Towards a Modern Mystery School


There comes a point in the midst of life when we may begin to sense a different trajectory. Our voice naturally opens as we expand downwards into compassion. Our intelligence deepens as it accesses added wonder and humility, expanding as, by learning more and more, we often come to see that we know less and less. We find ourselves yearning for something ‘other’ in our lives and, even as we become more solid, we sense a vast cumulative melancholy, deep down amongst the roots of humanity – a feeling of separation, an absence of connectedness. At this point our task is not to ‘better ourselves’ or become ‘wise’, nor to extend our influence over our communities, or the environment. Our true task at this point is to listen, and welcome what are, in fact, the calls of soul and spirit.


Since ancient times, thoughtful men and women have sought to break through the youthful shield of what we now call the ego, to a more receptive, more vulnerable, yet infinitely more connected way of being. In this place, or state, of soulful perception, we begin to understand and experience the world anew, and in so doing we begin to ask a different kind of question. What is our true gift to life? What happens when we open to what we’ve always excluded? How do we step into unknowing? Where is the place for the transcendent and/or the sacred in our lives? And — crucially, given our self-centred, unyielding culture — can we surrender? Can we bow to that which is greater than ourselves?


In response to this call of the soul, the ancient mystery schools were set up to explore these deeper spaces of insight, understanding and flow. Tracking such schools down their modern counterparts we come to see that there is a common core to their work, which arises through the practices of attention, presence and the shedding of old ways; a softening into a new kind of vulnerability and openness. Such is the soul-work of Vessica, a ‘modern mystery school’ set up by three long-term practitioners, to address these inner shifts and yearnings. Through the exploration of presence work, creativity and inner ‘wilding’, Vessica provides a place in which we can settle, expand and grow down into our truer selves.


This is not personal development, which is often concerned with building a strong and resilient ego. Nor is it leadership development, in the sense of evolving a personal leadership capability. This is transformational work that moves us beyond the personal ego, and the cloudy perceptions of ‘the material world’. In a very real sense it reflects the striving of the ancient mysteries, in that it offers a metaphysical re-balancing of left & right brain, reason & imagination, science & mysticism – bringing us ever closer to the alchemical marriage of masculine and feminine, heart and mind, spirit and matter.


Karl Gustav Jung, one of the fathers of psychoanalysis, once said that the first half of life was devoted to forming a healthy sense of self, and the second half to going inward and letting go of it. This work follows just such a trajectory, and is of particular interest to those who are addressing “second half of life’ issues such as self-acceptance, integrating life-experience, re-defining life-purpose and service, elderhood, mortality and the development of a spiritual practice.


Vessica — Towards a Modern Mystery School


William Ayot, Nicholas Janni & Andrew Logan

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