Seven Sacred Degrees of Initiation and Ascension

Everything in the universe (all matter, animate and inanimate in appearance as form) is a manifestation of Light in seven degrees. Life exists, bound in matter, from the basalt of the Canadian Shield, the oldest rock on earth (4.5 billion to 540 million years old), to the roiling furnace that is an O-type star, at 40,000 degrees kelvin, the hottest known.

God is the All That Is: Light, life, substance, power, and mind as consciousness in an infinitude of degrees, which the ancients divided into seven: Neophyte, Disciple, Adept, Mystic, Master, Priest and Christos.

Jesus of Nazareth came to earth to fulfill the laws that are the requirements of the Seven Degrees within a single earth life, to show us how to become Christed, the embodiment of the Christos Degree. He arrived on earth with his own perfect Design for Ascension, the pattern of which emerges clearly from the Gospel record of his life's events.

When you read the Gospels carefully, with devotion and your mind open to the Light, you find the evidence of what you must be and do to complete the initiations of the Seven Degrees. You live the Seven Degrees; you do not just live by them. The great open secret is that the whole world lives the Seven Degrees also — usually without ever knowing it.

These degrees form the basis of your challenges and initiation in daily life (even when you are unaware), under the guise of personal choice, commitment, action, acceptance, responsibility, service and sublimation. The 33 Via Christa Degrees amplify some of the many facets of the Seven Degrees.

To "initiate" means to begin something new. Each degree is a step upward in the soul's ascending progression, in the rise of consciousness, which is forever attracted to its Source. Life repeatedly tests you on these degrees. Cyclically, annually, you repeat the Seven Degrees of Initiation as you ascend the spiral path.

– Linda Mihalic, Via Christa site editor

The Seven Degrees

Each of the Seven Sacred Degrees has its own required function and vow. We define function as “a mathematical correspondence that assigns exactly one element of one set to each element of the same or another set; a variable (such as a quality, trait, or measurement) that depends on and varies with another.”

As a Neophyte, your function is to accept whatever comes to you as yours to lift.
» Read it here »

As a Disciple, your function is to surrender all appetites of self.
» Read it here »

As an Adept, your function is to be obedient to law.
» Read it here »

As a Mystic, your function is to praise God the Creator, to commune with Him.
» Read it here »

As a Master, your function is to speak the Word as the Master did.
» Read it here »

As a Priest (or Priestess), your function is to be the law you have learned.
» Read it here »

As a Christos candidate, your function is to be personally responsible, absolutely.
» Read it here »

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Edna Lister on the Seven Sacred Degrees

Every Seven Degrees has lesser degrees varying from four to twenty-four. – Edna Lister, May 16, 1947.

The Seven Degrees, on which you are climbing, include the Neophyte, Disciple, Adept, Mystic, Master, Priest and Christos. You can enter the major Seven Degrees only through one of the seven lesser degrees under each. For example, an illiterate Neophyte could be living a Christos life of selfless service.

Just as earning a doctorate requires having passed all the lesser course work, you take initiations in 49 degrees from Neophyte to reach Christos — seven times seven equals forty-nine. Simultaneously, you must pass 144 steps and cover other sets of degrees, which include the ten Commandments in thirty degrees, on the emotional, mental and spiritual levels.

You take the final three Christos Degrees at night, out-of-body on the Sun. Events happen to you for no apparent reason when you are taking the final three degrees. The minute it comes hard, remember "As above, so below." Desire for perfection takes you through the final degrees when nothing else seems to work.

You cannot return home until you have learned your lessons. Initiation is right where you are now, and you receive credit for the good you have done. You could take 144 steps in twenty-four hours under surrender. You could pass the Gates, take the first initiation and know the score.

God does not pay you to be a doormat. Sometimes you must accept being rejected by your family or a loved one. When you pray for emancipation, the wall breaks down at the right time. – Edna Lister, June 14, 1951.

Each Zodiacal Division has thirty-three degrees. You take thirty on the outer and three on the inner. The 30th degree includes eighteen stiff initiations for conquering self. The Thirty-three Via Christa Degrees cover life from birth to ascension of soul through conquering. You take these initiations on earth in daily life, and each of the seven includes a set of thirty-three.

In descending order, the seven degrees are Christos, full Ascension. Priest, full Resurrection, Master, full Crucifixion where self's will crucifies you until you conquer. The Mystic is the initiation of Transfiguration and prayer. The Adept undergoes Baptism by Fire. The Disciple undergoes Baptism by Water, symbolizing emotions; he begins controlling self. Here you begin to conquer self. The Neophyte experiences Rebirth.

In the three lower degrees you always face the danger of living by the three creature urges of eating, sleeping and mating. The fourth degree provides the respiratory rate of balance among the three lower and three higher centers.

In the first three degrees ascending, one is concerned with 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 selfish will and become the servant of all Power. Everyone crucifies self an inch at a time until he learns to conquer by soul ascension.

Complete resurrection of self to soul comes when you mate self-will and self-desire to become one in ascension. First, desire flirts with will. Then they become engaged and travel where will directs. Then desire reawakens and gives the ring back to will because it travels too hard a road.

Still, it is inevitable that you ascend. Desire and will become engaged repeatedly until an illumination strikes like lightning, and you complete the first marriage of the Lamb. – Edna Lister, The Wheels of Ezekiel, December 17, 1957.

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Initiations Associated with the Seven Degrees

Linda Mihalic lecture excerpt; February 6, 2009, Cleveland, Ohio.

To "initiate" means to begin something new. Each Degree is a step upward in the soul's ascending progression, in the rise of consciousness, which is forever attracted to its Source. You ascend by degrees.



How to Recognize This Initiation



Laying aside opinion and prejudice


Baptism by Water

Controlling emotions and idle words


Baptism by Fire

Calumny and scorn trim ego and pride



Seeking God first, with an open heart



Sacrifice of self will and desires



Soul redeems all good from the dead self



Soul conquers by total surrender of self

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 –1971
The original Pioneering Mystic,
American Idealist, minister, teacher, and author

Edna Lister


Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV), Public Domain.

Merriam-Webster, “Function.” Dictionary. Accessed 14 Sep. 2022.

Related Topics

See Illumination and Realization: Edna Lister lecture outline; September 25, 1937.

See The Pioneering Mystic (a): Edna Lister lecture outline; May 5, 1959.

See The Pioneering Mystic (b): Edna Lister lecture outline; May 5, 1959.

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