Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘western esotericism’

The Path of Initiation: The Integration of Psychological and Spiritual Development in Western Esoteric Thought

Gary Raucher

Abstract: This paper examines, from an emic stance, a strand of Western esoteric wisdom that offers a particular perspective on psycho-spiritual development in relation to spiritual emergence, the mutually interdependent evolution of consciousness and substance, and the functional role of human incarnation within our planetary life. The writings of Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949) and Lucille Cedercrans (1921-1984) serve as significant reference points in this effort. These teachings hold an integral view of human development in which a person’s awareness and self-identification progress from polarization in physical matter and sensation through progressively subtler gradients of emotional and mental experience, culminating in “The Path of Initiation,” a phase of psychological and spiritual expansions into deepening levels of transcendent, supramental consciousness and functioning. The esoteric teachings described here portray this path descriptively rather than prescriptively, and have significant parallels to Sri Aurobindo’s Integral vision. Both consider human life in form to be a vital and necessary phase within the larger cosmic evolution of consciousness and matter, and both are frameworks that expansively embrace the significance of the Divine as both immanent and transcendent presence. The important issue of epistemological methodology and the testing of esoteric assertions is also considered.

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