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Major and Minor Initiations.

In dealing with this question of the diversities of initiations it may be of value to the student to remember that the great moment in which a man passed out of the animal kingdom into the human, which is called in many occult textbooks the "moment of individualisation," was in itself one of the greatest of all initiations.  Individualisation is the conscious apprehension by the self of its relation to all that constitutes the not-self, and in this great initiatory process, as in all the later ones, the awakening of consciousness is preceded by a period of gradual development; the awakening is instantaneous at the moment of self-realisation for the first time, and is always succeeded by another period of gradual evolution.  This period of gradual evolution, in its turn leads up to a later crisis which is called Initiation.  In the one case, we have initiation into self-conscious existence, in the other, initiation into spiritual existence.

These realisations, or apprehended expansions of consciousness, are under natural law, and come in due course of time to every soul without exception.  In a lesser degree they are undergone daily by every human being, as his mental grip of life and experience gradually grows, but they only become initiations into the wisdom (as differentiated from expansions of knowledge) when the knowledge gained is:—


a. Consciously sought for.

b. Self-sacrificingly applied to life. 

c. Willingly used in service for others. 

d. Intelligently utilised on the side of evolution.

Only souls of a certain amount of experience and development do all these four things consistently and steadily, and thus transmute knowledge into wisdom, and experience into quality.  The ordinary average man transmutes ignorance into knowledge, and experience into faculty.  It would be helpful if all of us pondered upon the difference between inherent quality and innate faculty; one is the very nature of buddhi, or wisdom, and the other of manas, or mind.  The union of these two, through a man's conscious effort, results in a major initiation.

These results are brought about in two ways:—First, by a man's own unaided effort, which leads him in due course of time to find his own centre of consciousness, to be guided and led by the inner ruler or Ego entirely, and to unravel, through strenuous effort and painful endeavour, the mystery of the universe, which is concealed in material substance energised by Fohat.  Secondly, by a man's efforts, supplemented by the intelligent loving co-operation of the Knowers of the race, the Masters of the Wisdom.  In this case the process is quicker, for a man comes under instruction—should he so desire—and subsequently, when he has on his part provided the right conditions, there is placed at his disposal the knowledge and the help of Those Who have achieved.  In order to avail himself of this help he has to work with the material of his own body, building right material into an ordered form, and has therefore to learn discrimination in the choice of matter, and to understand the laws of vibration and of construction.  This entails the mastering, in some measure, of the laws that govern the [178] Brahma and Vishnu aspects:  it means a faculty of vibrating with atomic accuracy, and the development of the quality of attractiveness, which is the basis of the building, or Vishnu aspect.

He has to equip, also, his mental body so that it may be an explainer and transmitter, and not a hindering factor as now.  He must likewise develop group activity, and learn to work in a co-ordinated manner with other units.  These are the main things that a man must accomplish along the path of initiation, but when he has worked at them, he will find the Way, it will be made clear to him, and he will then join the ranks of the Knowers.

Another point to be remembered is that this effort to make people co-operate intelligently with the Hierarchy, and to train them to join the ranks of the Lodge, is, as earlier pointed out, a special effort (inaugurated in Atlantean days and continued to this time) made by the Hierarchy of the planet, and is very largely in the nature of an experiment.  The method whereby a man assumes conscious place in the body of a Heavenly Man differs in different planetary Schemes; the Heavenly Man, Who uses our planetary Scheme as His body of manifestation, chooses to work in this particular way during this particular period for His own specific purposes; it is part of the process of vitalising one of His centres, and of linking up His heart centre with its connection in the head.  As other of His centres are vitalised, and come into full activity, other methods of stimulating the cells in His body (the deva and human monads) may be followed, but for the present the cosmic Rod of Initiation, which is applied to a Heavenly Man, in much the same manner as the lesser rods are applied to man, is being utilised in such a way that it produces that specific stimulation which demonstrates in the activity of man on the Path of Probation and the Path of Initiation.


Therefore man must recognise the cyclic nature of initiation, and the place of the process in time and space.  This is a special period of activity in the cycle of a Heavenly Man, and it works out on our planet as a vast period of trial or initiatory testing; it is, nevertheless, equally a period of vitalisation and of opportunity.

We must also endeavour to realise the fact that initiation may be seen taking place on the three planes in the three worlds, and the thought must ever be borne in mind of the relative value and place of the unit, or cell, in the body of a Heavenly Man.  The point must here be emphasised that the major initiations, or the initiations of manas, are those taken on the mental plane and in the causal body.  They mark the point in evolution where the unit recognizes in fact, and not only in theory, his identity with the divine Manasaputra in Whose body he has place.  Initiations can be taken on the physical plane, on the astral, and on the lower mental, but they are not considered major initiations, and are not a conscious, co-ordinated, unified stimulation that involves the whole man.

A man, therefore, may take initiation on each plane, but only those initiations which mark his transference from a lower four into a higher three are considered so in the real sense of the word, and only those in which a man transfers his consciousness from the lower quarternary into the triad are major initiations.  We have, therefore, three grades of initiations:—

First, initiations in which a man transfers his consciousness from the lower four subplanes of the physical, astral, and mental planes respectively, into the higher three subplanes.  When this is done upon the mental plane a man is then known technically as a disciple, an initiate, an adept.  He uses then each of the three higher subplanes of the mental plane as a point from [180] which to work his way completely out of the three worlds of human manifestation into the triad.  Therefore it is apparent that what one might consider as lesser initiations can be taken on the physical and astral planes, in the conscious control of their three higher subplanes.  These are true initiations, but do not make a man what is technically understood as a Master of the Wisdom.  He is simply an adept of a lesser degree.

Secondly, initiations in which a man transfers his consciousness from plane to plane, instead of from subplane to subplane.  Herein comes a point to be carefully recognised.  A true Master of the Wisdom has not only taken the lesser initiations referred to above, but has also taken the five steps involved in the conscious control of the five planes of human evolution.  It remains for him then to take the two final initiations which make him a Chohan of the sixth degree, and a Buddha, before that control is extended to the remaining two planes of the solar system.  It is obvious, therefore, that it is correct to speak of the seven initiations, yet it would be nevertheless equally correct to enumerate five, ten, or twelve initiations.  The matter is complicated for occult students, owing to certain mysterious factors about which they can naturally know nothing, and which must remain to them, as yet, utterly incomprehensible.  These factors are founded in the individuality of the Heavenly Man Himself, and involve such mysteries as His particular karma, the aim He may have in view for any particular cycle, and the turning of the attention of the cosmic ego of a Heavenly Man to His reflection, the evolving Heavenly Man of a solar system.

A further factor may also be found in certain periods of stimulation, and of increased vitalisation, such as a cosmic initiation produces.  These outside effects naturally [181] produce results in the units or cells in the body of the Heavenly Man, and lead often to events unforeseen and apparently inexplicable.

Thirdly, initiations in which a Heavenly Man may take either a minor or a major initiation, thereby involving His entire nature.  For instance, when individualisation took place during the Lemurian, or the third root race, and the human family in this cycle definitely came into manifestation, it signified a major initiation for our Heavenly Man.  The present stimulation in hierarchical effort is leading up to a lesser initiation.  Each great cycle sees a major initiation of a Heavenly Man taken on one or other of the globes, and herein again complication lies, and much food for thought.

To the three above points we might also briefly add that of the coming in, or passing out, of any particular ray.  The little that can be said upon this point, which is one of the greatest difficulty, might be summed up in the following three statements:  First, that initiations taken on the four minor rays rank not in equality with initiations taken upon the major three.  This is complicated somewhat by the fact that within the planetary Scheme, during cyclic evolution, a minor ray may be temporarily regarded as a major ray.  For instance, at this particular time in our planetary Scheme, the seventh Ray of Ceremonial Law or Order is regarded as a major ray, being a ray of synthesis, and one on which the Mahachohan is blending His work.  Secondly, that the first three initiations are taken upon the ray of the Ego, and link a man up with the great White Lodge; the last two are taken upon the ray of the monad, and have a definite effect upon the path for service that will be chosen later by the adept.  This statement must be linked up with that earlier made, which stated that the fifth initiation made a man [182] a member of the Greater Lodge, or Brotherhood, on Sirius, being literally the first of the Sirian initiations.  The fourth initiation is the synthesis of the Initiations of the Threshold in the Sirian Lodge.  Finally, according to the ray on which initiation is taken, so very largely depends the subsequent path of service.

The Day of Opportunity.

The question might here be asked wherein this information is of value to the student.  In illustration of this it would be wise if students would ponder the significance of the coming in of the present Ray of Ceremonial Law or Magic.  It is the ray that deals with the building forces of nature, that concerns itself with the utilisation of the form intelligently by the life aspect.  It is largely the ray of executive work, with the object of building, co-ordinating and producing cohesion in the four lower kingdoms of nature.  It is distinguished largely by the energy which manifests itself in ritual, but this word ritual must not be narrowed down to its present use in connection with Masonic, or religious ritual.  Its application is far wider than this, and includes the methods of organisation which are demonstrated in all civilised communities, such as in the world of commerce and of finance, and the great business organisations everywhere to be seen.  Above all, its interest lies for us in the fact that it is the ray which brings opportunity to the occidental races, and through the medium of this life force of executive organisation, of government by rule and order, by rhythm and by ritual, will come the time wherein the occidental races (with their active, concrete mind, and their vast business capacity) can take initiation,—an initiation, we must remember, upon a ray which is temporarily recognised as a major ray.  A large number of the initiates and [183] those who have obtained adeptship in the last cycle, have been orientals and those in Hindu bodies.  This cycle has been dominated by the sixth ray, which is just passing out, and the two preceding.  In the preservation of equilibrium the time now comes when a period of attainment by occidentals will be seen, and this upon a ray suited to their type of mind.  It is interesting to note that the oriental type attains its objective through meditation, with a modicum of executive organisation and ritual, and that the occidental will achieve largely through the organisation which lower mind produces, and a type of meditation of which intense business concentration might be considered an illustration.  The one-pointed application of the mind by a European or American business man might be regarded as a type of meditation.  In the purification of motive lying back of this application will come, for the occidental, his day of opportunity.

By availing themselves of the present day of opportunity, and by conformity to the rules for treading the Path, will come to many in the West the chance to take these further steps.  That opportunity will be found by the man who is ready in the place where he is, and among the familiar circumstances of his daily life.  It will be found in attention to duty, in the surmounting of tests and trials, and in that inner adherence to the voice of the God within, which is the mark of every applicant for initiation.  Initiation involves the very thing that is done from day to day by any who are consciously endeavoring to train themselves:—the next point to be reached, and the next bit of work to be accomplished is pointed out by the Master (either the God within or a man's Master if he is consciously aware of Him) and the reason is given.  Then the Teacher stands aside and watches the aspirant achieve.  As He watches, He recognises points of crisis, where the application of a test will do one of two [184] things, focalise and disperse any remaining unconquered evil—if that term might here be used—and demonstrate to the disciple both his weakness and his strength.  In the great initiations, the same procedure can be seen, and the ability of the disciple to pass these greater tests and stages is dependent upon his ability to meet and surmount the daily lesser ones.  "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much," is an occult statement of fact, and should characterise the whole daily activity of the true aspirant; the "much" is surmounted and passed, because it is regarded simply as an intensification of the normal, and no initiate has ever passed the great test of initiation who has not accustomed himself to pass lesser tests every day of his life; tests then come to be regarded as normal, and are considered, when encountered, as part of the usual fabric of his life.  When this attitude of mind is attained and held, there exists no surprise or possible defeat.