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This is a transcription of a lecture originally given live and unscripted on Gnostic Radio. You can download the audio lecture here: Beginning Here and Now: Christic and Demonic Initiation AUDIO . There is also an accompanying pdf: Beginning Here and Now: Christic and Demonic Initiation PDF .

christic and demonic initationWe are going to talk today about the word initiation. We are doing so in order to better understand that our purpose, or our place here in the world, is something that we have to define within ourselves. Initiation is something that we often speak about in this tradition, and in other traditions as well.

Often in our modern culture people who consider themselves spiritual have an idea that there is a type of evolution happening, a type of spiritual or cosmic evolution that will take us to perfection, to enlightenment, or to a golden age. There are a lot of beautiful words to talk about the future golden age, but we need to clarify that in order to achieve the development of our consciousness and our soul, in order to achieve religion (to connect ourselves with our innermost), with our spirit, we need to embark on the path of initiation. So here in our title we have Christic and Demonic Initiation. And this word demonic, in today’s world, in our modern culture, elicits a special kind of reaction in people who consider themselves to spiritual. There exists a reaction to the mention of something being demonic as a superstitious, antiquated type of concept.

In today’s world we need to develop two very important qualities. The first quality is tolerance and the second quality is discernment or discrimination of a conscious type: to discriminate within ourselves what’s developing in our consciousness, or what we are developing in our soul or through our mind, in a positive way or a negative way. Some modern types of spirituality want to do away with discernment. It adheres to the idea that we’re all mechanically evolving towards a spiritual state, and therefore to talk about willful development or to use the word demonic seems silly or antiquated. But in this tradition we know that there are two ways to develop the consciousness, and we also know that we cannot develop the consciousness fully without performing conscious efforts and sacrifices.

This idea of evolution is very prominent and even in our Gnostic tradition we have teachings about previous cosmic days, and different periods and humanities that appear in each round or cosmic day. Currently we are in the terrestrial period, we are in the fifth root race, and there will be future periods and future rounds. In a certain sense, there’s a type of evolution there. But in order to be fit for those future humanities there has to be a conscious development.

epochs-and-planes

In previous lectures we talked about evolution and devolution and we said that our current psychology is the product of evolution. We, as a soul or essence, are inserted into the mineral kingdom. We’re given a physical body related to the mineral kingdom and through an evolving process, through experience, through guidance of higher intelligent forces we evolve into having a plant body. The plant body is more sophisticated than the mineral type of body. And through a lot of experiences we evolve into the animal kingdom where we have bodies that have two brains, more complicated bodies that are more emotionally developed, which handle and more complicated types of energy. Through evolution we develop even the intellect, which is where we find ourselves today in humanity. Here we have a psychology that has evolved, into our current state: we have our intellect, and our emotions, as well as instincts.

So from a certain perspective it seems natural to think that we will continue to evolve, but this is a mistaken concept. Even in many spiritual, new age type of schools that are, as a whole, very good and positive things such as the Theosophical writings, the writings of Rudolph Steiner and Max Heindel and other occultists who were truly awakened at some level and teaching something positive, they were very vague and mistaken about the necessities for achieving the full development of the possibilities of the human being. They never really explained what the process of initiation is and what is required. In a certain respect it wasn’t their duty, it wasn’t their role to do that.

If we were to read only those authors then we would get an idea that there is a process of evolution, and if we see contradictory things going on, people developing themselves negatively, then we may think that’s just part of the way things go, that eventually they would be carried towards the light. There is this idea that if someone is acting wrongly, then they are just a straggler on the evolving current, but eventually they’ll progress and ascend to a higher state of consciousness. This is incorrect.

So we need to be clear that evolution has its pinnacle and once the pinnacle is reached, that is the maximum point. After that it’s going to start to devolve and all that complication of energy is going to start fading away. This is why it’s important to talk about initiation.

The word initiation means to initiate something new, a new type of current, a new development. Secondly, as we said before, we need to develop the quality of discernment within ourselves, to know when we are developing in a way that is awakening our consciousness and liberating our consciousness, or, strengthening our ego, strengthening our desires and putting us more into bondage. In a simple sense, those are the two paths that we call Christic or demonic. So when we say demonic, really we are just pointing towards the ego, towards ourselves. In reality, the work with the demon is the work with our own ego so we shouldn’t be scandalized by that idea.

Sisyphean Existentialism

We find ourselves today in what we could call an existential crisis. If we look at the world today we see that all of our major systems are faltering and crumbling. There are a lot of problems everywhere. If we examine the first two world wars, we can see that after the First World War there was a terrible flu, sometimes called the Spanish flu or the flu of 1918, which was one of the worst epidemics of disease. That was the product of all the terrible conditions of the First World War and of course also the product of karma related to that.

The Second World War left us with a mental pest that is far worse than the pest of the First World War. We are referring to the abominable “Existentialist Philosophy” that has totally poisoned the new generations. The revolution of the dialectic proclaims itself against such philosophy. - Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic

So what is the existentialist philosophy? Well it invovles many things, but what we are intrested is the notion that there really is no point to life other than what you might put into it yourself; life is some type of absurd, random, chaotic existence. So we have different types of personalities in the world. If they find themselves more spiritual they might think: “well everybody is evolving and I shouldn’t make a discernment of what’s going to be positive versus negative.” There are other people who are absent of spiritual longing and they find that life has an absurd nature. This where the existentialist philosophy comes from: “life is just a strange comedy of errors that has no purpose behind it.” From a certain sense, if you not developing your consciousness, if you are not looking to achieve initiation then what is the point of this culture or this world? Where is the foundation of it? You won’t find it anywhere else. We can see this world, from a purely exterior perspective, appears to be just a chaos of various events.

These are two types of mistaken points of view that we can clarify now. This existential crisis brings us to this mythological character called Sisyphus.

Sisyphys by Titian

For some reason the existentialist philosophers made a lot of comments about Sisyphus. The myth tells a story of a poor man who was condemned to carry a very heavy stone up a mountain, and every time he was about to place it at the top of the mountain it would fall down. It was enchanted by Zeus in such a way that it would always fall down, and therefore he would have to do the whole work again, and he was condemned to repeat this process forever.

We know that this story has a strong initiatic symbolism of the person who makes a great effort, but because of his mistakes related to the rock (which we know has relationship to sexual transmutation, to the foundation of the work), the rock falls down and then he has to do the whole work again.

The existentialist philosopher says: “I imagine that Sisyphus is actually smiling during this, because life is absurd, and his ordeal is absurd, but he’s enjoying it somehow.” This is how the existentialist viewpoint is subtly put into our modern culture. The modern person doesn’t think of himself or herself in philosophical terms but if he doesn’t have a spiritual inclination then he sees life as a collection of random absurdities. He just laughs at whatever he finds funny and does whatever he wishes. That’s what his life is.

But the real initiatic symbolism behind this story is actually profound. There are various stories about him, but the general content is that Sisyphus thought he was very clever. He thought he was very smart and he was trying to trick the gods. He thought he could outsmart them, including Zeus, but because of some of his schemes he was sent to Tartarus, the underworld, and was supposed be chained up by death, or Thanatos, but he tricked Thanatos. He chained death up so he was able to escape. Now that death was chained up, no one could die. Eventually he did get punished and his punishment was to lift up this heavy stone.

Sisyphus really is the ego. The ego thinks it’s more clever than God. The ego thinks it can do its own thing in its own way. It doesn’t have to abide by any laws so it thinks it’s more powerful than even Christ, and, the ego doesn’t let anyone die. The ego holds on to its desires. It tries to chain down even death.

You can see psychologically that the ego doesn’t want to die. The ego tries to keep all of our desires alive; it tries to defeat even death. But of course this behavior just leads to misery, which is the Sisyphean tragedy. This is our current culture. Our culture thinks it’s cleverer than the divinity that created it. It rejects that divinity by the virtue of its own ignorance.

So we are currently this character. If you don’t know the doctrine, if you don’t know how to achieve initiation, then you may be working very hard. Even if you are a spiritual person, it’s very hard to develop yourself. If you don’t know the fundamental foundation of initiation then you will be condemned to be like Sisyphus.

Whenever we see the stone in religion, we know that the stone relates kabbalistically to the sphere of Yesod and we see the stone in many different doctrines. For example, in Christianity, the foundation stone is called the stone of stumbling and the rock of offense. Nothing is more of a stumbling block and a rock of offense than sex. This is what the rock is. From Yesod, we have the foundation. That’s what Yesod means. We can see that everything else, all the other columns rest on that foundation. They rest upon that because it’s there in the sexual energy that we have our creative energy. The creative energy is the conduit or the connection that we have as an individual to the Creator. We have the ability, when we sexually unite, to be reminded of the creator, the three primary forces. This is where creation comes from. So we have that as a reflection in ourselves but of course we also have desire, we have the ego.

yesod-body-cropped

Chastity and Celibacy

When we think of sex, we think of desire, we think of lust, we think of the thing that defiles us. Or if we’re lacking discernment, we’re lacking discrimination, we would just accept that we’re just here to sexually enjoy ourselves in all the various ways we want. Society today doesn’t challenge that. Instead society states, think: “This is the way. I was put here. I have these desires. I have this energy and the way to use it is through desire.

Part of the problem is the doctrine of how to transmute sexual energy has not been taught. The other half of the problem is our lack of consciousness, we have a spiritual longing but we do not reject desire or lust. Those two things combined will lead you towards initiating yourself to go down, not to go up. Why? The lower half of the tree of life, the klipoth, is related to the inferior dimensions, which are symbolized by hell or Tartarus or the all the various inferior worlds of the inferno. On the upper half, we have the heavenly worlds or the superior dimensions. The physical body and the vital body, Malkuth and Yesod are really connected as one thing but in the tree of life we separate them as two. It’s our vital body, our sexual energy, our sexual behavior that is the point from which our energy either goes downward further or is transmuted and goes up. So really it’s chastity or the lack of chastity that defines whether our consciousness is going to develop through the liberation of desire or through the crystallization of desire. This is the crux because the creative sexual energy is what’s going to develop our consciousness. It is the base, the root energy of what we are. It’s the extract of everything that we are.

If you think about it, we eat food, we breathe, we drink water and other fluids; all this enters into the body. We have our vital body, we have the chakras, which are bringing in energy and transforming energy. All of this goes into the body, into the blood stream, and from the blood stream, all of the hormones are developed. So we’re taking in all of this energy and information and it’s being condensed and purified and put into an extract which we can call our sexual creative energy. Now that sexual creative energy is our hormones, any sexual fluid such as semen, but it’s also that energy that’s held in the vital body, so it’s not just something physical. You can think of our physical sexual fluids as the body of that energy, but we have also a soul and spirit of that energy, so it’s not just a physical thing.

So we have all this external information and nourishment coming in, plus we have this energy from the akasha coming down and descending and going into our chakras so it’s a mixture of our experiences, our state of mind, our transformation of impressions, combined with our spiritual archetypes. What are our spiritual archetypes? Those are located in what we call the sixth dimension, but we have a connection to them. We fertilize them through our behavior of chastity or not. If we don’t have chastity, but we do have a spiritual longing, and we try to direct our sexual desire in a way that combines with our spiritual longing, then we end up developing ourselves in a negative way. If we use our sexual energy in combination with our spiritual longing but in a way that transmutes our energy then that energy goes up and liberates us. Both types of practices develop the consciousness but only one type of practice liberates the consciousness from desire. This, again, is the crux and it all has to do with chastity.

This word chastity in a modern sense can be scandalous because we have a culture that is rejecting Victorian values, and those values represented a very ignorant type of sexual repression. Nevertheless, it rejects not just Victorian values but it also rejects values from all the way back to thousands of years ago, when there was an idea that purity was found by hating the sexual impulse, and by just rejecting sex one would become holy. That’s the type of fanaticism that came about from not knowing the true doctrine.

Originally, in Christianity, and Hinduism, and Buddhism (in all the great world religions), the monks and the nuns had to be celibate, they had to restrict themselves from sexual expression, and they had to be chaste. Chastity is something of the mind and of the heart also.

However, that chastity was only a preparation. Once one had entered into that and proved himself or herself worthy, the teacher could say: “This person is serious. He has learned how to work with his mind, he knows how to transmute as a single person.” After that, they would be initiated into a secret part of that teaching which would pair up the monks with the nuns. This would only take place in secrecy because they didn’t want this doctrine to be defiled or destroyed. A monk would work with a nun in sexual cooperation. We can see hints of that here and there in religion if we look in certain places, but historically such sects or people were often banished as heretics. You see some clarity in some forms of Buddhism which have tantric teachings, which have survived and still have that doctrine. It’s there but it’s very secluded, not taught publicly and not accessible.

So we are here now, teaching that this type of practice is the right of any individual who wishes to develop his or her consciousness but we need to be very clear. When we use our sexual energy in relation with spirituality, it needs to be clearly elucidated that certain types of behavior develop our consciousness by liberating it from the ego and that other types of behavior develop our ego. Both ways can give us experiences, both ways can empower the consciousness to have an experience outside of our body or in the astral plane, but, only if we liberate our consciousness will we be able have true objective knowledge. If you awaken your consciousness in desire then you are what Homer would call a king in hell. You’re developing those powers but you’re developing them in hell. It’s better to be a beggar in heaven than a king in hell. This is something that most people don’t realize: that there are two ways. That’s why the title of the lecture is as it is.

We find our souls evolving through different types of bodies; undergoing metempsychosis, a metamorphosis of the psyche through more and more complex kingdoms. We begin in the mineral kingdom, and then we evolve to the plant kingdom followed by the animal kingdom. Finally, with the humanoid kingdom we develop the intellect and it’s in the humanoid kingdom that we need to direct our creative energy in a particular way according to individual willpower, because we have the ability to individualize ourselves. In the animal kingdom animals behave as animals; animals behave as a group mind. They are under the control of superior forces guiding their evolution. Animals work in packs, they work as a group mind and they use their sexual energy as they are instinctually inclined to do. At that point, fornication is something good for their evolution because it’s through that act that they are evolving their intellect (although it’s not really called intellect yet.) That type of sexual activity is also providing an energy. Any animal engages in an animal level of sexuality, which is to have sex instinctually and to fornicate, to have orgasms, to ejaculate. That is how animals reproduce themselves.

So what’s happening is that creative energy from the higher planes is coming down, and it’s connecting and when that happens, it’s producing something physical (offspring), but that energy is also binding the animals to this evolving and devolving current. It’s providing a type of energy for the whole planet which helps keep the planet stable. If the animals didn’t do that, there would be no energy going into the planet to stabilize it. It would have no consistency or form, it would be “mush.” When this planet was created it took many cosmic days of development, beginning in the higher planes and then progressively moving into heaver and heavier levels. It needs to be here in the terrestrial world to play a role in the cosmic scenario. In order to be here at this level it needs the energy at that level, that heavy energy. Part of the role of the animal kingdom is to provide that energy.

As intellectual animals in the humanoid kingdom we have an impulse to continue to behave in the same way that we behaved in the animal kingdom, to use sex in an instinctual way. Now that we have the intellect, we come up with ways to make it more complicated, to extract more desire out of it, or to justify that desire. So we make it worse. In that sense, we are worse than any animal. When we perform the sexual act in the normal way, which is the animal way, we are binding ourselves more tightly to this evolving and devolving wheel. Because the humanoid kingdom is at the top of this wheel, we’re providing the energy to connect ourselves more tightly to this descending arc. We’re connecting ourselves to that current of going down and out. We develop our ego more and we bind ourselves with more karma and we end up going down faster.

evolution-and-devolution-kingdoms

Without conscious sacrifice, there’s no way to step off this wheel because everything here is mechanical. This wheel is serving a purpose for this planet and this planet has a purpose, not only to develop the human but also to serve a purpose in the cosmos as a whole. This planet has multiple purposes. This planet, for its own economy, is perfectly happy with nobody achieving initiation because this planet functions like an organ in a body called our solar system. For that solar system to operate, it needs to transform and transmit certain energies on a cosmic scale. It doesn’t need to create human beings that achieve initiation; it just needs to achieve this economy of energy.

That is our inheritance. Our ego is just a product of this. To have an intellect, and to realize that our purpose is to simply transform energy for the economy of the earth, can really make it feel like life is absurd, that life is meaningless. This happens sometimes: someone sees the world in a way that doesn’t recognize any purpose behind it. In fact, without the spirit, without initiation, there is no other purpose, so in a certain sense, that viewpoint is logical if you don't know about initation.

But if we don’t reject the spirit then how do we work with it? How do we achieve something more? The foundation of initiation is chastity. What does that mean?

We have two words: chastity and celibacy. Often they are used interchangeably. But we should have some discernment to see the difference between them. Chastity means the proper use of sexual creative energy. Celibacy refers to having the restraint to not sexually unite. Chastity means to use sexual energy in the right way, the proper way. If someone takes a vow of chastity and they know what that means, that person can enter into sexual union or have a marriage and not break that vow of chastity because to connect sexually and keep chastity is really the way to achieve initiation.

However, this feels like a tremendous sacrifice to many. It feels like an unbearable pain and an absurity, to reject the orgasm. In our modern culture we think that’s the whole point of sex. But we have to see that there are various functions. Sexuality functions in a way that produces other bodies (offspring), that ties us to the wheel of evolving and devolving, and sexuality has a spiritual purpose as well. Everybody has to make a choice of what they want to develop. If they want to use that energy to develop themselves consciously, to develop their soul and connect to their spirit, then that is what is required. Otherwise, all that energy is going down; it’s not serving your spirit. When one becomes accustomed to chastity and transmutation, they see that it is truly the path of peace and happiness.  We are confused about what the causes and conditions of true happiness are.  We believe that happiness comes through the satisfaction of desire, but actually this is the cause of our pain and ignorance in life.

However there are many mystical doctrines, tantric types of doctrines, that don’t reject orgasm, they don’t reject fornication. They say that you should be kind, be nice, do good works, you can develop powers, and they speak very delicately. They dress their message up in a lot of beautiful words and spiritual concepts, but when it comes down to the crux of the matter they say that we can’t conserve our sexual energy; we have to get rid of it. They say that it would be violence against our body if we were to not expel it. These are doctrines that try to mix spiritual longing with fornication. That always leads to someone being tied more tightly to go down into the infernal worlds.

Samael Aun Weor wrote that the subtlest types of black magic or inferior doctrines are related to the mental world. He writes:

“Almost all spiritualist schools teach how to develop mental force; they all want to fortify the mind. This is how many end up practicing black magic; the mind is the donkey on which we must ride in order to enter into the Heavenly Jerusalem. The mind (the manas, the man) must debase itself before the majesty of the Innermost. Spiritualist devotees ignore this. Thus, what they always want to do is their own selfish will and never the will of the Father. This is the terrible truth of all these things.” - Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries

“Evilness is so fine in the world of the mind... Evilness is so delicate and subtle in the plane of cosmic understanding that in reality a lot of intuition is needed in order not to be cheated by the demons of the Mental World.The black magicians in the Mental Plane are millions of times more fine and delicate than the black magicians of the Astral Plane.” - Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Sexual Alchemy

Today we can see many different types of doctrines. Some make it very obvious that they’re trying to develop more and more desire and certain types of people are attracted to that. But other types of people really feel a spiritual longing and they get tied up in spiritual language that seems nice and seems to make everyone happy but they’re really engaging in a way that is trying to make their mind more powerful. They’re trying to develop powers but they’re not trying to reduce their ego.

If we practice chastity, if we practice pranayamas (which are a type of breathing exercise), if we practice certain mantras, if we are doing something sincere in ourselves, if we are doing a good work, then we start to conserve our energy. This does not go unnoticed in the inner worlds. It’s similar to lighting a fire in a dark, wooded area. There is so much darkness that if a person is conserving his or her energy, that creates a type of light that’s easily noticed. This attracts the attention of the white lodge, the awakened masters who are looking to help. So they say: “Let’s see if this aspirant is ready to work on himself, if he can become an enemy of his own self.” Because in this work, the true enemy is your self, your own ego, your own self-will. If you’re afraid to look into yourself, if you’re afraid of your own psychological image, if you’re unable to attack your own psychological image, if that causes you to be afraid then there’s no way you could progress.

The Guardian of the Threshold

The first ordeal in this sense is what we call the Guardian of the Threshold. This is something that occurs in the inner worlds, in the superior worlds, where the aspirant has to invoke his or her Guardian of the Threshold and has to defeat him, or, to conjure the guardian without having any fear in his heart. An animalistic image appears which can be terrifying for the aspirant. If he cowers in fear then obviously he is unable to work on himself and will fail that ordeal. If that happens then the aspirant has to meditate more on that. To be able to pass that ordeal is to be able to see that image and not be afraid of it, to pass through it. That signifies that the aspirant is able to take up arms against his own ego, is able to look at himself without being afraid, and is able to work on himself, to move forward. That’s really the first step.

Another possibility is that an aspirant who is trying to work in himself, trying to develop himself or herself, is interested in various spiritual doctrines and he becomes enamored by a doctrine that is not really trying to achieve initiation. Schools of this type talk about spiritual things but instead of the Guardian of the Threshold being the enemy to pass through, they assume that this "guardian" is the protector, that the guardian of the threshold is their true being, that the ego is the true spirit. So anyone involved in black magic, in black initiation is looking to integrate himself tighter with the guardian of the threshold. It’s not always called the guardian of the threshold; it might just be called “your true self”. The doctrine may say various different things but fundamentally, those types of doctrine always speak against chastity. They always speak against Christ. Whatever form or language they use, it comes down to that. They speak against Christ and they speak against chastity because it’s only through chastity that one can even begin to take up arms or take up a fight against his own ego, against the guardian. Without fuel in the engine, we can’t go anywhere.

In the same way, if we don’t have chastity we cannot do any of this work, but the schools of black magic always talk beautifully about how we need to revere the guardian and even try to integrate with the guardian. They say the guardian is our protector. Some schools call it the “Holy Guardian Angel” even though it’s not what we, as Gnostics, would call the guardian angel. These are just words, but they call it the guardian angel, our guardian, and say that we want to connect with that and protect that. So what’s happening in that sense is that if there’s a spiritual longing, but the aspirant is in a black school, they to attempt integrate with their guardian, they are trying to awake and even observe themselves inside the ego. Anyone who is involved in a school of black magic is going to look to develop his mind, to awaken. Not to remove any desire, but to integrate with that desire. They’re trying to awaken or become aware of that energy that has selfishness or hatred, saying that we can become focused through anger, we can become focused through desire, we can become one-pointed through desire, not one-pointed through the liberation of desire. That’s how they begin to awaken. They observe their desires and they reinforce them, they integrate tighter, trying to achieve a type of tight integration of the soul and the ego.

Of course that is a process that is ultimately going to cause a lot of pain and suffering because underneath the ego and the soul is the essence, which belongs in the sixth dimension; it comes from the absolute. So eventually that’s going to be extracted out of there through a very painful process. It could take cosmic days, depending on the level of initiation that the person achieved in that sense.

There are different types of black magicians. In some cases a person has developed himself in Christic initiations then he has built solar bodies, built vehicles related to the internal worlds: electronic, Christic vehicles. If that person then falls and redevelops, or reinforces the ego then he will have two polarities. One polarity is related to the soul, which is fallen, and the other polarity is related to the spirit which has development and may even be a master. These types of black magicians are the worst. They are absolutely the worst because they are very diabolical and very powerful. We’ve talked about them in previous lectures, they’re called hasnamussen. Hasnamussen is the plural, hasnamus is the individual.

There are different levels of hasnamussen. Anybody with ego can be called a hasnamus but the real hasnamussen are the ones that achieved initiation and developed solar bodies and then fell for reasons that we’ve discussed in other lectures. The only way to develop those bodies is through chastity so at one point those people must have been chaste in order to develop those bodes.

However, someone who doesn’t have those bodies can still develop powers through the mind. He can still empower his ego but he just won’t have the solar bodies. These people may awaken and they may have powers and they may be able to manipulate people here in this physical world or to manipulate people in a subtle sense. They may be able to put people to sleep and to hypnotize people to make them fascinated with whatever they are saying. They may give gifts with curses on them to people in order to injure those people for whatever reason. They may make a game out of it.

The Four Ordeals

So we have these two sides to the Guardian of the Threshold. The white initiate or the Christic initiate is going to try to defeat the guardian whereas the black magician is going to try to empower the guardian and he or she sees the guardian as his true self. If we defeat the guardian of the threshold, we are not actually killing the guardian; we are just defeating him in a single battle. Passing this ordeal is just the first part of the process of killing the guardian. If we are successful in that ordeal, we will be given the first of the ordeals related to the four elements. Here is a picture representing the ordeals of fire, air, water, and earth (from Atalanta fugiens, by Michael Maier):

four-ordeals

The initiate or the aspirant with his weapon is trying to defeat those ordeals. We can see that this is the same person; it’s a person defeating himself. This is an alchemical work. This is a work of developing ourselves that we symbolize through these four elements. There are various types of ordeals.

The ordeal of fire is an ordeal that gets your blood boiling. If someone slanders you or curses you, if someone gossips about you or criticizes you, how do you handle that? Does it make your blood boil? Do you return that with hatred? Are you able to kiss the whip of the executioner, as the master states? Are you able to return hate with love and serenity? Not with false serenity but with a truly peaceful heart. That is transforming that experience. That is going through the ordeal of fire. But the ordeal of fire might not be just one moment. What if someone is slandering you over and over again? Does that eat up your heart? Does that make you feel pain?

These ordeals can occur physically or they can occur internally. If we’re working with our consciousness, if we’re working with the transmutation of sexual energy then we’re going to start to awaken through little experiences, things that appear like dreams but are different. They are more awakened, more spiritual, and more powerful. These are awakened experiences in the astral plane. You may have experiences where you are burned, where you are put to fire. That’s a symbolic representation of going through an ordeal.

You may just be slandered in the astral plane as a test to see if you can pass through that ordeal. In the astral plane you access your subtle emotions much more directly; you can’t hide from them. Here in the physical world you can compartmentalize your emotions. You may think that you are not angry, although in reality you are very angry.

Personally, I’ve had experiences in the astral plane where I got really angry. I woke up and I realized that a person was slandering me in the astral plane. I didn’t think I would be angry like that but I really was. That experience was showing me that I wasn’t able to handle that criticism. So obviously I didn’t pass that particular ideal. That was an ordeal of fire. That meant that I had to sit down and meditate. I had to reflect on that, look into it, and see what I was accessing. What was it about?

If we don’t pass, then it has to be given to us again. If it’s given to us again it’s probably going to be more severe. We need to learn the lesson. We need to have the consequences applied more bluntly. Sometimes we need to be hit squarely on the head multiple times before we realize what we need to realize.

Ordeals of the air are related to our mind because the air is the symbol of the mind. In order to pass these we need to rise above difficult situations.

For example, I remember something happening to me in the astral plane where I was seeing clouds above me and they were very powerful. They looked like concrete. A whole row of dense thick clouds came from the left and another row rolled in from the right. They terrified me. They came from both sides and they hit each other in the middle, directly over me and exploded with falling hail. I didn’t know what to do but thankfully, I found a truck next to me and I hid in the truck. The truck bounced around and was beaten up but I was safe. Later the hail stopped and I opened up the truck and looked up and the sky was beautiful. That experience had a relationship to an ordeal.

It’s interesting to observe the thesis and the antithesis in our own minds: two competing theories or ideas that we don’t know how to move through. They cause anguish. One moment we’re thinking one thing and the next moment we’re thinking another. So to find refuge in the vehicle of Gnosis is the way we get through the battles of the mind that we undergo.

We also experience ordeals of water. Water has the ability to change circumstances easily; it’s able to flow through different circumstances. These ordeals are a test of our ability to handle different circumstances. Water relates most particularly to our sexual energy and also to our ability to adapt ourselves.

Ordeals of the Earth can be related to our physical existence of mundane life. We must be able to overcome the mundane daily tasks without becoming fascinated by them or being dragged down. Ordeals of the Earth may be related to our laziness, to fascination with making money or toiling away in earthly matters that have nothing to do with the spirit. We must be able to overcome that.

The Earth is related to the gnomes. The gnomes are very diligent workers who work to extract gold. If we pass the ordeals of the Earth, then we are like a gnome extracting the gold.

So we pass these ordeals. But in reality, every ordeal, whether it’s the four ordeals that we pass initially or whether it’s any initiation, minor or major, every progress that we make is going to be an ordeal related to these four elements or combinations of them. Don’t think that there are only these four ordeals and when we’ve completed them we go on to the minor initiations, and then the major initiations and never deal with the four elements again. Every ordeal is related to the elements at one level or another. We keep passing ordeals at more and more subtle levels.

The Minor and Major Initiations

After those four initial ordeals, one is placed on the path of minor initiations: the minor mysteries. There are nine minor mysteries. Anybody who is practicing in chastity can achieve this. The nine minor mysteries are related to the first nine sephiroth in the tree of life. We pass them by working in chastity, through meditation, and through transmutation. We’re given ordeals, we’re given certain experiences, and with help we begin to learn about ourselves, we’re tested. It’s always a process of looking into ourselves and observing what comes out.

Think of an Alchemist boiling all the elements and observing what comes out from them. If the elements don’t boil then we don’t get the extract. So our life has to be boiled down to these moments, to extract the conscious knowledge out of it and to get rid of the rest. Our ego is what we need to remove, to destroy, but our ego holds our essence and our essence has that experience of being in the ego. By learning, we gain wisdom, we gain love, and we gain compassion. When we learn that, we are able to extract ourselves out of that ego and to destroy it.

So we pass through nine initiations of minor mysteries and after that we can be placed on the path of major mysteries. However, in order to achieve the major mysteries we must be not only chaste but in sexual cooperation. The minor mysteries can be achieved by any individual, single or married, but he or she must be in chastity. When one achieves the ninth initiation of minor mysteries he or she can continue to develop himself in meditation and transmutation, he can work to reduce the ego more and more. The major mysteries, however, require a spouse to generate more energy. It’s through the major mysteries that we develop the solar bodies. From there, more types of initiations occur. There are various types of paths; there’s the spiral path and the direct path. There are vehicles related to the top triangle of the tree of life. But all of this is related to other lectures. This lecture is only an introduction that defines initiation.

In summary, we must be able to discern the difference between initiations towards Christ and initiations towards the ego or the demon. Just because a school looks spiritual doesn’t mean anything really. We have to investigate internally because it is very subtle. They may be giving a doctrine that looks very spiritual but if they’re not talking about using the sexual energy in a way that creates the soul then we are not going to gain much from that teaching.

Many schools are meditating. There are yoga studios that do some meditation in the beginning; that’s good.  They develop observation and mindfulness; that’s good. But what about the lust and vanity being displayed while engaging in that practice? You could also develop mindfulness by washing the dishes. Mindfulness is good but if a person is wasting his energy sexually then how is he going to develop his energy emotionally? How will he be able to develop a compassionate heart? That comes from the sexual center. Our sexual energy is the basic energy that creates all of our spiritual experiences. It all starts with Yesod, the foundation. That’s why we’re always talking about it and we’re not becoming tired of clarifying that we need to work with the sexual energy.

Questions from the Audience

Q: In ages past when all of these teachings were kept secret, as you mentioned, there were certain preparatory procedures before one could be accepted or invited into the path of initiation. Now, in this age, it’s more or less open to anyone. I’ve always read, as I’ve studied the various paths, that in initiation there was a certain point where you took a vow, you basically entered on that path definitively and at that point, if you turned back then there were much more serious consequences than if you were just dabbling in it.

A: Master Samael Aun Weor stated that curious people should not really engage in these studies too much. You should be curious, in a sense, but realize that the outcome of this doctrine is either angels or demons. That’s what he said. Because if you’re going to work with the sexual energy then you’re going to start empowering yourself and if you don’t destroy the ego then you’re developing yourself into a more powerful hasnamus, a more powerful demon. Now if you turn away, that’s your own karma. Because you know more so you will get more karma for that. If you simply turn away from it you face more severe consequences because you know what the path should be.

Q: [Audience member asks question concerning how Black Magicians view the ego.]

A: They wouldn’t see the ego as anything negative. So the question is: what if someone is developing his guardian of the threshold and uniting with it?  Such a person is not going to see it is a terrible thing. It is in the same way that everyone in this world loves himself, and if he gets criticized, then he gets flippant, or gets angry and feels justified in anger and hate. When criticized, how often do we say, “I don’t need to worry about them?” They don’t take any level of criticism whatsoever because they love themselves so much; so they love their guardian. So in the inner worlds, the guardian would appear in a way that would be sympathetic to that idea. The guardian would appear as a spiritual thing. This is part of the idea of good and evil. The words good and evil should be replaced by the words evolving and devolving. What we think is evil, is good for someone who is practicing evil. And what we think is good is evil for them. So if we were in a temple of black magic and you were to talk about Christ, they would think you are talking about a demon because that light hurts them and it makes them feel weak and it doesn’t feel right. So if you proclaim yourself for Christ then, yeah, that’s going to be against them… whatever is good is evil and whatever is evil is good. Everything gets turned upside down.

Q: [A question about being in a black school and not knowing that you are performing evil.]

A: So is there blame for it? That gets into the whole cosmic scenario of karma. It’s in the same way that if I park next to a fire hydrant that’s covered with snow in New York city, I’ll still get a ticket even though I didn't know there was a fire hydrant there. I learned that. Even though I didn’t know about the fire hydrant being there, I still got a ticket. Karma is like that, it is the results that matter, which is why we are here giving this doctrine, to help.

Additional comment from audience member: About the Guardian Angel, master Samael said that he is an archetype, a part of your Being, and there is also the Guardian of the Threshold. And, yes, there are some people that are trying to mix the Guardian Angel and the Guardian of the Threshold in order to confuse people. This is exactly what happened to the Kabbalist in England, Crowley. He says that he received everything from his Guardian Angel but in actuality he was working with the Guardian of the Threshold, which is not a Guardian Angel.

A: Precisely. The Kabbalist who wrote a lot of books and has some popularity amongst people who have an interest of occultism, Aliester Crowley, would talk about the "Holy Guardian Angel" but really he was connecting with what we call the Guardian of the Threshold. When we hear someone talking about something that’s holy… we have to be discerning. If you investigate his doctrine, you see that it’s not a doctrine of chastity whatsoever and he speaks against Jesus, he speaks against Christ in his books. And he makes a game out of everything. We could speak about that at length, but the basic, fundamental thing is that if you’re developing your mind but you’re not practicing chastity then the only thing you could be feeding is your ego; that energy is going to go somewhere.

Q: So we’re in the fifth of the cosmic periods, right?

A: So we are in the fifth root race of the terrestrial period, which is the lowest period of the great cosmic day.

Comment from audience: The Kali Yuga

A: Yes, the Kali Yuga of the fifth, yes. [Laughter]

Comment from audience: The Iron Age

A: So we are in a time when we really need to be clear about everything. We might say: “Why do we deserve this? Why can’t I be born in one of these things up here? [laughter] In the seventh race, why can’t I be there?" Well first of all, we have more fuel here to work on our ego. We have an ability to go really straight and define ourselves very clearly. You know that if you go the gym and if you lift heavier weights, you build more muscle. We have to take advantage of that and if we do, we really can define ourselves and develop ourselves very quickly and powerfully. Secondly, being in this race, being in this humanoid body right now, we went through a humungous evolution to get to this point. We have 3000 turns on this great evolving and devolving wheel. This whole thing takes a long time. If we go down and then go back up, it’s not going to be for a long time. We have 3000 of those opportunities. I don’t know my karma well enough to know but I think there might be a reason why I’m in this particular situation, as opposed to a better one, whatever a "better one" might be. If I’m here then my karma must have put me here. This is my situation so perhaps I’ve been around this wheel many times and this is where I need to be because I need to learn. I don’t know and I try not to speculate. Sometimes it’s seen by some students in a sense of being terrible, but there’s a way to get through our situation. If you feel a resistance or a longing that you were in a different root race or a different age then you should probably investigate where that’s coming from because there’s probably something you could learn about yourself.

Q: So there’s a wheel, right? And you mentioned that initiation is a way to get out of the wheel. That just reminded me of the symbol of Mars, or Aries […]. There’s a circle and then an arrow…

A: An arrow going out? Yeah. I’m sure there’s some relationship there. That arrow is a sword or spear, and the circle is a shield. The weapons of a warrior, and we have to have a war with our ego. If I didn’t make it clear before, this is like a mechanical wheel and the way to step off that wheel is through initiation, which is right at the top and you go up to get off that wheel. There’s another type of evolution that people pick related to what’s called the spiral path, which is a very slow, almost evolutionary path. It’s conscious but it’s very slow. Talking about the spiral path and the direct path would be another lecture. That’s why I stopped before we got there.

Q: In The Major Mysteries, Samael Aun Weor said that initiations are infinite realizations of the consciousness. So what is a demonic initiation?

A: If the white initiations are intimate realizations of our own consciousness or something similar to that then what’s the demonic initiation? The demonic initiation, in my understanding, is connecting to your ego more and more so you’re realizing your desire more and more. We’re asleep. We have an ego but we’re asleep to that ego. Awakening is polarized. We can awake into that ego, knowing it even more. As we are now, we have anger and we get off kilter and off balance. But if we have anger and we know exactly how to focus that anger then that anger becomes a stream of energy that we can work with, we can focus into it, to know our desires more and more deeply. That’s what the black initiations would be. Symbolically, in the 5th Dimension, there would be rituals that would represent our soul becoming more tied to the inferior kingdoms, taking steps to become "a king in hell."

Q: You said the Earth doesn’t want the souls to evolve. Do you mean Melchizedek, the genie of the earth, doesn’t want the souls to evolve?

A: The question is about the evolving and devolving nature, related to a planet, versus the genie of that planet, which is Melchizedek in the case of Earth. What’s going on here? Really there are two things: there’s the economy of the world, which is like a machine that’s sustaining itself but also the initiates are working to provide a harvest or a crop of solar men or solar initiates. So it’s not that Melchizedek is trying to subvert us. That’s not the truth at all. Melchizedek is a resurrected master. It just means that it has to happen like this. In another sense, we need to develop some level of ego in order to fight against or to develop ourselves. This planet Earth is particularly difficult. There needs to be that energy going up and down and we’re inside of that. We need to have a choice to define ourselves. It’s not that he’s against it.

Q: For the planet, if everybody were transmuting, all that energy would not go down at all because it would all go up, right? So the earth would not have any consistency, is that right?

A: The inferior worlds would be empty. There are different levels of what would happen. For example, the sun, or any star, is a planet that’s evolved to that level. So our sun is also a planet. When we investigate it materialistically we only see gasses and light and energy coming out of it. But really, it’s a planet. People live on it but they’re solar beings. That’s ok because that planet has reached that level; it’s at that level of karma, that level of energy. The hell realms are still there but they’re clean; there’s nothing there. We still have a lot of energy to process because our Earth is at the level that it’s at. The Earth had to be pulled into the terrestrial world and eventually it does have to go up so it needs to start getting rid of some of that energy. But in recent times, it needed the stability.

Q: Does that mean that the Earth will eventually evolve into a star?

A: That is the cosmic scenario that’s supposed to happen. Any planet is a type of energy that wants to be a host for more energy to evolve or to progress. When you reach very high initiations, you have the Bodhisattva, the Christic, Dhyani Bodhisattva but then you also have a Logos, the top triangle of the Tree of Life. When that becomes incarnated, that Logos has the ability to become the manager of a planet or a planetary consciousness which handles all the energy at the level of a planet. A planet is like a physical manifestation of a Logos. That is another level of initiating the Monad further and further into the absolute. They need to handle enormous amounts of energy perfectly. Part of that plan is to be host of a planet’s energy. So any planet is progressing towards becoming a star.

Q: What is the moon then?

A: The moon is a cadaver of a previous planet. It’s the representation of the planet’s prior cosmic day. So that moon crystalized because it’s the cadaver, the final remnants of our planet’s old body. In the same way that when we die, if our physical body goes into the ground and we’re put into another physical body, the old physical body is still rotting, it’s still decomposing. That’s what the moon is. Any moon of a planet is related to prior karmic events. We think that the universe came as a physical thing, that everything exploded and then all these planets condensed at once. But really, if we go back much further than that, physical material had to condense out of its karmic level, from the absolute, from very subtle levels, and it condensed. That’s why the moon is the Earth’s previous body from a previous cosmic day.

Q: When you were talking about chastity you said that if you’re not practicing chastity and doing the work then you’re feeding the ego. I was thinking: if we are practicing chastity and doing the work, could we also be feeding the ego?

A: You could. [Laughter] If you are not practicing chastity but you’re trying to develop your mind then you are definitely feeding the ego. But even if you are practicing chastity, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re not feeding the ego. Going back to what the Master stated in terms of becoming either an angel or a demon, this work is the Faustian pact, the bet with the devil. It’s a pact that you’re going to be working with but if you make a mistake, if you fall into error, into confusion, if you’re not in alignment with Christ, then you’re going to be left alone, you’re not going to have that guidance, that wisdom.

Simon the magician knew the great Arcanum, knew everything about chastity, he was a relatively high initiate, in my understanding. But he did not accept the new current. He rejected the new current of Christ through Jesus. So even though he was awakened, even though he was practicing sexual magic and knew that, even teaching it, he did not accept the new current. If the Christic current of our time is running through a particular Master or through a particular host and you’re not in alignment with that then you’re going to be like a tumbleweed. The only way back to the Absolute is through Christ so if you’re not in alignment with Christ then you’re going to fall by the wayside, even if you know all this stuff.

There are a lot of dangers, a lot of ways we need be careful and investigate ourselves. Just because we are practicing chastity, just because we are in a gnostic school, doesn’t mean that you are eliminating your ego. You know you are eliminating your ego when you are changing as a person, when you face situations and you behave differently, you have different impulses. You may also have certain experiences in the internal worlds. Or you may not, so you have to meditate and do the work.

Q: [Comment about the danger of making mistakes before achieving resurrection.]

A: Before resurrection there are many different ways to fall into mistakes. And even for a totally resurrected master, unless he is in the Absolute, there is still a danger of falling. Even a clean solar mind still has an ability to choose its self-will. It’s not an ego but they can make a mistake. That usually happens when the physical body falls in love.

Comment from the audience: In this day and age we’re witnessing all of the various Gnostic schools and all these pseudo-masters. All this indeed is happening and we’re seeing this. We need to be very aware of who we’re following. The best thing to follow is, as you said, the Christic force, not the personality, to identify with any personality.

A: It’s very important. There are diverse types of schools, even within this particular tradition. It’s a very unfortunate reality that there are a lot of political games and personalities fighting each other. If we all have ego then obviously there will be disagreements, but we need to focus on ourselves and on the work and not get lost in: “somebody said this and somebody didn’t do that," etc. So follow what’s written down in the works of the master. If it’s not clear what to do, then you can stay silent and meditate but don’t go making a fuss, or making a big deal and talking, because slander and gossip can kill schools. There may be something not perfect with a school, but if it is killed then you may be causing a true spiritual injury, not just for yourself, but also for other people there who could have benefitted. There are a lot of delicate issues. Sometimes it is a crime to speak, sometimes it is a crime to be silent. However, there are better and worse ways to be silent or to speak.

This reminds me of another thing that I want to talk about. When we achieve initiation, it is not us, it is the innermost, it is the master that achieves the initiations. So even if you are achieving initiations it’s not your physical body, it’s not your ego, it’s not your personality, it’s the inner master.

Even if a person achieves that and has an inner master, it doesn’t mean that the personality that’s talking right now is the master that’s talking. The first initiation causes the fusion or connection between the spiritual soul and Atman, the innermost. It creates a master monad. But it’s not until the very end of initiation that that energy is incarnated in the person. The person has to die and a master becomes crystalized at lower and lower levels and when he resurrects then the master is there physically. But if someone is able to achieve an initiation, and perhaps even knows the name of his or her master, then he says: “I am such and such.” That’s the personality saying that. We have to be very careful.

Q: Relating to what you said, does the innermost achieve black initiations? What about Simon the magician; how could he have rejected the personality of Jesus? How could you be an alchemist and reject Christ at the same time?

A: The innermost does not achieve black initiations. Black initiations are only achieved by the ego, which is in the inferior aspect of the fifth dimension.

Certainly if you make mistakes and you go through black initiations but then you extract yourself out by going on the white path, you learn from that. You still have to pay the karma; you have to overcome good and evil (to go beyond evolution and devolution into initiation) so yes, in a certain sense mistakes are where we gain the sapience of sin, the wisdom of mistakes. Is that what you were asking?

Q: Yeah. And then, about Simon the magician: you said he was working with sexual transmutation, he was working with Christ, so what did he reject about Jesus himself? Was that his personality or what was rejected?

A: I don’t know about the particular decision that Simon the magician made but perhaps if he felt better than the hierarchy. There’s a hierarchy of masters directing down from the Absolute. If you’re not following in that hierarchy, if you reject that master (who is in charge), but you are still trying to work on yourself then you are going to fall away even though you are working sexual magic.

Comment from audience: In relation to the innermost, learning from that, Master Samael Aun Weor says in the Revolution of Beelzebub that the innermost of Andramelek has to face the karma of having created that demon with the consciousness because he lacked the will power in order to control that consciousness. So in the end he has to pay, because it’s part of him. This is kind of sad but the Innermost has to pay when it can’t control the soul. So we have to cooperate with the father because, in the end, if we go down, we are creating karma. But who created us? Which consciousness?

A: Whatever karma we have ultimately has a connection with our Innermost, with our master. If we are achieving black initiations, part of the reason is that the monad didn’t have the willpower or the capacity to help control us so it has to pay for that. Sometimes we ask why some people are interested in this teaching and others are not. That’s also related to our monad. Some people are searching for the teaching and they feel an emptiness in their heart and a spiritual longing. That’s because the monad is whipping us or continually telling us to search. But there are people who don’t care. For one reason or another they don’t have that connection. So we don’t have to judge anybody for what he or she does.

Q: Is working with practices to increase willpower beneficial in this situation? Even being in a Gnostic school, you could be very complacent. You could think that because you’re here listening to lectures or you’re doing a rune or two that you’re on the path while in reality you could just be going through the motions as opposed to walking.

A: There are so many dangers within and without on the path. You could be going to a school, doing all the right things, learning, studying, talking the talk, and not realizing that you’re doing everything mechanically. You’re not really engaging your consciousness, not really looking at yourself. It’s almost amazing but even if you’re meditating, you could be doing it in a very lazy way. You have to continually look into yourself. That’s why there’s a strange saying that sometimes when you think you’re doing well on the path, you’re actually doing very poorly and when you think you’re doing very poorly, you’re actually doing very well. When you think you’re doing well, you’re not looking at yourself because you’re strutting around, you have your checklist, and you’re doing it with complacency, not really looking into yourself. Then later on you realize and you say: “oh my goodness, I’ve been so complacent. I can’t believe I made all these mistakes.” And then you start looking into yourself and correcting yourself and working with yourself and then you might make some progress again.

Q: Is there a relationship between the Guardian of the Threshold and Lucifer?

A: Yes. We know that Lucifer is the sunderable part of Christ that comes down and mingles with our ego. So there’s that diabolical nature there of testing us, mixed with our ego. Our Guardian of the Threshold is part of that. We can say that Lucifer is the part that is trying to defeat us through the Guardian. Lucifer wants to test us. He needs to make sure that we are what we want to be. We have to be tested. We don’t know the true nature of something until it is tested. Lucifer is that part of Christ that mingles with our ego. And the ego is the Guardian of the Threshold.

Comment from audience: You can see that really well in Mephistopheles, the opera.

A: Yes Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito. It’s very good actually. You can see him going up and down ladders.

Q: Is the guardian of the threshold related to the experience of the in-between state, when you’re in and out of sleep? Sometimes I have this experience where I feel a presence, like an evil kind of darkness. Does that have anything to do with the guardian? It’s something that happens in the in-between state. I’ve read about this too, it’s not just my own experience. It feels like some kind of evil presence, like it’s out to get you.

A: There could be so many different reasons for that, related to your own ego. Little babies that don’t have a personality developed yet cry because they can see their own demonic ego trying to enter in. It could be related to that. If it’s related to your ego then it’s related to the guardian. If it’s related to innate, instinctual types of fear, then it’s also related to the guardian because it keeps you in that fear. Overcoming that type of instinctual fear is something that you have to work with. So in a sense, yes, but there could be other reasons. A black magician could be trying to manipulate you. But people project. Sometimes black magicians might be attacking us but sometimes people get overly fascinated with that when it’s really just projections of their ego, they need to work on their own fear. We have practices related to defending ourselves but that would be another whole lecture.

Introductory Books

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"...in this day and age, it is very dangerous to just simply follow someone. What is best is to seek the Inner Master."

Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries