Initiation and Rituals
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Lecture by Father Paul
(For the teachers: not a class. It was being read.)
One hears the term initiation and one immediately thinks of some individual going into the high mountains of Tibet, or seeking something in the Himalayas somewhere, or perhaps into some of our mountains here in California.
But initiation and rituals of initiation are things which are universal and they are processes by which man finds his way through the labyrinth of untruths to the source and the chamber – the Akasha, the Mind of God, where he finds the truth and has the experiences which will give him the opportunity to move up the ladder in vibration and to attain greater wisdom for greater service.
In the occidental world and especially in America in these modern times, the term initiation, ceremony, and rituals of all kinds are generally looked upon as a formality, part of some fraternal organization or club, as ceremonies having no real value.
Such ceremonies are often compared with — the true rituals are often compared with the formal rituals used in the opening of church services, and closing, Sunday schools, court sessions; but the truth is from a true mystical standpoint of view that initiation ceremonies have a very important part in the process and education and development of the individual, because they motivate and spark the things within an individual which have not been moved out — many of them which are negative, we would say, in the individual’s personality.
The rituals used by the ancients and still used in the form and spirit by many of us who know and understand and are workers or teachers, were for the purpose of illustrating and impressing upon the psychic mind, so to speak — the brain in the psychic body — certain laws and principles, accompanied by and bringing into action the reality of the illustrations by the movement and experience of the individual.
Furthermore, the ancients claimed that the psychic part of man delights in ritualism and therefore ever seeks to experience those flights of elevation into the thought world and the world of symbolism which compose a great part of the carefully-worked-out ceremonies of any secret order or occult lodge.
When a candidate has performed certain ceremonies in a temple or a lodge, it is only his objective mind and reasoning that are impressed by the illustrations: that is, the colors, the movement, the words. The combination of these are what sparks this person.
There are parts purposely put into the ceremony which hold the candidate’s mind in concentration while the psychic consciousness visualizes and creates a condition for itself that it enjoys and therefore remembers, and even after retaining parts of the existence and the experience.
The person experiencing the ceremony or the actions thereof has then later to experience in life these same particular principles and laws expressed and demonstrated in the ceremony.
The destiny of man is to make or create himself. He is and he will be the sum of his works, both for time and eternity.
All men are called into the lists as the knights of old, but the number of the elect — that is, of those who succeeded in downing that knight in black armor which is your inhibitions and your negative approaches to life, your destructive thoughts and destructive part of your life — is invariably small. In other words, the men who desire to attain are numbered by multitudes, but the chosen are few.
Men who are masters of themselves easily become the masters of others, but it is possible for them to hinder one another, if they disregard the laws of the elite and the discipline of the universal hierarchy or the great brotherhood.
Life, in a sense, is a warfare in which we must prove, must give proof, if we would advance. Power does not surrender itself; it must be seized.
Initiation by contest and ordeal is therefore indispensable for the attainment of practical science of mysticism.
The essential laws of nature, that of initiation by the effort and by voluntary toilsome progress, has been misconstrued fatally.
Although in the Holy Order of Mans we no longer put on the panorama of the play as in the ancient temple, but we live the play as our teacher directs us and the play becomes part of our everyday life.
The ceremonies which you would have performed formally, you will be using these principles and these laws, and they will be taught to you by the teachers and the abbots of your brotherhouses and the seminary, and at the same time you will apply them a few at a time, until you have ingrained them into your subconscious, at which time they will become a natural point and a natural part of your reflex system.
You then have become part of the Mind and the Spirit of God, but through application of these laws, you will have the first steps to illumination opened up, and the workings of the Law.
In the initiations, you will find also the appreciation of the principles of the fire, earth, air and water in the burning of the incense, in the candles, in application of the law of attunement to the three other points of the Trinity, or what we call the Holy Family.
Again, we want to remind you that this is not something which is new, but it is a new application of the same principles and same process in this day and age.
This is the age of the Aquarian age. It is the age in which man shall do things through the control of energy, through the control of that power which he seeks to serve, and its intelligence.
The very ancients also brought to us helpful principles that the ceremonies and the rituals are enjoyed.
For these joys are a joy to the soul and the psychic part of man, and his conjuring, creative imagination, with the power of the Spirit back of it, actually bring things into vital living life.
Because all life from the moment of birth to transition, and from transition on through transition, through the cosmic world and back to rebirth again, is a long series of initiations in reality, and ritualistic ceremonies to the soul and the psychic part of man.
Every formal ceremony performed by anyone objectively helps to recall the realities which he does not see in a part of ourselves, and how some of the laws and the principles previously we have learned in another incarnation, and through this psychic recall or objective recall, the initiation and its principles are brought back to us.
Thus we assemble from life to life back into the conscious mind our experiences over the past ages which let us be helped by the advice of the experiences of before, and we need not go through the anguish or the pain or the undesirable things which we have experienced before, but only gleaned from those ages of time the wealth and the wisdom which we have gained through our previous lives.
Let us now take a good look at what initiation really is when compared to man’s life, and what its increments are in the temple and are in your life.
In the first place, we recognize in the temple or the lodge room or the mountain top, a Master who is in charge of the ceremony.
Then there are such men as the keepers of the gate, the scribe, the chanters, and the chaplains, the priests, the vestal virgins and those taking care of the incensing.
Now, we have spoken of the people and their directives. The Master is the one who answers the questions, directs the questions for the neophyte to answer. He administers the oaths, he administers the admonitions to the initiate and sees that he is properly prepared.
Now we look to the paraphernalia of the temple and we see the candles in the form that they are used in making certain designs.
We see the fire which is used in the temple and its location in relation to other things.
We see in the temple also the many small symbols which are used.
Then there is the color of the robes and design of them, which are designated for the use of different individuals which are putting on this ritualistic initiation.
We then find that after the initiation has been given, if the individual is accepted and has accomplished and learned the things which he should have, he then takes his place in the ranks where the joy and the completion of the ritual is finished, and then both the initiates and the people leave the temple. First the Master, then the priest or chaplain, the chanters, the Mother of the lodge or the temple, or the sisterhood, and then those of the lodge.
There are ritualistic etiquettes which have been formed to show the respect for certain things and certain principles which happen.
There is the carrying of the incense throughout those present at the initiation, and the condition of the lighting, and the time. For in those days, many years ago, they had no lighting, and thus many of the rituals were given at high midnight, so to speak, by the light of the moon.
Now let us compare this with the present day reality, and what is going on in our lives.
The Christian church says we have trials and certain temptations. It tells us that these things are necessary, which we do not wholly agree to, but they come because of the condition of our word, our thought and our action.
We bring certain things upon ourselves, due to the things that are within us and the things which we do and say.
Therefore we draw to ourselves certain things in initiation, and these are conditions which are brought about in our life so that here again we have the similarity between the ancient temple initiation and that of our everyday life.
The temple in which the initiation is given is the world of God. The persons giving that initiation are the people about us who are our brothers, perhaps sisters.
In this order, it is undoubtedly the teachers, the master teachers, then the priests and our sisters and brothers who aid, perhaps even not knowing, in administering the conditions, the vibration, the colors, the light, the forms and artifacts which go to make up the condition in which the initiation is administered.
And as far as the artifacts are concerned, there are many of them: the houses we live in, the temples we worship in, the altar in the sanctuary, the sacraments of baptism and communion, the daily existence in action, and thinking and words of our life. These are in reality a part of the initiation, and at different times.
Thus it is we have different tools in our lives.
We have different professions; these are like the artifacts or the symbolism which we depict in our daily life. And as we move through these initiations, likewise our vocations change, our movements change, our places change and we move about the temple which is the world within which we live, the material world.
And then there is the unseen world, that which demonstrates and manifests within our life, giving us the true forms and the understandings of the things which we need to prepare us for the higher initiation of illumination and God-realization of the SELF.
Many things are told as we go through these and the teacher or Master directs us so that we too will understand the way in which we travel, and will direct us in the many initiations, the many experiences, until we have arrived at a point where we have gone through this ninth and tenth initiation, until it is necessary for us to work strictly on the other side of life, or the unseen world, and here then we await. Then we come through the period of transition, where the body is dropped and we go on to a greater reality and the real reality. This is like the upper initiations of the great universal path, the way that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master, talked about.
Many people think these initiations of the world as they have been, or some which are still going on, are very — should we say — foreign to the church, and yet they might be called almost atheistic, or they might be called rather undeveloped and not civilized.
But this is not true, for let me read to you, or put in your understanding, a prayer used in one of the lower initiations, which to me speaks for itself:
God of all good, send forth the sweet
and the strengthening vibrations at this time,
that I may discern the lessons of this initiation,
and that I may attune with all my brothers and sisters
who are scattered over the face of the earth,
At every hour.
Help me to be worthy of the honor and the privilege
of being a member of this order,
and enable me to toil diligently and unselfishly for mankind
In the practices and the love of Thy Law.
May I ever be conscious of the obligation
I owe to my brothers and sisters,
and to all who need my help.
And may I prove in time to be faithful
As a toiler in the vineyard of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our Father Most High.
Now I ask you, is this not a beautiful Christian prayer? And here we have a greater understanding, a greater reality.
Concentration and devotion with the incense and all the paraphernalia, and certain repeated prayers, are the true initiational parts of life.
The light, life and love may be spirit of goodness, reaching out into all space through the medium of diffusing incense. This is a statement regarding the temple and its reality.
There are many things in this life which we seem to fail to recognize that God has provided for us, and has made way for us to enjoy. One of these is the great reality which we live in.
You find such things come into certain diagrams in the old temple, and the movement thereof. But I ask you as you think, do you not come into certain diagrams and certain motions as you live through life?
Do you not move from here to there, where you will meet certain participants in your initiation, and there you will have an experience, and will gain certain wisdom.
So the initiation is not a foreign thing, but we have looked at it as hard luck sometimes. We have looked at it as pain and suffering sometimes, but this is not true. Pain and suffering is not necessary if we do not bring it upon ourselves.
Moving into difficult experiences or difficult situations may be a needed reality. And it changes the whole color of the life of the individual and why he is going through these particular experiences, for it puts back of them the reality of the experience and it is not an accident.
These are the things we need to know about initiation, and you are taught many things in it. You are taught the so-called spiritual being, you are taught of your Self and the spiritual reality, and spiritual senses.
These things are motivated by the people around us and the forms through which we move, and these you will find, many of them, conform with the things and forms we call in our studies symbolism.
This being for the teachers, it should be understood and it should be thoroughly passed on to those around us and those that we teach. For we are trying to demonstrate the existence of life and the light within us, and the completion of these things.
There are many things which we need to bring to reality to people which will lighten the load and will remove the confusion of the individual.
We might put initiatory numbers on things, we might put many words into these initiations, but we will find that regardless of numbers we are going to live them in this age.
Let us see what we can glean from the initiatory rituals that are useful to us as prospective teachers. And the first thing which is called to my attention is the fact that in all ritualistic work, one of the first things is that the student, the neophyte, is presented to the teacher, the master, and here he is questioned by the one who presents him. In other words, he should have been prepared to a certain extent and brought into readiness.
The master of the ritual then asks if he is ready to take upon himself the work of the order. He is questioned as to his seriousness of the matter. After this has been satisfactorily determined, then he is informed of what he is expected. He is never allowed to come in alone. He is never taken on his own word. He is never brought into the master’s presence without someone being with him.
This doesn’t mean that a person may not come to you personally and make application for a serious study and endeavor to enter into the order, but it does mean that there should be a more serious approach than just that of someone deciding voluntarily that he might like to, and might perhaps be amused by what he is going to learn, or that it might be a nice way to live.
If we look closely, we find that in the earlier degrees in entering such rituals and other practices, that we have a constant changing from one time to another, for instance, from a zealot to a practitioner, or a practicer, which spells a decided change which takes place in every student.
If he is a serious student, he is a zealot when he enters into the order for practice, and to learn. But then he becomes a practicer; he becomes a liver. He should become a worker and a servant.
Another thing which is outstanding in all ritual, and in all temples and all orders, is that the master of the order, or the one administrating teacher, is always considered, and considers himself, as the servant of those around him, and this should be a password, so to speak, amongst those teaching, and it should be their attitude of mind that they are servants of the men and brothers of the order.
They have their authority by the position in which they sit. They have to assume this authority regardless of their particular place in life.
There is another thing which is very outstanding, and that is that the prayers which are usually used in all orders are decidedly those of one seeking and beseeching the infinite Intelligence to release to them the things necessary for their opportunity to demonstrate under the laws of God.
There is another phase which is outstanding in most all initiation, and that is the statements and symbolisms used, which go to say you have withstood certain tests and trials and have persevered in your own way — notably determination to understand the laws of God as expressed in all nature.
This time you are advanced from this position title, a true honor as a student in the inner works and the sacred philosophies. Should become this or that, or whatever the title may be, or whatever the position may be, and in our case as we go through life seeking only the illumination and the realization, these other things will be added unto us.
And I want to go back to the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ and Master of this order, who said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto us — added unto you.”, were his words.
Therefore I say these initiations, these tests and trials, these abilities to demonstrate the laws of nature and God, will be given unto us and we will find the way in which to do it.
The rays of light in illumination will reach us and give us the infinite and unlimited power and strength through the rays of the golden Cross, which are our endeavor.
As teachers we must look to the most sublime of all things, for we still have to build up and we have to let those who are our students know that there is much more than what can be taught in words.
It must be apparent to them that the sublime symbolism of this universe is not a group of lines and circles, but are the very foundation which are the formations and functions of life, but that these things have been veiled in Christianity and have not been given to the public as the true way up the ladder. And, of course, this ladder is symbolic of the seven planes of consciousness of man, and the ways in the unseen world. Naturally, refer to the symbols the same, but speak of them in a realistic way and realize that they are much older than that which was given before by the Christian teachings.
Let us also realize one other thing, that we do not need to know all of the old words used in alchemy to produce certain things, certain creations, because we have the Word which was passed by the Master to us, and this is the living Word which exists in our everyday life. This will eliminate considerable confusion, and we will better be able to understand that which we reach for.
However, to approach the Word as embodied in the name of some form must reach certain sublime heights of our modern sacraments, you might say.
Word as it came, and the idea of the Word, came out of Atlantis; we know it was existent then. This great country from which these came had great understanding and knowledge of the laws of God, much more profound than that which we find in the West today. In Atlantis there was a great mountain, the highest known to man. Its peaks to this day rise above the sea and is given the name of Pecos. It is one of the group of islands known as the Azores, and the name Pecos was not given arbitrarily, but has a special significance aside from being a translation of the word “mountain”. This mountain was symbolical of the uplift of the spiritual state, a higher plane of consciousness, and upon it was placed a great altar facing the East.
This altar was given the name which is used in certain mystical terms. To it went the sincere devotees to worship once a year, and it is in commemoration of this that we have similar ceremonies in our present day worship.
The top of the mountain was approached as seven planes or seven paths, and the journey occupied a day for each of these planes. At the close of each day they had a worship and an enlightenment was held.
You appreciate now that the seven steps are and, in fact the seven planes being prepared here as you are for these journeys seeking the light and the mysteries thereof.
This is not just an idea, it is a thing which happened in history, and it is a thing which will help us to understand.
What heights has the student gone, and is his personal relationship to you the same as that of the member of some ancient mystic group to its leader? These are things which are important and should be taken into consideration.
I would like to inject here a prayer which is very useful:
The God of our hearts within,
Suspend in our minds at this time all worldly thoughts,
Let us wipe this clean,
Remove all the barriers which
Prevent us from attuning our soul personality
with the great cosmic consciousness of Thy Being.
Humble us in love and service,
Inspire our minds with goodness
And help us to understand, in having equality.
Sanctify our work of this evening
That it may be productive of the glorious goodness to man
And to the profound glory of Thine infinite purpose,
Thou Nameless One.
Let us return again to glean from these some basic teaching truths, aside from the ritualistic material of the ancients, and aside from its appearance and the solar initiations in our life, let us look to the prayers and the materials of many initiations which might guide us. For instance, this prayer:
Oh, God of our inner being,
We thank Thee for our
Light, Life and Love.
Thou hast given us
To follow Thy great Truth
In greater understanding and application of Thy laws
In service to our fellow man.
We seek Thy guidance in all of our understanding
And sanctify our lives to Thy purpose,
Now and forevermore.
How much this prayer is like that of the life of the priest and he who dedicates himself to the work of teaching mankind.
Creating Your Environment
Following right in the footsteps of this particular prayer, let us consider this, that the right thoughts, your sincerity and your devotion will properly dedicate your environment around you and make it a powerful nucleus of cosmic energy, because by proper mood, your attention to the right vibrational forces will enable this place to be a haven.
If you are inwardly skeptical, dubious or impatient in the performance of your studies, duties or life, the atmosphere of your environment takes on this condition.
It becomes filled with the distracting radiations of your own auric egg. Instead of a spiritual sublimity and a sense of regeneration you should feel, you will be depressed and irritated, if you are to sit all day — if you are to sit and listen to peoples’ troubles which you are trying to eliminate. This is merely an example of creating your own environment.
Once you create your own environment by your thinking and your doing, be that environment elevated or depressing, this is up to you; and your outer self is greatly affected by it.
The life you make, you live; the environment you mentally create you must physically accept. This we find is the ultimate demonstration of the Law. The body is a slave to the mind.
This is merely a teacher’s overall attitude and perspective and the backdrop for the initiations he is preparing for his student, and this in its perfect form should be the ultimate view and picture of his student’s life, when he has attained.
Meditation for our student is important, and we might teach it something like this:
Meditate for a moment upon the blessings of occasional solitude, which will help us and the student to be thankful for the opportunities of being alone.
It is not natural that man should at all times be separated from his fellow beings, because he is one of the human specimens and species and is dependent upon others.
The improvement and the progress of humanity comes from the contribution of the individual to the whole, which in turn can come only from association of the individual with others.
But in the whole world of man we are so busily engaged in segregating the impressions and sensations that we receive daily in our experience that seldom do we have time to judge their real worth or to distinguish them from the true wisdom.
This outer knowledge which is taught man and which we experience in our daily lives is crowded into our consciousness so rapidly every hour of the day, that instead of being an orderly arrangement of information that is helpful to us, it becomes a maze that distorts our thoughts and creates in our minds false impressions and illusions about life and its reality, because the actions and the potential forces in action overshadow one another and therefore the coloring is different.
In other words, if we become so busily occupied in worldly affairs, whatever their nature, that we have no time for reflection or meditation, eventually we lose sight of every purpose of life. The inconsequential things appear of major importance, because it is with them that we dwell mostly. It is because we permit them to dominate our consciousness, hold our attention and occupy our minds, that they become important.
If I may use an analogy –
It is as if a great artist conceived a magnificent landscape which will depict the grandeur of harmony in color.
Before him on the screen of his consciousness is this beautiful picture as a complete thing, not in its component parts, but as a whole.
He proceeds to transfer to the canvas this mental picture. He spends days in selecting the right texture of canvas and many days in securing certain oils and pure colors, perhaps weeks in technically blending of the paints to proceed and produce other colors with, until finally he becomes involved in a myriad of details which so confuses his mind that the original concept he had of the painting, instead of being clear, it is distorted, vague, confused with thoughts and impressions of mechanical requirements of the painting.
In order that he may not lose sight of his original idea entirely, he finds it necessary to retire to his studio, get away from particulars so that he may again embrace the pure idea which he has attained and recall the uppermost level of his consciousness.
It soon takes on the vividness of life again; he then is in a position to return to his work and try to bring together the segments of color, paints, shades and perspectives of the materials.
This is necessary with us today. We concentrate upon and pursue with much vigor certain elements composing of our existence in life, and so vigorously that when we have obtained these elements we cannot make the best use of them, and we have lost the idea which we originally had for their use in our lives.
The things that we seek in life must be united into a harmonizing whole or they are merely an accumulation of separate things which bring us responsibility rather than happiness, inharmony rather than harmony, deformity rather than beauty.
To keep constant and free from distortion the ideas and ideals we have in life, we must retire at times; we must seek solitude.
We must always from the world keep a certain time for our inner being and God, as it were, that we find it necessary to enter the temple of our Inner One, the temple of silence; for there no sound is physically, only the voice of the spirit remains.
For a few minutes each day while alone with our thoughts we cast away all memories of our daily experience and recollect our fondest ideals and dreams.
We not only recollect them but feel them over again and feel the thrill that comes from visualizing them, and this acts as a stimulus to carry on the creative reproductive work of our own being.
If we are to be climbing a mountainside of our own ideals (referring to the student) you would pause at a time to rest and meditate, or at least to appreciate the surrounding scenery and its effects, and at such times you would sense objectively and subjectively that you had risen from one level to another, thus you have passed from the various levels in our order.
Thus you move from one consciousness of Christ to another, and the creative Father, seeking only to reach the pinnacle where at last we may step through the crown, the Golgotha, and there reach into the heaven world above.
This is the epitome of our goal and must be kept in view, but cannot be done so if it is kept on a physical basis.