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The Three Stages of Initiatic Spirituality: Craftsman, Warrior, Magician

The Three Stages of Initiatic Spirituality: Craftsman, Warrior, Magician

by Angel Millar
The Three Stages of Initiatic Spirituality: Craftsman, Warrior, Magician

The Three Stages of Initiatic Spirituality: Craftsman, Warrior, Magician

by Angel Millar


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A detailed guide to the three successive initiatic archetypes: Craftsman, Warrior, and Magician

• Investigates the symbolism, rituals, and metaphysical aspects of each initiatic archetype, from the alchemy and shamanism of the craftsman, to the subtle energy work of the warrior, to the sex magic practices and Higher Self work of the magician

• Shares meditations, practices, and transformational techniques for each archetype

• Investigates the similarities between contemporary Western occultism, from Crowley to Chaos Magic, and the “positive thinking” mind metaphysics movement

Exploring the craftsman, warrior, and magician archetypes—three vocations that echo the traditional tripartite division of society—Angel Millar reveals how these archetypes represent the three successive stages of spiritual growth in an individual’s life. He shows how they provide structure for the initiatory process to develop one’s mental, physical, and spiritual potential. As craftsman, the individual experiences “mnemonic” initiation: the cultivation of memory as well as language. As warrior, “somatic” initiation: development of the physical body and cultivation of the spirit body. And as magician, “gnostic” initiation: cultivation of the self and manifestation of the Higher Self.

Investigating the metaphysical aspects of each archetype, the author explores their symbolism, spiritual practices, and rituals. Examining the craftsman archetype, he looks at metallurgy, alchemy, and the “Craft” of Freemasonry, as well as the ancient role of blacksmith as shaman. He explores the idea of God as a “Creator” or “Craftsman,” especially in relation to ancient Greek philosophy, Islamic neoplatonism, and the Kabbalah. Examining the warrior archetype, he reveals how the way of the warrior was affected by religion and mysticism, such as how the Persian martial art of Zoorkhaneh was profoundly shaped by Sufism and why the Buddhist Shaolin temple became synonymous with Kung Fu. The author places special emphasis on the cultivation of subtle energy as practiced in martial arts, especially in relation to Taoist inner alchemy. Examining the magician archetype, he reveals how each individual has two “selves”—a lower self and a Higher Self—and explores the union of opposites studied by the magician, such as in the tantric arts and sacred sex magic. Sharing meditations, practices, and processes associated with each archetype, as well as techniques for transforming one’s consciousness, he also investigates similarities between contemporary Western occultism, from Crowley to Chaos Magic, and the “positive thinking” mind metaphysics movement.

Structured to parallel the three archetypal stages of the initiatic process, this comprehensive guide offers a literary initiation through three degrees of esoteric knowledge.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620559321
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 02/11/2020
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,127,651
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Angel Millar is a well-known lecturer on Freemasonry, initiation, and esotericism as well as an artist and student of the martial arts. The author of several books, including Freemasonry: Foundation of the Western Esoteric Tradition, he lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt


Craftsman. Warrior. Magician. As if an echo reverberating through the millennia, these three words remind us of something that lies buried deep in the history of mankind and deep within our own psyche. “Primitive” by the standards of modernity, when we reflect on them they nevertheless stir in us an awakening to our own potential, mental, physical, and spiritual.

In one form or another, the figures of the craftsman, the warrior, and the magician were known to every ancient culture on earth. In some cases, the functions of each could be performed by a single member of a tribe, with herders having to double as warriors, and with responsibility for performing religious or initiatory rituals falling to older members of the tribe or to the head of the household.

For many cultures, though, they were more than just duties, vocations, or positions in society. Together, the craftsman or farmer, warrior, and magician (sage, priest, or brahmin, etc.) characterized its very soul. Written around three millennia ago, in Iran, the sacred Avestan texts (of the world’s first monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism) show us a culture composed of peasants and farmers, warrior nobles, and priests. Around two thousand years before this, claimed comparative philologist and mythologist Georges Dumézil, Indo-European societies (from which the Zoroastrian society ultimately emerged) had essentially the same three classes or castes.

However, it is possible that, as David W. Anthony has suggested, the herder/cultivator, warrior, and priest may have constituted “three age grades,” through which every man would pass, if he lived long enough. As is the case with the Maasai of Africa, the younger men might have worked as herders or artisans, while the elders of the tribe would have taken on the role of priests or spiritual guides. The profession of the warrior would, then, have been taken up by men between these two ages, when they were at their maximum physical strength.

* * *

If we think of the craftsman, warrior, and magician (or, more broadly, the shaman, brahmin, or tribal wise man, etc.) not merely as three vocations within society but as three types of consciousness within initiation itself, we might say that the craftsman who is aware of his role as an initiator has risen to the stage of the magician, brahman, or sage, etc., and returned to his vocation in a higher, priestly form. As an initiator, acting within his cult or Lodge, the images he passes on are the psychic, opening the Golden Age to the initiate, and reuniting him with the gods or God.

Traditionally, acceptance into a vocation often required the novice going through some kind of initiation ritual which imparted a mythology that explained how the art itself came into existence, which god or mythic figure created it, and what ethics and behavior is expected of the initiate.

Ritual initiation is, in effect, a kind of spiritual machinery or spiritual technology, not in the contemporary sense of these words, but in their original sense or, to point to a historical period, in the sense used by the ancient Greeks (Techne - technology, technique, craft, the act of crafting). By spiritual machinery, we are referring to several interrelated mythic and natural forces, most literally - or in the most outward sense – the machinery or tools of the gods or of the trade or guild: the hammer, chisel, square, compasses, fire, flint, and alchemical vessels, etc., which appear in the initiation ritual as symbols of a higher and deeper reality.

The root of the term machinery is the Proto-Indo-European maghana, “that which enables.” It is related, also, to the Greek word makhaná (tool, means) and to the Old English mæg, meaning “I can,” and to the contemporary English word “may.” In the context of initiation, the machine that enables is the ritual itself, its set of procedure, movements, the unveiling of symbols and ritual objects, etc., reflecting the predictable movements of the planets; the seasons; of birth, life, and death, etc.

These things are not objects of devotion, per se, but hint at natural law or cosmic law, i.e., an all-pervasive cosmic Intelligence, Consciousness, or Law Giver that has set everything in motion. The heavens and earth are, in other words, a kind of machine of God or the gods, and the initiatic ritual emulates and connects the initiate to its essence, or the fuel, of existence.

Initiation unveils the workings of the cosmos outside of the initiate and points to his place within it and to the path he might take through it, toward the Divine. He is not a cog but a star, a universe - a microcosm that reflects the whole of existence and its essence. In attaining that that consciousness in which he feels he can understand, can do, and can cultivate a new, empowered way of living and being, he starts to glimpse, and to embody, what is sometimes called the Higher Self.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Three Stages of Initiation

The First Archetype
The Craftsman

1 The Craftsman
Tools as Symbols

2 Mnemonic Initiation

3 Emanation and Descent
Descent from the Golden Age

4 Primordial Man
The Reversal of Time
Cardinal Directions and the Higher Self

5 The Craft Ritual

6 The Alchemical Process
The Alchemical Transformation
The Elements and the Beginning of Initiation

The Second Archetype
The Warrior

7 The Warrior
Early Warfare
The Mysticism of War

8 Somatic Initiation
Subtle Energy

9 The Seed and the Journey
The Seed
The Golden Fleece
Masculine and Feminine Energies

10 The Dragon Slayer
The Inner Struggle

11 The Warrior Ritual

12 Meditation on the Body and Mortality
Meditation on Death

The Third Archetype
The Magician

13 The Magician
Microcosm and Macrocosm
The Two Selves

14 Gnostic Initiation
Descent and Ascent of the Ages
The Ascent of Consciousness
Man as Consciousness of God

15 The Exoteric and Esoteric
Inner Experience

16 Union of Opposites
Taboo Breaking
As Above, So Below

17 Theurgic Ritual
The Sacred Space
The Elements, Spiritualization, and Transformation
Death and Rebirth

18 Shaping Reality
Magic and the Physical World
The True Self and the Purpose of One’s

Conclusion: Balancing the Archetypes




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