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Initiation in Ancient Mysteries

Apr 06, 2006 04:05 PM
by carlosaveline cardoso aveline




Dear Friends,

In HPB’s texts, as well as in Esoteric Philosophy as a whole, the value of words must be assessed according to the context. The word “initiation”
is no exception to the rule.

Emperor Julian, who was initiated in the Mithraic Mysteries, wrote about Diogenes the Cynic, who like Socrates of Athens chose not to be initiated:

“... having regard to the circumstances in which his lot was cast, and next paying heed to the commands of the Pythian god, and knowing that the candidate for initiation must first be registered as an Athenian citizen, and if he be not an Athenian by birth must first become one by law, it was this he avoided, not initiation, because he considered he was a citizen of the world; and moreover such was the greatness of his soul that he thought he ought to associate himself with the divine nature of all the gods who in common govern the whole universe, and not only with those whose functions are limited to certain portions of it.” (1)

And also, on the same page:

“... he would not enslave himself to the laws of a single city and submit himself to all that must needs befall one who had become an Athenian citizen. For is it likely that a man who in order to honour the gods journeyed to Olympia, and like Socrates embraced philosophy in obedience to the Pythian oracle, – for he says himself that at home and in private he received the commands of that oracle and hence came his impulse to philosophy – is it likely I say that such a man would not very gladly have entered the temples of the gods but for the fact that he was trying to avoid submitting himself to any set of laws and making himself the slave of any one constitution?” (2)

According to Julian, Diogenes knew very well that –

“...the gods reserve their rewards without stint for those whose lives have earned them the right to be initiated, even though they have not gone through the ceremony, whereas the wicked gain nothing by penetrating within the sacred precincts.” (3)

Thus we can see that the word “initiation” can be used at various and different levels of consciousness. One’s personality can be initiated into something at the physical level. But one’s true self does not need an outer ceremony to expand into higher and higher perceptions of life and the universe.

As to one’s own progress, Helena P. Blavatsky wrote: “deserve, then desire”. That should be enough for us.

Best regards, Carlos Cardoso Aveline.


(1) “The Works of the Emperor Julian”, in “Loeb Classical Library”, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusets/ London, England, 1998, three volumes, see volume II, Oration VII, p. 159.

(2) “The Works of the Emperor Julian”, in “Loeb Classical Library”, volume II, pp. 159-161.

(3) “The Works of the Emperor Julian”, in “Loeb Classical Library”, volume II, p. 161.


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