The UnderWorld Initiation by R. J. Stewart

As the first post in the new 'Axiomata' category, I've chosen The UnderWorld Initiation by R. J. Stewart. Though it draws extensively from Celtic material, its value can be extracted by Seekers of any tradition as it exceeds its source material on many levels. I have quoted content that applies universally regarding initiatory magic within a deeper context of truly Western tradition. As Stewart's opus it offers a great deal of insight that warrants a direct reading of the text to put the following excerpts into context as Stewart intended.

Posts in Axiomata are curated citations excerpted from works focusing heavily on practical aspects of the Western Mystery Tradition.
Axiomata is Greek for 'something worthy.'

From the Text The UnderWorld Initiation...

Gods, goddesses and angels are technical terms for the esoteric student, and not dogmatically important or revered stereotypes. p. 19

The term ‘Mystery’ has a specific meaning in a historical context, and it is frequently used in our argument. A Mystery was an organized structure which taught metaphysical theory and practice to its members. p. 19

Western Mysteries: ‘the occidental European structures of psychic integration and mutual exchange of shared symbolic units of non-verbal communication.’ p. 19

The value of any transcendent tradition should be found within its liberating qualities. A tradition, of any sort, has no other ultimate value. The use of tradition for tradition’s sake is a perversion, a tool of suppression. p. 21

The value of all tradition, particularly the energetic core, lies in its symbolic language. The language may differ with varying traditions, but all have specific modes of communication that hold the wisdom and knowledge of the ancestors in some transferable manner. When this language is developed at a deeper level of consciousness through a willed re-application of its symbols, it can flower into what is known in esoteric circles as ‘mediation.’ p. 24

The language (in whatever symbolic form) is transformed into a condensed mode of consciousness which transcends intellect, emotions and verbal communication. p. 25

The emphasis upon a student’s inability to gain enlightenment without the aid of a teacher is closely connected to the operation of symbolic language within any given tradition. p. 25

The teacher has not only the basic language and behavior of the tradition itself, but is able to speak with, to mediate, the higher harmonics of consciousness which devolve through that same symbolic language. p. 25

In the Western Tradition the Teachers are usually impersonal Innerworld or metaphysical entities. p. 26

Application to the older traditions, however, produces results of surprising energy, and such results are the hallmarks of regeneration at its best. p. 26

The majority of published works which are in favor with the student of esoteric literature date from the middle of the nineteenth century, and are not connected to native tradition, either through willful obscurity on the part of the authors, or through their ignorance of its existence. p. 27

These innerworld entities, ranging from symbolic expressions of natural forces to non-human or ex-human harmonics of awareness that live in metaphysical dimensions, interact with the human initiate. The interaction involves the meshing of energies directly comparable to those of sexual intercourse, but the personal and generative motive is absent. p. 28

In the magical operations, certain specified areas of the wide energy spectrum are concentrated upon, particularly during early training. When the controlling structure of a tradition, operating through specific symbols, is operative, it acts as a filter. Through this filter a reaction occurs in relationship to the innerworld entities encountered within the imagination, and as a result the initiate is transformed. p. 28

None of this natural energy flow works without containment, without tuning and direction. The tuning is found within the symbolic language of the tradition employed. p. 29

The most useful models, which offer guiding principles and insights into the innerworld relationships, are those with relatively neutral symbolic structures. p. 30

The laws of shape and energy exchange are applied for arousal, amplification and control of the powers latent within the human being. Such powers are harmonics or localized expressions of a greater, permeating, Power - the Power that causes all existence to manifest originally. p. 30

The restricting vessels of a true tradition are the way to freedom, but only if they are correctly understood and utilized. If this operation is successful, the restricting power itself is not only transcended, but transformed. p. 30

Lore provides working keys to a magical experience known as the Otherworld Journey. p. 33

Individual liberation, achieved through a refining process in which successive stages of imbalance and liberation are transformed by interaction with symbols, often in the form of beings who inhabit the UnderWorld. p. 33

...more potent UnderWorld which is the Archetype (in the true sense of the word) from which all inner worlds are projected. p. 36 [Soul of the World, Anima Mundi]

A magical image is a carefully shaped and energized structure which persists in the inner worlds or shared imagination [neschamah] for immense periods of time. p. 36

Archetypes are rooted in the foundation of all worlds and partake of the true nature of the universe. p. 36

Initiation traditions are dependent at their deepest levels upon individual responsibility, while religions of both East and West rely upon the abrogation of that responsibility into the group mind. p. 40

One obvious reason for the flood of Eastern cults into the willing West is that such impositions are readily accepted in the absence of genuine keys to the inner worlds. p. 41

By myth we mean a story which exemplifies interaction between nature and the power of human consciousness. p. 44

When the student dreams of material that is part of the tradition, but has not been available for study, the teacher is aware that the seed has taken root. p. 46

Fortunately, the traditional systems of interaction with Innerworld beings are effective without intellectual tuition, though even this does arise once the initiate has developed some skill in inner conversation. p. 46

The spontaneous magical dream is later replaced by waking or imaginative vision during disciplined states of consciousness, or meditation; but magical dreams continue to occur during sleep. The waking visualization is in turn superceded by prophetic insight, sometimes known as ‘occult seership’ to distinguish it from ordinary clairvoyance. This third stage is one of the results of the UnderWorld initiation. Each stage supercedes the preceding dream-process, but does not cancel it out entirely. The third mode of Seership should not be confused with spiritism, clairvoyance, or even with telepathy; and although the Celtic ‘Second Sight’ is related to our third mode, it is a lesser harmonic of it, arising spontaneously during waking moments. p. 46-47

The most advanced stages of the UnderWorld Initiation require very subtle changes within the bloodstream. p. 48 [Arousal of the Blood]

The dichotomy is a matter of human perception, which is self-limited by various sets of barriers. Each of these barriers may be broken down by the experience of the UnderWorld; some people find that the liberation progresses by stages, while others experience the dissolution of groups of barriers in rapid succession. p. 49

The esoteric psychology which suggests that these bizarre images are in fact catalytic keys to new orders of awareness. p. 50

These Keys open Gates that lead into specific Mysteries, particularly those of the Tree of Transformation, and the UnderWorld Journey. p. 51

The entire organism, through to physical manifestation is re-polarized. p. 55

In religious faith, people depend upon the resonance of the god-form for their inner sustenance. In the Mysteries we undertake to experience harmonics of these resonances within ourselves. p. 58

To create a connection, a pattern within the flux of perception that corresponds with an Archetype that originated within the unknown Source, is the ultimate achievement of magic. p. 59

Only when the individual has been through the UnderWorld can he or she mediate solar energies into the land, or bring light and dark together. p. 59

The UnderWorld tradition, as has been suggested, is also known as the Secret Way Across the Abyss, or the Shortened Way. It does not require years of study or graded initiation. It is a series of related experiences that require persistence and courage rather than devotion or asceticism. p. 60

What is offered is change; disintegration; and radically altered awareness. p. 60

An individual who emerges from the UnderWorld, may or may not have unusual powers of consciousness or energy, but these are interim patterns, side effects of transformation. The greatest magical gift in the Western Tradition is not power, but ‘the Tongue that Cannot Lie.’ Beyond this stage, further development is of a spiritual order, and the magical initiations are superceded. p. 63

A religion always commences with individual absorption into the group-entity; the Mysteries always commence with individual separation from that entity. Both ways reach the same goal if they are effective; but the UnderWorld is a shortened way in which major alterations of consciousness are gained within one lifetime, or a period of seven years. p. 66

Loss of individuality plays no part in the Tradition, but individuality should not be confused with personality. During the Journey, the personality is lost, shattered, disintegrated; the individuality remains, emerges from fire in its true nature. Our personalities are mainly an expression of reaction to the group-world… The individuality is a direct reflection of the creative Archetype that resonates at the core of human life and being. p. 66-67

During dissolution, the constituent elements of the personality, both superficial and long-term, are reduced. What remains are the individual archetypes, resonating in harmonic patterns attuned to the Life Source. p. 67

The individual who achieves this state of adjustment may even dissolve arrangement of the four elements altogether, replacing them with an archetype of his or her choice, such as one of the highly attuned magical images. p. 67

The Initiation of the UnderWorld, therefore, deals with dangerous interactions; but they only destroy the inflated personality, the fear-riddled mask that tyrannizes our individuality. p. 68

Understanding of initiation is not gained by reading books, though intellectual clues and stimulus are useful, but a change of direction. When the life energies are solely directed to ends within the outer world, the un-self, the personality of modern psychology, is strengthened and made rigid. When the same energies are turned within, this false self or mask is weakened and dies. p. 68

In initiation lifetimes of gradual experience are encapsulated into dynamic episodes; this is the true purpose of magic. p. 68

The UnderWorld journey offers us a secret way, a short cut that links inner and outer worlds conclusively through the physical body and the environment. This magical transformation comes into effect through application, and not through faith or devotion. p. 68-69

Powerful mediators, in human life, can link Innerworld contacts onto a physical site by ritual, and this is the basis of consecration. p. 78

In practical magic, many operations simply do not work unless the inner powers are treated according to their true identity. p. 82

The power centres hinted at by esoteric traditions, Eastern or Western, are all sexual; they all generate and circulate life energies through to the physical body. The important difference between the Eastern methods and the UnderWorld of the West is that in the UnderWorld all action occurs in metaphysical dimensions. p. 85

Upon the Journey, the destructive powers are more valuable than the creative. So valuable is this one concept, that it has been suppressed and concealed for centuries in formal confirmation upon spiritual paths. p. 86

Some fragments of the catabolic teaching have appeared in a confused form in publication, particularly in the old grimoires and magical tracts which come to us from a period when literacy and oral tradition were still mutually interactive. These seemingly bizarre works may be illuminated by the UnderWorld, and are often more accurate and effective than either modern occultists or psychologists have realized. p. 86

The negative female power is not they psychic product of ignorance and fear, but a reality that activates levels of awareness generally inaccessible to the individual. p. 88

Both the pagan myths and the medieval rituals are indicative of that which occurs in the UnderWorld. p. 88

In the hidden Tradition, the ‘demons’ or daemons are actual entities. Their body of expression is conditioned by the personal store of images within the psyche, but their nature within their own worlds is true to its own laws of being. p. 89

If the magician is unable to relate to Innerworld beings correctly, then their effect upon his or her limited or unbalanced psyche may be demonic—confusing, restricting, wild, uncontrolled, self-destructive, dangerous to innocents, and so forth. This is directly comparable to passing excessive energy through a weak or faulty conducting medium or component. p. 89

It is the understanding and application of the Left Hand Female powers that opens the Shortened Way, and leads to intensified interaction. p. 89

Due to the rapidity of the Shortened Way, the preparation is very important before embarking upon the Journey. If unprepared, the physical body, or our slowest rate of expression, will take a long period to reattune to the innermost transformations. This is the individual key to the disease of the Fisher King; there are imbalances in the blood, untransmuted poisons, when the body and spirit are separated. p. 90

There are circumstances in which a true spiritual or originative power may come right through into the outer world; to some this is a beautiful and satisfying experience, to others it is terrifying and inconceivable. p. 90

On the Tree of Life each Female Aspect is balanced through the central role of the Son of Light, by a Male Aspect shown as the right hand pillar. p. 90

An archetype is a Matrix or key image which gives shape and direction to energies arising out of the Primal Source of all being. p. 92

A specific Archetype, such as the Female Power, will vary in expression according to the degree of individual perception; yet it is a continual vessel and interface for the energies that it symbolizes and moulds. By interaction with such an Archetype, a human applicant may intentionally alter his or her awareness. p. 93

Only alchemy has retained the totem beast symbolism inherited from earlier cultures, and pre-literate visualization is the basis of an alchemical ‘alphabet.’ p. 94

There is an interplay between the creature, its name and its attributes, which is one of the basic and vital root patterns of all magical and religious symbolism. p. 94

The major aim of magic was to leap across the wheel, to find a secret Way out of the endless cycles and spirals. p. 96

To seek a deeper resolution of the life and consciousness cycle, we must first achieve dissolution, self-destruction. This willed disintegration can be gained on several levels, ranging from the superficial mask of the personality through to the composition of the body cells. p. 97

The aim of genuine initiation is to replace the endless dance of changes with a small number of chosen and far-reaching alterations that subsume the random energies. p. 97

Approach to the UnderWorld, entry therein, and the passage through its various realms may be understood as an overall magical operation: the Secret Way across the Wheel of Life. p. 100

The central transformation has become lost to modern occultism and psychology alike; it cannot be activated without enclosure within the Wheel of Life as a retaining Vessel, nor can it be fulfilled without moving to a deeper level of consciousness by taking the UnderWorld Journey. p. 101

To bring the various Keys to life, literary examples of the Secret Tradition must be combined with the oral branch and activated by methods of ritual magic which produced them both. The root, the branch, and the vessel within which the abstruse symbols are simmered to produce their essence, cannot be found in literature. p. 101

It is a common error to approach Innerworld Guardians as being ‘only symbols’; many of the problems that arise from magical work derive from the folly of treating self-willed powerful beings as mere cyphers or automatic functions. As the degree of awareness of such beings increases, so it is increasingly dangerous to approach them as stereotypes, particularly while in the role of ignorant Traveller. p. 103

The image of the Guardian is a response generated within the individual psyche, and the same Guardian may appear in a number of different symbolic forms to different people. p. 103

On a more effective level, Innerworld teachers may assume a visual form, perceived in the imagination, which is human or historically ambient; they may also appear to the seer as symbolic entities indicating role and function. p. 103

Only through a basic grasp of the animal, human, and god or goddess forms as a communicative alphabet can we approach the great figure of the Guardian, who combines all of these attributes into one potent magical Name. Each of the lesser beings, guides or guardians, makes up a letter of this Name—a Name which is realized through inner cognition, and not through teaching, literature or religion. p. 105

The language of magic is not linear; it is not made up of coherent directional units which may be assembled to unite as larger whole structures. p. 105

Misunderstanding of the concept has led to a great deal of wasted effort, particularly in the continuing attempts to place ‘alphabets’ upon Paths of the Tree of Life. This method has never been a working proposition, as it is divorced from its Hebrew cultural background by several removes and can hardly have applied to Western symbolism at any time. Yet it occupies the intellect of great esoteric scholars, visionaries, and polymaths, from whom the lesser modern occult writers have copied without question or understanding. p. 105

The Western consciousness has a holy alphabet of its own, but not derived from the characters of writing that are beloved of pan-cultural theosophists. This magical alphabet is made up of units of symbolism that take imaginative form, and the forms are expressed in fragmentary examples. p. 105

Once the magician has truly attuned to the power of magical names or words, it is possible to operate alphabetic spells, in which unique words are created from letters which attune to modes of consciousness. p. 106

Magical language is composed of concentrated units, which may be broken down into larger numbers of separate components. p. 106

The magician has to learn how to hear and understand whole Words, which are Key symbolic units, or streams of exchangeable awareness, before the smaller Units or Letters can be deciphered and separated. As magic is derived from a non-literate consciousness, it works in exactly the same manner as oral learning and tradition; the language is absorbed and rendered active through experience alone. Analytical or intellectual division and recreation appear as later stages of the refined system. p. 106

Magic therefore, can never be learned from books, no matter how effective they might be as examples of elucidation, preservation, encouragement or dissemination. Magic is not an art or science that depends upon literacy or numeracy, for it is generated at levels of awareness that both precede and transcend these functions. p. 106

An effective application of literacy and numeracy can only be made after knowledge and understanding of the fundamental and transcendent levels has been gained. p. 107

By following the symbolic connections inwardly, we also follow their development in reverse order through serial time. p. 107

The magical teachings are clear upon the subject; we must encounter and be transformed by the lower cycles before we are able to relate truly to the higher octaves. p. 110

Psychology tries to interpret symbols, but magic lives through symbols, causing them to energize the human awareness, and by doing so enables the symbols to change the outer world. p. 113

The first area of the outer world that is changed is of course oneself, but in effective magic the catalysis may extend over quite wide areas. p. 113

To grasp the full significance of the esoteric traditions, the student must realize that much that was turned to evil by the Christian symbolists was actually quite innocent in nature, and often contained the keys to liberation and to spiritual renewal. p. 114

The orthodox Hell is merely a rather childish subterfuge, a mask to disguise the true nature of the UnderWorld and to frighten the seeker from looking beyond dogmatic external appearances. The nature of the Guardian is not to capture souls for damnation, but to liberate them from self-imposed restrictions. True hell lives through the illusory value of materialism, in the truly demonic concept of personality and its so-called integration. p. 110

Magic is a type of practical and artistic psychology, employing energies of consciousness which are rejected by the modern intellect, but which may be proven through experience. p. 116

If the regenerative nature of magical images holds true, and is allowed to work, they will always reveal their secret nature to those who ask in the correct manner. p. 116

As with all magical images, it generates reflections according to social or historical circumstances, but like a hologram, retains the image from which it derives. p. 117

The Horned One is the Arch-Guardian, the Guardian of all guardians who appear in the Tradition. To worship the Guardian as a god is to misunderstand his function. p. 117

It is in the Name of the Goddess that we can approach the Guardian, for he serves Her as Keeper of Her Animals. We must also be aware that he does not partake of the solar nature of the deities, nor entirely of the UnderWorld nature of the dark gods: he stands between the two. p. 118

This boundary-keeping role is a reflection of a greater or macrocosmic function maintained by the great Saviours or Anointed Ones, who stand over the Great Abyss as Bridges. p. 118

The hidden traditions assert that the Earth or Land is the highest state of all, that in which all conflicts are to be resolved, all actions purified, and all barriers to true enlightenment lifted. All this, IF you know how to pass the Guardian. p. 119

The Guardian is that energy or entity between psychic and metaphysical states which turns us back upon ourselves. He forbids the passage of any being unable to operate in new dimensions. p. 119

The Guardian stands at the Gateway where we are made fully aware of our own limitations. We debar ourselves from truth by refusing to undergo the changes essential to pass within. p. 120

With one hand, the Guardian protects the Mysteries from penetration and imbalance, while with the other he protects the individual from contact with energies that he or she is unable to bear. To pass him you must solve all the riddles, but the answers are not words or tricks, they are yourself! p. 122

One of the more noticeable occurences during a genuine magical or innerworld experience, is a fear that rises from within. This is not the commonplace fear triggered off by an exterior energy, but the reaction mentioned in religious texts as ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.’ [Job 28.28, Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 1:7 (quickening)] It often reacts through into the body, and operates from deeper levels of consciousness than those of mere emotion or discomfort. p. 122

This uncontrollable reaction denotes the presence of the Guardian. In the older Mysteries, we are taught what to be in the presence of the Guardian, and the fear is transformed and passes away. p. 122

The ancient Christian Mysteries were a higher harmonic of the pagan Mysteries, and were linked to them by a direct channel of established magical and spiritual enlightenment. p. 123

All modes of consciousness are offered paths of realignment and re-balance. p. 124

The effectiveness of magic relies upon an inter-relationship between consciousness, and various ‘worlds’ or modes of perception. p. 124

As the Guardian, or apparent barrier to liberation, and the Saviour or bringer of redemption are merged as One within the UnderWorld, it is in the UnderWorld that humankind finds freedom from illusion, or gains salvation. p. 125

The mediating factor is our physical body; but only when it is transformed by energies released within the UnderWorld. p. 125

The key lies in our perception, for if we alter our pattern of perception, the worlds are changed by it. p. 125

The divine Crown, the Keystone of the Arch of Creation, is inherent in the physical body. If it can be brought to full awareness, it calls and attunes all other modes or Spheres instantly to its immaculate nature. p. 125

The Western traditions of magical education and development, and specifically the UnderWorld or hidden tradition, deal with this simultaneous realization, and teach the means of achieving it through catalytic symbolic agencies with stimulate the reaction. p. 126

Excerpted from:
Stewart, R. J., The UnderWorld Initiation, Mercury Publishing Inc., 1990

Note: Any bracketed text is my notation.

Mastery of inner alchemical forces and the occult science that can be applied as a result is MAGIC, and is the foundation of true Initiation towards the journey to spiritual Illumination and completion of the Great Work.