Threefold Rite of Initiation

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Tau Malachi
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Threefold Rite of Initiation

#1 Postby Tau Malachi » Sat Oct 07, 2006 1:18 pm

Threefold Rite of Initiation: Baptism, Chrism & Wedding Feast

In our Sophian Gnostic lineage there is one single initiation, which assumes and outer and an inner form. It is called the “Threefold Rite of Initiation” because it is composed of three movements. In the outer form these three movements are baptism, chrism (anointing) and the Wedding Feast (Holy Eucharist); in the inner form they are mystic word, radiant holy breath and the laying on of hands. Through the outer form of the threefold rite an aspirant is received into our Gnostic lineage and becomes an actual member of our Gnostic church – Ecclesia Pistis Sophia. The inner form is generally communicated later as an initiate’s continuum of the spiritual life and practice unfolds and their interior life develops, and is akin to something like “Shaktipat” in Eastern traditions – a transmission of a distinct living presence and power that activates a Divine Energy within the initiate; hence, something of the “Gnostic and Light Transmission.”

Frequently, something of the Light Transmission may occur during the outer form of the initiation, as in truth it is one single movement of Divine Grace; yet, the focus of the energetic dimension is typically performed separately in space-time from the outer ceremonial dimension, allowing for a degree of spiritual maturation before the full awakening of the Serpent Power. However, there is no set rule in this, for our tradition is founded upon the play of Wild Gnosis or Crazy Wisdom – a play of spiritual transmission in the power of the moment that moves with the dance of the Shekinah of Messiah, the Holy Bride, and the Mother Spirit.

The outer form of the initiation may be imparted by any Sophian initiate – though traditionally it is imparted by two initiates acting together; the inner form is imparted by an elder or tau of the tradition who is a recognized lineage-holder and in whom the Serpent Power is awakened and uplifted, the Light-presence and Light-power embodied. All other “initiations” in our lineage assume the form of empowerments – energetic transmissions from an adept or master of the tradition that serve to empower initiates in various spiritual practices and that are often accompanied by an oral transmission of “secret instruction” associated with the practice.

In circles of Ecclesia Pistis Sophia a gnostic teacher or elder a spiritual companion of their group or circle typically perform the outer form of the threefold rite with an aspirant together, serving as midwives to the Mother Spirit facilitating the spiritual experience of the aspirant. The symbolism of two initiates acting together runs deep, as they represent Enoch and Elijah (the spirit of the initiates and spirit of the prophets) and they represent the twin archangels Metatron and Sandalfon, and they represent the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire leading the children of Israel through the wilderness of the desert – specifically, the pillars of mercy and severity, the aspirant becoming as the Middle Pillar in the rite.

Typically, the teacher or elder will take up the role of “Enoch” in the rite – the initiate who shares the mysteries of the rite and its symbolism with the aspirant; and the spiritual companion who goes out with them will be “Elijah” in the rite – the initiate who speaks blessings and intuitive insights about the aspirant as inspired by the Holy Spirit. As the two take an aspirant out to perform the sacred rite they seek to become open and sensitive to the Divine Presence and Power of the two spiritual characters they personify, tending a continuum of prayer and meditation inwardly to invoke and allow the influence of the spirit of the initiates and spirit of the prophets into themselves – these two aspects of the Spirit of the Messiah, the Holy Spirit. Essentially, they will contemplate the esoteric mysteries surrounding this two mystical figures, both of whom according to legend where take up in ascension by divine rapture without experiencing death, and they will pray to the Divine that the sparks of these two great tzaddikim might enter into them, and will invoke their influence to flow through them – as the archangelic manifestation of these two figures is Metatron and Sandalfon, respectively, these archangels will also be invoked as they go to the place the sacred rite is to be performed. Likewise, along the way the two initiates will pray for the aspirant (or aspirants) with whom they are going to enact the rite, praying for their mystical death and rebirth in the Mother Spirit, their reception of the chrism of Divine Light, and their union to the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ.

Typically speaking, unless there is a significant reason that prevents the rite from being performed out doors in a natural setting, the rite is always performed in and by a natural body of water – a stream or river, a lake or the ocean; a stream or river being ideal as it represents “living water,” flowing water. As a symbol, the stream or river becomes the legendary river flowing out of the Garden of Eden – the river flowing from the Tree of Life in New Jerusalem, or the Sacred Jordan in which the Master was baptized by John, receiving the Holy Dove of the Messiah. There is great power in nature and the wilderness, and it is very helpful in the facilitation of a deeper spiritual and mystical experience – it allows for both the angels of our Heavenly Father and the angels of our Earthly Mother to extend their blessings and commune with us during the rite, and the trek to the place that is chosen becomes something of a sacred quest or mystical journey itself: hence, a central part of the rite.

The initiate who embodies something of the spirit of Elijah as the “opener of the way” can lead the journey to the sacred place, walking before the aspirant, and the initiate who embodies something of the spirit of Enoch can follow, walking behind the aspirant. Along the way the initiate embodying the spirit of Elijah can speak as inspired by the Holy Spirit in the power of the moment. (The opposite order is used after the rite, so that the initiate who embodies the spirit of Enoch leads the way.)

Thus, our “going out and coming in” is an integral part of the sacred rite and many wonders and blessings may transpire along the way – as in the spiritual journey of this life.

*Initiates going out to perform this rite may bear a holy staff or other sacred object – a staff is typically carried by a gnostic elder or tau; likewise, they take with them holy oil, bread and wine, and a cup and plate for the bread and wine.

**Before the rite begins, a simple altar spot is created, the oil is put on it, and the bread and wine are laid out with sacred awareness and simple prayer, usually near the place of baptism.

The Threefold Rite of Initiation:

When all is prepared and it is time for the rite, let the two initiates perform the Kabbalistic Cross facing one another, and let them chant: Yeshua Messiah, Kallah Messiah, Io Adonai several times, invoking the blessed name.

Then let the teacher or elder, embodying spirit of Enoch face the waters and trace a Celtic cross in the air – a cross with a circle surround the intersection of the two lines, envisioning a great cross of solar light over the water where the baptism is to take place. As they trace the cross, let them intone: Abba-Imma with the vertical line; Yeshua Messiah with the horizontal line; and Ruach Ha-Kodesh with the circle.

Then let them pray, saying: O Holy One, let your Divine Spirit move upon the surface of these waters; let the Shekinah of Messiah be in this place – Divine Mother, we call upon your to receive your child and to give birth to the Spirit of Messiah in them.

Let them intone: Ruach Ha-Elijah, Ruach Ha-Enoch, Ruach Ha-Messiah, Ruach Ha-Elohim

O Holy Shekinah, Queen of the Light Kingdom, come to rest upon us, come to move with, in and through us, come to manifest as us – comes as the Light of the True Cross driving out all shades and shadows, healing all illness and dis-ease, illuminating our minds, hearts and lives, empowering us as Light-bearers, Healers and Peacemakers.

In the Blessed Name of Yeshua Messiah and Kallah Messiah, come and be with us, and lead us into the Bridal Chamber

Let the initiate embodying the spirit of Elijah then turn and trace of banishing pentagram of spirit-space before the aspirant (or aspirants), intoning the Blessed Name of Yeshua as they trace it and saying to the aspirant: “May the Holy Shekinah of Messiah come to rest upon you this day, may the Spirit of the Messiah indwell you – may you be purified and consecrated to be received as one who is Anointed; so may the Divine Gnosis of the Human One of Light dawn in you.”

Then, let the initiate embodying the spirit of Enoch envision themselves in light-body with the Spiritual Sun blazing in their heart within a pillar of white brilliance; and let the initiate embodying the spirit of Elijah envision themselves in light-body with the Spiritual Sun blazing in their heart, but in a pillar of fire with an aura of flaming fire – as two living pillars of Divine Light and Holy Fire let them go out into the water.

When they have gone out far enough let them turn to one another and pray for a moment, then let the deacon or priest trace a hexagram with a solar symbol in the center of it between them; and then let the turn and invite the aspirant to come and join them in the living waters of the Holy Mother. (As the hexagram is traced they intone Ararita and as the solar symbol is traced they intone Ruach Ha-Shemesh in remembrance of the Spiritual Sun, the Human One of Light.)

*As the aspirant is walking out the initiate embodying the spirit of the prophets may begin speaking blessings upon the aspirant, or speaking prophecies, all as inspired.

Receiving the aspirant let the teacher or elder say: “Going down into the waters may you shed the serpent’s skin and know yourself liberated from bondage to the dominion of the demiurge and archons – renouncing the Lion-faced Ruler, dead and buried as the Christ-bearer, may you be raised up in the Risen Christ, reintegrated into the Light Realm.”

Then, just before the person is immersed in the water, let them say: “We baptize you in the name of the God Most High, the Spiritual Sun and Holy Spirit – the Holy One of Being.”

Immersing the person in the water and swiftly drawing them up let both initiates intone Hallelu Yah three times, and then say Amen.

*Throughout this cycle the initiate embodying the spirit of Elijah is softly speaking according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If they are not inspired to speak blessings and prophecy, then they are praying in the spirit on behalf of the aspirant.

Then all walk up out of the water together – this concludes the rite of Sophian Gnostic baptism.

(Depending on the weather conditions celebrants may need to dry off and put on dry clothing before the ceremony of chrism and Wedding Feast.)

The Chrism:

Let the teacher or elder take up the vial of holy oil in their hand, envisioning the Supernal Light and Glory in it, and standing before the novice initiate let them pray over them that they might receive the Chrism of Divine Light. Then let them say to the novice: “Having gone down into the waters and been reborn of the Mother Spirit, receive the Chrism of Divine Light, the Holy Seal of the Human One of Light that is in you.”

Putting oil on the index finger of the active hand of transmission let the teacher or elder trace the sign of an equal-armed cross within a circle upon the brow of the novice, intoning: IAO; as they do this let them envision the descent of a Holy Dove of White Brilliance upon the novice. Holding their finger in the center of the symbol after doing this, let them envision the Divine Light flowing through themselves into the novice initiate, filling the novice with the Light-presence and Light-power, and let them envision the novice radiant with divine glory – saying to them: “Be sealed by this holy sign of initiation with the Truth Body blessing, Glory Body blessing and Emanation Body blessing of Christ Melchizedek, the Risen Savior. Amen.”

Then let them say to the novice: “May you remember the sign of initiation on your brow; may the threefold flame of faith, hope and love burn brightly in your heart; and may your soul come to fruition in Divine Gnosis – enlightenment and liberation. Amen.”

Then let the teacher or elder say, “Come, let us celebrate your union with the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ with a Wedding Feast.”

At this point a Holy Wedding Feast of bread and wine is celebrated, at the fruition of which the new initiate is received and greeted as a brother or sister in the Divine Light, usually with a warm embrace. This concludes the Threefold Right of Initiation.

*At the completion of the threefold rite the teacher or elder – the initiate embodying the spirit of Enoch, gives a brief discourse on the mysteries of the rite. Throughout the rite, the other initiate continues in their movements of inspiration, all as the Holy Spirit calls them to do.

**In a traditional Sophian circle a person may receive this initiate without becoming a spiritual companion of the tzaddik of the circle – thus, a separate rite of reception is performed by the tzaddik, receiving them as a spiritual companion or disciple in their circle. It is designed this way to allow initiates to share the blessing of this rite with those who desire to receive it, whether or not they feel called to enter the sacred circle. The rite of reception is not an initiation, but is a ceremonial way of receiving a new companion in circle and serves to deepen the connection of the sacred friendship – in it chrism is celebrated, and the Wedding Feast; in this way a senior lineage-holder agrees to take a person as their spiritual companion, acknowledging those given into their care by the Mother Spirit.

Nothing of the inner form of the threefold rite can be written, but it is known by lineage-holders of the Inner Order in their experience Light-presence and is a pure play of Wild Gnosis, taking up the dance of the Holy Bride in spiritual transmission. However, within the instructions for the initiate who embodies the Spirit of Enoch there are hints regarding the play of this Light Transmission.

This sacred rite may be modified as necessary to accommodate various circumstances, situations and events, or various needs; likewise, though an example of wording is given for the rite, the intention is that words to the effect of those given are use – Sophians tend to work in an impromptu way, based upon the general pattern taught in the lineage, and rarely find reading off a piece of paper useful in a rite.

Because the rite is usually done outdoors in a natural body of water, typically the initiation is imparted between the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, or as weather permits – this allows a harmonious flow with what’s happening in life and the seasons. However, if circumstances called for it, then it could be performed indoors with a pouring of water over the aspirant’s head – but this is *rarely* ever done among Sophian Gnostics.

This proves an example of the Threefold Rite of Initiation for use in circles of Ecclesia Pistis Sophia – may it be a blessing upon all beings; Amen.

Blessings & shalom!
Last edited by Tau Malachi on Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tau Malachi
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#2 Postby Yonah » Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:18 pm

Thank you for this exploration of the three fold rite. As a Circle Leader I have performed the three fold rite several times and have seen such blessings and power through it. People are trully touched by the power of the Light Continuum through this ritual. It's great to see more details and more options to explore with each Companion. I have been lead to change the rite slightly based on the initiate, so this gives even more options and ideas.

Blessings, +Yonah
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Re: Threefold Rite of Initiation

#3 Postby Bevan » Sun May 03, 2015 6:14 pm

Shalom All!

Thank you Tau Malachi for clearly presenting the ceremonies surrounding the Threefold Rite of Initiation. This first movement of ritual, symbol and intention within the context of community is beautiful! I can hardly imagine what is moving and gathering in the spiritual realms as this unfolds!

I am drawn to the following element in the post that talks about a personal gospel.
Through their own spiritual and mystical experience, according to their own knowledge and understanding, each initiate will have their own gospel – for our part we simply seek to facilitate the spiritual experience through which they might receive their gospel and be guided in the Way by the Holy Spirit.

When I hear the word "gospel" I think of a narrative of good news to be shared. Are you saying that each initiate's story in the Spirit becomes a unique gospel (microcosm) following the pattern of the first gospel of Yeshua as told in the holy scriptures (macrocosm)? Are you referring to both inner and outer events in an individual's experience? Can you explain more about this "gospel" and why you used this word and did not just use the term "spiritual experience"?

May all be blessed by the fruit of the experiences given to us by the Holy One!


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Re: Threefold Rite of Initiation

#4 Postby Tau Malachi » Mon May 04, 2015 8:54 am

Grace and peace to you from Hayyah Yeshua!

First, as we sojourn in the Way each of us will experience a revelation of the Holy Gospel, and as we progress in the Gospel we will have our own knowledge and understanding of the Gospel – this is ‘our gospel.’ You may recall that St. Paul writes at times during teachings, “according to my gospel,” and likewise, you may recall that the four canonical gospels are entitled “gospel according to” specific apostles, and with the four gospels we find that each tells a different version of events and imparts different teachings, though, indeed, all are expressing something of the Gospel of Truth. We too will have our own gospel, according to our experience of Christ and God, and the Mysteries.

In community, and in outreach and various exchanges, we do share our gospel with others, our knowledge and understanding of the Gnostic Path. Of course we do not go door to door and intrude upon people, and we do not push our beliefs on others as though we know the only way to heaven or enlightenment. We do, however, share knowledge and insights we might have when people inquire or the opportunity arises, when there is sincere interest and the desire to receive.

You are correct in proposing that a Gnostic understanding of the phrase “our gospel” runs a bit deeper, and is a bit more intimate than what might be taught in the outer church concerning this, for according to our understanding we are living in the Holy Gospel – the revelation of Christ and the Gospel are ongoing with us, and our lives, interior and exterior, are an integral part of the Gospel, as surely as those who walked with Adonai Yeshua thousands of years ago. Thus, our life as a person who is anointed with the Perfect Light and Holy Spirit is an integral part of our gospel. Through our life we sojourn and progress in the Gospel, and something unique and special of the Gospel of Christ is revealed with, in and through us – “our gospel.”

In this, perhaps, you may understand that the phrase “our gospel” has layers of meaning and that it corresponds with the various manifestations of our knowledge, understanding and wisdom of Christ and the Gospel – the Living Word.

As for why we use the word gospel and not just "spiritual experience," gospel indicates a revelation of the Divine in the Christian stream of light transmission - direct spiritual and mystical experience of Christ, and it does express that we are, in fact, a Christian mystical tradition. While we respect and honor other living wisdom traditions of the world we are passionately Christian in our lineage dear brother; hence, we teach the Gospel - the Good News of the dawn of Christ Consciousness among us.

Shalom Aleichem!
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Re: Threefold Rite of Initiation

#5 Postby Martina » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:11 pm

Greetings and blessings in the Light of the Holy One!

The threefold rite of initiation in the Holy Mother resonates very much with me and it is a ceremony I feel very inspired to offer my spiritual friends for a deepening of their spiritual experience and consecration to the Holy One. But how do we know when the time is right for them to receive this blessing?

Shabbat Shalom,

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Re: Threefold Rite of Initiation

#6 Postby Tau Malachi » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:56 am

Blessings to you in the Holy Light of the Messiah, the Spiritual Sun of God!

It is good you have a resonance with the threefold rite my sister, given it is the essential initiation of the Christian Gnostic Path and you are an initiate and gnostic teacher in our community. It is an important spiritual work in lineage, very much so! Indeed, baptism is the gate of the Christian Gnostic Path as established in revealed Scriptures, and the chrism, anointing, is the outward sign of the imparting of the Perfect Light and Spirit in it, and the feast of bread and wine is an action corresponding with ‘sealing in faith,’ and it is a remembrance, invocation, of the Messiah and Holy One that is also established in revealed Scriptures. If you consider it these actions are gestures of submission, surrender, to God in faith and love, and an active taking up of the Life Divine - the Holy Gospel, or living in Messiah, the Anointing.

This action of submission when done in faith and love is an entering into covenant with God, the True Light; hence, an entrance into the sanctuary of grace in the Messiah, the Anointing.

When is it time for this to be shared with an aspirant? When, indeed, they have the wisdom of faith, and the signs of sincere faith, which are turning to the Messiah and Holy One, seeking knowledge of God, the True Light, and engage in devotions, invocation and prayer, and meditation; when, indeed, they sincerely yearn to be set upon the Gnostic Path, willing to labor for knowledge of God, for nearness and oneness with God. If an aspirant has turned to the Lord, Yahweh, Yeshua, and truly desires initiation we will share it with them; and then they must choose to continue in the Way thereafter, seeking greater revelations of God, seeking full knowledge of God - Divine Gnosis.

When the thought arises to impart the initiation to someone then we need to invoke God and pray and seek guidance from God, seeking divine inspiration to take up this action with that person. Likewise, we need to ask them to invoke and pray, seeking guidance, seeking divine inspiration to take up this action with us and to be received in the One. If both find agreement in the Holy One, then as God wills and as we desire, so it is done, but if not, then it is not to be done, at least at that time.

Taking up this divine action, entering into this sacred and holy movement, does not need to be an elaborate ceremony, but it can be very simple, essential. The essence of it all is in the baptism, in the invocation and prayer, and the movement of the Spirit of God, Holy Shekinah, Holy Spirit; the anointing and feast are the outward signs of the inward mystery transpiring, signs that might help witnessing what God has done, God’s unveiling and self-disclosure in the Messiah, the Anointing. It’s all about opening ourselves and letting the Holy Spirit move with, in and through us, merging with the Divine Presence in that moment, and so letting the Holy Spirit take up the divine action. It’s all about faith and love, loving the Lord and loving the one who we are with on the shores of the living waters. When two gather in this way, in the Blessed Name, so the Lord is with them, the Divine Presence, the Holy Spirit, and initiation transpires through Divine Grace - God’s power. Praise God! May God help us in this!

This is what the Holy Spirit inclines me to share with you dear sister. If this divine action is taken up with your friends I pray that God is with you and that you are in God, and so they are gathered into God, the True Light, with you! Amen.

Shabbat Shalom!
Tau Malachi

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