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The Rays and the Initiations - Part Two - Section Two - The Aspirant and the Major Initiations
The Significance of the Initiations

We now start our consideration of the nine initiations, only this time we shall be occupied with the relationship and the detail connected with each initiation, [662] viewing them when possible from the angle of the Hierarchy and its effort on behalf of the evolutionary progress of the race, and not so much from the angle of the soul-infused personality of the disciple. It must be remembered from the start that no disciple can pass through the initiatory experience unless he is a soul-infused individual and is consciously aware on soul levels of the various happenings, possibilities, undertakings and implications.

In all the many books which I have given to the world I have taught much anent initiation; I have sought to bring a saner, more reasonable presentation of these great crises in the life of every disciple. It is wise to note that an initiation is in reality a crisis, a climaxing event, and is only truly brought about when the disciple has learnt patience, endurance and sagacity in emerging from the many preceding and less important crises. An initiation is a culminating episode, made possible because of the self-inspired discipline to which the disciple has forced himself to conform.

Much has been said in the occult books about the preparatory work to be done and the effort which such a task entails, plus the realization of the consequences initiated and expressing themselves through the individual aspirant. Little has been said anent the more important truth that initiation admits a man into some area or level of the divine consciousness - into a plane or rather a state of being hitherto regarded as sealed and closed.

I shall not touch upon the ray effects, because we have already considered them, and because each level of consciousness, each phase or revealed area of the "lighted Way" is open to souls on all the rays and to every type of initiate.

From the standpoint of the Hierarchy, it is not the individual initiate who is of importance, but the groups in every land who face initiation, and who fall into three categories:

  1. Those in the group who have caught the vision, who accept the fact of the Hierarchy and of proffered [663] opportunity, but who are nevertheless quite unready for their next step and must be taught and prepared to take it. Yet they are "set apart for fulfilment," as it is esoterically called, and in spite of fluctuations and the many vicissitudes of the Path, they will eventually attain their goal.
  2. Those in preparation for some specific initiation, particularly the first initiation to the third (inclusive). They have set their hands to the plow - another way of saying symbolically that they are toiling for and serving their fellowmen.
  3. Those who have had the needed training and await the hour of initiation. As I have said, the first two initiations - those of the Birth and the Baptism - are not regarded by the Hierarchy as major initiations. They are in the nature of initiations of the threshold and are simply phases of, or preparatory to, the third initiation (as occult students call it), which is in reality the first major initiation. This must be most carefully held in mind, for these initiations indicate the process through which the personality can become soul-infused and the energy of the Spiritual Triad can make its presence felt.

For the sake of clarity, however, and because the Birth and Baptism initiations have been counted in with the true major initiations by the modern teachers of theosophy and similar occult bodies, and because people are therefore accustomed so to consider them, we will preserve the old method of counting them. The thought of soul-infusion must be held in mind - a soul-indwelling which culminates at the third initiation, and of monadic control which increasingly possesses the soul-infused personality. This higher possessiveness steadily increases from the time of the third initiation until the seventh initiation; after the seventh initiation a condition can be seen which is extra-planetary in nature and of which little can be known. This brings in - for the first time - a registration or recognition of cosmic consciousness.

Let us now consider these initiations, one by one. [664]

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