Madre Grande Monastery
A Sacred site for healing, teaching, ceremony, and celebration
Becoming a Monk of Madre Grande Monastery and a member of the Paracelsian Order is a deep commitment of effort and faith. It requires a willingness to be open, honest, and loving with each other and yourself, and to do the often difficult and painful inner work necessary to make progress on your unique spiritual path. Joining the Order and community should not be taken lightly or casually, and yet the process is not final or absolute. While living at Madre Grande and becoming a Friar or Monk you are expected to follow the policy and rules of the Order and Monastery, but are bound only by obedience to your Highest Self and your personal Karma. You may choose to quit or leave at any time.
An Aspirant is required to live at Madre Grande Monastery for at least six months and no more than one year before requesting admission into the Order as a Postulant Monk or Friar. Postulant Status is a kind of “training period” that gives the Aspirant time to experience life at Madre Grande and learn our teachings and methods of spiritual practice. It also gives potential members and Monks a chance to get to know each other, and find a satisfactory and fulfilling place in our household and community. The Postulant status has five degrees or Minor Orders. They are:
2) Outer Guardian.
4) Inner Guardian.
Each Minor Order consists of an initiation ceremony followed by at least six months of study and practice of the prescribed material. The initiations are designed to instill a process of mindful living necessary for personal growth and community stability. They also serve to attune you to Monastery and Order purposes and operations. Postulants agree to abide by the five Paracelsian Principles without taking them on as actual Vows.
It requires a minimum of two-and-half years and a maximum of five years to complete the Minor Orders. During this time the Postulant joins in most business and policy meetings and your opinions and ideas will be solicited, considered, and highly regarded.
Once the Minor Orders are complete you may apply to become a Novice Monk or Friar. This is the final stage before becoming a professed, voting member of the Order. Novice status requires one year of service and practice. Novice Monks must live full time at the Monastery, Novice Friars must make regular periodic visits.
After one year, with the verbal acceptance of all the Monks, a Novice may choose to become a Simple Professed Monk by taking on the Vows of the Order for one year.
After one year of Simple Profession, a Monk may retake the vows for another year of Simple Profession, or choose to become Life Professed, with the verbal acceptance of all the Monks, by taking on the Vows of the Order for life.
Each Order has its specific focus and practice, along with corresponding readings and teachings. You are expected to complete the required reading and studies and bring up any questions during group discussions or personal conversations with the Monks. Each Initiation is part of an ongoing process and is not finished after just one ceremony. Initiation does not equal fruition or completion, but is rather an entry into the stream.
A formal pre-written ceremony has been created for each Minor and Major Order and can be used if desired, but you are encouraged to adapt or create your own ceremony to suit your personal preferences and cultural or spiritual tradition. Self-created ceremonies should adhere to the Principles and purpose of the Order. We have provided a list of salient points which must be included in the Initiation Ceremony, but the form and style of the ceremony are your choice. The ceremonies are intended to be bridges between our Divine Perfection and our human folly, and are both formal and spontaneous, serious and light-hearted.
Each Initiation requires three objects. It is your responsibility to acquire these items:
A Vestment (white robe).
A Cincture (rope belt of specific color for each Degree).
An Amulet (a different symbolic tool for each Degree).
You must also provide the ingredients for the Agape Ceremony: Non-alcoholic wine (or juice), or water (preferably from the spring on the mountain.) Bread. (In addition, cheese and fruit are also often offered to the participants.)
Further details concerning the specifics of the various ceremonies and Initiations will be provided on request.
It is your decision and responsibility to formally request (verbally or in writing) Initiation into each order within the prescribed time frame. (From six months to one year for each Minor Order. At least one year for Novice or Profession.) If you have not requested initiation into the next Order after one year, the Monks may seek clarification of your intent and commitment.
The Initiation process for The Paracelsian Order has been created to give guidance and direction to individuals on their personal spiritual paths, and to discern their commitment and compatibility to the Principles and Purpose of The Paracelsian Order and Madre Grande Monastery. It is our desire and intent to encourage you to find your own path to spiritual fulfillment within the Sacred Circle of a mindful and loving community.
Perhaps you will consider joining us in our collective endeavor.
Becoming A Monk