By Donald Michael Kraig
Recently, there has been a great deal of blog-flutter concerning whether astral initiations into magickal groups are valid (see, for example, here, here, and here). I’d like to share my ideas as this topic has clearly struck a collective nerve.
What is an initiation? According to the free, online Llewellyn Encyclopedia, here is the definition of initiation:
A ritual or event that indicates a spiritual and/or psychological change and movement to a new period in life or a new awareness. Traditionally, the candidate for initiation would symbolically die and be reborn into this new way of being. In some traditions, being initiated is supposed to confer various spiritual powers.
In magical orders, initiation also provides entry into the private organization. According to occultist Dion Fortune, there are two basic types of initiation, physical and non-physical. It is hoped that they either occur together or that the physical initiation triggers the non-physical one, however a non-physical initiation can occur at any time and at any place.