Why Are There Three Degrees of Initiation?

Now, I know that there are other systems of initiation that have nine degrees, thirty-three degrees, or some other number. But, here, I’m going to focus on the most common, the most traditional, and, I would argue, the archetypal system: that of three degrees.

For those who don’t know, “degrees,” in this context, are rituals of initiation — into, and through a particular group or society that will convey certain teachings about how to live life spiritually and how to develop one’s Self.

When we speak about “three degrees of initiation” you probably immediately think of Craft Freemasonry with its degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. However, there are other esoteric, spiritual organizations and movements that also have three degrees. These include Wicca; the modern Druid Order of Bardes, Ovates, and Druids; the Aesthetic Rose+Croix Order of the Temple and the Grail (which goes back to the French mystic and aesthete Josephin Peladan, (1858-1918)); some Christian esoteric Martinist Orders; and the Order of Knight Masons; among others. 

Continue reading “Why Are There Three Degrees of Initiation?”

The Romantic Nature of Men

I’ve sometimes been criticized by my female friends for suggesting that men might be more romantic than women. Women have to remind their boyfriends or husbands to do the little things like remembering an anniversary or Valentines Day, they remind me. Most men don’t want to go for walks along the beach at sunset, and they aren’t interested in dancing or flowers. But that’s not really what I mean by “romantic.”

The history of the term reveals something curious. From about the beginning of the 14th century, at least, “romance” referred to a story about a knight and his heroic deeds. Only from the 17th century did the term begin to refer to the “love story,” and only in the early 20th century was “a romance” used to describe a love affair.   Continue reading “The Romantic Nature of Men”

Philosophy as the Art of Self-Initiation

Providing man with the means of cleansing and perfecting his nature, Philosophy as the art of self-initiation has a long-standing tradition, beginning in Greek coastal Ionia in 7th century BCE.As a form of meditation (Gr: Διαλογισμός), it has assisted man in his quest to answer fundamental questions by looking inwards for answers, while offering a chance to escape fate through personal progress. This becomes possible through a better understanding of our current situation and by connecting or reconnecting with our higher self.

With the use of dialectics, logic, mythological themes, and through the application of methodical questioning (Socratic method), philosophy has become the path of the middle way in the West. The known Delphic maxims “know thyself” and “do nothing in excess” both serve as a reminder to man of his mortality as well as his divine nature. When properly understood and applied in everyday life, they help the seeker of truth square his passions, divest his self of all dogma, and live a virtuous life in harmony with himself, deity, and his environment.  Continue reading “Philosophy as the Art of Self-Initiation”