Seven Sacred Degrees of Initiation and Ascension

Linda Mihalic

  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 celestial 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 we divide into a spectrum of seven for convenience’s sake: Neophyte, Disciple, Adept, Mystic, Master, Priest, and Christos. Jesus of Nazareth came to earth to fulfill the laws that are the requirements for ascending through the Seven Sacred Degrees within a single 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 experiences and life’s events.
  When you read the Gospels carefully, with devotion, remaining open to the Light, you find ample evidence of the pattern for what you must be and do to ascend through the Seven Degrees completely. You live in and as the Seven Degrees; you do not just live by them. In other words, the Seven Sacred Degrees must be your whole being, not just your expression or the appearance of what you are. The great open secret is that the whole world lives the Seven Degrees also—without being aware of 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 thirty-three Via Christa Degrees amplify and further polish some of the many facets of the Seven Sacred Degrees.
  To “initiate” is 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, whether you are aware or unaware, whether you believe this or not. Cyclically, annually, you repeat the Seven Sacred Degrees of Initiation as you ascend the spiral path.

The Seven Sacred Degrees

  Each of the Seven Sacred Degrees has its own required function and vow. In this context 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 self’s acceptance of soul’s authority. The Neophyte’s initiation is Rebirth, and the vow is: “I vow to make my body a fitting dwelling place for my soul.”
  As a Disciple, your function is self’s surrender to all laws that govern the soul. The Disciple’s initiation is Baptism by Water, and the vow is: “I vow to surrender completely to be the servant of all Power.”
  As an Adept, your function is self’s obedience to law. The Adept’s initiation is Baptism by Fire, and the vow is: “I vow to be selfless in my release of Power.”
  As a Mystic, your function is praise—praise for and offered to God the Creator, to commune with Him. The Mystic’s initiation is Transfiguration, and the vow is: “I vow to keep my silence shining and golden.”
  As a Master, your function is to speak the Word for Power’s release, not to use idle words. The Master’s initiation is the Crucifixion of self, and the vow is: “I vow to be a master in all responsibility.”
  As a Priest (or Priestess), your function is to become the law you have learned. The Priest’s great initiation is the Resurrection of all good, and the vow is: “I vow to remain pure in heart, mind, and purpose.”
  As a Christos candidate, your function is to assume absolute personal responsibility. The Christos initiation is Ascension of soul as consciousness, and the vow is: “I make my supreme vow to surrender self completely.”

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Edna Lister on the Seven Sacred Degrees

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

The Seven Sacred Degrees, which you climb in ascending order, include the Neophyte, Disciple, Adept, Mystic, Master, Priest, and Christos. You can ascend to the major or primary Degrees only through one of the seven lesser degrees under each. For example, nothing prevents an illiterate Neophyte from living a Christos life of selfless service.

Just as earning a doctorate requires having passed all the lesser or preparatory course work, you take initiations in forty-nine 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, while you are out-of-body, on the Sun. Events may 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 to God until you have learned all your lessons. Initiation is right where you are now, and you always 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 of self breaks down at the right time.–Edna Lister, June 14, 1951

Each Zodiacal Division contains a set of thirty-three degrees. You take thirty on the outer and three on the inner. The thirtieth degree includes eighteen stiff initiations for conquering self, which you take on earth in daily life. The thirty-three Via Christa Degrees cover life from birth to ascension of soul through conquering the self. Each of the Seven Sacred Degrees includes a lesser set of thirty-three.
  In descending order, the Seven Sacred Degrees are the Christos of full Ascension, the Priest of full Resurrection, the Master of full Crucifixion where self’s will crucifies you until you conquer. The Mystic is the initiation of Transfiguration through prayer. The Adept undergoes Baptism by Fire. The Disciple begins controlling self and undergoes Baptism by Water, symbolizing the emotions as you begin to conquer self. The Neophyte experiences Rebirth.
  In the three lower degrees you always face the struggle against living by the three instinctive creature urges of the appetitive soul: eating, sleeping, and mating. The fourth degree provides the respiratory rate of balance among the three lower and three higher centers. Your deep breathing balances your life, vitality and energy.

In the first three degrees ascending, you are concerned with control of self and the control of power’s release. By the time you reach the fifth degree, you begin to understand the need to crucify self-centered will, to give up the selfish will to become the servant of all Power. Everyone crucifies self an inch at a time until he learns to conquer the self by soul ascension.
  Complete resurrection from self to soul comes when you mate self-centered will and selfish desires to become one in soul ascension. First, desire flirts with will. They become engaged and travel where will directs. Then desire reawakens and gives the ring back to will because it dictates that they travel too hard and demanding a road.
  Still, it is inevitable that you ascend. Your personal 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, February 6, 2009, Cleveland, Ohio

To “initiate” is 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



Soul lays aside opinion and prejudice


Baptism by Water

Soul commands emotions and idle words


Baptism by Fire

Calumny and scorn trim self’s ego and pride



Soul seeks God first, with an open heart



Soul sacrifices self-will and selfish desires



Soul redeems all good from the dead self



Soul conquers by total surrender of self

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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


The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

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

Related Topics

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

The Pioneering Mystic (1): Edna Lister outline, May 5, 1959

The Pioneering Mystic (2): Edna Lister transcript, May 5, 1959