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The Path of Initiation: The Integration of Psychological Healing and Spiritual Development in Western Esoteric Thought At CIIS, ideas about the spiritual trajectory of human evolution are often associated with Sri Aurobindo and Integral Yoga. Yet, historically, such ideas were also emerging in Western Esoteric thought during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It seems that both Eastern and Western influences have cross-fertilized each other in dynamic synthesis. For example, Mirra Alfassa (a.k.a. “The Mother”) so influential in Aurobindo’s thinking, studied in the early 1900’s with Max Theon and his wife, both teachers in a Western Esoteric school of the time. Aurobindo’s ideas about the evolution of humanity towards the “supramental” are similar in spirit if not in detail to Western Esoteric thought. This presentation will look at some key tenets of current Western Esotericists (notably, successors to the Alice A. Bailey tradition) regarding the evolution of human consciousness and the dynamic relationship between the soul and persona of humanity. These ideas have very practical ramifications for both individuals and the collective, and have direct bearing on the role of spiritual awareness in our approaches to psychological health and healing. We often hear that humanity is undergoing an initiation at this time. We will examine Western Esoteric models of initiation as a progressive development of conscious alignment between form and spirit.


Gary Raucher, MA, MFT, RDT/BCT, teaches in the CIIS Drama Therapy Program and has been involved in contemplative esoteric practice since his early adult years. As a psychotherapist and drama therapist, his work is informed by transpersonal thought and spiritual practice. He is a certified instructor of Authentic Reiki in the Usui- Hyashi-Takata-Ray lineage, and is currently studying applied Wisdom through The Wisdom Foundation. He has conducted research into the synergistic combination of facilitated meditation and embodied action techniques (such as drama therapy) in psychotherapy.