We now come to the final part of A Treatise on the Seven Rays and I have in mind three things which it appears to me to be necessary to do; these three will make this Treatise not only the textbook of the new psychology but also a more vital factor in the human consciousness, because the fact of initiation will be emphasised. These three are:
1. I propose to deal with the theme of Initiation in order to prepare the world of men for the restoration of the Mysteries.
2. I will give some definite teaching on the Centres from the planetary angle and also from the angle of the individual aspirant.
3. I will endeavour to relate the seven Ray energies to the five and the seven Initiations and to the three and the seven centres in a new and more arresting manner.
This is a large order and one not easy to fulfill because so much has already been given out anent initiation; the subject is dangerously familiar. By that I mean that certain preconceived ideas are already present in men's minds and many of these are not factual in nature and need to be discarded or, at the best, reinterpreted. I have myself dealt in a broad and general way with the subject of initiation in one of my earliest books: Initiation, Human and Solar; also, scattered through all my writings over the years is a mass of information which needs collating and bringing together as a basis for the instruction of disciples in training for an initiation.
In Discipleship in the New Age, Volume I, I gave out much more upon this subject and also information of a deeply esoteric nature anent the Ashrams of the Masters. The second volume of the book also contains much that is new and should serve to bring this whole subject much closer to public understanding. In the instructions now to be given, however, I shall endeavour to cover the ground  not already considered, and look at the subject of initiation from the angle of the seven rays, from the effect upon the centres, planetary and individual, and from the point of view of the esoteric training of the accepted aspirant or disciple. (These instructions were begun in March 1946 and completed in March 1949.)
This final Volume of A Treatise on the Seven Rays will eventually change the attitude of men's minds towards the Mysteries and towards the activity of spiritual transference, which is one of the names given by the Masters to the basic mystery of initiation. In due time our educational centres, particularly those concerned with adult education, will take into calculation, normally and customarily, the fact of future initiation where their students are concerned, and will study their graduates from this angle in order to give advice or recommendation. In these institutions the elements of true esotericism will be taught, though they will not be then regarded as esoteric.
It will be apparent to you that this long Treatise is in the nature of a preparatory thesis covering a vast field or area of information. The first two volumes dealt with the sevenfold nature of man and with the influence of the seven basic energies or rays upon his unfoldment and his history, and (in a briefer manner) upon the world in which he lives and upon the environment which aids and conditions him. In the third volume we took into consideration the influences of the constellations and planets upon the man and upon our planet, the Earth, and gave much time to the consideration of esoteric astrology; the rays, the signs, the constellations and the planets are all of them closely interrelated and the human being is the recipient of the energies and forces which they emanate or distribute. This makes the man what he essentially is at any one time whilst in incarnation.
We next considered the subject of healing because of the necessity of understanding the limitations—psychological and physical—which restrict man's free expression of divinity. We dealt with a major condition which has to be faced  and comprehended if humanity is ever to step off the ordinary path of evolution on to the path of discipleship and of initiation. Man has to become aware of the ray effects, of the place the centres play in his advance and unfoldment, and of the play of energies and forces which produce the difficulties and the diseases, and can at the same time cure them and bring about the liberation of the man.
From the consideration of limitations we passed on to an entirely new theme and an entirely new concept as regards man's education when he has reached a relatively very advanced stage of unfoldment. I gave you the new teaching anent the antahkarana or the mode and method whereby the initiate could relate in one great fusion or at-one-ment not only the soul and the personality, but monad, soul, and personality. This teaching has carried all that has hitherto been given, down the ages, another step further on and indicated the next stage of development ahead of the disciple. The time has come, as the Hierarchy had foreseen, for further light upon the endless Way.
Teaching anent the five initiations which confront all aspirants has long been given and has become public property; it has meant very little for most people and nothing at all to the mass of men; it has been regarded by the intelligentsia as vague and visionary nonsense; some few have admitted that these initiations may be possible, and others say that they are simply symbolic modes of indicating some final achievement which mankind faces; still others have accepted this teaching and have come to regard the initiations as goals and have then taken the necessary steps to prove the veridical nature of their beliefs; they have proved it, have become initiate, and have attained the status of Master of the Wisdom and taken their place within the Hierarchy. There is, therefore, a certain familiarity about these goals, the service they could entail and the consummation of the hierarchical possibilities; this itself indicates that the time had come when certain faint indications of that which lies behind the Mysteries and of that which is to be seen ahead of those who have achieved initiation should  be somewhat clarified; I therefore started to impart three phases of information:
I. I gave out teaching which indicated the mode of bridging the gap between the lower three worlds and the world of the Spiritual Triad. In doing this, it became apparent that there were three groupings or levels of consciousness which had to be recognised:
1. The three worlds of human evolution.
a. The mental plane.
b. The astral plane.
c. The physical plane.
2. The three levels of the mental plane.
a. The level of the concretising mind, the lower mind.
b. The level on which the soul is to be found.
c. The level of the abstract or higher mind.
3. The three worlds of superhuman evolution, the levels of the Spiritual Triad: atma-buddhi-manas.
Between the higher three and the lower three and embracing the mental plane was a definite gap, a break in the continuity of conscious contact or an area where there was no channelling for the inpouring of higher energies. Here the teaching of the conscious building of the antahkarana was required; thus the gap between the mental unit and the manasic permanent atom, between the personality (indwelt by the soul) and the Spiritual Triad could be bridged by the aspirant himself.
II. I found it necessary also to indicate the nature of the Way of the Higher Evolution which had been hinted at but about which absolutely no information had been given. It is the Way which opens out before the Master of the Wisdom, leading to states of identification and levels of awareness which lie outside our planetary sphere altogether. The following of this Way enables the Master to "abstract" Himself from the seven planes of our planetary life and divest Himself of all we understand as material existence.  Forget not that our seven planes are only the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical plane.
III. I therefore opened up the subject of the possibility of the higher initiations which confront the Members of the Hierarchy. In this connection it is useful to remember that:
1. The Council Chamber at Shamballa provides a goal for the Members of the Hierarchy, but not an abiding place.
2. The seven Paths which stretch out before a Master are entered by the treading of the Way of the Higher Evolution.
3. The so-called third initiation, the Transfiguration, is only the first major initiation, from the standpoint of the Hierarchy; it marks the moment in time and space when the initiate sees truly and for the first time the door which opens on to this higher Way. Then—if he chooses the Path that the Christ chose (and there is no reason that he should)—he will "set his face to go up to Jerusalem."
These are some of the things which I have hinted at in past writings; they have been touched upon, vaguely and mysteriously, by past teachers and somewhat more explicitly by myself; I propose to be a little more definite in this new section.
Teaching, if true, must be in line with the past and must provide scope for endeavour in the present and must also hold out further enlightenment for those who have succeeded or are succeeding in attaining the indicated goals. There must be a spiritual future indicated. It is that which is required now, for many are attaining the goals proposed by the Hierarchy, and others are working towards them. The taking of initiation is now often to be seen and is far more frequent today than at any other time in the history of the race; for those who have thus succeeded, the next step forward and the new spiritual enticement must be clearly disclosed. Evolution is not a static thing; death cannot be the  reward of living effort. To be static, to have attained all that can be attained, and to be at a complete standstill would be utter death and, my brothers, there is no death. There is only progress from glory to glory, a moving forward from point to point on the divine Way, and from revelation to revelation towards those points and revelations which are perhaps part of the Goal of God Himself. What the goals are upon the Higher Way is as yet utterly unknown to you; what divine qualities and objectives may be revealed to the Master and to the Christ as They tread the Way which leads Them off the cosmic physical plane altogether, you cannot know or sense, and if you could, you would not comprehend the meaning. "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard" the things which God will reveal to those who tread the way to the innermost centre, to those who love. This ancient writing can be paraphrased as follows: It is impossible to realise the wonder of the future which the planetary Logos will unfold before those who have unfolded the second divine aspect, Love, and who are therefore full Members of the Hierarchy, the centre where the energy of Love is anchored.
It is interesting to realise that the unfoldment of the love nature is that which opens the door which leads to the Way of the Higher Evolution and that nothing else will open it. This Way leads the Master off the cosmic physical plane on to the cosmic astral plane or to a level of cosmic awareness whereon is generated that cosmic impulse which we call Love.
It will be obvious to you that as this Treatise is not written to instruct Members of the Hierarchy, but only for aspirants and disciples and initiates below the grade of the third initiation, much that I will say will be somewhat "blind" or veiled in symbol; much that I could say (if words existed of an adequate nature) will not be said. Those that have eyes to see and ears to hear will read between the lines and correctly interpret my symbols, hints and references. To many what I will say will be as meaningless as A Treatise on Cosmic Fire is to the average reader and as the entire theme of initiation is to the ignorant and the undeveloped  man. Much, however, should be of practical service to the struggling disciple, and I want in these concluding pages to fire his zeal, deepen his understanding, stimulate his capacity to love, and enlighten his mind. Such is what I seek to do. On his part, let him approach this subject with deep humility, with a meditative and reflective attitude, and with a refusal to materialise the presented concepts, as is so easy a thing to do. Let him refuse to step down the teaching to the level of his physical consciousness. In these words I have conveyed a basic hint.
Love and light are the great revealers, and if the student truly seeks to understand and profit by what I am endeavouring to teach, let him love all men more deeply and let him see to it that his light shines forth in a dark place, for "in that light shall he see Light." It is the lesser light within that reveals the greater light; when the light of the soul combines with the light of the lower man, then that fused and blended light will enable the aspirant to see the Door which opens upon the Way of the Higher Evolution.
In considering our theme I propose to divide what I have to say, according to my usual custom as follows:
The Aspirant and the Mysteries of Initiation
The entering of the two Doors
The entering of the Ashrams
The dual life of the initiatory process
The science of the Antahkarana
The Aspirant and the Major Initiations
The relation of the seven Rays to the Initiations
The significance of the initiations
The Aspirant and the seven Centres
I have given you here and elsewhere in my writings all that it is at this time possible to give anent the planetary centres and the rays, including the rays of nations and of races. You will find a wealth of information hidden in my various books if due search is made and the material is gathered together into a coherent whole. I suggest that you study and compare, read and search topically and extract all that I have said about the various nations, their governing  constellations and their planetary rulers. This will facilitate research into the relation of the planetary centres to the systemic centres, the sacred planets and the energies pouring through them from the constellations which they "rule" in the esoteric sense. This is one of the paradoxes of occultism but it can be understood if the student remembers that the centres in his etheric body rule in so far as they are receptive or non-receptive to the influences emanating from the planet, via the planetary centres. It would not be advisable for me to give out the relation of the planetary centres to the centres of the human being; there is not enough love present as yet to balance such knowledge and to offset any possible misuse with its dire consequences. The reason I include them in the above outline is to show the organic wholeness of our theme, for the life of man encompasses the abstract and subjective as well as the outer physical levels of the manifested world.
I have made two affirmations during the past years anent the Hierarchy. One was that as a result of the cleansing of the Earth through the medium of the world war (1914-1945) and through the suffering to which humanity has been subjected (with a consequent purifying effect which will demonstrate later), it will be possible for the Hierarchy to externalise itself and function openly upon the physical plane. This will indicate a return to the situation which existed in Atlantean days when (using the Biblical symbolism) God Himself walked among men—divinity was present in physical form because the Members of the Hierarchy were guiding and directing the affairs of humanity as far as innate freewill permitted. On a higher turn of the spiral, this again will happen. The Masters will walk openly among men. Secondly, the Hierarchy will then restore the ancient Mysteries, the ancient landmarks so earnestly preserved by the Masonic tradition and which have been securely embalmed in the Masonic ritual, awaiting the day of resurrection.
These ancient Mysteries were originally given to humanity by the Hierarchy, and were—in their turn—received  by the Hierarchy from the Great White Lodge on Sirius. They contain the clue to the evolutionary process, hidden in numbers and in words; they veil the secret of man's origin and destiny, picturing for him in rite and ritual the long, long path which he must tread. They provide also, when rightly interpreted and correctly presented, the teaching which humanity needs in order to progress from darkness to Light, from the unreal to the Real and from death to Immortality. Any true Mason who understands, even if only to a slight degree, the implications of that in which he participates will recognise this most ancient of Oriental prayers, giving the key to the three degrees of the Blue Lodge. I mention here the Masonic purpose because it is closely related to the restoration of the Mysteries and has held the clue—down the ages—to that long-awaited restoration, to the platform upon which the restored teaching can be based, and the structure which can express, in powerful ritual and in organised detailed rites, the history of man's moving forward upon the Path of Return.
The Mysteries will be restored in other ways also, for they contain much besides that which the Masonic rites can reveal or that religious rituals and ceremonies can disclose; they contain within their teaching and formulas the key to the science which will unlock the mystery of electricity—that mystery of which H.P.B. spoke; though much progress has already been made by science along this line, it is as yet only embryonic in nature, and only when the Hierarchy is present visibly on earth, and the Mysteries of which the Masters are the Custodians are given openly to man, will the true secret and nature of electrical phenomena be revealed.
The Mysteries are, in reality, the true source of revelation, and it can be only when the mind and the will-to-good are closely blended and conditioning human behaviour that the extent of the coming revelation will be grasped, for only then can humanity be trusted with these secrets. They concern those capacities which enable the Members of the Hierarchy to work consciously with the energies of the planet and of the solar system and to control forces within the  planet; they will put the ordinary psychic powers (today so stupidly approached and so little understood) in their rightful place and guide man towards their helpful usage.
The Mysteries will restore colour and music as they essentially are to the world and do it in such a manner that the creative art of today will be to this new creative art what a child's building of wooden blocks is to a great cathedral such as Durham or Milan. The Mysteries, when restored, will make real—in a sense incomprehensible to you at present—the nature of religion, the purpose of science and the goal of education. These are not what you think today.
The ground is being prepared at this time for this great restoration. The Churches and Masonry are today before the judgment seat of humanity's critical mind and the word has gone forth from that mass mind that both of them failed in their divinely assigned tasks. It is realised everywhere that new life must be poured in and great changes wrought in the awareness and in the training of those who work through and in these two media of truth. Those changes have not yet been carried out, for it will take a new vision and a new approach to life experience, and this only the coming generation is capable of giving; they and they alone can bring about the needed alterations and the revitalisation, but it can and will be done:
"That which is a mystery shall no longer be so, and that which has been veiled will now be revealed: that which has been withdrawn will emerge into the light, and all men shall see and together they shall rejoice. That time will come when desolation has wrought its beneficent work, when all things have been destroyed, and men, through suffering, have sought to be impressed by that which they had discarded in vain pursuit of that which was near at hand and easy of attainment. Possessed, it proved to be an agency of death—yet men sought life, not death."
So runs the Old Commentary when referring to the present cycle through which mankind is passing.
The tests for the first initiation, as far as humanity (the world disciple) is concerned, are well-nigh over and the hour of the birth of the Christ as an expression of the fourth kingdom in nature and the consummation of the work of the Fourth Creative Hierarchy is at hand. This there is no gainsaying; the birth hour may be long and the form may be "in labour" for much time, but the Christ will be born and the nature of the Christ and His consciousness will permeate and colour all human affairs. It is this condition—so imminent and so desirable and long foretold and anticipated—which will make possible the return of the Hierarchy and the restoration of the Mysteries.
These occurrences are not only dependent upon the fitness of humanity to provide the right setting and upon the inevitability of evolutionary development itself, but the reappearance of the Hierarchy and that which its Members will accomplish is related also (and primarily) to the interior life and the spiritual impulses within the Hierarchy itself and unrelated to mankind altogether. The Hierarchy pursues its own line of spiritual unfoldment as a paralleling activity to its services on Earth in connection with planetary evolution. Men are so apt to regard their own lives and destiny and the unfoldment of the human consciousness as the factor of only and paramount importance upon Earth and in the evolutionary processes of the planet. These conditions are of importance, but they are not the only factors of importance, nor does humanity stand alone and isolated. Humanity occupies a midway point between the subhuman and the superhuman kingdoms, and each of these groups of evolving lives has its own important destiny—important to all contained within the group ring-pass-not. They have their own chosen and differing modes, methods and ways of achievement. Just as individual man has to learn the art or science of relationship to other men and to his environment, so humanity as a whole has to learn its relationship to that which lies above and beyond mankind and with that which is below and left behind. This involves a sense of proportion which can be attained only by the mind principle in man  and by those who are beginning to be mentally polarised. This sense of proportion will reveal to men their place upon the ladder of evolution and lead them to the recognition of the peculiar destiny and unique goals of other kingdoms in nature, including the fifth kingdom, the Kingdom of God, the spiritual Hierarchy of our planet.
The Hierarchy is itself also at a point of spiritual crisis. Its initiates stand before the Door which leads to the Way of the Higher evolution and the entire personnel of the Hierarchy waits to make a united move forward, paralleling—on its own level—the move forward which humanity is also destined to make.
But, my brothers, here is the point of interest. Under the great law of synthetic expression (called by us the Law of Synthesis, the law governing the first divine aspect) the Hierarchy must move forward in such a manner that the effort must encompass the physical plane as well as the higher planes. The activity engineered must cover the three worlds of human evolution as well as the three worlds of the Spiritual Triad. Forget not the overlapping of these two worlds which takes place upon the mental plane and warrants the well-known phrase "the five worlds of superhuman evolution." Hence, therefore, the necessity for the externalisation of the Hierarchy and the demonstration of Their united ability to work from the physical plane up to the highest, in order to move unitedly through this Door on to the Way. Speaking symbolically, this externalisation is for the Members of the Hierarchy an act of sacrificial service, but it is also a symbolic gesture. The Hierarchy incarnates on Earth again, and for the first time since its last incarnation in Atlantean days. It is, however, a group incarnation and not the incarnation of individual Members. This is probably a subtle point too difficult for you to grasp.
The externalisation of the Hierarchy, therefore, and the restoration of the Mysteries, are not something done for humanity or simply carried out because men have earned a closer contact, have the right to some reward or are now so spiritual that the Hierarchy can have a good and useful time  helping them. The picture is entirely different. What looms with such importance in the consciousness of men is, in reality, quite secondary in relation to the hierarchical crisis which we are considering. This reappearance upon the physical plane and the consequent life of service (involving factors of profound significance to men) are an expression of the inherent spiritual impulse which is impelling hierarchical action in two directions but involving one unified movement, embracing all the five planes of superhuman evolution and necessitating a group recapitulation of incarnated process.
The Hierarchy has its own life and its own goals and objectives, its own evolutionary rhythm and its own spiritual expansions; these are not the same as those of the human kingdom. These goals and rhythms will become more familiar to thinking men as the Hierarchy approaches closer to the physical plane.
This inclusive and planned activity of the Hierarchy is related to spiritual incentives which have their roots in Shamballa. There the life aspect is being almost violently stimulated through the action of the Lords of Liberation Who have swept into planetary activity because of the use of the second Stanza of the great Invocation—which was used potently by Members of the Hierarchy. Again, it was not used by Them solely on behalf of humanity or for the liberation of mankind; it had hierarchical implications also and was in part a demand by the Hierarchy for permission to move along the Way. The releasing of the "saving force" because the hour of service had arrived, permitted (at the same time) the inflow of an aspect of energy which never reached humanity at all and was not intended for strictly human use, but which was retained by the Hierarchy for the vitalising into renewed livingness of the seven major Ashrams, thus enabling the entire Ashram of the Christ to lift itself on to a higher spiritual level and closer to the door which leads to Life.
These statements veil deep hierarchical mysteries and are not in any way related to the Mysteries which will concern  humanity when the Hierarchy is externalised. These mysteries will not be revealed to men. Only a general statement of the effects upon the Hierarchy of certain mysterious activities is permissible. They serve to show the steady pulsation of the evolutionary rhythm which permeates every atom, form, group and centre upon our planet, producing effects upon the lowest forms of existence and on and up to the very highest; there is naught anywhere but progress and a steady moving forward into clearer light and greater livingness.
In these instructions I am dealing with the entire theme of initiation from its broad and general angle and from the angle of definition; it is not my intention, therefore, to duplicate here what is given in Volume II of Discipleship in the New Age. Our approach will be somewhat different in this final section of our Treatise; we will confine ourselves to the effect of the rays upon the initiate and to the relation existing between the ray energies and various initiations which I have already outlined. In this section also I do not intend to deal with the scientific awakening of the centres or with the technicalities of bringing them into the desired balance and activity. I have already given what is necessary in my various books, where a very great deal of information is given and will be found scattered through all of them. By means of this diffusion and scattering, the teaching is protected and cannot constitute a danger to the general public. Students in the immediate future will have to search out the teaching in all the many volumes and hunt most carefully for the details of the science of the centres and for information anent their nature and processes. The whole subject of the centres is dangerous if misunderstood; the centres constitute a menace when prematurely awakened or unduly energised, and this entire subject can prove most dangerous to the curiosity-impelled man and to the ignorant experimenter. The time is not yet ripe for the presentation of this subject in a fully coordinated manner; students are warned against publishing a clear correlated thesis on the subject as a result of their researches in my books. Nevertheless,  the true aspirant must be given the needed information.
The Mysteries are revealed not primarily by the reception of information anent them and their processes, but by the action of certain processes, carried out within the etheric body of the disciple; these enable him to know that which is hidden; they put him in possession of a mechanism of revelation and make him aware of certain radiatory and magnetic powers or energies within himself which constitute channels of activity and modes whereby he may acquire that which it is the privilege of the initiate to own and to use.
The disciple upon the Probationary Path starts off on his quest for the door of initiation, and for that which he will contact after passing through that door, with a definite equipment and created mechanism. This has been acquired, and facility in its use has been attained, through many cycles of incarnation. An incarnation is a definitely determined period (from the angle of the soul) wherein Experiment, Experience and Expression are the keynotes in each incarnation. Each successive incarnation continues the experiment, deepens the experience and relates the expression more closely to the latent unfolding divinity.
The same three words—in greatly enhanced interpretation and with the emphasis upon a much fuller opportunity—can be used to describe the progress of the initiate upon the final stages of the Path; with this we shall be partly engaged in this section. I would ask you, whilst reading and pondering upon all that I say, to have these three words in mind. Every initiation is approached by the disciple or initiate in a spirit of divine experimentation, but with a scientific aspect, because an initiation is a culminating moment of achievement, and success is a graded series of experiments with energy.
Having garnered the fruit of the experiment above indicated, there follows a certain period wherein experience in the use of the related potencies tales place. This occupies the interlude between one initiation and another. This may cover a period of many lives or prove relatively short. The results of the experiment of initiation and of experience  with the then endowed energies emerge as the ability of the initiate to express divinity more fully than heretofore; this means that he increasingly can function as a divine creator in relation to the hierarchical Plan, as the manipulator of the attractive energies of love, and as one who determines under the impelling will of Shamballa—the phase or aspect of the divine purpose with which he must himself be occupied in relation to the manifestation of the planetary Logos. You will note that I do not say in relation to humanity. The initiate works in many fields of divine creativity of which the field of mankind is only one.
These three words will therefore indicate the first type of approach to our subject; what I have to say will therefore, in every case, have them in mind.
Secondly, I would have you consider with me the various aspects of our sectional theme from the angle of the seven rays. By this I mean that disciples upon the different rays will all have the same goal, make the same experiments, go through the same experience and arrive equally at divine expression. However, their qualities and their modes of approach, their reactions and their distinctive natures will differ according to their ray type; this constitutes a most interesting and little known phase of our study of initiation. Initiation has been a blanket happening, and no note has been made of the ray implications. This I propose to remedy.
Each of the seven initiations, for instance, is an exemplification or a revealer of one of the seven ray qualities or tendencies; it is governed and conditioned always by a certain ray, and this is one of the factors which disciples have to learn and grasp whilst preparing for an initiation, because it involves success in handling and manipulating certain types of divine energy.
Each of the initiations brings one or other of the seven centres into full functioning activity, not from the angle of awakening or of stimulation, but from the angle of a "wheel turning upon itself." This is an Old Testament expression  and is wholly inadequate, but I can find none other to substitute. The wording is totally blind and inadequate and will prove to you somewhat meaningless, except to the initiate who has experienced that turning.
As esoteric astrologers know well, there comes a life cycle wherein the disciple reverses himself upon the Wheel of Life (the zodiacal wheel) and from going clockwise around the zodiac, he now begins to go anti-clockwise; he learns that the substance aspect of his nature may still be conditioned by the forces flowing through them sequentially and serially, and according to his horoscope and according to the exoteric mode of the zodiacal revolution; at the same time, the disciple is receiving energy currents from the reversed wheel whereon he, as a soul, finds himself. He is consequently the recipient of two currents of energy, going in reverse directions; hence the increased conflict in his life and circumstances; these constitute the reason for the tests of initiation.
This, on a tiny scale, is true of the centres in the etheric body of the disciple; they too evidence the same dual activity, once the Path of Discipleship is trodden and the Path of Initiation is entered. The zodiacal wheel is itself essentially a cosmic centre; it is a twelve-petalled lotus, but it is a twelve-petalled lotus within the thousand-petalled lotus of an unknown cosmic Entity, the One referred to in my earlier books as the ONE ABOUT WHOM NAUGHT MAY BE SAID.
The multiplicity of zodiacal influences have eventually a dual effect: one upon Shamballa (the planetary head centre) and the other upon the Hierarchy (the planetary heart centre); the effect is also felt in the head centre and the heart centre of every initiate. This final dual activity is registered by the initiate of the highest degrees when he undergoes the eighth and ninth initiations; the other seven initiations are governed by the seven rays.
You have, therefore:
Initiation 1. Birth
Sacral centre 7th ray Physical plane
Beginnings Relationship Sex Magic
Initiation 2. Baptism
Solar plexus centre 6th ray Astral plane
Dedication Glamour Devotion
Initiation 3. Transfiguration
Ajna centre 5th ray Mental plane
Integration Direction Science
Initiation 4. Renunciation
Heart centre 4th ray Buddhic plane
Crucifixion Sacrifice Harmony
Initiation 5. Revelation
Base of spine 1st ray Atmic plane
Emergence Will Purpose
Initiation 6. Decision
Throat centre 3rd ray Monadic plane
Fixation Intelligent cooperation Creativity
Initiation 7. Resurrection
Head centre 2nd ray Logoic plane
The eternal Pilgrim Love-Wisdom Attraction
Initiation 8. Transition
Hierarchy Four minor rays Planetary
Choice Consciousness Sensitivity
Initiation 9. Refusal
Shamballa Three major rays Systemic
Seven Paths Being Existence
It will not be possible for you to comprehend the synthesis which governs the four final initiations, and for these experiences we have as yet no adequate language. All that is possible is to indicate certain spiritual trends and tendencies and—as this section is written primarily for those who have taken or who are preparing to take one or other of the initiations—I can only hope that some meaning will be conveyed to those persons who are ready.
A careful study of the above tabulation should give you  a somewhat different idea anent the whole subject of initiation. The concept which has to supersede the one at present extant is that of group initiation, and not that of the initiation of an individual aspirant. In the past, and in order to get the idea of initiation into the minds of the people, the Hierarchy chose the mode (now obsolete) of holding out the prospect of initiation before the earnest disciple; upon this they placed an early emphasis of its peculiarity, its rewarding nature, its ritual and ceremonies, and its place in the scale of evolution. Since the fact of initiation had been grasped by many and achieved by some, it has become possible today to reveal what has always been implied, that initiation is a group event. If clear thinking had taken the place of a selfish individual aspiration, the fact of group initiation would have been obvious and for the following reasons, inherent and implied in the whole situation:
1. The soul—in its own nature—is group conscious and has no individual ambitions or individual interests, and is not at all interested in the aims of its personality. It is the soul which is the initiate. Initiation is a process whereby the spiritual man within the personality becomes aware of himself as the soul, with soul powers, soul relationships, and soul purpose. The moment a man realises this, even in a small measure, it is the group of which he is conscious.
2. Only the man whose sense of identity is beginning to expand and become inclusive can "take initiation" (as it is erroneously termed). If initiation were a purely personal achievement, it would throw the man back into the separative consciousness, out of which he is endeavouring to escape. This would not be spiritual progression. Every step upon the Path of Initiation increases group recognition. Initiation is essentially an expanding series of inclusive recognitions.
3. Initiation admits the aspirant into membership in the Hierarchy. This involves, speaking esoterically, the relinquishing of all separative personality reactions in a series of progressive renunciations; these culminate  in the fourth initiation, and are again mysteriously emphasised at the ninth initiation.
It dawns on the initiate, as he proceeds from one initiation to another, that each time he moves forward on the path or penetrates into the heart of the Mysteries in company with those who are as he is, who share with him the same point in evolution, and who are working with him towards the same goal, that he is not alone; that it is a joint effort that is being made. This is in fact the keynote of an Ashram, conditioning its formation. It is composed of disciples and initiates at various stages of initiate-unfoldment who have arrived at their point of ashramic consciousness together, and who will proceed together until they arrive at that complete liberation which comes when the cosmic physical plane drops below the threshold of consciousness or of sensitive awareness and no longer holds any point of interest for the initiate.
This is one of the new factors in hierarchical methods and techniques which I have had the responsibility of bringing to public attention, and so correcting the erroneous teaching of those trained under orthodox (so called) schools of occultism. The Master K.H., in one of the few (the very few) paragraphs in The Mahatma Letters which are genuine and not simply the work of H.P.B., gave a hint to aspirants of that time when He said that so many of them were so "spiritually selfish." This spiritual selfishness has led the average esoteric student to appropriate initiation and to make it personal and individual. Yet one of the prime prerequisites for initiation is a clear and concise recognition of one's own group, not through a process of wishful thinking, but through factual cooperation and work upon the physical plane. I said group, my brother, and not organisation, for they are two very different things.
Have carefully in mind, therefore, the fact of group initiation, and forego the process of considered thought anent your preparation for initiation. Some groups are being prepared for initiation in which the following factors control—as far as the individual is concerned:
1. A group of men and women whose souls are on some one ray are gathered together subjectively by a Master on the same ray, for group training.
2. Opportunity is given to such people to contact on the physical plane some of those who are thus subjectively linked, and thus mutually convey a sense of group solidarity. The subjective relationship is assured by an objective contact. Recognition is therefore a preliminary test of initiation, and this should be remembered.
3. Such people thus being trained and related are, from the angle of the initiation to be taken, at the same point in evolution. They are taking the same initiation and are being subjected to the same tests and difficulties. These tests and difficulties are due to the fact of the personality ray which may be (and usually is) quite different to the soul ray. It is the personality ray which works to prevent contact, to mislead in recognition, to retard progress and to misinterpret information. As long as a disciple in training is focussed in his personality, group initiation will not be possible for him, his recognition of co-aspirants will be fleeting and rapidly disturbed by the critical lower mind, and a wall of thoughtforms, created by the personality, anent the group members, will be thrown up and prevent a united moving forward through the Door of Initiation.
4. Group initiation cannot be achieved by a group in training until the members, as a group, have developed their particular "spiritual enterprise." It is the law of the spirit that the disciple must appear before the Initiator empty-handed, but that in group formation the group members unitedly contribute something to the enrichment of the Ashram. This may take the form of some considered project in line with the Plan, whereby they testify to their comprehension of that Plan and demonstrate to the initiate-company in which they find themselves, and those senior disciples to whose contact they are to be admitted, that they have already proven their fitness for acceptance and have proven it along the line of service. It has to be a group  enterprise, a group service and a group contribution. The specific contribution of the individual does not appear.
This thought of group initiation must be remembered, for it will colour all that I shall seek to convey to your minds and will hasten the day of your own acceptance.
No one is admitted (through the processes of initiation) into the Ashram of the Christ (the Hierarchy) until such time as he is beginning to think and live in terms of group relationships and group activities. Some well-meaning aspirants interpret the group idea as the instruction to them that they should make an effort to form groups—their own group or groups. This is not the idea as it is presented in the Aquarian Age, so close today; it was the mode of approach during the Piscean Age, now passed. Today, the entire approach is totally different. No man today is expected to stand at the centre of his little world and work to become a focal point for a group. His task now is to discover the group of aspirants with which he should affiliate himself and with whom he must travel upon the Path of Initiation—a very different matter and a far more difficult one. He needs to bear in mind the meaning of the following words from the Archives of the Masters, given in question and answer form. The questions are addressed to the neophyte who is getting his first glimpse of group relations leading to group initiation:
"And dost thou see the Door, O Chela in the light?
I see the door and hear a calling voice. What should I do, O Master of my life?
Go through that Door and waste not time in backward glances at the road just trodden. Go forward into light.
The door is far too narrow, O Master of my life. I fear I cannot pass.
Go closer to the Door and take the hand in thine of another pilgrim on the way of life. Go closer to the Door; seek not to enter it alone.
I cannot see the door, now that I grasp the hand of the brother on the right and the brother on the left. I seem surrounded by the pilgrims on the way. Alike they seem, their note is one; they seem like unto me, and press around on every side. I cannot see the door.
Move forward on the Path, O pilgrim in the light, and stand together, hand in hand, before the Door of Light. What seest thou?
The door again appears, and wide it seems, not narrow as before. What was that I saw before? It was not like the door which now confronts this band of brothers as we stand together on the Path.
The door you saw before was a figment of your mind; a thoughtform of your separative creation, something that cuts you off from truth—too narrow for your passing yet full of wrong allure. Only the man who holds his brother's hand can see the Door in truth; only the man, surrounded by the many who are one, can enter the Door which shuts itself upon the man who seeks to enter it alone."
In Lemurian days, initiates entered alone and one by one, and then only a few managed to attain the goal and one at a time were admitted to the Mysteries. In Atlantean times, when the Door of Initiation stood wide open, the aspirants to the Mysteries were admitted in groups of seven, but had not contacted their fellow group members in physical consciousness; the emphasis was still (during the training period) upon individual attainment and achievement. Today, so rapidly is man making spiritual progress, the Hierarchy is admitting groups all the time, particularly in connection with those rays which are at present in incarnation. This means that the three major rays (which are always  predominantly active though they may have varying cycles of increased or decreased activity) have large groups undergoing their preparatory training for some one initiation. This group admission will develop rapidly as the world settles back into a cycle of peaceful growth and unfoldment after the drastic experience of the world war (1914-1945); it is for this that information such as I am here attempting to give must be made available.
One other point I would seek to make clear. As you know, an Ashram has in it disciples and initiates at all points of evolutionary development and of all grades and degrees; these all work together in perfect unison and yet—within their differentiated ranks, for each degree stands alone yet united with all the others—with their own established rapport, their coded telepathic interplay, and a shared occult secrecy and silence which guard the secrets and knowledges of one grade from another and from the unready. Similarly, when an aspirant, seeking upon the physical plane to find those who will share with him the mystery of his next immediate step or demonstrated expansion, discovers his own group, he will find that it has in it those who have not reached his particular point of wisdom and those also who have already left him far behind. He will be drawn into a vortex of force and a field of service simultaneously. Ponder on this statement. He will learn, therefore, the lessons required by one who is to work in an Ashram and will know how to handle himself with those who may not yet share with him the secrets which he already knows, and with those who have penetrated deeper into the Mysteries than he has.