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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Initiation


Initiation: A ritual or event that indicates a spiritual and/or psychological change and movement to a new period in life or a new awareness. Traditionally, the candidate for initiation would symbolically die and be reborn into this new way of being. In some traditions, being initiated is supposed to confer various spiritual powers.

In magical orders, initiation also provides entry into the private organization. According to occultist Dion Fortune, there are two basic types of initiation, physical and non-physical. It is hoped that they either occur together or that the physical initiation triggers the non-physical one, however a non-physical initiation can occur at any time and at any place.


The word has been given a variety of definitions over the years, everything from the pledging and hazing of college (and even high-school) students into fraternities and sororities to the admissions trials of secret societies, entry into occult and ...
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The History of the Golden Dawn
The story of the Golden Dawn, like that of any human organization, is replete with high points and low pointsówith human achievements and human failings. There is no need for us to try to whitewash or sugarcoat the faults of some of the individuals ...
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Group vs. Solitary Ritual and the Source of Magickal Power
Many if not most rituals in books were written for group performance, yet, most "seekers" today do not belong to a group and modern Americans more often prefer to be Solitaries. Before offering suggestions on how to convert a group ritual to the ...
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Review of the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
Summary: A brilliant deck that is ideal for practitioners of ceremonial magick and for those following the system of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Will also interest those researching the link between earlier traditional Tarot decks and the ...
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The Goal of High Magick is Initiation
The goal of the rituals and training of High Magick (also called "Ceremonial Magick," but there are differences) is none other than the attainment of Knowledge and Conversation with your personal Holy Guardian Angel. It’s the "initiation" that ...
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The word alchemy is an Arabic term comprised of the article "al" and the noun "khemi." The later word relates to "Khem" the Coptic name of Egypt. Alchemy thus means, "that which pertains to Egypt." Thus the words alchemy and chemistry are a reminder ...
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The Great Rite
THE GREAT RITE is a term for a sexual union, either actual or symbolic, that is usually part of the third-degree initiation ceremony in many Wiccan/Witchcraft Traditions. The Great Rite is the wedding of the masculine and feminine, the God and ...
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Goal of Ritual
The ultimate goal of ritual magic is fulfillment. As is true with most ultimates, it is seldom, if ever, reached. The degree to which it is approached signifies the success or failure of the practice of magic in the life of an individual. When ...
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Louis Culling and the G∴B∴G∴
The G∴B∴G∴ stands for The Great Brotherhood of God. The promise of the Order was "A Shortcut to Initiation." That was the headline of a 1931 announcement appearing over a Chicago box office number. The founder of ...
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The Well Worn Path Review
Summary: A deck that is specifically directed toward Pagans, Witches and Wiccans. Not a Tarot, the forty cards represent foundational Pagan concepts. While not for Rider-Waite-Smith purists, this deck is well-suited to the many tens of thousands of ...
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A few years ago, my youngest son was arguing with his friend about the age of Honey, our wild golden retriever. His friend insisted that Honey was five, because the dog had been alive that many years. Said Gabe, "Sometimes Honey is really one, like when he chews our shoes; sometimes he's 89, like when he pretends he's too old to listen when you... read this article
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