Schuré, Edouard - A Vision of the Great Initiates
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Introduction to The Great Initiates – Paul Allen June 1961
In the introduction to his Le Theatre initiateur, son passe, son present, son avenir, based on a series of lectures Schure gave before the Societe de Geographie in Paris early in 1925, he wrote:
"Many years ago I happened to be at Florence, working at a poem on Empedocles, the philosopher-magician of Agrigentum, who ended his triumphant career by suicide on Mount Etna....
Every morning I went to the Uffizi library to consult the ancient authors who had dealt with the Mysteries of Eleusis to which, from earliest youth, I had been irresistibly attracted. The municipal library standing in the heart of Florence, behind the Museum, on the banks of the Arno, not far from the Palazzio Vecchio which proudly erects its slender campanile, sentinel-like, above the elegant city - all this was a favourable setting for my meditations.
One day, lost in the labyrinth of the mysteries contained in the pages of Plato and Porphyry, Iamblichus and Apuleius, my inner vision suddenly extended its bounds beyond the horizon.
What fascinated me in the history of Empedocles was the torturing riddle of the Beyond, as it presents itself to the individual man through his emotional life. But what terrifying vistas are produced by this enigma when stated for the whole of humanity! What is mankind's origin? What is humanity’s destination? From what abyss has humanity escaped, only to plunge into what annihilation, or into what Eternity? What relation does mankind bear to the cosmic powers working behind the apparent chaos of the universe, in order to produce so marvellous a harmony?
In the dense darkness where the alarming materialism of our age wallows, it is no longer a matter of merely restoring the link between the visible and the invisible for individuals, but of demonstrating how fruitful is the working of the omnipotent Beyond in the history of all humanity.
With these thoughts a new and ardent desire came to birth within me. I was filled with the impulse to trace the connection between the revelation of Eleusis and that of the Christ.
In order to build a bridge between the lost Paradise and earth plunged in darkness, was it not necessary to reconstruct the living chain of the various religions, to restore to Hellenism and Christianity their original unity to reconcile once again the whole tradition of East and West?
At that instant, as in a flash, I saw the Light that flows from one mighty founder of religion to another, from the Himalayas to the plateau of Iran, from Sinai to Tabor, from the crypts of Egypt to the sanctuary of Eleusis.
Those great prophets, those powerful figures whom we call Rama, Krishna, Hermes, Moses, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato and Jesus, appeared before me in a homogeneous group.
How diverse in form, appearance and colour! Nevertheless, to be in harmony with them is to know and experience the continuity of inspiration in history as a historical fact.
Could not this lightning vision, this moment of consciousness become a new bridge to traverse the abyss separating earth from heaven? …. This work, coming to me from the very centre of things, was sufficient to last me for the rest of my life, and far more. A new life opened, filled with work on The Great Initiates and the inspiring help of Margherita Albana Mignary.