struggle for spiritual illumination
By Rubaphilos © 2010
Spiritual Illumination is not a commodity.
In fact we could say, with a certain degree of confidence, that
the mindset that causes anyone to believe Spiritual Illumination
is something they can control "at a price" is the same
mindset that pretty much eliminates them from being in a position
to receive what they want. Spiritual Illumination is a product of
nature ... that is, of natural law. A product available to every
sincere student through nature's agent ... the experienced,
initiated, teacher. No matter what other conditions may attend the
reception of true initiation, its transmission cannot be effected
successfully other than by nature's will, through the agent of an
initiated teacher, to a student who has developed to a state where
he is ready for its reception. Neither the student nor the teacher
can force the situation. It is entirely in the hands of nature as
to who is ready to receive initiation. Then once such an
individual is ready, the opportunity for effective tuition will
arrive naturally and automatically in his life.
Once the student is ready, and the teacher appears, then the
conditions under which initiation takes place are also defined by
nature. Neither the teacher nor the student can demand the process
unfold under any conditions other than those which are defined as
absolutely necessary by nature. Nature operates according to law.
It is that law, that natural law, which demands that initiation be
carried out under specific conditions. In this way the process of
initiation does not conform to the dictates of the student's
demands, but, instead, the student's attitude and behaviour must
bend to conform to the dictates of the process of initiation. Any
student who is unwilling to accept this fact will discover that
his approach is in conflict with the process.
If the student were in a position to dictate the conditions under
which initiation should take place, then the student himself would
have to be fully aware of that which the process itself requires.
If the student could know that much then he would not need a
teacher, for he would already have access to the most intimate
requirements of the work.
For this situation to be a necessary requirement of initiation, a
great deal of trust must be established between the student and
the teacher. For it is the teacher's task to lead the student away
from 'normality' in to a state of existence which is outside of
average human experience.
It is also a common attitude that the average spiritual aspirant
sees Illumination as being simply a state of having access to, or
possessing, special information; somewhat like owning a book. He
owns the book and can look in it for information, but
fundamentally he is still himself. This view, though, does not
apply to initiation, and to the attainment of Illumination. In
order to become Illumined one must change fundamentally. We cannot
remain the same as we were when we started the journey, with the
same views, beliefs and behaviours, and also be Illumined.
A view of the journey towards Illumination as being a process of
recognising or realising certain ideas and concepts (information)
is certainly part of the process, but it is only a small part.
Consider, if Illumination was merely the ability to grasp certain
ideas, then the process of attaining Illumination would, in most
cases, require nothing more from us than to read about those
concepts as written by someone who had experience of them, and was
Adept at describing them. Initiation would, therefore, be little
more than an intellectual exercise which could be accomplished by
book-learning alone. I labour this point because it is a common
mistake, to confuse the mere attainment of information with what
is in reality an actual state of being.
One of the comforting things about that view of the journey toward
Illumination (the view that it is an intellectualism) is that we
secretly believe we can accumulate ideas in our mind without
actually accepting or rejecting them, or acting on them, but
simply owning them. In that way, if that were the crux of being
Illuminated, we could attain that state without (theoretically)
changing, or being changed. But Illumination is something that
'happens' to us ... it is an event ... or rather the result of a
series of self-changing events. It is a change from darkness
(relative ignorance) to light (Illumination). In order, therefore,
to 'be' Illuminated, we must be changed. An Illuminated Adept is,
by the ancient and traditional definition, someone who has begun
his journey as an average person, and, after special training with
an experienced and accomplished teacher, has eventually become
something far removed from the average human. An Illuminated Adept
is not someone who simply possesses some information other normal
people do not. He actually 'is' something other people are not.
It is a common mistake made by many students of the occult that
they will enter serious esoteric training, be initiated (in the
true meaning of that word), but that largely they will remain the
same person. One must ask oneself, what would be the point in
seeking Spiritual Illumination if the end result was that we would
remain the same common person we started out as? The entire point
in the Great Work is change. Change away from the dysfunctional
condition we call 'normality' into a vastly more functional
condition we refer to as Illuminated Adeptship. That kind of
change should be taken for granted, since it is generally taken
for granted that seeking Illumination is preferable to being in a
common human condition, because somehow Illumination is a vastly
'better' state of being. Simple reason would therefore dictate
that being 'normal' is a vastly 'worse' state of being.
So how exactly might we define Illumination? To begin, we should
understand that real hermetic initiation is the process whereby an
expert hermetic teacher guides a willing and capable student to a
state of Illumination. Initiation is therefore any system of
training, applied, which results in a state of Illumination.
Because Illumination is a natural state, in potential, initiation
is a process which must conform to natural law. We can't just
make-up a process of initiation from scratch and have it be
whatever we want. The process must contain certain specific
techniques which deal with specific issues in human belief,
behaviour and physical condition.
Illumination itself, contrary to popular opinion, is a very
specific condition. The average human lives in a state where part
of who he is is hidden from him. We commonly refer to this hidden
part as the 'unconscious' mind. Unconscious because we normally
have no conscious access to what is contained in that side of
ourselves, and what is going on there. Ancient hermetists not only
discovered methods to unveil that side of ourselves, but also that
when we unveiled that part of ourselves it contained knowledge and
mechanisms which gave us profound understanding of, and control
over, ourselves and our environment. They referred to this
unveiling of the unconscious as ... bringing the light of
conscious awarenes in to the darkness of unconsciousness. That is
... the Illumination of the spiritual (unconscious) part of
One of the problems with any attempt at unveiling the unconscious,
in this way, is that nature has created us with part of ourselves
hidden from our awareness for a reason. Therefore this is our
natural (and so-called healthy) state ... to be partly aware, and
part unaware. In order to unveil the unconscious we must apply
esoteric techniques to ourselves which gio against our natural
instincts. At the same time, because applying these practical
techniques pushes us in to the unconscious, which is basically
'unknown' territory, our natural reaction to this action is fear.
Because initiation promotes unnatural practices, which push us in
to unknown territory, which we naturally fear to do, everything is
working against our attempt at succeeding in this process. This is
why it is necessary to have a guide; a teacher who not only knows
the territory, but also understands what we need to do in order to
overcome our natural aversion to the method of initiation.