Thanks for the clarification Adamantine, and i am sure everyone wishes to move the discussion forward rather than just spin our wheels defending preconceived opinions.
So in an effort to keep things on track, perhaps we should carefully define the terms of the discussion, so that everyone can express themselves clearly without mixing up ideas or misunderstanding based on assumptions. To this end i propose the following, please correct or clarify anything you disagree with or are unclear about, also add any i might have missed:
Empowerment (dbang), a general term for recognizing the realization of past lineage masters, this can occur either in a ritual environment or outside of a ritual. There are different types and styles of empowerment, and different approaches depending on the level of tantra, or Sarma vs Nyingma, etc. But in all cases it is premised on receiving the empowerment from a guru or buddha whether in the flesh or a vision.
Full empowerment (dbang skur, abhisheka), a ritual empowerment performed in accordance with the tantras, typically involving the four empowerments of vase, secret, wisdom-knowledge and precious word.
Self-initiation (bdag 'jug) typically done as part of a sadhana or ritual that one practices after having received the full empowerment.
Entrustment (bka' gtad) short empowerment ritual, usually for receiving the blessings of the body, speech and mind of the deity. Also requires samaya and primarily given after one has received a full empowerment of the same level of tantra.
Reading transmission (lung) sometimes referred to simply as "transmission". Having a text audibly read to one. According to the Rangjung Yeshe wiki: "In Tibetan Buddhism, it is regarded as essential that a transmission of both the text and its oral commentary is formally received from an authoritative lineage-holder, if any significant spiritual experience is to be cultivated, since a mere theoretical understanding of these topics is not regarded as sufficient."
Instructions (tri) accompanying explanation of the practice. Typically, in order to do a practice one is required to receive the three—dbang, lung & tri, namely a full empowerment or entrustment, reading transmission and an explanation of how to do the practice.
Blessings (byin rlabs) According to Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche there are two types of blessings: 1) superficial blessings such as when people request to obtain or get rid of something, for example to be free of sickness, pain or an attack of evil spirits, or to be successful in business. A ritual may be performed, sacred substances, a blessing cord, or a mandala wrapped in thread etc. provided, (2) "True blessings on the other hand are the oral instructions on how to become enlightened in a single lifetime, which you can receive from a qualified master.