From Anthroposophy


Initiation is the process to establish a connection with the spiritual reality, to be able to see and function in the other worlds or planes, and communicate with the spiritual beings at the different levels, and also to act in these worlds. In other words, to broaden our view from the sensory consciousness with which we function in physical reality using our physical senses and thinking.

Initiation therefore consists, in the first place, in developing higher astral senses and different stages of clairvoyance. This can only be achieved through attaining sufficient elemental balance in our different bodily principles (working the unbalances in our astral and mental bodies), and achieving mastery of our physical senses and nervous system. Put differently: it comes down to improving our character and becoming a better person, by taking responsibility of one's own further development and working this self-consciously as a priority (rather than evolving more slowly through the laws of karma across incarnations).

See also: Man's transformation and spiritualization


  • Introductory topics
    • difference between clairvoyance, magic, ..
    • initiation and the books of wisdom: the 22 tarot cards
    • the degrees of initiation, eg chela, adept, seven grades of the old Persian initiation
  • Contemporary initiation
  • Practical exercises and their explanation
  • History of initiation
    • Ancient Mysteries, initiatory processes and locations
      • Initiation in the ancient Indian cultural age
      • Initiation in the ancient Persian cultural age (Mithras cult, seven stages of initiation)
      • Initiation in the Egypto-Chaldean cultural age
      • The Greek Mysteries
    • Comparison between systems
      • Rosecrucian initiation
      • Christian initiation
  • Initiation sites

Lecture coverage and references


1920-01-17-GA196: 'the science of initiation is the only possibility for the further progress of humanity' describes how humanity is getting younger, in the sense of natural development of the human being to a certain age

.. there is no sense in talking about the continued progress of human evolution through purely natural means. Evolution can take a step forward only when humanity is fructified by initiation science;

Franz Bardon:

On earth every human being has two teachers: firstly, him- or herself and, secondly, fate. What man is not able to achieve by his own diligence, practice, renunciation, pain, grief, etc., will be served up by the buffets of fate. Life is a school, not an amusement fair.


The unexamined life is not worth living

Rudolf Steiner:

The I dwells in each single human individual as Divinity

In Man: fragments of forgotten history (1885) the section on Occult Hierarchy states:

there are four steps, technically called " accomplishments," which lead the neophyte to the rank of an accepted chela

and goes on to describe

the initiate, the clairvoyant, the adept (eg 1907-09-21-GA111)



Related pages

References and further reading

Background (old section - to be updated)

Rudolf Steiner wrote the book "How to Know the Higher Worlds" or 'Knowledge of the Higher Worlds' (KHW). In many lecture cycles he elaborated on the various traditions in initiation: the Christian, Rosecrucian, the Eastern/Indian. He described the initiation process in the mystery schools in the different cultural ages and traditions (persian, egyptian, etc).

However as the scope of this site is Spiritual Science which should not limit itself to Rudolf Steiner's teaching, in this area we also include the work of other adepts such as Franz Bardon and Daskalos.

  • Bardon's Initiation into Hermetics (IIH) is a base manual with practical exercises for initiation.Bardon wrote two more books, Practice of Magical Evocation (PME) and Key to the True Kabbalah (KTQ), which is the cosmic language of creation. There also have been publications of notes and materials from his student group done by Dieter Rüggeberg and Martin Faulks. Excellent commentaries, as well as add-on Q&As are available from Rawn Clark. This system of practice is used worldwide and is the most advanced and proven that is available for self-training adapted to our western world.
  • Daskalos wrote the book 'Esoteric Practice - Christian meditations and exercises' quite similar to KHW

Steiner provided an introductory basis with his book KHW, but he never wrote the follow up book he intended initially. Bardon is much more hardcore magical training, without much explanations or theory, all for the student to practice and experience.

Interestingly enough, not only are both very consistent and compatible, but in the many lectures Steiner also explains the workings of the exercises that are described also in Bardon's manuals. For example conscious breathing, concentration exercices .. but also the PME/KTQ.

It is true that Steiner was offering the rosecrucian initiation, whereas one could say Bardon is more egyptian-rooted hermetics such as theurgy and magic.

Nevertheless it is our thesis that both Steiner and Bardon were linked to the White Brotherhood, and similarly so for Daskalos and Peter Dounov. Although these masters have their own style and flavour, the core essence of the teachings is still the same. And investigation shows alignment in many ways between the mission and teachings of the above-mentioned individualities.

So the scope of this chapter is not to provide Initiation 'documentation', for this I refer to KHW and IIH. However the intention here is to cross-link Steiner's explanations of the underlying mechanics of the base exercises such as meditation and concentration, and also lay out the contextual landscape positioning the various traditions in initiation.