" . . . our individual lives, and every happening of those lives, is an integral part of the cosmic whole; it shows us our individual relationship to that whole."
says Dion Fortune in the book "The Work and Training of an Initiate." She also goes on to say that it takes 3 lives of steadfast effort to find the path on initiation. The more I read of this book, the more I feel that I am more than likely on life number 1, as the more I discover, the more I realise the little that I know!
The above quote stuck me in a powerful way, as I read it, as my part in the universal plan has been something that I've been thinking about in recent days. As we look at photographs of Nature in our back gardens, I've come to see that any person can be a lover of Nature, of the beauty that surrounds us, the wonderful flowers, trees, plants and incredible views from places of natural beauty, but few of us take the next step into not only appreciating but also experiencing that we are part of Nature. Part Of The All. We are not just Nature lovers, but Nature People. We not just observers of all that is around us, but we are intrinsically connected to all that is around us - we are part of the Cosmic Whole and we have a direct relationship with the Cosmic Whole. This is what is meant by on the Web of Life. We each have our place on that web, and we each send out our own unique vibration from our place on the Web of Life. More so, that vibration is required, it's needed, as we are interconnected to everyone else on that Web, and they need the vibration that we send. This is all part of the co-dependency of life.
Life, death and rebirth are part of the natural cycle of life, and as Nature People we move beyond the casual observation of all that surrounds us and understand that as we witness the happenings without, so we experience the same within. This also takes us to understand that "as above, so below." The 'little deaths' are required in order for us to move on in what I tend to see as a continual process of initiation. We are always spiraling in or spiraling out, as initiation isn't something that we experience as a one off, or as part of a series of 3, but something that is a continual part of our spiritual development.
Dion uses a lot of Christian imagery and uses a number of direct references to biblical themes in this book (I'm only just into it, so this isn't a review as such) and I struggle with this to a degree, because of my upbringing. It's clear that she never let go, completely, of her Christian roots. She talks a lot about triumphing over 'the flesh' and the need for the serious student to surrender the 'things of the senses' in order for the Higher Self to manifest. Whilst I struggle with the Christian concept of this, it does make sense to me when I see it in relation to the laying down of the Ego. It also makes sense to me when I see it as a path of 'little deaths' as Amber K talked about in her little book 'True Magick.' There is a call to sacrifice, there is a call to dedication. If we want to know that sense of true connection to the one Divine Life, then we have to live in accord with that one Divine Life and therefore our own motives are called into question and there has to be a process of 'sieving' before we can move on as true Magickal people. Dion talks about Westerners struggling with this because we see death as an ending, as opposed to a new beginning. Death is but a sunset, she says, to be followed by a new day. The laying down of our own desires and motives is the sunset before the process of initiation when we begin to know and experience the wonder of the Higher Self manifesting and through this knowing what it truly means to be connected to the One Divine Life. It's powerful stuff!
Dion talks of this process lifting us into a place of "serener air, clear of the accumulated heap of daily pettiness that threatens to bury us". I can relate to that statement so very closely!
Dion also talks of two paths, one being what she calls the path of the mystic (and she says that this path does not teach reincarnation) and the occult path. In this she seems (and remember that I'm only part in, so I may not be clear on her thinking at this stage) to separate religion and magick. As I've said before, I'm clear that magick can operate outside of a religious framework, there's no doubt about that, but for my path, magick happens within a clear spiritual and religious practice.
There's loads to draw from here, and I think I'm only just beginning to appreciate how it all fits together!