Religious, spiritual and esoteric traditions of the world provide systems by which to understand oneself and one’s Path. The systems have factors in common because human beings are human beings! The religious traditions tend to emphasize leaving the world, being saved from the world and its dense factors, while also focusing on virtue and responsibility in the world as a human being. The esoteric traditions tend to emphasize the at-one-ing of duality within oneself or of bringing forward innate transcendent or profound qualities of Being into common expression through every day life, wisdom, compassion, and creative processes.
Initiation is a subject common to life and to the spiritual path. When in the context of a life, various junctures are marked with traditional ceremonies and rites. These signify the transformation of child to teen and being able to create (puberty) or take life (hunting). Teen to adult is often marked by marriage. Elder is marked by wisdom and it being honored through inclusion in council or sought out for advice on life, healing, parenting, peace and war.
From a spiritual perspective, initiation is essentially a “problem” of light. Mirea Eliade says it well, “a meeting with light … ends by radically changing a human existence by opening it to the world of the Spirit.” He further explains, “anyone receiving such an experience undergoes a change of being; he acquires another mode of being.” from The Two and the One, pg. 21.
From a spiritual point of view, then, initiation is a natural, normal, and to-be-expected part of the journey of the Spirit as a human being. It is a natural part of the Path. However, when it happens or restates itself through recapitulation the results are distinct. Those results must somehow be integrated into the life. Such an integration might foster or require leaving that which is considered normal by others and engaging a non-traditional or unconventional mode of being. Modernly, as Eastern, tribal from around the world, and meditational practices pervade the norm, such practices are easier to take up while still maintaining a “normal life” in the eyes of others. However, where the affinity lies for the one “touched by light” is clear: it is with the Path.
In this case, initiation refers to an over-arching conditioning of the Soul as it fosters the evolving personality through development, functionality, acuity, and release. These words serve for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Initiations and correspond to the model of such given by the Master DK. His model corresponds with various and most other traditions. Spiritual mastery or the 5th Initiation will not be engaged in this course. That level of mastery “with” rather than mastery “over” or “of” is an apotheosis for a human being, and this course is concerned with the archetypes of spiritual development and of the Path.
The results of the initiations pervade the consciousness, and it in turn pervades the livingness. The four human initiations have qualities easily represented by the four elements of earth, water, fire, and air. A person’s life will express his or her point on the Path through the quality of the element. Also, the elements will be represented in various ways in the systems of focus for this course: Kabbalah, Tibetan tantric tradition, mystic Christianity, and such.
Importantly, however, is the fact that the journey or Path from one phase of human psycho-spiritual development to another is a like a wheel within a wheel. In other words, within the Earth part of the Path (from 1st degree to 2nd degree) all of the elements proceed maturing the person toward the next initiation and embodiment of spiritual Light. As a result, there is the earth of Earth, the water of Earth, the fire of Earth, the air of Earth for the Path of the 1st degree person.
Why is this significant? Because of the uniqueness of each person, thus rendering comparisons on the Path fruitless. That which one is developing, that which is intended to be brought forward, matured, and embodied in any life or cycle within it is particular.
For example, a person living the water of Earth, or water element within the overall development of the 1st initiation person, will be learning how to get along with others, to collaborate in order to accomplish goals. This person’s emotions will be on the surface, easily engaged positively or detrimentally so that this person can learn from their immediacy and their effects on tasks, follow-through, sense of pride or failure. This person is learning how to feel good about him or herself through doing. When not doing, this person has little sense of who or what he/she is. Looking good equals feeling good, be that of one’s person, one’s car, home, pet, or such. Ultimately, the Path purpose of this maturing and training is the embodiment of altruism, kindness, courtesy, shared responsibility without personal or separate consideration, and wisdom through creative action.
*This post is from a document created for the students of the new online course: Archetypes of the Spiritual Path. Registrations are still open and class begins tonight. As with all online courses, convenience is built-in. All sessions are webcasted and can be viewed at times (and time zones) convenient to the participant. You can find out more about what will be explored as well as register here.