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"Ancient initiation rested on a conception of man at once grander and healthier than ours. We have separated the education of the body from that of the mind and of the spirit. Our physical and natural sciences, though advanced in themselves, do not deal with the principle of the soul and its diffusion throughout the universe; our religion does not satisfy the needs of the intelligence; our medicine will know absolutely nothing of either soul or spirit. The men of the present day look for pleasure without happiness, happiness without science, and science without wisdom. The ancients would not allow the possibility of separating such things, in every domain of life they took into account the triple nature of man. Initiation was a gradual training of the whole human being to the lofty heights of the spirit whence the life could be dominated. 'To attain to mastery,' said the sages of the past, 'man needs a total remodelling of his physical, moral, and intellectual nature. Now, this remodelling is possible only by the simul- taneous exercise of will, intuition, and reasoning. By the complete agreement of these three, man can develop his faculties to incalculable limits. The soul possesses buried senses which initiation rouses to life. By profound study and constant application, man can place himself in conscious relation with the hidden forces of the universe. By a prodigious effort, he can attain to direct spiritual perception, open out for himself the paths of life beyond the grave, and render himself capable of travelling along these paths. Then only can he say that he has conquered destiny and acquired his divine liberty even here below. Then only can the initiate become an initiator, prophet, and theurgist, i.e. a seer and creator of souls. FOR ONLY HE WHO RULES HIMSELF CAN RULE OTHERS, ONLY HE WHO IS FREE CAN SET OTHERS FREE."
- Hermes and Plato, by Edouard Schure, pgs. 17-19

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Comment by wykydwaze on November 23, 2015 at 3:50pm
I have been thinking about solitary/self initiation rituals and, most of them appear to be group ones adapted for solitary practice. being every one at its core represents a symbolic death and rebirth to a new cycle. I have felt guided to research ritual suicide and other kinds of last rites ; like Hindu which involves cremation of the body, and thinking of ways to proceed with my work.
Comment by wykydwaze on November 23, 2015 at 3:47pm
If we look at the past, we notice how man has been able to ease his fear of death by carrying out some of his ideals, simply consecrating and making death a ritual act.
So the death of an animal or a human sacrifice becomes a “ritual offer”, then a Totemic sacrifice (see article on Totemic Banquet by C.G. Jung op. cit.). In other words the act of ritually eating God’s body (see e.g. Catholic “Eucharistic mysteries”) is abstracted, as far as it takes the meaning of “self-sacrifice”, or offering one’s own life to an earthly or divine ideal.
Different utopias have developed from this ideal. By «sacrificing himself» a suicide warrior, saint, prophet or patriot tries to exorcize his death in the “light” of an Ideal which could make him immortal.
In Egyptian Mysteries some emblematic figures were conceived beside Osiris: Anubis and Upuat, chiefs of his army; Thot, high priest; and Isis, his bride and sister, who had the power to give men immortality (only male people were allowed to be initiated).
Man could finally aim at immortality through Isis’ Mysteries. But he had to become like Osiris to reach his goal. This was possible only after he accepted, stood and passed awful trials that could bring him to his “symbolic death”, followed by the “knowledge of immortality” and the resurrection.
This death was sought to be born again as immortal (see initiatory ceremony to 3rd grade of Master mason), and it is the first ritual death form that appears to be similar to a suicidal act.
Some kind of excess in mass religions came from the misunderstanding of conceits like inner death, or from a superficial reading of conceptions such as «…One dies, or must die in a state of conscience, if he wants to be born again in a higher state of conscience …those who are alive are the shadows of immortal souls…».
Even the conceit of “death and rebirth” was re-veiled (or revealed) and disguised as spectacular ceremonies arranged to give people’s curiosity a sense of “wonder”. This was also to protect “one’s own mysteries” from any abuse of power by popular leaders.
Complex hierarchies conducted very impressive ceremonies and inspired respect for “mysteric principles”. Paraments, colours, symbols and special signs marked the difference between the ordinary audience and those who had the knowledge of principles and represented them in real “shows”.
Every kind of exoteric representation of Mysteries was made in this way, while their secret interpretation was a path winding only inside the Initiate.
Greeks (then also Romans) overemphasized the concept of “death and rebirth” and conceived another “philosophical excess”: getting enough pureness to gain immortality in a human condition is possible only in a “short moment” to be prepared and caught in an instant of extreme catharsis of a timely ritual suicide.
As far as suicide Eastern mysticism has conceived an irrefutable position: in case of violent death (war or murder), or unnatural (accident), or voluntary (suicide), the being’s thin body keeps tied to his physical body (his rotting carcass) until the moment of a separation provided by his physical Karma. This conceit clearly refers to the western idea of hell.
The separation from the “energy cord” linking thin to physical body can not happen through a voluntary (murder – suicide) or unvoluntary action (accident), but only due to the karmic cycle.
This kind of theory acknowledges a natural coincidence between karma and death cause. If for any reason death anticipates the “right moment”, this could produce a negative karma to be soon dispersed before taking a new step. It will not be worth at all every sorrow born while the thin body grasps at the physical one.

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