Joseph Nolen (1992)
The Mystery School is a unique teaching and training organization that offers a gateway into the perennial Mysteries of Who, What, Where and Whence to those who have come to hunger for understanding of the life process. The Mystery Schools have existed in every age and in every culture for the more pro- found students of Lie. The Mystery Schools are like annual plants; they emerge from the dark earth at a propitious time and under the right conditions. They have a period of relatively rapid growth and in their maturity they produce seed and then they die. To many of the members the terminal phase of a Mystery School is very painful as they mistakenly regard its death as a result of personal failure. It is not!
The Mystery School attracts students at many levels of development, from Neophytes, who are contacting the Qabalistic system of the West for the first time, to Adepts of various levels who are training for future work. Each begins work in the Mystery School from exactly where they are on the evolutionary scale and advances according to their capacity. The work of the more advanced members is to help the lesser advanced students wherever they can. In a sense, a Mystery Schoo1 is also like a University. Those members who are working o n their Adeptship (postgraduate work) eventually leave the Order to do original work independently. This may be in writing or speaking or both, but a freedom from the structure of the mother Order is needed to bring forth new interpretations of the Ageless Wisdom expressed through a will-to-service. This is an historical and absolutely necessary progression of which Paul Case was an example.
This is done through written and verbal instructions, the rituals of the Order, personal meditations, and the powerful infusion of the Will-to-Good energies of the Inner School. This process is called “The Extension of Light.” There is an interesting analogy between the four sea- sons, the ancient Rosicrucian grades on the Tree of life, the four phases in the life of a Mystery School and the unfolding of the members during those phases. This is according to The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order, by Paul Case.
For the new member, the beginning of the work and the entry into the intensified evolutionary process of the Mystery School, is in Malkuth and he/she moves up the Path of Tav to Yesod. It is here that the aspirational flame in the Neophyte is greatly increased. This is a move from Neophyte to Theoricus where the theory of the Great Work is learned. Much study and meditation is necessary at this level. The growth period of the Mystery School is represented by the student’s advance from Yesod to Hod, called Practicus, where much practical work is done in interaction with others and in putting into practice the theories touched upon in the previous grades. The next phase of the Order is its decline, where the student begins to learn to depend on his/her own inner light and the fruit begins to ripen. This is represented by the student’s advance from Hod to Netzach in the grade of Philosophus. A philosopher is a lover of wisdom but is detached from the results of his actions. The dissolution phase is represented by Key 13, Death, and the advance to Tiphareth, Adeptus Minor, and a birth into a new phase of life. Do not interpret this to mean that all members reach this grade if they enter a Mystery School. True Adeptus Minor is the work of several lifetimes in the esoteric Orders. Each Sephirah has a Tree within it and progress is made in the Sephirah of one’s evolutionary level.
To clarify this, an explanation of the Rosicrucian system of spiritual Grades is necessary at this point. Starting at the bottom of the Tree of Life, the vast majority of students who have awakened to the spiritual life are working on making conscious the fields of the four lower Sephiroth, Malkuth, Yesod, Hod and Netzach. In the ancient Rosicrucian terminology which is used by the Western Mystery Schools, they are called “First Order” members. Those members who are linked to the next three grades, Tiphareth, Geburah and Chesed, which are grades of Adeptship, are called “Second Order” members. The Tiphareth grade is called “Lesser Adept;” the Geburah grade, “Greater Adept;” and the Chesed grade, “Exempt Adept.”
This highest grade is called “exempt” because at this level of Adeptship all personal Karma has been rectified. However, Exempt Adepts are still subject to world and national Karma and to the forms it takes, such as cataclysmic events, war devastation, universal epidemic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, AIDS. The work of those in the Adept grades is to assist the First Order. The “Third Order” of world aspirants, corresponding to Binah, Chokmah and Kether on the Tree of Lie, are the Masters of Wisdom. They are the Spiritual Hierarchy of the world, also known to us as the Inner School. They are the Ones who guide the spiritual evolution of the world through the great world religions and the Mystery Schools.
All the world religions are founded on the Ageless Wisdom, also known as the Perennial Philosophy, which is the doctrine of the Unity of all Life and the Brother- hood of Man. The world religions act as ethical guides (thou shalt and thou shalt not) for those not yet awakened with a desire for deeper understanding of the life experience. Compared to the Mystery Schools, they are relatively permanent, as they serve as guides to generations of the slowly evolving masses, whereas the Mystery Schools respond to the more rapidly expanding mental capacities of each generation of spiritual aspirants. For these few, it is said that the Ageless Wisdom needs to be reinterpreted every generation. In each resurrection of the Phoenix-like Mystery Schools, the structure is the same but the teaching is slightly modified to serve this evolving capacity.
This degree of Adeptship is necessary as in Chesed a balance of Love and Justice has been established. The patterns in Yesod are under conscious control. Also, only a Chesed Adept has the capacity t o bridge across the Abyss of the Tree of Life to Binah to contact and become a radiating center for the Supernal Will-to-Good. Each individual has a spark of this Will-to-Good at Center, but it is only strengthened through close association with a stable source of this particular vibration which in the Mystery Schools is the Exempt Adept. The Supernal substance of the Briatic plane of creation is the unique energy which makes the Mystery Schools a special experience, that fans the fires of aspiration into dominance and gives the member participants a continuous spiritual transfusion, urging them to express the highest in themselves. The Exempt Adept founder also must have a well-developed capacity for reinterpreting the Ageless Wisdom into modern idiom and present it in spoken and written form. The preparation for this service is brought about through several previous embodiments as a Mystery School member.