The Importance of Initiation
I have heard exhortations from both sides of the fence… some touting the necessity for initiation into The Craft, and others relegating it to either a footnote, or totally eliminating any significance and value it may hold. My personal philosophy places great importance on Initiation for a variety of reasons. It fulfills essential functions within a Left Hand Path, and arguably any religious or mystery system. With that being said though, I do not prescribe the notion that initiations must follow any type of genealogical line, or that a practitioner is for some reason “illegitimate” because another has not performed certain rites or rituals to welcome them into The Craft. That is utter garbage. The individual has as much capacity and right as any group or coven to properly carry out an initiation… possibly to even greater effect.
The purpose of Initiation is to experience a ritualistic death of the old life, and a spiritual re-birth onto a path few are brave or competent enough to tread. It shows a high level of resolve on the part of the initiate, and lays the soul bare for shaping and the mind open and receptive for the acceptance of sacred truth. It begins a fundamental process of change that is found in most religious gnostic traditions. A change within self… Care should be exercised though, particularly when performed by a single individual, because an Initiation carries great symbolic importance. It should not be cheap, easy, or hastily constructed and executed. It should create an atmosphere of awe, power, and profound introspection. It must prepare the individual for a lifelong quest to reach, grasp, understand, and use The Light we all seek. Initiation does not have to be long and drawn out… but it can be. It does not have to be full of props and actors… but it can be. It just has to be effective. To further this end, it should contain snippets of a tradition’s core tenants and lore… little tastes of the flavors and aromas the tradition offers the initiate if there is dedication, a willingness to perform hard work, and a deep thirst for knowledge.