Intentions and spiritual principles, meditation and contemplation, ritual, and risk-taking are the conditions that comprise an initiated life. Regrettably, in modern society we do not have rites of initiation that break through the personal and societal illusions that instill and perpetuate negative habits that keep us in states of resistance. Lacking initiation practices, we often remain trapped in ways of being in the world that were formed by our past conditions and attachments. We tend to identify too strongly with the status quo, which must be challenged to prevent stagnation and to encourage happiness and authenticity.
Julie Tallard Johnson shows how to become initiated into an authentic life through practices of thought transformation, cultivating attention, journaling, storytelling, and rituals found in the four directions of the universal mandala. She begins the Wheel of Initiation in the South, where initiates set their intentions; then moves into the West, where they free themselves from habitual patterns and core beliefs; then into the North, the direction of cultivating attention and unity; and finishes in the East, the direction of regeneration and initiation. Drawing upon the life experiences of those who have successfully navigated the wheel, Johnson demonstrates that once fears, assumptions, and ingrained beliefs are confronted and transformed, initiates emerge ready to reenter society with renewed energy and vision that will enrich their own lives and their communities.