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The Change in Initiation from Ancient to Modern Times

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This is a short version of one article from the 50+ page handout for Class 1 of the 5-part Online Class:  Spiritual Science: Essential Teachings and Practices


Ancient spiritual mysteries are — rightfully — a source of great fascination for modern spiritual seekers. They come from time when humanity had greater faculties of direct spiritual perception, and hold tremendous secrets of the spiritual origins and destiny of the human being.

The deep esoteric knowledge of every tradition, whether ancient or modern, is always linked to practical methods of Spiritual Initiation.

Initiation is the process through which a human being is spiritually awakened, developing a clear understanding — and direct experience — of the higher spiritual realities which create and direct human life.

However what is often not fully understood in modern spiritual circles, is that many core aspects of Spiritual Initiation have profoundly shifted from ancient to modern times.

This is due to: 
1) The evolving conditions of human consciousness, as well as 
2) Changes to the human subtle bodies and energy field.

These two things are linked together: every new development in human consciousness either creates — or is created by — specific changes in the human energy field.

Every one of our thoughts, emotions, and acts of will, activate particular energy centers and energy movements within us.

Similarly, the activation of energy centers and energy movements within us will transform the nature of our thoughts, emotions, and willpower. In reality these two things — our soul life (thoughts, emotions, acts of will) and our energy field structure (energy movements and centers) — are two sides of the same coin, changes in one will always create changes in the other.

As our Consciousness and Energetic Structure have evolved over time, so the methods for Spiritual Initiation — those practices intended to help us advance to our next stage of spiritual evolution, continuing our way forward to our final destination as an awakened, independent spiritual being — also evolve. Here are some basic foundations for understanding what has come before, and where we are going now.

Human Consciousness and Initiation in Ancient Times

Spiritual teachings from around the world show that Human Beings incarnate into the physical world as an essential part of our spiritual development. In higher spiritual worlds, which are by definition non-physical, there are not clear boundaries between things. The further one goes in the direction of the Godhead, the more everything unifies into the cosmic source; whereas the further one goes in the direction of the created world, the more things differentiate away from Unity and into separate Beings and Worlds.

By incarnating into the density of the physical world, Human Beings are able to develop a sense of being separate from others; this is an absolutely essential step towards developing individuality, independence, and true freedom.

This is the reason humanity incarnates into the physical Earth, to become a free and independent Spiritual Being; quite literally a “child of God.”

  • Ancient texts clearly show that in earlier times most Human Beings could perceive spiritual realities directly, and saw spiritual worlds as their true home. The physical world appeared to be an illusion. Spiritual teachings arose which assumed that there was no purpose to human life on Earth; in these schools the message became for us to stop generating karma, so that we can dissolve permanently back into the universal source from which we came. This is still a belief in many groups today, which are described as being “non-dualist” schools.
  • Humans were not as self-aware in ancient times as they are today; they identified primarily with a group, not as an individual…
  • For spiritual development, a person usually joined one specific organization and stayed with it for life. An external guru acted in the place of a person’s individual awareness, and had to be followed without question by the student; the guru was virtually a God who made all decisions, and guided every aspect of the student’s life, often without explanation of the reasons behind their commands.
  • As human beings progressively lost direct perception of Spiritual Realities (needed so that they could develop self-awareness, through awakening their physical organs of perception and ability to think logically with the physical brain) spiritual rituals developed to bring spiritual beings into physical manifestation where they could be seen with the physical eyes. This is described in texts like the Book of Kings in the Old Testament, which describes a spiritual power spot in Jerusalem being intensified through building a Temple with precise dimensions and materials (the Temple of Solomon) so that in the “Holy of Holies” the highest of the Angelic Hierarchy (the Seraphim) could manifest visibly to the High Priest.

Human Consciousness and Initiation in Modern Times

  • Modern Human Beings are now increasingly self-aware, to the point of often becoming egotistical and extremely self-absorbed. The present task is to awaken the spiritual consciousness within the self-awareness we have now developed…
  • Instead of a backwards movement in evolution — trying to dissolve one’s consciousness back into a pre-personal state where there is no individual consciousness, as is advocated in some “non-dual” traditions — the task today is to bring together the reality of the unity behind all living beings with the reality of the individual, independent self. This dual nature of the human being as both a part of the divine whole and also at the same time a truly independent spiritual being, is summarized by the European Rosicrucians in the spiritual name for the human race: the Spirits of Love and Freedom. Love is the power of Union, and Freedom is the power of Independence.
  • Most modern human beings no longer can directly perceive spiritual realities, but they have developed the ability to think logically and intellectually in a way which was not the case in earlier times. This activated thinking ability is in reality the foundation for the “New Clairvoyance”, which regains the direct perception of spiritual realities which humanity had in ancient times, but now in a fully conscious and focused form. Modern Initiation provides the knowledge and exercises to transform contemporary states of consciousness into this higher clairvoyant ability, which has much greater scope and potential than the earlier unconscious clairvoyance which human beings had in ancient times before attaining deeper self-awareness.
  • Instead of trying to bring spiritual realities down to the physical plane where they can be seen with the physical eyes, the new method which is now possible is for human beings to reach up to spiritual beings with the New Clairvoyance and see spiritual realities directly. This change is referred to by the Rosicrucians as the “Reversed Ritual”, where we extend our perception up to spirit realms rather than trying to draw them down into physical manifestation.
  • Hundreds of millions of people are today on a personal spiritual path, where they do not choose to give their power away to any external guru or institution. They use their own awakened powers of discernment to learn from many different teachers and traditions, and to craft their own path. This is a natural evolutionary development, which is the foundation for humanity’s future: an Independent Path of Spiritual Initiation. Although Initiation always involves the participation of higher spiritual beings, the modern Initiate learns to connect directly to spirit without going through human intermediaries in the physical world.
  • The new Independent Path of Spiritual Initiation calls on far greater awareness by the individual than was the case in Guru systems, where the student was told what to do every step of the way.
  • The Independent Path requires the individual to have a conscious understanding of spiritual realities; it also requires understanding the full context of spiritual practices which one can use to develop further.

This need for deeper understanding and access to full information leads to the development of a new Spiritual Science which is publicly available, rather than dependence on one specific guru or institution to share hidden information in return for one’s obedience.


This has been only a very brief overview of some key points regarding the change in Initiation from ancient to modern times, and how this relates to the modern Independent Path of Spiritual Initiation and the creation of a New Spiritual Science.

In the online course Spiritual Science: Essential Teachings and Practices we will explore deeply these topics, and how you can apply this knowledge to activate your own spiritual development.

For More Information about this course, please CLICK HERE