An Initiation Never Ends: A Guide To Transitions

“A true initiation never ends.” - Robert Anton Wilson


An initiation is a ritual surrounding our consciousness. As we move through its stages, we better understand our place in the world and within our minds. Initiations aid us in better understanding the contexts and environments we exist in.


Some initiations take a lifetime and others occur so quickly that we may have not noticed that they have even occurred. Initiations are subjective, flexible, and interpretive. Because of this, we must take responsibility to name the terms of each phase of an initiative.


An initiation is a mythos, a symbol, a map. An initiate is one that seeks wisdom of exterior and interior worlds through study, sacrifice, and action. This wisdom provides the initiate with the ability to grow, heal, transform themselves, and consequently the exterior world.


This process is nonlinear and more closely represents a spiral. It has an infinite rate of change and also has an ever-changing directionality.


A common analogy of the initiation can be found in the system of alchemy. Alchemical philosophy moves through the steps of transformation that create gold out of a lesser metal. We have learned how to apply this scientific approach to our psychological and metaphysical awareness,

  • Calcination - This first alchemical process is meant to “burn” away attachments to materiality through a series of spiritual actions.

  • Dissolution - Here we see a burnt material dissolve into water, thus deepening its transformation. I begin to strip away assumptions of the heart and spirit.

  • Separation - Here is the final break from self-inflicted states of resistance and repression. After releasing the mind, heart, and soul, the initiate now moves forward as a more true & self-authentic practice in our journey, albeit mystery and uncertainty still rule this process.

  • Conjunction - Here the initiate transforms into the “lesser stone”. A new consciousness begins to form in the initiate, and we become aware of the work we must do to achieve our desired wisdom or outcome.

  • Fermentation - Fermentation here is meant to create biodiversity and sustainability into the initiation to make sure it is nourished and maintained.

  • Distillation - This process leads us towards a space of compassion and acceptance of our world. It is a stage of maturity that increases our collective consciousness and creates a broader understanding of natural phenomena.

  • Coagulation - This final step of the alchemical initiation brings together all of the newly produced parts into its complete form. We often forget, at the end of a journey, that doing the work was not enough. Here, we commit to the work, thus creating a permanence out of our transition.

Take a moment and think of the most important transition you are going through in your life. Are you at the beginning, middle, or end? Locate which phase of the alchemical process you best fall into at the moment. What comes next? How can you prepare for this next moment, what does it look like? If you are at the end of a transition, which major transition will you embark on next?


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© 2018 by Rachel Elizabeth Dennis