WHAT THE MINOR AND MAJOR MYSTERIES AREThe Initiation is the reception of a spiritual force received from a qualified person, and sometimes from God Himself, so that the receiver changes nature and enters, with a special rite, into the Communion of the Initiates, and into the Light of the ‘Great Architect of the Universe‘, wisdom, beatitude and immortality. The ancient Initiation had different grades. The Mysteries were divided into the Minor and the Major. This usage rested on very precise motives. It became characteristic of the esoteric Christianity, and especially of the catechesis school in Alexandria of Egypt, called ‘Didaskaleion’. Its major instructors, after Pantaenus, were: Clement of Alexandria, Origen. Such a School developed also in Caesarea of Palestine, with the participation of Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, Origen and Gregory the Thaumaturgist. In the lower grades of the Initiation, the teaching consisted of a preparation, called the Small Mysteries(1), so that the Neophyte obtained the mastery in three things: 1st – physical Purification; 2nd – intellectual Synthesis; 3rd – spiritual Perception. In this phase, the pupil was instructed in the seven Arts and Sciences, named Liberal because they were considered compatible with the dignity of the Free Man. Called Trivium and Quadrivium, to the first belonged the propaedeutic disciplines: the Grammar, the Logic and the Rhetoric; to the second belonged: the Arithmetic, the Geometry, the Music and the Astronomy. The Masters trained the pupils in the study of the physiology and anatomy, in the alchemy, in the history of the origin of man, his occult or metaphysiological constitution, the analysis of the soul and of its faculties, the states of the life after the death, the reincarnation. In conclusion, nothing was neglected, in addition to the study of the Holy Scriptures, and the practice of the daily purifications of the body and the consciosness. The mind was trained in concentration and meditation, with a view to go beyond the ordinary states of one’s own consciousness. From the moment the disciple demonstrated he had acquired the theoretical knowledge, he was truly introduced to the practice, and only then was it possible for him, separating the physical body from its energetic or subtle principles, to have an experimental knowledge of the supersensible world. This is proved by the testimony of many ancient authors: “Happy the one who descends into the tomb so Initiated – wrote Pindar – because he knows the objective of life and the kingdom given by Jupiter“. Apuleius, on his part: “I approached to the borders of death; I pressed my foot on the threshold of Proserpine and returned passing through all the elements; in the middle of the night, I saw the sun shining in all its blinding splendor; I drew near to the gods of the inferno, to the gods of the heaven, I saw them face to face, adored them from near. Here is all I can say” (Metamorphosis). Plato, in Phaedo, writes: “The initiates are sure to go into the company of the Gods …. Who is not initiated sinks in the mud and only who has gone through the mystical life penetrates into the eternity“. In the same sense, we can understand the words of Sophocles: “Blessed those who enter into the kingdom of the shadows as Initiates! For them in this kingdom, the life, for the others, punishments and miseries only“. Plotinus in the Enneads describes the results of the ecstasy of the Initiate who lives the life of the Gods and of the blessed men. The Mysteries reveal the secrets of the Nature, of the Universe, of the great plan of the Logos. The Initiate understood that the cosmic evolution and the human evolution are parallel, comprehended that the development of the man repeats the different phases of the evolution of the whole of the universe. The Initiate knew that the Microcosm is similar to the Macrocosm, and the cycle of the Initiation reproduced, in the human dimension, the great series of cosmic changes to which the initiatic Astrology(1) refers. So, at the end of the cycle of the Initiation, who is fallen, and redeemed by the Providence and by his personal effort, regains the primordial state of divine purity and knowledge. (1) The Small Mysteries can be likened to the Yoga in general. (1) T. Palamidessi- THE BASES OF THE INITIATIC ASTROLOGY- Booklet 21.
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