The general idea of initiation is that it is merely a ceremony which
makes one a member of a secret society; that it may be conferred upon anyone
willing to pay a certain price, a sum of money in most cases.
While that is true of the so-called initiation of fraternal orders and
also in most pseudo-esoteric orders, it is altogether an erroneous idea when
applied to initiations into various degrees of truly esoteric Brotherhoods, as a
little understanding of the real requirements and of their reasonableness will
readily make clear.
In the first place there is no golden key to the temple; merit counts but
not money. Merit is not acquired in a day; it is the cumulative product of
past good action. The Candidate for initiation is usually totally
unconscious that he is a candidate, he is usually living his life in the
community and serving his fellow man for days and years without any
ulterior thought until one day there appears in his life the teacher, a
Hierophant of the lesser Mysteries appropriate to the country in which he
resides. By this time the candidate has cultivated within himself certain
faculties, stored up certain powers for service and help, of which he is
usually unconscious or which he does not know how to properly utilize. The
task of the initiator will now be plain; he shows the candidate the latent
faculties, the dormant powers and initiates him into their use;
explains or demonstrates to him for the first time how the
candidate may awaken the static energy into dynamic power.
Initiation may be accomplished by a ceremony, or not, but let it be
particularly observed, that while Initiation is the inevitable culmination of
prolonged spiritual endeavor, whether conscious or the reverse upon the part of
the candidate, it can positively never take place till the requisite inner
development has accumulated the latent powers which Initiation teaches how to
use dynamically, any more than pulling the trigger can cause an explosion in
a gun that has not first been loaded.
Neither is there any danger that the teacher may overlook anyone who has
attained the requisite development. Each good and unselfish deed increases
the luminosity and vibrant power of the candidate's aura enormously, and as
surely as the magnet attracts the needle, so will the brilliancy of that
auric light bring the teacher.
It is, of course, impossible to describe in a book intended for the general
public the stages of the Rosicrucian Initiation; to do so would be a breach
of faith and it would also be impossible for lack of words to adequately
express oneself. But it is permissible to give an outline and to show the
purpose of initiation.
The lesser Mysteries deal only with evolution of mankind during the Earth
Period. In the first three and one-half Revolutions of the life wave around
the seven globes the Virgin Spirits had not yet attained consciousness. In
consequence of this fact we are ignorant of how we came to be as we are today.
The candidate is to have light upon that subject so by the spell of the
Hierophants during the period of initiation into the first degree his
consciousness is turned towards that page of the memory of nature bearing
the records of the first revolution when we recapitulated the development of
the Saturn Period. He is still in full possession of his every-day
consciousness; he knows and remembers the facts of twentieth Century life, but
he is now consciously watching the progress of the evolving host of Virgin
Spirits of which he formed one unit during the Saturn Revolution. Thus he
learns how the first steps were taken in the Earth Period towards the goal of
attainment which will be revealed to him in a later step.
Having learned the lesson as practically described in Chapter X, the
candidate has acquired first-hand knowledge upon this subject and has come into
direct touch with the Creative Hierarchies in their work with and upon man; he
is therefore able to appreciate their beneficent labors in the World and is
in measure able to range himself in line with them; becoming thus far their
When the time has arrived for him to take the second degree, he is
similarly caused to turn his attention to the conditions of the second
Revolution of the Earth Period, and as depicted in the memory of nature;
then he watches in full consciousness the progress made at that time by the
Virgin Spirits, much as Peter Ibbetson, the hero of a book, "Peter
Ibbetson," by George du Maurier; it is well worth reading, for it is a
graphic description of certain phases of subconsciousness—watched his child
life during the nights when he "dreamed true." In the third degree he follows
the evolution of the third or Moon, Revolution, and in the fourth degree he
sees the progress made in the half-Revolution we have made of the fourth.
There is, however, a further step taken in each degree; the pupil sees in
addition to the work done in each revolution also the work accomplished in
the corresponding Epoch during our present stay upon globe D, the Earth.
During the first degree he follows the work of the Saturn Revolution and
its latest consummation in the Polarian Epoch.
In the second degree he follows the work of the Sun Revolution and its
replica: the Hyperborean Epoch.
During the third degree he watches the work as performed in the Moon
Revolution and sees how that was the basis of life in the Lemurian Epoch.
During the fourth degree he sees the evolution of the last half Revolution
with its corresponding period of time in our present stay on Earth; the first
half of the Atlantean Epoch which ended when the dense foggy atmosphere
subsided, and the sun first shone upon land and sea; then the night of
unconsciousness was over, the eyes of the indwelling Ego were fully
opened, and he was able to turn the Light of Reason upon the problem of
conquering the World. That was the time when a man as we now know him was
When in the olden system of initiation we hear that the candidate was
entranced for a period of three and one-half days, reference is had to the
part of initiation just described, and the three and one-half days refer to
the stages gone through, they are not by any means days of twenty-four
hours; the actual time varies with each candidate, but in all cases he is
taken through the unconsciousness development of mankind during the past
Revolutions, and when it is said that he is awakened at the time of sunrise on
the fourth day that is the mystical way of expressing that his initiation into
the work of the involutionary career of man ceases at the time when the sun
rose above the clear atmosphere of Atlantis. Then the candidate is also
hailed as a "first-born."
Having become familiar with the road we have traveled in the past, the
fifth degree takes the candidate to the very end of the Earth Period, when a
glorious humanity is gathering the fruits of this Period and taking it away
from the seven globes upon which we evolve during each day of manifestation,
into the first of the five dark globes which are our habitation during the
Cosmic nights. The densest of these is located in the Region of Abstract
Thought, and is in reality the "Chaos"
spoken of in Chapter XI and in the following pages. This globe is also the
Third Heaven, and when Paul speaks of being caught up into the Third Heaven and
of seeing things there which he could not lawfully reveal, he was referring
to the experiences of an equivalent of this fifth degree in the present
After being shown the end in the fifth degree, the candidate is made
acquainted with the means whereby that end is attained during the remaining
three and one-half Revolutions of the Earth Period; the four remaining
degrees being devoted to his enlightenment in that respect.
By the insight he has thus acquired he is able to intelligently
co-operate with the Powers that work for Good, and thus he will help to hasten
the day of our emancipation.
In order to rout a common misconception we wish to make clear to students
that we are not Rosicrucians because we study their teachings, nor does even
admission to the temple entitle us to call ourselves by that name. The
writer, for instance, is only a lay brother, a pupil, and would under no
circumstances call himself a Rosicrucian.
We know well, that when a boy has graduated from grammar school he is not
therefore fitted to teach. He must first go through high school and
college, and even then he may not feel the call to be a school teacher.
Similarly in the school of life, because a man has graduated from the
Rosicrucian Mystery School he is not even then a Rosicrucian. Graduates
from the various schools of the lesser mysteries advance into five schools of
the greater mysteries. In the first four they pass the four Great
Initiations and at last reach the Liberator, where they receive a knowledge
concerning other evolutions and are given the choice of remaining here to
assist their brothers or enter other evolutions as Helpers. Those who elect to
stay here as helpers are given various positions according to their tastes
and natural bent. The Brothers of the Rose Cross are among those
Compassionate Ones, and it is a sacrilege to drag the Rosicrucian name in
the mire by applying it to ourselves when we are merely students of their
During the past few centuries the Brothers have worked for humanity in
secret; each night at midnight there is a Service at the temple where the
Elder Brothers, assisted by the lay brothers who are able to leave their
work in the World (for many of them reside in places where it is yet day
when it is midnight in the location of the temple of the Rose Cross), gather up
from everywhere in the Western World the thoughts of sensuality, greed,
selfishness and materialism. These they seek to transmute into pure love,
benevolence, altruism and spiritual aspirations sending them back to the
World to uplift and encourage all Good. Were it not for this potent source of
spiritual vibration materialism must long ago have totally squelched all
spiritual effort, for there has never been a darker age from the spiritual
standpoint than the last three hundred years of materialism.
Now the time has come, however, when the method of secret endeavor is to be
supplemented with a more direct effort to promulgate a definite, logical and
sequential teaching concerning the origin, evolution and future development of
the World and man, showing both the spiritual and the scientific aspect: a
teaching which makes no statements that are not supported by reason and logic;
a teaching which is satisfying to the mind, for it holds out a reasonable
solution to all mysteries; it neither begs nor evades questions and its
explanations are both profound and lucid.
But, and this is a very important "But," The Rosicrucians do not regard
an intellectual understanding of God and the Universe as an end in itself;
far from it! The greater the intellect, the greater the danger of its misuse.
Therefore, this scientific, logical and exhaustive teaching is given in
order that man may believe in his heart that which his head has sanctioned and
start to live the religious life.
The world is an aggregate of opportunities, but to take advantage of any
one of them we must possess efficiency in a certain line of endeavor.
Development of our spiritual powers will enable us to help or harm our weaker
brothers. It is only justifiable when efficiency in Service of Humanity is
The Rosicrucian method of attainment differs from other systems in one
especial particular: It aims, even at the very start, to emancipate the pupil
from dependence upon others, to make him Self-Reliant in the very
highest degree, so that he may be able to stand alone under all circumstances
and cope with all conditions. Only one who is thus strongly poised can help
Therefore each student of the Rosicrucian Teachings performs his or her
exercises in the seclusion and privacy of his or her room. Results may be obtained
more slowly by the system, but when they appear, they will be manifest as
powers cultivated by himself, usable independently of all others. Besides,
the Rosicrucian methods build character at the same time that they develop
spiritual faculties and thus safeguard the pupil against yielding to temptation
to prostitute divine powers for worldly prestige.
When inquiring into the meaning of any myth, legend or symbol of esoteric
value, it is an absolute necessity that we should understand that, as any
object in the three-dimensional world may, or rather must, be viewed from
all points to obtain a full and complete comprehension thereof, so all symbols
have a number of aspects. Each viewpoint reveals a different phase from the
others, and all have an equal claim to consideration.
Viewed in its fullness, this wonderful symbol contains the key to man's
past evolution, his present constitution and future development, together
with the method of attainment. In the form where it is represented with a
single rose in the center it symbolizes the spirit radiating from itself the
four vehicles: the dense, vital and desire bodies plus the mind; where the
spirit has drawn into its instruments and become the
indwelling human spirit. But there was a time when that condition
did not obtain, a time when the three-fold spirit hovered above its vehicles
and was unable to enter. Then the cross stood alone without the rose,
symbolizing the condition which prevailed in the early third of Atlantis.
There was even a time when the upper limb of the cross was lacking and man's
constitution was represented by the Tau (T) that was in the Lemurian epoch
when he had only the dense, vital and desire bodies, but lacked the mind. Then
the animal nature was paramount. Man followed desire without reserve. At a
still earlier time, in the Hyperborean Epoch, he was also minus the desire
body and possessed only the dense and vital bodies. Then man-in-the-making was
like the plants: chaste and devoid of desire. At that time his constitution
could not have been represented by a cross. It was symbolized by a
straight shaft, a pillar (I).
This symbol has been considered phallic, an emblem showing the
licentiousness of the people who worshiped it. Truly it is a symbol of
generation, but generation is by no means synonymous with degradation—far from
it—the pillar is the lower limb of the cross, symbolical of
man-in-the-making when he was plantlike. The plant is unconscious of
passion, desire, innocent of evil. It generates and perpetuates its species in
a manner so pure, so chaste, that properly understood, it is a model for
fallen and passionate humanity to worship as an ideal and it was given to
earlier races with that intent. The Phallus and Yona used in the Greek mystery
temples were given by the hierophants in that spirit, and over the temple
was placed the enigmatic words: "Man, know thyself," which motto, properly
understood, is similar to that of the Rose Cross, for it shows the reason for
man's fall into desire, passion and sin, and gives the key to his liberation
in the same way that the roses upon the cross indicate the path of liberation.
The plant is innocent, but not virtuous; it has neither
desire not choice. Man has both. He may follow desire or not as he wishes,
that he may learn to master himself.
While he was plant-like, a hermaphrodite, he could generate from
himself without the help of another, but though he was as chaste and as
innocent as the plants, he was also as unconscious and inert. In order to
advance he must have desire to spur him on, and a mind to guide him, and
therefore half his creative force was retained for the purpose of building a
brain and a larynx. He had at that time a round shape similar to that of
the embryo, and the present larynx was a part of the creative organ which
adhered to the head when the body straightened out. The connection between the
two is seen even today in the fact that the boy, who expresses the positive
pole of the generative force, changes his voice at puberty. That the same
force which builds another body when it is sent outwards builds the
brain when retained is equally clear when we consider that sex mania
leads to insanity, while the profound thinker will feel little inclination for
amorous practices. He uses all his creative force to generate thought instead
of wasting it in sense gratification.
At the time when man commenced to withhold half his creative force for
the above mentioned purpose, his consciousness was directed inwards to
build organs. He was capable of seeing these organs and he used the
same creative force then under the direction of Creative Hierarchies in
planning and in executing plans of organs, that he now uses in the
outer world to build airships, houses, automobiles, telephones, etc.
Then he was unconscious of how that half of the creative force was used which
was sent outwards for generation of another body.
Generation was carried on under the guidance of Angels. At certain times of
the year they herded the growing man together in great temples and there the
generative act was performed. Man was unconscious of the fact. His eyes
had not yet been opened, and though it was necessary for him to have a partner
who had the half or other pole of the creative force available for generation
which he retained to build organs within, he did not at first know
his wife. In ordinary life he was shut within himself so far as the Physical
World was concerned, but it was different when he was brought into such
intimate and close touch with another, as in the case of the generative act.
Then for the moment the spirit pierced the veil of flesh and Adam knew
his wife. He had ceased to know himself—thus his consciousness
became more and more and more centered outside himself in the outside
world and he lost his inner perception. That cannot be fully
regained until he has passed to the stage where it is no longer necessary to
have a partner in generation, and he has reached the development where he can
again utilize his whole creative force at will. Then he will again
know himself as he did during his stage of plant-like existence, but
with this all important difference that he will use his creative faculty
consciously, and will not be restricted to using it solely for the
pro-creation of his own species, but may create whatever he will. Neither
will he use his present organs of generation, but the larynx will
speak the creative word as directed by the spirit through
the co-ordinating mechanism of the brain. Thus the two organs built by half
the creative force will in time be the means whereby man will eventually become
an independent self-conscious creator.
Even at the present time man molds matter both by thought and voice, as
instanced in scientific experiments where thoughts have created an image on
photographic plates, and where the human voice has created geometrical figures
in sand, etc. In proportion as man becomes unselfish he will release the
creative force held in leash. That will give him added thought power and
enable him to utilize it for upliftment of others instead of to plan how to
degrade and subject others to his will. He will learn how to master
himself and cease to try to master others, except it be done
temporarily for their good, but never for selfish ends. Only one
who has mastered himself is qualified to rule others, and competent to judge
when that should be done, and what is best for them.
Thus we see that in time the present passionate mode of generation will be
again superseded by a pure and more efficient method than the present, and
that also is symbolized in the Rose Cross where the rose is placed in the
center between the four arms. The long limb represents the body, the two
horizontals, the two arms, and the short upper limb, the head. The rose is
in place of the larynx.
The rose, like any other flower, is the generative organ of the plant.
Its green stem carries the colorless, passionless plant blood. The blood
red rose shows the passion filled blood of the human race, but in the rose
the vital fluid is not sensuous, it is chaste and pure. Thus it is an
excellent symbol of the generative organ in the pure and holy state to which
man will attain when he has cleansed and purified his blood from desire,
when he has become chaste, pure and Christ-like.
Therefore the Rosicrucians look ardently forward to the day when the
roses shall bloom upon the cross of humanity, therefore the Elder Brothers
greet the aspiring soul with the words of the Rosicrucian Greeting: "May
the Roses bloom upon your Cross," and therefore the greeting is given in the
meetings of students of The Rosicrucian Teachings by the leader to those assembled,
who respond to the greeting by saying "And on yours, also."
John speaks of his purification (1st Epistle, 3:9) and says that he
who is born of God cannot sin, for he keepeth his seed within him. It
is an absolute necessity to progress that the aspirant should be chaste. Yet
it must be borne in mind, that absolute celibacy is not required of man until
he has reached a point where he is ready for the great initiations, and that it
is a duty we owe to the whole to perpetuate the human race. If we are mentally,
morally, physically and financially able, we may approach the act of
generation as a holy sacrifice laid upon the altar of humanity, but not for
sensual pleasure. Neither should it be performed in an austere, forbidding
frame of mind, but in glad giving up of oneself for the privilege of
furnishing a friend seeking rebirth with the body and environment he needs for
development. Thus we shall also help him cultivate the blooming roses upon
Morning and Evening Exercises Performed by the Rosicrucian Aspirant
The Evening Exercise
(Mentioned in Chapter III)
The Evening exercise, Retrospection, is of greater value than any other method in advancing the aspirant upon the path of attainment. It has such a far-reaching effect that it enables one to learn now, not only the lessons of this life, but lessons ordinarily reserved for future lives.
After going to bed at night the body should be relaxed. Then the aspirant begins to review the scenes of the day in reverse order, starting with the events of the evening, then the occurrences of the afternoon, of the forenoon, and the morning. He endeavors to picture to himself each scene as faithfully as possible—seeks to reproduce before his mind's eye all that took place in each pictured scene with the object of judging his actions, of ascertaining if his words conveyed the meaning he intended or gave a false impression, or if he overstated or understated in relating experiences to others. He reviews his moral attitude in relation to each scene. At meals, did he eat to live, or did he live to eat—to please the palate? Let him judge himself and blame where blame is due, praise where merited.
People sometimes find it difficult to remain awake till the exercise has been performed. In such cases it is permissible to sit up in bed till it is possible to follow the ordinary method.
The value of retrospection is enormous—far-reaching beyond imagination. In the first place, we perform the work of restoration of harmony consciously and in a shorter time than the desire body can do during sleep, leaving a larger portion of the night available for outside work than otherwise possible. In the second place, we live our purgatory and first heaven each night,
and build into the spirit as Right Feeling the essence of the day's experience. Thus we escape purgatory after death and also save time spent in the first heaven. And last, but not least, having extracted day by day the essence of experiences which make for soul growth, and having built them into the spirit, we are actually living in an attitude of mind and developing along lines that would ordinarily have been reserved for future lives. By the faithful performance of this exercise we expunge day by day undesirable occurrences from our subconscious memory so that our sins are blotted out, our auras commence to shine with spiritual gold extracted by retrospection from the experiences of each day, and thus we attract the attention of the Teacher.
The pure shall see God, said Christ, and the Teacher will quickly open our eyes when we are fit to enter into the "Hall of Learning," the desire world, where we obtain our first experiences of conscious life without the dense body.
The Morning Exercise
Concentration, the second exercise, is performed in the morning at the very earliest moment possible after the aspirant awakes. He must not arise to open blinds or perform any other unnecessary act. If the body is comfortable he should at once relax and commence to concentrate. This very important, as the spirit has just returned from the desire world at the moment of waking, and at that time the conscious touch with that world is more easily regained than at any other time of the day.
We remember from Lecture No. 4 that during sleep the currents of the desire body flow, and its vortices move and spin with enormous rapidity. But as soon as it enters the dense body its currents and vortices are almost stopped by the dense matter and the nerve currents of the vital body which carry messages to and from the brain. It is the object of this exercise to still the dense body to the same degree of inertia and insensibility as in sleep, although the spirit within is perfectly awake, alert, and conscious. Thus we make a condition where the sense centers of the desire body can begin to revolve while inside the dense body.
Concentration is a word that puzzles many and carries meaning to but few, so we will endeavor to make its significance clear. The dictionary gives several definitions, all applicable to our idea. One is "to draw to a center"; another from chemistry, "to reduce to extreme purity and strength by removing valueless constituents." Applied to our problem, one of the above definitions tells us that if we draw our thoughts to a center, a point, we increase their strength on the principle that the power of the sun's rays is increased when focused to a point by means of a magnifying glass. By eliminating from our mind for the time being all other subjects, our whole thought power is available for use in attaining the object or solving the problem on which we are concentrating; we may become so absorbed in our subject that if a cannon were fired above our heads we would not hear it. People may become so lost in a book that they are oblivious to all else, and the aspirant to spiritual sight must acquire the faculty of becoming equally absorbed in the idea he is concentrating upon, so that he may shut out the world of sense from his consciousness and give his whole attention to the spiritual world. When he learns to do that, he will see the spiritual side of an object or idea illuminated by spiritual light, and thus he will obtain a knowledge of the inner nature of things undreamt of by a worldly man.
When he has reached that point of abstraction the sense centers of the desire body commence to revolve slowly within the dense body, and will thus make a place for themselves. This in time will become more and more defined, and it will require less and less effort to set them going.
The subject of concentration may be any high and lofty ideal, but should preferably be of such a nature that it takes the aspirant out of the ordinary things of sense, beyond time and space; and there is no better formula than the first five verses of St. John's gospel. Taking them as a subject, sentence by sentence, morning after morning, will in time give the aspirant a wonderful insight into the beginning of our universe and the method of creation—an insight far beyond any book learning.
After a time, when the aspirant has learned to unwaveringly hold before him for about five minutes the idea upon which he is concentrating, he may try to suddenly drop the idea and leave a blank. Think of nothing else, simply wait to see if anything enters the vacuum. In time the sights and scenes of the desire world will fill the vacant space. After the aspirant has become used to that, he may demand this, that, or the other thing to come before him. It will come and then he may investigate it.
The main point, however, is that by following the above instructions the aspirant is purifying himself; his aura commences to shine and will without fail draw the attention of a teacher who will depute someone to give help when required for the next step in advancement.Even if months or years should go by and bring no visible result, rest assured that no effort has been in vain; the Great Teachers see and appreciate our efforts. They are just as anxious to have our assistance as we are to work. They may see reasons which make it inexpedient for us to take up work for humanity in this life or at this time. Sometime the hindering conditions wil pass, and we shall be admitted to the light where we can see for ourselves.
An ancient legend says that digging for treasure must be done in the stillness of night and in perfect silence; to speak one word until the treasure is safely excavated will inevitably cause it to disappear. That is a mystic parable which has reference to the search for spiritual illumination. If we gossip or recount to others the experiences of our concentration hour, we lose them; they can not bear vocal transmission and will fade into nothingness. By meditation we must extract from them a full knowledge of the underlying cosmic laws. Then the experience itself will not be recounted, for we shall see that it is but the husk which hid the kernel of worth. The law is of universal value as will be at once apparent, for it will explain facts in life, and teach us how to take advantage of certain conditions and to avoid others. The law may be freely stated at the discoverer's discretion for the benefit of humanity. The experience which revealed the law then will appear in its true light as of only passing interest and unworthy of further notice. Therefore the aspirant should regard everything that happens during concentration as sacred and should be keep it strictly to himself.
Finally, beware of regarding the exercises as a burdensome task. Estimate them at their true worth; they are our highest privileges. Only when thus regarded can we do them justice and reap the full benefits from them.