Initiator and Initiations
Initiator and Initiations

Initiator and Initiations

An initiation is a ritual beginning into a particular tradition. Within the Golden Dawn it becomes particularly important because it requires you to experience the equivalent of psychic surgery. An initiator has to link the candidate to their Higher Self, to what is called “the tradition” and also the egregore of the group and the spiritual force behind the Order.
This is tough magic and unfortunately appears to be the most glamorous, which is why everyone wants to do it. It is the sort of thing that a person standing on the sidelines thinks they can do but rarely can and there is a reason for this.

Not a DIY manual for a tradition
For the initiator to be able to initiate within a tradition, they have to be members of that tradition. This sounds obvious, but most of the time is one of the rules that is quickly ignored for the sake of expediancy. There are a lot of groups which are formed by someone with a cursory reading of Regardie’s Golden Dawn. Actually this attitude is one of the things I am responsible for encouraging. I think that if people want to run a group then the only way they will find out how it operates is to set one up and see.
However I need to qualify that now. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that only works when you are starting a new tradition yourself. I do not believe it works where you are taking an existing tradition, such as the Golden Dawn and trying to start your own group.
There are lots of Golden Dawn groups out there which you can join and train to the right level that you are allowed to initiate, you do not need to self start and indeed it is not desirable.
Using Untrained Hierophants results in some
fairly strange 0=0  initiations 
Within the Golden Dawn system the minimum level that a candidate can even think of initiating is the ZAM grade 5=6. It is specialist work and requires extra training. The Golden Dawn provided a series of instructions called the Z documents which were a basic outline for the 5=6 grade and covered the 0=0 initiation ritual. However these were instructions for ordinary members so that they could work out what was really going on in these initiations and apply them to their own magic. Heirophant work was specialised and was often carried out under the training of the Chief Adept. The role was considered so important in Whare Ra that Hierophants were rarely changed and picked up additional magical experience that they passed on to their students. All this added up to a considerable corpus of material which often differed from the Zdocs or even other Hierophants.
If a person has not been through the tradition to the 5=6 level then they have not had the various aspects of their sphere of sensation opened to the various powers. There are more to the grade initiations, for example, than initiation into the elements. They open the person to different powers and levels and give them access to forces that they might not have had before. The outer order is about integrating the person so these forces do not overwhelm them.
For example, in the 1=10 a person will find that they will be initiated into the forces connected to their 12,1st and second houses. If they cannot control their finances or ignore there physical health or personal hygiene then these issued will become exacerbated until they do.
While this is not a popular view of the grade system, as many people seem to think that the adoption of outer order grades should be automatic, it is also possible to fail a grade completely. This happens when the personality cannot take the load of that grade and starts to fragment. Normally it simply shuts down, reverts to the behaviour patterns and goes no further. Other times it explodes in a form of self-destructive mental breakdown. In the old days the person would be held at that grade until they had resolved their problems, or, as was more likely, they would leave in a personality storm. These days orders are more inclined to let the person carry on up the ladder of the Order in the hope the problems will go away.
The problem usually flares up in the Portal Grade where the person has another go at balancing it. If they fail again they rarely get another chance and usually exit from the Order.
At the 5=6 something else happens to the student. It is here they are opened up to the traditions deeper spiritual levels, they also have a personal experience of their higher self. The lower self, which they have been working on for years, is pushed downwards and greater control is given to their Higher Self.
It is from this position, and only from this position, that a person can initiate into the First Order.
If any of the grades are missed, or a person failed their initiation and they attempt to initiate, they will be using the symbolism of the rite to initiate into their own ego because that will remain the dominant force.
The universe might step in and assist their victims and help them have a spiritual experience from the exercise, but it will only go so far. It will for example assume that the student needs to learn discretion. Instead of treating a magical order like a game, or a club, they will learn the hard way that opening up to ego-driven and disconnected people ultimately leads to doom.
The Grand Order of the Envelop and Post Box had a
tough initiation
It is not over egging the pudding to note that initiation not only can stuff you up it can make you very well. One initiation I know of resulted in the candidate being put in hospital. The initiator did not believe that the problem was their fault, they simply blamed the student. The problem was an initiator who failed their Portal grade and was doing their utmost to avoid Godforms within a ritual because he/she was an atheist.
So when you join a group it is vitally important to ask your initiator “who trained you?” If they say that they have a signed lineage back to the Priests of the Sun of Atlantis, or that they are the head of a tradition which trained all the great magicians, stop them there. Ask them “where did you personally get the training that takes you to states which are at least 5=6 and a point that you can initiate me?” After all you cannot initiate someone into a spiritual place if you have never been there. If they have had no training to that level, it is safer to give them a wide berth. It is a bit like saying I can fly you to London if you trust me… but I dont know where it is and I don’t have a pilot’s licence.
I would be equally concerned if someone is not sure what they are doing, but they have to start somewhere. This attitude is common in groups which are formed by reading Regardie. This is a bit like going to a brain surgeon and him admitting that he has no experience, but he will learn a lot while he is in your skull.
The specialist initiation training is preferable, but if a person has been working on their spiritual self then often they can wing it, particularly if they are getting the sort of contacts they need to build a real magical order. But if that is the case they must have a lot of experience to get the depth of contacts required.