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The Classic Initiation Series


Series/levels of initiation. 1

Initiation between men in ruling class. 2

Standard initiation series, astrology, Wilber, Hermeticism levels.  Reincarnation = purgatory. 3

Dionysian rites as initiation allegories. 5


Series/levels of initiation

>>Authentic initiation must be a series, because the mind must spend some time, some number of sessions, working through ideas and sense-of-self feelings while in the mystic state.  Astrotheology reflects this by the idea of ascending through graded planetary spheres.

>This reminds me of the 'stations of the cross'.

In the Old Testament, the governor had to bathe some number of times in the river to be healed, per the prophet.

A man had numerous sons, and the last one was blessed to be the chosen king.  Here 'sons' = 'mystic-state intiation sessions'.  Jesus was unique among humans: he was born fully initiated already, enabling him to be both the firstborn son and lastborn son. 

Here is a curious inherent inconsistency in the use of an always-perfect godman to represent the normal initiate.  Did Jesus experience rebirth?  Could Jesus experience ego death?  Normal humans start out with original delusion, undergo regeneration, then become purified. 

But if Jesus was born without original delusion (lacking the delusion of freewill moral agency), he doesn't fit the initiation pattern -- which is really logically inconsistent, because his drinking mixed wine and undergoing death and resurrection is intended to clearly represent the initiation pattern. 

So we patch on the idea that he was *born* without freewill moral agency delusion, but *took on* normal ignorant sin/error/delusion on the cross so that he too could participate in the initiation sequence of changing from delusion to enlightenment.  Myth is a leaky abstraction or imperfect metaphor.  If Jesus was supposed to be an exact model of initiation, he would start out being deluded, then undergo initiation, before becoming sinless and obedient. 

Surprisingly, the Jesus figure fails to provide a model of a central Christian salvation event: that of conversion or repentence.  The closest Jesus comes to representing repentence is his prayer in the garden, to not drink the cup but to accept drinking the cup. 

Balaam, Paul, and Jonah are better models of repentence: they all start out doing the opposite of blessing God's favored people, but switch and end up blessing them.  Jesus takes advantage of the Jonah figure, to make himself represent repentance, by saying the only sign he will give is that of Jonah.

The more perfect an initiation system is, the closer intiates can come to the simple ideal of a single, sudden, complete conversion from a deluded to an enlightened worldmodel.  Still, it makes sense to toggle between tight cognition and loose cognition some number of times, spending some number of training hours in the loose cognition state, before one can claim to have used and explored and engaged that part of the mind's potential functioning. 

A spiritually mature mind has altered-state experience as well as conceptual understanding of transcendent knowledge, just as a sexually mature person is justifiably defined as one who not only intellectual knows about that subject, but has experience in that domain as well.

>>But if Jesus was born without original delusion (lacking the delusion of freewill moral agency), he doesn't fit the initiation pattern -- which is really logically inconsistent, because his drinking mixed wine and undergoing death and resurrection is intended to clearly represent the initiation pattern.

>even jesus had to be baptized

That has been debated, whether he *had* to be baptised.  The theologians have had to do an amusing dance around that one.

Initiation between men in ruling class

Greek society was patriarchal.  We may suppose that the initiated bearded man gave his own amanita water to the uninitiated unbearded young man.  This may be the real idea behind the stories of being touched by the Guru and physically receiving enlightenment from him, and of book knowledge not being sufficient for enlightenment, but needing "oral teaching" from a guru. 

As more evidence rolls in for the use of entheogens throughout European elite history, we may suppose that the same personal initiation was used at the highest levels of the later men's clubs.

-- Michael

James Arthur wrote ( http://jamesarthur.net/mushroom4.html ):

>>Revealing the secrets of Entheogens, one of the most closely guarded secrets of Freemasonry (as well as many other secret societies), is something that can only be done by a layman (non-member). This is because if you have initiation at that level you could not discuss it any further. Secret Societies are called Secret Societies because they keep certain secrets.

>>I have spoken personally with High Priests and Bishops (Secret Society Initiates), who simply told me that they could not discuss anything with me because of their oaths of secrecy. In fact they were so blown away that I knew the information, that it scared the hell out of them. Entheogens, and particularly the Amanita muscaria, are a huge secret.

>>The initiatory rites, into this particular field, are so far up the totem pole of secret societies and religions that when you find those who know, they really freak out, that anyone else knows, because it cuts to the deepest recesses of their self perceived spirituality, and cuts to the center of their most secret God/Society given indoctrination experiences.

>>They have this certain look in their eyes, and unless you somehow are perceived as a threat to them, they invariably have the need to tell you that they do know what you are talking about (which is likely a violation of oath in itself), but they cannot discuss it further. This has left me not only feeling dis-enfranchised but sometimes pretty upset. Which has led to some severe, yet moderated, chastisement from me.

>>Actually, I have nothing against any of those initiates that I have spoken with, personally (including those that knew about it), but secrecy itself is a problem of high proportional magnitude, in regards to the reason this world is in the state which it is in.


>>In my opinion, the oaths and secret combinations are the basis for that which is fanatical, control oriented and destructive. The secretive vows are one of the biggest reasons that society has degraded. Supposed truth should be given to all for open debate. It is in this way, evolution is enhanced instead of inhibited. The secret societies strive to acquire information, technology, etc., and then hoard it for themselves.

>>They then systematically destroy all public remnants of it, so they can keep it exclusive. This is a major problem for the world; it's like the Christians burning the libraries of the east all over again (after pillaging what they wanted) in an attempt to erase the knowledge (and history) from the public domain forever. This secrecy is an abomination that makes the rest of the world desolate.

>>Just as in the case of religion, where the revealing of the truth would relinquish the churches (and their authorities) of their power over people, so too would the governments and secret societies lose their power, were the truth to be revealed, and those formerly oppressed humans would not take it lightly that their lives have been manipulated through the false morals and dogma of Fascism.

Standard initiation series, astrology, Wilber, Hermeticism levels.  Reincarnation = purgatory.

The number of mystic sessions is less important than the idea of a finite series of initiations leading to a completion.  (The series below is reposted.)

The standard series of initiations proceeds as follows:

1. Ordinary state.  Egoic model is fully engaged.  Transcendent model is completely unknown.

2. Mystic state session #1.  Egoic model is available but relatively disengaged.  Transcendent model is partly intuited and constructed, and is relatively engaged.

3. Ordinary state.  Egoic model is fully engaged.  Transcendent model is practically completely forgotten.

4. Mystic state session #2.  Egoic model is available but relatively disengaged.  Transcendent model is increasingly intuited and constructed, and is relatively engaged.

5. Ordinary state.  Egoic model is nearly fully engaged, but becomes problematized.  Transcendent model is basically forgotten, recalled in fragments only.

6. Mystic state session #3.  Egoic model is available but relatively disengaged.  Transcendent model is largely intuited and constructed, and is relatively engaged.  As the mind becomes more familiar with the control-breakdown vortex, the mind is increasingly (from session to session) both attracted to its beauty, and increasingly terrified by its control breakdown threat.

7. Ordinary state.  Egoic model is nearly fully engaged, but becomes heavily problematized.  Transcendent model is recalled in increasingly numerous fragments.

8. Mystic state session #4.  Egoic model is available but relatively disengaged.  Transcendent model is largely intuited and constructed, and is relatively engaged.  The mind is heavily focused on the control-breakdown vortex, but yet again runs away, praying only for ignorance and obliviousness to it, to restore the known-incorrect egoic model because it is at least viable and reliable for daily life and practical control stability.

9. Ordinary state.  Egoic model is nearly fully engaged, but is thoroughly problematized and seen as dysfunctional.  Transcendent model is recalled in increasingly numerous fragments and the mind is impatient to finally figure it out and consciously retain it as an available mental model, at least as a theoretical/rational set of principles, if not as an intense nonordinary mystic experiential mode carried into daily life.

10. Mystic state session #5.  Egoic model is available but relatively disengaged.  Transcendent model is almost completely intuited and constructed -- it is ripe and ready to blossom out from the midst of control-vortex fear.  The transcendent model is relatively engaged.  The mind is tired of running away from the truth about its dynamic control nature.  The mind finally is willing to sacrificially destroy, for once and all, the egoic model.  This willingness leads to understanding the great danger of control instability and the meaning of myth-religion, which leads to acknowledgement (true prayer) and immediate resumption of practical controllership.  The transcendent model is now fully formed and rationally understood.

11. Ordinary state.  Egoic model is nearly fully engaged in practice in day to day life, but is now recognized theoretically as a convenient illusion. Transcendent model is fully recalled in principle as a theoretical intellectual mental worldmodel, although it is not *experientially* present. In normal fully enlightened minds, the transcendent model is present intellectually but not experientially.


This system enables making good sense of Wilber's zillion-level system compared to my extremely simplified 2- or 3-level system of switching from the egoic to transcendent mental worldmodel.  Wilber takes the levels too literally; what matters and what's being actually expressed in the systems he combines is the general idea of a series of mystic sessions, integrated with study and reflection, leading to a culmination and milestone of transformation. 

His own increasing need to add ever more corrective epicycles to his overcomplicated and literalist system shows he puts a questionable definiteness on the levels, often oversystematizing them.  He's not even consistent at all about where so-called "mythic thinking" fits in.  Wilber's model looks more and more ratty and filled with weaknesses. 

His systematization of collective psychospiritual evolution is highly doubtful and arbitrary, supported by such moves as portraying the Greeks as even worse dolts than moderns, in the area Greeks excelled in, and making a special lone exception for Mr. Historical Jesus -- who was actually the product of the best yet typical and definitive Greek thinking. 

You could read the entire Wilber corpus and never realize that such a thing as the Mystery Religions existed -- he has to omit it, to support his eastern-based model.  "West" for Wilber means modern developmental psychology. 

His combination of "east and west" is not a combination of eastern religious history and western religious history, but rather, adding western modern developmental psychology and eastern religious theory.  He covers everything but the most key approaches that break his system: mystery-religions and Western esotericism.

New Age 'reincarnation' is opposite of eastern reincarnation.  New Age seeks reincarnation; eastern seeks to end reincarnation, meaning actually, seeking to end the return of egoic thinking after a mystic altered state session. 

It takes multiple tries -- that fact is reflected in the creation of the "ladder" and "hierarchy"/"stages" ideas, which then end up in Wilber's hypersystematized model of levels of consciousness, which ought to be portrayed instead as increasing grasp of transcendent thinking, increased by each satori.  Reincarnation is functionally identical with purgatory -- burning off "mortality"/"corruptibility" via a series of mystic-state sessions.

The main idea and theme in Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and related Western esoteric currents, is ascent past the low, fast-moving planets, then past the slow-moving planets, then past the sphere of the fixed stars.  This is all allegory for phenomena experienced during any particular mystic altered state session and during a series of sessions.  There are variations of interpretation and assigning values, but the essential concern is the same: awakening to and transcending cosmic determinism.

The sphere of the fixed stars represents cosmic determinism, such as the awareness of timeless cosmic determinism.  That sphere is also the cosmic egg or cosmic rock from which Mithras is born out of; his penetration is like that of the woodcut of the pilgrim poking his head past the sphere of fixed stars.

Such esotericism and time-slowing is actually about experiencing and eventually in some sense transcending cosmic determinism, transcending the timeless frozen block universe that is ruled by Fate/Necessity.

In the school of Alchemy, the equivalent idea is that of dissolving and coagulating multiple times, leading to pure refinement of the mind.  Entering the mystic altered state is dissolving (loose cognitive associations), while the default state of cognition is that of coagulation -- tight cognitive binding of mental construct association matrixes.

So the following are functionally equivalent

Christianity -- Purgatory

Alchemy -- Dissolve and coagulate to refine

Isis -- burning off the mortality (perishability) of the king's son

Buddhism & gnosticism -- Ending reincarnation

Hermeticism & gnosticism -- ascending through the slowing-down planetary spheres & past the fixed stars

Dionysian rites as initiation allegories

The Dionysian rites depicted in the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii.


Young initiate girl = Mary Magdalene & clueless apostles

kykeon = 'mixed wine' at the Last Supper

Gorgon corpse-decay mask = death on the cross

Initiated mature woman = Virgin Mary & apostles who now understand Jesus/kingdom

These are the four important elements.  The initiate is unenlightened, drinks the elixir, experiences death of the childself worldmodel, and gains understanding of transcendent self-knowledge.  The same pattern can be found in the symposium and seder -- it is the standard sequence of initiation.  There are many ways of metaphorically allegorizing The Initiation Sequence.

Write 'mixed wine', never "wine", to prevent people from picturing today's wine.  Also, it was common to portray godmen as beardless prior to the sacred drinking, and bearded afterwards -- paralelling the girl initiate contrasted with the mature woman, and parallelling the relation between Mary Magdalene and Virgin Mary. 

A beardless youth enters the labyrinth and a bearded man emerges -- on this metaphor, it seems that the beardless Dionysus is the pre-initiation person, and the bearded silenus is the post-initiation person, effectively the mature Dionysus.

Burton Mack's socio-political theory is correct as far as it goes, but lacks awareness of the mystic-experiencing allegory that was essential and central to all the religion of the era.

The rites of Dionysus, the rites of Mithras, the rites of Attis, the rites of Osiris, the Last Supper rites of Jesus, the rite of the Greek symposium banquet, the Exodus rite of the Jewish seder -- it's all the same rite in essence.  The youth drinks the sacred drink (mixed wine), dies, and the adult results.  This is the rock-bottom isomorphism underlying the claim that the pagan rites were a pre-imitation of the Christian rite. 

All that remains in the comparative analysis of these rites is details about the variations of allegorical and ritual expression of this basic initiation sequence. 

This isomorphism is no stretch at all; it's trivially simple and straightforward.  The basic pattern is youth -> mixed wine -> adult.  The Christian rite maps directly to that basic pattern, with additional elaboration.  The Dionysus rite maps directly to that basic pattern, with additional elaboration.  Same with all the other initiation religions of that era, including symposium and seder.


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