More sources on the topic of initiation

From Anthroposophy

The topic pages on Initiation provide a view focused on the teachings of Franz Bardon, Rudolf Steiner, and Daskalos.

However this is an extremely broad topic very much alive in the world, albeit within minority segments. Many blogs, forums, and groupings of practitioners abound in various traditions.

Therefore this page provides an extension to further reading and exploration. The scope has been extended to spiritual science in general, complementing sources of spiritual science.

It is by no means meant as exhaustive, or as a particular recommendation. However, these authors are part of the broader tradition and are definitely interesting reads.

The current small selection will be extended, please send in your suggestions (page was initialized but is not providing a balanced overview yet).

Note also that most literature and additional references are mentioned on the 'Further reading' sections on all topic pages.


Many systems of initiation exist as part of the different cultures and spiritual streams. For example the Islam has the Sufi way, there's Buddhism, the Chinese Neidan/Neigong. India has a culture of the yogic way, there's the Hebrew Kabbalah, etc.

This website focuses on the Western European way with modern initiation as taught by Franz Bardon and Rudolf Steiner.

As a second system that works and spread broadly also in the Western world, the system from Kriya Yoga coming from India is also covered.

Kriya yoga

  • Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952)
    • was a discipline of Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936), and brought the basic teachings of Kriya to the West in 1920 in the US, where he met with ao James T. Lynn, Shelly Trimmer and Hamid Bey (see more below).
  • Satyananda Saraswati (1923-2009)
    • discipline of Sivananda Saraswati (1887-1963), the founder of the Divine Life Society in 1936. Sivananda himself wrote 296 books on a wide variety of subjects, emphasizing practical application of Yoga philosophy over theoretical knowledge.
    • wrote over 80 books, ao 'A Systematic Course In The Ancient Tantric Techniques Of Yoga And Kriya' (1981)
  • Sri M (1948-)
  • Ennio Nimis: 'Kriya Yoga: Synthesis of a personal experience' (freely downloadeable on the web, see also the book's website)
  • more info here

Various subcategories

Other subcategories that could be listed are: alchemy, astrology.


  • Draja Mickaharic (1912-)
    • Practice of Magic: an introductory guide to the art
    • Magical practice
    • Magic simplified
    • Gaining life experiences
  • Bob Makransky
    • Thought forms (2010)
    • Introduction to magic
      • Vol I: What is magic?
      • Vol II: Magical living
  • Josephine McCarthy
    • Magical Knowledge I: Foundations - the Lone Practitioner
    • Magical Knowledge II: The initiate
    • Magical Knowledge III: Contacts of the Adept
      • see also Quareia for a number of free books
  • Donald Michael Kraig: 'Modern magick' (2010)

Germany early 20th century

After the turn of the century, there was a revival of esoteric praxis, witness of which a few of the authors below, some part of occult lodges such as the Fraternitas Saturni (founded 1926). Several authors organized initiation exercises in 7, 10, 12 steps.

  • Karl Brandler-Pracht (1864-1939)
    • How to Develop Your Occult Powers (1907 in DE as 'Lehrbuch der Entwicklung der okkulten Kräfte im Menschen', 2007 in EN, system in 10 steps)
    • 'Geistige Erziehung (1921)
    • 'Geheime Seelenkräfte' (Unterrichtsbriefe zur Entwicklung der Willenskraft und der okkulten Fähigkeiten)
    • 'Suggestions-Atem' (1936)
  • Georg Lomer (1877-1957):
    • Seven hermetic letters (1920-30s)
  • Eugen Grosche (1888-1964) writing under the name 'Gregor A. Gregorius'
    • 'Magische Einweihung'
    • 'Die magische Erweckung der Chakra im Ätherkörper des Menschen' (1954, reprinted 2005) - PDF download
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Quintscher (1883 or 1893-1945), also under pseudonym Rah-Omir
    • Das Buch der magischen Praktik (1932)
    • Das Wesen der Magie
  • Karl Spiesberger (1904-1992), the 1930
  • Herbert Döhren (1906-1975) who wrote under pseudonym H. E. Douval: ‘Bücher der praktischen Magie’ (12 steps)
  • Frater Johannes: 'Praktische Vorbereitungen Zur Magie'
  • Hans Müller: 'Die praktische Anleitung zur Konzentration für jedermann' (1929)


  • Hamid Bey (1897-1976)
    • was an Egyptian master and spiritual teacher that moved to the US in 1927 where he met Paramahansa Yogananda; in 1937 he founded the Coptic Fellowship and started lecturing, travelling and writing (period 1940s-60s). Part of his mission was to make public demonstrations to show how Man as a spiritual being can control all functions of the physical body - ao (but not limited to) by being buried alive and going into a state of catalepsy for longer periods (like 3h, 24h upto six days) and allowing medical controls during the process by eminent physicians and surgeons, and coming out alive and well. In his autobiography (see details on this page) he describes his training in the Temple Masters in Egypt and also processes such as the above.
    • books:
      • The Lectures of Master Hamid Bey (7 volumes)
      • God Creation Eternity - The Great Eternal Cosmic Drama
      • The Physical Senses and Extrasensory Perception
  • William G. Gray (1913-1992)
    • Language of the Gods (2009)

Spiritual biographies

The following section groups some inspirational reading in two formats:

  • biographies and autobiographies
  • literature below written by others in a narrative format, describing interactions with a spiritual teacher
European stream
Famous bestsellers
  • Paramahansa Yogananda
    • 'Autobiography of a Yogi' (1946) - available online in many versions, eg here
  • Thich Nhat Hanh
    • At Home in the World: Stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk's Life (2016)
  • Don Juan Matus
    • Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998): 'The Teachings of Don Juan' (1968) .. and a series of follow up books
    • Don Juan Matus (approx 1891-1973) is the teacher in Castaneda's storytelling, a indigenous Yaqui magician/sorcerer from northern Mexico.
Lesser known

but recommended

  • Shelly Trimmer
    • Shelly Trimmer (1917-1996) was a spiritual teacher who did not leave any writings except one poem, but only taught 1-1 ("my students are my books"). He studied for several years with the famed yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, see interview. He was the teacher of Melvin Higgins or Goswami Kriyananda (see below). For an introduction, see the youtube commentaries by Ray Grasse: movie 1 and movie 2.
    • Ray Grasse: 'An Infinity of Gods: Conversations with an Unconventional Mystic, The Teachings of Shelly Trimmer' (2017) as well as:
    • Steven Cozzi: 'Gray Mist at Dawn: The story of Kriya Yoga's hidden master (2002)
  • Sri M
    • two autobiographical works, available in PDF on the web:
      • 'Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master' (2010)
      • 'The Journey Continues' (2017)
  • Hamid Bey
    • 'My experiences preceding 5000 burials' (autobiography; 1938, second edition 1951 - freely downloadable on the internet)
    • Peter Wehle: 'Hamid Bey: Mind over Mystery' (2022)
  • Muhammad-Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo (founder of Subud, see also John G. Bennett)
    • 'Autobiography: The History of Bapak R.M. Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo' (1990)
also in the biography category
  • His pupil: 'The initiate' (1920)
    • the story of the adept Justin Moreward Haig, a real person, though his true identity is concealed (for reasons explained in the book)
  • Draja Mickaharic
    • Luke Cullen: 'Growing up with Draja Mickaharic' (2009)
  • Melvin Higgins or Goswami Kriyananda
    • Ray Grasse: 'Urban mystic: recollections of Goswami Kriyananda' (2019)
    • Goswami Kriyananda (1928-2015) studied under Shelly Trimmer and is the founder of the Temple of Kriya Yoga, based in Chicago, Illinois.
  • James T. Lynn or Rajarsi Janakanda
    • James T. Lynn (1892-1955) was Yogananda's most famous pupil, a successfull American businessman
    • 'Rajarsi Janakananda: A Great Western Yogi' (1996) - PDF freely available on the web

People sharing their life experiences

  • Robert Wolff: Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing (2001)
    • Psychologist Robert Wolff went to live deep in the mountainous jungle of Malaysia with the aboriginal Sng'oi, and experienced a different type of consciousness and a different way of living
  • Thom Hartmann : 'The Prophet's Way' (2004)
    • about his meeting with Kurt Stanley, who was a coptic master ordained by Hamid Bey in 1937

Related pages

References for further reading


The following sites have large libraries of freely downloadable PDF books:

Also interesting are: