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The Rays and the Initiations - Part Two - Section Two - The Aspirant and the Major Initiations
This initiation is therefore, in a unique sense, a culminating experience and a point of entrance into a new life for which all the past has been a preparation. After the ninth initiation, the Refusal Initiation, there comes a cosmic repetition of the Renunciation experience, this time [698] devoid of the crucifixion aspect; the initiate at that great moment renounces or refuses contact with the cosmic physical plane on all its seven levels of awareness, unless he has chosen (at the sixth Initiation of Decision) the Path of World Service.

During the experience of the initiatory process in its first three phases, the initiate rejects control of the energies which are seated in the three centers below the diaphragm; he renounces their use for personality or selfish reasons. The center at the base of the spine has received and distributed the energy of self-will (the will of the lower self) and is emptied and stands ready for the dynamic reception of the higher will which - using the spinal channel as the pathway or the symbol of the antahkarana - will pour into it from the highest head center. The sacral center which has received and distributed the energy which has fed the physical appetites to a far greater extent than is at present realized, is also under control - a control which is related to normal and proper direction from the throat center and to the preservation of life on the physical plane, if the initiate chooses to incarnate for service ends. The solar plexus center, which has received and distributed the energy of the astral plane, the energy of desire and of emotion, is likewise cleansed and purified; its energy is transmuted to such an extent that it can pass under the complete control of the heart center, which henceforth and until the seventh Initiation of the Resurrection is "that whereby the initiate performs his hierarchical obligations." Therefore, at the Great Renunciation, the three lower centers reach a point of utter purification or speaking symbolically - of utter emptiness. No energy of their own (related to the selfish aeonial past) is left; they are simply pure receptacles for the energies of the three higher centers. The three lower centers are related to the three worlds of personality evolution; the three higher centers are related to hierarchical work and living and are under the control of the initiate - a control which becomes increasingly perfect until the seventh Initiation of Resurrection. At that [699] momentous resurrection, they become no longer of service; the Master needs no energy centers, and His consciousness is transcended and transformed into a type of awareness of which those who have not experienced these initiations know nothing. If He chooses to take a physical vehicle (as many will when the Christ reappears and the Hierarchy is externalized on Earth), the Master will "function from the above to the below" and not (as is the case today with all disciples, though naturally not with the Masters) on "the below towards the above." I am here quoting ancient phrases to be found in the archives of the Hierarchy. They will therefore need no centers on the etheric levels of our planetary physical plane.

At this fourth initiation the initiate begins to function entirely and always upon the fourth plane, the buddhic levels of the cosmic physical plane - our intuitional plane. This is the case whether you count from below upwards or from above downwards. You have here again an indication of the central position of this initiation and of its importance. It is preceded by three initiations and succeeded by three initiations, leading up to that of the seventh or final planetary initiation, because the remaining two initiations are fundamentally not related in any way to our planetary Life. It is because of this permanent transition of the initiate's "living focus" - lifted out of the three worlds on to the buddhic plane - that the concept of resurrection has crept into the Christian teaching so that the Crucifixion Initiation is portrayed as preceding the Resurrection Initiation; this is in reality not the case, except in a lesser degree and as symbol of future experience.

In the same way, the concept of sacrifice has permeated all the teaching anent the Crucifixion or the Renunciation Initiation, both in the East and in the West. This is a sacrifice idea associated with the concept of pain, agony, suffering, patience, prolongation and death. Yet the true root of the word remains the same and gives the true significance: "Sacer," to make holy; that is what in truth happens to the initiate; he is "made holy"; he is "set apart" [700] for spiritual development and service. He is separated off from that which is natural, material, transmitted and handicapping, trammeling and destructive, and from that which lessens right activity for that which is new. He learns to define the Wholeness which is his divine right and prerogative.

The beauty of the interpretation of this initiation and the reward to those who attempt to penetrate to its true meaning and significance are untold; it requires, however, the teaching of the East and of the West to arrive at the true understanding of the experience. The concept of a clean break with the old life in the three worlds of experience which has characterized the work of the soul for so long is obvious. It is death in its truest and most useful form; every death, as it takes place today and on the physical plane, is therefore symbolic in nature, pointing to the time when the soul finally "dies" to all that is material and physical, just as the human being dies to all contact in the three worlds before resuming incarnated living.

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