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Vectors of the Counter-Initiation

The Course and Destiny of Inverted Spirituality

Charles Upton

published by Sophia Perennis, 2012

Reviewed by Amir Fasad

This is an interesting work by a "Traditionalist" follower of French esotericist Rene Guenon. Tradition, as used by the author, refers to the notion that a number of genuine revelations were given to humanity, in the form of the major world religions. These include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. Some writers in this genre also ascribe traditional character to certain Native American and shamanic beliefs and practices.

According to the author, and Mr. Guenon, certain people are able to gain a deep understanding of these traditions, and their inward correspondence with each other, as a result of initiation. This correspondence exists despite the need to maintain the distinct features of each revealed tradition. The traditionalist authors hint, or state explicitly, that orders or societies exist within the various traditions which confer the initiation mentioned above.

Traditionalists tend to dislike the modern world, and they believe that the features which so distress them are not an accident, but the result of deliberate actions by what they call the "counter-initiation". This term was invented by Mr. Guenon to refer to a force which created and maintains nothing less than the entire modern civilization. While he never stated directly what it was, Mr. Guenon wrote as if he had "insider" knowledge of it. At least he seemed to have a precise idea of it in mind, and hinted that it was an actual "organization", presumably with membership lists and other features common to formalized human activities. This author seems to have a much more diffuse idea of what he is so opposed to, but the basic concept is there. What this author has done is graft the concept of the counter-initiation onto modern conspiracy theory, to deepen the discernment of conspiracy theorists and wake up traditionalists to the dangers they face.

In this vein, Mr. Upton tackles what he considers to be the dangers of the interfaith movement, which he believes is a tool to lead mankind into a fabricated global religion, as well as repeats his insistence in earlier books that UFOs are of demonic origin and perhaps in league with the counter-initiation to enslave or destroy humanity. He also gives his perspective about the sacredness of nature, and an expose on the poet Rumi, whom he believes is misunderstood.

He also speculates about the history of the Templars, and how they might have secretly split into several different factions, one or more of which evolved into the counter-initiation, with another faction keeping their original traditional purpose intact. There are hints of this in some books about the Templars and related organizations.

As a Sufi Muslim, Mr. Upton writes from an Islamic perspective, and much of the work is about Islamic doctrines and writings I know little about, so I don't know how to comment on their veracity or completeness. He also describes his own drug experiences in the 1960s and how they led him to traditionalist Sufism.

While I have a few traditionalist attitudes myself, such as in regard to UFOs (evil) and modern architecture (ditto), I disagree with the disdain some traditionalist authors have towards the sciences, rather than towards their misuse. Also, while not widely known, some great scientists have developed world views which converge with many aspects of traditionalism. Mr. Upton does not directly refer to this, but hints at an awareness of this in his earlier book, System of Antichrist.

All in all, this is a worthwhile read, and, while the author does not write with the same exactitude displayed by Rene Guenon and a few other traditionalists, it is probably more approachable for that exact reason.