Initiation is defined as "formal introduction by preliminary instruction or initial ceremony into some position, office, or society, or to knowledge of or participation in some principles or observances; admission to the knowledge, or instruction in the elements, of any subject or practice." Initiations are also tests.

To initiate is defined as "to instruct in rudiments or principles; or to introduce into any society or sect by instructing the candidate in its principles or ceremonies; as, to initiate a person into the mysteries. To introduce into a new state or society. To instruct; to acquaint with; as, to initiate one in the higher branches of mathematics." – Noah Webster

Every choice you make is an initiation.

To initiate means "to begin something new," which encompasses change from one degree of knowledge to another. Each opportunity for change is an invitation to improve your soul’s command over the self, to do better. Every choice is an initiation; thus, you face countless initiations daily.

You progress from degree to degree of ascension by tests and trials called initiations. An initiation is always an invitation to do better. You face many sets of initiations, including the Seven Degrees, the 33 Degrees, the Labors of Hercules and lesser initiations on every principle, law, degree, virtue, taint and sin.

The laws governing initiation and the initiations themselves apply to every soul embodied on earth, whether they believe in them or not. Understanding them, and the framework in which they operate, offers invaluable insight to the problems you face in daily life.


Adversaries » Read it here »

Burdens » Read it here »

Change » Read it here »

Choice and Separation » Read it here »

Credits and demerits » Read it here »

Delay » Read it here »

Enemies » Read it here »

Goals » Read it here »

Grief and sorrow » Read it here »

Illusion » Read it here »

Justification » Read it here »

Learning lessons » Read it here »

Mastery » Read it here »

Mistakes » Read it here »

Money and Material Wealth » Read it here »

Needs versus Wants » Read it here »

Pain and Suffering » Read it here »

Plans and Planning » Read it here »

Problems » Read it here »

Prosperity and Wealth » Read it here »

Secrets » Read it here »

Struggling and striving » Read it here »

Teachers and teaching » Learn more »

Tests, Trials and Temptations » Read it here »

Troubles » Read it here »

Truth of Reality » Read it here »

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Edna Lister on the Seven Great Initiations

The Neophyte initiation is Rebirth, soul awakening to consciousness of its divine origin and heritage.

The Disciple undergoes Baptism by Water, using control for the first conquering of emotions.

The Adept’s Baptism by Fire initiations deal with healing, control, the balance of the intellectual and the emotional lives, and conquering thoughts.

The Mystic initiation is Transfiguration, raising the vibratory rate of balance of the coarse, physical substance to the inner, radiant electronic or fire body.

The Master Degree is the first Crucifixion of personal will as we lay the self-will on the transverse of the Master’s cross.

The Priest requires full Resurrection of self, drawing whirling life sparks from physical glands and plexus centers to desire body chakras to lotus centers and, finally, to fire body sun centers.

The Christos Degree requires full Ascension, which is moving up in consciousness, a continually growing consciousness and awareness, increasing rate of vibration and expanding aura.

See the separate entries for the initiations of Rebirth, Baptism by Water, Baptism by Fire, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.

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Edna Lister on the General Laws on Initiation

The first initiation is to be able to enter the golden silence anytime. The silence is symbolic of Communion with God. – Edna Lister, January 20, 1933.

An initiation consists of assuming a greater responsibility for conquering self. Then you face tests to see if you are worthy and well qualified. The tests are stepping stones into the Godhead. You step up, then must attain self-mastery, conquering, giving up all selfishness, etc. – Edna Lister, January 30, 1933.

Every soul takes the same initiations,
but each must give up different appetites.

Every soul takes the same initiations, but each must give up different appetites as dictated by his record of experiences and choices. Initiations require giving up some ballast of self to reach a higher place. You are never asked to give up something that isn’t yours, nor can you lose anything by giving it up to God. – Edna Lister, The Third Degree, March 30, 1935.

Your initiations consist of many tests, trials and temptations. The Degrees have many sub-degrees. – Edna Lister, Seven Degrees, June 7, 1939.

If you focus upon the hard path over which you have traveled, then it may take several initiations to overcome. Look not on the past path, hard or easy. Seek only the future. Keep your eye on the sunlit heights above, the goal strong and clear, ever before you. – Edna Lister, November 14, 1939.

Wherever you stand when the Gates of Light close, that will be the point from which you advance, high or low. It may be a pinnacle of love and Light, but if you descend lower than your full gains in a moment of doubt, though you fulfill all initiations, you will be closed out. – Edna Lister, November 30, 1939.

The secret of success in all initiations is never to speak of blame, or permit blame to be spoken. Take all and lift all. – Edna Lister, December 11, 1939.

You are on your own during high initiations; otherwise, trials, tests and temptations would not serve to strengthen you. – Edna Lister, November 14, 1940.

Your heavenly sponsors grieve when you turn from a high initiation to retrace a path that was so hard to climb. – Edna Lister, April 1, 1941.

The final initiation is to be great enough to give all and ask nothing. – Edna Lister, October 28, 1941.

You come to an initiation where you must be separated from your mate. You may love only to love, not to possess or to make a demand for self. – Edna Lister, April 13, 1942.

Delay is a tough initiation. – Edna Lister, April 18, 1943.

When you find fault with earthly actions, God writes it in His records as a complaint against the initiation, and if you continue, He moves your initiation level back to "easy." This will bring you no progress. – Edna Lister, December 15, 1944.

You pass new initiations by conquering the same old things. – Edna Lister, September 1, 1945.

You take thirty steps of initiation on earth to unfold your soul, and three steps in the Temple of the Sun at night while you sleep. – Edna Lister, September 10, 1946.

You pass new initiations by conquering the same old things.

As you take the Mastery initiations, Light descends as you sacrifice more self, and burns away the silver cord, which is divine substance that joins all your experience into one great life pattern of the living soul. You cannot burn away the silver cord while self remains. – Edna Lister, January 20, 1947.

Every initiation opens a new basement in consciousness, and the Power seems to decline. With these initiations, you hopefully pay off spiritual debts, the memory of which you carry in the solar plexus. – Edna Lister, April 7, 1947.

Adepts can and do use soul substance by control of self and others. They do not lift self or take initiations, but are happy in their imagined control of Power. – Edna Lister, May 16, 1947.

To go through the Gates of Light, you must desire to conquer and lift self, and must take initiations. – Edna Lister, May 16, 1947.

You often face initiations where desire does not take you through. You are doing almost well enough, and that is what is on your initiation papers, almost. If that satisfies you, you need not make further efforts. – Edna Lister, October 20, 1947.

If you have asked, "Why did this happen to me," you were living according to law in part. – Edna Lister, December 4, 1947.

You take initiations along the way, and are always in danger of going off the deep end through pride. – Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

In the struggle from belief to faith, from trying to doing, come the initiations through which you cleanse "little me." – Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

Passing initiations spiritualizes you, cleanses you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Initiations can come anytime, as a thief in the night. If you are not prepared or high in consciousness, the Power is cut off lest you destroy your glands and nerves. Sacrifice of self lifts you above these temptations and initiations. – Edna Lister, Seven Churches, November 25, 1952.

Passing initiations spiritualizes you to a greater degree.

Declare everything good and discipline self not to notice and contemplate darkness. If you let little me say, "I don’t like it," you can fail in a high initiation. – Edna Lister, Success Through Divine Action, July 14, 1953.

The Power comes through when you conquer on an initiation, giving you a clearer concept of what you have conquered. – Edna Lister, Your Fire Body, July 6, 1954.

You know when you pass an initiation; gratefully, you go to God and repent, saying, "Thank Thee, Father, that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." – Philippians 4:13. – Edna Lister, Divine Mathematics, December 4, 1955.

The Elect may know by intuitive knowledge when to gird their loins for initiation. – Edna Lister, January 12, 1956.

Initiations on earth compound with those you take on the inner. – Edna Lister, March 7, 1957.

You cannot spiritually see or hear fully or go to the Source until you burn away all strands of your silver cord. You cannot burn away the silver cord until you have completed the Adept and Master initiations. – Edna Lister, May 9, 1957.

The 33 Degrees are mostly composed of initiation by temptation. They tempt you on every law in every degree from Neophyte up. – Edna Lister, June 6, 1957.

You have no outside problems or initiations to meet, but only the little self to lift and treat. – Edna Lister, June 6, 1957.

You often receive your testing and initiation after being in the golden silence, when worldly irritation, impatience and antagonism overtake you as you become a Light. If you can love God enough, you can put the annoying person ever more in the Light and Light will heal him and you, too. – Edna Lister, December 2, 1957.

Only prayer can take you to the Gate of the Mystic Mediator and your initiations there. – Edna Lister, March 4, 1958.

The Way of Initiation that the Master walked goes all the way back to the Father. The faster your initiations come, the faster you may ascend in consciousness. – Edna Lister, September 8, 1958.

Each beatitude represents a great initiation

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall Inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake." – Matthew 5:3-11. Each beatitude represents a great initiation. – Edna Lister, October 9, 1958.

The minute you make vows to conquer, your initiations begin. – Edna Lister, A Charted Heaven, October 21, 1958.

You go through initiations daily, right here on earth. Someone is always ready to conduct you, an initiator, often your worst favorite. Sometime you rebel, then you must go through it again. Even if you pass only 2 percent, law credits you for that. When you accept, no matter how much falls on you, you can clean it up quickly. No task is too hard or too long for an initiation. – Edna Lister, A Charted Heaven, October 21, 1958.

The Ten Commandments explain our obedient relation to God on the Wisdom ray. They teach us how to stand firm and worship God on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Since they teach obedience on the active principle of doing (thou shalt, thou shalt not), we call them laws of right action. Each Commandment is a key to an initiation, and the overall theme is Ascension of consciousness through obedience.

The Beatitudes are part of the law of Love canon, as revealed through the Begotten Son, Jesus the Christ. We call them be-attitudes, or attitudes of being. They teach us how to become under the Love Ray and are called the laws of right being. Beatitudes deal with Love principles like faith, hope and charity. – Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958.

The final reward for passing your initiations is a crown of Light. – Edna Lister, Visualization, May 17, 1959.

When you say, "It is finished" – John 19:30, you have completed an initiation and are ready for the next. – Edna Lister, Jesus’ Seven Last Words, June 7, 1959.

Death of the little self, of old imagination, thinking and desire, is the lowest degree of initiation under love. – Edna Lister, What Is Symbolism? October 6, 1959.

You take many initiations for awareness, acceptance, surrender, and obedience. – Edna Lister, October 22, 1959.

The final reward for passing your initiations is a crown of Light.

Initiation consists of illumination that sets a higher goal of ascension to achieve. After you have chosen to move higher through sacrifice of self, you make new vows, unconscious or conscious. Almost at once a new cycle of tests, temptations and trials opens to burn away the dross of self. – Edna Lister, October 24, 1959.

Ascension promotions are based on your auric colors and answers to initiatory questions. You can give the right answers, but your colors may flare to reveal another tendency; that is how the inquisitors judge you. – Edna Lister, I AM That Bread of Life, October 25, 1959.

New incarnations, in the same lifetime, follow each initiation passed. – Edna Lister, November 25, 1959.

When you refuse an initiation in rebellion, only a shocking blow breaks through such stubbornness and pride. – Edna Lister, November 27, 1959.

While a temptation is a heavy test, it is also a sign of advancement, like a final examination that leads to a promotion in grade or rank. Success under heavy testing brings great promotion on the inner, always a point of additional initiation. – Edna Lister, Tomorrow Is Yours, December 13, 1959.

All tests and initiations are to rid your consciousness of self and to learn to live as an ascending creator. – Edna Lister, Tomorrow Is Yours, December 13, 1959.

Placing a debt of blame on another challenges him to retake all the initiations connected with that particular event, a direct demand that he be chastened for misuse of law. You must pay double, but you cannot pay the other’s debt. If you have directly criticized another’s use of law, you precipitate any floating debt of a like nature on yourself. – Edna Lister, December 17, 1959.

That which is weightless after you pass an initiation, becomes a weight as you ascend. – Edna Lister, June 9, 1961.

Each level of initiation requires that you re-coordinate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual contact. – Edna Lister, June 9, 1961.

Each initiation you conquer loosens a strand of the silver cord to be burned away. – Edna Lister, January 4, 1962.

The Stations of the Cross are fourteen veiled mysteries. The idea, from birth to Ascension, is to awaken new brain cells to become neurons that you retain. These initiations cover the absolute minimum of what you must know, accept and incorporate into the neurons when you leave earth. You must awaken those brain cells. – Edna Lister, April 14, 1962.

When an initiation puzzles you, call on the Master immediately, to help you; he will. – Edna Lister, May 21, 1962.

You take initiations, gaining one credit after another, but when you let human nature take over, you fall down and must start again, right where you are. – Edna Lister, The Crown of Thorns, July 7, 1963.

It is a great initiation to stand, hold and know that everything will work out and to carry on each day without a doubt or concern. It is important not to be concerned about it, but to know that you will properly solve it at the right time. – Edna Lister, September 24, 1963.

You may fall and fail on material points, but once you have heard and been attuned to the music that accompanies an initiation, you cannot forget it. – Edna Lister, December 6, 1963.

When an initiation puzzles you, call on the Master immediately.

If, after hearing the law from a teacher, you deny, repudiate, or do not hold to the law within the test, the Master cannot sign your certificate for passing the initiation. He says, "Not yet," for he will not demand anything beyond your ability to bear. If you are not strong enough to hold the initiation, he holds you according to your current ability. – Edna Lister, The Sword, Your Flaming Scepter of Power, April 19, 1964.

The 33 Via Christa Degrees are initiations on how you express responsibility. Until you pass them, you can see and hear only to a certain extent. However, to ascend to the first Source, you must lift your seeing and hearing, and this requires passing the intiation of the "burning sands of the desert". At the first "burning sands," you lift desire to become one with will, which is the full awakening of the pineal body and pituitary gland into the I AM consciousness. To go higher, you must earn the right to pass the second "burning sands of the desert" for full seeing and hearing. – Edna Lister, April 29, 1964.

The penalty of regression is to repeat the work laid aside, from the beginning of the initiation. – Edna Lister, July 26, 1964.

Every laugh, every smile and every hour of rejoicing finishes past initiations with needed credits. – Edna Lister, November 28, 1964.

When you feel that you cannot conquer, but only to endure, then endure. The ability to endure leads to conquering, and you gird your loins for the next round. – Edna Lister, January 28, 1965.

You take initiations daily on outer. Friends, family, co-workers and the news media are God’s greatest initiators. The media speak more lies than all the people in the world. Make them your ladder to ascend. – Edna Lister, Order and Diplomacy, June 4, 1966.

As long as your heart’s desire is true, you will always pass your initiations. – Edna Lister, October 27, 1966.

Ascension is earth’s final high initiation. – Edna Lister, Your Mount of Transfiguration, December 2, 1968.

You must take the one thousand burnt offerings while conquering of the first 33 Via Christa Degrees, which you must take in the flesh. The thousand burnt offerings purify you for the next, or second set of 33 Degrees. – Edna Lister, February 26, 1969.

The Mystical Pathway of Initiation contains six states of consciousness: 1) A vision, 2) a resolve, 3) tests and trials, 4) three temptations, 5) the burning sands of the desert, 6) the release of Power. – Edna Lister, May 8, 1969.

Souls who refuse to take initiations must remain below the Gates of Light. – Edna Lister, November 13, 1969.

The world has lost the idea of sacrifice of self. You fold all initiations into the one thousand burnt offerings. The short Path of Masters includes a thousand burnt offerings, which you make on earth, or during initiations away from earth. They do not have to be consecutive. The first thousand days take you through seven gates of illusion; then you must go through the second thousand and even a third thousand. Everyone who goes through the wilderness of un-forgiveness and the silver-gray fields has passed the first thousand burnt offerings. – Edna Lister, November 24, 1969.

Initiation is required of those who wish to know inner and divine heavenly secrets. – Edna Lister, Laws for Divine Living, February 19, 1970.

Good manners are the first protocol and initiation of ascension.

Good manners are the first protocol and initiation of ascension. Never mention the fact that the other fellow has stumbled, but cover his transgressions. – Edna Lister, Hold High Your Scepter of Power, May 31, 1970.

Ascension comes only through initiations and conquering on the seven great Degrees: Rebirth, Baptism by Water, Baptism by Fire, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension. Ascension initiations always involve conquering, growth and expansion, unfolding the soul powers that are yours because God has made you in His image and likeness. You are always opening and developing your endocrine glands and brain cells. – Edna Lister, Perfect and Glorious Ascension, June 14, 1970.

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Six Laws to Carry You Through Initiations

1. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." – Matthew 6:33: "I accept" will take you through here, but you must stay up in the Light, have courage and joy.

2. "Agree with thine adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him." – Matthew 5:25: The adversary is your Pandora’s box. You cannot take offense at anything you already have in your box, and you can always pull something out to match it. Praise your tongue and declare it will only say the sweet things. Bless your eyes or every part of your body, for what you bless increases.

3. "What is that to thee? Follow thou me." – John 21:22: Every time you criticize someone, you pay their wrong-doing and your credits are then added to their balance. Lift the soul substance of everyone else. The other person may be living right for his degree and kind.

4. "Abstain from all appearance of evil." – 1 Thessalonians 5:22: If you do not say things others will repeat, you do not have to worry. Avoid idle words. Do not do things you should avoid. If you are caught in an awkward position but are really innocent, they will not be able to connect our name and face to the incident and this will be wiped from their memories.

5. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." – John 12:32: Reach out with arms of love and declare everything lifted. Send children out into the world with a pillar of fire, without fear, but with fire. You can protect anyone. Don’t ask how long or when, just know that when you have lifted enough darkness whatever you desire shall be added.

6. "This is Good! Let there be Light!" – Genesis 1: But you must practice to put this into expression. – Edna Lister, A Charted Heaven, October 21, 1958.

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You will by no means get out of [the prison of self] till you have paid the last penny [lifted the last taint]. – Matthew 5:26.

He who hears and immediately receives the Word with joy, yet has no root in himself … when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately he stumbles. – Matthew 13:20-21.

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. – Matthew 26:41.

Everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. [Salt is incorruption.] – Mark 9:49.

Some receive the word with joy but have no root; they believe for a while but fall away in time of temptation. – Luke 8:13.

Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. – 1 John 4:1.

He who hears the Christ’s word and believes in Him who sent him has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. – John 5:24.

This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. – 1 John 5:3.

Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life. – John 6:27.

Christ has spoken to us that we might have peace: In the world we will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, the Christ has overcome the world. – John 16:33.

Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4.

We can lay no other foundation than that which is laid, which is Christ. If we build on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each our work will become clear; for the day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test our work, of what sort it is. If our work endures, we will receive a reward. If our work is burned, we will suffer loss, but we ourselves will be saved, yet through fire. – 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. – Ephesians 4:4-5.

Test all things; hold fast what is good. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

Be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of Christ, fulfill your ministry. – 2 Timothy 4:5.

Every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. Because of this he is required as for the people; so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God. – Hebrews 5:1-4.

After he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. – Hebrews 6:15. {When you patiently endure, you obtain the promise.}

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I AM tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. – James 1:12-15.

Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. – James 1:2-3.

We count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end the Lord intended – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. – James 5:11.

Coming (to Christ) as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:4-5.

Even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God). – 1 Peter 3:21.

Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. – 1 Peter 4:12-13.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of initiation: Latin initiationem "participation in secret rites," from initiatus, "originate, initiate," from initium, "beginning."

Come to the Edge

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
And they came
And he pushed
And they flew.
– Christopher Logue


Logue, Christopher. "Come to the Edge," New Numbers. London: Cape Publishing, 1969. 65-66.

Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Webster, Noah. "Initiate," Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. New York: S. Converse, 1828. This work is in the public domain.

Related Topic

See Formal Initiation