The Wheel of Initiation is based upon the four directions, consisting of two components. The directions are explored individually over two chapters, the first dealing with “Entering” that direction, and the second with experiencing, being “In” that direction. In addition, each direction deals with a specific aspect of ones journey:  South - “Set initiatory intention and make initiatory agreements;” West - “Transformation of mind and habitual patterns. Recapitulation;” North - “Contact with sacred reality through attention, awareness, and spiritual principles;” and East - “Initiation! Regeneration of self and communities.”

The initial chapters for each direction, (focused on “entering” the direction,) address the steps you need to take in mental preparation for your journey. Included in these chapters are anecdotes from individuals Johnson has dealt with in their individual journeys down this path.

Later chapters are more detailed, asking the reader to take specific steps and journal extensively about their experiences. Again, anecdotes are included to bring additional insight to the reader on their journey. In fact, the personal anecdotes seem to come more frequently as the book progresses, which is an approach that doesn’t resonate particularly well with me.

The final chapter on Teachers and Groups is a cautionary chapter, pointing out pitfalls to avoid, as well as addressing the group dynamics of families and friends. The appendix includes descriptions of the various websites listed.

This was not the “wheel” I was expecting when I got this book for review, and initially I was enthusiastic about the different approach. But I found the writing to be a little uneven overall, which has me on the fence about the book as a whole.

As the author states in the introduction, this is intended to be a spiritual journey, not a religious one. She wants the reader to learn how to be in the present and look forward. I think part of the challenge for me personally is that I have done much of the self-examination the author asks of the reader, and have moved forward from those experiences, so returning and rehashing them is not appealing to me. Even so, this is a reminder to become an active participant in your world.

~review by KatSai

Author: Julie Tallard Johnson
Bear & Company, 2010
pp. 305, $18.00

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