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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The Fear That Can Push Us Forward

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” The quote, attributed to Plato, reminds us that to varying degrees fear is with each of us from childhood.

Ordinary people feel fear. Great leaders sometimes fear. So do great warriors, great artists, great men and women who are leaders in other fields. For the higher man and the higher woman, I believe, the question is not so much can we overcome fear? but what is worth fearing? If we can answer that then we will live a life worth living. 

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