What Is Initiation and What Is the Effect of Initiation?

Dorothy R. Tilson

When an individual begins to tire of his accumulated mechanical toys he begins to search for that something "other," This eventually leads him to seek something else, and in so doing, consciously discovers the initiatory process. A whole new world opens before him. He discovers that "there is great interest everywhere today in this subject of initiation."1 He also discovers that in the past there has been an over-emphasis on ceremony. His study includes initiation of the consciousness of the vegetable kingdom into the animal kingdom; the consciousness of the animal kingdom into the human kingdom, and of the potential of the human kingdom to be initiated into the fifth and higher spiritual kingdoms. These initiations haven't come about by some gift by some Beings, but they have to be self-initiated.

Our interest at present is interest in initiation of the human kingdom. "The meaning of the word 'initiation' is 'to go into.'" "It means that an initiate is one who has taken the first steps into the spiritual kingdom and has had the first series of spiritual revelations, each one of which is a key to a still greater revelation."2

Our individual begins the initatory process—he is an aspirant looking to the first initiation, the uses of the energy of mind. "This will be the dominant controlling energy used during the period of accepted discipleship and until the second initiation."3 His objective is physical purification with emphasis upon the need for a vegetarian diet—the forsaking of taking life—although life cannot be taken—but causes the necessity of changing forms.

He finds that to move on to the second initiation as a disciple his attention must turn to the soul—the energy of the soul. "This will be wielded, used and creatively employed from the second until the third initiation."4 He builds on a measure of outer physical purity and turns attention to the inner, which is not so easily contacted or expressed.

To move on to the third initiation he needs to blend the energy of mind and soul. "The combination is of tremendous potency. After the fourth initiation, this will be augmented by energy coming from the Monad."5 "The third iniation is approached from a level tableland of experience and of consciousness and not from the heights of aspiration, or from fanatical sacrifice, or from the standpoint of a devotion, which handicaps the service of the devotee and of the Master, he seeks to serve. He knows, as a candidate for initiation that: Life is one and naught can ever take or touch that life."6 "The third initiation is, in reality, the first initiation of the soul, after complete identification with the personality within the life and consciousness of the Monad, the One and the First."7 It is at this degree that he becomes aware of the group—"and in future there will be group initiations—men and women will pass through the Portal of Initiation together, instead of alone and simply as has hitherto been the case. He will realise the wonder of group love, of group intuition and of group service. He will undergo a joint illumination, a shared response and a united effort."8

"After the third initiation, the initiate is not concerned with consciousness at all, but with the fusion of his individual will with the divine will. He is not then occupied with increasing his sensitivity to contact, or with his conscious response to environing conditions, but is becoming increasingly aware of the Science of the Service of the Plan."9

"After the fourth initiation there is a direct unbroken relation between the Monad, via the Triad, and the form which the Master is using to do His work among men.10

And then there are the higher initiations wherein the individual may remain on earth to stay with humanity, or he may choose a path that leads him somewhere else to work in the Solar system.

And thus "initiation admits a man into some area or level of the divine consciousness—into a place or rather a state of being hitherto regarded as sealed or closed."11 In describing each of the nine initiations the term "freedom from" is used. This connotes the idea "that we at present live in the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical plane, and this goal of 'freedom from' is in reality the main incentive to tread the Path of Return."12 Initiation therefore leads to "freedom from" limitation and it results in an understanding of the intricacies of the planes we inhabit.

There is a paragraph in the book, The Rays and the Initiations (p. 738) that I find inspiring.:

"From stage to stage, from crisis to crisis, from point to point and from centre to centre, the life of God progresses, leaving greater beauty behind it as it moves through one form after another and from kingdom to kingdom. One attainment leads to another, out of the lower kingdoms man has emerged, and (as a result of human struggle) the Kingdom of God will also appear. The bringing in of that kingdom is all that truly concerns humanity today, and all living processes in mankind are bent towards preparing each individual human being to pass into that kingdom. The knowledge that there may be greater manifestations than even the kingdom of God may be inspiring, but that is all. The manifestation of the Kingdom of God on Earth, the preparing of the way for its great Inaugurator, the Christ, the making possible the externalisation of the Hierarchy upon Earth give us each and all a fully adequate task and something for which to live and work, to dream and to aspire."


1 Initiation Human and Solar, p. 114.
The Rays and the Initiations, p. 34.
2 Ibid., p. 115.
3 Destiny of the Nations, p. 129.
4 Ibid., p. 129.
5 Ibid., p. 129.
6 The Rays and the Initiations, p. 127.
7 Destiny of the Nations, p. 142
8 Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. 1, p. 76.
9 The Rays and the Initiations, p. 34.
10 Ibid., p. 5.
11 Ibid., p. 662.
12 Ibid., p. 687.