Sunday, July 5, 2009

Group Initiation

Initiation by the group - Theatre of magick 5
An initiation serves two purposes. Firstly, it admits the candidate into the group and gives him equal rights with all other members. Secondly, it prepares him mentally for his work within the group and for the work he will do alone.
The method proposed here is simple and mechanistic relying on imposed gnosis and the candidate’s responses to various stimuli presented to him. The candidate need know nothing whatsoever about magick or about the group.
The form of the ritual, which lasts for about four to six hours, is tempered to suit the candidate’s ideas of what an initiation should be. To this end he attends many evaluative sessions to enable the adepts who will perform the right to gain as clear a picture as possible of the candidates needs.
The outcome of these informal meetings is a new ritual tailored to the needs of the candidate, It follows then that each initiation performed by the group is different, but there is a stable datum, a factor constant to all initiations of this type and that is gnosis.
Gnosis is not only a temporary change in mode. Its result is a permanent change in attitude, personality and magical ability. The more powerful the gnosis the more obvious and cataclysmic the effect.
The most powerful gnosis are those directly connected with the survival instinct. Of these, the fear of death and the liberation from that fear are the easiest to impose. This is why our order is called ‘The Illuminates of Thanateros’.
All initiatory systems stem from the Ancient Egyptians. In their system the chief protagonists were Isis and Osiris, the Empress and the Hierophant, Venus and the Sun.
In the mysteries Isis (Venus) pieced together the dismembered Osiris (Sun) because of her love for him. The name ‘Thanateros’ is a contraction of thanatos (death) and eros (love), Thanatos being the Sun which dies each day and eros being venus [eros = venus (49 = 7 x7) on the large scale]. This is not an old-aeon formula since it is a reflection of attitude rather than method. Furthermore, in his new life, the life that begins with his initiation, the illuminate is no longer the Sun-Osiris but the Sun/Son-Horus, the personification of the vital energy with which he has conquered his fears, anxieties and repressions and he now emerges as dynamic in his own sphere as Ra-Horus is in his.
It would be impertinent to describe an exact form of the rite for the reasons given above but it is possible to give a working basis insofar as discretion allows. It must be emphasized though, that the rite should not be performed lightly. Candidates should be closely observed, not only during the rite itself but also for a period of months beforehand so that the ‘Chief Adept’ has a control-group of the candidates reactions with which to compare his reactions during the rite. This cannot be over-stressed. If the Chief Adept shirks his responsibilities madness, obsession or worse could be the outcome. At best the initiation would have no result and the system would be so demeaned as to be of no further use to the group.
First of all then, let us put ourselves in the position of the Candidate and attempt to understand what is going through his mind.
For a minimum of three months he has known that he is to go through some sort of ordeal. If his knowledge of magical procedures is limited this is an ordeal in itself becoming more intense as the day approaches.
He may have been asked to bring certain items with him - a simple robe, certain magical weapons. In the case of the weapons he may have been informed that he will be called upon to use these physically, though in what way he can only guess.
He may have been told what not to expect, for example physical torture or hurt. Whether or not he believes this depends on how much he trusts the Adept who is preparing him and, even if a deep trust exists, there will inevitably be a seed of suspicion at the back of his mind.
He knows that the Adept is certain of the effect of the rite but from his own point of view, since he has no knowledge of what the rite entails, again he can only guess at the changes that will take place within him.
In a confused and apprehensive state of mind, having prepared himself by fasting and meditation, he duly arrives at some meeting place from where he is conducted to the temple or site, a place to which he has not been before.
From the moment he sets out his initiation begins. The Adept who leads him both temporally and spatially. In this the Adept must use his ingenuity and use the environment to advantage. By the time they arrive at the site the Candidate is fatigued, unaware of his location and more apprehensive than ever.
From this point the rite is designed to suit the candidate. He might be asked to bathe ritually before robing. He might be asked to remain naked after bathing. He might even be asked to sully himself. Whatever the case, he is now physically prepared and his ordeal begins.
He is informed as pragmatically as possible that in order to be deemed to have successfully come through the ordeal he must remain in the appointed place and that to leave it for whatever reason, even though he be assailed by demons, is to fail. Leaving his place would not automatically preclude him from another attempt at some later date but he would inevitably lose credibility with the group who might choose not to go through all the painstaking organisation again if another failure were a likely outcome.
When the Chief Adept is sure that the Candidate has understood this he reads him the oath of secrecy, this to ensure that the detail of the rite should never be disclosed; the Candidates consent to participating in the rite is deemed to have been given once the oath has been signed (preferably in his own blood using his magical name or motto).
Until this time the Chief Adept has presented himself as the person known to the Candidate. Now he assumes the role of the Master of the Temple.
The preliminary banishings, openings and sacraments are performed and the Candidate’s weapons are consecrated. The robe is not consecrated since it is a symbol of the Candidate’s past, of his mortality, of his fear and of his burned. At the culmination of the rite it may be stripped away and ceremonially. The preliminaries reflect, as far as possible, the expectations of the Candidate in order to facilitate maximum response. On completion of these the Adepts withdraw leaving the Candidate to his meditations. Here, providing the rite thus far has been correctly performed it might be satisfactorily drawn to a conclusion, but this is not the case.
Having been left alone, possibly more alone than he as ever been before, with his thoughts of his own mortality and vulnerability, the adepts proceed to invoke the powers of the appropriate gnoses, taking care that the energies evoked are not too powerful for the Candidates level of tolerance. At the same time they create a gnostic environment of which the Candidate can take full advantage.
The Chief Adept, ever watchful, interprets the reactions of the Candidate because at this point, if he has allowed himself to open up to them, the stimuli provided may cause repressions to surface and become apparent. In this case the Chief Adept seizes the opportunity and instructs the adepts as to what technique(s) should be employed and to what intensity. The effects of the invokations on the Candidate should be carefully noted by the scribe, especially descriptions of entities evoked to visible appearance.
Should the Candidate wish to speak with the Chief Adept at any time he must be given recourse to do so. There are many reasons why he might choose to do this even to the confession of his supposed sins. These communications may be written down or not, at the discretion of the Chief Adept.
Throughout the rite the Chief Adept most be solicitous to the Candidate for whose benefit the rite is being performed. He must at all times ensure in that the equipoise of the Candidate is not too much disturbed and yet that it is sufficiently upset to allow initiation to take place.
The rite is drawn to a close when obvious initiation has taken place. The closing ceremony, as with the opening, is tempered to the present needs of the Candidate but must contain devices suitable for the prevention of obsession. In other words, the banishings must be emphatic. (See ‘Banishing’ infra).
The Candidate, or Illuminate as he should now be called, is led back as quickly as possible to a familiar, comfortable place where he is fed and allowed to sleep for a few hours.
While he sleeps each adept who was present at the rite records his own impressions of what took place and the Chief Adept records the rubric of the rite as it was performed. On waking, the Illuminate records his own impressions in the same book omitting no detail, no matter how apparently unimportant. He also records his dreams.
It remains then only for the Chief Adept to de-brief the Illuminate. This is very important and he should ensure that sufficient time, a whole day if possible, is available for this. His first priority is to ensure that the Illuminate is indeed now in a state of equilibrium. He must also allow the Illuminate to talk freely and at length about his experience. He will undoubtedly be enthusiastic about sharing his excitement and it is best that he be given the opportunity to do this with a member of the group. Although he has signed the Oath of Secrecy it would be unwise to let him go his way unrelieved.
There is a further way in which he should be prepared both before and after the rite. A good initiation brings about an emotional state which can only be described as a ‘release’. This release is characterized by a burst of enthusiasm and euphoric dynamism. In some cases it could be so marked in it’s [effect? ed.] as to mislead the new Illuminate into thinking that this is the change which the initiation was designed to bring about.
He should be warned before his initiation that this is likely to occur and that it will be superceded by an inevitable period of gloom and despondency, even depression. If not so warned he may have serious misgivings about an initiation which he previously thought to have been successful.
No further training should be given him during this period. He should, however, be closely observed and, if necessary, his state of mind should be rationalized. The despondency will pass as he adjusts to the state which his initiation was designed to bring about.
Because each candidate is different the intended change will also be different. Having said that, there is one change which each and every candidate should be able to observe in himself even though it might not be obvious to others - a change in approach, not only his approach to matters magical but in his approach to everything. When this is manifestly observable it is characterized by self-assurance and by a flexibility of mind which allows him to observe problems of all natures by taking into consideration divergent or even opposite points of view, following each perspective to its limit. This may take him no nearer to solving the problem but it will achieve a synoptic effect and a stability of purpose even though he will not yet be aware what that purpose is.
Having been steered through a difficult and sometimes discouraging period and having emerged at the other side of it, the Illuminate is well - prepared for similar periods of trauma which will occur after each initiation through which he puts himself in the future.


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