Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

Initiation, Sign, Consecration (Phase 2 of the Hero's Path)


By on 4 May 2020


The initiation, a consecration

Sign of devotion to the feminine (WATER)

Initiation - the second phase of the Hero's Path

Once the hero/heroine has recognised the calling for the path of love, the next step is for him/her to give a first clear, outwardly perceptible sign of the inner decision. Initiation as the second phase of the hero's path is thus a commitment to the path of love and to devotion to the feminine, i.e. life in matter. 


Initiation - Immersion in the great feminine

Water as a female symbol for life and love

Initiation is often associated with water.
Water as the primordial element that gives birth to life is the symbol for the great feminine and the unconscious par excellence.
Here is a quote from C.G. Jung:

The maternal meaning of water is one of the clearest symbolic interpretations in the field of mythology [...]. Life comes from the water [...]. In dreams and fantasies, the sea and every larger body of water signifies the unconscious. The mother aspect of water coincides with the nature of the unconscious insofar as it can be addressed (especially in man) as the mother or matrix [Latin for "womb"] of the conscious.[1]

Integration of the female unconscious into consciousness (male)

The consciousness ("masculine") that has developed in life must integrate all aspects of the feminine in order to attain wholeness: love as the feminine side of the spirit and the soul/life. Life itself is part of the unconscious, because it is outside the consciousness of the human being....

Unification of the conscious with the unconscious

In other words, the spirit must go down into matter, even into the unconscious, into the realm of shadows and death,in order to unite there - in dying (of the ego) - with the unconscious in love (see The Holy Wedding).

Initiation as a conscious sign of the path of love 

The readiness for the path of love can be expressed in different ways, for example in a departure from home, in a confession through words or deeds, in a first sexual intercourse, in the performance of a ritual (a test of courage or a ritual violation such as through circumcision) or in a consecration through immersion in water.

1. initiation as a ritual - crossing over into the world of adults

Initiation as a ritual concerns men. That is why a man should have his say here. The two following texts are quotations from the Franciscan priest and teacher Richard Rohr[2]:

Since ancient times, different cultures have developed initiation rites specifically for young men, much more so than for women. It seems that the biological experiences of menstruation and childbearing imparted enough wisdom to women, but men must inevitably be tested, limited, challenged, punished, harassed and circumcised, exposed to hunger, thirst and nakedness, and thus brought to maturity.

Male initiation [...] usually involves confronting the non-rational, the unconscious and, if you like, the wild. It prepares the young man to encounter life other than in the categories of logic, dominance, control and problem solving. It prepares him for the encounter with the spirit.

2. initiation as confession through words

Words work in the immaterial realm (soul, spirit) and thus also in the realm of relationships. Words belong to the feminine and to the element of water. They can pour out like a waterfall. In the Torah/Bible, the voice of God is described as the sound of great waters [3].

Words, also in the form of written characters, transport spiritual contents that can be interpreted. Impulses are set into matter through words. Examples:

  • The sentence "I love you. is a confession.
  • In The Knight and the Rose Castle the hero tells of his dream vision and confesses that he wants to find the maiden in the castle of the rosy clouds. Even the ridicule he has to endure from his colleagues because of this cannot stop him.

3. initiation as the first sexual intercourse

The first sexual intercourse makes the couple "man" and "woman". It thus signifies their initiation, their "initiation" into the adult world.
Mythologically speaking, the virgin and "goddess of love" makes her lover her king by admitting him into her "sanctuary", into her womb. By giving herself completely to him, she becomes his "kingdom".

Water is already an image for sexual intercourse in Sumerian mythology. The male water (seminal fluid) and the female water (vaginal fluid) flow together.
Through egoistic sexual intercourse, however, the man can literally "cut off the water" of the woman by entering into her without her "water", her anointing ("water of life") being there (more s. Water - female and also Christ, Messiah, the Anointed).

The first sexual intercourse as initiation is seen in many cultures as a sign of love and also as a sign of readiness to enter into a binding, sustaining and fruitful relationship.

4 Initiation as a departure into freedom

Departure can also be a visible consequence of the decision for love. The hero sets out to take new ground, to conquer his longed-for and perhaps also promised land of abundance and freedom. In doing so, it is necessary to leave the comfortable home and maternal security, at least where these mean unfreedom (see The Detachment from the Mother and The human equation).
The very idea of change with uncertain consequences is frightening. And that is why courage, even heroic courage, is needed for the path to freedom.

5. initiation as spiritual consecration - baptism

Baptism as an immersion in water most strongly expresses the decision for the path of love and devotion. (see above and more under Water - feminine).

Submerging and Emerging - Dying and Rising

The immersion and resurfacing are symbols of dying and resurrection. It is thus an expression of trust in the power of love, as a force that overcomes death.
Thus baptism can also be seen as a sign of willingness to let go of the small identity (the ego) in order to gain the great identity of love (which is one with Christ, see The Self).
Figuratively speaking, the immersion and emergence also symbolises the seed that is sown in the earth and dies, dissolves and becomes a new plant that bears much fruit (see The Dying of the Seed and Dying and Rising).

With this symbolism, baptism is a sign, a consecration and an anticipation of the whole heroic journey (more s. Baptism).


[1] C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 5, Symbols of Transformation, p. 276 f., § 319f.

[2] Rohr, Richard (2009). From the Wild Man to the Wise Man (2nd ed.). Munich: Claudius. P. 43 and 44.

[3] Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, chapter 1:24; Revelation of John, chapters 14:2 and 19:6.

[4] Jean-Jacques Rousseau in: The Social Contract III, On Democracy

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