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Monday 2 January 2012

Mass initiations

I had someone ask me if I thought why it was impossible to initiate a group of people roped together. After all some Golden Dawn groups initiate people in this way, as do masonic orders, and Mathers explained to his AO members how it could be done.
If the ritual has NO MAGIC at all it is quite simple to do as many as you like, but magically it is impossible for most magicians short of a secret chief to do properly. Even if you take the most basic instructions in the Z documents and do not embellish them with half the godforms it takes an extremely competent magician to initiate more than one person at a time. I do not believe that there is a single person living who can concentrate that well and besides the Golden Dawn Z structure prevents it happening.
Feel the intimacy of  this mass ritual.
I know Mathers said it was possible for the AO but at that point he saw the order as something to make money from and largely abandoned the magical Z documents. However in his earlier work he described things like the astral body of the candidate being split from the candidate and being placed between the pillars... try and do that with half a dozen people. Then try to see their sphere of sensation interact with various godforms at different times while holding your wand the right way up and not going wibble.
I used to think that roping together was possible for the last part of the elemental grade rituals. This was because I thought that the magic was somewhat limited and it appeared to be just reading out long teaching. Of course since then I have found that there is a lot more work to do in the final sections of those rituals which I had not been told about before and these are just as complicated as the other sections.
So if it is magically impossible to initiate that many people why do groups do it? Because they need to get the maximum number of bums on seats for their groups. They do not care about the quality of the magic, they want the quantity of people. This might be, if they collect dues, to make money for themselves, but it could also be for the ego value of having a large temple. Either way it is not a group that anyone serious about magic should be interested in joining.
One side issue to this is how many initiations can someone carry out properly? Over the years as the technical requirements for an initiation have gone up, I am finding that I can initiate fewer into the 0=0 and 3=8 and 4=7. I tend to manage three ok in a day but I will need a large glass of wine before I can speak coherently... Doing a fourth still works but I am certainly flagging.    I have been doing these for a while now and I am sure there are people out there who can do one or more more than me.  However the bloke that can do six in a day is lying to himself and the people who he is initiating.
The reason is not just the stress of the rehearsal, or the visualising, it is managing to hold the connection open for that many people. It is also the knowledge also that for the next week I will be as sick as a dog however buzzy I feel on the day. I am sure that there are better magicians out there who can do better, but I would be careful of any group that suggests that you can be initiated with a crowd of people, or even that the Heirophant can manage to initiate more than four people a day and that the fifth person will get the same level of attention as the first.
Bringing someone into the mysteries is a sacred task. It cannot be done as if you were operating a production line with everyone getting the same experience. As each candidate approaches a godform, it will react differently to them based on their experience. You can see this as the officer's voices change in ritual as the godform energy changes. That is impossible if large numbers, either roped together, or not, are involved.
My advice is that you do not join any group which suggests that something is possible.  You will come to regret it later.