The journey of the Heart

The original therapeutae were healers who lived in communities in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. From their name comes the modern term therapy. To heal means to cure, save, and make whole, sound and well. To be healthy in body, mind and soul is both to be whole in oneself and to be in tune with a greater whole. Such wholeness includes diversity - all is one, all is different.

All people are each on their spiritual journey, their path of spiritual growth, and this progress is aided by particular kinds of relationships with those who have greater experience of walking such a path, with companions along the way and with neophytes who are just beginning. However, this ancient lore is grounded in the sense that a soul may be older than the body, so some may come to the path already gifted, while others, although old in years, may still be just setting out.

Again, spiritual development is not uniform across the whole person. Depending upon the experiences we have had, parts of ourselves may have become impeded in their growth while other parts may have been encouraged. Nor is this a completely individual thing. Souls inter-relate in complex dynamics so that one has many different facets in relation to different company.

At Eleusis we shall have opportunity for individual retreat and personal practice through the life of the community. We shall host a variety of courses and programmes in arts, spirituality, psychology, mythology, history and other lore. These will provide both one off opportunities and also, in due course, in some cases become part of longer programmes.

The teacher training that we have in mind to develop at Eleusis will be inclusive and non-sectarian. We envisage spiritual guidance both in terms of the character development of the person and in skills and knowledge in areas of priestly practice, character education and pastoral guidance. These areas include ritual, ethics, counselling, group building, worship, community leadership, creativity and depth of faith. Before one can guide others one needs to confront one's own shadow and vulnerability, overcome negativities and inner boundaries, learn to entrust oneself to higher powers, and acquire generosity and openness of spirit, grounded in a deep sense of common humanity. We do not think that these characteristics are the exclusive property of any one faith community or religion. They are generic. The gods of all times and climes smile upon those who awaken such traits.

We shall develop training programmes intended to assist individuals to progress on their path within this general ethos and will delineate progression with certain initiations, trials and mysteries, but one should not think that the spiritual path can be mapped out like an academic syllabus nor that it is actually possible in advance to specify how long such a course will extend or what difficulties a person must overcome along the way. Spiritual training is a confrontation with the existential reality of life and an exploration of its transcendence and this involves walking the path rather than merely studying it. One cannot predict when the koan will ripen nor when the real trials of life will occur, nor whether they will, in a particular case, be overcome.

The guide is a servant to the errant soul but the soul must struggle with its own particular dragons and triumph or not as the case may be. Not everyone is ready for the passage. Some become stranded for a time or distracted by by-ways. We trust that the meetings that a soul requires will occur at the appropriate time, but we are not here considering a progress that can be forced. The adept must, therefore, perforce, trust the judgement of their guide, but also go forth on their own quest and return periodically to tell the tale. Eleusis is a place where such tales can be told.

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