All religions preach some form of self-denial. In the early days, when religions were aware of their true purpose, which was to teach people the control of their subconscious, this was the easiest means - for most people the only means - of so doing. I am not referring to physical self-denial, such as fasting, but to such prohibitions as not seeking revenge, even for a keenly-felt injustice. Whilst people are concerned with feuds, rivalry, disagreements, their subconscious rules supreme and they will never achieve ascendancy over it or even comprehension of it. So the subconscious would much rather have its host embroiled in struggle of any kind, for any purpose, because that will lave no energy for the one essential without which there is no progress: the mastery of the subconscious.
As time passed and understanding was suppressed, self-denial became practised for its own sake and few realised the purpose behind it. Orthodox religions became trapped within their own empires. The leaders did not want any of their adherents to progress towards Adepthood, because such people within a religion would become a focus for schism and thereby distract from the power, prestige and wealth of those at the top.
Only a non-established way, generally known as Occultism, is now able to comprehend the possibility that some of its followers could some day achieve the enlightenment popularly known as Crossing the Abyss. This is because there are no High Priests to be dethroned. Of course there are leaders within Occultism, but a general guideline is that, the more magnificent the title, the less possibility that he/she will be able to teach anyone anything of use in this quest.
Inevitably the orthodox religions fear those who practise the methods which they no longer dare contemplate, who aspire to an achievement which, in past millennia, was the goal of every religion. When knowledge is eclipsed, fear moves in. The individuals - for it is only individuals who matter within Occultism - who are capable of understanding the real purpose of their work, are a threat to the established order of things and those who seek to maintain it. This is not because they would incite revolt; that is not the way of the Adept. It is not because of what he would do, for he would do nothing. It is his existence that is feared, because that conveys the message to all those capable of understanding. If one person can liberate himself from the bonds of Earth, it is also possible for others do so.
Anonymous article taken from the Dark Lily Journal No 10, Society of Dark Lily (London 1990).