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Schuré - The Great Initiates – 09 Reconstruction of an Initiation ceremony



Type of Spiritual Experience


This describes the rebirth itself and the ceremony



A description of the experience

The Great Initiates – Edouard Schuré

Thus the months and years flowed by. He felt a slow transformation, a complete metamorphosis taking place within him. The passions that had attacked his youth moved away from him like ghosts, and the thoughts that now encircled him were kind, like immortal friends.

What he experienced now was the swallowing up of his earthly self and the birth of another, purer, more ethereal self. In this mood he would fall prostrate before the steps of the closed sanctuary. Then there was no longer any revolt, no desire of any kind, no regret in him. There was only a perfect surrender of his soul to the gods, a complete oblation to truth. "O Isis," he would say in his prayer, "since my soul is but a teardrop from your eyes, may it fall as dew upon other souls, and in dying may I feel their perfume arise to you! Here am I, ready for the sacrifices!"

After one of these silent prayers, the disciple in a semi-ecstasy saw the hierophant standing near him like a vision from the sun, enclosed in the warm colours of sunset. The master seemed to read all the disciple's thoughts, to penetrate the entire drama of his inner life.

"My son," he said, "the time is approaching when truth will be revealed to you, for already you have had a foretaste of it in going down into your innermost depths, and there finding the life divine. You are to enter the great, ineffable communion of the initiates, for you are worthy of it by the purity of your heart, by your love of truth and your power of self-denial. But no one crosses Osiris' threshold except by way of death and resurrection. We shall accompany you into the crypt. Be not afraid, for you are already one of our brothers!"

At dusk the priests of Osiris, bearing torches, accompanied the new adept into the lower crypt, supported by four pillars, placed upon sphinxes. In a corner was an open marble sarcophagus.

"No one," said the hierophant, escapes death, and every living soul is destined to resurrection. The adept goes through the tomb alive, that afterward he may enter into the light of Osiris.

Lie down, therefore, in this coffin and wait for the light! Tonight you will go through the door of Fear and you will reach the threshold of Mastery."


The initiate lay down in the open sarcophagus. The hierophant extended his hand over him in blessing and the procession of initiates left the cave in silence. A little lamp placed on the ground flickeringly lights the four sphinxes that support the thick columns of the crypt. A choir of deep voices is heard, low and muffled.  Where does it come from? It is the funeral chant!

He is breathing his last; the lamp casts a final light, then is extinguished entirely. The adept is alone in the darkness. The coldness of the tomb falls upon him, freezing all his limbs. Gradually he experiences the painful sensation of death and falls into a lethargy. His life passes before him in successive scenes like something unreal, and his earthly consciousness becomes more and more vague and diffuse. But as he feels his body disintegrate, the ethereal part, the fluid of his being, is disengaged. He enters into an ecstasy....

The source of the experience

Ancient Egyptian

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Overwhelming fear and terror


Sensory deprivation