“To disbelieve that there exist in man certain arcane powers, which, by psychological study he can develop in himself to the highest degree, become a hierophant and then impart to others under the same conditions of earthly discipline, is to cast an imputation of falsehood and lunacy upon a number of the best, purest, and most learned men of antiquity and of the middle ages. What the hierophant was allowed to see at the last hour is hardly hinted at by them. And yet Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, and many others knew and affirmed their reality. Whether in the “inner temple”, or through the study of theurgy carried on privately, or by the sole exertion of a whole life of spiritual labor, they all obtained the practical proof of such divine possibilities for man fighting his battle with life on earth to win a life in the eternity.
What the last epopteia was is alluded to by Plato in Phaedrus (64); “…being initiated in those Mysteries, which it is lawful to call the most blessed of all mysteries…we were freed from the molestations of evils which otherwise await us in a future period of time. Likewise, in consequence of this divine initiation, we became spectators of entire, simple, immovable, and blessed visions, resident in a pure light.” This sentence shows that they saw visions, gods, spirits.
As Taylor correctly observes, from all such passages in the works of the initiates it may be inferred, “that the most sublime part of epopteia…consisted in beholding the gods themselves invested with a resplendent light”, or highest planetary spirits. The statement of Proclus upon this subject is unequivocal: “In all the initiations and mysteries, the gods exhibit many forms of themselves, and appear in a variety of shapes, and sometimes, indeed, a formless light of themselves is held forth to the view; sometimes this light is according to a human form, and sometimes it proceeds into a different shape.”
“Whatever is on earth is the resemblance and SHADOW of something that is in the sphere, while that resplendent thing, (the prototype of the soul-spirit), remaineth in unchangeable condition, it is well also with its shadow. But when the resplendent one removeth far from its shadow, life removeth from the latter to a distance. And yet, that very light is the shadow of something still more resplendent than itself.” Thus speaks Desatir, the Persian Book of Shet, thereby showing its identity of esoteric doctrines with those of the Greek philosophers.
The second statement of Plato confirms our belief that the Mysteries of the ancients were identical with the Initiations, as practiced now among the Buddhists and the Hindu adepts. The highest visions, the most truthful, are produced, not through natural ecstatics or “mediums”, as it is sometimes erroneously asserted, but through a regular discipline of gradual initiations and development of psychical powers.
The Mystae were brought into close union with those whom Proclus calls “mystical natures”, “resplendent gods”, because, as Plato says, “we were ourselves pure and immaculate, being liberated from this surrounding vestment, which we denominate body, and to which we are now bound like an oyster to its shell.””
H. P. Blavatsky