Native Minnesotan, noted leader on Esoteric Philosophy, returns home to present talks, workshops
William Meader, an influential and respected teacher of the Esoteric Philosophy — also known as “the Ageless Wisdom” with roots apparent in Theosophy, Masonry and other ancient spiritual traditions — is returning to his native Minnesota in September to present two evening talks and two daylong workshops on the soul, magic and initiation.
The noted author and speaker, who grew up in Minneapolis and later Bayport, is a graduate of Stillwater High School and Mankato State University. Meader has established an international reputation for his gift as a communicator of this philosophy. His extensive teaching program includes a diverse array of workshops and lectures devoted to nurturing a deeper understanding of the spiritual path, both from an individual and global perspective.
He is the author of Shine Forth: The Soul’s Magical Destiny and he publishes regularly on such esoteric topics as the spiritual constitution of human beings, the evolution of consciousness, spiritual initiation and practical mysticism. He has produced a fine library of audio and video recordings and is a regular speaker at the Wrekin Forum, international conferences and Theosophical Society venues. Meader offers individual counseling utilizing esoteric astrology as a tool to facilitate students towards a deeper understanding of their unique spiritual purpose.
His work — often described as a “next step” in spiritual evolution — assists students in the refinement of the higher abstract mind in order that they might align with the soul’s creative intention, thereby coming en rapport with the One Life and the ashram (inner home of the soul). His gentle humor, sensitivity and deep understanding of the spiritual path is appreciated by dedicated students of the Esoteric Philosophy worldwide. He resides in Oregon and presents regular workshops in the United States, Europe, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Meader spoke with The Edge about his spiritual journey, the Esoteric Philosophy he has devoted his life to understanding and teaching, and his coming events in the Twin Cities.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term Esoteric Philosophy, can you define that for us?
William Meader: Yes. The word “esoteric” can, in the simplest way, be defined as “in search of that which is hidden.” And, it simply means that when a person is deeply committed to the inner journey to find the hidden dimensions of their deeper nature, their soulful nature, and they are doing it with a heart ablazed with love and a mind that is also acutely focused, then in a certain sense we can call them an esotericist. So, it is in search of that which is hidden, but it also is suggesting that which is hidden is a part of your own inner nature.
What led you personally to Esoteric Philosophy? What about it struck a chord with you?
WM: I discovered this spiritual system of thought many, many years ago. When I first started reading some of the material, it was like coming home. I just was so moved by it and, somehow, it looked very familiar. It was a philosophy that is not a theology; in other words, even though it is incredibly spiritual, there is no dogma associated with it. It doesn’t have a whole set of sort of do’s and don’ts or moral proclamations. It is a set of profound ideas that give you a deeper sense of how to understand life and your relationship to the larger whole without many of the unfortunate trappings that many theologies weave into their systems.
I imagine that without even knowing Esoteric Philosophy, many of us will recognize historical figures who were a part of that system.
WM: Potentially, sure. Esotericism comes by other names. It has been called “the ageless wisdom.” It’s been called “the perennial philosophy” and its most recent “incarnation,” you might say, is Theosophy. The great Russian mystic Helena Blavatsky, a pretty well-known name, was the founder of the Theosophical Society in the 1800s, and she was crucial to re-introducing this philosophy. Another author who was very important for me was a woman by the name of Alice A. Bailey.
Esoteric philosophy actually has many branches. For instance, the Rosicrucian Order is just a branch of esoteric philosophy, as is Masonry, as is Anthroposophy developed by Rudolf Steiner. All of these are branches of a great, ancient stream of thought. In fact, we can go back as far as the ancient Greeks if you look at the writings of Plato, Pythagoras, and Aristotle. These were great minds who were very involved in this philosophy. If you were to speak to Plato and ask him,”Are you an esotericist?” he would probably just be dumbfounded by what you were saying, but how do we know? We know by the nature of his thinking, the way he philosophically presented his ideas. There also is evidence of it in the Upanishads of India. Its elements are found in the ancient Chaldean systems of thought and Egyptian mythology.
That is one of the beauties of esotericism. It’s got some fundamental threads of roots or connections to pretty much all world religions and ancient philosophic ways of looking at things from a cultural perspective.
So, it may actually be thought of as the underlying foundation for world religions.
WM: That is exactly right. In fact, I have often mentioned that to some of my students. In a certain sense, this philosophy is the underpinning philosophy that gives rise to all world religions, but it isn’t just confined to theology, in terms of where you see it playing out. In many ways, you see elements of it in certain political thinking going on in the world, as well as economic thinking, the arts and sciences.
To what extent does Esoteric Philosophy focus on embodying the wisdom of the soul?
WM: It’s a crucial concept. In fact, in many ways our journey as human beings is to first awaken to that higher prompting within us, which is the more soulful aspect of our consciousness, and then increasingly become more receptive to those intuitive, wise promptings from the soul, and more and more try to imbue it into the fabric of our day-to-day lives. Our journey is to do it not just as a function of our own personal sense of inner enrichment, but perhaps even more fundamentally, to be more effective in making an uplifting service contribution to humanity’s betterment.
On one hand, it speaks so importantly about understanding the inner journey to awaken to your higher nature and to infuse that nature into the day-to-day part of your life, your personality life, but also it interfaces with the larger living whole of humanity and the need to bring the best of you from a soul perspective into the fabric of outer life as a function of upliftment.
In 2004, you published your book, Shine Forth: The Soul’s Magical Destiny. What inspired you to write that?
WM: The book has many aspects to it, but its primary topic is the subject of spiritual creativity, which has also been called magic. The subject of creativity, or magic, is one of the many branches of inquiry in the esoteric philosophy. I was particularly moved by this aspect of the esoteric philosophy because, in a certain sense, every human soul is destined to be a creative agent or a magician, you might say, in terms of making a difference in the world. I found it to be such a fascinating inquiry into not only recognizing the importance of being creative as we live our lives more spiritually, but also exploring ancient ways of understanding that are profound. They have to do with how to more effectively register the soul’s intuitive impulses within the mind, how we shape thoughtforms arising from those formless intuitions and how we bring those thoughtforms into the outer world as a support to progressive ideations and a better world.
In many ways, the book is all about the art of thoughtform building and bringing new and progressive ideas that make a difference in the world, about the ancient formulas and ancient ways of understanding the inner mechanism of consciousness and how to do that more effectively and minimize distortions that can arise because of the impurities still present within aspects of our lower nature. So, I was just particularly attracted to it.
In terms of spiritual magicianship, does it take years or even lifetimes of spiritual advancement to express that in one’s life or do we all do that every day, even though we aren’t acknowledging that this is taking place?
WM: That’s a great question, and it’s one of those yes-and-no answers. Fundamentally, we’re all creative all of the time, whether you’re on the path yet or not. We are all creative because, fundamentally, we have the capacity to not only think ideas, but then exercise action that gives manifestation to those ideas. That is a given. That is fundamental to just what it means to live life in the human kingdom.
The difference is that there is personality-generated creative ideations and then there are soul-generated creative ideations. In our culture, we are driven by the development of our minds to create in the outer world, largely based upon personality ambitions. But the art of spiritual magic, sometimes called White Magic, is a process that is all about utilizing the same notion of building thoughtforms and bringing them out into the outer world, but with an impulse from a deeper place within us than the personality — recognizing that in the deeper journey, the personality’s destiny is merely to be the outer garment or servant of the soul and its creative impulses.
So this is a yes-and-no answer. Yes, we are always creative because we are always creating thoughts that lead to action — but no from the point of view that until you start awakening to that higher prompting within you, you are pretty much being creative from a personality point of view. When you start awakening to a higher prompting within, then you begin the journey of subtly trying to build new and progressive ideas that are an impulse from that deeper part of you. The study and process of creative magic is something that really starts to play from a spiritual perspective only after you have had that awakening. One could argue that it takes several lives to perfect it, and that when perfected, that’s another definition of enlightenment, but with every incarnation you heighten your capacity to be more effective at that level of creative expression.
And, probably after enlightenment there are other levels beyond that that we are not even aware of in these physical bodies.
WM: Ha! That’s a very good point. Yes, that’s so true. The esoteric philosophy would say that enlightenment is a relative term. If we were to look at some of the great people that have gone ahead of us, like a Buddha, Christ, Rama Krishna, we would say of those people that they represent perfection, enlightenment, and from our human perspective that is a valid way to look at it. But, from an esoteric perspective, even the Buddha, even the Christ, are said to be beginners within a yet larger regime of evolution. So, you are quite right when you say that it goes beyond what we would call enlightenment.
Authenticity is the featured topic of our magazine this month, and I suppose today if often is viewed as a cultural buzzword. But I wonder if the true authenticity that we express in our lives is when we are expressing from our soul.
WM: I think you just hit the nail on the head there when you said “the true authenticity.” There are a lot of people in the world who have not even come close to waking up to their higher nature, and yet are very strongly integrated personalities — in a certain sense they are strongly driven egos — and such people, it could be argued, are authentic from the point of view that they are authentic in their lower nature and being that in full measure.
But there is a higher authenticity, a truer authenticity, one that is much more soulful in its centeredness. That’s really what the esoteric philosophy does put a lot of energy into, because that’s not just your higher authenticity, that’s the authenticity of your beingness that transcends even this temporary stop called this incarnation. It’s the very authenticity that carries from one incarnation to the next to the next. There is a distinct difference between what it means to be authentic as personality versus what it means to be authentic as a soul.
What central message do you want to leave with those who attend your event, “Ten Tenants of the Esoteric Philosophy” on September 15 at Unity Minneapolis?
WM: In that talk I am going to be laying out 10 fundamental principles that underlie this whole philosophy, starting with the notion that is called The Primary Principle, which really gets into a fascinating look at what it means when we say that “all is one.” We will look at the Seven Rays, which is another tenet, the idea that not only does every human being have a soul, but that there are seven types of souls in the world today, and that these seven types are ways that they frame perception differently and they seek to make an uplifting contribution to the world in quite different ways. A lot of the esoteric philosophy is geared to an understanding of recognizing these seven fundamental patterns of consciousness and means of service. We will talk about the importance of recognizing the role of service. We look at the idea that we are moving from an age of mysticism, which was a Piscean age, to an age that will be called the Age of Practical Mysticism. So, those are just a few of the tenets that I will be presenting that first day, filled in with explanations of what all of those tenets mean.
Tell us about the “The Art of White Magic” talk on September 16 at the Metamorphosis Center.
WM: It’s very related to what you and I were just talking about regarding the creative process, and yet, in the talk I go into more of the inner mechanisms of consciousness and how to understand that it goes beyond what we just talked about. It really goes into how you not only build thoughtforms coming from the soul, but how you also enrich it with measures of emotion. How do you bring emotion into it to give a new idea warmth and magnetic appeal? And also, how do you bring your idea into the outer world with a profound sensitivity to right timing? And, how do you deal with ancient fire, which is the power inherent in old ideas that often can become quite an obstacle as you try to move a new idea forward? So, I give an overview in that talk of the magical creative process.
And, then you have the first of two daylong events: “The Heavenly Marriage” on September 17. What is that about?
WM: “The Heavenly Marriage” workshop is based upon the idea that from an esoteric point of view, as I mentioned earlier, we are going into the Age of Practical Mysticism. Practical Mysticism is all about reaching for the stars, but keeping your feet on the ground and becoming more of an agent in support of the grounding and the wise intelligent application of higher principles into our lives.
“The Heavenly Marriage” is a reference to the marriage of your soul’s intuition coupled with your higher mind, the blending of the masculine and feminine within us, the blending of loving intuition and mind. That’s what allows us to be able to be both incredibly heart-filled, but at the same time able to use our higher mind in conjunction with the intuitive heart. When you put those two together, you can make profound changes, not only in your own life, but in the service that you render toward others. In that particular workshop we will get into a deep look at what we mean by intuition and what we mean by mind and the difference between higher and lower mind and how we discern that in the nature of our mind’s activities. We also look at the difference between higher intuition and lower intuition, which is sometimes called higher psychism and lower psychism, and we compare and contrast the two so we know the difference. Everything has its higher expression and its lower expression, and right discernment of those things is actually really important when thinking about spiritually developing ourselves.
And, your final workshop is on “Spiritual Initiations” on September 18.
WM: That’s another fascinating subject in this philosophy, based on the idea that after a person comes to a place in their incarnational history where they have an awakening, you start to awaken to the soul. There is a whole set of expected things that we would tend to see in an outer person’s life as they start to awaken to the soul’s nature. It is said that this is the entrance point to the beginning of a more conscious spiritual walk in life, but eventually the soul, itself, is wanting to infuse itself into the personality. It wants to transform that personality more and more into an effective outer agent on its behalf. Initiations represent stages in that process.
Initiations, you might say, represent milestones leading to enlightenment, and every initiation represents some degree of mastery the soul has over the personality. When the personality has become completely mastered by the soul, so that there are no independent tendencies of the personality at all, that’s the front door to full enlightenment. This workshop is a really interesting inquiry into understanding these initiations. We look at the things inside us that are transformed as a consequence of each initiation. We also look at how the nature of service changes depending upon which of these initiatory steps a person is on in their journey. So, it’s one of the really interesting facets to this way of looking at life.
Would you say that the human consciousness is embarking upon an initiation at this time?
WM: I’m so glad you asked that, Tim, because, in fact, I would say that that question you are asking me is the most important question you’ve asked. Esoteric philosophy basically states that in the bigger picture, when we look at things in a much bigger way, it’s understood that all of humanity is actually one entity, one being, one unit of consciousness, and it’s a unit of consciousness that itself is evolving. And that one being, called humanity, has a soul and a personality, and that one being, called humanity, goes through the same processes in its transformation as an individual human being does.
Earlier I mentioned when talking about initiation that eventually the soul wants to more and more try to infuse itself into the personality to transform that personality to be its outer representative, but it’s very incremental. For a human being, it takes many incarnations to complete all the initiatory steps. The same principle is true with humanity.
What I didn’t mention to you earlier is that when it comes to the subject of initiation, crisis is always a prelude to an initiation and a major expansion in consciousness.
What’s happening today, from an esoteric point of view in the world, is that the soul of humanity is trying to infuse a bit more of itself into the personality of humanity, and many of the incredible struggles and crises that we see around the world — whether we’re talking about the political crises here in the United States or the immigration crisis in Europe, the Brexit issue, the crisis in the Middle East — all of these are manifestations of a crescendo of crisis as a function of humanity moving to a great initiatory opportunity.
We are in what is called in the ancient literature, “The Period of the Burning Ground,” and it’s a testing time. It’s the crisis period to see if humanity will do what it takes to transform its personality nature. As the soul tries to impress more of itself into the personality, and this is true both collectively and individually, what are revealed are shadow issues. Shadow issues are the unconscious, negative patterns that are within. They are jarred loose and they rise to the surface. That’s why over the last several years we’ve been seeing the worst of businesses, the worst of government, the worst of religion. And truthfully, if we were honest with ourselves, we have probably seen the worst of ourselves, as well.
This is all part of the physics of how human evolution works and how the evolution of human consciousness works, both individually and collectively. Humanity is approaching a great initiatory opportunity — actually what we call The First Initiation. The First Initiation has so much to do with humanity learning in a very outward, practical way how to find right relationship. What is the right relationship between nation and nation, between men and women, between government and the people that it governs, between humanity and Mother Nature, race and race, on and on it goes.
The whole story that humanity is trying to understand is its oneness. It is going through a tremendous crisis around that question, and it is only going to find that oneness when humanity collectively realizes that to live as one means that we have to understand what constitutes right relationship of all of these dualities that play out in our life experience.
So, it’s an absolutely amazing time to be in the world today. When we talk about being a creative agent and a magician, I mean, my goodness! The call to make an uplifting contribution to humanity’s betterment is higher now than probably even in human history. So, for those people who will be reading this interview, I just have to say that this is your time. This is your time to bring the very best of you forward, the highest impulse of love that you can feel within you, and the wisest thoughts that you have that are meaningful to you and to bring them out into the world as a function of upliftment. Because when you bring something forward into the world as impulsed by your soul, it means that you and the soul are in service to the soul of humanity, and that’s what’s really happening today.
For more information on William Meader’s events coming to the Twin Cities, visit Meader.org/events/category/united-states/central-us/