Initiation Ritual for Plane 2
Salutes in omnibus punctis trianguli!
Beloved Members of the Esoteric Hierarchy:
Earlier in the Degrees of the Rosicrucian Order you were promised an introduction to the initiations and rites of the other venerable esoteric orders. As you know, AMORC was affiliated with the F.U.D.O.S.I. during its existence. The letters of that word compose the initials of the federation of the true arcane esoteric orders of the world. Each of these orders and its initiations perpetuate those mystical and psychological principles whereby the consciousness of the individual is brought into harmony with self and the Cosmic. Furthermore, each of such orders and societies has, as its heritage, precepts which have descended from the ancient mystery schools. The F.U.D.O.S.I. had its temple and held biennial Conclaves in Brussels, Belgium. Each of its three highest dignitaries was an Imperator. The Imperator of AMORC was one of these three. He participated in several Conclaves in Brussels with all the hierophants and venerables of the member-societies.
At the Conclave held in Brussels during July, 1946, it was mutually agreed that the true, tried, and tested members of the highest Degrees of each of the respective societies shall have conferred upon them one or more of the initiations of the other affiliated orders. Consequently, before you advance into Plane Two of the Ordo Summum Bonum of the Rosicrucian Hierarchy, you shall have added to the experiences of this incarnation an initiation into another of the oldest of the arcane orders. It is only through your affiliation with AMORC that you can enjoy this privilege. It is only in an order such as AMORC, so recognized in esoteric circles throughout the world, that this experience of diversified mystical initiations can come to you. On the other hand, you have earned it by your devotion to the principles of the Rosicrucian Order throughout the years of your membership. In allowing you the privilege of an introduction to the mysteries of their orders, the hierophants have taken into consideration your status as a member of the Hierarchy or that extension of it which forms Plane Two. They believe you to have that sympathy of understanding and that insight or illumination which makes you a worthy repository of some of their most sacred symbols and truths.
The initiation ritual which shall follow was transmitted in the Latin and French languages by the hierophant of that order to the venerables of the F.U.D.O.S.I. The Chancellor of that body delivered it to the late Grand Secretary of the A.M.O.R.C. of France. She, in turn, translated it into English and forwarded it to the Imperator of AMORC in America. He, without omitting any of the essential precepts or altering its inherent mystical spirit, has prepared it for adaption to your home Sanctum.
Before actually performing the initiation, it is necessary that you make certain preparations. This shall consist of acquiring simple objects and arranging your Sanctum accordingly. It is suggested that for this week you acquire what is needed and study the introductory history. Then you will be prepared to perform the ritual as directed.
A - One white taper or candle about 30 cm in length.
B - About two tablespoonfuls of fine ashes removed from a fireplace or stove and placed in a neat little pile on a sheet of white paper about 8 cm square.
C - A single flower—a rose, a lily, or any other flower will suffice.
D - Cut four pieces of cardboard into 8 cm squares. In the center of each piece of cardboard print, as large as possible, a single numeral. In other words, mark the pieces of cardboard 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively—that is, just one number on each piece of cardboard.
E - A small bowl about 8-l0cm in diameter, of brass, copper, silver, or glass, filled with fresh tap water.
You are to confer upon yourself an initiation into the Apprentice Degree of the Order Hermes Trismegistus. The teachings of this Order, its symbolism and liturgies rest upon a foundation begun in antiquity. The exact source of some of its knowledge, like that of A.M.O.R.C., is lost in the remoteness of time and has become but a beloved tradition. The Order derives its name from a character known as Hermes Trismegistus. There are some who say that there never was such a person as Hermes Trismegistus. There are others who proclaim that he lived before Plato, before the Seven Sages of whom Thales was one—even before Moses. However, Hermes is the name which the Greeks ascribed to the Egyptian god or legendary character known as Thoth. The title "Trismegistus" is the Greek for "Thrice Great," or the Great Great Great. Inscribed on the Rosetta Stone, in demotic writing, is the name of Thoth whom the Greeks called Hermes, and the statement that he was the Great Great Great. The Egyptians characterized him as a human figure with the head of an ibis, that is, the head of an Egyptian bird that used to wade in the marshes along the Nile.
The Greeks in their ancient writings said that Thoth, called Hermes, was the principal source of all wisdom, a sort of fountain of knowledge. They called him the father of philosophy. The Egyptians in their ancient writings referred to Thoth as the lord of books and said he was the inventor of the science of numbers—namely, mathematics—and that he taught men to speak, and moreover, that he taught them the demotic writing. The earliest Egyptian writing was the hieroglyph, or picture writing, and it is said that Thoth taught the demotic writing, or script, in the manner which we now write so that man would have many signs for many things. Today, a magnitude of literature is credited to Hermeticism. There are quotations which say that he, Hermes, or Thoth was the author of thousands of works, while reliable sources say that he wrote forty-two books, and these had six sections, one on astronomy, one on the science of writing, one on religion, and so forth.
Manetho, great Egyptian historian of the third century, B.C., and, for some time in the past, thought to be a legendary character whose works have since been translated, was known significantly as the Truth of Thoth, and as the First Priest of Thoth, which would mean that he was a teacher of the wisdom of this great character. In the writings of Manetho, we learn that he was commanded by Ptolemy Philadelphus, who presided over the great school of learning and library of ancient Alexandria, to collect the great learning of the ancient Egyptians for that library, and that Manetho presented to Philadelphus the sacred books of Thoth, one of which is known as The Shepherd of Man. It is interesting to note that a phrase in that book anticipates a statement in the Book of Genesis, namely, that God begat man equal to Himself.
In the records in stone inscribed on the monuments of Egypt, the tombs and temples, we find much reference to Hermes, or to Thoth as they called him, and it is said that the principal seat of the school of Thoth where his wisdom was taught was at Khemennu, which the Greeks later named Hermopolis, or literally translated: the City of Hermes. It is said that this school was a "place on high ground" and that it was where Ra, the Sun, first rested when it rose in the East. Now of course this is allegorical, because these records further relate that the school was a place of initiation for the mystery school candidates. During such initiation, the candidates ascended the mountain of their inner nature, their inner consciousness, and when they reached the top, the spiritual sun rested upon them. In other words, when they attained within themselves a state of Cosmic Consciousness, then they were bathed in illumination or spiritual understanding.
Profane or general history, in all of its investigations, can disclose no reason for the calling of Thoth, or Hermes, the Thrice Illustrious or Thrice Great. Rosicrucian records as we have them here, which are a continuation and a perpetuation of that knowledge transmitted to the Order from the Old World, tell us that there actually was such a character as Hermes or Thoth. He was not a god but a great sage. He was born in Thebes, ancient capital of Egypt, in 1399 B.C., and attained a great age. He received the appellation "Thrice Illustrious" because he participated in the organization of the great mystery school, had the experience of seeing the illustrious Amenhotep IV initiated as a Great Grand Master, and further, had the experience of seeing the work perpetuated; he himself assisted in the initiation of the successor of Amenhotep IV.
Actually, however, the philosophy and teachings of the Order Hermes Trismegistus are eclectic. They have borrowed and incorporated into themselves, besides the traditions of Hermes, the ancient doctrines of Nee-Platonism, Stoicism, Gnosticism, and the elements of Christianity. Alexandria, Egypt, during the second century after Christ, was a great center of philosophical learning. Here were taught the doctrines of Plato and Pythagoras, those of the Stoics, and other Greek philosophical concepts. In addition to these teachings, teachers were expounding the mysteries of Mithraism and the venerated mysteries of Egypt herself, as well as the new postulations of Christianity. It was to be expected that these teachings, which were contiguous, should influence each other. Consciously or unconsciously, the advocates of each practiced syncretism; that is, they borrowed from each other. It is this fact that accounts for Christian theology having such a flavor of Neo-Platonism. Here also Hermeticism, or the gnosis of Hermes, underwent a transition. Many of the occult and mystical principles of the other systems of thought were grafted onto it. One of the paramount influences on the Hermetic teachings was the Pythagorean doctrines, that is, the teachings of the great Greek philosopher Pythagoras. In fact, although the Order of Hermes Trismegistus venerates the name of Hermes, its doctrines and liturgies reflect more the concepts of Pythagoras. Consequently, it behooves us to review briefly the interesting highlights of that early thinker's life before proceeding with the initiation.
From most of the authentic sources, such as the classical historian, Diogenes Laertius, it is estimated that Pythagoras was born about 580 B.C. The place of his birth was said to be the little island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Greece. The early Greeks were divided into separate city-kingdoms, each independent and more or less self-sufficient. The numerous islands off the coast of the mainland fostered distinct cultural environments, so that each community often had its preferred philosophical doctrines. These communities gave rise to some of the enlightened philosophical systems or schools of thought which influenced the world for centuries and which live on in some of our present religions.
Pythagoras was the son of a silversmith and was reared in a favorable social environment. While still young, it is related, he was so eager for knowledge that he decided to leave his own country and journeyed to other countries and, we are told, "had himself initiated into all the mysteries and rites not only of Greece but also of foreign countries."
While in Crete, he went "down into the cave of Ida." This refers to the initiatory chambers which were frequently subterranean. These mysteries were often named after gods or heroes who represented the different virtues which man must learn to acquire through the initiatory rites. Many young men who were sincere in acquiring knowledge sought initiation into the mystery schools as young men seek admission into universities today. However, initiation into the mystery schools entailed not only intellectual qualifications but moral ones as well.
While Pythagoras was in Egypt, Polycrates, a political leader of Samos, his home island, sent him a letter of introduction to Amasis, a Pharaoh of Egypt. This letter was most influential because it gave Pythagoras entree to many sites otherwise forbidden. As a true scholar, Pythagoras learned the Egyptian language, which undoubtedly facilitated his acquiring knowledge in this enigmatical land.
His first journey in the Near East brought him to the lands of the Chaldeans and the Magi. He dwelt among them for some time and was introduced to their secret gnosis, which included mathematics and astronomy. Upon returning to Egypt, he was extended a rare privilege for foreigners. He was permitted to enter the sanctuaries of the mystery schools and, in the course of initiation, there was revealed to him "their sacred lore concerning the gods." This does not mean that he was only taught Egyptian theology or the religions extant at the time. Each appanage or natural classification of knowledge was characterized in Egypt by the name or figure of a god. In other words, a god symbolized the kind of knowledge–one god having jurisdiction over spiritual matters, another, over the mind. Still others were over agriculture, the arts and crafts, and so on. To study the lore of the gods was, then, to study those subjects classified under the name of the god. For analogy, the United States Army Medical Corps has, as its symbol today, the caduceus, the wand of the Greek god Mercury.
Pythagoras returned to Samos to find his country now under the tyranny of Polycrates. Being a lover of freedom, he sailed away to Croton, Italy. He established himself there and was soon accepted and greatly admired by the Italian-Greek populace as a learned and much traveled man. He laid down a very effective constitution which was adopted by the people. He established a school for the postulation of what he had learned in the mystery schools and which he had fashioned into a personal philosophy.
Pythagoras is quoted as having once said that he was the "son of Hermes." Many persons took this literally, as meaning that he was the son of the god Hermes as a sort of divine being. Among his students, however, it was interpreted to mean that he was an exponent of the traditional mysteries and truths of Hermes, namely, a follower of them. It is related that he wrote three books which were available to all. These are On Education, On Statesmanship, and On Nature. Many others are attributed to him but modern and many classical historians alike consider the others but forgeries. However, he taught much which was recondite and did not find its way into books. Such was the wisdom extended to the devotees of the mystery school which he founded at Croton and which now comprises a principal part of the teachings of the Order Hermes Trismegistus.
Pythagoras' disciples had to keep silent for five years, merely listening to his discourses, without seeing him until they passed the examination. It is said that most of his discourses were held at night and that he spoke from the shadows. This procedure is often puzzling to present-day students of his life. However, it indicates that Pythagoras was truly a master teacher and an excellent psychologist. He did not want the students to be affected favorably or unfavorably by his personality. He wanted them not to follow him, the man, but rather his doctrines. If they did not, or could not, concentrate just upon what he said, then they would not be true students but mere personality-followers or curiosity seekers. Further, just listening to his voice as he spoke to them in the darkness, prevented any distraction of thought. It was a severe test which eliminated the unworthy ones.
He did not permit his disciples to speak to him during discourses for five years because he wished them to converse with him only when they were his equals, How many times will a student rise to his feet and argue with one of his instructors before he has been grounded in the subject, making himself appear ridiculous before those who have more extensive knowledge! He unnecessarily wastes the instructor's time and confuses other listeners. When one has learned all the instructor has to offer, then he is entitled to meet him on equal terms and together they may converse and mutually advance themselves.
It is related that it was Pythagoras who first brought geometry to perfection, particularly the arithmetical aspect. He is said to have classified the musical intervals of a monochord—that variations of the length of a string of a musical instrument have a mathematical relationship to the varying vibrations of sound in the scale. Archeologists have, in comparatively recent years, discovered that the Egyptians had a musical scale and, therefore, in all probability, Pythagoras acquired his knowledge of the mathematical relationship of sound from the Egyptian mystery schools into which he was initiated.
Pythagoras is principally renowned for his doctrine of numbers. He asserted that the principle of all things is the monad, the unit. In other words, basically all things are united into one or the monad. The numeral 1 symbolizes beginning or unity. Arising from this monad is the undefined dyad or 2. This latter becomes the material substratum. To put it more simply, out of one arises the principle of the two opposites or the two polarities or, as we refer to them, the negative and the positive. These two opposites are the substratum by which the things of our world are generated. From the monad and the dyad, or from 1 and then 2, spring the other numbers. From numbers come points, lines, planes, figures, solids, and so on. These variations interchange and turn one into the other, producing the animate universe.
To further explain, the universe, the cosmos, is a monad, a single unit. From this unit emerges the principle of duality. This constant flux or combining and recombining of the opposites produces the animate universe, the world of motion and change, with its myriads of things of everyday experience. Can you see how Pythagoras anticipated the doctrine of motion and energy and those mathematical laws of harmony as taught in our Rosicrucian work and as are now substantiated by general science?
Pythagoras, of course, did not limit his teachings to cosmology or the structure of the universe, but also concerned himself with spiritual matters, such as the nature of the soul. He said that the soul draws nourishment from the blood. To the uninitiated this seemed preposterous. To us Rosicrucians, this is understandable. We take into our lungs with each breath the positive polarity of Nous, or the Infinite Intelligence. This, as our Fourth and Sixth Degree monographs have explained, vitalizes the blood and carries through the bloodstream to each cell the positive divine force and the Infinite Intelligence, by which the involuntary actions of our body are performed. The cells have as their nucleus, then, a positive vibrating Divine Intelligence. This is the soul force in man. The blood is, therefore, one of the principal media for conveying it to the cell structure in the human organism. The single statement of Pythagoras given above is not sufficient to explain fully what he meant. That is why his critics ridiculed the statement.
Pythagoras also said that the "air is full of souls." If unqualified, this statement also appears mystifying. If we understand it to mean that in the air, not of the air, is the essence of the Universal Soul, which flows through all men and causes them to become individually expressed souls, we cannot help but agree with our Venerable Master, Pythagoras.
You shall keep in mind all the foregoing facts of the times and of the personalities which contributed to the formation of the Order Hermes Trismegistus as you proceed with the ritual in Part Two, on your next study night.
In the bonds of the Order,
YOUR CLASS MASTER
Before proceeding with the ritual, glance over the history given you in Part One to refresh your memory. Then proceed with the arrangement of the Sanctum and, finally, the ritual.
Arrangement of the Sanctum:
On your Sanctum altar there must be a single candle. It shall be unlighted and remain so until you are instructed to light it during the ritual. Immediately before the candle, place the small bowl of water. To the right of the candle on the altar, place the single fresh flower. Lay it upon the altar without any vase or container. On the left of the candle, place the small paper with the ashes neatly piled upon it. At each of the four corners of your Sanctum room, you shall place one of the numbers. Attach it temporarily to a wall or to some object in the corner. Thus, in the corner of the room at the left of your Sanctum, put No. 4. At the right of the Sanctum, place No. 3. Now go to the opposite end of your room. As you face your Sanctum from that location, No. 2 should be in the corner to your right and No. 1 to your left.
You have now established the mystical square of the Order Hermes Trismegistus. In the actual sanctuaries of the Order, always called Squares, venerable dignitaries would be stationed in each corner. Now the personalities of those who have so served the Order shall be invisibly present and may be sensed by you as you proceed with the ritual.
The Sanctum room shall be kept dark, except for a soft, shaded light for reading, beside your chair. Your chair shall be in the occident (the West) of your Sanctum room or at the opposite end from your Sanctum altar and facing the latter.
You are referred to in the ritual as the Profane, which is the ritualistic name for the candidate or the uninitiated. The master shall be referred to as the Venerable Master. You must imagine yourself in one of the subterranean temples of the Order Hermes Trismegistus, with a personal master and his associates conferring upon you the sacred rites. You will become conscious of the presence of those great venerables who have passed through this Initiation in Hermetic temples of the past. You will also feel the presence of the Invisible Hosts. The benefit you shall derive from this Initiation will depend upon how you change the environment with your thoughts of devotion, your sincerity, and by your humble reverential response to what is required of you. To be skeptical, to be doubtful, to feel that it is not necessary to participate, but just to read the ritual, will mean that you are denying yourself the experience that comes from enacting it. This room can be a Temple in which your psychic self will relive a familiar experience or it can become just a mundane surrounding. You create the spiritual vibrations by your thoughts, by the response of your inner self. Each article or object of this ritual must not be what it appears to be. It must represent an element of mystical import. It must engender love and put you into harmony with the real purpose of the Initiation.
Seat yourself in the occident or West of your Sanctum as instructed.
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Profane, you shall now enter the Chamber of Meditation where you will gaze upon the symbols of two of the greatest of all mysteries. These shall not be exhibited to you until you have journeyed about the square which is emblematic of our Order. Arise."
PROFANE: (Stand erect with this ritual in your hand. Then perambulate, that is, slowly walk about the square. Proceed first to Point 1 at your left, thence on a straight line to Point 2. Next, turn at right angles and proceed to Point 3; turn in the same manner and advance to Point 4. Turn sharply at Point 4 and walk in a straight line back to Figure 1. From 1, walk to a point directly in front of your chair and thence proceed slowly to the Sanctum altar. Now, light the single candle on the altar.)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "O Profane, you have been wandering in the exterior darkness and wish to study and receive the light from this respectable square. But nothing indicates to us, who have preceded you, that you are not merely imprudent, impulsed by a vain and improper spirit of investigation and curiosity."
PROFANE: "O Blessed Venerables, who look upon me from the sacred square, misjudge not.my purpose. I stand ready to be tested, to sacrifice, if need be, that I, too, may share the greater light you have so well preserved."
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Know, therefore, O Profane, that the Unknown Masters of our Order, whom we are now representing, have interdicted us, under the most severe penalty, not to initiate into our Order covetous persons who are simply and idly curious and cannot offer to the Square a sound guarantee of their competency, fraternal devotion and absolute discretion. We shall have to proceed to a very severe examination before accepting you.
"Gaze to the left of the orient (left of your altar.) There lies but an impalpable mass composed of simple ashes. A similar substance, devoid of form, dignity, glory, and ambition will someday be the only earthly remains of the body that now immures your soul. Look well upon these ashes. Can you see in them the remnants of pride? Do they give evidence of a once vaunted virility, a glibness of tongue, the power of authority, or the fiery passions that seemed so eternal? All things of the body and by the body are evanescent, and must eventually be reduced to the unimpressive simplicity of these ashes."
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: (Continues) "Gaze to the right of the orient. This flower symbolizes life, but not merely that animation of matter which we call living things. It is the life of immortality, the infinity of kind. What is generated by the soul, what has its being in the idealism of self, never passes away. It leaves its eternal mark upon humanity. Its nature and the happiness it affords never diminish. Such things the soul provides in mortal existence and such it carries with it after this existence. Upon these thoughts you shall now meditate."
PROFANE: (You shall return to your station—the chair in the West--by proceeding to Point 3, thence to Point 2, and from there to the chair, where you will be seated. Remain in meditation for about two or three minutes upon what the Venerable Master has brought to your attention. Then proceed with the ritual.)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "O Profane, what is your age?"
PROFANE: (State softly your age)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Alas, Profane, we only too well surmised your absolute ignorance of the mysterious initiatic subtleties. We asked your true age and you answered with your vulgar worldly age. It is your Hermetic age we wish to know. The human being, as was told by our Master, Hermes Trismegistus, and as was revealed to us by our Greek Initiate, does not attain his true initiatic age, that is, 'the 4 occult years' until the day when he learns, grasps, and understands: that all the activities of his spirit, of his senses, and of his body are enclosed in 4 Cosmical lives, each clearly differentiated from the other. Man may participate in each of these lives. In fact, the whole life of man is an integration of the 4 Cosmical lives, but usually one dominates. That one constitutes his Hermetic age.
"The first of these lives is the mineral. Through his flesh, blood, skeletal structure, h1s salts and ferments, man participates in the mineral life of the universe. Through his respiratory, circulatory, and reproductive functions, man is united to the vegetative life. Through his motility and mobility, through the sensibility of his five senses, which give him consciousness of the exterior world, man is endowed with a complete animal life. At last, by the free exercise of his intelligence and will, he is endowed with a rational life. This makes of him the legitimate king of the 4 cycles, or manifested realms of the universe. These must all be harmoniously integrated. If but one comprises his sphere of thought and activity, with the exception of the rational life, he has not attained his full Hermetic age. If he devotes himself to the rational life, he will intelligently live in—that is, abide by—the other three lives as well. The rational being does not neglect his vegetative or animal life."
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Arise, Profane. We shall journey about the square of investigation, so that we may learn more of you and so that you shall be the recipient of some of our Sacred Light."
PROFANE: (Arise and, turning at right angles, proceed to Point 2 of the square, which is at your right. Stand at that point, facing the Sanctum. Adjust your light, if necessary, so that reading is easy.)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "The Venerable Dignitary, who presides over this point of our square, asks you the symbolical question: What time is it in this place?"
PROFANE: (Answer by giving the standard or Greenwich time for your location; namely, the hour your clock or watch shows.)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Alas, Profane, you are in the most profound error, and yet you can see that this square constitutes a Fixed Point of Intellectual and Initiatic Light in the midst of Universal Darkness. In such a place, which shines with the brighter light of the Profound Wisdom transmitted to us by our Very Illustrious Instructors and Masters of Ancient Thought, Lao-tse, Fo-Hi, Valkimi, Zoroaster, Hermes Trismegistus, Plato, and Aristotle, there can be no Night. There is no room for penumbra, shadow or darkness. Know, therefore, O Profane, that, since you are endowed with 4 Cosmical lives, it is necessary for you to be perfectly and thoroughly enlightened upon each one of them and that, consequently, the time shall be '4 times noon' in this respectable square where you shall have to be enlightened upon your own mystery. Such is the sacred hour in which the sun of science is in its plenitude and dazzles all eyes with its inextinguishable luminosity. Let us continue our journey."
PROFANE: (Now proceed, walking in a straight line to Point 3. Upon arriving there, stand erect and again face the orient of your Sanctum.)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "O Profane, the Dignitary at this point of the square presents to you the third symbolical request. It is: Please tell us the Sacred Name of our Venerable Instructor and Master."
PROFANE: (Answer either Hermes, Pythagoras, or that you do not know.)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Alas, my friend, even had you been able to tell us the name of our Venerated and Very Illustrious Master, you could not know that no Hermetist's mouth pronounces this Venerated Name as a vulgar or profane name is uttered. Know, therefore, for the future that the Very Respectable Name of our Very Illustrious Master cannot be uttered in one word; in respect, filial piety, and legitimate veneration, his children, his faithful disciples, pronounce it only by spelling it letter after letter; yet each one of the two interlocutors in the dialogue can spell only one letter at a time. Thus the first one says, 'P,' the second one, 'Y,' the first one, 'T,' and so on.
"Now proceed to Point 4 of our respectable square, O Profane."
PROFANE: (Walk in a straight line to Point 4 and then once again stand facing the orient)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "You are requested, Profane, to answer, for the Dignitary who presides over this point of the square, the fourth symbolical question. Tell us through which place you have passed, then who was your guide, and finally, which science you profess."
PROFANE: (Answer softly that you journeyed about a room or gallery, that you were led by some unknown person; then state what is your worldly trade or profession.)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Alas, Profane, here, too, you have answered, to our expectations, in a very imperfect way and your answers are lacking in precision. Know, therefore, once and for all, that, to know about yourself before penetrating into this place, you must have dwelt on the Island of Samos where our Venerated and Illustrious Instructor and Master was born and where shone for the first time the bright light of his High Psychological Science. All places where the lessons of this Very Illustrious Master are taught can, therefore, be called Samos. Whenever one desires truth and is determined to find it, he is then dwelling mystically on the Island of Samos and experiencing the first rays of the Pythagorean sun which enlighten the initiate.
"Your guide on this Samos was a regular disciple of our Venerable and Very Illustrious Master. Your profession? Ah, my dear friend, your profession is not the one which enables you or will enable you to live in this lower world—that is, to maintain yourself, clothe and shelter yourself—but rather the one that shall give to your spirit and mind its complete unfoldment in the knowledge of the world; the one that shall raise them up to the summits of universal science and that shall give you all the delights of truth. Your supreme art is, therefore, the psychological study of the world and of the human being in its total perfection. The initiate must study all his life, regardless of his age, for there is no satiating the thirst of knowledge. You see, my friend, that, in spite of your good will, you are as yet very little aware of the mysterious symbolical language of the true initiate. But know, still, that all your brothers and sisters have passed through such experiences and they, like yourself, have been wearing the Black Veil of Ignorance. Finally, I call your attention to the fact that, to be admitted into our Sacred Mysteries, it is not enough, alas, to be very skilled in the profane sciences and to be interested in the mysteries of the universe. It is also necessary to work, earnestly and unceasingly, in spiritual research; it is necessary to have a desire to understand and a thirst for knowledge; it is also necessary to be capable of sacrifice for the sake of the initiates, your brothers, to kill in oneself all selfishness, all blind passion so as to show to others an unlimited devotion in all places and in all circumstances.
"Proceed, Profane, to the Orient."
PROFANE: (Walk to a point directly in front of your Sanctum, taking this ritual with you)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "We shall now give unto you the Spotless Light, after effacing the Shadow of the Past. This shall be done in the name of him who taught us the virtue of the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4. Kneel down, my brother."
PROFANE: (Kneel upon your right knee before the Sanctum altar)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Place the tips of the fingers of your right hand in the lustral (purification) water before you. Then asperge the drops upon your forehead."
PROFANE: (Proceed to do as directed)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "May this water, my dear brother, in giving back to you your pristine candor, purify your body as virtue purifies the spirit. You are this day born again to a new life; this day is, therefore, a great day. The brethren salute your new birth. You shall now rise again and then raise your right hand heavenward and pledge what I shall say."
PROFANE: (Arise and, while holding your right hand aloft, read softly the following) "Upon all the freedom which I profess in the five natural senses,
Upon the existence of my reason which I declare to be bound in no way,
Upon the Intelligence which enlightens me, upholds and guides me,
I promise, swear, and make the vow
To inviolably keep all the secrets, signs, and mysteries of the occult and Initiatic Order of Hermes Trismegistus,
To devote myself to my brothers in all things, on all planes, and in all legitimate circumstances,
That the laws of our Venerated and Very Illustrious Master, P:: Y:: T:: H:: A:: G:: O:: R:: A:: S:: of Samos, shall be respected. So mote it be."
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "Retire to the Seat of Meditation."
PROFANE: (Walk, by way of Points 3 and 2, to your chair and be seated)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "I have now the honor and it is my pleasure to communicate to you, in all their clearness, certain traditional secrets of our Venerable Order, such as have been transmitted to us in the past ages from generation to generation by the eternal chain of Hermetical Initiates.
"The first sign, known only by the Hermetists, is the Sign of Recognizance. It consists in placing the left hand upon the heart, the thumb folded in upon the interior part of the hand and the palm resting over the heart. When this position has been taken, hold out slowly the hand, thus closed with the fingers together, toward the person to whom you want to be known. You, therefore, show to this person four stretched fingers, tightly pressed together. It is obligatory to answer this Sign of Recognizance in the same manner. By extending the hand from your heart toward your brother, you indicate that your love goes to greet and receive him. You also remind him that the human being is composed of 4 Cosmical lives, each different yet closely
"Next, to verify that your interlocutor is truly one of us, it is necessary to ask him the Sacred Word. If he gives it at one time in its entirety, he is a false brother. The letters of the Sacred Word must be spelled out letter after letter, thus: I:: L:: L:: U:: M:: I:: N:: A:: R:: E::, which means to enlighten.
"Your ritualistic age, as heretofore noted, indicates your grade in the Order. The apprentice must say that his age is three years plus one or 4 occult years, because he is being enlightened, first of all, about himself and learns that he has 4 Cosmical lives which are different: three inferior ones and one superior.
"The scriptal sign or the sign used when writing to known Hermetists is the placing of four dots thus :: after your name. Once again, brother, journey to the orient."
PROFANE: (Walk to the Sanctum, taking the ritual with you. Proceed by No. 2 and No. 3. Then stand, facing the altar.)
(Read, not aloud)
VENERABLE MASTER: "The physical light in this square shall now be extinguished for, like the light of the Moon, it is passive. That orb only reflects usefully the light of the Sun.
You shall now take your light from the Masters, at the same time trying to reflect it usefully upon others. Blessed be the Venerated Master who has given unto us wisdom and the perfect light upon all the points of the square of nature."
PROFANE: (Now extinguish the candle with a candle snuffer, or with moistened fingers. Do not blow out candle. This completes your Initiation into the Apprentice Degree of the Order Hermes Trismegistus.)
The password given you, namely, Illuminare, shall be the password of Plane Two, upon which you shall now enter.