Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Thoughts on Leaving the Esoteric Spiritual Path

Esotericist Mark Stavish writes:

The esoteric path stairway to heaven Jacob's LadderLeaving the Path

As a young member in several esoteric orders I often wondered how people could belong to something for twenty or more years and then leave.  How is it that they could not only drop [out by cancelling their] membership, but also [drop] any or all relations[hips], [and in some cases] even appear to abandon spirituality altogether?  In those days of bright-eyed idealism it was easy to confuse the work of spirituality with the vehicle of teachings, and in some instances, even the people who provided them.  Such confusion is not uncommon, but also encouraged in many circumstances.

I am sure that each of you has asked yourself the same or similar questions, and maybe you have even come to some of the same conclusions.  In Light on the Path – A Study Guide for Qabala, Alchemy & Astrology, some guidelines were provided for those running or wishing to run a study group or formal lodge.    The primary focus of those guidelines can be understood in the following statements:

  • Spiritual practice must encourage personal responsibility
  • Spiritual practice must encourage healthy interpersonal relationships
  • Spiritual practice must build upon the previous two points and encourage independence and autonomy

It is clear from many of the experiences each of us has had on the Path of Return, particularly when we walk it with others formally as  “Brothers” and “Sisters” or informally, that unless the first two points are achieved, the third — that of autonomy — cannot be fully realized.  True autonomy is not leaving your order or group in a snit, or waging flame wars against it or others. True autonomy is accepting things for what they are and recognizing your role in them, and what you want to and can do about it – if anything.  Separation is often a part of autonomy as the group mind of an organization or movement may force you out if you are not in a high degree of conformity with it.  However, how we respond to this new direction is a matter of how well we have mastered the first two points of personal responsibility and healthy relationships.  This is why in the guidelines in Light on the Path we actually encourage creating distance between one’s self and the group after a period of seven to twelve years. This starts with taking on less responsibility and concludes with an actual year off or “sabbatical” to relax and regroup before returning.

If you are wondering what kind of influence your esoteric practices may have on you, influences that are actually detrimental to your achieving personal responsibility and goals (the reason you started the Path to begin with), and healthy relationships with those outside of the group or movements, try this for forty days.  Remove all reminders of your spiritual practice from visible daily sight. Place them in storage, or if you have a set-aside chamber or oratory, leave everything there, but strip it to bare minimum. Place all initiation certificates, images, charters, special robes, into boxes, and leave nothing esoteric visible in the common areas of your dwelling – box your books as well.

Then notice what your mind gravitates towards.  What areas of your life have you left undone? These will be the areas of your life that you need to apply your attention to so that you may better express your SELF as an autonomous being.

After forty days bring everything back out and pay attention to your feelings and responses to your collection of artifacts.  Now, please be clear. During this time you may continue your periods of self-reflection, meditation, and inner work.  Simply notice what and how it changes when you truly open up the mystery that is your SELF, rather than the Lesser or Greater Mysteries of this or that tradition, order, lodge, or group.  This will help a great deal in understanding the immense power of the group mind as well as the power of suggestion.

Sometimes leaving the Path for a little while is the best way we can come to realize just how well we have mastered it and applied it to our daily life, or if it has mastered us and made us a servant of the dream.

Light on the Path – A Study Guide for Qabala, Alchemy and Astrology

Supernatural Paranormal in the Bible; the Unseen Realm

Paranormal and supernatural elements in the BibleLast week, Bishop James, the Dean of our seminarian/priesthood Holy Orders program, suggested I share the info below with you Mystery School initiates.  It looks most intriguing!

Bishop James writes: “Dr. Heiser is a fundamentalist Christian with a paranormal, esoteric, twist.  It is interesting material, and he does back up what he says with peer reviewed sources.

Here are links to the homepage and podcasts of Dr. Michael S. Heiser,  one of the developers of the well-known Logos Software and an instructor in the almost equally well-known (notice the intentional neutrality of the term) Liberty University Distance Learning Program.

One of his recent publications is The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. A major academic interest is the Divine Council (quoted from his site):

Psalm 82:1    God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.

“The term divine council is used by Hebrew and Semitics scholars to refer to the heavenly host, the pantheon of divine beings who administer the affairs of the cosmos. All ancient Mediterranean cultures had some conception of a divine council. The divine council of Israelite religion, known primarily through the psalms, was distinct in important ways.”

He also writes about the paranormal, ghosts, demons and UFO’s. He says “I am most intrigued by high technology in the ancient world, cultural diffusionism, archaeological / artifactual anomalies, and western occult and esoteric traditions.”

I encourage you to review his site:

Materials on the Unseen Realm:

And I especially encourage you to listen to his podcasts:

As you may imagine, our approach in Holy Orders III is somewhat different. Nevertheless, it is important to be informed about the different theories and approaches in the Biblical disciplines.

Please let me know what you think about his materials.  If your reply will be of interest to most seminarians, please post it to the critical thinking module.

Bishop James


The Red Tent – Dinah, Daughter of Jacob & Leah, Pagan Roots of Judaism

The Red Tent, Pagan Roots of Judaism Christo-Pagan women of the Bible
Dinah, Daughter of Jacob & Leah

The Red Tent — one of the books used in our Mystery School studies since 2001 — has become a TV movie.

It airs this Sunday night on Lifetime Television — (channel 108 on Dish TV).  We just set our DVR to record it.  I wonder if it will mirror the book nicely.  The trailer was awesome.

I also wonder if they will correctly pronounce the name of Dinah, the lead character (pictured right).  In ancient Hebrew it would be “DEE-nah”.

Some portions of the book I didn’t agree with, such as the way Rebecca and Laban were portrayed. But the overall story of the book, highlighting as it does the pagan roots of Judaism (and thus of Christianity) is very gripping.

I hope some of you Mystery School members will watch it with me. The TV movie will probably become available on Amazon streaming video and Netflix in 2015, so if you miss it the first time it airs, you can always watch it elsewhere in future.