The Life of An Egyptian Initiate

I am El-An, an Initiate in The Ancient Mystery Schools of Egypt.

I am the first in line - on your left.

I have come to tell you about the different Initiations.

In ancient Egypt there were many degrees of Initiation and many Levels of Priesthoods.

Some of the priests were born into families of Priests or Priestesses where it was assumed they would follow the path of the family bloodline. Secrets were told within the families about the mystery teachings and the Rites-Passages of Initiation.

One could also become a Priest or Priestess after a long course of study, fasting, and ritual.

High Priests were initiated by Ra, himself, in the Great Pyramid when the Sun aligned with the capstone by exact degree. These Priests would study for many years to achieve this level of spiritual accomplishment. They would forfit all personal goals and belongings living a life of semi-solitude and worship of the Great Gods and Goddesses of Egypt. For the most part they were men, but there were High Priestesses. At the time of the Initiation of the High Priests and Priestesses, a stillness would befall the land. Night would become day as the Sun would be seen directly over the capstone of the Great Pyramid of the Sun God Ra. Once inside the Great Initiation Pyramid the illusions would begin. The Initiates would enter a secret Chamber in the Pyramid where anything could happen. It was often a test of their endurance. They were to descern what was real and what was illusion. Not everyone passed the tests even after years of study. Only the very few would witness the appearance of the Sun God, Ra, who would give them the sacred teachings of creation. When their course of study was complete Ra would give them special rods and powers. Next they would the be sent out to Teach, to heal, and to Initiate those who would follow them. There were times when Ra would be accompanied by a Goddess, Isis or Hathor. It was not unusual to present gifts to the Gods and Goddesses who came to Initiate the Priests and Priestesses. A list was kept of those who passed the tests and became part of the Great White Brotherhood of the Thoth or Isis Mystery Schools.
The High Priests and Priestesses would Initiate others novices who one day hope to expire to greatness working with the Gods.

These novices spend forty days and nights in fasting, prayer and study of the Mysteries.

The fasting consisted of abstaining from all pleasures of the table, to eat no living thing, and to drink no wine.

Part of their study was the memorization of long lines of text given by the priests and magicians of our Inner Mystery School Circle and the reciting of certain magic formulae, declarations, incantations, spells, litanies and some funerary liturgy.

Also the curriculum included certain riddles and mind puzzles of an esoteric nature, bearing a resemblance in form, but not in content, to those commonly used these days as pass times in certain intellectual upper classes.

At the Midwinter evening ten aspirants gathered by the altar between the paws of Hu [Sphinx's paws] waiting for their entrance into an antechamber located underneath the colossus' belly.

It was a fresh peaceful evening still reflecting on the pyramids the crimson afterglow of the sun Aton, "to Whom all creation worship".

The candidates talked among themselves about their sacrifices and earnest preparation and fasting prior to the ceremony.

Some stepped at the Thothmes stele at the Sphinx's breast and read some of its lines.

The thrill in anticipation filling their hearts was perceived in their words as they recalled especially the last two weeks of work. As time passed, all quieted and sat absorbed in their own thoughts and expectations.

To some, the answering of the Sphinx's riddle, as a password to get admittance into the temple, seemed a little bit scary."Could I actually answer it correctly?"

It was known that some students had failed to give the right answer and with embarrassment were asked to return home.

Even if successfully answering the riddle, it was still that fear of the imminent trials, knowing that some past initiates, not using right judgment, did not survive the experience.

They waited patiently between the paws, in silence, that same silence of secrecy of initiation that Hu [the Sphinx] symbolized.

As the initiates waited outside, a mantra was barely heard coming from inside.

The Thothmes stele slowly and mysteriously moved half way sideways as if supported by invisible hinges.

An entryway with a cleverly hinged bronze door was revealed at which they saw a torchbearer standing.

He was carrying aloft a torch.

The boy looked about 18 years old and reflected a clear determined countenance.

His voice sounded so confident for a boy of his age.

Actually he was a devout student of the Art and dedicated to practice it.

He asked the students this question: "Art thou, dwellers of the outer darkness where ignorance dwelleth, praying admittance into our sacred Temple to seek the Light of Initiation?"

The candidates nodded affirmatively responding: "Yes, we are".

Then he said, "The Path to initiation is treacherous and filled with trials and temptation.

Art thou willing to take it?". They again responded affirmatively.

Next he asked them to make a line and escorted the first in.

The interior passageway was dark as night and musty.

He stepped inside the passageway, closed the door and with a soft voice asked the prospective initiate the following question: "What is that animal which in the morning has four legs, two at noon, and three in the evening?"

The postulant gazed at the floor as he tried to find an answer to this strange and puzzling riddle he had never heard before.

That description did not seemed to reflect the pattern of any living animal he has ever known.

After some time of thinking, he murmured an answer to the torchbearer who nodded in affirmation and guided the initiate into a small chamber.

Then he return to bring the next initiate in.

Seven students were able to answer the riddle: four men and three women. Seven!, the number of the perfect man!

After the stone slab was slowly closed at the Sphinx's breast and also the bronze door, they walked down a spiral staircase into a soundless passage that led them to the antechamber where all gathered, murmuring among themselves the answer in excitement: "it was man!".

Underneath the Sphinx is located the Sphinx's Antechamber, annex to a colonnaded Circular Temple.

Also the Sphinx isconnected to the Pyramids through subterranean passageways.

The tunnel passage from the Sphinx to the Temple of Aten [Great Pyramid] is commonly taken by the initiates during various ceremonies.

Other hallways and rooms exist not to be mentioned here.

The Antechamber was illumined by six torches mounted on holders located five feet above the ground, three torches on the East wall and three on the West.

The yellowish lights were mellow and flickering.

The initiates, sitting on chairs located against the walls, had just started a short period of meditation when the torchbearer came in and invited the women to follow him to an annex room furnished with four beds and a desk with papyrus scrolls.

The walls were decorated with holy scriptures and prayers.

The men were conducted to a separate and similar room.

Both groups were bade to rest and wait.

That night some students had unusual dreams of a prophetic nature anticipating the coming initiation.

The student that referred to me the story, described that... "at about midnight, I saw a floating glowing circle in the middle of the room, the circle slowly turned into a snake with a glittering back and a dark belly that had written a final letter on her tail and a first letter on her head.

Her head was constantly eating her tail without diminishing the size of her body.

As I stared at the symbol, big Egyptian hieroglyphs were appearing on top of the symbolic snake stating:

'Every End is the Beginning of a New Cycle'.

Then all vanished in the dark!

0 Deg. Initiation Ceremony, Part I: Preparation

Next day the initiates were taken to a lavatory and fountain place for lustration, to bathe and cleanse themselves and to make their sacred ablutions of face and hands.

Afterwards, they were garbed in white linen robes and were given special frugal meals.

This dietary meal, supplemented with special salts and a white powder, will continue to be supplied throughout the various initiations as well as the initiates will be provided with places for study and meditation inside the pyramid.

As a prelude to each initiation, ceremonies of lustration will be performed at the water basin adjoining the temple.

After waiting for hours, the group was escorted by the torchbearer to the Great Pyramid.

Inside the pyramid halls, light was scarce.

The colonnaded halls were beautifully decorated with pictures, scripts and prayers to Amen, the Creator of All That Is.

The tall columns were shaped like palm trees and terminated in capitals in the form of leaves girdled with lapis lazuli and gold and topped with geese bas-relieves.

Marble and alabaster, granite of different colors finished the walls.

The aroma of incense filled the halls. In the holding of their breath, the initiates expressed a sense of fear and anticipation.

The initiate of my story tried to calm down by thinking of all the others who had passed this way before and are now members of the Secret and Sacred Brotherhood.

As the aspirants followed the torchbearer, our initiate in awe admiration. . . "looked at the details of the passages, the incredible magnificence of the shining pillars, the paintings on the walls, the gorgeous capitals with iridescent splendor, etc., that our Fathers, the Great Pharaohs, used to adorn it for eternity.

What a glorious moment only illumined by the dancing light of the torch reflected on the walls and columns!

By contrast, I knew, deep in my own heart shone 'a light surpassing that of sun or moon'."

0 Deg. Initiation Ceremony, Part II: The Dark Light Chamber or Chamber of Chaos [The Pit]

The postulants were guided by a priest donning a half black and half gold Anubis mask, to the Dark Light Chamber or Death Pit, a chamber located in the lower part of the pyramid.

The place represents the Zero Degree, the Underworld ruled by our God Osiris.

Their conductor to this stage reenacted our black jackal-headed God, Master of Mysteries, guide across the threshold to the Underworld, the Unseen symbolized here by a chamber inside of God Geb, the Earth.

In the complete absence of visible light, the test consisted in addressing issues that have no been resolved, to achieve a healing through the mastery of individual aspects of personality.

Special experiences of psychic nature were lived there over and over in an iterative process.

Reactive moments of pain and suffering from their past came vivid during their meditation just like being reenacted from the pages of an old forgotten book.

Dreadful aspect of horrors and wanderings in darkness!

Afrightment, uncertainties, doubts. Every particle of wisdom available was needed to vanquish the apparent power given to fear.

Materializations of mind creations, creeping things, maybe hissing reptiles, were made real by the law of the participant. Illusion's fires!.

With the Eye of Horus, our cosmic El, they thoroughly saw these own distressful experiences to torment them no more! After a heroic act of will during this period of germination, they triumphantly felt cleansed and stronger.

It is said that some in the past, unable to deal with their own fears, had not survived the experience dying in the depth of the chamber built from their own fears.

After this dreadful Zero Degree initiation, the candidates return home to their normal mundane activities, to assimilate the experience and to continued their mystical preparation into the Mysteries before they were ready in that coming Vernal Equinox to take their First Degree Initiation which I will describe next:

First Degree Initiation: WATER

1st Deg. Initiation Ceremony, Part I: The Womb of the Second Birth [Queen's Chamber]

Prior to their First Degree Initiation, the group of candidates were taken to the chamber known as the "Womb of the Second Birth" inside the Great Pyramid for a symbolic entering into the womb for a reborn experience.

This chamber is also known as the Chamber of Balance because here the initiate will demonstrate his ability to balance the polarities of Light and Dark, similarly as was prepared to demonstrate it in the Nile Temple at Kom Ombo, the Temple of Light and Darkness.

Having experienced the Dark Light in the Pit and previously at Kom Ombo, the natural tendency would be to overcompensate by moving into pure light, which produces unbalance, since the initiate lives in a world of both polarities.

Here they will learn to master their emotions through love from the heart, Water being the symbol of the emotional nature.

They were left there for periods of reflection and meditation on these matters that lasted for seven days being administered by priests and acolytes. In this, like in other initiations, the candidates were assigned for resting fully decorated and furnished chambers out of more than thirty available chambers inside the pyramid.

Early at the seventh day and while a distant gong was heard, the initiated ones were asked by the Hierophant to enter inside a mummy case brought by a group of temple guardians and acolytes.

The coffins bore scriptures and symbols resembling the ones used to preserved the bodies of the departed ones.

The Hierophant or High Priest of the Temple entranced the initiates, one by one, into a magical hypnotic sleep.

When the candidates were laid inside, the lids were closed and they entered into a deep sleep.

The coffins with the candidates inside were tied up to a carrier and with robes lowered down, one at a time, to the Chamber of Rebirth.

1st Deg. Initiation Ceremony, Part II: The Chamber of Rebirth [The Grotto or The Well]

In this chamber the initiates remained in a semi lifeless state for three days. Unaware of the activities of preparations for the ceremonies that followed, they were left in their physical and symbolic dream. To them, it seemed to last just few hours.

At midnight the coffin lids were opened and the dancing lights of the torches stroke their faces as ancient mantras sounded in the chamber.

Then a song that tells about a rebirth to a Light State of Immortality was sang. One by one the initiates were taken from the coffins and to their surprise they found a room packed with people.

"We were greeted and embraced with joy by the Brethren.

This was a moving emotional moment: so far we had felt somehow lonely, left with the sole company at times of the torchbearer.

Tears fell from our eyes as we were greeted even by people we had never seen before.

So many care to be aware of our initiation?", this told me the initiate.

Comments to what has happened so far were said to the great surprise of the candidates. Happy laughter and cheers were filling the room!

The candidates had now completed their First Degree Initiation.

As in the Zero Degree Initiation, the initiates were asked to return home to their normal affairs, to assimilate the experience and to continue their studies before they were themselves ready to take their Second Degree Initiation during Midsummer.

After the preparation time had lapsed, the candidates took the initiation that I will now describe:

Second Degree Initiation: AIR

2nd Deg. Initiation Ceremony, Part I: The Temple of Maat [The Grand Gallery]

The Temple of Maat is also known as the "Hall of Truth in Light" or the "Temple or Hall of Illumination".

These names are symbolic of the fact that "as the initiate ascended, he reached a greater height in his symbolical attainment of mystical Light".

In this degree of initiation the candidate will learn clear perception and understanding that leads to illumination through the right use of their intellect.

The intellectual nature is here represented by Air and the blossoming of beautiful thoughts of the mind.

To receive this degree the candidates were taken again inside the Pyramid of Khufu.

With the help of the torchbearer and some members of the ritual, the candidates were three times blindfolded and, taken by their arms, guided to cross the Second Threshold or the "Place of Crossing the Water of Life".

This is the pass to the "Temple of Maat."

At this time two distant gongs, symbolic of the Second Degree, were heard.

Our initiate recalled... "went up with the group into what I felt based on the acoustic sound to be a spacious open hall.

The blindfolded ascension was difficult and cumbersome not knowing what the next move was or where to position the foot.

Each initiate ascended the first two symbolical steps and then was taken back to chambers of instruction, meditation and rest and to endure trials to test their development and worthiness.

The next day we went through the same ritual of ascension, to rise only two extra steps and return to the chambers for further instruction and trials.

This ritual went on for seven days, each day ascending two extra new steps."

2nd Deg. Initiation Ceremony, Part II: The Antechamber or Chamber of the Triple Veil

The seventh day they ascended all the fourteen steps arriving at the Great Step at the top of the hall.

Then they entered into the antechamber next to the "Chamber of the Open Tomb" [King's Chamber].

This antechamber is known as the "Chamber of the Triple Veil". Here the three veils were removed, one at a time and the meaning of each veil was given to the initiates.

When they finally could see, they looked in all directions at the room they have arrived at, so lavishly decorated.

While in this chamber they again were greeted by some members of the Brotherhood.

"The bonds established among the seven candidates were of Oneness, as we felt so close to each other we could even feel each other's thoughts!"

They have now completed the Second Degree Initiation. The initiates went now home and after some time of preparation got ready for the next and so much waited culminating ceremony to be held in that coming Autumnal Equinox.

But before I continue with the description of the next ceremony, I will refer a short story of the torchbearer as he told it to me. These are his own words:

The Story of the Torchbearer

"My name is Amen-Hut. I was born in On [Heliopolis], the 'City of the Sun' and the Ben-Ben obelisk, in the year of the Scorpio.

At age 6, I was taken by my parents to the Temple of Aton [Temple of the Sun], where our beloved Pharaohs are being coronated, to be instructed by the priests of On, less wealthy than those of Thebes but thoroughly more versed in ancient wisdom.

I was and still am being trained in Mathematics, Astronomy, the magic sciences of healing and the history and geography of Egypt and adjacent lands.

The mystical path is being shown to me through the reading and explanation of the Ptah arcana.

The secret symbology has been and is being revealed to me in various ways and, due to dedication and sincerity, I have been chosen as member of the ritualistic teams of both the Temple of On and the Khufu Pyramid and as a member of the Brotherhood.

"The day of the initiation, all was rushed in the great hall and the Chamber of Initiation.

The female ritualistic performers with their musical instruments, harp, lute, lyre, sistrums, drums, castanets, harpsichord and cymbals, were already in place, all the soloists and choruses have arrived as well as the priests.

The rehearsal was about to start when the gong player, darting to his gong, slipped on the floor and badly sprained his right wrist with which he so wonderfully played the gong. Confusion filled the place!

We were already way too late for the rehearsal of the ceremony!

The hierophant's daughter, who was serving as one of the vestals, rushed out to find a substitute in town.

In the meantime the initiates were waiting unaware of the endless rehearsals we went through that day in that chamber".

Third Degree Initiation - The Chamber of the Open Tomb [King's Chamber]: FIRE

3rd Deg. Initiation Ceremony, Part I: The Meaning of the Sacred Cobras

As a prerequisite for this initiation was again required to enter into the Pit and have similar experiences with the Dark Light as were previously described in the Zero Degree Initiation.

From there the initiates moved to the "Chamber of the Open Tomb".

The "Chamber of the Open Tomb" is also known as the "Hall of Judgment and Resurrection" or the "White Light Chamber".

Here are customarily officiated symbolical ceremonies involving the laws of transition, regeneration, resurrection and reincarnation.

Rivaling the elaborate and superstitious ceremonies of the priesthood of the profane world, the Brothers have prepared special rituals as the one that follows.

These rites have the purpose of impressing the minds of the new members with the purpose of Our Secret Society of Wisdom and to show the mastership of natural laws they may someday acquire.

It was highly rewarded the effort of so many trials suffered in previous initiations in this temple, in the adjacent pyramids and in other similar environments such as: the Temple of the Sun at On; Saqqara, the Temple of sound and vibration; Denderah, the Temple of Isis, temple of love, nurturing and healing; Osirion of Abydos, the Temple of Resurrection; the Temple of Our Goddess Sekmet, the breaker of resistance; Kom Ombo, the temple of the Dark Light and the Temples of Amen-Ra and Osiris at Karnak near Luxor in Upper Egypt. (These two last ones created by our Pharaoh Seti who also built the Temple Osirion of Abydos.)

It was rewarded because it was now in the White Light Chamber where the final initiation would be demonstrated.

Once completed successfully, the initiate will no longer be subjected to death, illness or the limitations of linear time. He will be a resurrected body mastering judgment, forgiveness, compassion and the illusions of fear and separateness.

A resurrected body into a higher octave of expression. This initiation is also the culmination of twelve years of emotional training called in our school the "Left Eye of Horus".

Each initiation in the series deals with a specific fear related to a specific vortex of energy of the body.

This is the fruiting of so much dedication and training. It represents also the ideas learnt in the previous initiation put into action in this, the Fire Initiation.

For this ritual the chamber was lit with candles and incense was wafting in the air filling it with a rose fragrance. One solitary gong resounded through the halls of the pyramid announcing the beginning of the ritual.

The seven white robed initiates stepped into the chamber following the torchbearer who indicated them to position in line at the North wall by the chairs of the initiates.

Some prayers and declarations to the bygone forefathers were spoken out by a priest at the South as a preliminary initiation to the ritual.

Then two gongs echoing through the confines of the room were followed by a soft entrance music while choruses sang a litany as seven white robed figures filed into the Chamber toward the East, their faces hidden in the shadows of their hoods.

The gong was played again three times to announce the entrance of the hierophant, the successor of Meri-Ra, a priest wearing a sky blue robe spangled with embroidered stars, girdled with a cord of gold.

He also wore a cross upon his breast.

He was followed by a group of priests from the Temple of On.

He stepped to the center of the room from his South East station and from a papyrus scroll read to the aspirants a list of duties and responsibilities to be observed, the prerogatives and benefits of the school and the vows of secrecy to not divulge what they will experience, followed by a series of questions that were promptly answered revealing their preparedness and readiness.

At this point, the hierophant moved near the sarcophagus of symbolical burial, a huge rose quartz granite casket of a single block, and lifting his hands to heavens to where our starry Goddess Nut dwells, pronounced sacred words in Atlantean language that none of the initiates understood.

"The walls of the chamber seemed to vibrate in resonance with the words as responding back to them. A chill cold filled the room, a strange breeze blew the faces of the participants. A deep meaningful silence was present in the room and the East fire grew in size augmenting the suspense and staging the moment."

As in other special occasions, the torchbearer had witnessed similar deeds that through the world had made the Egyptian priests enjoy a reputation of "mysterious power and hidden wisdom".

This is the knowledge he was yearning to possess someday.