Death, Health, And Spirituality

A year after we first heard of Covid-19 in the West, we are still gripped by a sense of fear. Some people are so afraid of getting Covid-19 that they wear their mask even while they are alone in their car. I have personally witnessed one person wearing a World War II-type gas mask and home-made hazmat suit rushing into his apartment after disinfecting his mail and leaving it outside. From the reaction to Covid-19, I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that — having never thought about it before — the majority of people have just woken up to their own mortality.

TOWARDS DEATH AND BEYOND DEATH

The spiritual person — the initiate — has always had a particular attitude towards his or her own mortality, however. That is, he or she is aware of it and has always reflected on his or her mortality, viewing life as somewhere between an illusion and preparation for whatever is beyond death (heaven, parinirvana, etc.). Undoubtedly, many esotericists, in particular, have always viewed themselves as somewhat alien to this world.

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Why Three Degrees of Initiation?

Now, I know that there are other systems of initiation that have nine degrees, thirty-three degrees, or some other number. But, here, I’m going to focus on the most common, the most traditional, and, I would argue, the archetypal system: that of three degrees.

For those who don’t know, “degrees,” in this context, are rituals of initiation — into, and through a particular group or society that will convey certain teachings about how to live life spiritually and how to develop one’s Self.

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The Meaning Of Yule: Aki Cederberg Explains

Aki Cederberg is the author of Journeys In The Kali Yuga: A Pilgrimage from Esoteric India to Pagan Europe (Inner Traditions) and the forthcoming Holy Europe, as well as a musician, filmmaker, and traveler from Helsinki, Finland.

In this interview, Cederberg discusses the meaning and practices of Yule, the pre-Christian midwinter celebration which influenced Christmas and that lives on, still today, through the Christmas tree, the “Yule log” cake, and Santa Claus (related to the ancient northern European shaman). In particular, he looks at how we can celebrate Yule today, why it should be more about “mystery” than “history,” why we should be joyful, and why, nevertheless, we should remember the deceased at this time of year.

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