On Self-Initiation into the Mathetic Mysteries

Alright, I’ve been a little stumped about how to begin with my delving into exploring the Tetractys by means of the Gnosis Schema.  I mean, I know the general process of scrying and pathworking, but just starting right with that seemed to rush things to me.  I felt like there should be some preliminary stage, some opening of the ways first to gain permission and access to the mysteries itself: an initiation.  To that end, I devised a fairly simple ritual of self-initiation to lay the groundwork for future pathworking and cyclical ascent on the Tetractys with Hermes as guide and teacher throughout the cycle; although I can say that I devised the thing, I also incorporated many suggestions and edits from Hermes himself.  The intent of the ritual is, no matter where one may already be in the cosmos (consider the uninitiated and those who are unaware to be on the Agnosis Schema), to snap oneself to the gate of the sphaira of Mercury on the Gnosis Schema.  It opens the way and clears the path for one to begin the real journey of mathetic theurgy.  Anyone can do it on their own, though a different ritual would be more appropriate with a proper teacher or mystagogue (mystery-initiator) present.  In lieu of that, this ritual of self-initiation calls upon Hermes himself as mystagogue to initiate one into the Work to be done.  In that sense, it’s hardly self-initiation, but it is a solitary ritual all the same.

I made sure the ritual was alright with Hermes before I attempted it.  Granted it’s a little long and the prayers are a bit much to memorize on short notice, but I wanted to have there be a little ritual drama involved to help one doing the ritual alone get more emotionally present and powerful.  I originally planned to have this ritual only be done on one day with one day of preparatory fasting, but after consulting Hermes on it, he suggested that it be done over multiple days.  I didn’t intend for it to be done over ten days, which I consider a little much for casual practitioners, but then, I try to be more than casual with my Work.  I asked for shorter durations, but Hermes gave the most positive response to it being done over ten.  So there’s that.  It makes sense, considering the holiness of the Decad, but it is what it is.  As I went through the ritual myself, since this was the first time it’s been attempted, I made adjustments and tweaks to the format from how it was originally planned, working with Hermes the whole way through to ensure that it works properly.

I got all the needed supplies and tools, and then proceeded through the ritual for ten days starting at the Noumenia (first day of the lunar month, day after the New Moon), performing the ritual every day at sunrise with an evening meditation.  I made tweaks and adjustments to the ritual as I found things that were incongruous, badly phrased, or weird, and the ritual is now in more-or-less a final form.  I completed the ritual as planned, celebrated with Hermes, broke my fasting (thank the gods), and now…

Well, I was going to share it with you.  I swear I was, and I still have the post saved as a protected draft.  Still, Hermes has suggested otherwise, and despite my usually-obstinate desire to share rituals and knowledge with you, dear reader, I think I agree with him.  Mathesis is still a new system, and I’m the only one who’s exploring it at the moment.  If others want to engage in this, they’re going to need guidance and a space to talk about things, and there’s simply not enough I can do just yet to help such initiates out, and the whole system would likely fall apart because some dumb young idiot upstart (me) thought it’d be a good idea to disseminate a new ritual in an unexplored occult field.  I will publish the ritual of self-initiation eventually once I get enough of these studies under my belt, and I do have other rituals, meditations, and visualizations planned to share with you, dear reader, if you’re still interested in the work of mathesis.  That said, now is not the time for that.

However, just because I can’t share the ritual with you doesn’t mean I can’t share the overall gist of the ritual with you, or why such a ritual is needed.  As mentioned above, before we make the snap to the Gnosis Schema in our occult lives and travels, we’re stuck on the cycles of reincarnation and ignorance of the Agnosis Schema.  In order to begin our evolution and progress in mathesis, we need to first achieve access to the Gnosis Schema, and so we need to get to there from the Agnosis Schema.  If the Gnosis Schema is marked by gnosis, illumination, and light (such as those of the burning fixed stars), then the Agnosis Schema is marked by ignorance, blindness, and darkness (the planets and forces that absorb light or emit it in a lower, more controlling way).  As long as we’re stuck in the Agnosis Schema, we’re stuck in ignorance, blindness, and darkness; it covers our world, it infests our bodies, it blinds our senses, and it diminishes our minds so that we can’t perceive or live truth in our lives.  Thus, we need to do two things to fix that:

  1. Get rid of the darkness that binds us in blindness and ignorance.
  2. Fill ourselves with light that frees us in illumination and gnosis.

Both of these things are required for initiation.  Just getting rid of blindness and ignorance is not enough, since we have no light of our own to preserve ourselves from being blind or ignorant, and can fall right back into the darkness from which we flee.  Just filling ourselves with gnosis and illumination is not enough, either, since as long as we’re in the darkness and ruled by it, gnosis and illumination can have no hold within us and, though we may have flashes of insight, it won’t last and we stand to lose it as soon as we get it.  Thus, the ritual of initiation needs to have two parts to it, one that gets rid of darkness of ignorance and one that fills with light of gnosis.

Moreover, a large part of the ritual focuses on relying on Hermes.  After all, this is a ritual of self-initiation, but as mentioned before, one calls upon Hermes as the one who leads into the mysteries, but it’s more than that.  Hermes is the one who helps us get rid of ignorance and fills us with gnosis: in some regards, he’s almost a figure of salvation, a Hermēs Sotēr who delivers us from the prison we’re stuck in and a Hermēs Mystagōgos who leads us into a new world.  The ritual involves intimately and wholly relying on Hermes until we ourselves are empowered enough to walk with him instead of being carried by him.  We’re not just following him or becoming a student of his; it goes a lot deeper than that.  Partially it’s that Hermes, in his planetary form as Mercury or alchemical form as Quicksilver, is the only force that we can best access from the Agnosis Schema and the one who can connect to most of the others, and acts as the launchpad for reaching the furthest reaches of the Gnosis Schema.  Hermes takes a central role in mathesis in many senses, not just in the sense of being in the middle of the Tetractys.

Something else I want to mention is that the ritual does not actually put us into the sphaira of Mercury on the Tetractys.  Rather, it only drops us off on the road leading to it, setting us onto the path to the gate of the sphaira of Mercury.  If one looks at the Gnosis Schema of the Tetractys, all of the middling sphairai lead to Mercury, so it doesn’t really matter which road we take at first; we can get our bearings straight once we’re in the center of the Tetractys.  This ritual of self-initiation prepares the way, opens the gates, and clears the roads so that one explore the odoi (paths) and sphairai, yet it itself is not an exploration of either.  That comes later, with more ritual, scrying, pathworking, maybe even conjuration or other rituals that I’m working on.

In the future, once I get enough to speak about to guide others in mathesis, I’ll start disseminating the ritual of self-initiation to those who’d be interested and have my approval to do so.  I’ve even got ideas I’ve been hashing out to make a ritual of initiation with a proper mystagogue and candidate with similar themes and taking a different route than repeating the same ritual over ten days, but that’ll come much later if/when I ever get students who’d be interested in learning under me.  I do not forbid you, dear reader, from beginning to explore the Tetractys in your own way, but I’d feel more comfortable knowing that I can help you out first before you running off and potentially screwing yourself or your understanding up.  Initiations are no joke, after all, and I’m treating this with the solemnity and respect it deserves.

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About polyphanes
I'm a software developer and Hermetic occultist living near Washington, DC, USA. I claim that I'm youthful, dashing, daring, and other things. I make things and chant stuff, and periodically write about them.

3 Responses to On Self-Initiation into the Mathetic Mysteries

  1. I don’t know what happened, by accident I was no longer a follower on wordpress, but did keep reading these interesting posts (via following you on FB). Glad we’re getting back to practice. To me, theory and systems are nothing more then a tool for inspiration and an aid in structuring the work. If they become an end in themselves we get stuck in the head (in Mercury ;-)?).

    Anyway, in my own practice I found Hermes to be a perfect intermediary, initiator, guide, and as such he also plays a very central role. Your Tetractys solidified that idea for me. But who knows what will change, I am just at the beginning of my journey.

    Keep up the good work, and blessing be upon you!

  2. Pingback: Mathetic Ritual of the Sun’s Ingresses | The Digital Ambler

  3. Pingback: On Secrecy of Ritual | The Digital Ambler

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