What is illumination and initiation
by Jeff Auen
The area of illumination, revelation and occult knowledge is wide and complex.and is critical to the West and the East. After 30 years of involvement with this with various paths and Rosicrucianism, I have come to certain conclusions based on broad study and experience with some of the methods involved. I have done yoga (still do hatha yoga), Chi Gung, Tai Chi, Zen, worked with Indian masters and of course underlying all this, Rosicrucianism. I have come to a solid conviction that conforms to the basic assertions made by such western teachers as Steiner, Heindel and others. This was a hard conclusion since I am still fond of Eastern wisdom and methods but the foundations are just not the same.
This basic insight in my previous post goes beyond the deepening of conscience and moral sensitivity. Yes, in spite of a world gone crazy, there is such a thing as civilization and in the Western countries there are behaviors and states of mind and heart that are just unthinkable. Such horrors as wartime atrocities as are going on in Africa, the mass abuse of women and children, sexual exploitation, etc. is prosecuted and a crime today whereas centuries ago it was not. In parts of the world, women are stoned to death for just the suspicion of adultery whereas men go free. Children as young as 8 years old are killing and maiming others in Liberia and other countries. In the West this is impossible (except in the inner city streets!).Conscience and morality have evolved but so has the very nature of consciousness.
As you well know, one of Steiner's and Rosicrucianism unique contributions to occultism is clarifying the evolution of soul consciousness in mankind over thousands of years. This gradual progression of consciousness is easily missed. While reading the Upanishads or Plato, one can believe that ancient mankind really was very much like us today. But the writers and teachers of the past were the exceptions not the rule. Mythic consciousness tinged with visionary abilities was the state of mind of mankind until the dark ages. Mystical revelations and cosmic journeys by Christian mystics or Sufis sound similar in the end result but that is the difference between mysticism and occultism- one paths see the Light Love and wisdom and the other sees into the Light and wants to know the nature of how the Light (or Divine Intelligence) manifests in the Universe. Ultimately unity and love prevail but within these states of Creation and Divine Being are profound polarities of that maintain and create the Universe in all its glory. In my humble opinion, when a mystic like Boehme or Elkhart reaches into the heavenly realms they also bring only part of themselves. If the soul is propelled to God by devotion and prayer, one will find a response but that response will be colored and confined to their maturity and ability to stay in this state and return to it all will. This is the difference between mystical development and occult development in my perspective.
The mystic waits for enlightenment and it is given by grace; the occultist trains himself or herself to enter into this state at will and can explore it in detail without a lost of human identity.
When Swedenborg or Dante describe the nature of Heaven and Hell, certain images and Beings are identified and described. This is all interesting. . But upon closer examination, there are differences and some of the material is very inconsistent with other sources. Truth and fact is the same of all occultists and mystics but if one is not carefully trained in seeing and encountering phenomena , mistakes and phantom errors can easily happen. This is a standard warning given out to all seekers and why many teachers tell students to ignore early psychic experiences. Unless the unconscious portions of the soul bodies are understood clearly and confronted, all of our psychological history and bias is projected before us in the astral world and then seen as "objective" outside of us. This can happen to a young seeker like us or a wise mystic. This is most apparent in the works of Rumi and some other Sufi mystics. God is the Beloved, the wife or husband/lover of the mystic. Longing and union is the driving force. The sexual humanizing of God as the Lover is the result of unconscious and unredeemed sexual forces in the soul that are projected and mixed in with the illumination. This may be a hard concept to accept at first and is not meant to minimize the beauty of Rumi or other mystic poets, but this is the problem with going alone and not having the soul training before entering higher states.
So here is the issue to explore and consider for those on the path to higher knowledge:
Jumping from the everyday experience to the " Light of God" may not be the ultimate goal of spiritual work! The goal seems to be rather: First encounter the mystic initiation and create a deep connection with the Divine Being and Christ force within us (and outside); and then move gradually into higher dimensions without skipping steps along the way. Creation is purposeful and each level is Divinely order and seeks to be appreciated not skipped over as being "lesser" or inconsequential. In fact, Rosicrucianism is most clear about this: we are meant to take over the work of the divine hierarchies in the future and become creator "gods" as the Angels and Archangels, and Thrones are now. To accomplish this we are meant to learn and grow through each phase of evolution and not leap past. This is a fatal premise in many Eastern paths and some Buddhist schools.
As you mentioned, Steiner asserted clearly in his work, there are two forces of deception living within mankind: the Lucifer and Ahrimanic. (The Devil and Satan in Christian terms- two distinct Beings and their hosts. And most religious imagery and claims about these beings have distorted their real nature and work into cartoon like visions of evil). The first influence comes from the fallen Angels led by Luciferius (the light bringer?) is intended to quickly bring up back to a heavenly state and away from the earth and human evolution. He abhors density, restriction and the dark matter, so to speak. He encourages us to jump levels and "Go the God" though it may be yet a false God state we find. The Hare Krishnas are the best example of this influence as are some ecstatic Christian sects.
Ahriman who belongs to yet another fallen group of spirits wants the exact opposite: he wants us to love the earth, forget the spiritual, and live in our intellects and bodies as if this is the supreme reality of existence. This is not a situation where the "devil made us do it" but a fact of nature like breathing in air or receiving sunlight. The forces and energies of spiritual Beings and elemental flow through and work in us all the time. The next step is recognize there influence and stay in balance.
Most of humanity are not aware of these influences, and have not even identified these influences within themselves. And these influences become even more intense when we enter a spiritual path because certain protective measures in the soul are opened up. This is dealt with in the book Zanoni, a Rosicrucian Tale by Bulwer Lytton. By the way, it is even more dramatic in the Victorian novel, A Strange Story by Lytton (who was affiliated with the Rosicrucians in England and Europe).
Steiner and other contemporizes were clear about this. Modern initiation is entirely different from the initiation found in the early Rosicrucian literature and work. In Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation (one of Steiner's last lecture cycles) he talks again about the methods used 400 years ago . It is a very valuable book to better understand the process of initiation, then and now. By the middle of the 14th century (it may be slightly earlier) even the great Rosicrucian adepts could not penetrate into the spiritual worlds. A great transition in human consciousness was occurring. Mankind, in the West in particular, had to go "blind" to the Spiritual and then rediscover it in a new form of self actualized consciousness. This new form is more objective and based on deep purification of the soul and the use of new forces in the astral, etheric and physical bodies. Instead of passively receiving revelation from other Beings, the new method of growth was to go forth and get it ourselves with our own efforts.
Source: ROSICRUCIANSOPHIA ( Forum created and moderated by Jeff Auen)
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