Translated by F.v.F
You’re not seeing double and the title is correct. There are Initiations and initiations: the first word is written with a big letter and the other with a small letter, for a certain reason.
Today, especially in the pseudo-spiritual scene in Romania, the term is very frequently used. There are many initiations, as exotic and weird as possible, with our without diplomas, which transform the man into (nothing else but) an initiate. These initiations are done by other initiates, who are (as you have guessed) masters. With or without diplomas. I would like to look at this term and see what it really means, how we could use it, when it is properly used and where it isn’t so properly used and what we can understand from it.
Initiation with a small letter is the introduction into a sistem or a group. Usually it is a procedure used by a group of people in the moment when they want to introduce a man into their circles, or vice-versa, when an isolated man wants to enter a certain group of people. These groups are united by a special feeling of affiliation and usually have certain facilities, such as spiritual powers, knowledge, money and other such things. In the old times there were the brotherhoods of blacksmiths from Greece, Crete and Armenia, which were extremely exclusivist. The blacksmith knew the secrets of the bronze, copper, iron and the tempering of steel, a knowledge that not many people had. They were seen as the sons of Hephaestus (Vulcan, at romans) the blacksmith god. The secrets of transforming metals were taught after years of appretinceship and the apprentice had to pass certain tests to prove they are serious. The blacksmith brotherhoods were not magical, nor spiritual, they were actually really practical and their secrets were connected to the workings with the metals, but all that knowledge was secret and it could also be taught to the apprentices through allegories. The builders and stone cutters had similar guilds, and the unions of their guilds in England and Scotland later gave birth to freemasonry, a famous association very frequently discussed along initiation. The mystery schools of old, such as the one of Pythagoras, of Empedocles or Zalmoxes had their own rituals in which the common man became initiated in their secrets. Many of the Roman soldiers, be they latin, greek or dacian, were initiated in the mysteries of Mithras, and this united them in a way that we cannot understand. Any profession and craft has its secrets, and when someone is interested in that profession or craft, he can only get those secrets from a Master.
Initiation with small letter is the introduction of a man into a group of any nature. A man can be initiated into a sporting brotherhood, a freemasonic lodge or in the secrets of jewellery. In this case, initiation is important in our lives, it has an impact over our lives and so on. Nowadays it is a trend to call initiation when finishing an esoteric course of discipline. There are initiations in Reiki, initiations in Karuna, and many more. Although they are not ordinary initiations, they are not entirely spiritual initiations. There is a difference between spiritual initiation and the initiation in Reiki. If a man asks me if I am an initiate, I can easily say that I am, in many things. I know how to write, so I am initiated into the secrets of the alphabet. I know how to cook, so I am initiated into the secrets of gastronomy. You got the point. If I said a simple YES, I’d be guilty for such a lie. I would’ve told the truth, but the poor man would’ve understood that I am a great mage knowing supreme mysteries. Or he would’ve considered me arrogant.
The Initiate with a big letter would never say such a thing about himself. This is a different thing. It is the entrance to a superior world, accessing other realities, it is that experience that changes a man with all his being and makes him new, like a rebirth. Initiation is an event that happens once in several lives, in 6-7 or 700 lives and not many times in a life. It is a process that literally burns from the roots everything that the old man was and builds a new man. It is the suffering, the death and the rebirth of the man, from a spiritual point of view. The initiate must die from all points of view in order to have a rebirth.