Sunday, July 14, 2013

Astral-Only Initiation: Broad Consensus across the Golden Dawn Community

by Golden Dawn Imperator
David Griffin

The discussion regarding the benefits and limitations of Astral-only initiation has resurfaced again this week. This discussion has gone on in the Golden Dawn community for years. The fundamental question is whether or not anyone can be exclusively astrally initiated at a distance.

Proponents of Astral-only initiation claim that a group of people (or a Temple) can initiate a person by performing a ritual somewhere else for a person separated by geographical distance, allegedly initiating the candidate by reading off their name in Temple during the ritual.

I have pointed out numerous times in the past, for example here and here, that there is a vast amount of concurrence between the conclusions of various Golden Dawn members all across the entire panorama of the Golden Dawn community on the subject of Astral-only initiation.

Sadly there are still not enough Golden Dawn temples around and Astral-only initiation just does not cut it. This is why it is important that there are other good options around. For example, Peregrin Wildoak this week wrote:
We may not be able to receive [initiation] physically, but we can unfold as if we had by carefully practicing the broader tradition.

Peregrin is correct. There needs to be a effective means of Self-Initiation that somewhat accomplishes the same magical goals as physical initiation present in a real Golden Dawn temple. This closely mirrors the results of my own independent research. There are just not enough locations with Golden Dawn temples and better alternatives must be presented for aspirants in outlying areas.

I still believe that nothing can beat traditional Golden Dawn initiation. If you do not have access to a traditional temple though, my research indicates that the best thing to do is to awaken the magical forces inside of you using Ritual Magic.

This is also why I wrote the Ritual Magic Manual ...

The Ritual Magic Manual fills an essential need for would be Golden Dawn magicians by providing everything you need for the magical component of Self-Initiation on your own, in a complete - step by step - user-friendly format. In the Ritual Magic Manual, you will find all of the pentagrams, hexagrams, Egyptian God Forms, Enochian and Qabalistic names sigils and names of power, flashing colors, etc. - all in one place!

My primary objection to Astral-only initiation has been the less than honest manner that it has been portrayed. For example I wrote here, that my objection arises...:
"...when modern innovations like Astral Initiation get misrepresented to the public as traditional or classical Golden Dawn practices. It is the dishonesty that is most destructive."
In regard to confusion caused by proponents of Astral-only initiation, Donald Michael Kraig wrote here:
"The thing I don’t like is when people pay dues, read some papers, do no work, pay for various “astral initiations,” and then claim to be experts with high levels of initiation. They make real occultists and initiates look foolish and bad." 

My research into the subject has always left me wary that the methods used by proponents of Astral-only initiation have the potential of becoming dangerous. In the past, proponants of Astral-only Initiation have criticised me rather harshy for this online.

I was pleased to read this week that results of independent research conducted by Aaron Leitch has led to similar conclusions. Aaron Leitch writes:
Personally, I find this to be rather dangerous.  I’ve seen how taxing a Neophyte Ceremony (and its aftermath) can be on any candidate, even with access to a full Temple and all the guidance and support that comes with it.  Blasting someone with a massive bolt of LVX and then expecting them to sink or swim on their own is… well, not something I’d do to someone myself.
On other aspects, proponents of Astral-only initiation claim that the founders of the Golden Dawn were themselves  initiated using Astral-only initiation. In this regard, Peregrin Wildoak this week writes:
There are no records of Mathers, Westcott or Woodman travelling to receive physical initiation from the supposed German source of the Golden Dawn. This lack of evidence however, does not support the view they were astrally initiated by continental adepts while safely back home in England.
Proponents of Astral-only initiation claim that it accomplishes everything that traditional Golden Dawn initiation does. I have addressed this issue numerous times over the years. For example, I here I wrote:
"It has been argued that there is always an "astral" element in any genuine Golden Dawn initiation. This is true in the limited sense that the energetic or "astral" body of the candidate is always ultimately impacted by the initiation. In other words, the initiation ritual works on many levels and affects not merely the physical body of the candidate. This does not mean, however, that the actual physical presence of the candidate is not required."
... and here:
"There is an actual transmission of energies from the physical body of the initiating Hierophant to the physical body of the initiate. To fully transmit these energies and fully awaken the LVX current in the energetic body of the candidate is extremely difficult to fully accomplish even under the best of circumstances - with the candidate physically present in the temple."
Reaching similar concusions, Aaron Leitch this week writes:
I agree that *all* initiations involve an astral process. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be anything more than a passion-play walk-through done merely to say “welcome to our group...The astral is where the magick of the initiation happens. But this is not the same thing that is meant by groups who claim to offer “astral initiation.”
Alpha Omega Adept, Sincerus Renatus correctly points out that the ritual theater elements is also important, here:
"The ritual is a drama, a play, which also has as a function to impart a though form or cognitive structure into the candidate, a theme so to speak, which gives a tone or atmosphere for the Grade. This has to be experienced live and in person, not read through or imagined in the inner eye. Compare this to reading a novel and watching a stage play; two legitimate artistic expressions but quite different in nature and quality. Full and physical initiation is a stage play of old Greek dramatic proportions."
On the same subject, Samuel Scarborough this week writes:
There are certain criteria for an initiation to be considered effective and proper. You clearly outline those criteria of Physical, Astral, Etheric, Mental, Spiritual. I normally only use three levels (Physical, Astral, and Etheric). An initiation should have elements where there is some action on these levels at the same time for the Candidate.
Alpha Omega's, V.H. Frater P. commented here:
"What i miss in this debate is the simple fact that, apart from the energetic transmission from the Hierophant unto the candidate, it is impossible to impregnate the MIND of the candidate with the physical symbols that are displayed in these ceremonies. For doing this, the candidate has to be physically present, and able to use his eyes! Moreover, by blindfolding him/her and exposing him to a dramatic procedure, his mind is made extra sensitive and absorptive. This is an ancient technique."
Donald Michael Kraig this week added:
"When someone says that an Astral Initiation is the one that really counts, they are talking about type AI-1. But some people who are officers in groups or initiates of groups that primarily perform AI-2 initiations falsely want you to believe that saying an Astral Initiation is the one that counts refers to what they are doing. It does not."
I am pleased to see that, whereas for many years I stood nearly alone in pointing out the problems with Astral-only initiationcommunity have come to so closely resemble what I have been saying all along.

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