Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Self-Initiation

Posted by Mike on January 11, 2012

I got my signed copy of the Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic at the end of 2003 and started working with the system not long after. I’m not sure I consider this my initial initiation, in the late 90s my initial forays into the occult were through runes and I consider it all part of a personal continuum of sorts, especially when I realized how much wealth I could get out of kabalistically analyzing the experiences.

Sacramento, CA is kind of an odd little town, I’d probably call it conservative for California but very liberal compared to the heartlands. There’s a thelemic organization here but no Golden Dawn temple, at least with a public face. The temples in the bay area seem more hybrid than I’m personally drawn to, so after doing the research I figured I’d start doing the work and let the rest of it sort itself out.

I’ve been profoundly affected by the work I’ve done, when I look back at who I was then and who I am now it’s like two completely different people. For me the GD process is intensely psychological and very transformative, so I tend to find a lot of online arguments over minutiae to demonstrate an imbalance in the direction of Hod (seriously it would be really fun to see how many initiates are Virgos or Geminis).

I think self-initiation is something you do when you feel you have to. I’ve been trying to think of a good metaphor to compare it with temple initiation. My guess is something that you might process in a temple under guidance could take much longer on your own without any. There isn’t anyone to help you balance when you’re initiating on your own, which generally seems to me to make the lessons a lot more painful, the potential for self destruction greater and the ability to stay in a dead end longer.

I’ve been there. The first time I had to face one of the largest parts of my shadow I ran from it. Had I had a mentor at the time they probably could have told me what was going on (and someone did eventually). But I think when you start the process it starts a forward motion that means you can’t really run from it for long. And I spent almost the last year and a half dealing with this shadow, a process that led to the most numinous experience of my life, something that made all of this real for me in a way nothing else has. There are synchronicities and then there are Synchronicities.

I wouldn’t recommend self-initiation unless you absolutely have to. Perhaps I’m fortunate that when I reached out to the greater GD community my questions were answered, I’m probably very lucky to have had almost pyrotechnic confirmation of the work, but it took a really long time and it completely sucked until it happened. I will say, though, that at a certain point, if you stick with it, it will be noticed. Self initiation definitely works, it’s just a lot uglier and much stickier and you’ve got to have almost incredible willpower to go through the inevitable pain on your own.

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