Schuré - The Great Initiates – 02 Reconstruction of an Initiation ceremony
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Great Initiates – Edouard Schuré
It was to learn this that the stranger knocked at the door of the great temple of Thebes, or of Memphis.
Servants led him beneath the portico of an inner court, whose great pillars seemed like gigantic lotus supporting the solar ark, the Temple of Osiris, with their strength and purity. The hierophant approached the new arrival. The majesty of his countenance, the tranquillity of his face, the mystery of his dark, impenetrable eyes, filled with an inner light, were already enough to disquiet the postulant. That gaze pierced like an awl.
The stranger felt that he was facing a man from whom it would be impossible to hide anything. The priest of Osiris questioned the newcomer about the city of his birth, his family and the temple that had instructed him. If in this brief but penetrating examination he was considered unworthy of the Mysteries, a silent but irrevocable gesture pointed to the door. But if the hierophant found in the aspirant the sincere desire for truth, he asked him to follow him.
They passed through porticos and inner courts, then through a corridor carved in the rock, open to the sky and bordered with stelae and sphinxes, until they reached a small temple that served as an entrance to the underground crypts. The door was disguised by a life-sized statue of Isis. The goddess, seated in an attitude of meditation and contemplation, held a closed book in her lap. Her face was veiled. Beneath the statue one could read, "No mortal has lifted my veil."
"This is the door to the hidden sanctuary" said the hierophant. "Look at these two columns. The red one represents the ascension of the spirit into the light of Osiris. The black one signifies its captivity in matter, and this fall can continue into annihilation. Whoever approaches our science and teaching risks his life. Madness or death is what the weak or the wicked find; the strong and the good alone find life and immortality.
Many reckless ones have entered this door, and have not come out alive. It is an abyss that leads only the fearless to the daylight once again. Therefore, consider carefully what you are about to do, the dangers you will face, and if your courage is not equal to every ordeal, give up the quest. For once this door is closed behind you, you will no longer be able to turn back."
If the stranger persisted in his wish, the hierophant would lead him into the outer court and commend him to the temple servants, with whom he was required to spend a week, obliged to perform the most menial tasks, listening to the hymns and performing ablutions. He had to observe the strictest silence.