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Schuré - The Great Initiates – 04 Reconstruction of an Initiation ceremony



Type of Spiritual Experience


Schure is describing the Tarot cards here and he hasn't captured the symbolism correctly, but it doesn't matter, as it is a story anyway - a fabrication.

A description of the experience

The Great Initiates – Edouard Schuré

A Magus called a pastophor, a guardian of sacred symbols, opened the grating for the novice and welcomed him with a kind smile. He congratulated him upon having successfully passed the first test. Then, leading him across the hall, he explained the sacred paintings. Under each of these paintings was a letter and a number. The twenty-two symbols represented the twenty-two first Mysteries and constituted the alphabet of secret science, that is, the absolute principles, the universal keys that, employed by the will, become the source of all wisdom and power. These principles were fixed in the memory by their correspondence with the letters of the sacred language and with the numbers associated with these letters. Each letter and each number expressed in this language of ternary law, having its repercussion in the divine world, the intellectual world, and the physical world. Just as the finger touching the string of a lyre causes a note of the scale to resound and all its harmonics to vibrate, so the spirit that contemplates all the virtualities of a number, the voice that utters a letter with the knowledge of its meaning, evokes a power that echoes in the three worlds.

Thus the letter A that corresponds to number 1, expresses in the divine world, Absolute Being from which all beings emanate; in the intellectual world the unity origin, and synthesis of numbers; in the physical world, humans, the head of related beings, who, through expansion of their faculties, rises into the concentric spheres of infinity. The arcanum was represented among the Egyptians by a Magus in a white robe, a scepter in his hand and wearing a gold crown. The white robe meant purity the scepter, authority and the gold crown, universal light.

The novice was far from understanding everything he heard that was strange and new, but great perspectives opened before him at the words of the pastophor before the beautiful paintings, which looked at him with the impassive gravity of the gods.

Behind each of them he glimpsed a series of thoughts, and pictures suddenly were called forth. He surmised for the first time the interior of the world through the mysterious chain of causes.

Thus, from letter to letter, from number to number, the teacher explained to the pupil the meaning of the arcana, and led him past Isis Urania to the Chariot of Osiris, past the Thunderstruck Tower to the Flaming Star and finally to the Crown of the Magi.

"Mark well," said the pastophor "what this crown means: all will that is joined to God in order to manifest truth and to effect justice after this life, enters into participation with divine power over beings and things, attaining the everlasting reward of liberated spirits."

While listening to the teacher's words, the neophyte experienced a mixture of surprise, fear and rapture. These were the first lights of the sanctuary, and the truth seen in part, appeared to him to be the light of a divine recollection.

The source of the experience

Ancient Egyptian

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps