The Neophyte, the First Sacred Degree

  A neophyte is a beginner or a novice, a recent convert to a belief; a novice of a religious order or congregation. The term neophyte has classical roots. It traces back through Late Latin to the Greek neophytes, meaning newly planted or newly converted.

“The Neophyte forever struggles with new beginnings, and the appetitive soul.”—Edna Lister

  The Neophyte is the first or beginning of the ancient and sacred Seven Degrees of Ascension. As a Neophyte, you vow to maintain your body as a fit dwelling place for your soul. Vows to conquer the self are the first steps in self-mastery. The Neophyte’s initiation is Rebirth in consciousness.
  Acceptance is the Neophyte’s keyword. The first great power of being, under acceptance, is conquering the forces working in the lower self, which includes the subconscious mind, or appetitive soul consciousness.
  A neophyte is a beginner, a novice, and thus, easily discounted or overlooked by those who are more experienced in a given area. Yet, with every change in heart or mind, in habits or attitudes, you become a Neophyte again. Every Master, Priest and Christos knows this, yet few who are primarily living as Adepts really believe it.
  A law states that The end is contained within the beginning. This should serve as a caution to all Neophytes against too rapid self-advancement. The care with which you begin all processes in life dictates the durability and final quality of your endeavors. The Neophyte Degree corresponds to the path of self control, which requires discrimination in choices and good judgment.
  A Master’s advice to all Neophytes begins with the Golden Rule. Further, resist the urge to vicious competition. Never lie or cheat, for by doing so, you will destroy your success later.

Edna Lister on the Neophyte Degree

Silence is the first vow of the Neophyte.–Edna Lister, Devotion, January 19, 1935

As a Neophyte, you have no business speaking authoritatively on topics about which you know little or nothing, such as ascension through the higher degrees. A boastful Adept, however, believes that he is an expert if all he has done is to read an article or book about it.
  The Neophyte learns that the end of illusion and self-delusion comes into view when you sacrifice everything except speaking from experience, and only when directly asked. Hold your silence. What I see (envision, imagine), I become. What I hear (listen to), I become. What I declare for someone, I become. How I act, I am.—Edna Lister, Devotion, January 19, 1935

The Neophyte’s laws include breathing, diet, water, rest, and exercise. If you neglect your Neophyte vows, you block your glands.–Edna Lister, Diet, November 30, 1935

The first cycle in life, ages one to seven, is the Neophyte stage, in which the infant grows to childhood and begins forming his or her individuality. During this period the appetitive soul takes complete possession of its body to prepare for the self-centered development spanning adolescence.–Edna Lister, The Secret of the 49, September 21, 1936

We all pass through different degrees while on earth, to return to God. The Neophyte Degree symbolizes The Search that the soul conducts while standing in the outer court of the Temple—outside you, in the world. The Neophyte deals with appetitive soul’s earthy expressions, which include your physical equipment, desire, motive, will, and your conscious individuality. Learning to control your emotions, you lift your desires. You search outside yourself to gain experience, which will lead you back to God. The Neophyte’s initiation is the needed continual Rebirth in consciousness.–Edna Lister, Illumination and Realization, September 25, 1937

The Neophyte must turn from the sarcophagus of self and give up forever those things that lead to death. Seeking wisdom and true understanding, you find kindness of disposition, and reap the ripeness of experience. You repeat this process, giving up more fully those things that lead to death, each time seeking wisdom and truth more eagerly, partaking more deeply of love and generosity of spirit, becoming more mellow in the graces of heart.–Edna Lister, The History of the Great Pyramid, October 30, 1939

All souls are subject to seven great Vows of Ascension, which you must take as part of the seven great Degrees of Initiation, the Neophyte, the Disciple, the Adept, the Master, the Priest and the Christos.–Edna Lister, Vows, January 7, 1940

Take all the time you need to balance yourself under law. Devote sufficient hours for the physical Neophyte vows, which include the laws of breathing, diet, water, rest—diversion, recreation, sleep, and exercise. Neophyte vows also include mental stimuli and diversion, social life, and service, not just work. You may have already learned your lesson, but your business now is to review it, extracting all the good, stringing every joy into a brand-new strand of pearls, while deliberately casting the chaff, the hurt and grief that self cherishes into the consuming fire of the Mother’s love. Let nothing remain underneath the surface in the appetitive soul and subconscious to pull you down later.–Edna Lister, June 5, 1944

As a Neophyte, initiation requires you to finish perfecting your obedience to all laws of the first 33 Degrees, especially those of the first thirty that you take while embodied on earth.–Edna Lister, November 2, 1944

The goal of the Neophyte is self-control of the little me in the Land of Egypt, the land of self. No one gets away with anything. Everything catches up with you, is unveiled, and told publicly.
  Seven Degrees to transformation progress from self awareness to soul consciousness: The first three degrees, the Neophyte, Disciple, and Adept all practice varying degrees of self-control. The Mystic stands at the center point of balance, the fulcrum between self and soul. As a Mystic, you commune directly with God, needing no other intervening agency, creed or dogma. The final three degrees, the Master, Priest and Christos all deal with soul conquering through absolute responsibility, service and surrender of the self to the soul. You work on all seven degrees always.–Edna Lister, April 13, 1945

Each soul is as important as his desire is perfect. No one is small. No one is great. Every soul is a Neophyte at all times, for there are millions of realms and laws.–Edna Lister, August 1, 1945

In training a Neophyte, tell them: Do not expect your way to be made smooth. From now on, you must do and accomplish many tough tasks, but you will be going up in ascension every step of the way. You cannot tear yourself out of your past life like pulling a tree up by the roots. Wait for the right moment, watch for the green light, and work it out without an open rupture on any of your lines of Light, which includes all your relationships.
  Conquer where you are. Conquer circumstances and conditions, day by day, which means the conquering of self. You will understand better as you go along daily, as you begin to study, ponder and think. Finally, you will grow into the wisdom necessary to do what you must do. All will follow—you cannot do everything all at once. Your difficulty is that you would like to bite it off and chew it all at once. Every month you will find yourself doing better. As you see, ponder and think, you will release the Power to lift in the place whereon you stand.
  You must lift, not merely cut off the anchors to the past. What would you think about a cowboy who lassoed the carcass of a cow and dragged that stinking mess wherever he went? Your dead carcass is your past, and you are dragging it. Every time you go over it emotionally, it smells worse. Let the dead past bury its dead. Lift the dead carcass and live your lift high in consciousness. You are just beginning. You have been, until now, gathering the equipment and tools for your life’s work. It will take you a while to sharpen them and master their use, but you can begin using them and improve as you go.
  Oh, if I could show you how far you can go by staying on the Path of Light. You can go to the highest point of your greatest soul vision, if you follow the Light. You have no obligation except to live by your highest vision. If you desire perfection, if you keep the fire of desire burning, if you make even one small step daily toward that desire for fulfillment, the way remains open. It would close only if you lost your desire for service. A position does not honor any man. The man must honor the position to hold it. You increase your good by blessing and praising it. Thank God that I already have perfect soul vision. You must practice this.
  Father, here I am. I know You want me as Your servant. I know You want me to come before Your altars. I know You want me to remember in the morning. Thank You!
  Go to bed saying this, knowing that you will remember where you have been during the night. Do this in unconquerable faith that cannot be touched, the faith of a little child, with no question or doubt. Choose what child you’ll be each hour in your praise, attitude, and expectancy.
  Declare, I am now fully expectant that all good things of the Lord are mine right now. I shall continue to earn this good by holding right attitudes, by thinking right thoughts, by giving right love. Which way is right? God’s way. Be joyous!—Edna Lister, August 12, 1945

When you become a Neophyte in a high Order (the Elect, for example), you do so without the pressure of full responsibility of that high Order. Desire is one thing. Performance, practice and holding are another. To progress, you must be ready to pay all debts, to carry all blame, all burdens, never seeking selfishly, or asking credit. It means maintaining a complete silence about self, working quietly and constantly to perfect the soul, letting go of all else, with no desire to possess either people or things.–Edna Lister, March 5, 1947

Service to God is nothing menial when you remember that God is all, everything below as well as above. You are always a Neophyte at one degree or another. As a Neophyte, you can expect to be assigned to the bathroom detail and the kitchen police occasionally. Yet you must not allow yourself to become entangled in earthly duties to the exclusion of God-consciousness. You ascend by lifting everything up to God, even as you dash through home or office, recognizing what is out of place, picking up and repositioning things, etc.–Edna Lister, Learning Greatness Through Service, March 9, 1947

The five degrees of the Neophyte vows include: Proper breathing (hatha yoga), diet, water, rest (which includes diversion, recreation and sleep) and exercise.–Edna Lister, May 4, 1947

Neophyte vows include diet, rest, exercise, recreation, and sufficient water. A thousand days of sublimation open the pineal and pituitary glands, balancing the plexus centers. You must raise the vibration of all glands and centers in unison; otherwise, the Power impacts the stomach, heart, lungs and other organs, creating an imbalance.
  The minute you look up, you begin making a thousand burnt offerings. The thousand burnt offerings are a thousand days of perfection—37 lunar months, three years and one month—of complete sublimation, sacrifice of self with never a negative thought. When you have lived in complete perfection for that long, you will see and hear spiritually. If you descend after a day, you must start again.
  The thousand burnt offerings lead to 144 steps, obedience to the twelve virtues, and lifting the twelve vices to complete the 33rd Degree. You are still polishing your Neophyte vows, though you climb far in ascension in the Kingdom of God.–Edna Lister, May 19, 1947

Every time you conquer through sacrifice, by overcoming self and appetites, by accepting responsibilities, and pass initiations, you earn a new degree. You add new stars to the Father’s crown with the redeemed soul substance you lift and ascend. When you dishonor the body, which is the temple wherein you serve the Father, your disobedience to the first vows of the Neophyte—care of the body—fogs your mentality. To register your vows from the highest consciousness, you need a perfect vehicle. One of the greatest stumbling blocks that evil created was dishonoring the physical body, which started illness in mankind.–Edna Lister, December 1, 1948

Everyone is ascending, at least in part. Sometimes you recognize your soul debts and help another. At other times, you don’t see them and may withhold aid. Helping the other fellow lift, no matter what, is the Christos work. When you work from this standpoint, you become a Christos Adept.
  As a Neophyte, you hear about ascension of the body. The Disciple talks about it and tries, haphazardly. All control, manipulation and formulaic demonstration is under the Adept Degree. The minute you surrender to the Almighty Father, you become a Mystic.–Edna Lister, October 2, 1950

The Seven Degrees include the Neophyte, Disciple, Adept, Mystic, Master, Priest and Christos. Earning a doctorate requires having passed undergraduate school and all the lesser courses. Similarly, you can enter the major Seven Degrees only through the seven lesser sub-degrees under each. For example, to enter the Order of the Master, you must first become a Neophyte Master.
  Appearances are deceiving. For example, an illiterate Neophyte can be living a Christos life. You pass through 49 Degrees from Neophyte to reach Christos, while you take 144 steps as you cover the 33 Degrees. Events happen for no apparent reason when you are taking the final three Christos Degrees, which include the ten Commandments on the emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Desire for perfection takes you through the final degrees. The minute it comes hard, remember the axiom, As above, so below.—Edna Lister, June 14, 1951

No one can be truth without doing the truth. Most people say, I’ll try. Trying is the neophyte stage between thinking about truth and being truth. Yet you must go through the interval of trying until you convince the selfish appetitive soul to just do it. You fumble through these stages blindly until you finally realize that this means you.—Edna Lister, June 17, 1951

The Neophyte Degree represents the central building faculty in consciousness, which is desire, and represents illumination for the Elect. To avoid or disobey Neophyte laws of body-building is giving in to the appetitive soul and subconscious mind. All thoughts of physical body limitation are self trying to control and maintain subconscious dictatorship. A lack of planning is subconscious dereliction. All disobedience to law is self, the traitor within the gates trying to take charge when it should follow.–Edna Lister, September 1, 1952

As you ascend, you will find your spoken word surprisingly speedy in bringing results. Therefore, use no idle words. This is a must. Move up in consciousness first and never go down. The time has come when you must put off swaddling clothes and put on garments of Light. You cannot retire from, escape from, or resign from your responsibilities. Thus, you have no place to go except Home or into the abyss. Until the love of God reaches into your mind and heart completely, you cannot enter the Holy of Holies. When love reaches high enough, the door will swing open as you utter the one word and you shall have finished your Neophyte apprenticeship.–Edna Lister, October 28, 1954

You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you and you will pay your vows.—Job 22:27. Memorize this. Heed it. You will pay your vows and remember that Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.—Matthew 5:18. The “all” includes all outer debts. Otherwise, you return to the first step on the ladder of ascension. You may earn everything again by prayer, sacrifice of self and continuing to earn your way each day in devotion. Until you have paid all outer debts as a son or daughter of earth, you remain only a Neophyte.–Edna Lister, April 14, 1956

Today is a great opportunity. This morning we have a choice about whether we will tune into the miraculous vibration of Light from above, or to the rumblings of earth, like the union meeting next door. [Edna Lister was lecturing in a hotel conference room.] One great Neophyte initiation is to maintain concentration and focus in a room where dozens of languages are being spoken all at once. The noise echoes and reechoes.
  Combinations of rates of vibration create forms. You hear a low vibration with your ears, but listen to God with your brain cells. Ascend to the Oversoul star, up through the top of your head so that the higher vibrations fall on your brain cells. This is part of your protective sheath on earth. Like viewing a perfectly still reflecting lake, if you ascend high enough, you can scarcely tell which is real, the tree itself or its reflection in the clear, still waters of your consciousness.–Edna Lister, October 21, 1956

The 33 Via Christa Degrees are mostly composed of initiation through temptation. They tempt you on every law in every degree from Neophyte up. In the school of life, you work on all steps in every degree simultaneously until you graduate 100 percent. In a mundane school, you pass in sequence, grade by grade. Eventually, you must take initiations that summarize all your initiations though the years. You cannot resign from your position.–Edna Lister, June 6, 1957

Every time you pray as a Mystic, you touch the higher degrees, even if you are still a Neophyte primarily.–Edna Lister, October 15, 1957.

When your vitality is low from disobedience to ordinary Neophyte vows, giving you full protection is difficult for your guardian angels.–Edna Lister, October 27, 1957

The Neophyte hears about it at the sacrum plexus center, which awakens desire in the Land of Egypt. The Disciple talks about it from the splenic center. The Adept does it, while attempting to control it, from the navel center. The Mystic goes to God alone at the heart center, which is the respiratory rate of balance among the three lower and three higher centers. The Mystic communes with God in the silence.
  Only prayer will take you through the Gates of Light to become a mediator. The Master begins to speak the creative Word of command and responsibility at the throat center. The Priest serves God by ministering to the world, seeing all as good at the brow center. The Christos practices daily ascension at the crown center.–Edna Lister, Conquering Inner Space, October 15, 1957

Rajah Yoga teaches the loss of identity to achieve cosmic consciousness. At the Neophyte sub-degree of the Christos, you are asked to give up identity as a great initiation. Personality and form always exist, but Oriental philosophies and religions do not teach them as such.–Edna Lister, December 9, 1957

The 33 Degrees of the Via Christa span your life from birth to ascension of soul through conquering. Each Zodiacal Division has 33 Degrees, thirty on the outer and three on the inner. The 30th degree has eighteen stiff initiations for conquering self. You take these initiations on earth through the Seven Degrees, and each includes a set of 33. The Neophyte experiences the initiation of Rebirth. In the lower degrees you are always in danger of living by the creature urges of eating, sleeping and mating.
  The fourth degree provides the respiratory rate of balance among the lower and higher centers. In the first three degrees ascending, you are concerned with control of others, control of self and control of power. By the time you reach the fifth degree, you begin to understand the need to crucify will, to give up the self-will and become the servant of all Power.
  You crucify self an inch at a time until you learn to conquer by soul. Complete resurrection of self to soul comes when you mate selfish will and desires to become one in ascension. First desire flirts with will until they become engaged and travel where will directs. Then desire reawakens and returns the ring because will travels too hard a road. However, it is inevitable that you ascend. Finally, an illumination strikes and you complete the first marriage of the Lamb.–Edna Lister, The Wheels of Ezekiel, December 17, 1957

The Neophyte is developing a perfect physical body by keeping his vows.–Edna Lister, January 2, 1958

The Neophyte initiation is Rebirth. The first petals of the thousand-petaled crown lotus open during conversion. Every conversion is a Rebirth.–Edna Lister, February 13, 1958

The Neophyte Degree deals with negative hearing, when you indiscriminately accept what you hear, shut off the beautiful and take in only the negatives.–Edna Lister, March 4, 1958

You must eventually fulfill any Neophyte vows you have neglected. You have thought about them, talked about them and neglected some, but must labor to pay them to establish a strong metabolism. Stand in the Light, without descending, until you have become balanced, and your personal law of being is to dwell in the right, the true, the just and the good. Strive to obey your well-planned personal laws of health, diet, water, etc., doing each automatically. You may not allow this to degenerate into prejudice, opinion, or dogmatic application of your Neophyte vows. Become the vows, do them and forget it.
  You achieve such perfection only by forgetting self, reaching for the stars and living in a high state of consciousness. You are on your path of destiny, and must hold to it undeviatingly. Your heritage is the strength of God’s strength, the health of God’s health, the wealth of your Father’s wealth, and the glory of God’s glory. Accept it and live it, think it, sleep it, eat it, work it, walk it. At no instant may you let your self sink into the body again. When you live at the heart of your Oversoul, using every faculty, every latent talent, you cannot avoid fulfilling your destiny.–Edna Lister, June 6, 1958

You must observe the Neophyte vows, especially the laws of breath, before you can free the vital centers in the Land of Egypt of self and deliver soul to the heart center in the Promised Land. Once you achieve balance between inner and outer at the heart center, you begin crossing out all self at the throat center. This opens the mystical third eye at the brow center. Then you are ready to enter the Garden of Eden for the first marriage of the Lamb, mating selfish desire with God’s love and self-will with God’s will. Selfish desire includes covetousness. You must lift it completely before this marriage may take place.–Edna Lister, November 4, 1958

You can open new brain cells only through obedience to Neophyte vows.–Edna Lister, December 1, 1958

As a neophyte, you ascend from faith in God to having the faith of God.–Edna Lister, Make Desire Your Glory, June 14, 1959

In ascending the physical, an exquisite agony heralds every life spark that is indrawn. You can take it as ordinary pain or exalt it into pure ascension. Remember, each cycle builds on the last one, and where you have dug a ditch, you are apt to fall in it on the next round unless you have filled it with the love substance of the Almighty.
  God has given you the power of wise choice, and the first choice of all is up or down in consciousness, which sets the keynote for your next creation. Under ascension, you find that many laws rightly become outmoded, to be superseded by higher law, which requires much more rigid discipline of the self.
  So, remember one thing in your ascension — if you think you have received a law, always use this rule to test it—Does this law demand from me a more rigid adherence to the redeeming of time, the fervor of my prayers, the hours I spend rejoicing, and the quality of it? If this is not so, put it in the baby class as a kindergarten law, not for you.
  Do not put a law on the back of a neophyte that will impose a burden too great for him to bear, causing him to make vows that he inevitably must break for lack of experience, imperfection of desire, and a vibration not yet raised high enough nor tempered to fit high vow demands.–Edna Lister, October 30, 1959

The Neophyte law of acceptance: I accept all that comes to me as mine. I earned it in past lives, created it in this life, or it is something of darkness that only I may lift for my Father; therefore, I do accept and lift all that comes unto me. I now accept my responsibility to lift all that comes to me, which entails these three things: assuming all responsibility for all darkness around me, responsibility to sacrifice self and the responsibility of full surrender to be the servant of all Power.
  I now observe every detail of my life. I am alive and alert to observe above and below. As I use observation in my outer life, according to my practice of observation, exactly so shall I see and hear in heaven. You can open the higher mental faculties of logic, reason, discernment, discrimination, and discretion only under acceptance.
  The laws of the Neophyte include breathing, water, diet, rest, and exercise. Rest includes sleep, recreation, diversion and all activities that inspire and quicken, including reading and painting. When you coordinate and apply these laws in their proper relationship, you balance yourself physically.
  Pythagoras did not permit students in his esoteric mystery school to speak or to comment for several years, which trained them to wipe the interpretations, opinions, and beliefs of the outer world from their minds. Every Order has its Neophytes, as a stage of preparation necessary to erase preconceived opinions, prejudice and intolerance. This training is still used, for example, military basic training. Also, diplomats attend special preparatory schools to learn diplomatic language and comportment, and to separate them from previously learned interpretations.–Edna Lister, Powers of Being, June 23, 1959

The Neophyte Degree on the Via Christa deals with the realities of religion in life. Behind the truth of appearances lies the absolute truth of God’s reality. The term, religion, comes from the Latin, religare, meaning to bind together, to bind back, to collect. You bind your self together in God’s reality, forsake the truth of appearances and redeem all your invested soul substance from the world.
  You undergo long and arduous preparation to become master of your fate and captain of your soul. The Neophyte candidate for Ascension prepares for full conquering through five steps: 1) Wear protective, conquering Light as a garment. 2) Comprehend the Fatherhood of God over all races of mankind. 3) Comprehend the Brotherhood of Man as encompassing all races of mankind. 4) Comprehend true equality as the equal right of all souls to become, conquer, and return to God. 5) Develop and maintain a childlike attitude of simplicity and sincerity.–Edna Lister, What Is Symbolism? October 6, 1959

The first Degree is the Neophyte, whose vow is to the make the body a fit dwelling place for the soul. All physical vows—such as diet, rest, exercise, breathing and drinking sufficient water—go with this degree, and you must hold and keep them through all later initiations. An angel with a flaming sword (Genesis 3:24) stands at the gate to the Garden of Eden (the head and higher creative centers) to turn the soul back to earth for losing soul substance.
  Sometimes one who has finished all the higher degrees is only here to polish Neophyte vows, yet spends an entire incarnation trying to conquer bodily limitations. One can be living on earth by the final three high Christos sub-degrees and still run into difficulty by creating more spiritual debts throughout the incarnation. We are polishing all degrees in this lifetime, and the final test is the ascension of the life sparks in the outer physical sheath. The only way you can destroy your lesser vehicles—cellular-physical, molecular-desire and atomic-mental — is by deflating the atoms. Breath is the only way you can inflate the atoms, so breathe deeply to build the body.–Edna Lister, The Mystical 33 Degrees, October 13, 1959

Neophyte: On the first breath of aspiration, you add imagination to will. Here you begin to live. The ninth sense of intuition leads into all truth. If desire is off-course, you fall back into the five senses. Each sense has its own fibers stored in the midbrain in bundles. You listen to God with your brain cells. The Neophyte hears about God and accepts, according to his ability to give up self.–Edna Lister, September 24, 1959

You may not indulge food and rest fetishes, or complexes about Neophyte vows. Each has its place and none should replace worship; to place any of these first is to worship it. When you cannot fulfill a Neophyte vow because of life’s interference, call upon more Light. You must live from the golden bowl as your headquarters of life, not through the body. When you put food, as a diet fetish or as a gourmet, in first place, it is your worship.–Edna Lister, January 15, 1961

It behooves the Elect, from the Neophyte to the highest creator god on earth, to become responsible for the rest of the world. Those who do not want to ascend are being forced up beyond their ability to stand or hold, lifting an evil past and present. This is too great for them to understand or to know what to do with. Therefore, the only way for the Elect to finish the work is to become responsible for the rest of the world. You must be responsible in your own right, not expecting or demanding one thing of another, especially your loved ones. They, too, are free because you are paying their debts with love, compassion and joy.–Edna Lister, August 30, 1961

Each cell should be in harmony with every other cell, synchronizing. Otherwise, you may become ill from confused thinking, conflicting desires, and uncontrolled imagination, and must ask for healing. A doctor may prescribe a diet that you do not like. If you fight it, your mental and emotional conflict will create spleen, liver, and stomach upsets, and headaches. Add the guilt complex that results from breaking of Neophyte vows, and you disrupt the attunement between the body’s cells and the glands of the head—the hypothalamus, the pineal body, pituitary gland, etc. If you do not dedicate yourself to staying with it, you fall off the health routine. A diet only helps if you truly want it.
  You must reintegrate your every life spark into the Light from which you descended. Healing is a rebirth or descent of Holy Spirit that sets you afire from above and changes the physical metabolism to a more optimal state. Light descends on three deep breaths that start the mental, desire, and cellular glands and nerve centers whirling to bring illumination. Illumination is a series of healing experiences that reestablish your physical body’s metabolism in its natural rhythm; illness results from falling from your own rhythm.–Edna Lister, The Void and the Light, June 18, 1963

Novices, neophytes must become letter-perfect in their knowledge of creed and dogma, what we would call the lesser mysteries today. We are Neophytes who are learning spiritual law.–Edna Lister, The Mysteries of Egypt, May 5, 1964

The 144 faculties are the 144 virtues that include the twelve Labors of Hercules and 33 Degrees at every level.–Edna Lister, December 16, 1965.

The higher you go, the harder the penalty, the greater the debt and the force of a dropped line. If you do not renew your Neophyte vows, you stop any further ascension. You may not retire, but should expect change as you begin your Neophyte vows on the next higher plateau.–Edna Lister, February 3, 1966

The 33 Degrees are not like grades in school. You must keep the Neophyte vows of breathing, water, diet, rest, and exercise throughout the 33 Degrees. Further, on each of the Seven Degrees, you must take a set of 33 Degrees to clear away taints. The first great soul power of being is the Neophyte’s power to conquer the self. This is the hear about it stage, the wavering period. One day, you accept and obey, the next day, you refuse and fall backward. The first Neophyte initiation is Rebirth from old opinions, fears and doubts; some get stuck on psychology here.
  Once you begin these degrees, God puts a platform of Light under you. You can punch holes in it, but it remains as protection. Self mastery begins with learning discretion, to bridle the tongue. This is the point of conquering emotions. You cannot pass this degree on self control, but must choose soul conquering. At this point, you hear yourself say, I’m trying! often followed by, Can’t you see, I’m doing the best I can?!—Edna Lister, Eight Great Powers of Being, October 25, 1966

The Neophyte’s vows deal with earth expression of your equipment, your motive, your will and your desire. All four are different phases of consciousness, from the individual and personal to the Godlike and universal.–Edna Lister, The First Seven Magnitudes, November 8, 1966

You are destined to go through the transmutations of the Seven Degrees, eventually, from Neophyte to Christos, from self to soul, from pursuing your quest to attaining your goal. Your potential for transmutation is up to you and happens on the outer.–Edna Lister, The Quest and Goal of the Supreme, November 7, 1967

The Seven Degrees include the Neophyte, where you believe you can and "try" to do; the Disciple follows law as best he can; the Adept controls the physical body; the Mystic communes with God in the silence; the Master gives up self; the Priest offers sacrificial, selfless service, full surrender (conversion) of darkness to Light; the Christos attains illumination, Ascension and conquering even the fear of death.–Edna Lister, January 10, 1968

All souls have descended from pure Light into coarse matter, and our destiny is to return to Light. As a Neophyte, you reach what we call the Choice of the Way, where you must decide whether to ascend or continue to descend. To ascend, you must move the blockage that you created in the wake of your descent, the "seven veils of illusion." To do this, you must be faithful to the vow to be perfect in all body phases, for if you have crystallized fears, opinions, prejudices, etc., you created a plug in the physical body as well, at the pons of the medulla oblongata, which prevents the creative fire from entering the Garden of Eden, within the skull.–Edna Lister, The Seven Degrees Within the Great Pyramid, October 22, 1968

The Neophyte vows include breathing, diet, water, rest and exercise, and you need them all daily to keep the Neophyte Degree. They include your responsibilities to your family and social life. The Neophyte hears about what may be true or untrue, talks about it and thinks about it. Unless you rest your body before you lie down, you must go to bed to resurrect the body. So, as a Neophyte, never go to the dinner table with a dead body. Lie down and stretch out like a five-pointed star until you feel as if you are flying like an eagle above everything on earth. Breathe deeply. Take seven deep breaths. Rest your body from the day’s fatigue.–Edna Lister, The Fiery Furnace, March 19, 1970

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

Edna Lister

Etymology of neophyte: Late Latin neophytus, from Greek neophutos: neo- + -phutos, planted, from phuein, to bring forth.

The Neophyte is the first of the sacred Seven Degrees of Ascension. An initiatory degree. is a step or stage in a process, in an ascending or descending scale, a relative condition or state of being.

Ephesus: The Neophyte’s Church

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.–Revelation 2:1-7.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

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