Adeptship: Its Real Meaning and Purpose
Attaining real Adeptship is more difficult than being selected for, and training with, a ’Special Forces’ unit (such as the British SAS). I shall explain why this is so, but first will describe what genuine Adeptship is.
An Adept is an individual who has undertaken an Occult quest and who has, as a result of that quest, the following abilities/attributes: a) a real understanding of esoteric, Occult matters, and a deep esoteric knowledge/insight; b) esoteric skills – chief of which is empathy: with both. natural and ’Occult’ forces (energies. An important aspect of this empathy [an intuitive understanding of things as those things are in their essence] is with living beings and that species mis-named Homo Sapiens; c) a unique character – formed via experience d) a unique ’philosophy of life’ attained via self-discovery and self experience – by finding answers unaided.
Adeptship results from a transformation – a transmutation of the individual. This begins at Initiation, whether that be ceremonial or hermetic [i.e. as part of a group or alone]. It is an internal alchemical process of change, and occurs on all levels – the psychic, the magickal, the intellectual, the psychological and the physical. It is the birth of a new individual who has skills, knowledge, understanding and judgment not possessed by the majority.
The changes themselves arise from a synthesis – there is an evolution of the individual and their consciousness because of a successful response to a challenge. Or rather, because of a series of such successful responses over a period of some years. In essence, the Initiate undertakes a challenge, strives to achieve a certain goal and if successful, grows in character, maturity, knowledge esoteric skill and so on. They then move on to new challenges, until the process is complete and Adeptship attained The challenges themselves occur on all the levels mentioned above – i.e. the psychic, the magickal (or Occult), the intellectual, the psychological and the physical.
Quintessentially, the path to Adeptship is a quest which involves ordeals, the achievement of goals and so on. Furthermore, the quest is individual and involves experiences in the real world: not just ’in the head’ or of a ’magickal’ nature. By its nature it is solitary – it involves the individual overcoming the challenges, undertaking the ordeals, alone. If certain ordeals and challenges and experiences are not undertaken – and if all of them are not done alone – then there is no real achievement and thus no genuine Adeptship.
The nature of the experiences, challenges and ordeals which are necessary, and the fact that they all must be done alone and unaided, makes Adeptship difficult to attain, and is the reason why real Adepts are rare, even though there are many who claim the achievement.
Returning to the example mentioned above – that is, real Adeptship is more difficult to attain than being selected for and successfully training with a Special Forces unit. The selection procedures for such a Unit are tough, and the training likewise. But the individual undergoing them has a definite concrete goal – and that individual is with others: there is a camaraderie a desire not to ’lose face’ in front of others. Also, the individual is in a definite environment – usually a training camp with Instructors and other members of the Unit. There is a ’tradition’ with its special signs: a uniform, a beret, an insignia. And everyday concerns – food, shelter etc. – are taken care of *.
In contrast, Adeptship is mostly intangible: it seems ’magickal’ and Occult; part of another world. Further, the Initiate is on their own and still for the most part, in the ’real world’ – they have responsibility to clothe and feed themselves (at the very least, and find or have some shelter).
But there is more. The physical challenges alone which an aspirant Adept must undertake are, in fact, more difficult, tougher, than those used by any Special Forces unit. They are more testing, more selective. Only the strongest, the most determined, survive them. Add to these physical challenges the many others that are required – intellectual, magickal, psychological and so on – and it is easy to understand why Adepts (or genuine ones at least) are so rare, and why they are part of an elite.
Of course, there are many – in fact, most – who call themselves Occultists of whatever Path or none, who maintain that such things are not required for Adeptship to be achieved. [I shall describe in detail the actual challenges themselves, shortly.]
These Occultists maintain that Adeptship is actually one or more of the following:
(a) amassing a great amount of what passes for ’esoteric knowledge’ by, for example, reading a lot of books and magazines, and by attending various meetings/discussions/conferences/participating in “Magickal” forays;
(b) being given the title ’Adept’ by either (i) someone else for services rendered or whatever, or (ii) undertaking a self-written/published “Rite” after which one congratulates oneself and uses the title Adept;
(c) achieving an “enlightenment” during some ceremony/working/ritual/discussion/induced stupour/trance/communication with a supra-personal entity/extra-terrestrial intelligence;
(d) being “chosen” by someone/some entity/some extra-terrestrial intelligence;
(e) hanging around the Occult scene for so long that one feels entitled to call oneself an Adept.
All of these are merely delusions of attainment. I do not expect this article to shatter the delusions and illusions of the deluded – for they need them and the false Adepts will continue to fantasize about their achievement just as many individuals will continue to fantasize about belonging to or having belonged to, various Special Forces units. What this article will do, is to present the real meaning and significance of Adeptship in a way which is not open to mis-interpretation: to reveal, for once and for all, the illusions of Occultists for what they are, and thus what is really necessary for genuine Adeptship.
Among the challenges an Adept has successfully undertaken, are the following:
1. Several physical (and mental) goals of which the minimum standards are (a) walking 32 miles carrying a pack weighing not less than 30 lbs. in under 7 hours over difficult, hilly terrain; (b) running 20 miles in less than 2 and a half hours over fell-like/mountainous terrain; (c) cycling not less than 200 miles in 12 hours.
2. Having organized and run for not less than six months, a magickal/Occult group/coven/Temple of not less than seven people and performed ceremonial and hermetic rituals regularly.
3. Having found and loved (and probably lost) at least one ’magickal companion’ and worked with them in a magickal and personal way over a period of many months.
4. Having attained an understanding and mastery of esoteric magick – external and internal – via practical workings over a concentrated period of time lasting at least two years. And, following this, have begun to understand what is beyond external and internal magick – i.e. Aeonic magick and processes.
5. Having experienced in real-life situations, danger involving one’s possible death.
6. Having faced many and severe dilemmas of a personal and ’moral’ nature the resolution of which required a choice and which consequently brought a maturity of outlook and a sadness.
7. Having spent at least three months living totally alone in an isolated area without talking to anyone and without any modern comforts and distractions.
8. Having developed one’s intellect by mastering a complex and abstract subject hitherto foreign to one: e.g. advanced mathematics, The Star Game; symbolic Logic.
Show me someone who has not done the above (or very similar things) alone and who claims to be an Adept, and I will show you a liar – be that liar aware of the lie, or unaware of it. For too long, the intentional and unintentional liars have had no one to challenge them – and their character less version of ’Adeptship’ or ’Adepthood’.
All the challenges enumerated above breed character. They are formative; they create the Adept. And those mentioned are only some of the challenges an Initiate must successfully experience and triumph over – there are many more.
There is no easy way, no easy path, to Adeptship. The journey takes years, and involves self-effort, self-discovery, unaided. It involves triumphs, and mistakes – and learning from one’s mistakes But perhaps most of all it involves a commitment and a learning from practical experience.
However, it should be remembered that Adeptship is not the end of the quest. There are stages beyond, which require even more difficult and dangerous experiences – which need even more self-honesty. For, conventionally, Adeptship is only half-way between Initiation and the ultimate goal, sometimes described as the gateway to immortality.
As with Adeptship, there are many who claim to have been to the stages beyond Adeptship – who claim to be ’Masters’ or Grand Masters, or even the stage beyond! Like most ’Adepts’, these are liars, both intentional and unintentional, and they will be exposed in another iconoclastic article.
* Except, of course, during training exercises of the survival kind – but these are limited in time and space, and part of the course which is real and known…