Mike’s Prattle



Posted by Mike on March 22, 2012

I wanted to list some points about self-initiation I think might be of use to those following a similar path.

  • If there’s absolutely any way you have access to a functioning Golden Dawn temple (as opposed to dysfunctioning), even if it’s a drive, take it. Self-initation is fraught with pitfalls that more experienced practitioners are well aware of and can assist with. As a self-initiate it’s very likely the time it takes to do the work will be much longer than if you weren’t under guidance.
  • Self-initiation is driven by disciplined devotion to doing the work every day. It is this work that initiates the changes in your being and breathes life into the intellectual work. In fact, I’m not sure it’s a bad idea at all to start as a self-initiate in only that doing the work might help you discriminate when looking for a temple. When you undergo the massive changes in paradigm and perspective that doing ritual work manifests, it gets easier to identify the impostors. After all, if the work moves you away from an ego perspective, then it’s easier to see when people claiming to have done the work aren’t moving away from an ego perspective.
  • The psychological and personal implications of following a self-initiatic path have not been stressed enough in any of the self-initiation books. Perhaps one of the ironies of self-initiation books is they’re usually written by those initiated in a temple. While a lot of these people may have also started Golden Dawn work as a self-initiate, there’s a serious disconnect between someone working mostly on their own and someone with decades of experience in a temple. I’ve always wondered if there’s any back-end testing when it comes to these books by the people who wrote them to, as objectively as possible, gauge their efficacy. How would we know if these books are actually creating adepts?
  • As someone who has been working on their own for a long while now (how long is really a matter of details), I know this system “works.” I also know that even for a self-initiate the lines become really blurred the longer you work with the system. It would be difficult to really detail how exactly this works, but one aspect to it that seems common is that the quantity and quality of synchronicities change. I think this is activated largely by the learning and absorption of the GD symbol system in that you’re learning the language that will hopefully take you beyond ego perspective.
  • There’s a neat book by Patrick Harpur called Daimonic Reality that I can imagine would be helpful to self-initiates. It’s not so much that I buy a lot of what’s in the book but his theory of a realm where the subjective and objective mingle is very similar to the way synchronicities operate. It helps to have a certain mental flexibility here because in my experience the numinous experiences that arise as the result of Golden Dawn work have a mythological quality that belies looking at them entirely from a scientific/skeptic or new agey/indiscriminate fashion.
  • If you get stuck, find someone you respect and contact them. On the other hand don’t be annoying or abuse this. I’ve done this only once, after what was probably the most profound event in my life. What was important about this was it put the things I had accomplished in perspective and freed me up to keep moving forward. And beware of contacting anyone who would tell you you need to be part of their group to move forward.
  • Temple initiation by quality magicians is a much better thing than self initiation but self initiation beats the hell out of being in a cult.

2 Responses to “Self-Initiation”

  1. Some great points.

    Self-initiation is a valid approach to the Golden Dawn tradition that can provide a lot of magical and spiritual growth, but it is also inherently flawed, as the system was designed for group work, and the benefits of a good, stable, sane, and functional group far outweigh going it alone. I employed GD self-initiation rituals and techniques before joining a GD temple and found it very rewarding, but the experience paled in comparison to being involved with an active magical group.

    I think first of all people need to consider why they are thinking about self-initiation over temple initiation. Often times the reason given is that there is no GD temple nearby, but people travel all the time to meetings, and many did so in the original order too (Yeats, for example, travelled to London, as there was no Dublin temple – though he was likely there for the artistic scene as well). Travelling to temple meetings can be very rewarding (I travelled and continue to travel to temples in the UK and continental Europe, in addition to temple meetings twice a month in Dublin).


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