Mike’s Prattle


An end to this blog…

Posted by Mike on October 13, 2014

So, I’ve been realizing that the Mike’s Prattle blog has been virtually neglected for a while and I’d been waiting some time to see if I wanted to continue it. It’s really kind of a strange journey this has taken, it started out as a vehicle to talk about books and sometimes about music and then it became a vehicle to discuss incense. This part of it did really well and became it’s own blog (Olfactory Rescue Service) and then somewhere along the line it became a Golden Dawn blog. Sort of.

And then a lot of things happened in my life that got harder and harder to post about. I started thinking of the Golden Dawn more as a group thing and after some progress with the work began to feel very strongly that the system wasn’t well adapted to “self-initiation” or independent work and felt that many in the community probably agreed at least to some extent. For a while I thought maybe I could elaborate upon this and present my findings, but then I found a new teacher in a completely unique spiritual paradigm and began work with him and my progress really leaped forward, but in doing so I went from an information-heavy system to something that really wasn’t so much about information. I also began to realize that sometimes we are drawn to things because of certain triggers and I know the self-initiation/temple initiation duality of the Golden Dawn was triggering something uncomfortable in terms of belonging or a need to be part of something. At the same time, my progress has really not been about judgment at all, and thus fairly quickly I realized I didn’t want to leave behind anything that might seem like I was rejecting it or angry or anything else (and the issues were worked through anyway). Quite frankly the few people associated with the Golden Dawn that I discussed the subject and my progress with were kind and helpful with their time.

And so I moved on, not from scratch though, I felt the new system really picked off where self initiation probably couldn’t go. I’m not sure my teacher would agree with it in the slightest, but I noticed after about a year in, that there was a whole area of his work that he didn’t apply to me even though it was clear many of his students were working with that part. And so one day I was curious about why it was left out and he told me “I didn’t think you needed the mental stuff.” Given the strange experience or initiation I experienced in 2011, I found this to be numinous and graceful.

I think anyone in any spiritual discipline of some practicality would of course sing its praises and I’m no different on that account short of privacy. When I started with my teacher in September 2012, I was pretty much rock bottom. By the end of the year I was functional again. I hadn’t left behind what I experienced, I had just healed enough to see where I was with it. Those dragons or serpents in The Garden of Eden after the fall are very real. And in many ways things have actually been more challenging as time has gone by, it’s just that learning a couple very effective tools has allowed me to embrace the challenges and release the triggers rather than fearing them. But of course the person who would have wanted to share these experiences many years ago isn’t really in the same spot anymore. I am genuinely at peace. This, strangely enough, means less blogging or writing.

And so I’m convinced that if I do need to write or blog again, that it will be in a new forum. I’ll leave this blog up for what it is, there’s no reason to take it down. I thank all the readers over the years whatever reason you came from. I’m also hugely glad to close something with such a dumb blog name, but hey I came from a band who used to argue about what name to call ourselves for hours. 🙂 I may even change the name of my art gallery except that I think leaving it with the name is a tribute to a great thing, it is something that changed me greatly and eventually led me to where I could finally heal.

And this will be final entry for Mike’s Prattle. Thanks to all who read this and added me to your blogrolls. Love and Light – Mike.

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How to handle a stalker

Posted by Mike on April 17, 2014

Back in the early 2000s I had what could be considered a stalker. A stalker is someone who develops an obsessive interest in you and, after you start to insist on your boundaries and respectable, civil behavior, ends up going to severe lengths to repay that need for space via a campaign of character assassination on every front. The thing is, often noone you know can tell you’re being stalked or what it’s like to be under this kind of microscope, it often actually has to happen to you to understand what it’s like to have someone insistent on pressing every button they know about. I was lucky in that when I figured out how to deal with it, this stalker actually jumped over to one of my friends, a friend who was originally not accepting of my claims but who found out by experience what it was like.

I can tell you one thing that didn’t work with the stalker and that was engagement. People like this are so obsessed about everything that you do that they project meaning into every action you take and the meaning is all about them. If you engage, you’re feeding the beast. And usually by the time you have a stalker you have been drawn into this kind of engagement again and again and again. The only way to withdraw from this is a wall of silence and this has to be done for a really long time, sometimes years. If you slip up and fall for some bait then you’re pretty much resetting the clock.

So it really amazes me how little this approach is being taken in the Golden Dawn community of late. Particularly when this is a spirituality that prides itself on its silence and secrecy. Apparently there are all kinds of wonderful and magical secrets being kept by lodges that can’t be talked about, but unfortunately silly internecine wars aren’t one of them. This leaves the impression that all magicians do is engage in useless mental exercises and are essentially no different than anyone else. If a spirituality doesn’t teach an aspirant how to transcend this kind of nonsense, it’s going to be DOA.

One of the main arguments that seems to be trotted out in favor of continuing these flame wars is that this kind of behavior is necessary in order to ferret out who is real from who isn’t, the magician vs the impostor. That students who are about to be put through the most rigorous and difficult personal curriculum of their lives should be able to bull their way through all the difficulties, but also need to be reminded that certain people who wear the GD mantle don’t deserve it and that the whole school will suffer if this isn’t (continually) brought to the public’s attention. We have a Watcher of the Golden Dawn and now a Watcher of the Watcher and honestly I doubt there are many people who work in the system now who aren’t just embarassed or really tired of having these wars resurface every couple of months. I really can’t even fathom who all this is supposed to help. If I see a bunch of boys squabbling over technicalities on any subject my eyes glaze over and I look for the exit.

Any quality spiritual path should be leading one from the old way to the new way. If we’ve built our entire edifice on the types of arguments that are actually no different than people arguing in a music or television forum, where people will flame out over things most people wouldn’t even think about, then we’re evincing unbalanced behavior. If a stalker is up in your business, I can fully sympathize, I’ve been there and I know the behavior is very real. But feeding the stalker and talking about the stalker and even paying attention to the stalker’s business and worse yet, actually caring what they think about you, is just giving the stalker the power to continue to make your life miserable. It means they’re in your head.

Most importantly, if you’re on a valid spiritual path you know that there is a part of us that transcends mental understanding. This is that thing that words cannot express, it is that link to oneness and its voice is silence. Most Golden Dawn people understand this and I’m sure 9/10 students aren’t involved in these arguments. If someone wants to dress up and parade around like they own the Golden Dawn just let them (or if it gets serious let the law and the courts deal with it). Let students use it as an exercise in discretion. Let the people who are interested in the paradigm figure out on their own who’s an authority.

And even more importantly GD people who find themselves in a dance with a stalker really need to look at why they’re in that dance because it really isn’t about who is right or wrong. It’s about why you’d give a damn about one in the first place.

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An answer to a comment

Posted by Mike on August 16, 2013

“Outside of the potential, seeming, hypothetical nature to my previous question, I truly am interested in knowing what you are currently studying.

The GD in wrought with in-fighting and ego-dramas amongst its supposed higher members.  Occasionally, a balanced individual will speak their perspective, but that seems more often to be the exception instead of the rule.  Largely, it speaks poorly for the system.

What are the alternatives?”

A reader made the above comment on my previous post and I thought the answer necessitated a new post.

First of all the Golden Dawn is primarily a lodge system and I believe it has limited applicability to the lone practitioner. There are two sides to this. The first is that the system can be effective enough for a sole practitioner to launch one’s spiritual career and that this can be effective up to a point. The second is that joining a lodge can potentially be as much of a dead end. The existence of any organization calling themselves a Golden Dawn group does not at all ensure that it will be good for a person’s spiritual health. And since Golden Dawn lodges use oaths of secrecy there’s really no way of telling outside of the few public voices whether a lodge will be healthy for one’s spiritual progress.

On the other hand for every public figure, there’s probably 100 or more who do not engage in the type of in-fighting or flame wars we see on the internet, and so I don’t think the flame wars truly reflect on the system itself. Also, the system is applied in a variety of different ways from lodge to lodge and book to book, and each tweak to the system will have some sort of effect on how it works. My personal experience with even some of the public members of the Golden Dawn is that all of them have been immensely helpful, not even remotely unapproachable and mostly concerned with the integrity of the system, how it works properly. Every student who approaches the system does so in a damaged and fragmented state and even at its best, even if a person can get the system to work, even if a student can get the system to work in a fudged sort of manner, a person will be changed in some way. The nature of that change, however, is unlikely in any way to be comfortable or accommodating or designed to placate or reassure the student, quite the contrary, at its best the system should bring the student to a personal crisis. And likewise those who teach the system are not there to be comfortable or accommodating either. If your teacher isn’t challenging the hell out of you then they’re not really teaching you.

So I think it is of upmost importance when we’re reading various Golden Dawn bloggers and writers to discriminate and understand what the purpose is behind we’re reading, otherwise we may throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sometimes what seems negative is actually sound magical practice. We can discriminate pretty clearly when someone talks if they’re talking about the system or magic or if they’re largely involved in character assassination. Engaging those of the latter persuasion is usually what I consider tilting at windmills, even if we’re not naming names, but on the other hand sometimes engaging with them can lead to a sound magical lesson. Surely there is a lot of public, distasteful material coming from people who claim to be a part of the Golden Dawn, but there is a lot of public, distasteful material coming from people who call themselves Christian or atheist, liberal or conservative, sole practitioner or lodge practitioner.

Also, one aspect I think is of primary importance is the relationship between one’s personal ego and how the statement of a teacher in the field may impact that ego. Everybody who comes into hermetic work is far more inclined to take every statement read as personal when often that is not intended. Someone who comes out saying self initiation does not work is not personally insulting any particular self initiate, they’re making a statement of the applicability of the system to a sole practitioner. A teacher who claims that some people are not real magicians is stating something of a fact but it doesn’t necessarily mean they think you’re a real magician or not. If a person is crumbling and withering under these sorts of observations and lashing out at them, we have to assume that not a lot of progress has been made. It is the ego that needs to divide and separate and categorize.

And so the question is really how do we move towards the higher self, to a universal perspective. How do we move through the purification of our lower selves and make that transition to Oneness. And most important how is it possible to do that on our own. I’m not really sure it’s possible on our own. When we approach the realms of Tiphareth, we are approaching a perspective that is at first completely unknown to the mind and ego. If we’re only trying to figure this out on our own from books, we’re still coming from a mental perspective and the mental perspective does not in any way have a grasp on the transcendent. And so it is incumbent to find an effective teacher, one who isn’t interested in reassuring ourselves or making us feel comfortable about where we are right now. If we’ve been diligent with the work, even if we’ve been working on our own, it won’t come down to choice at some point, because the Light has been invoked and it will begin to ferret out what’s been hidden in one’s shadow. Everyone’s shadow is different in some way but spiritual work will not allow it to remain buried, at some point it will come up and have to be dealt with.

I don’t think there’s a lot in public Golden Dawn literature that deals with these crises and how to resolve them and I think that’s a huge weakness in self initiation literature. I can’t judge in any way how different lodges deal with these resolutions and it’s true that some of what you read will imply that no resolution may have actually happened. But I do think that if one has been diligent at the work, even a self initiate will be forced in some way to deal with the fallout that occurs in the Practicus and Philosophus curriculums. I’ve occasionally read public statements that intimate that there is a great deal of fallout from these grades even in lodge systems. My personal experience is that this type of fallout occurs largely because there can be a failure somewhere in the system to resolve an initiate’s emotional crises. A lot of Golden Dawn curriculums are perhaps frontloading the initiate with a lot of spiritual energy before an initiate is truly ready to deal with it, and this has the potential to cause immense mental and emotional damage. I think it is a cop out for teachers to blame that entirely on the student when there actually are systems, perhaps not Golden Dawn, that can deal with these issues effectively, but on the other hand it is still ultimately the student’s responsibility to stick with the program and not bow out when it gets difficult.

I was fortunate to find a teacher who could teach me the tools to deal with the crisis my initiation brought me to and it largely happened because it brought me to a level of pain and discomfort that was previously unimaginable. I don’t go into specifics because I don’t consider it a Golden Dawn vs what I’m doing now issue at all and I struggled greatly over the change as I’ll always consider the Golden Dawn system my home. But the efficacy of the system was unmistakable and I would have been misguided to not learn as much as I could. The system I am working in at the moment is largely unpublished for at least one of the reasons I mention above, if it’s in a book then it becomes a matter of reading and thus getting back into ego perspective which is why the crisis happened in the first place. When I started it was time to begin to work with energy and oneness and most important working on surrendering to the experience. Talking about it and describing it isn’t so much the point anymore, it is dealing with that beyond what can be talked about and described. I think in the end any diligent and devoted student, who wants this more than anything else will be led in the direction of a teacher who can help them achieve this. And I’m sure there are Golden Dawn lodges who are quietly making this happen in their own way.

Anyway I hope this helped in some way and demonstrates the way I’m thinking about all of these things of late and isn’t too inaccessible.

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Checking in

Posted by Mike on August 9, 2013

Looks like it has been three months since I posted last. I’m doing well but as always the challenges keep ramping up. I’ve been extremely blessed to be working with a new teacher who has almost completely redefined my perspectives on spirituality while still settling without conflict on the Golden Dawn base I started with. So much has been released and I find myself working more and more with that which we can only approach via metaphor. It is beautiful, terrifying, frustrating and rewarding and most of all it just strikes me with a sense of silent awe. I’ve been working with energy in what I’d call a very uncommonly objective system, one that has given me feedback in results, often when I’m completely oblivious of them until they’re unmistakeable. Each step has made sense in a way that always has some sort of objective or practical application and the work I’m doing now is something I might have laughed at a few years back or at least considered impossible.

As a result, I don’t write as much as I used to. The depths of this are always tremendously personal and when wounding is released it truly goes away and there really aren’t any choice words to explain the reshuffling. Arguments and debating, for example, are things I have no interest in anymore and I truly feel there’s just a bit too much white noise coming from the Golden Dawn community, too much tilting at windmills, or at least one in particular, even from people who really do good work. I’m also a lot more persuaded about the value of having someone personally guide you through the spiritual landscape and wouldn’t recommend self initiation in any way, at least after a point. The number of times my teacher has said “no that’s not it” is pretty high at this point and that’s not something you get on your own in any way.

So I’ve actually put away a lot of the occult books, at least for now.  Almost everything I can talk about are situations that I’m viewing from an energetic level even when they are about helping a friend, courting and dating, helping to create a more grounded workplace, etc. I’m learning that outcomes are often an ego construct in these situations and, instead, looking at life and each chapter as the next part of the journey, often even when friends are expecting certain outcomes. It often means refusing to walk away when something brings up a trigger and shelving the expectations. I’ve found that energy often weaves people’s lives together in a way that means there is work to be done and that I’m learning the tools to help facilitate these connections and the universe’s purpose behind them, and most importantly not clinging to the desire for each connection to go where my ego wants it to.

Anyway that’s likely to be it for a while and hopefully that makes some sense to readers, those that are, at least, left. Light, love and contentment to all. – Mike

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A few recent thoughts

Posted by Mike on May 9, 2013

Of all the things that have had to go bye-bye on the path, I’m perhaps the most surprised about releasing caffeine. It wasn’t even close to the hardest thing to let go of, in fact there were things before it that were harder or more psychological. But I’d say in about less than a week my health improved rapidly on a number of fronts. I wasn’t even the guy who would drink five cups of coffee every morning, one was certainly enough, but it only took a week to feel remarkably better on all accounts. At times it even feels like endorphins are being released as a result, but that’s probably just the sun coming out, the weather here has been incredibly beautiful.

Anyway I’m musing over this stuff lately as I’m reading a biography of an occultist and it is full of drug and alcohol abuse, with the idea that some supposedly high level magicians were also alcoholics, which is something I’m finding difficult to believe in any way. It’s not that I don’t understand that drugs, especially psychedelics, have been gateways of a sort to people questing for their spiritual path, but to maintain these types of habits in a paradigm where the release and healing of shadow elements is of the utmost importance seems to me to be virtually impossible, at the very least it would impede any major progress. It would seem to me that addiction issues are among the most major to be faced when one is attempting to purify one’s inner temple and in my experience most alcoholics can’t even get by on a day to day basis filled with mundane tasks let alone attempt the Great Work in any useful fashion.

Of course on the other hand there are stories of fist fights and violence, others of again supposedly high level magicians who clearly haven’t purified their emotional damage and who act out in childish and immature ways and of course some of these stories end up with people who think they own any particularly initiation current and who alienate others in the quest to control things. And once again I’m left thinking, why haven’t these control issues been faced at all? These kinds of things are just ego games and with these “need to control” issues in place, it’s not really a surprise that at times an occult current is the thing that the ego wishes to control. As if it’s a good idea to adapt the system to our needs rather than we adapting to the system. The system itself then becomes a matter of pride rather than enlightenment and instead of moving to a level where we understand that it’s the ego that is taking slights personally and move away from that, the damage then spreads to an entire group.

Constant bickering in the end is just a hallmark of where things go wrong. It’s a great indication that there is still at least a lot of unresolved mental chattering going on, that the system is still only being appraised (at best) on the mental/thought level rather than that which is above and beyond this. Inner peace is never a matter of people drawing swords over details, it is having a connection to something that ends up making all of that seem awfully silly.

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Wee status update

Posted by Mike on April 9, 2013

Have been very busy and finding it fairly difficult to explain, but I ran across this pretty wonderful quote in Josephine McCarthy’s “Magical Knowledge: Book II” that kind of explains it perfectly (I laughed out loud when I read this):

But if you rise to the challenge, then more things will be put in your path and the tasks that will be thrown your way might have no connection to the stream of magic/spirituality that you are initiated into. You become a worker in their eyes and they will give you jobs; they don’t care what robes you wear or who’s books you read. If you have a specific ability, then chances are the initiation will wake up and strengthen that ability so that it can be used.

Anyway what it is wasn’t at all what I expected and I struggled and wrestled with it a bit before I surrendered to it. It is having a surprising effect on the people close to me and my teacher is not only really good but seriously funny too. It’s crazy weird adjusting to being happy again after a couple hard years, but it really has been worth it in every way. In the end, however, I think the happy Mike will be blogging less, the kind of things I used to work through here just don’t exist any longer.

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Collection Pictures (1)

Posted by Mike on February 10, 2013

First of all, I’d like to thank the owner and inheritor of these papers. He’s busy but still finds time to keep working on this when he can and has been incredibly gracious to share them. This collection was part of a library at one point but was removed from the library when part of the collection was stolen.

Anyway the pictures in this group are from the original notebook of Golden Dawn initiate W. E. Humphreys, “Gnothi Seauton” Sunday April 28, 1901. More coming as I can find the time…

IMG_3107IMG_3108 IMG_3332

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Pictures from a Collection (intro)

Posted by Mike on January 31, 2013

When I first started working with the Golden Dawn material, I was reading an essay in the back of the New Falcon “Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic” and came across an interesting fact, that one of the cowriters shared both the last name and city of someone I knew. This is a friend I knew from mutual music interests and both of us have in common another friend who not only told me my friend was the essay writer’s son, but much later let me know that his friend was sitting on a large cache of Golden Dawn documents, many of them historical. The person who owns this collection is not of the tradition, but has been instrumental in helping continue his father’s legacy, mostly in the alchemy field. Anyway our mutual friend has put us into contact and slowly I’ve been receiving photographs of these notebooks, including an initial batch of 8 and 33 new ones I received recently. Some of the content of these notebooks include the original of W. E. H Humphrey’s personal notebook (dated 1901), what looks like a photocopy of a 1982 “loan copy” having to do with the Lotus Wand, a Feb 1924 handwritten copy of “Four States of Ordinary Prayer” and a multitude of other documents. These documents were apparently a gift to my friend’s father from Israel Regardie.  And of course I wouldn’t even have some of this information if it wasn’t for the assistance of Peregrin Wildoak and Nick Farrell whose knowledge in this field I can only continue to learn from.

Anyway the plan is to start putting these pictures up here for discussion and sharing as the owner is obviously sitting on a treasure trove and is looking for information on what he owns, but if anyone is interested, I’m also trickling some of these on Facebook, so you’re welcome to join me (Mike McLatchey) there if you’re interested in seeing these. I’m hoping to share some of these here this weekend as well, time depending.

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Me Book

Posted by Mike on January 10, 2013

The last few months have been amazing, today the best day I can remember for a really long time. For those of you have been of assistance over the last couple years, this is the first time I’ve really been able to say that things are finally improving. I have had massive changes on the personal front and perspective is growing in away that is quite simply leading to service to others and loving it. In the end, the autobiography is getting too large, too personal, too cosmic to feel like I can put a brain around it anymore.

I am still going to do the book, the same purpose, but while before the last few months I thought I’d need surveys and autobiographies to write it, now I don’t. I’ve been doing a lot of research into birth charts and their relationship to the Path of Return and working with an amazing teacher on a personal level and a lot of doors are opening now. All the graceful and astonishing resonances are bountiful now, overflowing. For months, I wasn’t sure, I got thrown a pretty huge curveball in September, but, the lense is a lot cleaner now. This is likely to mean a lot lower activity for a while here, as the writing self funnels its time for the book and service.

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Reincarnation and Emotional Wounding

Posted by Mike on December 20, 2012

Reincarnation has been the topic of the week in Golden Dawn circles, something I’ve found ironic on a personal level. This started with a post by Nick Farrell on Facebook that caught me by surprise because the argument essentially came across as a straw man, something that is muddied by the unfortunate truth that there are a lot of people who believe in a previous life event that is somehow responsible for their current place in life. The argument that reincarnation shouldn’t be the blame or focus for one’s current problems is an excellent one, a point that really should be highlighted more often. The straw man argument, however, is assuming that one reincarnation model being false or useless means more subtle models are also false or useless. It seems to me that it is reasonable to consider reincarnation as a living hypothesis, something flexible we can talk about, rather than as a statement of dogma, either pro or con.

I’ve never engaged in past life therapy nor intend to, but can imagine it’s as subject to Sturgeon’s law as much as astrology, tarot or anything else the Golden Dawn shares with the new age. In this regard what is always important is what it’s supposed to accomplish and whether this type of therapy actually accomplishes that goal. The idea is usually that we bring a negative karmic balance over from previous lives and the question is what we can do to balance it. I’m unaware exactly how past life regression leads to releasing negative patterns, but there is work out there that implies that the model helps people go onto better lives, in fact even if most of it is just fantasy and creativity it still appears to do this.

But the question is whether we even need a reincarnation model to explain negative patterns, since it’s unlikely there are patterns that can’t be explained by what has happened in this life.  In fact some reincarnation models will posit that the negative karmic balance is a pattern that is duplicated in just this way, via our childhood and subsequent experiences. You, then, don’t actually have to worry about what got you here, you operate focused solely on the pattern’s “inheritance.” The idea in some karmic models is that for whatever complex and varied reasons, you inherit a life situation that isn’t really optimal, usually because emotional wounding had reduced you to powerlessness. This is an important point because nothing else has fixed the problem. We usually want to heal because the Old World has become the problem and we come to the dawning that you have to heal yourself first. This is where reincarnation can become the illusion, all of a sudden a past life is a reason for why we’re stuck, we now have something to blame and the healing stops. But this is just a reflection of the old powerlessness, it’s the old model supposedly giving way to the new. Again is this mode leading to healing or is it just getting in the way?

In the Golden Dawn we purify ourselves for the influx of the Divine. In doing so we reach a point where your buried shit is going to get the highlighter treatment. The modality should always be how the problems get resolved. Someone blaming their past life for being stuck is finding another excuse. Someone who finds a past life therapist who managed to release them from emotional damage and harmful patterns, even if the entire idea of reincarnation is just a nightmare from an Elizabeth Clare Prophet book, is moving to a more purified place, assuming the initiate has worked through Yesod and hasn’t gotten stuck on conspiracy theories or that it “all might be true.”

It is possible to work with spiritual healing models based on the dissipation of karma and not even touch on the idea of what happened in a previous life. In my last post I touched on the idea that the Golden Dawn curriculum may be weak in the area of dealing with emotional wounding, the same emotional wounding that is often considered karmic debt in other models. Really, the debate shouldn’t be about whether or not reincarnation is true so much as whether the model can be used to dissolve blockages on an initiate’s progress. This isn’t an entry/probationer issue because a lot of emotional wounding is unconscious and won’t come up in force until the emotional body comes into play.

I would, however, posit that it is often this very emotional damage that can initiate a spiritual search even if its entirely unconscious when the search begins. Many people in healthy families and relationships will often not have that feeling “something is missing” that often drives people into alternate spirituality or aren’t as likely to hang up when working on the emotional body. Whether we call it emotional wounding or karmic debt or Bill, there is an impetus at work that is likely to continue directing emotionally damaged people to real spiritual systems. And while there are karmic and reincarnational models that can actually help with some of these problems, it seems a bit hasty to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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