By Hallowed Dame Dove Lightwing
What is Transformative Education?
The Order of the Red Grail COTW offers transformative education to those who seek personal spiritual discovery. Krishnamurti’s teachings, especially in the area of education, speak of transformative education. The entire notion of adult education is based upon divergence from the teacher-as-authority to the practice of the teacher-learner partnership. Krishnamurti describes the philosophy of transformational education which drives the Pillar of Personal Alchemy in the Order of the Red Grail. When asked by the student, “The world is full of callous people, indifferent people, cruel people, and how can you change those people?” Krishnamurti replied:
''Why do you bother about changing others? Change yourself. Otherwise as you grow up you will also become callous. You will also become indifferent. You will also become cruel. The past generation is vanishing, it is going, and you are coming, and if you also prove callous, indifferent, cruel, you will also build the same society. What matters is that you change, that you are not callous, that you are not indifferent. Change yourself and test it by action … really, we do not want to change, we want others to change, and so we remain callous, indifferent, cruel, hoping the environment will change so that we can continue in our way.''
Pillar of Personal Alchemy
The Pillar of study known as Personal Alchemy addresses areas of personal development necessary for spiritual growth, to avoid the continued callousness, indifference, and cruelty of which Krishnamurti spoke. To fully implement and utilize Wiccan or any other life-affirming spiritual practices in the most ethical and effective manner, an individual must possess a firm sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy. The world in which we live is filled with negative influences as parties who own a version of Truth war with each other and spread misinformation and disinformation about those who do not walk their same path. Wiccans and other Pagans are at risk of being challenged about our apparent lack of faith, and we are at risk of personal or public discrediting if we cannot articulate who we are as humans in this world, as well as why we chose the Pagan route toward spiritual fulfillment.
Seek Oneness, Embrace Diversity
There are as many individual paths toward enlightenment or oneness with deity as there are human beings on Earth. Eastern philosophical thought teaches us that to transcend the ego (our base self) the ego must be healthy (not suppressed as some traditions teach). The Order of the Red Grail seeks to offer paths of study which augment an individual’s natural path toward emotional, spiritual, psychic health, and oneness with deity by whatever name or shape such is known.
Personal alchemy involves change – change of base matter (our ego-driven lives) into gold (the transcendent Self). Change is accompanied by confusing feelings such as fear, sorrow, grief, or feelings of loss. Coping with change is necessary at many levels of our lives, from learning new
technologies to coping with loss or with new opportunities.
Personal growth of any nature, including spiritual, requires that an individual move out of a known, familiar state of being, however comfortable, into an unknown state of being. An uncomfortable psychic or emotional state known as cognitive dissonance can occur when the Student, either before contacting the Order of the Red Grail, or after beginning a course of study, reaches a point where the old ways of being are no longer suitable and a new way of being has not yet been developed by the Student. During this phase, the Student is particularly vulnerable to leaving the new path to attempt to go back to the old, but this cannot be, since the old has already been found to be unsuitable. The Student can then drift, or bounce, from path to path, finding only temporary comfort. Traditional churches often have strong support for new converts. Adult groups and social events can help the vulnerable person from drifting away from the membership. The Order of the Red Grail does not seek to “hold on to” Students, believing that the self-directed learner makes the Student commitment not to the Order or to the clergy, but to themselves as a commitment to self-development toward individuation.
Reflection is an essential element for growth. Students of the Order are encouraged to reflect, both in a standard environment such as class and as an individual activity such as regular journaling. Questions may be posed which are meant to serve as food for thought and topics for personal reflection. Instruction in effective journaling practices is included in the Pillar of Personal Alchemy.
Development of the Self, or personal growth, requires several steps. Each Student begins with a unique history of education and experience. Thus, no one begins study with identical goals, expectations, or needs. These serve as filters through which learning is translated by the psyche into the growth of the self.
Carl Jung, psychiatrist and scholar, mused that an experience of God (Deity, Goddess) is similar to an experience of self. The experience of the self, he said, is said to be the experience of the “God within us.” Speaking of projection, Jung said that “the self, when no longer projected, operates as a union of opposites, and such a union constitutes an immediate experience of the divine (the numinous). To attain the self is to attain individuation, which, according to Jung, is to find Deity, or connection to the deity archetype(s). The process of individuation, then, is essential to the finding of Deity.
Jung stressed that a critical psychological perspective must be maintained when exploring the notion of Deity. An experience of Deity is described by Jung as “nothing less than to divest the self of the false wrappings of the personal on the one hand, and the suggestive power of primordial images on the other … becoming one’s own self … coming into selfhood … self-realization.”
There are six types of episodes of individuation, or chief characteristics of individuation described in the individuation literature:
1. Discovery of Newness represents the discovery of talents, attitudes, feelings, and interests that exist within one’s self;
2. Empowerment means an increased sense of power and autonomy, a new affirmation of self-worth and confidence;
3. Turmoil is the manifestation of an inner state of confusion, chaos, and pain, the severity of which depends upon the situation;
4. Self-responsibility results from the decision making that shows one is taking a new responsibility for and interest in one’s self and one’s future;
5. Integration comes with the experience of a togetherness (where there was none before) within oneself and / or with parts of one’s world;
6. Interiority represents the deepened relation to one’s inner self.
As an individual journeys through these “episodes,” individuation is experienced, resulting in a healthy self which is akin to experiencing Deity. Those who study psychic maturation can find a home within any religion. The need for empirical proof or psychological explanation for a religion can find a suitable path. Those who are not on a path toward psychic maturation can still find a home, for psychic maturation begins somewhere.
Spiritual seekers who contact the Order often state that they have been solitary “forever” and now feel called to share in a group setting. This common theme fits the four premises of traditional Jungian theory of individuation which stresses:
1. That interactions with other persons can facilitate individuation;
2. Realization of the self occurs as the individual pays attention to the dialog between the inner voices and the outer circumstances;
3. Psychic death-rebirth experiences can be identified in an individual’s ongoing reflective activity, and
4. Progress toward individuation comes not steadily but cycling round issues as the individual’s reflections invite.
It is by understanding these premises that the education facilitators within the Order of the Red Grail can guide Students along a path toward individuation. Never attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole, the Order offers the self-directed spiritual seeker skilled guidance in Personal Alchemy.
© 1995 Order of the Red Grail, Church of Transformational Wicca