Since the 1960's, a plethora of mystical teachings have been disseminated and popularized within North America and other First World countries. Such an era of profound psychological, social, and spiritual revolution is characterized by the widespread fascination with religious teachers, gurus, shamans, enlightened guides, and masters. Documented throughout all religious traditions from antiquity, the relationship between master and disciple is one of great beauty, depth, idealism, practicality, and import. Despite such amplified attention towards this subject, few devotees and practitioners of such traditions today have concretely articulated the gross misunderstandings of Guru Yoga in its application to Western countries. The primary cause of such disregard, mystification, fervor, and unquestioning zeal is born from a lack of personal mystical experience and verification of the experiential dimension of religion, which does not preach fealty to a teacher or group, but the sovereignty of one's own independent intelligence.
The founders of religion never credit themselves for the marvelous impact of their message, for as vehicles of the highest divinity, they instead instruct aspirants to arrive at their own fundamental conclusions regarding the metaphysical truths contained within our most venerated traditions. Those who have learned to develop their own conscious and spiritual potential are known as adepts, from the Latin adeptus, or "one who has obtained." Such wisdom is not obtained through belonging to a particular school, group, race, sex, gender, class, political party, religion, or teaching. Instead, it has to do with actualizing and mastering a deeply personal relationship with divinity, one based on pragmatism and competence from experience, not religious fanaticism, sectarianism, theory, or belief without evidence.
Instead of fulfilling the principles and qualities of adepthood in their own lives, many spiritual groups, much like that of any political institution, have perpetuated a collective, animal-hive mentality, which, rather than promote the initiative and free thought of its adherents, obscures the importance for discriminating, qualifying, assessing, or appraising a teacher's qualifications. Rather than becoming adepts through proven and verifiable methods, spiritual devotees are unfortunately inept in establishing lasting spiritual relationships based on expertise, proficiency, and trust.
Such an innate credulity, proclivity, and indiscretion is born from a genuine yearning and need within the Western mind, that of finding, acclimating to, and verifying the realities of the superior worlds, masters, and prophets. However, because most people lack effective practices, abilities, and criteria for knowing such truths for themselves, it becomes easy to be fooled by those who would profit from our naïveté in the financial, real estate, and personal domains.
A true teacher will help students to be autonomous and reliant upon one's Innermost: the divine inner Being within each person who must be realized in daily life, here and now. Genuine spiritual instructors do not seek to build churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, or groups, but to create authentic individuals. Demands of unwavering allegiance, membership, unquestioning devotion, money, property, or sexual favors is the exclusive field of extortioners, charlatans, and panderers of souls:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." ―Matthew 7:15-20
Instead of relying on the opinions, beliefs, or outward appearances of an instructor, it is best to evaluate his or her qualifications based on proven, scientific, and verifiable facts. Fortunately, there have been many initiates of excellent character across distinct times, civilizations, and spaces, since their teachings and precedents offer a lens for students to ascertain the true worth of a teacher. It is also important that the aspirant identify and understand what makes a dedicated and strong student, for without clarity in these parameters, it then becomes easy to lack objective evaluation and judgment of the facts.
What Defines a Master?
To understand what or who a master is, it is necessary to understand the path of initiation, Kabbalah, and the Tree of Life.
This is a map that details our full capacities as a spiritual and material being. Each of the ten spheres or סְפִירוֹת sephiroth [plural Hebrew term for "emanations"] represents qualities of consciousness, degrees of development, and levels of initiation: the experiential wisdom and expression of divinity within our multidimensional nature. From the most simple and rarified states of consciousness above towards the most dense and material below, the aspirant must learn to ascend within these initiatic states to return to our divine source.
Through the path of the perfect matrimony, a married couple can conserve, sublimate, and transform their vital forces, using the creative energy that could initially give birth to a physical child to fashion internal vehicles. Unlike our physical body, these spiritual conduits have the power to manifest and express the infinite power of divinity in a flawless way, consonant to the degree of psychological purification achieved within the practitioner. In the same manner that a light bulb transmits higher voltages of electricity based on capacity and wattage, so too can we express the highest principles of our divine Being through creating energetic channels for their realization. Such transmitters are known as solar bodies, the wedding garments of a divine marriage (Matthew 22) that the soul occupies during the hours of sleep and after death. Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, repeatedly refers to these vehicles as "the existential superior bodies of the Being" because they provide the basis for a true existence within superior states of consciousness. These solar bodies were represented by the Nativity of Christ, the Christ-child who is the symbol of solar genius, creativity, and intuition, the omniscient and all-pervading life-giving Sun or Son of God who is born through immaculate and sacred sexuality.
Each sphere or ספירה sephirah [singular, "emanation"] on the Tree of Life is a different body of varying density, matter, energy, and consciousness within its respective dimension. Our current body, energy, mind, heart, and will is mechanical, habitual, and animalistic, symbolized within religious narratives by the moon. The lunar influence perfectly allegorizes our instinctual nature, since the moon cannot generate light on its own, but receives its illumination from the sun. In the same manner, we tend to borrow and steal ideas, spiritual beliefs, regalia, and platitudes, imitating the behaviors of the great initiates without generating any real authenticity of being on our own. The moon is also the origin for many behaviors, ecologies, meteorological influences, and sexual life, as evidenced by conception and menstrual cycles in women. The spiritual path of initiation, therefore, is about transforming our lunar, mechanical nature into a conscious, solar, creative, and brilliant character, one that knows how to embody the highest ideals without discrimination of caste, color, sex, or creed.
As we are now, we operate mechanically within the different dimensions of nature (commonly known through dreams and astral experiences) without any lucidity and consciousness. By creating solar bodies or vehicles of creative energy, initiates raise their level of being and awaken the light of consciousness within every dimension, since their sexual potential is utilized to create spiritual life [See Sacred Sexuality and Transmutation]. Each sphere constitutes the conception, gestation, and birth of a solar vehicle, whether physical, vital, astral, mental, causal, conscious, or spiritual, which can channel the limitless potential of God towards virtuous action and the betterment of humanity. These bodies also allow one to consciously travel within the higher dimensions and parallel universes associated with each sephirah of the Kabbalistic tree.
When the creative, sexual, serpentine fire known as Kundalini is raised within the spinal medulla of the physical body, one achieves the First Initiation of Fire associated with that body and degree. By raising the Kundalini of the vital or etheric world, one obtains the Second Initiation of Fire related with the creation of a solar vital body; likewise up the seven lower sephiroth of this diagram.
But in this process, at what degree does one become a master? Samael Aun Weor summarized the first five Initiations to become a master of the White Lodge:
"...whosoever reaches the fifth Initiation of the Fire [תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth] becomes an adept..." ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
“No student of occultism is a master. True masters are only those who have reached the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries [תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the causal body]. Before the Fifth Initiation nobody is a master." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
In Freemasonry, the term Adeptus Minor is applied to any initiate who has successfully achieved the initiation of the sephirah תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth (the fifth serpent of fire or Kundalini). Higher grades of adepts exist (Adeptus Major: the sephirah גְּבוּרָה Geburah; and Adeptus Exemptus: the sephirah חֶסֶד Chesed), but only for those who achieve even greater purifications and disciplines.
Are There Levels of Mastery?
Contrary to common assumptions, mastery occurs in levels. In the same manner that there are different levels of education, from elementary, middle school, high school, graduate, and post-graduate studies, likewise there exist varying degrees of spiritual abilities and attainment. It is important to understand the distinction between mastery and its degrees of perfection, for many mistakenly assume it to be a fixed state. Just as there are different grades within the education system, likewise there are steps, procedures, laws, paradigms, codes, realizations, and purifications in the process of becoming a perfect being.
Even amongst the highest-attaining educators, such as through doctoral programs at universities, there exist hierarchies and degrees of competency and achievement; likewise even amongst the greatest masters of humanity, since they possess even greater facility of supernatural and divine forces.
“Through the path that I am indicating it is possible to achieve mastery, but it is one thing to achieve mastery and another to achieve perfection in mastery; that is different.
“It is not possible to expect that an imperfect master could have the perfection of a perfect master. That is to say, when one becomes a Man [a true human being, whether of the female or male sex], when one has created the existential superior bodies of the Being, of course one also becomes a master, but on the way to perfection in mastery there are nine grades, very hard and more bitter than bile.
“Now, to become a great elected and perfect master is the maximum aspiration. The perfect master by himself is something extraordinary, but the great elected is the only one that has totally crystallized the three basic forces of nature [Christ, the top trinity of the Tree of Life] within himself. That is the great elected.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Master Key
Can Women Be Masters?
Yes. A true man is an esoteric term for masters of the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries and applies to both sexes. Man comes from मनस् manas, the Sanskrit term for abstract mind, תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth. True human beings are masters of the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries who with patience now possess their souls (Luke 21:19). A true man is not limited to the masculine sex, but refers to female masters as well:
"1. Woman has the same rights as man.
"2. Woman also reaches the level of adept of the White Fraternity.
"3. Joan of Arc is a master of Major Mysteries of the White Fraternity.
"4. H.P. Blavatsky, author of The Secret Doctrine, reached the level of adept and she is a master of Major Mysteries of the White Fraternity.
"5. In almost all the temples of the mysteries, we find many female adepts working for humanity.
"6. Woman awakens her sacred serpent in the same way as man.
"7. If a woman who is married wants to awaken her Kundalini, then she must practice sexual magic with her husband." ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose: "The Woman"
What is Perfection in Mastery?
Upon reaching the Fifth Initiation of Fire, the initiate has a choice about how to continue his or her spiritual development. Two paths emerge in the causal world that determine the trajectory of the initiate, and which possess very different stipulations, expectations, codes, demands, qualities, commitments, responsibilities, and degrees of suffering. These are the spiral and direct paths.
The spiral path is the path of transitory buddhas, those awakened masters who enjoy enlightenment, wisdom, understanding, and superlative consciousness within the Nirvanic world for a determined period of time. निर्वाण Nirvana is the Sanskrit term for "cessation," signifying the end of suffering for its inhabitants and oblivion to the afflictions of humanity. However, such "Pratyeka" buddhas―those who enter Nirvana but do not return to teach others―are in transit, because their status and positions within this dimension are, due to karma, temporary. Such liberation and vacations within the superior worlds are predicated upon beneficial action and virtue, but once their good deeds are exhausted, such buddhas must eventually return to the physical world to work upon their defects in a slow, gradual, and intermittent manner.
Nirvana has periods of activity and repose. The problem and danger for transitory buddhas is temptation in the physical world, which, due to their strength, pervasiveness and perversity, often pulls such masters back into fornication again. Many reach the Fifth Initiation of Fire, enjoy a vacation in Nirvana, return to the physical world, and fall again, only to re-initiate the work of alchemy so as to regain what they lost. This is the common, circuitous route for many Nirvani buddhas, although this is not to say that there are not any masters who remain faithful upon the spiral path and eventually reach the goal: the Absolute. However, this path spirals throughout many eternities, cosmic days or Mahamanvantaras, which each endure trillions of years.
Due to the problems and dangers of the spiral path, there is another way that is infinitely more expedient, powerful, difficult, and dangerous, because it leads straight into the heart of universal cosmic consciousness while conquering all of its most terrifying adversities and obstacles. This is the direct path of the bodhisattvas of compassionate hearts, those masters who, due to their infinite sacrifices and longings to self-realize in one life, gain the right to incarnate the Intimate Christ within their interior for the betterment of humanity.
(Kuan Yin: a female bodhisattva of compassion,
otherwise known as Avalokitesvara)
A bodhisattva is a being who has incarnated बोधि bodhi, the "light, wisdom," and "enlightenment" of חָכְמָה Chokmah in Kabbalah, the cosmic Christ. Contrary to popular assumptions, Christ is not a single individual, but an impersonal, universal, and revolutionary energy that can manifest within the heart, essence, or सत्त्व sattva of an authentic human who is properly prepared. Christ is an intense light of creativity, elevation, and transformation, whose limitless compassion for the sufferings of all beings extends without ideological, racial, political, or philosophical distinctions, so much that it sacrifices itself solely for their benefit. This is why Jesus of Nazareth, the highest embodiment of the Christic principle, stated upon the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
Those who take the straight path are very rare, precisely because it is demanding and extreme. Nirvani buddhas or shravakas―those who hear the teachings and seek enlightenment solely for themselves―pay their karma and annihilate their ego over many eternities. Yet bodhisattvas renounce all happiness and accomplish the same feat in one life out of love for humanity. This is why the lives of the prophets like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, and others are so intense, because the pressure of ordeals is maximized to accelerate the radical and complete death of psychological conditioning.
Only those who compassionately serve and sacrifice for others' spirituality receive the blessings of the Logos, the Word or Christ. Those who raise the serpents of Fire while embodying the ultimate ideal of conscious love, in combination with profound insight into the interdependent nature and emptiness of phenomena, receive the Intimate Christ and the Venustic Initiation: the reception, celebration, and festivities of Venus, the divine feminine, Virgin Mary, or Goddess Mother of the world.
These two paths, the spiral and the direct, were depicted by Leonardo da Vinci in his Mona Lisa, whereby we perceive two ways behind the ineffable sacred feminine or Divine Mother Kundalini. She is the Mother of the Intimate Christ, the latter who is only born within the initiate through chastity, virginity, or purity within the five lower bodies of the Kabbalistic tree.
If the initiate takes the direct path based upon the decision, will, and command of the Innermost (חֶסֶד Chesed, "mercy"), then such a master begins the path towards perfection. Once such a master has raised the serpents of fire, he or she must begin to raise the serpents of light within the lower bodies of Kabbalah. Whereas the fires of Kundalini constitute בִּינָה Binah, the sexual, igneous power of the Divine Mother, the serpents of light constitute the edification, elevation, sublimation, and ascension of חָכְמָה Chokmah, Christ, within the spinal column.
"And no man hath ascended up to heaven (οὐρανὸν ouranos: כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, בִּינָה Binah, the Logos or trinity), but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man (חָכְמָה Chokmah) which is in heaven. And as Moses (the causal body) lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (through the initiations of fire), even so must the Son of man (the serpents of light) be lifted up (through Christ's Will)." ―John 3:13-14
“Sex is needed in order to attain the Venustic Initiation. Sex is needed because there are seven serpents of fire which correspond to the seven bodies: physical, vital, astral, mental, causal, buddhic, and atmic, or Innermost bodies. One serpent corresponds to each one of them. There are seven serpents in total, two groups of three with the sublime coronation of the seventh one which unites us with the Father, with the Law.
“Whosoever wants to reach the Venustic Initiation has to raise the seven Serpents of Light. The serpent which belongs to the physical body must first be raised in order to receive the first Venustic Initiation. Afterwards, the serpent which belongs to the vital body must be raised in order to receive the second Venustic Initiation and likewise successively.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
The path of initiation is depicted by three mountains or principal stages one must climb towards the heights of self-realization. The serpents of fire and light constitute the completion of what is known as the First Mountain. The Second Mountain signifies the complete death of the ego and resurrection within the nine kabbalistic heavens. The Third Mountain is ascension into the Absolute. For more understanding about this process, you may study the following:
What is a Saint?
Numerous religious traditions exist that venerate apostles, saints, and holy figures, such as those canonized by the Catholic Church. However, it is often not clear to the lay person what level of initiation such individuals have attained, because sainthood is often conflated with a type of static, exclusionary, and unfathomable perfection, indiscernible and misunderstood by the populace without alchemical and kabbalistic knowledge.
The term saint is much more pliable within the Gnostic tradition than the term adept, master, or prophet, which each bear deep significance, nuance, and implications. Samael Aun Weor often references Pratyeka buddhas or shravakas as saints, those masters who reached תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth through the initiations of fire but have taken the spiral path. Masters, adepts, and prophets are those who have taken the direct path and receive the Venustic initiations.
The Sufi initiates elaborate on the qualities, character, and dispositions of the saints, who are beings with enough degree of psychological purification to receive and obey the commandments of divinity:
“You must know that the principle and foundation of Sufism and knowledge of God rests on saintship, the reality of which is unanimously affirmed by all the Shaykhs [gurus, teachers], though every one has expressed himself in different language. […]
“Waláyat means etymologically, ‘power to dispose’ (taṣarruf), and wiláyat means ‘possession of command’ (imárat). Waláyat also means ‘lordship’ (rubúbiyyat); hence God hath said: ‘In this case the lordship (al-waláyat) belongs to God who is the Truth’ (Koran 18:42), because the unbelievers [fornicators] seek His protection and turn unto Him and renounce their idols [egos]. And wiláyat also means ‘love’ (maḥabbat). Walí may be the form fa’íl with the meaning of maf’úl, as God hath said: ‘And He takes charge of (yatawallá) the righteous’ (Koran 7:195), for God does not leave His servant to his own actions and attributes, but keeps him under His protection. And walí may be the form fa’íl, equivalent to fa’il, with an intensive force, because a man takes care (tawallí kunad) to obey God and constantly fulfill the obligations [ethical, divine law] that he owes to Him. Thus walí in the active meaning is ‘one who desires’ (murid), while in the passive meaning it denotes ‘one who is the object of God’s desire’ (murád).” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 210-11)
The Sufis repeatedly reference how the saints are desired by divinity, in that the Being longs for development and pushes the human consciousness to work through spiritual inquietudes. The primary aspiration of the Gnostic is to work in the metallurgical science of alchemy. Sainthood relates with different levels of buddhas, masters, or awakening, who are defined by their ethics, humility, purification, and nobility of heart. According to Samael Aun Weor:
“The authentic saint is a perfect gentleman/lady who totally fulfills the ten commandments of the law of God, and who knows how to handle his sword [Kundalini] when necessary, in order to defend good, truth, and justice. The authentic saint never goes around boasting about it, since he is always known by his deeds. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:16]” —Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
Samael Aun Weor also refers to many Christified or perfected masters as saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Augustine, St. Job, St. Germain, St. Peter, St. John, who attained radical degrees of atonement. Therefore, sainthood can apply to even Christified buddhas, yet for the sake of clarity amongst his students, Samael Aun Weor often drew distinctions between saints (Pratyeka buddhas) and adepts (bodhisattvas).
Mansur Al-Hallaj, whom Samael Aun Weor refers to as the Muhammadan Christ in The Narrow Way, was a saint of the highest stature, executed after having already died psychologically to the ego:
“Ancient traditions of Islam tell us that the sacred ashes of the old Sufi Al-Hallaj were dispersed in the winds from the heights of the Manarah.
“Ancient Arabic legends state that instead of a white blanket, this saint’s cadaver was rolled up in a filthy rug formerly damped in petroleum.
“When the holy body burned, consumed by the fire of the holocaust, the whole of nature shook filled with infinite terror.
“The great hierophant Sufi Al-Hallaj, by means of chisel and hammer, transformed the brute stone and gave a perfect cubic shape onto it.
“Before physically dying, the great, immolated Al-Hallaj was already absolutely dead psychologically.
“The resplendent diamond soul of Mansur Al-Hallaj is treading upon the heavenly path heading towards the Absolute.
“The great Sufi initiate Al-Hallaj was born, died, and sacrificed himself completely for humanity.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way: “The Passion of Al-Hallaj”
Any adept or master of the straight path fulfills the three factors for spiritual revolution: birth of the soul through chastity, selfless service and sacrifice for others, and psychological purification and the death of the ego, desire, or conditions of mind. Learn How to Conquer Heaven through applying these three factors for awakening.
What is a Prophet?
Among the masters, adepts, and bodhisattvas of the direct path exist greater hierarchies of competency, skill, and realization. According to the consensus of Sufi, Hindu, Buddhist, and Gnostic traditions, the most elevated degree and caliber of masters are prophets or avatars.
The Sanskrit अवतर avatar or अवतार avatāraḥ signifies a "descent" of a deity from the superior worlds, as mapped out by the Tree of Life. The term avatar is etymologically broken down as: ava, down and tarati, "he crosses," one who traverses or incarnates within this physical world after having passed from the higher dimensions.
Throughout different periods in terrestrial and cosmic history, various humanities and races have gestated, flourished, and decayed within the evolutionary and devolutionary flux of existence. Nature gives rise and destruction to a multitude of empires, cultures, civilizations, and religions. When religious forms degenerate and die, divinity sends new messengers to reinvigorate spiritual principles and so give birth to new movements. Every people and community has its messengers, prophets, or avatars sent to initiate a superior way of living in the midst of degeneration, decay, and destruction. When religion and ethics deteriorate, messengers come to re-establish the doctrine of the Superhuman upon the earth out of divine compassion.
"Avataras appear for special reasons in special circumstances. Whenever there is much unrighteousness, whenever confusion and disorder set in on account of unrighteousness and baffle the well-ordered progress of people, whenever the balance of human society is upset by selfish, ruthless and cruel beings, whenever irreligion and Adharma prevail, whenever the foundations of social organisations are undermined, Avataras appear to establish Dharma and to restore peace. Avatara is a descent of God for the ascent of man. A ray from the Hiranyagarbha descends on earth with mighty powers to keep up the harmony of the universe. The work done by the Avataras and their teachings produce a benign spiritual influence on human beings and help them in their upward divine unfoldment and Self-realisation. The Avatara comes to reveal the divine nature in man and makes him rise above the petty materialistic life of passion and egoism." ―Swami Sivananda, Lord Krishna, His Lilas and Teachings
"We surely sent a messenger to every community, saying, 'Worship Allah and shun false gods.' But some of them were guided by Allah, while others were destined to stray. So travel throughout the land and see the fate of the deniers!" ―Qur'an 16:36
While every civilization, people, or community receives its messengers, the trend is to persecute, hate, calumniate, and persecute them because their teachings contradict the psychological idolatry or worship of egotistical desire. People despise divinity's radical message of self-negation, selfless service, and the most contested principle of all: chastity or sexual purity, primarily because it cuts to the core of suffering to extirpate its beloved causes. Out of comprehension and compassion for the spiritually sick, avatars show humanity how our actions imprisons us, even when these behaviors are celebrated, respected, defended, and canonized as moral, upright, correct, ethical, just, considerate, respectable, honorable, etc.
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." ―John 3:19
Despite differences in time, language, culture, symbolism, and other idiosyncrasies, all messengers come from one source: the universal cosmic Christ. Names for divinity are different, but the principle of divine love is the same.
"...the Omni-merciful, the infinitude that sustains all, the very, very sacred Absolute Sun, periodically sends Avatars, Saviors, to this valley of tears. These sacred individuals, these messengers, these Saviors, are living incarnations of the Omni-merciful. Nevertheless, this lunar race, this perverse race of Adam, mortally hates such helpers. [...] The blessed Krishna, the blessed Buddha, the blessed Lama, the blessed Mohammed, the loving, essential Ashiata Shiemash, Moses, Quetzalcoatl (and many others) were all Avatars. The doctrine of all Avatars has its roots in the three basic factors of the revolution of the consciousness: to be born, to die, and to sacrifice the self for humanity." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
Despite the fact that numerous masters have appeared in distinct socio-cultural, ethnic, and spiritual communities, avatars are distinct in their hierarchy. Having attained a tremendous degree of ethical purity, discipline, and self-knowledge, prophets have the mission to provide different societies with revolutionary teachings and scriptural revelation.
How is a Prophet Different from a Saint?
Many students of mysticism and religion are fascinated by the lives of the saints, whose miraculous feats and portentous martyrdom become subject to admiration, adulation, and imitation. Throughout antiquity, numerous reports of mysterious phenomena surrounding the tombs, shrines, and sites of holy persons have been documented. However, rather than become distracted by such novelties, it is better to comprehend that even greater possibilities for initiatic development than mere physical miracles exist within oneself. Therefore, a clear distinction can be made between saints (Pratyeka buddhas) who perform miracles and prophets (avatars and bodhisattvas) who show the method and path for complete psychological transformation:
"Samael Aun Weor: When we say soul, it must be understood that we refer to a set of forces, powers, virtues, etc. For example, if one disintegrates the defect of lust, then the virtue of chastity crystallizes within us. If we eliminate hatred, then love crystallizes within us. If we disintegrate egotism, then altruism crystallizes within us, and likewise, successively. Whenever we eliminate a defect, something of the soul crystallizes within us: a law, a power, a virtue, etc. Thus, when all of the psychic aggregates that we carry within our interior die, we will then possess our entire soul… This is why the gospels state: “In your patience you will possess your souls.” Moreover, even the physical body must become soul. [...]
“Question: It is true that some saints emanated the scent of flowers from their bodies? Is this event due to what you expressed in the previous answer?
“Samael Aun Weor: To a large extent, it is due to what I already stated. Yet, it is necessary to go beyond the category of a saint. One thing is the profane [the Vulgar Man of the Earth], another thing is a saint [the Man Who Loves], and yet another is an adept [the Man Who Dwells in Silence].
“Regarding the adept [the Man Who Dwells in Silence], even his very body of flesh and bone becomes soul, can become immortal, becomes a mutant that is no longer subject to time…” ―Profound Meditation
The greatest masters have no ego, whereas the worst teachers, saints, masters, or initiates become attached to powers, virtues, titles, degrees, followers, movements, schools, and politics. Due to these categories, distinctions, and degrees, some of the most notable Sufi masters have stated:
“In fact, the end of saintship is only the beginning of prophecy.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 223)
Saints, Pratyekas, and masters of the Fifth Initiation of Fire have not received the Venustic initiation, the degree, attainment, and level of a Christified buddha or prophet. Until a master is fully dead to desire, the ego, then one is subject to suffering, karma, defects, faults, and errors. A prophet is able to deliver a perfect message through becoming a useful instrument of divinity, and this is grounded in psychological purity. Masters who have even a sliver of ego are still affected with problems, conditions, and obstacles. If one strives to be a vehicle of prophecy and the Word, then one needs to transcend even sainthood, mastery, or the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries.
"The Venustic Initiation is only for true human beings, never for intellectual animals. Let ‘true human beings’ be understood as those who already created the solar bodies. Let “intellectual animals” be understood as all of humanity [the Vulgar Man of the Earth], all the people who only have lunar bodies. The Venustic Initiation is the true nativity of the tranquil heart. The Venustic Initiation is for the few; it is a grace from the Solar Logos. In Nirvana, there are many Buddhas [saints] who―in spite of their great perfections―have never reached the Venustic Initiation." ―Samael Aun Weor, Light from Darkness
Prophet Muhammad received the Venustic Initiation on جَبَل ٱلنُّوْر Jabal-Nur, the "Mountain of Light," תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth. This was a literal place in Arabia where he used to spend time in meditation retreat, where, according to Islamic mythos, he learned the first recitation of the Qur’an, the divine law, the Verb or Logos from the Archangel Gabriel. Muslims believe that before this powerful moment, Prophet Muhammad could not read nor write, thereby glorifying the Qur'an's inception as a true miracle. While constituting elements of temporality and historicity, such events constitute the divine substrata of Islamic and Gnostic narrative: how an illiterate man (תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the human soul) learns to read, write, and master the principles of the kabbalistic alphabet, which is found within Arabic and Hebrew [Learn more from the Alphabet of Kabbalah].
The unlettered prophet is a powerful mythology bearing profound roots in kabbalah and alchemy that, unfortunately, many interpret literally. Without diminishing the miraculous potency of Qur'anic revelation, this story symbolizes how any master must inscribe within their hearts the letters or principles of divinity. This is accomplished through the sexual creative potency, as demonstrated by Al-Qalam: The Pen, Surah 68, verse 1:
"Nũn. By the pen and what everyone writes!" ―Al-Qalam 1
Nun in Arabic (ن), Hebrew (נ) or Aramaic represents a "fish": the sperm or ovum of the initiates from which the energy of divine creativity and Logoic expression are manifested. This is the energy that allows divinity to empower and write the truths of religion within one's consciousness:
"Or do they say, “He has fabricated a lie about Allah”? If you had, Allah would have sealed your heart, if He willed. And Allah wipes out falsehood and establishes the truth by His Words. He certainly knows best what is hidden in the heart." ―Qur'an 42:24
"Initiation is your own life. If you want initiation, write it upon a staff. Whosoever has understanding let him understand, because there is wisdom within." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony: "Initiation"
Reza Azlan in No god but God describes the historical inaccuracy of Prophet Muhammad's illiteracy, whose occupation as a merchant required a knowledge of language, writing, and documentation. Many Muslims accept that he did not know how to read and write because to not believe would invalidate the Qur'an's miraculous initiation. In reality, these esoteric symbols do not diminish the Prophet's mastery, but augment the inexplicable power of the sexual, creative energy: the power of prophecy. This story represents the work with the igneous and luminous serpents, for even the Arabic ن Nun has a serpentine calligraphy with its diacritical mark representing a point, the sperm or ovum that swims within our sexual, Genesiatic waters. Through resurrecting in the fire and the light, the adept moves forward upon the path of the prophets through receiving the sacred names, principles, qualities, and virtues of an awakened consciousness.
How are Prophets Superior to Saints?
Since prophets establish religions, movements, and scriptures, they are superior in hierarchy to masters who develop their potential through an avatar's teachings:
“It is related that [Junayd] he said: ‘The speech of the prophets gives information concerning presence (ḥuḍúr), while the speech of the saints (ṣiddíqín) [or Hebrew צדיקים Tzadikim, the masters of the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries] alludes to contemplation (musháhadat).’ True information is derived from sight, and it is impossible to give true information of anything that one has not actually witnessed [experienced in the superior worlds beyond the body], whereas allusion (ishárat) involves reference to another thing. Hence the perfection and ultimate goal of the saints [masters of תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, Nirvanis, or Pratyekas] is the beginning of the state of the prophets [of the Venustic Initiation]. The distinction between prophet (nabí) and saint (walí), and the superiority of the former to the latter, is plain, notwithstanding that two heretical sects declare the saints to surpass the prophets in excellence.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 129)
A saint or master of תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth attains degrees of contemplation of the truth, experiential knowledge, through ethics, spiritual conduct, and upright living. However, a prophet who has passed through the Venustic Initiations already possesses, due to previous work and experiential wisdom from past ages, a profound state of comprehension or witnessing that is more pervasive, penetrating, and profound. The prophets (adepts) begin where the saints (Pratyekas) end.
“…one moment of the prophets is better than the whole life of the saints, because when the saints reach their goal they tell of contemplation (musháhadat) and obtain release from the veil of humanity (bashariyyat), although they are essentially men. On the other hand, contemplation is the first step of the apostle [Prophet Muhammad]; and since the apostle’s starting-place is the saint’s goal, they cannot be judged by the same standard.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 237)
Likewise in previous cosmic eras of development, many prophets and avatars have served countless humanities before, whereas saints are still working to ascend within their initiatic development, some of them for the first time.
“Saintship has a beginning and an end, but prophecy has not. The prophets were prophets from the first, and shall be to the last, and before they existed [physically] they were prophets in the knowledge and will of God [in past cosmic ages].” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 238).
“The Bodhisattvas with compassionate hearts sacrifice themselves for planetary humanities through successive Mahamanvantaras [cosmic ages of activity], and finally, they achieve the [complete perfection and] incarnation of Christ.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
Many saints, initiates, or Nirvani Buddhas fall when returning to the physical world because they still have a lot of ego, whereas bodhisattvas, prophets, and adepts work vigorously to annihilate all temptation, thereby liberating themselves from vulnerability.
Rumi: The Camel and the Mouse
The following poetic anecdote from Rumi, the greatest Sufi poet, explains the difference between saints (initiates or beginning masters) and the prophets (adepts or bodhisattvas).
A mouse caught hold of a camel’s lead rope
in his two forelegs and walked off with it,
imitating the camel-drivers.
The camel went along,
letting the mouse feel heroic.
he thought. “I have something to teach you, presently.”
They came to the edge of a great river.
The mouse was dumbfounded.
“What are you waiting for?
Step forward into the river. You are my leader.
Don’t stop here.”
“I’m afraid of being drowned.”
The camel walked into the water. “It’s only
just above the knee.”
“Your knee! Your knee
is a hundred times over my head!”
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t
be leading a camel. Stay with those like yourself.
A mouse has nothing really to say to a camel.”
“Would you help me get across?”
“Get up on my hump. I am made to take hundreds like you
You are not a prophet, but go humbly on the way of the prophets,
and you can arrive where they are. Don’t try to steer the boat.
Don’t open a shop by yourself. Listen. Keep silent.
You are not God’s mouthpiece. Try to be an ear,
and if you do speak, ask for explanations.
The source of your arrogance and anger is your lust
and the rootedness of that is in your habits.
Someone who makes a habit of eating clay
gets mad when you try to keep him from it.
Being a leader can also be a poisonous habit,
so that when someone questions your authority,
you think, “He’s trying to take over.”
You may respond courteously, but inside you rage.
Always check your inner state
with the lord of your heart.
Copper doesn’t know it’s copper,
until it’s changed to gold.
Your loving doesn’t know its majesty,
until it knows its helplessness. ―The Essential Rumi
Where Does Prophecy Begin?
True liberation and the power to foresee, guide, and enlighten humanity begins in תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the causal world or plane of natural causes. However, why is this the case?
"Beyond the three known dimension, physical dimension, length, width and height, exists the Fourth dimension; this dimension is Time. Beyond Time we have the Fifth Dimension; this dimension is Eternity. Moreover, we asseverate that beyond Eternity a Sixth Dimension exists; this Sixth Dimension is beyond Eternity and Time. In this sixth fundamental dimension is where total liberation begins. Therefore, only the person who awakens in all the six fundamental dimensions of space is a true clairvoyant, a Turiya, a legitimate enlightened one." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
To truly enter the path that leads to final liberation, one must enact the causes and conditions for its fruition. Many look with awe and reverence at the Fifth Initiation of Fire as an advanced degree of attainment. The reality is that it is the genuine beginning of a much greater work. However, many initiates remain saints, deciding to rest and relax upon the spiral path. Such masters enjoy the delights of the causal world, tempting those who would walk the direct path to remain in heaven and forget the sufferings of humanity, which is why Samael Aun Weor referred to such beings as dangerous, tempting gods. Al-Hujwiri describes the sixth dimension as a state of union, return, and intimacy with divinity, whereby the masters of humanity, upon attaining such experiences or vacations in the superior worlds, greet disciples with rapture and degrees of conscious love. However, they remain attached to their virtues and stagnate, seeking to pull those who would incarnate Christ to remain at that level.
“Do not you perceive that, according to the unanimous opinion of all the saints who seek God, the station of union (‘jam) belongs to the perfection of saintship [the Fifth Initiation of Fire]? Now, in this station, a man attains such a degree of rapturous love that his intelligence is enraptured in gazing upon the act of God (fi’l), and in his longing for the Divine Agent (fá’il) he regards the whole universe as that and sees nothing but that [since in the world of תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, Nirvana, one perceives the universe through divine causality, the movement, ebb, and flow of action and consequence within nature and all beings]. Thus Abú ‘Alí Rúbárí says: ‘Were the vision of that which we serve to vanish from us, we should lose the name of servantship (‘ubúdiyyat) [Nirvani or Pratyeka buddha],’ for we derive the glory of worship (‘ibádat) solely from vision of Him [within the sixth dimension, תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, Nirvana]. This is the beginning of the state of the prophets, inasmuch as separation (tafriqa) is inconceivable in relation to them. They are entirely in the essence of union, whether they affirm or deny, whether they approach or turn away, whether they are at the beginning [of the Venustic Initiations] or at the end [of Resurrection on the Second Mountain]. ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 237)
What are the Three Principal Paths of Mastery?
Samael Aun Weor often refers to the paths of the Left and the Right within scripture, which do not refer to our modern-day political ideologies, practices, and beliefs. Instead, they refer to the spectrum of development, attitudes, and expression of the consciousness.
Traditionally, the political left is archetypically associated with liberalism, freedom, creativity, renovation, empathy, fluidity, invention, championing of the dispossessed, and deinstitutionalization.
The political right has been characterized by its conservatism, conscientiousness, and adherence to social hierarchies based on competency, family values, institutional forms, or management.
Within spiritual studies, the Left and Right paths are attributed to conscious principles mapped by the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, by the pillar of severity (the left) and mercy (the right). As can be deduced, this does not correlate with modern interpretations of political spectra, but instead references qualities of being, knowledge, virtues, and paths.
The two principal pillars or support of our spiritual temple are Mercy (חֶסֶד Chesed, Love) and Justice (גְּבוּרָה Geburah, Severity): the two basal pillars of divine wisdom. One cannot cancel out either principle, because both are needed in equilibrium to produce the awakening of our full potential.
“Fortunately my dear friends, justice and mercy are the two principal columns of the Universal White Fraternity. Justice without mercy is tyranny; mercy without justice is tolerance, complacency with crime.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Hell, Devil, and Karma
“Mercy and Justice, be ye the equilibrium and splendor of my life!” ―Invocation of Solomon
The left-hand, lunar path is defined by its liberality of passion, animal desire, vices, defects, and the fortification of ego.
The right-hand, solar path is characterized by adherence to virtue through the conservation and transmutation of the sexual energy.
This esoteric knowledge is the root of Eastern and Middle Eastern cultural etiquette, whereby the right hand is associated with acts of purity and cleanliness, and the left hand with impurity and bodily functions deemed unclean. It's important to remember that these are principles and not literalities, therefore persecution against left-handed people is unfounded, dogmatic, and ignorant. Left-handedness or sinistrality is not a source for discrimination, since what counts is its mystical interpretation, the source of "sin" residing in the abuse of the energies of the left kabbalistic pillar.
Good and evil, positive and negative, virtue and vice, right and left, are relative terms that the adepts transcend through comprehension of the middle way. While the followers of the left-hand path are attached to vice and those of the right-hand are attached to virtue, the adepts of the middle way go far beyond good and evil, virtue and vice, because they are radically unidentified with anything. However, to maintain such equilibrium, balance, harmony, and comprehension is a difficult task.
“The initiates of the darkness, as well as the initiates of the Light, fall to the Left and to the Right.
“The Path of the Middle (the Eightfold Path of the Bodhisattvas [Adepts, Prophets] with compassionate hearts) leads us to the port of liberation.
“Unfortunately, rare are those who are capable of marching on the Path of the Middle towards the final liberation. Those who do not fall on the tenebrous path of the Left, fall on the path of the Right.
“The tenebrous ones [black magicians] descend through the path of the Left within the abode of Pluto [Hades, Klipoth, the Inferno].
“The saints [Pratyeka buddhas] ascend through the path of the Right, towards the marvelous Kingdom of the Light.
“The tenebrous ones as well as the saints rotate within the Wheel of Samsara [Bhavachakra].
“The tenebrous ones pass through the Buddhist Annihilation within the heart of the world.
“Posteriorly they enter into the elemental paradises of Nature, after having suffered a great deal.
“The journey through the subterranean world is millions of times more bitter than bile.
“The saints return to the Valley of Samsara. They reincorporate themselves into a new human organism when the reward is finished.
“Neither the human beings with goat skins [black magicians who strengthen animal passion], nor the human beings with sheep skins [saints, initiates, and Nirvanis who transmute their creative energies] achieve the final liberation.
“The authentic final liberation is only for the rebels, for those who march on the Path of the Middle [the adepts, masters, prophets, or bodhisattvas]...
“Demons and saints look with horror and terror at the revolutionary adepts [prophets] of the Path of the Middle.
“No one understands these rebels of the Path of the Middle. […]
“The initiate must learn how to walk with two feet [controlling the forces of the left and right paths: those of the demons and saints, without being identified with either].
“The Pratyeka Buddhas [saints] and their Sravakas aspirants [followers] are scared, and they anathematize the Bodhisattva [master, adept, prophet] who knows how to walk with his two legs [to navigate and transcend both heaven and hell].
“The sincere and noble devotees from the path of the Right stone the initiates who learn to sustain themselves in equilibrium over their left leg.
“Every initiate who knows how to walk with his two legs terrorizes the noble ones of the Right.
“I am speaking in parables; I am speaking of sheep and goats.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
Due to the difficulty of balancing the forces of good and evil, positive and negative, right and left, few venture into the path of the middle.
Should I Desire Mastery?
Unfortunately there is the tendency in spiritual devotees to covet powers, titles, degrees, teachings, teachers, positions, virtues, attention, and abilities. While looking upon covetousness of material objects as inferior, such "spiritual" persons covet the saints, initiates, and masters for their development. If we genuinely yearn to attain mastery, it should be for the benefit of others and with the selfless attitude of sacrificing our pride for the edification of our communities, not for our own entitlement.
“It is related that Ibráhím b. Adham asked a certain man whether he desired to be one of God’s saints [a master of the Fifth Initiation of Fire], and on his replying ‘Yes,’ said: ‘Do not cover anything in this world or the next, and devote thyself entirely to God, and turn to God with all thy heart.’ To covet this world is to turn away from God for the sake of that which is transitory, and to covet the next world is to turn away from God for the sake of that which is everlasting: that which is transitory perishes and its renunciation becomes naught, but that which is everlasting cannot perish, hence its renunciation is also imperishable.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 217)
“There are many people who do not envy money, social status, ranks, honors, possessions, but they envy the saints; they covet their virtues so that they can also become saints.
“There are people who dress humbly, nonetheless they have sublime pride, they are conceited with their simplicity; they do not boast about anything, thus they not only hide their pride from others but also from themselves.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Light from Darkness
Initiation is demanding and rigorous. One must learn how to cultivate hidden abilities and conscious capacities without envy, desire, or the acquisition of "more." For every step one takes in the development of powers, one should take a thousand steps in sanctity, perfection, and ethical purification. Mastery implies that we conquer our own faults, not elevate them so that we can master others.
“Do not covet powers, beloved reader. Powers are born as fruits of our Innermost when our soul has been purified. The mental force that we strain to use in order to move a piece of paper would be better used in order to dominate our carnal passion, in order to end hatred, in order to dominate our language, in order to defeat selfishness, envy, etc.
“Let us purify ourselves, since powers will be granted to us through successive purifications. Powers are flowers of the soul and fruits of the Innermost. The powers of a Mahatma are the fruits of many purifications.
“Through initiatic ordeals the Gnostic disciple receives distinct powers from the White Lodge. These powers are acquired by the soul, and the Innermost “seizes” them, because the Innermost is the real human within us.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of Beelzebub
What is Mythomania?
Spiritual movements have long suffered a common and pervasive problem. When initiates acquire any level of spiritual experience through temporarily escaping the conditions of their mind, they mistakenly assume that they have attained mastery, perfection, and permanent enlightenment. Such persons ignore that mystical experiences, while genuine, are temporary so long as the ego continues to bottle and cage our understanding.
“The Essence of any disciplined hermit [saint], accustomed to escaping from within the “I,” repeats such a feat after the death of his physical body. Then, his Essence enjoys the ecstasy for some time. Yet, after such time, his Essence returns as the Genie of Aladdin’s lamp, back into the interior of the lamp, the ego, the myself.
“Thereupon, he has no other choice but to return into a new physical body with the purpose of repeating his life on the stage of existence.
“Many mystics who lived and died in the caverns of the Himalayas in central Asia reincarnated again and are now vulgar, common and current people in this world, in spite of the fact that their followers still adore and venerate them.
“Therefore, any attempt at liberation, no matter how great it might be, if it does not take into consideration the necessity of dissolving the ego, it is condemned to failure.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Many meditators know how to escape the shell of the body, vitality, heart, mind, and will so as to submerge within the superior worlds devested of any bodies or corporeality. However, they often mistake a temporary vacation within the heavens as a sign of residency, of having fully eliminated the animal ego. In this way, all of one's egotistical qualities take on a subtle, mystical flavor, and rather than being extirpated from one's nature, they adorn themselves with titles, honors, and the degrees of master so as to acquire abundant followers.
The marked proclivity of the mind to assume that it is divine is known as mythomania: to make a myth of मनस् manas: the mind. The consciousness, the human soul, is not the Being (divinity). While the human soul or consciousness (תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth) works, it is the Innermost Being or Master (חֶסֶד Chesed) who drives the initiate to work, fight, and conquer him or herself. The Innermost is the one who receives initiations and development through the human consciousness, which cannot do the work alone without the help of the spirit. The Being is divine, not the human soul nor the mind (נצח Netzach). When our mind thinks it is holy, it commits many mistakes and produces problems in this physical world, such as self-aggrandizement and intolerable pride in mystical matters.
“The value of the human person which is the intellectual animal called human being is less than the ash of a cigarette. However, the fools feel themselves to be giants. Unfortunately, within all the pseudo-esoteric currents a great amount of mythomaniac people exist, individuals who feel themselves to be masters, people who enjoy when others call them masters, individuals who believe themselves to be Gods, individuals who presume to be saints. The only one who is truly great is the Spirit, the Innermost. We, the intellectual animals, are leaves that the wind tosses about...” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
Therefore, Samael Aun Weor and many initiates have warned about the dangers of self-proclaimed spiritual masters who seek to gain a following based on sonorous titles. The Sufis were clear that those who proclaim their abilities are in fact stripped of them through mystical pride.
“It is recorded that [Al-Kirmáni] said: ‘The eminent have eminence until they see it, and the saints [masters] have saintship [mastery] until they see it,’ i.e. whoever regards his eminence loses its reality, and whoever regards his saintship [mastery through mythomania] loses its reality.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 138)
Similarly, many saints acquire direct experience of the truth, but because they don't comprehend what they perceive, they mistakenly believe that they have reached enlightenment and the end of the path. They also speak with authority about that which they are forbidden to communicate.
"Authentic degrees and authentic white initiations are received in the consciousness. These initiatic ceremonies are performed within the superior worlds. Initiations are intimate realizations of the consciousness, which must not be revealed, or spoken about. No one can grant initiations to anyone. Initiation is attained through life itself." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
How to Tell if a Master is Genuine?
A genuine spiritual master is known through their ethical adherence to the divine law, chastity, or the great arcanum, not through its abnegation, nullification, or neglect.
“Abú Yazíd was asked: ‘Who is a saint [Nirvani buddha, a master of the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries]?’ He answered: ‘That one who is patient under the command and prohibition of God,’ because the more a man loves God the more does his heart revere what He commands and the farther is his body from what He forbids. It is related that Abú Yazíd said: ‘Once I was told that a saint of God was in such and such a town. I set out to visit him. When I arrived at his mosque he came forth from his chamber and spat on the floor of the mosque.'" ―Revelation of the Mystery (p. 217)
To spit signifies fornication, for:
"...why should we see perversity in sex? Why do we spit on the holy shrine of love? Why do we look lustfully at what is sacred, that is, the chemical or metaphysical copulation?" ―Samael Aun Weor, "Love and Sex"
Abú Yazíd continues:
"I turned back without saluting him, and said to myself: “A saint must keep the religious law [ethics, chastity] in order that God may keep him in his spiritual state. Had this man been a saint [master] his respect for the mosque [Gnostic temple] would have preserved him from marring the grace vouchsafed to him.” The same night I dreamed that the Apostle [Prophet Muhammad] said to me, “O Abú Yazíd , the blessing of that which thou hast done is come to thee.” Next day I attained to this degree which ye behold.’ And I have heard that a man who came to visit Shaykh Abú Sa’íd entered the mosque [Gnostic temple] with his left foot foremost [since one enters Gnostic temples with the right foot, signifying transmutation and chastity]. The Shaykh gave orders that he should be dismissed, saying: ‘He who does not know how to enter the house of the Friend is not suitable for us.’ Some heretics who have adopted this perilous doctrine assert that service of God (khidmat) is necessary only while one is becoming a saint [master of the Fifth Initiation of Fire] but that after one has become a saint, service [ethical conduct] is abolished. This is clearly wrong. There is no ‘station’ on the way to the Truth where any obligation of service [ethics] is abolished.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 217-18)
Can a Master Save Me?
No master in the physical world can save you. Even if a master were to see through your mind, heart, and actions, they cannot annihilate your ego or do the spiritual work for you. Attachment to individuals in the physical world is an obstacle and deterrence to working upon one's own mind.
“Religious obligations (taklíf) depend on Divine guidance (hidáyat), and acts of mortification [striving against oneself in the death of the ego] only serve to affirm the proofs of God [through awakening consciousness], not to effect real union with Him [without sexual alchemy]. God has said: ‘And though We had sent down the angels unto them and the dead had spoken unto them and We had gathered before them all things together, they would not have believed unless God had so willed’ (Koran 6:111), for the cause of belief is Our will, not [material] evidence or mortification [striving in psychological death alone]. Accordingly, the revelations of the Prophets and ordinances of religion are a means (asbáb) of attaining union [Self-realization], but are not the cause (‘illat) of union [Self-realization].” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 204)
All genuine masters are humble and do not accept praise, adulation, honors, and worship. True masters are simple and anonymous, primarily because spiritual devotees tend to be so attached to external teachers that they forget the precedence of their Innermost.
“It is not appropriate for someone who Allah has blessed with the Scripture, wisdom, and prophethood to say to people, ‘Worship me instead of Allah.’ Rather, he would say, ‘Be devoted to the worship of your Lord alone’―in accordance with what these prophets read in the Scripture and what they taught. And he would never ask you to take angels and prophets as lords. Would he ask you to disbelieve after you have submitted?” ―Qur’an 3:79-80
Should I Follow a Master?
“I do not follow anyone; therefore no one should follow me.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology
Sadly, despite Samael Aun Weor's injunctions, many of his students follow his terrestrial personality (which he had disintegrated in the work) rather than their own divinity.
"This is why we advise our disciples not to follow anyone. Let our disciples follow their own Self. Each of our disciples has to follow their resplendent and luminous inner Being. Each one has to adore their own “I Am.” We beg, beseech, our disciples not to follow us. We do not want henchmen or followers. We have written this book so that you, our friends, listen to your own internal master, your resplendent “I AM.” The Innermost is your master: follow Him." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
Many dangers exist in adhering to or following a teacher, group, school, or ideology. As with any spiritual teaching, Gnosis has been transformed, for many devotees, into a cult of personality, identity worship, and blind enthusiasm without evidence. What is important is one's internal experiences in conjunction with physical facts, meditative analysis, comprehension based upon verification of metaphysical realities, and our own conscious judgment. When mistaken individuals worship the personality of Samael Aun Weor, they do a great disservice to his message and teaching, which is one of independence, investigation, scientific inquiry, and exploration, not fanaticism, excommunications, and psychological repression. The fanaticism of certain Gnostic groups is not a reflection of the messenger, but their collective minds. According to one Gnostic instructor instructed by an Egyptian initiate in the astral plane: "Modern Gnostics are the return and recurrence of the Pharisees from Biblical times."
There are three principal ways that students can be mislead:
"First, take heed that none of the many false avatars who appear during these times deceive you, for many impostors appear in these times and deceive others. Second, take heed of sexual temptations. Third, do not ever attend spiritual centers; the mediums-channelers can easily lead you astray from the path. Many disciples have fallen horribly due to these three dangerous reasons. Flee from these three treacherous dangers so that you may not lose your initiations and degrees." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
How to Find a Real Master?
"There is a need to search for a guru in order for him to guide us along this internal and delicate way. The guru must be searched for within, in the profundity of the consciousness... Each disciple must search for the master inside, inside, inside. The master is found in the profundity of our consciousness. If you want to search for the master, abandon all bookish erudition and pseudo-spiritual schools. The master appears when the disciple is prepared." ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Real occultism and Guru Yoga is exclusively learned within the internal worlds through dream yoga, for the authentic masters of Major Mysteries are solely verified within the superior dimensions when the consciousness is awake and the physical body sleeps.
"...in this day and age, it is very dangerous to just simply follow someone. What is best is to seek the Inner Master. The best thing is to follow our “I Am.” The best thing is to learn how to travel in the astral body in order to visit the temples of the White Lodge and to receive the teachings directly in the temple...” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
What Are Genuine Masters Like?
"The authentic master never boasts of being a master... An authentic guru does not go around boasting about it. The authentic guru is the Inner Christ. A true master goes around everywhere anonymously and unknown. He does not exhibit his deeds or powers, and is filled with modesty. A true master is before anything else an upright citizen. The authentic master is never an intellectual, since the intellect is an animal function of the human “I.” The true master is like a child, pure, holy, simple, and natural. The true master is the Inner Christ “that is the true Light, which lightens every man that comes into the world” [John 1:9]." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
"...the authentic female enlightened masters never go around boasting about it. The true disciples and masters are those who know how to consciously travel in their astral body. The male and female devotees who remember their past lives and who can astrally attend the temples of mystery are true enlightened beings, yet they never go around boasting about it; these are the ones who really know." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
Mastery is attained through work upon the ego, especially pride. While one must comprehend and annihilate desire, this does not signify repression, self-hatred, morbidity, pessimism, self-deprecation, and self-denigration, which are egotistical qualities. Shame is a defect, a sense of inverted pride that identifies with feeling bad about oneself. Remorse is the voice of conscience, our inner judgment that knows one is wrong and takes responsibility for one's mistakes, so as to act virtuously for others. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated:
"You [if you have reached levels of initiation] are not the master, you are only the sinning shadow of He who has never sinned. Remember that only your internal Lamb is the master. Remember that even though your internal God is a Hierarch of fire, you, poor slug, are only a human being and as a human being you will always be judged. Your internal Lamb could be a planetary God, but you, poor slug of the mud, do not forget, always remember that you are only the shadow of your God. Poor sinning shadow...! Do not say “I am this God” or “I am that master,” because you are only a shadow that must resolve to die [to the ego] and be slaughtered [upon the cross of alchemy] in order not to serve as an obstacle for your internal God. It is necessary for you to reach supreme humbleness." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Why Did Samael Aun Weor Proclaim His Mastery?
Some people criticize Samael Aun Weor that if the master is within, why was he recognized with the title of Venerable Master? The reality is that he is a prophet of the Venustic Initiations and not merely a saint (Nirvani buddha).
Prophets are given authority by the White Lodge to teach the doctrine through their experiences or evidentiary miracles―such as receiving and unveiling their sacred name after the Venustic Initiation―so as to provide clarity of the path. Saints (masters of Major Mysteries who follow in the footsteps of the prophets) do not:
“Mu’jízát [evidentiary miracles of a prophet] involve publicity and karámát [miracles of a saint, a master of the fifth initiation] secrecy, because the result of the former is to affect others, while the latter are peculiar to the person by whom they are performed.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
We study the works of Samael Aun Weor because he was not only a master of Major Mysteries, but a prophet and Dhyani-Bodhisattva: the human soul and spirit of a Logos.
"When a Logos wants to come into the World, he emanates his Innermost. The Innermost then, together with the Divine Soul, is the Dhyani Bodhisattva of a Logos." ―Samael Aun Weor, Manual of Practical Magic
He is described as a “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Revelations 19:16), the white rider of the New Testament whose verb punishes the egotistical multitudes like a sword, the igneous verb or Word of fire (the mantras S). A prophet possesses hierarchy to lead many Malachim or masters, and Samael leads the ray of Martian power, since as a Logos, he was known throughout Greece and Rome as Ares or Mars [see The Meaning of the Name Samael Aun Weor for a deeper understanding of this controversial archangel].
According to the Sufis, the masters of Major Mysteries (saints) follow the prophets (Dhyani-Bodhisattvas) due to their hierarchy:
“The end of saintship (the Fifth Initiation of Fire) is only the beginning of prophecy (the Venustic Initiations).” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
The powers of the saints or masters of Major Mysteries should not be broadcasted or publicized, otherwise such initiates risk losing their abilities. However, a prophet lives an exemplary life and relays their mystical experiences to provide clarification, boundaries, scripture, and inspiration. A saint can become intoxicated by samadhis or "drunk on God," whereas prophets, due to acculturation, ability, attainment, and hierarchy, are "sober" while in the midst of the greatest realizations and witnessing of the truth. This is why prophets like Samael Aun Weor were so demanding of his students: to push them and aid in their aspirations.
“…miracles are not vouchsafed to a saint except when he is in a state of intoxication [mystical ecstasy], whereas the miracles of the prophets are wrought in the state of sobriety [mastery and self-control]. Hence… this is a clear distinction between mu’jízát and karámát, for the saint, being enraptured, pays no heed to the people and does not call upon them to follow him, while the prophet, being sober, exerts himself to attain his object and challenges the people to rival what he has done. Moreover, the prophet may choose whether he will manifest or conceal his extraordinary powers, but the saints have no such choice…” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 226)
Prophets are not exalted because of pride, self-glorification, or ambition, but since divinity longs to give light through them to humanity. In the words of the greatest of Sufi poets, Rumi:
“The really holy never need to be honored; their selves are already honored by Love. If a lamp wants to be placed where it can be seen, it wants that for others’ sake, not its own. What does the lamp care whether it is placed ‘above’ or ‘below’? Wherever it is, it is still a lamp and it still gives out light. Nevertheless, it wants its light to reach and help others. Imagine if the sun were below the earth―it would still be the sun, of course, but the world would languish in darkness. So the sun is placed in its regal position not for its own sake at all, but for the world’s. The real holy ones who are put in high positions are like the lamp and the sun―they do not care about ‘high’ or ‘low,’ ‘above’ or ‘below,’ and do not look to be revered by others.
“When Vision unfurls its ecstatic flag in you, or your mind blazes from a lightning flash of grace from heaven, you are, in that moment, cold to ‘above’ and ‘below,’ to all status and rank, mastery or leadership, all man-made titles, praises, elevations, honors. None of these things concern you: you soar like a hawk in the cloudless sky of union.
“If such splendor breaks over ordinary seekers, imagine how little the really holy ones, who are the mines themselves of that Love and that Splendor, could possibly care for ‘below’ and ‘above’! No categories of any kind chain or even interest them; all their glorying is in God, and God is utterly free of anything we know as ‘above’ or ‘below.’ ‘Above’ and ‘below’ belong to those of us who have heads and feet and deluded imaginations in the service of the tyrants of our false selves. Mohammad, may he always rest in peace, said once: ‘Do not make me out to be greater than Jonah, just because his ascension was in a whale’s belly while mine took place in Heaven and on the Throne.’ What the Prophet meant was this: ‘For God, the whale’s belly is the same as the Throne.’” ―The Rumi Collection (p. 222-23).
Did Samael Aun Weor Want Followers?
A true prophet does not demand followers, but only imitators of his or her example:
“Take heed, my brothers and sisters, of those wolves dressed in sheepskin. Be prudent, be cautious, and withdraw from all of those spiritualist cages that are true centers of exploitation and moral corruption. The owners of all of those lodges are now very jealous of their businesses and consider the Master Samael Aun Weor as a very dangerous element. Indeed, those black magicians are right: I am a very dangerous element for them, because I remove the masks from their faces, and show their naked shame in the open, before the solemn verdict of public consciousness. So, the wicked ones fight back in order to defend their business, thus they abruptly run to defend it.
“I tell all of those lodge owners that they should not be so afraid of me, since I am not in need of their money, nor do I extend certificates, nor do I send correspondence courses, nor do I found schools, nor do I grant diplomas in order to become wealthy.
“If they think that Samael has attacked them in order to take away their clientele, then they are mistaken, because Samael does not own any school, nor is Samael in the need of clientele.
“I, Samael, am not in need of henchmen or followers, but only imitators of my doctrine: Gnosis. I do not follow anyone, nor do I want anyone to follow me. What I want is for each one of you to follow his own Self. I am only a lighthouse in the sea of existence, and I do not need clientele in order to subsist.
“Since I am against the slavery of souls, I do not want to enslave any soul, nor do I agree with executioners of ideals.
“Masters exists in abundance, and I am only one of many; thus, those who want to find the Masters will find them inside, within the profundities of their own inner consciousness.
“Since long ago, all the spiritualist brethren of the world have been waiting for the great Avatar [messenger] of Aquarius; listen, do not wait for another messenger, because I am the initiator of the new era. The tree is known by its fruits. I am a tree: my fruits are my books. Thus, study them, practice them, and do not forget that the Master appears when the disciple is prepared.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Inside the Vestibule of Wisdom
Why Are There Many Masters in Gnosis?
There are a few reasons why many people in the Gnostic movement claim to have attained mastery. For some it is a source of ambition, competition, and race for larger congregations. For others it is an issue of spreading the teaching to more students, whom are more attracted to a spiritual tradition that boasts of lineages, titles, and a succession of qualified masters and disciples. Some do it for less noble reasons like drugs, psychosis, or extortion. However:
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." ―John 1:12-13
Samael Aun Weor did not institute any such initiatic genealogy either through blood or politics, for he was against followers, henchmen, and Piscean systems that trap students within dogmas, terrestrial hierarchies, and beliefs. Lineages constitute "the will of man" within most spiritual communities, for as evidenced by the lamentable political in-fighting within the Gnostic movement, such contestation and rivalry for authority as "the true Gnostic group" has driven many sincere students away from studying the teachings because they think it is a cult.
What Samael Aun Weor advocated was Aquarian spirituality, which does not demand blind devotion to a person, shrine, or idea, but to the Christic Nativity of the tranquil heart:
"Instructors must not be called masters, but 'friends.' 'But be not ye called master: for one is your master, even Christ' [Matthew 23:8]. The Gnostic movement is impersonal. It is made up of humble laborers. Therefore, let us reject any personalization. Let us not accept imposing individuals. No one is better than anyone else. Among us, we are laborers, bricklayers, mechanics, farmers, writers, physicians, etc. [...]
"We do not worship noble titles, nor resounding titles like “doctor, lawyer, guru, master, elder brother, avatar,” etc., because among Gnostics we are all friends, and Aquarius is the house of friends... Remember that the only master is Christ (a multiple perfect unity). We humans are more or less imperfect, thus I, the one who writes this book, am not anyone’s master, and I beg people to not follow me. I am an imperfect human just like anyone else, and it is an error to follow someone who is imperfect. Let every one follow their 'I Am.'" ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "Meetings' Regulations"
The best guide to navigating spiritual and Gnostic politics is to rely on your intuition, Innermost, and internal experiences. It is important to test and verify the principles of this teaching to validate them from experience, not to accept or reject blindly due to fanaticism or fear.
In general, authentic masters do not take pains to declare their mastery or sainthood to the world. While many sincerely believe that they are advanced practitioners and have been authorized to reveal their sacred name:
"Initiation is something very intimate, very secret, very divine. Avoid all those who say, ‘I have so many initiations, so many degrees.’ Avoid all those who say, ‘I am a master of Major Mysteries; I have received so many initiations.’ Remember, dear reader, that the ‘I,’ that the personality does not receive initiations. Initiation is a matter for the Innermost; it has to do with the consciousness, with the very delicate things of the Soul. One must not go about speaking of these things. No true adept would ever use phrases like, ‘I am a master of the White Lodge,’ ‘I have such-and-such degree,’ ‘I have so many initiations,’ ‘I have these powers,’ etc.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
“My Shaykh used to say that if a saint reveals his saintship and claims to be a saint, the soundness of his spiritual state is not impaired thereby, but if he takes pains to obtain publicity he is led astray by self-conceit.” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation the Mystery (p. 223-24)
Samael Aun Weor is the avatar, messenger, and prophet of Aquarius, and thereby was instructed to teach about his identity. According to Sufism, the esotericism of Islam, a prophet provides evidentiary miracles, whereas other masters do not. As for others who declare the name of their inner Being, they are not prophets, therefore their humility and modesty is questionable. A master or saint in Gnosis cannot be compared with Samael Aun Weor due to initiatic hierarchy, as explained by previous quotes from Rumi, Al-Hujwiri, and the Sufi tradition.
“Abú Yazíd was asked about the state of the prophets. He replied: ‘Far be it from me to say! We have no power to judge of them, and in our notions of them we are wholly ourselves. God has placed their denial and affirmation in such an exalted degree (of objective reasoning) that human vision cannot reach unto it.’ Accordingly, as the rank of the saints (masters of תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth) is hidden from the perception of mankind, so the rank of the prophets (Dhyani-Bodhisattvas of the Logos) is hidden from the judgment of the saints (including the Buddhas of Nirvana).” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery (p. 238)
Do Masters Reform Other Groups?
It is also common for many Gnostics to infiltrate other groups with the objective of converting students and instructors to "the true Gnosis." However, this is known as "stealing sheep" and has nothing to do with helping more people become aware of how to work upon themselves. Samael Aun Weor warned about self-proclaimed masters and missionaries who seek to combine schools under a single flag of universal fraternity with themselves at the patriarchal apex.
"Understand: the missionaries who go to form the army do not go as “lumisial reformers,” since every lumisial [Gnostic school or temple] depends upon a principal person, and this one, in himself and by himself, will answer to the great law for his work. Therefore, by no means do the missionaries have the authority to go everywhere reforming lumisials or dividing groups, or something of the sort. Let the principal person of each Gnostic lumisial answer for his work. Moreover, no missionary is authorized to go and reform the work of the principal person of any lumisial. Understand: the missionaries are not reformers of groups; the missionaries go to form new groups, and that is different. Therefore, any missionary has the liberty to form new groups." ―Samael Aun Weor, "Missionaries, Donations, and Schools"
Who Can Be Trusted?
Gnostic students face a perilous dilemma that can really push them away from deeper inquiry. When approaching the Gnostic teachings and encountering the politics of certain groups, aspirants can become confused as to who is right or wrong, and whether or not such disputes reflect the integrity of its founder and writings. It's important to remember, however, that there exist three jewels within Buddhism, namely:
In the Gnostic tradition, we study the teachings of Samael Aun Weor. Whether or not the community or missionaries live up to his doctrine is a separate issue, although many modern individuals fail to make this distinction and instead conflate him with the fanaticism of his followers. But is any prophet to blame for the incongruencies and abuse of students? Blaming Samael Aun Weor for the cultish behaviors of some followers is like blaming Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, and others for the degeneration of their message over time. Light is pure when emanating from the sun (Christ), yet becomes filtered when entering the polluted atmosphere of the earth, a simile for how authentic knowledge degenerates through the superficial, unconscious, torpid, and dull mind of zealots. Due to possessing psychological obscurations or ego, believers interpret everything in accordance with ancestral prejudices and mental conditioning, corrupting the unleavened bread of divine wisdom into the debauched leaven of hypocritical Phariseeism.
"Around the inventors of new values the world revolves: invisibly it revolves. But around the actors revolve the people and fame: that is the way of the world." ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: "On the Flies of the Marketplace"
If you wish to know whether or not Samael Aun Weor is who he says he is, it is important to test, experiment, and practice this knowledge to verify from experience its essential truths, and not to accept or reject them at face value. A true gnostic does not believe nor disbelieve, but knows:
"The mind believes, the mind that does not believe, the mind that doubts, is an ignorant mind. The path of wisdom does not rely on believing, not believing, or doubting. The path of wisdom consists of inquiring, analyzing, meditating, and experiencing." ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
As Friedrich Nietzsche aptly stated in his esoteric book Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
"Now I go alone, my disciples, You too, go now alone. Thus I want it. Go away from me and resist Zarathustra! And even better: be ashamed of him! Perhaps he deceived you… One pays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil. And why do you not want to pluck at my wreath? You revere me; but what if your reverence tumbles one day? Beware lest a statue slay you. You say that you believe in Zarathustra? But what matters Zarathustra? You are my believers―but what matter all believers? You had not yet sought yourselves; and you found me. Thus do all believers; therefore all faith amounts to so little. Now I bid you to lose me and find yourselves; and only then when you have all denied me will I return to you… that I may celebrate the great noon with you [the advent of the Superhuman, when the solar logos is at its zenith above illuminating our minds].” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Conclusion: The Real Master
"Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, "master, master." But be not ye called master: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ." ―Matthew 23:1-10
Discover the true master within you:
The Secret Guides of Humanity
There have always existed exemplary human beings embodying the highest moral, spiritual, and ethical faculties, whose profound sacrifices and uncompromising service to others have mystified and perplexed the masses. Throughout cultures, societies, and empires based upon avarice, fear, and greed, the sincere, upright, and selfless conduct of such men and women have been all the more remarkable for their originality, intelligence, and compassion. Going against the grain with brilliant and luminous character, such individuals have redirected the course of entire civilizations, even if remaining anonymous and unknown. Such persons are known as initiates.
"For throughout all recorded time there have been outstanding people on earth who spoke out with unshakable assurance about the secret of life and even witnessed their conviction with their life—initiates as they have been called. But where and from whom have these 'initiates' received their initiation? And into what were they initiated?
"Socrates for example. Consider him taking the cup of poison with divine calm, drinking it to the last drop, speaking fearlessly and objectively, quietly and pleasantly about the effect of the poison, reporting how under the influence of the poison first his feet get cold and die, how the deathly cold gradually crawls up from his feet towards his heart like a snake. He is aware that he is about to die, he takes leave of his faithful students, and closes his eyes. Such unshakable peace and calm in the face of death can only come from sure knowledge. Where did Socrates get this knowledge?
"And where have various other titans living on earth at different times got their knowledge about the secret of life and death—their initiation? Even today there must be such 'initiates' living on earth, and there must be some way to obtain initiation, the really great initiation." —Elizabeth Haisch, Initiation
Evidenced throughout recorded history, such luminaries possessed a secretive body of knowledge whose application helped to shape their dynamic personalities for the betterment of society. Their esoteric knowledge, "intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest" (Oxford Languages), was covertly sustained through the remarkable temperament, impeccable standards, and resolute integrity of its adherents. Hidden within religious and scriptural allegory, their essential wisdom and practical methodologies demonstrate incredible, volatile, and transformative power, which, presented to the wrong hands, could disrupt and catalyze humanity's trajectory towards destruction.
"That this knowledge was carefully guarded by those who were its custodians was also recognised, and throughout the ages the same reason for their caution was assigned; that in the wrong hands this power, if abused, could produce serious harm, because men had no right to make use of it for any personal end, since it was derived from the Great Author of the Universe. The men who held it were trustees and not owners, and might not appropriate this sacred power to their own uses without being guilty of a crime against their God and their fellow-men; and we have many traditions of the swift and heavy punishment which befell those who thus offended, either at the hands of their fellow-initiates, or of the higher powers against whom they had sinned." ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate: "Chapter I: Laying the Foundations," p. 18
This is why such prophets, messengers, and hierophants of the ancient mysteries instituted secret orders, whose codified stipulations were designed to test the sincerity, responsibility, and qualifications of the candidate. Admission into the most potent and expedient methods for psychological transformation was demanding, since genuine knowledge of divinity is exact, immutable, and scientific. Based upon cosmic laws, the spiritual path is realized through profound study, conscious action, and a unwavering discipline with efficient tools. The ascent out of ignorance, suffering, and affliction towards the comprehension of one's divine nature requires that aspirants learn to abandon everything they believe they are, so as to achieve, in the Biblical parable of the merchant, the pearl of heaven (Matthew 13:45-46).
Finding Authentic Initiatic Schools
"Many have called themselves of your band; many spurious pretenders have been so-called by the learned ignorance which still, baffled and perplexed, is driven to confess that it knows nothing of your origin, your ceremonies or doctrines, nor even if you still have local habitation on the earth." ―Edward Bulwer Lytton, Zanoni: Book III: Chapter V
While many modern spiritual movements are fascinated by these initiatic schools from antiquity (and even contemporaneously imitate their example), discovering reliable knowledge―amidst a plethora of antithetical, inconsistent, and incompatible teachings for today's world―is difficult. As stated by genuine Sufi initiates even as far back as 437 H / 1045 C.E.:
Abu-l-Abbas Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Dinawari observed, “They pull down the pillars of Sufism and tear up its road; they alter its meanings with names they have invented. They call covetousness ‘growth,’ bad behavior ‘sincerity,’ departing from the truth ‘ecstatic utterance,’ and taking pleasure in the objectionable ‘good nature.’ The pursuit of desires is ‘testing,’ returning to the world is ‘union,’ bad temper is ‘forcefulness,’ avarice is ‘endurance,’ begging is ‘work,’ foul language is ‘calling blame upon oneself.’ This is not the way of the [Sufi] people.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Even the most divine teachings become corrupted due to exposure to human avarice, covetousness, and degeneration. A mystery school only lives in accordance with the level of being and spiritual qualifications of its teachers and students, which is not based upon degrees within the physical world, but the unobstructed profundity of divine communion. Due to the eventual deterioration of religious institutions and forms, it is ever more necessary for divinity to manifest the secret wisdom ubiquitously, for no singular culture, people, temporality, or space can lay sovereign and exclusive claim to the universal knowledge dormant within the heart of all living beings. Likewise, by following one's intuition, inquietudes, and inner conscience, the aspirant is conduced towards the door to initiatic development and realization of the mysteries.
"At first on rare occasions; here and there, with my inner ears, I heard the voice of truth speaking in a book or in the words of a living person. And I always went further in the direction indicated by this mysterious voice. Like the thread of Ariadne, this secret voice always led me on. Sometimes I found someone in my own home town who could give me valuable information for my further search, and sometimes this voice led me far away into strange lands, where I often found information that was in remarkably close agreement with the words I had heard at home.
"Thus my path led me to people with ever greater knowledge who explained more and more to me about initiation and about the meaning of life. Naturally I also met many ignorant people and people with half knowledge who pretended to know. But I got so I could recognize immediately when 'the hands were Esau's, but the voice was Jacob's.' These poor charlatans, pretending to be 'initiates', gave themselves away very fast. They were not even in harmony with themselves and their own life, so how could they have taught me anything about the deepest truth of life, about initiation? In such cases I simply went on seeking someone with true knowledge, a true initiate." —Elizabeth Haisch, Initiation
Esoteric authors from both East and West converge upon one essential point: how initiates are defined by their penetrative wisdom and perfect disposition for the betterment of humanity, for "by their fruits you shall know them" (Matthew 7:20). Placing the weal of the multitudes above their own, the masters, prophets, and superhumans work tirelessly so the spiraling evolution of countless humanities can reach the heights of reality, philosophy, and truth.
The Superhuman: An Incredulous Reality
All societies have longed for the realization of their most beloved ideals, yet―as consistently proven in the practical field of life and by the rise and fall of empires―has always produced decadence and decay. Consistently neglecting to enact the legitimate causes of liberty and happiness, terrestrial politics have failed to embody the virtues, principles, and wisdom of the initiates, whose genius is the secret impetus, catalyst, and influence of the multitudes.
"Around the inventors of new values the world revolves: invisibly it revolves. But around the actors [religious, political, and philosophical leaders who claim to be initiates, but are not] revolve the people and fame: that is the way of the world." ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: "On the Flies of the Marketplace"
Initiates, having developed themselves beyond the common and accepted spectrum of humanity's potential intelligence, creativity, and power, have direct knowledge and access to divinity's will. Having passed beyond mundane concepts of good and evil, initiates perceive through the turbulence, bewilderment, and ethical disorientation of the populace, which, while postulating transcendent moral doctrines, hastens towards violence and war. The greatest initiates always know how to discriminate between conflicting ideological binaries, perceiving the syntheses of phenomena and feasible solutions to many societal ills. However, blindly enamored by political fanaticism, religiosity, and dogma, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom," whose inequalities and injustices will result in great catastrophes, "famines and earthquakes in various places" (Matthew 24:7).
Yet the foremost initiates who perceive our existential dilemma of "to be or not to be," act compassionately on behalf of those who suffer. However, due to their radical perfection and negation of any egotistical condition of mind, the multitudes look upon their saviors with incomprehension and horror. This is why whenever any initiate incarnates the Christic force (personified by many masters besides Jesus of Nazareth), humanity rewards him or her with slander, persecutions, and torture:
"Changes are essential during esoteric progress, but reactionary people remain trapped in the past, petrified in time, and they thunder and flash against us as we achieve deep psychological progress and radical changes.
"People cannot bear the changes in an Initiate; they want him to continue to be petrified in many yesterdays.
"Any change achieved by an Initiate is immediately classified as immoral.
"Looking at things from this angle, in the light of the Christic Work [the path of the Superhuman], we can clearly prove the ineffectiveness of the diverse moral codes which have been written throughout the world.
"Unquestionably, the Christ, manifested though hidden in the heart of the real human, once he takes charge of our diverse psychological states, is actually labeled as cruel, immoral and perverse because people do not know him.
"It is paradoxical that although people worship the Christ, they classify him with such appalling labels.
"Obviously, people who are unconscious and asleep only want an anthropomorphic, historic Christ of statues and unbreakable dogmas in whom they can easily fit all their clumsy, stale moral codes and all their prejudices and conditions.
"People can never conceive of the Intimate Christ [the Superhuman] in the heart of the human being. The masses only worship the statue of Christ, that is all." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion: "The Christic Work"
The heights of initiation, as demonstrated in the lives of Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, and the prophets, is the realization of one's ultimate divinity, the Cosmic Christ, a universal intelligence that can incarnate within the consciousness of any individual whom has been properly prepared. Christ, the Superhuman, transcends and rebels against popular concepts of morality, theory, nationality, race, and theology:
"The Superhuman can distinguish good from evil and evil from good; he grasps the sword of cosmic justice and is beyond both good and evil." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion: "The Superman"
Untainted by mistaken, dualistic views, concepts, or philosophies, the initiates sacrifice themselves for humanity through instructing us about the causes of our ignorance, even when it is uncomfortable, terrifying, disturbing, and contrary to our most cherished beliefs. Since their transcendent state is beyond comprehension, the initiates terrify the public through the solemn verdict of their uncompromising conscience.
"Myself I sacrifice to my love [the Superhuman], and my neighbor as myself"―thus runs the speech of all creators [initiates]. But all creators are hard." ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: "On the Pitying"
This "hardness" of the creators was exemplified in Edward Bulwer Lytton's esoteric romance novel Zanoni, wherein Glyndon, an artist, painter, and possible candidate for an initiatic Rosicrucian order, questions the immortal Count Zanoni regarding the ethical behavior, philosophy, and superiority of the initiates:
"You do not seem, Signor Zanoni, to be one of the admirers of the dawning [French] Revolution [May 5, 1789 – November 9, 1799]. Perhaps you are prejudiced against the man [a follower of the upcoming rebellion] because you dislike the opinions?"
Glyndon paused, somewhat puzzled to define; but at length he said, "Nay, I must wrong you; for you, of all men, I suppose, cannot discredit the doctrine that preaches the infinite improvement of the human species."
"You are right; the few in every age improve the many; the many now may be as wise as the few were; but improvement is at a standstill, if you tell me that the many now are as wise as the few are."
"I comprehend you; you will not allow the law of universal equality!"
"Law! If the whole world conspired to enforce the falsehood they could not make it law. Level all conditions to-day, and you only smooth away all obstacles to tyranny to-morrow. A nation that aspires to equality is unfit for freedom. Throughout all creation, from the archangel to the worm, from Olympus to the pebble, from the radiant and completed planet to the nebula that hardens through ages of mist and slime into the habitable world, the first law of Nature is inequality."
"Harsh doctrine, if applied to states. Are the cruel disparities of life never to be removed?"
"Disparities of the physical life? Oh, let us hope so. But disparities of the intellectual and the moral, never! Universal equality of intelligence, of mind, of genius, of virtue!—no teacher left to the world! no men wiser, better than others,—were it not an impossible condition, what a hopeless prospect for humanity! No, while the world lasts, the sun will gild the mountain-top before it shines upon the plain. Diffuse all the knowledge the earth contains equally over all mankind to-day, and some men will be wiser than the rest to-morrow. And this is not a harsh, but a loving law,—the real law of improvement; the wiser the few in one generation, the wiser will be the multitude the next! [...]
"And these men [who would initiate the French Revolution], to commence their era of improvement and equality, are jealous even of the Creator. They would deny an intelligence,—a God!" said Zanoni, as if involuntarily. "Are you an artist, and, looking on the world, can you listen to such a dogma? Between God and genius there is a necessary link,—there is almost a correspondent language. Well said the Pythagorean, 'A good intellect is the chorus of divinity.'" ―Edward Bulwer Lytton, Zanoni: Book II, Chapter VII
While written almost two hundred years ago, Zanoni perfectly describes the chaos of contemporary global politics resulting from staunch materialism, fierce fanaticism, and extremist ideologies. By rejecting divinity, such movements strip away anything sacred from within the human being, reducing him, in the name of social equality, to a commodity and epiphenomenon of the brain. History has demonstrated that the denial of human principles inevitably leads to moral confusion, stagnation, and destruction, for in the words of Samael Aun Weor:
"Religious forms change according to the historical times and the races. Each race needs its special religious form.
"People need religion. People without religion are in fact totally barbarian, cruel, and pitiless." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic: "Religious Principles"
Without rejecting the need for economic and material equity, the initiates have propounded how equality can never exist within one's level of being. Hierarchies exist within nature, divinity, and spiritual masters, who are able to express heavenly forces according to their initiatic degree. Just as a light bulb can transmit greater brilliance, likewise the light of divinity manifests within the human being in accordance with their unique development.
Friedrich Nietzsche corroborates this doctrine of inequality and the superiority of the initiatic life in his Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
"You higher men, learn this from me: in the market place [the public world] nobody believes in higher men. And if you want to speak there, very well! But the mob blinks: 'We are all equal.'
"'You higher men'―thus blinks the mob―'there are no higher men, we are all equal, man is man; before God we are all equal.'
"Before God! But now this god has died [since Judeo-Christianity and Islam, the monotheistic religions, have degenerated: the initiatic teachings are lost]. And before the mob we do not want to be equal. You higher men, go away from the market place!" ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: "On the Higher Man"
White and Black Magic
While the divine initiatic colleges disdained and forbade the public dissemination of their teachings within the "marketplace," the colleges for black initiations became common and prominent. Besides every temple of light is a temple of darkness. Just as there exist initiates who cultivate the most sublime ideals and purest sentiment within humanity, likewise there are initiates who develop and empower egotism, manipulation, desire, and the lowest animal qualities possible.
White magic is the individual's capacity to invoke, manifest, and express―in accordance with the will of divinity―the qualities of unconditioned consciousness for human enlightenment. Black magic is the practitioner's hypnotic abilities to control, deceive, and manipulate others through channeling the influence of conditioned perception, the animal ego. While white magicians respect the will of others and offer teachings based on the conscious principle of persuasion, the black magician receives his power through coercing, suppressing, and dominating other people.
Innumerable schools of black magic exist due to the closing of the initiatic colleges. To escape persecution, judgment, and the Inquisition, many white magicians closed their doors while the black lodges, ever opportunistic and zealous, gained ground and influence. However, due to inexperience, gullibility, and an intimate yearning for any hidden knowledge, aspirants have, in most cases, been incapable of discriminating between positive and negative, thereby submitting themselves with fervor upon the black path.
"When the dark age arrived, the colleges of Initiation were closed. This was a fatality. Henceforth, as a matter of fact, the great black lodges, which were born during the archaic darkness of the ancient times, became more active. The limit of light is darkness. Next to every temple of light another of darkness exists, and where the light more brightly shines, there darkness becomes more dense.
"The colleges of Initiation from Egypt, Greece, India, China, Mexico, Yucatan, Peru, Troy, Rome, Carthage, Chaldea, etc., had their dangerous antipodes, their fatal antitheses, tenebrous schools of black magic, fatal shadows of the light.
"Those schools of black magic were the shadows of the colleges of Initiation. Thus, when the colleges were closed, these fatal schools became very active.
"Therefore, it is not strange to find among these dens of the black lodge terms, sciences, and rituals similar to those that were used within the colleges of Initiation. This confuses the devotees of the path. By nature, the devotee is a lover of the “strange,” of the “exotic,” of the “distant,” and of the “impossible.” Therefore, when the devotees find a black magician of this type, speaking of the Egyptian, Mayan, Aztec, Inca, Greek, Chaldean, Persian mysteries, etc., they then ingenuously believe they have caught God by the beard and place themselves in the hands of the black magician, believing him to be white.
"These magicians of darkness abound wherever there existed colleges of Initiation. They are the antitheses of those colleges and they speak like masters, always boasting about being initiates of those colleges. They never say anything that could arouse suspicion. They show that they are kind and humble, defend the good and the truth, adopt tremendously mystical attitudes, etc. Evidently, under such conditions the naïve and inexperienced devotee abandons the path of the razor’s edge and entrusts himself fully to those wolves in sheep’s clothing. That is a fatality." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony: "Fatality"
Due to a similitude of language, culture, iconography, passcodes, and symbolism, many neophytes who would otherwise enter into initiation have deviated towards the dark arts, due to an innate curiosity and fascination with novelties. The colleges of light and darkness always struggle over and against students’ intellectual obsession with obscure metaphysical lore, which the Black Lodge adulterates and manipulates for its own purposes.
The reinterpretation or reappropriation of universal symbols, considered the exclusive forte of poststructuralist literary studies, is the original tactic of black magic. While poststructuralism focuses on the socio-cultural and linguistic attribution of conceptual meaning to words (the latter denominated “signifiers”), schools of black magic are qualified by their resignification and distortion of divine iconography, since they can never originate the spirituality they so desperately imitate, disfigure, and subsume.
"The black magician cannot use the symbols of white magic without bringing down upon himself the forces of white magic, which would be fatal to his schemes. He must therefore distort the hierograms so that they typify the occult fact that he himself is distorting the principles for which the symbols stand. Black magic is not a fundamental art; it is the misuse of an art. Therefore it has no symbols of its own. It merely takes the emblematic figures of white magic, and by inverting and reversing them signifies that it is left-handed. In symbolism, an inverted figure always signifies a perverted power." ―Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages: "Ceremonial Magic and Sorcery"
The misappropriation of spiritual symbolism is so prominent within mainstream media that the Eye of Ra, originally representative of divine omniscience within the universal White Lodges, has broached a new dual significance: the influential, subversive, and clandestine intelligentsia controlling global economic polity and the rebellious controversies of esoteric conspiracy theory fringe culture. These associations, fermented within counter-cultural movements and underground music scenes, have permeated even public acceptance, fascination, and belief through songs like “Silent Empire” by Polish death metal band Vader. Their 1995 album De Profundis (Latin: “Into the Depths”) and other dissident art constitute a reaction to musical orthodoxy and a critique of malevolent secret societies. While popular and underground media have reflected this reality, they have paradoxically served the purposes of such orders by confounding an essential point.
Despite such portrayals and critiques of illuminatist iconography, modern mystical and counter-cultural art reflect the lowest animal impulse of humanity's nature, precipitating and conditioning it de profundis: into the hellish depths of pride, anger, fear, hatred, avarice, vanity, and lust. These are the very egotistical qualities and conditions that allow for manipulation, extortion, and crime on an international scale. Convincing to the many, the fear produced by such oppositional and conspiratorial ideologies have gained enough currency within popular sentiment as to completely obscure the fundamental reality of genuine esotericism in its imperative, practical application.
The Secret Teachings of Alchemy
Initiation involves the utilization and concentration of expedient methods for transforming one's conditions of mind into the liberated, intuitive, comprehensive, and penetrative wisdom of an awakened consciousness. The principal and definitive technique at the heart of positive initiatic schools is the metallurgical art, philosophy, mysticism, and science of alchemy.
Commonly designated as an esoteric, obsolete, and foolish pursuit for charlatans, mountebanks, and imposters, alchemy is the pragmatic core of initiatic doctrine, whereby one's lower animal desires, the conditioned mind or lead of our terrestrial personality, is reduced, sublimated, and elevated into the ultimate, golden synthesis of human potential: a divine being with mastery of nature's material and spiritual elements for the beautification of human evolution. Conceptualized as the greedy quest of vain, ambitious, and desperate quacks for acquiring physical wealth, alchemy instead is the highest knowledge for transforming the ordinary human being into the superhuman, "to be born again" in the teachings of Jesus (John 3:5).
What happens is that people conflate alchemical symbolism with the literal hunt for creating gold, jewels, and diamonds, ignoring that these represent the flowerings, virtues, and sacred capacities of an illuminated consciousness, realized once the impurities of our desires are transmuted.
Transmutation signifies trans, the prefix signifying the movement, flow, or "carrying over" of a one substance into another. This is where we find words like transcend or transfix, to elevate or fundamentally shift one positionality into another. Trans also means “across, beyond or through; to change something thoroughly; to move.”
Mutate or mutation relates to “causing something to change in form or nature." By conserving one's essential energies, forces, volitions, capacities, vitality, and creative powers, such an overflow becomes the reservoir in which to give birth to an entirely new being. A superhuman or mutant is a being who was once like us, but through the alchemical science was transformed into a god, buddha, angel, master, or prophet. Such beings have a complete knowledge of the universe that is inaccessible to those who have never cultivated their spiritual senses, which have as much, if not more, reality than sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. By mastering the force of genesis, life, and sexual volatility in themselves, initiates are able to control the untapped reserve of nature's power for the benefaction of civilizations, albeit in strict anonymity.
Edward Bulwer Lytton, the author of the esoteric romance Zanoni, describes the alchemical science that was once shrouded in allegory, metaphors, symbols, and parables, to which he was given minor authority to unveil at least the hem of the initiatic garment, but not what lay beneath:
"The laws of attraction, of electricity, and of the yet more mysterious agency of that great principal of life, which, if drawn from the universe, would leave the universe a grave, were but the code in which the Theurgy of old sought the guides that led it to a legislation and science of its own. To rebuild on words the fragments of this history, it seems to me as if, in a solemn trance, I was led through the ruins of a city whose only remains were tombs. From the sarcophagus and the urn I awake the genius of the extinguished Torch, and so closely does its shape resemble Eros, that at moments I scarcely know which of ye dictates to me,—O Love! O Death!" ―Edward Bulwer Lytton, Zanoni: Book III: Chapter V
Alchemy is the science of Eros, eroticism, and sexual love, which was practiced and maintained by the initiates with the utmost confidentiality, solitude, fidelity, and most importantly, purity. As the sexual fire of the creative Logos, Word, or ultimate divinity, the genius of the saints is found in their perfect adherence to the principles and rites of chastity: stainless, immaculate, and ethical sexual relations between husband and wife. Through the death of lust, desire, hatred, calumny, pride, arrogance, sloth, and addictions, the initiates resurrect from within the psychological tombs and sarcophagi of dead bones, refuse, and decomposition, to the innate happiness of divine union: that of Eros, Christic love, with the perfect soul or Psyche.
Sexual alchemy, magic, or tantrism, is the highest wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, Jainism, Sufism, Esoteric Christianity, Judaism, Kabbalah, and all religions. It signifies how married couples can conserve their creative potential within the sexual act, transforming the Genesiatic waters that can give birth to a physical child so as to gestate the golden child of alchemical wisdom: the Christ principle or superhuman beyond good and evil.
Due to the controversial, taboo, and contentious nature of sexuality within spiritual studies, the initiates have always conserved the ultimate secret of regeneration within the allegories and metaphors of scripture, so that the uninitiated, ill equipped to decipher its codes, symbolism, and knowledge, could not harm themselves. Sexual alchemy is so powerful that the initiates who dared to convey its secrets outside their orders were executed, poisoned, or killed, since they violated their oaths to maintain its absolute secrecy, thereby protecting the teachings from corrupting and being corrupted by the ignorant.
"The secret of Sexual Magic was incommunicable. That is the great Arcanum. Those unfortunate ones who divulged the unspeakable secret were sentenced to death. They were taken to a stone patio, and before a millenary wall covered with crocodile skins and indecipherable hieroglyphics, their heads were cut off, their hearts were torn out, and their cursed ashes were flung to the four winds.
"This brings to mind the great French poet Cazote, who died at the guillotine during the French Revolution. This man prophesied his own death at a famous banquet along with the fate that was awaiting a certain group of noble initiates who contemplated divulging the great Arcanum [referenced in Edward Bulwer Lytton's Zanoni: Book I, Chapter 6]. For some he prophesied the guillotine, for others the dagger, poison, jail, exile. His prophecies were fulfilled with absolute accuracy. In the Middle Ages, anyone who divulged the great Arcanum died mysteriously, be it by shirts of Nessus, poisoned soaps that arrived as a birthday present at the door of the condemned, perfumed bouquets, or the dagger." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony: "The Seven Churches"
The premise of Zanoni is that even advanced initiates, masters, and superhumans lost their lives for divulging and betraying the mysteries of their order. This is due to the fact that such people are not ordinary, for by expanding their abilities through exceptional disciplines, study, and knowledge, they gained greater responsibilities. The higher an initiate’s level of being, hierarchy, and power, the more severe their downfall for betraying divine law.
Types of Initiation
While initiation is commonly defined as “formal admission or acceptance into an organization or club; adult status in one's community or society,” this relates to “ceremonies, rites of admission, rites of passage" that do not exclusively occur within the physical world, but in higher dimensions of being and spiritual experience.
"What is this power that great souls contact? Esoteric tradition affirms that they take initiation of one kind or another; for there are two kinds, physical and nonphysical, which are usually taken together, though. sometimes only one and not the other is experienced. The physical initiation admits to the study of the esoteric wisdom acquired by generations of men who sought beneath the surface of existence, who sought the inner meaning of things rather than their outer forms; it admits the student to the fellowship and confidence of these men, and disposes them to share their knowledge and to accept the initiate as a co-worker or pupil.
"The second form of initiation is declared to be a spiritual experience, wherein the soul establishes contact with the higher powers and is admitted to the fellowship of great souls on the Inner Planes. Of these two forms of initiation, sometimes one and sometimes another comes first; sometimes the physical, the lesser initiation, is the earlier, and the student is then taught how to prepare himself for the spiritual experience. In other cases it is the spiritual initiation that comes first, and then the student is shortly afterwards placed in the way of taking the physical initiation if he so desires; but esotericists are all agreed that, although. individuals may not necessarily take both initiations, the one always carries with it the opportunity for the other." ―Dion Fortune: The Training and Work of an Initiate: "Chapter II: The Way of Initiation," p. 27-28
Tests, ordeals, and hardships are given by divinity to those souls who wish to enter initiation, primarily as a means of verifying the psychological character and qualifications of the candidate. Entrance to the higher worlds is predicated upon a firm application and embodiment of the greatest virtues. Therefore, for an aspirant to enter the mysteries, they must prove themselves in their daily, physical life.
Who Receives Initiations?
While many people approach initiation with arrogance, self-aggrandizement, and mystical pride, the reality is that initiatic degrees are only acquired by the humble, sincere, reflective, and serious: those who renounce worldliness, passion, desires, and fears in every aspect of their existence:
"In this day and age, the Masonic Lodge grants its degrees based on money and social status. Many sell initiations. Many are bestowed with initiations. Yet, all of this is exploitation and black magic.
"Authentic degrees and authentic white initiations are received in the consciousness. These initiatic ceremonies are performed within the superior worlds.
"Initiations are intimate realizations of the consciousness, which must not be revealed, or spoken about.
“No one can grant initiations to anyone. Initiation is attained through life itself.
"In this day and age, everybody wants to be a master. Notwithstanding, we state that there is only one master, this is the inner Christ, which enlightens every human being who comes into the world. Thus, only Christ is the master. Only the resplendent “I Am” is the master." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "Preparation for Initiation 7"
The real master is within our consciousness and has nothing to do with our "self." By renouncing our most cherished identity, vanities, ambitions, and cravings, we can experience the fundamental reality and nature of our authentic Being.
In the words of Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic Movement:
"Initiation is something very intimate to the Soul. The “I” does not receive initiations. Therefore, those who say, “I have so many initiations,” “I have such-and-such degrees,” are liars and fakes, because the “I” does not receive initiations or degrees. There are nine Initiations of Minor Mysteries and five important Initiations of Major Mysteries. The Soul is the one who receives the initiations. This is a very intimate matter; something that one must not go about speaking of, nor something that must be told to anyone. Indeed, all the initiations and degrees that many schools of the physical world confer have no value whatsoever in the superior worlds, because the masters of the White Lodge only recognize the legitimate initiations of the Soul as genuine. These are completely internal." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
Can One Achieve Initiation without Knowing It?
Many approach these Gnostic studies and assume that they are initiates, that they have received spiritual degrees, and are recognized, validated, and canonized by their communities and the gods. However, in the words of Samael Aun Weor:
"Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Genuine initiations are living mystical experiences within the superior worlds, lucid visions and awakening within the world of dreams. If one does not have these experiences, has no recollection of them, nor any idea what they constitute, then such aspirants, while extremely devoted, are sincerely mistaken.
"We are often asked whether it is possible to be initiated without knowing it. To this question we return an emphatic negative. On the face of it, it is absurd to think that we could be unconscious of receiving permanent extension of consciousness. It frequently happens, however, that a Master has accepted someone as his pupil without that person being immediately aware of it owing to the undeveloped state of his psychic faculties, and realisation dawns only after the training has progressed a certain distance. In such a case a psychic would be able to inform such a person that he had indeed found acceptance as a pupil of the Great White Brotherhood and had set foot on the Path that leads to Initiation, but he would be wrong in saying that he had been initiated." ―Dion Fortune: The Training and Work of an Initiate: "Chapter III: Preparation for Initiation," p. 34-35
Real development is based on radical honesty with oneself. The truth is that the many who assume they are noble, charitable, and holy are farther away from initiation than the Mary Magdalenes who recognize their culpability, insignificance, and shame. Real initiation is hard, because it necessitates the unconditional negation of one's most beloved attachments, desires, ideas, and convictions. In the words of one German initiate:
"What does he know of love who did not have to despise precisely what he loved!" ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: "On the Way of the Creator"
Or: what does a person know of conscious, divine love (alchemical chastity) who did not have to despise precisely what he loved (his or her lust and animal desires)?
Qualities and Qualifications of the Initiates
Since initiation is demanding, it is beneficial to reflect upon the psychological, ethical, and spiritual qualities of the candidate to verify, understand, and clarify what an initiate is. Fortunately, there exists an extensive body of knowledge regarding initiatic qualifications, which can serve as a starting point for exploring, studying, exemplifying, and incorporating their principles.
"The initiates of the occult sciences are taught to function upon these different levels, to use a terminology derived from the East; or, to express the same idea in Western words, to think in these different ways. Before we are ripe for a Master's teaching we have to conquer the physical and emotional levels for ourselves, for to this stage the normal state of evolution enables us to develop without any external interference. We must render the body an absolute servant which has no longer the power to make its needs imperative; it is to this end that much of the extreme asceticism of the Yoga methods of India is directed. We of the West, however, do not practise these methods; it is enough that the body should be rendered a voluntary collaborator and not an abject slave, Tum a man's desires towards a higher level, and they will automatically lift him there; as a great Initiate said: 'As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.'
"The emotions must flow freely, without conflict or distortion, in the channels which Nature has appointed for them before they can be lifted to a higher level. You cannot sublimate a pathology.
"The direction of the energies of life must be removed from the domain of the desires to that of the will. Until this is done there can be no steady progression in any direction, for the desires are called forth from without, not directed from within, and vary with the external stimulus." ―Dion Fortune: The Training and Work of an Initiate: "Chapter I: Laying the Foundations, p. 21-22
Chastity, the pure redirection of our sexual life forces, is the beginning of initiation. The sexual energy in its natural function, form, and essence is the ability to create. The problem is that humanity is conditioned by animal desire, thereby directing the natural spiritual functions of the sexual energy towards and through the ego, self, or "I."
No one needs to be educated about how to copulate with lust, animality, and desire, the culmination of the orgasm, since this is common knowledge and accepted practice. Instead, humanity now must be taught how fornication, the orgasm, depletes one of vitality, energy, strength, and power that could otherwise be conducted, sublimated, and used for the edification of our spirituality―to take the capacity to create a child and use it for a very different purpose: the elaboration of a perfected soul.
Progress within initiation is based upon how we conserve the sexual energy and never waste it. This is the essential tenet of Tantric Buddhism, sexual alchemy, chastity, or white tantra, described by Padmasambhava's consort Yeshe Tsogyal:
"...train your [sexual] energy flows until you gain self-control [over lust and orgasm],
And after receiving the three superior initiations, transmute the ensuing desire,
To perfect the nature of the four levels of joy,
For six months or until signs of achievement appear in the body.
"Unite male and female energies,
Developing the method of mixing higher and lower energies,
Female assisting male and male assisting female,
The principles of each being separately practiced.
"Intensify and elevate your practice, broadening the horizons of your bliss;
But if bliss and Emptiness [comprehension of selflessness, the absolute absence of desire] are not identified,
Profitlessly you stray from the path of Tantra:
Apprehend the intrinsic unity of bliss and Emptiness.
"Guard the samaya [oath of chastity] of Guru and Dakini like your eyes;
In various skillful ways enjoy the five sacred substances;
Practice to perfection the skill of retaining your seed-essence [semen]
Be attentive to obstacles and hostile powers [your egos, defects, vices];
If the samaya [chastity] is impaired strive to restore it.
"About the body: do not let it slip into old habits [of lust and orgasm]
Or you will become like ordinary men and women [who are animals];
With the confidence of the deity, meditate charged with power
And inform your focal points of energy as a principal and his circle of deities.
"About speech: concentrate upon mantra and energy flows -
Without energy control your sexual activity is fornication [lustful sex];
Properly execute the exercises of 'drawing up' [the spine] and 'saturating' [brain and heart]
And with the [iron] nails of your imagination apply an hermetic seal [to prevent any loss of energy].
―Yeshe Tsogyal, Fruition and Buddhahood
The sexual energy or libido is so powerful that Sigmund Freud rightly declared it the driving force of all behaviors. This is due to the fact that sexual energy engages within an infinitude of modifications, manifestations, and expressions. If our mind and actions are perverse, saturated by hatred, morbidity, pessimism, fear, and violence, then our sexuality will empower those egotistical actions. At the same time, by training the sexual energy to flow inward and upward within our physiology and psychology, we empower our noblest aspirations, longings, and spiritualty.
"Gnosis is a two-edged sword, it defends and gives life to the humble and virtuous; yet, it wounds and destroys the curious and impure." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "Preparation for Initiation 16"
Gnosis is therefore the path of balance, whereby one acculturates, little by little, towards upright thought, feeling, and action, without craving or attachment to powers, results, and consequences. The initiate learns to act for the benefit of others with dispassion, clarity, and insight:
"A great equilibrium in the consciousness is necessary in order to become an initiate; thus, it is necessary to cultivate powers but not to covet them; to aspire to initiation but not to covet it; to know how to find virtues within the heart of the wicked and to know how to find evilness within the heart of the righteous." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "Preparation for Initiation 9"
"For every step that we take in the development of our occult powers, we must take a thousand steps on the path of sanctity." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "Preparation for Initiation 2"
Sadly, humanity does not recognize or understand the virtuous, because of the corrupted lens through which we perceive reality, philosophy, spirituality, and existence. This explains why many initiates have maintained unparalleled secrecy in the past, because their spiritual capital horrifies, confounds, and offends the spiritually-deficit and morally-bankrupt public.
"When judgmental people try to evaluate the daily lives of the great initiates, they always judge mistakenly, since judgmental people do not comprehend the extreme simplicity of the great initiates." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "The Apostolate"
It is only through innocence, purity of mind, and joyful perseverance with esoteric discipline that a genuine understanding of initiatic mysteries becomes possible:
"We need to have the mind of a child in order to enter into the Major Mysteries. We need to be like children in our minds and hearts. We need to be perfect as our Father who is in heaven is perfect. The great mysteries are not achievable through vain intellectualisms; the Major Mysteries are achievable with the heart of a child." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "Preparation for Initiation 2"
Despite the formidable achievements made by the superhumans of the world, their primary quality is humility, simplicity, generosity, and compassion. Without assumptions, pretensions, or arrogance, the initiates serve others rather than themselves due to the inconceivable magnitude of their selfless love.
"We do not worship noble titles, nor resounding titles like 'doctor, lawyer, guru, master, elder brother, avatar,' etc., because among Gnostics we are all friends, and Aquarius is the house of friends." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "Meetings' Regulations"
Ethics and Dangers in Spiritual Schools
To enter initiation, one must be wary of those who proclaim to be spiritual but are not. Jesus proclaimed them to be "false prophets" (Matthew 7:15) whose ravenous appetite for followers and extortion has led many into suffering, yet by whose "fruits" or actions we "shall know them" (Matthew 7:16).
Samael Aun Weor, a practical initiate and proponent of sexual alchemy, offered valuable advice from his own experience with esoteric groups, schools, and movements. While offensive to their proud adherents, his severity with the incapacity, jealousy, and corruption of many spiritual organizations cuts directly through many insincerities and self-deceits commonly propagated today. He also provides some basic parameters for anyone, regardless of country, culture, religion, race, gender, or creed, to actualize a unique transformation of their personal character and enter the "straight and narrow gate" of initiation "that leads to life," which "few find" (Matthew 7:14).
"The disciple who wants to enter the straight, narrow and difficult path that leads us to the Light has to withdraw from all spiritual schools. Those schools are filled with 'sublime crimes.' Those schools are golden cages filled with 'very beautiful poisonous vipers.' Mystic evilness is very abundant in those schools.
"Under the shelter of the divine phrase “Universal Fraternity” the worst crimes registered in the penal code are committed.
"It is distressful for us to state this, but complacency with crime is also a crime. It is as bad to be silent when one must talk as to talk when one must be silent. We would like to be silent, yet one not only pays karma for the evil things that were done, but also for the good things that were left undone when these things could have been done. Therefore, we cannot be silent about this. We love humanity very much, thus we need to point out crime, to touch the wound with the finger in order not to fall into the crime of being complacent with crime. If we did not say these things we would put a horrible karma (the karma of accomplices and cowards) on ourselves. So, the truth, although harsh, is the best friend.
"All spiritual schools, orders and lodges are delectable gardens within which stand out nests of dangerous vipers and poisonous flowers filled with perfume. Ineffable enchantments that lead us to the abyss, as well as sublime theories that can lead us to the precipice, and sweet smiles that carry us to disgrace exist within those schools where their devotees are filled with hypocrisy and fanaticism. Indeed, the opium of theories is more dangerous than death.
"Spiritual devotees hug with one hand and with the other they stab the back with the sharp dagger of treason.
"Spiritual devotees always cover their worst evilness with smiles and very sweet words. We do not have the intention of criticizing any person in particular because that is wrong; this is why we speak in a general manner for the good of the Great Work of the Father.
"We have known horrible cases, i.e. we knew the case of a certain hypocritical Pharisee who passed himself off as Jesus Christ; he founded an order of black magic and later he alleged that he was uniting all the schools, orders, sects, creeds and lodges within a universal fraternity; and he was the center of it all, naturally.
"We knew about another subject who took the name of K. H. in order to declare that he was an Avatar, and that he should reunite all the schools under his scepter. All these types of opportunist subjects tend to found black lodges under the shelter of the beautiful phrase “Universal Fraternity.”
"We cannot remain silent about this because complacency with crime is also a crime. Almost all the spiritual devotees are totally petrified by their intellect; almost all of them remained frozen with the spiritual theories of the nineteenth century, and filled with pride, fear and arrogance, reject the secret doctrine of our Lord the Christ.
"Therefore, we advise our disciples to be very careful; it is better to withdraw from these types of gentlemen, because they are dangerous and deceitful. Whosoever betrays the Christ falls into the abyss.
"In these times, many false Christs are appearing, and those who affiliate with them commit the crime of high treason.
"Jesus Christ is the leader of all souls; this great Master lives in Oriental Tibet.
"Do not forget that crime is hidden within the incense of prayer; yes, crime is hidden within the mixture of perfumes and litanies. False Christs have sublime appearances.
"To state that 'this is good' or 'that is evil,' is an easy matter, yet to have cognizance of the good from the evil and the evil from the good is very difficult.
"Black lodges are filled with sincere but mistaken people; the abyss is filled with people with very good intentions.
"When we enter into the true path of initiation, then all the spiritual devotees turn against us. Christ was crucified by the spiritualists of his time.
"Many enter the path and thereafter they no longer want to continue working in order to fulfill the needs of every good citizen. Those wretched beings neglect their duties towards their family, the world and their own selves. We have heard them say phrases like: 'Money is vain,' 'This is the world of Maya (illusion),' 'I am no longer interested in the things of the world,' etc. This is how these wretched disciples fail because they do not know how to fulfill their duties. This is how these devotees of the path move away from initiation, precisely because they do not know how to fulfill their duties as simple citizens.
"Our disciples will now comprehend why we stated that crime is also hidden within the incense of prayer.
"The one who enters the path must first of all be a model spouse, a model father/mother, a model child, a model citizen, a magnificent grandson/daughter and a patriarchal grandfather/mother, etc. The one who does not know how to fulfill his duties as a simple citizen cannot tread the path of the great mysteries. Many disciples forget the good manners of a sincere and honorable gentleman/lady and become truly irresponsible and even dangerous individuals.
"People that had never stolen became thieves of books and money when they entered the path. The younger devotees who enter the spiritual path steal books, or they borrow them and never return them, etc. Others cheat their disciples, they borrow money from them and thereafter they steal it, etc.
"Under the shade of the word 'fraternity' all the crimes mentioned in the penal code are committed. There are those who take other people’s money and allege that the money is for good deeds. There are those who criticize those who work, supposedly because everything is vanity, etc.
"This is how devotees close the path that leads to the great mysteries to themselves.
"On the path, there are many devotees who commit adultery, justifying themselves with phrases like these, 'My spouse is refractory to the spiritual teachings,' 'The other partner I have agrees with my ideas,' 'The other is spiritual, and is the only one with whom I can practice sexual magic in order to attain in-depth realization,' etc., and a thousand other mystical phrases. This is how adulterers shut the doors of the temple unto themselves.
"Many devotees of the path use sexual magic as a pretext to seduce many naïve devotees; this is how these mystical adulterers withdraw from the altar of initiation and fall into the abyss.
"Sexual magic can only be practiced between husband and wife in legitimately constituted homes.
"Many devotees steal the neighbor’s spouse supposedly because the law of karma commanded it. All of these crimes have led thousands of spiritual devotees into the abyss.
"When we went to a certain country to fulfill a mission, we were assaulted by certain spiritual elements who visited us in order to criticize our books, to give us imperative orders and to insult us in our own home. In ordinary life, no gentleman/lady would dare to enter into someone else’s home in order to give orders and to insult the owner of the house, because they would find themselves involved in a domestic scene and in a problem with the police. Unfortunately, the devotees of the path fall into these states of terrible irresponsibility.
"Some even abandon the most basic laws of urban life and wander around the streets with their clothes dirty and in the most complete untidiness, and as a pretext they boast of being spiritual and being in disdain of the vanities of the world. However, this is called degeneration; this is how, with their pessimistic exposure, the devotees of the path drive many people away from the path.
"We must always dress in a decent manner, not because of pride, or vanity, but simply because of respect to our neighbor.
"The system in order to achieve in-depth self-realization has nothing to do with letting our beard or hair grow, or going around dirty on the streets. The one who wants to attain self-realization must start by being an upright and decent gentleman or lady.
"The one who wants to attain self-realization has to practice sexual magic and tread the path of the most perfect sanctity.
"Within most of the spiritual schools devotees speak ill of their fellowmen and argue like parrots. This is not right. No one has the right to judge anyone, because no one is perfect. Christ already told us, 'Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again…' etc. Matthew 7:1-2. Thus, we do not have the right to criticize the neighbor’s defects. Gossip and slander have filled the world with pain and bitterness; defamation is worse than stealing. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries: "Preparation for Initiation 1"
Initiation is demanding, but if you seek it, the door is open.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Gnostic articles on practical spirituality: the science, mysticism, art, and philosophy of conscious living.