Initiatory Traditions And Religions
These are traditions, groups, or practices that require a formal initiation to learn.
No one can self-initiate into an initiatory tradition. No matter how much someone knows or how hard they’ve studied, they are not a member of the tradition until they’ve been initiated by that group. Same goes for traditions that are largely oral or familial.
Because of this, there can be a lot of money and power in being an initiator. And people take advantage of that.
Lineage is vital.
Any teacher in an initiatory tradition will be able to provide their lineage – who initiated them, who initiated their initiators, and where they were initiated. This is called a magical linage, or initiatory linage.
Your potential teacher should be able – and willing – to provide their initiatory linage. Many traditions will also be able to provide names of additional witnesses to the initiation. These traditions prefer to leave absolutely no question as to who is a legitimate practitioner. If someone won’t provide their initiatory lineage, they are not trustworthy and students should NOT work with them.
Lineage is not hard to prove, but it’s not the end of the vetting that should be done.
Ask other people within the tradition about their thoughts and opinions on that lineage. A person might believe that they have a valid lineage, but others within the tradition or organization may know things about issues and problems further up the “family tree” that make the initiatory line suspect or invalid. There’s also the issue of ethics and behavior. Someone holding a perfectly valid lineage who is able to teach and initiate others into the tradition isn’t necessarily an ethical practitioner, or a trustworthy person.
There are alway rumors. Some may be malicious – simply being a magical practitioner doesn’t make someone a good person, after all. Some may be important information to have. As a non-initiate, it can be very difficult to sort out.
It’s still important work to do.