Perspectives on Initiation presents initiation as essentially the transmission, by the appropriate rites of a given tradition, of a 'spiritual influence' which represents the 'beginning' (initium) of the spiritual journey. It is unique in giving a comprehensive account both of the conditions of initiation and of the characteristics of organizations qualified to transmit it.
While most of its 48 chapters deal with specific aspects of initiation, others cover an astonishing range of related subjects, among them:
Magic and Mysticism
The Symbolism of the Theater
The Gift of Tongues
Greater and Lesser Mysteries
Rose-Cross and Rosicrucians
Some Reflections on Hermeticism
The Birth of the Avatara
Related articles are collected in Guénon's Initiation and Spiritual Realization.
René Guénon (1886-1951), also known as Abd al-Wahid Yahya, was a French author, traditionalist and perennial philosopher who remains an influential figure in the domain of metaphysics having written on topics ranging from "sacred science", to symbolism and initiation.
In his writings, he proposes either "to expose directly some aspects of Eastern metaphysical doctrines", these doctrines being defined by him as of "universal character", or "to adapt these same doctrines for Western readers while keeping strictly faithful to their spirit"; he only endorsed the act of "handing down" these Eastern doctrines, while reiterating their "non-human character". He wrote and published in French and his works have been translated into more than 20 languages.