|Kitty undergoes the trial of catnip during their initiation.|
For instance, what we traditionally think about as initiation, at least in the esoteric Orders, is lodge initiation--being initiated by several officers of an lodge. In a lodge setting, this form of initiation trumps all...provided that it is only the merit badge of Grade obtained that concerns you.
Now, I will admit that lodge initiation is on the top of my list of preferred methods. But it only counts provided that you are using the same set of rituals as I am. If you are using a different set of initiation rituals, that means that you belong to a different Order, and quite possibly a whole different esoteric tradition than I do. Different ritual scripts result in different inner experiences.
This opinion annoys some people. Just slapping the same name on your system as a system that I work is not an automatic ticket to sit in the same lodge with me.
Nor is claiming that a degree from another system is the same as a Grade I work going to get you any points either in my book. There is only one time that a "transferred initiation" works, and that is when you are starting up a brand-new Order. It is how Mathers and Westcott could start up Golden Dawn, and not be actually initiated into its system...and why your Master Mason and fringe degree does not make you an Adept Extemptus automatically--degrees only transfer under specialized situations.
Of course, the very worst type of initiation is the one that did not happen. There are a ton of people out there who claim to have initiations that they have never recieved. My rule of thumb is that unless I saw you get the initiation, or I personally know one of the officers who performed it, then that initiation is mere hearsay.
I mean, after all, you do not believe me when I claim to be an initiate, do you?
In modern times, we have gained two new types of initiation: the astral initiation and the self-initiation. Having experienced several types of initiation, I must admit that I was not impressed by the astral initiation I undergone...and it was not the EOGD (yes, there are others who have experimented with that form of initiation). Personally, if you cannot travel to lodge to get initiated, my opinion is to go with the self-initiation.
Of course, the biggest determining factor about whether an self-initiation is successful is the amount of work you put into it. But then again, that is true of all forms of initiation, isn't it? I know several people who have "worked" their way into being what I consider an initiated Tarot reader.
One thing that must be said about all the types of initiation that I have mentioned is that they are not what initiation originally looked like. Our modern initiations are tame in comparsion to the original form of initiation.
The original form of initiation was what I tend to refer to as a "divine clue by four," or occasionally as "the bear done ate him." Initiation in is original shamanistic form was tramatic and scary. You could really die during it. You got seriously ill. You got badly injuried. But you somehow survived. Even today, there are some people who suffer this form of initiation...they tend to be a little crazy because of it.
To illustrate how severe this form of initiation is, just remember that the first thing a new prophet was told in Biblical times was "Do not fear, I am an angel.of the divine." It is never a good thing when the first thing you are told is "Do not panic." Planets have boiled away on occasion after that statement has been uttered. (Bear in mind that for most of human civilization, your entire world was your village or farm...a lots of worlds have been destoryed throughout history when you realize this little fact.)
So if you ever talk to me about initiation, remember that the first thing I am going to ask is exactly what type of initiation that you are talking about because there are many types of initiation. It is only after making sure that we are talking about the same type of initiation that we can truely start discussing the subject.