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Inscendence/Embodiment EEs/EHEs
Record Type: Review   ID: 164

Arching Backward: The Mystical Initiation of a Contemporary Woman

Adler, Janet

 Adler is an American contemporary who underwent an initiation as rich as any in the literature of mysticism and transformation. She refers to it as her "direct experience of the Mysteries" (p. xii). Adler is a dancer; she experiences the numinous in her body. Her exceptional body experiences have resulted in seeing life in an entirely new way, a way that is not only her own, for she feels her "body is a conduit for energy destined for the collective body" (p. xiii). She confirms what we have observed about the EHE process: "When I am living in correct relationship to this process ... I glimpse a synchronicity between the content of the visions and the unfolding of my life" (p. xv). She had no background knowledge of the experiences she was to have—no specialized vocabulary, no mentor, no texts, no circle of persons who have undergone or were undergoing the same process. She felt very alone, and had a "cellular memory" of being burned by white people. In her vision, she cannot distinguish between those who have been burned and those who have done the burning. She describes and documents the entire process via her visions. When she "returned" to daily life—a process which took 15 years—the "energy" came less frequently. Rather, she found: "The energy is becoming me, and often the energy is one. Originally the energy brought me into the sacred. Now, as the energy integrates with my being, being is sacred" (p. 240). She reached the stage of coming to a river that "runs between the edge of my initiatory journey and the edge of my culture" (p. 241). She had a vision in which she saw she had to cross the divide by means of a very delicately formed bridge. "With all of me, every cell concentrating, focused on specific tasks, I move the energy from my body across the bridge to the collective body. The tasks completed, I become the bridge, arching backward over the ever-changing dynamic force" (p. 241). Just so, in the EHE process, we must each in our own way come to the chasm between what we know and what our culture accepts, and ourselves became the conduit, the bridge, by means of which we can know the Universal self and be simultaneously on both sides of the river/divide, knowing the one Self we all are. This record of Adler’s odyssey is both a tribute to and a guide to the journey each of us must take ... eventually. Adler’s book offers the encouragement and sustenance to do it sooner.
Publisher Information:Foreword by Joan Halifax. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1995. 245p.
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