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Ageless Wisdom teachings and spirituality

Initiation - FAQ


Q. Can you give us an indication of the five steps of Initiation?  

A. The Gospel story symbolises them very clearly for us. It does not, of course, show exactly what is required, but it does present humanity, once again, with a story which has been given to mankind over and over again, in many ways, down the ages. This is as old as man - or as old as mid-Atlantean times, when the Initiatory process was brought in to speed up the evolutionary process.

The Birth at Bethlehem, the Birth of Jesus, symbolises for us the birth of the Christ Principle, the Christ Consciousness, in the cave of the heart. When the Christ Consciousness (the energy of the Cosmic Christ, which the Christ, Maitreya, embodies, anchors on this planet) is lit, as it were, in the human heart, the man can then be prepared for Initiation. That is what is happening in mankind today. The Christ Consciousness is being lit in hundreds of thousands of men and women in the world today; it is manifesting in countless people. It is this fact which is behind the reality of the externalisation, for the first time since Atlantean times, of Hierarchy. They can come into the world now because humanity is prepared. With pain and suffering, the Christ is being born in the human heart. This is the first step into Initiation. The Christ is the Hierophant at the first two Initiations, and since He will be in the world, He will Initiate men and women into these first two Initiations, outwardly, and in group formation, in the temples of the time.

Some millions are now standing on the very verge of this experience. This is the enormous step forward in evolutionary development which humanity as a whole has taken, and is the opportunity for the Christ to reappear now with the Hierarchy of Masters.

Every Initiation shows control over some level of consciousness - they are all stages of awareness. A plane is really a state of consciousness; when one refers to the physical plane it is in fact to a state of consciousness. When one speaks of the "solar plane" or "cosmic plane", that, again, refers to a state of consciousness. The First Initiation demonstrates the control over the physical plane. It takes aeons for man to come to this point, and he is brought to it, eventually, by his own soul, through the meditation process. Through meditation, the soul aligns itself with its vehicle - the man in incarnation; the Christ is born and the soul brings its energy to bear on its vehicles, until the man gradually becomes more soul-infused, and eventually takes Initiation.

The Second Initiation is called "The Baptism". It is symbolised by the Baptism of Jesus at Jordan. The Initiate demonstrates his control over the astral plane, over his own astral or emotional nature, which became perfected through the fourth root race, the Atlantean - and which is so powerful in mankind.

Most of humanity today are really Atlantean in consciousness. They are focused on the astral plane, their energies work mainly through the solar plexus, and this powerful, sensitive, astral, feeling nature of man, which of course is one of his great achievements, makes it very difficult for him to gain control on this plane. He is swept by the energy of the astral plane - hence the glamour under which mankind lives.

As a result of the shared suffering of humanity in the war, a great deal of the glamour which befogs mankind was lifted, and the Logos Who embodies this planet, underwent, in recent years, a great Cosmic Initiation, which corresponds on cosmic levels to the second Initiation in man. So this planet is being released from glamour to a great degree. The astral plane itself is being lightened, releasing mankind from glamour. It is the development of man, the release of mankind from total control by his astral nature which allows the Logos to take this Initiation.

When the Second Initiation is taken, the whole process is speeded up. It takes aeons to come to the First Initiation; it can take several lives to come from that to the Second Initiation, which is said to be the most difficult of all the Initiations to take. When that stage has been reached and man controls his astral nature, he then finds himself the subject, not now of glamour, but of illusion - of illusion which is governing his mind. The process from the second to the Third Initiation is really the control over the mind and the releasing of himself from illusion. When this process is complete, through the agency of his soul and his Master, he can take the Third Initiation - "the Transfiguration". He becomes Divine. The "Transfiguration on the Mount" is the symbol for this.

The Master Jesus (He was then the Disciple Jesus) came into the world as a third degree Initiate; He did not have to take the first, second, or Third Initiation. He went through these processes simply to symbolise them, dramatise them, for us. He did have to take the Fourth Initiation, which is called in the West the "Crucifixion". In the East it is known as "The Great Renunciation", and He went through it in full, physical fact. All Initiations take place on the inner planes, are an inner experience; people are not normally crucified - except symbolically - when they take the Fourth Initiation. The Disciple Jesus made two great sacrifices: He gave up His body for the use of the Christ, Maitreya, and He underwent this Initiation physically, being crucified in the flesh, to dramatise for us this Great Renunciation. The Initiate has to demonstrate this: that the world of matter no longer has any lure; He has overcome, and can give up everything - family, reputation, talents, life itself - and die the death of his lower nature. All of that is renounced, crucified, for the higher Spiritual Being.

Then comes the great moment of Resurrection, the symbol for the Fifth Initiation, which makes one a Master. A Master is a resurrected being. He is someone who has mastered Himself, has mastered His lower nature. He has taken all five of these Initiations and is free, liberated. He has triumphed over matter. Each Initiation is the result of, and also leads to, a great expansion of consciousness. The Master’s consciousness includes the consciousness of the spiritual plane. He has spiritualised his body of manifestation and no longer needs to incarnate on this planet, except by choice, to serve the Plan. He may be asked to do so, by Sanat Kumara, the Lord of the World, as part of the Plan.

The Gospel story is about resurrection. Easter will be one of the three major Spiritual Festivals and Christmas and Good Friday will slowly die out of our consciousness. Resurrection will be the emphasised goal for mankind; resurrection out of matter into Spirit, which makes one a liberated Master.

Q. Does a living initiate know of his Initiation and his ray pattern?  

A. Not necessarily. There are always many initiates, up to and including the Third Initiation, who know nothing of such matters and who have no interest in esoteric teachings. Indeed, in their particular fields, they may well serve better in this life without such an interest. (I am thinking for example of political or industrial ,,men of action" who need an outward focus, for whom the introspection which goes with meditation would be a hindrance.) There are many, besides, who have taken the first or even the Second Initiation in a previous life but have no recollection of the fact - even if familiar with the teachings. Likewise, since esoteric psychology is in its infancy, so to speak, there are relatively very few who know their ray structure. This, of course, will change as the interest in such matters broadens.

Q. How can an individual assess his or her stage in evolution? 

A. It is a question of awareness, as is everything. The easiest way, just as a ‘starter’, is to look in the back of Maitreya’s Mission Volume Three and see the various individuals listed there. If you study that list, it will give you some idea of where you stand. If you are thinking that maybe you are a third-degree initiate I would say to you: "What have you done in the world?" You will find that Gandhi was 2.0, Picasso was 2.4, Cezanne 2.6, Abraham Lincoln 3.3 degrees initiate. Ask yourself: what has been your service to the world? There is a saying with the Masters that the disciple is recognized by his control of his environment, and the initiate by the extent and nature of his world service. If you have done nothing in the world it is not likely that you are a second, third or higher degree initiate.

It is helpful to read the first of Alice Bailey’s books, Initiation, Human and Solar (Lucis Publishing Company), which gives the requirements for each initiation. The First Initiation demonstrates control of the physical body (essentially the control of the physical elemental that makes up the body); the Second demonstrates control of the astral/emotional body (essentially the control of the astral/emotional elemental making up that body); the Third Initiation demonstrates the control of the mental body (of the mental elemental); the Fourth releases the individual from the matter aspect; and the Fifth Initiation, which is called the Resurrection - and all the Masters are resurrected Beings - demonstrates a total absence of any kind of response to the pull of matter.

Study Initiation, Human and Solar, and see where you stand in relation to the requirements for each Initiation, realizing that they are the ideal and the ideal is seldom met. So you could take the First Initiation when you had not perfectly controlled, as you would see it, the physical vehicle, or the second if you had not completely lost all personal glamour, and so on.



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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005