There is a prevailing notion, that an identity exists between what
are called Initiatory states, and the mystical states.
These “mystical” states, incorrectly identified with the Grades of
Initiation, include such things as “ecstasy”-and the proponents of these
theories thereafter insist that these things are all availble to
visualizations, such as PET and MRI. Moreover, they argue that the
Initiatory Grades, being in their minds, equivalent to the states of
mysticism, can never be truly occupied permanemtly by the being, but
are merely fleeting “experiences”.

While we would agree that the states encountered by “mysticism” are
fleeting, and even that since they are psychic experineces, that they
can be observed via imagery techniques, we can not see how they are to be
identified with the Initiatory Grades, which speak of diverse other things.
Moreover, every traditional Initiatory doctrine notes not only an
ascent(“Realization”, and “Escape from the cosmos”), but a redescent, in which,
although the original individual being is
changed, nothing is lost of the Gnosis in the redescent (unlike
mysticism, where the experineces are but “memories”).

Doctrinaly, these differences are noted in many ways, but one way
of explaining it is in the Sufistic distinction bewteen “Hal”, and
“Maqqam”. Ibn Arabi, for example, goes to great lengths to explain the
distinction between temporary “states” (Hal), and totally aquired “Stations”
(Maqqam)–which are the objectives of the
Initiatory path.

Another illustration, is derived from geometry.
All of the states of being can be envisioned as points along some
indefinite verticle axis, which have, independently, their own
circumference (conceived of in the horizontal plane, or
intersecting the vertical plane, at specific given points).

Initiation involves something of a reversal…as opposed to
seeing independent concentric circles staked on one another,
along a verticle axis, the “circumference” (of what is really
sphereical), presents itself as a circle in the horizontal
plane, uniting all states in simultaniety and succesion.

There is thus an ascending path (the lowest point to the highest
point), and and a descending path (the highest point returning to the
lowest point)…occuring without interuption and continuity.
This is a partial explanation of the Cross, that forms the
emblem of “Rosicrucianism”.

In the Hermetic (Alchemical) symbolism, that Rosicrucianism
originated from, there are many similar examples of this
“return to earth”, invloving things such as birds having their
wings removed, among other symbols.