is such a form if initiation. This is meant as an initiation of magical power.
Second, the act of Initiation gives the initiate a glimpse his own divinity to make him aware he is more than flesh, like in the ancient mysteries of Eleusis or described by Apuleius. Thus the initiate starts to work harder on his magical development to expand the glimpse of light unto a bonfire of enlightenment. This is meant as an initiation of mystical experience.
Both forms of Initiation are received by the student during their progress through IIH. And as written above: Especially the first kind of initiation comes unto the student during practice of “The Practice of Magical Evocation” by the spirits themselves; the second during practice of “Initiation into Hermetics” by the godhead. Together they give the powers, the knowledge to the magician to walk the PATH further along, even on the last few hardest steps of the widest distance…
Every notion, that a teacher, an initiator, a group or what-have-you is *needed*, tends to be – in my opinion – pure superstition, mostly propagated by those who GIVE transmission. This shall not in any way play down what initiation by another magician can give to you, as its effects are impressive (and I don´t want to miss any of them), but there is no *exclusiveness* in that.
In the case of the system designed by Franz Bardon it means: as soon as the duly prepared student starts working with Bardons second book “The Practice of Magical Evocation”, they´ll need no external priest for his initiation, no man and no formula of magical degree, just the Awareness of their own power, rising to its full extend. Further Initiation the spirits will give unto them. Bardons course is intended to make Initiation possible through diligent work. And what else should „true initiation“ do to the applicant?
My advice to all practitioners, students, walkers on the PATH: Dear fellows, just don´t let yourself down by the hardship of being diligent. Don´t let yourself being discouraged by having to walk on this path alone. Just walk it and the price will be received!