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.

Continue reading “Why Three Degrees of Initiation?”

Life as an Initiatic Test

“The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong,” said Swami Vivekananda.

In contrast to our image of the aesthetic, holy man of India, Vivekananda placed great emphasis on strength. To be truly religious, an individual (perhaps especially a man) had to be strong. Why? Continue reading “Life as an Initiatic Test”

The Romantic Nature of Men

I’ve sometimes been criticized by my female friends for suggesting that men might be more romantic than women. Women have to remind their boyfriends or husbands to do the little things like remembering an anniversary or Valentines Day. Most men don’t want to go for walks along the beach at sunset. And they aren’t interested in dancing or flowers. But that’s not really what I mean by “romantic.”

The history of the term reveals something curious. From about the beginning of the 14th century, at least, “romance” referred to a story about a knight and his heroic deeds. Only from the 17th century did the term begin to refer to the “love story,” and only in the early 20th century was “a romance” used to describe a love affair.   Continue reading “The Romantic Nature of Men”