In the mythology of ancient Egypt, there is a constant battle between Ra, the Creator Sun God and the Chaos Serpent Apep. The Sun God travelled in his barque across the sky. During the night hours of darkness,  he travelled through the underworld, where he meets the demonsand the deities of each region, as well the blessed dead and the condemned. Throughout the night Ra had to contend with his arch enemy Apep, but inthe last hours he himself entered a great snake, from which he emerged rejuvinated, to be reborn at dawn. The sun’s cycle was celebrated daily in many temples


A few months ago I had a dream about The Tower of Initiation. It is a skyscraper in the spirit world where there is a room for every single person alive to work through their process of initiation at any time. I was taken on a tour and observed many teenagers working through issues of initiation in a padded cell where they could kick and scream – with their family bearing witness and holding them in unconditional love. I was shown larger rooms, that looked like a meeting or conference room, where adults were working through initiations in the form of traumatic encounters with significant people in their lives. Angelic and human beings witnessed this and filled the room with Divine love but no judgement or interference whatsoever. It was understood that initiation is a sacred process and needs to unfold in sacred time, not human time. We can never judge or hurry another human being  who is working a great process of ‘soul transition’ – thinking here of what physicists call  ‘phase transitions’ (like a fluid becoming gas etc.)

This morning I woke up and realised that I had revisited the same dream or the same Tower of Initiation but this time the dream had gone one step further. I realised that the Tower of Initiation is also the ‘Tower or House of the Rising Sun’. (And yes, that is the title of a song by The Animals and I will post a link below so you can hear the music!)

Last time I had the dream (in March this year) I walked my youngest son to school at the exact time that the sun would have risen to the point where it hits a local tower so it looks as if this tower is on fire. The building glows in an otherworldly way and the sun is reflected in many separate windows. I will post a photograph at the bottom of this piece.

It showed me, in very visual form, that every initiation in a human being’s life is a space between ‘sunset and sunrise’ in the internal world. Encountering pain and darkness and not being sure you will find the way out – but ultimately rising, like a phoenix from the ashes, reborn, a different person with a different set of values and priorities, a different perception of life.

Initiation is not always understood in our society. By becoming obsessed with youth and looking young we have deprived ourselves of elders – who traditionally hold initiation rites for teenage boys. Some would say that we have traded going to church for going shopping (visit any UK shopping mall on a Sunday morning!) When people  go through a great personal crisis, we feel sorry for them or even avoid them at times – as if such things are contagious. We do now always know how to see them in their divinity and hold non-judgmental and unconditional love for them.

Initiation is never easy. In indigenous societies there is no guarantee that young boys or shamans in training will survive initiation. Just as a century ago there was no guarantee what women would survive childbirth. Modern life has become ‘sanitized’ and obsessed with what so called  ‘Health & Safety’ regulations in the UK.

What my dream showed was both that no one escapes initiation – there literally was a room for EVERYONE ON EARTH in that huge tower. That initiations unfold in sacred time, not on human timelines. And most importantly that there were sacred witnesses in every room of that tower (human as well as angelic and divine) observing with unconditional love and no interference. We do not help people by short-cutting or fool-proofing their process of initiation.

My dream was suggesting that we create sacred space in both our hearts and communities (i.e. physical space) for initiation to unfold in sacred ways) and that we look upon this process as natural and essential as ‘sunset and sunrise’ in a person’s life.

And of course we all know that the sun sets (from earthling point of view) but on another level planet earth moves around the sun and sunset/sunrise are opnly a window of perception and perspective.

Ultimately all of us are held in unconditional Divine Love always – but it doesn’t always feel like that here on earth. My dream told me that without the ‘book ends’, without those sacred times of initiation, we DO NOT LEARN on Planet Earth.  We get stuck in our personal comfort zone and we get busy with urgent things, not important things (like shopping!).

I wanted to share this dream as I think initiation is a concept that needs to return to our awareness. Just as a colleague and I have returned initiation to shamanic work we are doing with young people:



Here is a summary of what Mircea Eliade says about  initiation in his book ‘The Sacred and the Profane’, from http://www.bytrentsacred.co.uk/index.php/eliade-sacred-and-profane/4-sacred-self


Initiation now comes to occupy Eliade’s attention. Regarding his primitive cultures, he distinguishes between age group initiations, in which everybody had to take part, and secret society initiations, which had restricted admission. He also emphasises the role of initiation in informing religious consciousness.

The phenomenon of initiation reveals archaic man’s religious idealism. It shows that he felt a need to rise above his natural self, by imitating the initiation rites of the gods, heroes or ancestors described in his mythology.

Typically, archaic initiation rites imparted three kinds of revelation: about the sacred, about death and about sexuality. They meant subjecting initiates to some kind of symbolic death, followed by rebirth as a new person. Eliade refers very briefly to various examples of both puberty and secret society initiation rites, revealing that at the level of detail the symbolism varied from culture to culture.

Amd here is the Tower of the Rising Sun in New Cross Gate…

Sun Tower London 2014


The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals:


Imelda Almqvist