This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Initiatic orders and esoterism

If we set out to identify the esoteric aspect of any religion, we come upon the idea of initiation and, as a result, the presence of initiatic orders or “brotherhoods.” The first thing to be said, in order to prevent confusion or contradiction, is that iniatic orders have esoteric knowledge as their end, otherwise there is no justification for their existence; but this also implies that most of their apparatus and much of their membership does not operate at the level of metaphysics. These orders present a pathway and support for realization but are not equivalent to that realization itself.

It was important to say this because if we look at the most well-known initiatic orders we immediately see that their membership is not composed exclusively–or even predominantly–of metaphysicians. This does not nullify them, but is part of their structure and is a necessity.

Thus, the fact that initiatic orders may have vast membership does not contradict the truth that esoterism is necessarily restricted to an intellectual elite and cannot be otherwise. The Muslim brotherhoods are an example of this, likewise the remnant of Freemasonry (although it is possible that here the esoteric kernel has completely disappeared).

We’ve said that this is part and parcel with the nature of any organization that must operate by human means and be integrated with some social group, which leads it to be composed of various elements not all of them capable of realizing the higher purpose of the organization. Here we come to an important distinction in initiatic orders between the “inner circle” and the rest, where only those in the inner circle are aware of the real nature of the order to which they belong, and may consider it little more than a social club or run-of-the-mill religious association. For them, this membership may simply be another form of exoteric religious participation. In Islam these are mutabarik or “blessed”/”initiated”, whereas the members of the elite attain the degree of salik or “one who travels” since they have discovered the “narrow door” hidden to others and which prevents the others from proceeding beyond a certain level.

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