Perspectives on Initiation (Collected Works of René Guénon) by René Guénon

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By René Guénon

Views on Initiation provides initiation as primarily the transmission, by means of definitely the right rites of a given culture, of a 'spiritual influence' which represents the 'beginning' (initium) of the non secular trip. it really is exact in giving a finished account either one of the stipulations of initiation and of the features of agencies certified to transmit it. whereas so much of its forty eight chapters take care of particular features of initiation, others hide an incredible variety of similar topics, between them: Magic and Mysticism, Ceremonial Magic, Psychic 'Powers', The Symbolism of the Theater, The reward of Tongues, higher and Lesser Mysteries, Rose-Cross and Rosicrucians, a few Reflections on Hermeticism, and The beginning of the Avatara. comparable articles are accumulated in Guénon's Initiation and religious attention.

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In every case syncretism is an essentially profane process by virtue of its very 'exteriority'; not only is it not synthesis, but in a certain sense it is even the contrary, for synthesis by definition starts from principles, that is to say from what is most interior; it goes, one might say, from center to circumference, whereas syncretism remains on the circumference itself, in the pure and as it were 'atomic' multiplicity of an indefinite multitude of elements taken 1. Cf. Reign of Quantity, chap.

Whence expressions like 'shedding light' and 'receiving light', used with respect to the initiator and the initiated, respectively, to designate initiation in the restricted sense, that is the transmission here in question. It will also be noted that the septenary number attributed to the EJohim relates to the form of initiatic organizations, which must be an image of the cosmic order. 5 INITIATIC REGULARITY WE have said that affiliation with a regular traditional organization is not only a necessary condition of initiation but even constitutes initiation itself in the strictest sense as defined by the etymology of the word, and which is everywhere represented as a 'second birth' or as a 'regeneration': a 'second birth' because it opens to the being a world other than that in which the activity of its corporeal modality is exercised, a world that will provide the field for the development of its higher possibilities; and a 'regeneration' because it re-establishes for this being the prerogatives that were natural and normal in the first ages of humanity, when man had not yet fallen away from his original spirituality, as he would do in later ages, to sink ever deeper into materiality, and because, as the first step in his realization, it will lead to the restoration in him of the 'primordial state', which is the fullness and perfection of human individuality lying at the unique and invariable center from which the being can thereafter rise to higher states.

An example of how this way of seeing things is applied to the esoteric and initiatic domain is furnished by the theory that sees in the tasawwuf of Islani a borrowing from India on the grounds diat similar methods are found in both. The orientalists who maintain this theory have evidently never thought of asking themselves whether these metiiods were not equally required in both cases by the very nature of things, something that nonetheless seems rather easy to understand, at least for anyone who has no preconceived ideas.

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