esoterism.ro
esoterism, metaphysics and astrology

 
Site content
Angels
Astrology
Dictionnary
Energetic Healing
Legends
Lost Civilizations
Magic
Metaphysics
Mysteries
Natural Therapies
Recommendations
Religion
Sabian Oracle
Science
Secret Societies
Spiritual Beings
Spiritual Paths
Traditions
UFO and Aliens

In limba românã
Metafizica
Astrologie
Articole diverse
Comunicari
Consultatii
Modalitati plata
Servicii online
Oracol Sabian
Linkuri
Despre mine




This page/site is CERTIFIED by ICRA !
 

Initiation

Initiation



Introduction:


Held to be one of the most ancient of rites, an initiation marks the psychological crossing of a threshold into new territories, knowledge and abilities. The major themes of the initiation are suffering, death and rebirth. The initiate undergoes an ordeal that is symbolic of physically dying, and is symbolically reborn as a new person possessing new knowledge.


In neo-Pagan Witchcraft, the initiation marks the entrance of the initiate into a closed and traditionally secret society; opens the door to the learning of ritual secrets, magic and the development and use of psychic powers; marks a spiritual transformation, in which the initiate begins a journey into Self and toward the Divine Force; and marks the beginning of a new religious faith. While many traditional initiations exists, many neo-Pagans and Witches believe that the spiritual threshold may be crossed in many alternate ways; and, all are valid. The ritual may be formal or informal; may be old or new; may occur as a spontaneous spiritual awakening, or may even happen at a festival.


Historical Beliefs:


Traditionally the conception of a Witches' initiation is that it was a diabolical and sinister affair. Such conceptions originated mostly from the stories coming out of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. These were the periods of the witch-hunt. Many of the tales fashioned themselves from confessions of witches after being tortured by the Inquisitors. Although, the confessions or stories vary, they do share some common elements. Some witches claimed to have been initiated at birth or puberty, saying their mothers took them to sabbats where they presented them to the Devil and pledged them into his service. Some stories were that adults candidates were looked for by officers of covens. After they agreed to joining a coven of their own free will they were presented to the covens and initiated. It should be observed that such rites were probably parodies of Christian rites, since Christianity was the common belief of that time.


The initiation, at which the Devil presided, usually was held in a remote place at night. The initiates, it was said , occasionally brought copies of the Gospels that were given to the Devil. They renounced the Christian faith and baptism by reciting, "I renounce and deny God, the blessed Virgin, the Saints, baptism, father, mother, relations, heaven, earth and all that is the world," according to Pierre de Lancre, a witch hunter of the 17th century.


Initiates often said they pledged a vow of fidelity. Scottish witches told of putting one hand on their crown and the other upon the sole of one foot and dedicating all between their two hands to the service of the Devil. Scandinavian witches said they put metal clock shavings into small bags tossing them into water while saying, "As these shavings of the clock do never return to the clock from which they are taken, so may my soul never return to heaven."


It was said that the Devil baptized the initiates, giving them new, secret names only to be used in the covens. Then the Devil would mark them by either scratching them with his claw or biting them. The new witches were then required to kiss the Devil's anus, a parody of kissing the Pope's foot. Sometimes they trampled and spit on the cross. The Devil would cut them or prick their finger, and them make them sign a pact with him with their own blood. In a final act, he stripped them of their clothing and assigned to them one or more familiars. The coven officer or the Devil would record their name in the "black book," a membership and attendance record for all coven meetings. Occasionally a black fowl or animal was sacrificed and offered to the Devil. It was said there were sinister festivities after the ritual which included dancing, copulating with the Devil and his demons, and feasting on vile things such as the flesh of roasted, unbaptized babies.


It is speculated that many of these tales of horrible incidents were the result of torture or disillusions occurring from frenzy or hallucinatory drug experiences derived from certain ointments which may have been used. The British anthropologist Margaret A. Murrary theorized that the witch covens were remnants of organized pagan religions. The covens' leaders were not the Devil, but men chosen to represent the Horned God, which were identified by witch-hunters as the Devil. Murray also says, such pagan groups did recruit followers and conduct initiations, which may have included blood oaths of fealty to the god, the marking with tattoos, the dedication of children to the god and dancing. Drugs may have been taken as they are in some religious ceremonies around the world today. In some initiation ceremonies sexual practices may have been involved to emphasize the importance of fertility in paganism. The bizarre descriptions of the sabbats may have distorted the pagan rites. However most historians refute Murrary's theories.


A more appropriate theory might be that such rites were probably parodies of Christian rites, since Christianity was the common belief of that time. It should be recognized that both the assumed witches and their hunters came from the same faith giving common ground for the origination of these bizarre tales. Most acquainted with the history of Christianity of that time would readily recognize some of the parodies. The description of the witches pledging fidelity to the Devil by denouncing their God, religion, family and world could be seen as a parody to the Catholic priests' and nuns' vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.


The baptism of the Devil could be seen as parody to the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. It was mentioned that kissing the Devil's anus was a parody to kissing the Pope's foot. The Devil's stripping them of their clothing might have been a parody to the habits which priests and nuns wear after they discard their ordinary clothing. The keeping of the "black book," a membership and attendance record for all coven meetings by the officer of the coven or the Devil was a parody to the church's registry. Stories of copulating with the Devil and his demons was almost certainty a parody to Christian virtue and the vow of chastity. The feasting upon unbaptized babies could be a parody to the sacrament of holy communion.


It might seem incredible that such parodies existed, if they ever did. However, the descriptions of their existence are found in many references by different authors. Therefore, only three major conclusions can be drawn, either these hideous incidents did occur, or they were imagined and confessed to, or the authors are all liars. Any objective person will almost immediately disregard the third conclusion, especially after reading a Christian writer description of similar events (see Source: 48). The first two conclusions are not eliminated so easily. They raise the questions of whether the incidents did occur or were imagined and confessed to. Throughout history these questions seem to persist unanswered. There is evidence to give credence to both, if one accepts the existence of a Devil that can physically manifest himself. If, however, one does not accept such a devilish existence then the second conclusion seems the most reasonable.


And, there are reasonable arguments for this. First, as previously stated it should be observed that such rites were probably parodies of Christian rites, which were commonly practiced at that time. Secondly, therefore, Christianity was shared both by the assumed witches and their prosecutors; thus making Christianity the mind set from which all these hideous incidents were formed. It is a conceded fact that many witches were tortured, and after so long being tortured they confessed to anything. Since, as with many, Christianity was all they knew they naturally confessed to sins against God and the religion. On the other hand, their persecutors were equally stooped in the religion, if not more so; also, they were over zealous in defending their church. To most of them the assumed witches had to be eliminated to prevent them from inflicting their heresies, whatever they may be, upon others. So, the more hideous the prosecutors could make the acts of the assumed witches appear, the more it suited their purpose. Therefore, the Medieval witches initiation and sabbat took on hideous dimensions.


Modern Initiations:


The modern initiations rituals conducted within the neo-Pagan Witchcraft traditions bear no resemblance to the descriptions of initiations put forth by many Medieval witch-hunters and demonologists. The rite vary according to traditions but keep closely to the universal theme of suffering-death-rebirth. Despite the variations, several things definitely are not included in any initiation into the Craft:


1. There is no renunciation of the Christian faith or any faith.
2. There is no homage to the Devil, including kisses, oaths or pacts. Satan is not recognized by neo-Pagan Witches or neo-Pagans.
3. There is no blood sacrifice.



A Witch, traditionally, is not considered a true Witch unless initiated into coven, after serving an apprenticeship of one year and a day. Women are required to be initiated by the high priest, and men by the high priestess. Among some hereditary Witches, mothers can initiate daughters and fathers, sons.


Initiations in the Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions, the two largest traditions in modern Witchcraft, are formal affairs being conducted within the magic circle. Both tradition have three degrees of advancement, and the entry into each level is marked by an initiation. Each of the two traditions has its differences, but the major aspects are similar. With the advancement through the degrees, as in Masonry and Western occultism, the initiate is introduced to more secret teachings.


During the first-degree initiation the candidate is blindfolded, bound with cords and challenged outside of the magic circle as to test the person's courage to continue. The initiate responds the she or he is ready with "perfect love and perfect trust" to suffer to be purified and learn. Once inside the circle, the candidate is ritually scourged (whipped lightly with cords); measured with a cord, which is tied in knots to mark the measures; and administered an oath. In the presence of the Goddess(es), God(s), Guardians, Mighty Dead, and Sisters and Brothers of the Craft, the initiate vows to guard and protect the Craft, the Secrets of the Craft, and the brothers and sisters of the Craft, and, in some tradition, to render aid to said brothers and sisters.


The candidate is ritually anointed and kissed; proclaimed a Witch; and presented with a set of magical tools. The initiate adopts a Craft name. In the Alexandrian tradition the measure is returned to the Witch. In the Gardnerian tradition the measure is kept by the initiator. Gerald B.Gardner thought that the measure served as an insurance policy that the oath would be kept. According to Gardner this custom related back to the "old days" when if the oath was broken by a Witch, his or her cord was buried with curses, so that as it rotted the traitor would too.


In the second-degree initiation, the Witch again is blindfolded and bound, and renews the oath that is necessary to suffer, to learn and be purified. This is followed by a ritual scourging. The Witch takes a new Craft name and is willed the magical power of the initiator.


The third-degree initiation is consummation of the Mysteries, involves the Great Rite, a sexual ritual which may be performed in actuality or symbolically, with magical tools. All initiations conclude with a celebration of food and drink, that mostly includes cakes and wine.


There are other initiations which take on various forms and rituals according to beliefs. The solitary Witches not belonging to a tradition or coven have various forms of self-designed initiations that include ritual baths (a form of baptism),anointing and pledging to serve the Goddess and to use the powers of Witchcraft in the service of others. Other Witches, and neo-Pagans alike, have vision quests as initiations.


Other initiations are held in the Native American Indian tribal traditions and the shamanic traditions.






Google
 

  Acasa | Metafizica | Astrologie | Consultatii | Servicii | Plata | Diverse | Linkuri | Despre mine  
  Metaphysics | Astrology | Magic | Secret Societies  
www.top1.ro
 
True Initiation Comes from Within




esoterism.ro
esoterism, metaphysics and astrology

 
Site content
Angels
Astrology
Dictionnary
Energetic Healing
Legends
Lost Civilizations
Magic
Metaphysics
Mysteries
Natural Therapies
Recommendations
Religion
Sabian Oracle
Science
Secret Societies
Spiritual Beings
Spiritual Paths
Traditions
UFO and Aliens

In limba românã
Metafizica
Astrologie
Articole diverse
Comunicari
Consultatii
Modalitati plata
Servicii online
Oracol Sabian
Linkuri
Despre mine




This page/site is CERTIFIED by ICRA !
 

True Initiation Comes from Within

True Initiation Comes from Within


Walk into any pagan or progressive bookstore and count the number of books available on the subject of magick, paganism and witchcraft: more than a few. Less than 20 years ago, even 15, for the most part this would've been a rare occurrence, and yet magickal and pagan "textbooks" are now a hot commodity with the purported wisdom of the ages available to anyone who can crack a wallet. Myself, I love it; I remember the thirsty, lonely years. I admit I'm a little overwhelmed at times by the sheer multiplicity of it all, but I'm pleased that it's there: so neat and tidy, so bright and shiny it's a wonder we can call anything esoteric anymore.

Something bothers me, though: Where did this smorgasbord of expertise in the paranormal sciences come from, aside from acknowledged elders and scholars? And, is my uneasy sense valid that many seekers (of the Crafts) are going to consume instruction indiscriminate of the source, and worse, without serious self-insight? Why does it bother me? Why do I think that there is a problem?

Well, since I know that I don't feel particularly territorial about the subject of magick, perhaps I'm concerned with the result via the methods. I'm concerned that a shallow survey of magick, instead of the complexities of formal study, could result in a belief that magick based in the empirical is necessarily more effective than magick based in the intuitive. I believe this has derived from a twofold influence, on the reliance on scientific methodology as the "right" way to approach a discussion and study of magick, and on the comfort of formula-based magick, which has come to rely on a complex of correspondences, spell-scripts and tools. Ideally, these are meant to focus the will of the magician into activity and entice the attention of the powers that be. At the worst, they certainly have effectiveness as imitative magick. They still fit a standard witch's definition of magick: "the ability to bring about change in the world through an act of will." Unfortunately, is there a danger of losing our ability to employ an act of will by relying on pedestrian brands of magick without any personal investigation of the self?

As witches, we most certainly will undergo some form of initiation or initiations in the course of our lives. I propose to briefly discuss initiation as it has been used in the classic sense, and then discuss a theory of the mystic, or transcendent initiate, aiming to return the power of the intuition to the realm of the magician.

Magick by its very nature is boundless and difficult to describe or define much the same as our notions of spirit, soul, love, the sacred or the mind; each culture and person acquires their own definition, while some do not desire to contemplate the concept at all. As a witch formally trained in the studies of anthropology, comparative philosophy, art and medicine, I have some skills that help me describe such weighty topics, and yet when I make the attempt to codify the concept, I feel something is lost. Something vital, something inexplicable. This is the same dilemma and result experienced by anyone, no matter what their professorialship, dedication, theory, census, fecundity of data or the quantity of profundity applied to the subject. Some things defy our logic and control. For these things, only the arts come close to conveying the subtlety and depth required of their subjects. Art, like magick, derives from the use of skill (by learning and experience) and becomes true through creative intuition.

Ed Fitch, of the Feraferia tradition, describes magick as "that which is beyond our casual knowledge," or esoteric. His definition embraces both concepts of esoteric knowledge, received through study, training and the physical initiation into a magickal circle or society, and intuitive or mystic knowledge.

Initiation is a metaphor for rebirth after a simulation of death. It is a lesson of sacrifice: the willing participation in the holy mystery of existence, of life consuming and begetting life. At times, according to Frazier, its purpose within animistic cultures was the temporary transfer of the initiate's soul or essence outside his or her body into an object or totem animal as a safeguard during the powerful changes occurring in coming to sexual maturity. This had the effect of introducing the totem animal to the initiate and ushering in the person as a full, adult member of society. Manly P. Hall, in his work The Secret Teachings of All Ages, relates the achievement of initiation into the Mysteries (here he refers to those of classical Greece): that man becomes aware of and reunited with the anthropos, or overself, without physical death, "the inevitable Initiator." The physical body was considered to be only one-third of one's immortal self, a periodic descent of spirit into matter. Through a process known as "operative theology," the law of birth and death was transcended momentarily to awaken and reunite all parts of the self and connect with the whole of existence.

Forms of initiation, or rites of passage, occur at the many critical phases of a person's life and development, such as marriage, induction into age sets and societies, professional inductions such as taking the Hippocratic Oath, onset of a woman's menses or conference of status or degree. Themes common to formal initiations include:

Aspects of secrecy (initiation performed only by other initiates)
Conveyance of knowledge, revelation of mysteries
Physical change (scarring, tattooing, piercing, the onset of menses, circumcision, taking sacramental drugs, loss of a tooth or clothing and so on)
Passing of certain tests
Advancement into age sets, societies, degrees, orders and so on
Purification (leaving off the "old" person)
Concept of death of the old self and the birth of a new, with a new name
Ritual binding, kidnapping, killing, laying in a tomb
Existing in a liminal phase

The "liminal" is an anthropological term devised by Van Gennep and Turner in Rites of Passage, which describes "that which is neither this nor that, and yet is both." Those in liminal phase are statusless, sexless and outside secular space and time in a sense, they occupy the limitless existence before birth. "The liminal subject experiences 'communitas,' a comradeship among equals." T.M. Luhrmann writes in Persuasions of the Witches Craft: "The techniques of the liminal [phase] can be used to make that-which-is-not persuasively more realistic," resulting in a profound experience when the initiate has an extensive period in which to move into a state of "not-being."

A Persian mystical writer and thinker, Azizi-Al Muhhamed Nasifi, relates a form of initiation as mystical transcendence, a form I propose can deepen and further magickal work. In his work Tanzil ur arwah, dated 1360 C.E., he describes the necessary "vita purgativa" (inner death) to move through the arenas of spiritual progress to "ghayat" (freedom):

"The essence of purification is separation while the essence of prayer is connection. A form of initiation relates as a mystical transcendence, an aspect I propose that can contribute to deeper progress in magickal arts. Where connection in a moral stage creates out of one's self, purification in the act of escaping the fetters of the old self."

At what point this transformation was to be recognized is unclear, but perhaps it was a state of the heart instead of a condition of the intellect. Although the light of the intellect is sharp-sighted and farsighted, he says, "the fire of love is even more sharp-sighted and farsighted." Therein Nasifi has combined intellect and love as the question requires for spiritual transcendence. He felt the path of the mystic could reflect clearer insight by freeing the heart and mind of preconscious beliefs (dogma) and the mundane practices of the theologian. He writes, "Wherein the theologian, he who travels the path of religious dogma, learns each day something he did not know before, the mystic, he who travels the path of the initiate, forgets each day something that he knew." Yet both strive for knowledge, for ignorance plays no part in this path of forgetfulness.

Magick in the witch's Craft relies on the theory of immanence and the knowledge that it can be directly contacted and influenced or directed through the will of the witch, an act that requires a change of consciousness. Imman describes where there is no split between spirit and matter, magick or immanence in an ever-present quality, like a river one lives beside, draws life from and can enter at will.

If magick is a reflection of that which is possible beyond our casual knowledge, then the mystic initiate would seem to be in a position of greater strength through transcendence (intuition) as a magician than one who relies on esoteric learning alone.

When Nasifi exhorts us to polish our heart as if it were a shining mirror in order to reflect the world as it is, I can imagine that in my chest is a great crystalline globe, and rather than filling it with bits of paper inked with the interpretations of others, I leave room and shine it to allow the immanence to flow within me. To fill me so that I may dip into the pool of the sacred. The magick.




Google
 

  Acasa | Metafizica | Astrologie | Consultatii | Servicii | Plata | Diverse | Linkuri | Despre mine  
  Metaphysics | Astrology | Magic | Secret Societies  
www.top1.ro