Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on October 18, 2013

Over the next few days I will share with you a short series on the life and teachings of Andrew Gunn McIver, traveling Rosicrucian initiator, a rare glimpse into esoteric initiation, western esotericism, and empowerment, the relationship between a mentor and his student. You can read it here over several days, or watch it (or just listen to the audio) on video now at these links.

Although I have had many ups and downs in my life I have been very fortunate in the area of having perfect life teachers and guides. Of course I had to wish for them to appear and then look and find for them. The universe has always provided me with key people who have appeared in my life, connected with me, and transmitted information essential to my future. And I mean essential. Most of my friends know I have worked with Tibetan teachers for the past 40 years or so, but I had other teachers before that.

In this article I will share with you something about the most incredible teacher from my early years, and that is Andrew Gunn McIver, the man who literally changed my life. And, as I am getting older by the day, I must warn you that in what I present here I am not going to sanitize or tone-down my accounts of what happened back then. Why should I? I am putting it out there so that some of you might know that these kinds of experiences still exist in the world and not just in movie plots and books.

And after I introduce you to Andrew, I will attempt to communicate some of the esoteric teachings and initiations he shared with me those many years ago. This is esoteric knowledge, and may not be of interest to everyone, so know that please. Here goes.

One morning sometime in 1967 (or perhaps earlier) I met what appeared to be an old man on what is called “The Diagonal” at the center of the University of Michigan campus. To me, he looked a lot like the writer Bernard Shaw. How was I to know that this meeting was to change my life forever? In fact what follows is a poetic (and perhaps exaggerated) account of that meeting as I wrote it in a journal entry long ago and which, while certainly over the top, will give you at least a flavor of what that first meeting was like to my mind. You are warned of possible hyperbole, so don’t complain. I guess we have to call this poetry or at least inflamed prose, and I quote.

“It was somehow ordained that they should meet. In this universe it was permitted. Preparation for this kind of meeting began far in advance. Perhaps they put on their first disguises hundreds of miles and maybe hundreds of years apart -- lifetimes. Even the heavy layers of flesh were hardly adequate as they reached each other in that first moment. All others even near wore protective glasses and thick shielding. The light, which was all around, was like a white hot nimbus, and its transparent heat had hidden them.

“The old man’s eyes (like crystalline stalks) burned bright, staring straight inside himself. Then both their eyes, intensive, meeting no resistance in the transparency, shot out and into the other. The old man let his secret start between them and he was understood - known. The impulse from within each shot out and into the other at the same moment. Eyes eyed other’s eyeing.

Their words resounded in that great silence and then wore off, consonants crackling, as their voices sputtered out in the silence. Silently speaking, this conversation crackled on endlessly like static on a radio. There was no reason. Sight itself was seen seeing.

“And their eyes soon lost the heavy shine of flesh and flat out they were seen seeing… eyes straight-out that sought support inside each, and inside, settled, light itself shining out.

When their sight struck, they stuck united in two, tying the inside into itself. They were one, and moved together parallel. In unison, they shared and mutually saw ‘that’ seeing. In unison they sought to set inside each eye a sharp strength. They were now inside insight and mind moved. They were of one mind and matter. What matter what remained?

And they showed their soul’s insight and it shot forth and froze forever already formed. Their eyes, once set singing inside, just shot out. And then the eyes set singing, slowly settled, and shared insight. This poem:


That song is sung,
That singing,
Sets inside itself,
Outsetting song,
That sings,
And singing
Sets itself,
In song.

Song that sang,
Which sung,
Is singing still.


As fantastic as that account may appear, it ‘was’ like that. And after that, for almost two years we worked together. The old man walking with the young man walking. Andrew would talk; I would listen.

Andrew Gunn McIver was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1887. He served in the First World War, where he had the job of recording the dead. Later he immigrated to Canada where he worked as a lumberjack even though he was only a little more than five feet tall. As a young man he was burly, strong, and had red hair, and very fair skin.

And he also worked for many years as a travelling initiator for a Rosicrucian order. Later in his life he ended up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he spent the final years of his life working as a custodian… “cleaning up after others,” as he put it. During those later years, Andrew McIver became an important fixture on the U. of M. campus where he met and probably befriended hundreds of students like myself.

At the age of 66, a time when most are retired, he was caught in a boiler explosion at the University and was almost killed. He spent six weeks in the hospital covered with burns and had to start life all over when he was released. His hospital stay had used up all his savings and at the age most people are no longer working, he had to start over from scratch. As mentioned, he was a custodian at the University of Michigan until his retirement. After retiring, his last years were spent living in a single room on a very modest amount of money.

His passion was the mind itself and all the world religions, but particularly Buddhism.

Andrew was in his eighties when I first met him there on the university campus in Ann Arbor. A red-head in his youth, Andrew’s now-white hair contrasted with his fair skin, which had a reddish hue. With his long white beard, as mentioned, he looked for all the world like Bernard Shaw. Andrew’s fierce eyes were intense and yet very vulnerable at the same time. He had no fear of any kind and would just address people straight out.

“It’s not ‘Touch me if you dare!’, but “Touch me if you ARE!,’” Andrew would declare. To meet his gaze was to know what compassionate wrath is, fierce but open and kind at the same time, removing what had to be removed, supporting what needed supporting. There was no B.S. with Andrew McIver. Despite any shyness, your whole being rose to the occasion the moment your eyes met his.

In my experience Andrew was the only person I had ever met up to that time who did not have some form of shadow or dark side. The effect of contact with Andrew was always positive. He consumed darkness and had a kind of ongoing love affair with the Sun.

As a redhead, his fair skin should not have been exposed to the Sun more than necessary. Yet Andrew (above all) loved the Sun, and would stand in it for hours on an end until his pale skin would just peel away exposing red patches.

“Imagine yourself standing at the center of the Sun,” he would growl at me, “That’s hot stuff!” He felt he had been consumed personally in the very heat and cauldron of the life process, and that what remained had been purified. This seemed true.

“You have to choose,” he would say, “between being a diamond or a pearl. A diamond is the
result of a very long time and immense pressures, while a pearl is created to protect the
organism from irritating matter. Which one will it be?”

Andrew was, without a doubt, the diamond
and he shone forth with an intense light.

Many days I would look for Andrew around campus and often find him sitting on one of the wide cement benches along “The Diag” up near State Street, usually in the full sun. I would spend whole days with him listening to the various aphorisms and lessons he would speak to me of.

Although normally talkative (can’t you tell from my writing?) I seldom spoke when I was with Andrew, almost never. I just could not find anything important enough to say to interrupt whatever he might be saying. And I absorbed the information Andrew offered me with a great thirst. Communication of this kind was what I had longed and prayed for my whole life. Finally, this was the real deal.

Andrew would actually say that he was tuning me like an instrument and that one day, perhaps years from then, I would respond to the information he was placing within my consciousness. He told me that straight out many times.

And the things he said were absolutely true and often, after ten or twelve hours of intense listening, I would be so exhausted (as I stumbled home to my room) that I felt I would have to be sick and throw up. It was like chemical radiation, the information he shared was that strong.

Andrew spent a great deal of time in the libraries of Ann Arbor, particularly in the Ann Arbor Public Library at the corner of 5th and Williams, where he read intently on mostly Eastern religious topics. He would write out short quotes from various books on tiny 3x5 slips of paper. At his death I found thousands of these slips, each with writing on both sides. The sad thing to me was that the reason Andrew wrote down the quote in the first place, his own thoughts, were often more profound than the famous quote itself. I only wished he had written out his ideas in his words. His juxtaposing of the quotes was more brilliant then the original quotes. Think about that!

Andrew not only would repeat certain themes or sayings, he would ask me to memorize and recite them. And he did this in front of others, often at Circle Books, the local metaphysical bookstore where I worked. There, around a low circular oak table, Andrew would ask me to remember and recite particular aphorisms in front of a group of others gathered there. I often felt embarrassed because my memory (on the spot) was not always that sharp, but it was a sign that Andrew took some stock in me as a student.

Andrew had been for many years a traveling initiator for a Rosicrucian order. He was familiar with almost all branches of metaphysical and occult wisdom. His reading was vast and he was very familiar and had worked with the Max Heindel School of Rosicrucianism and knew the book “Cosmo Conception” inside and out. He was familiar with astrology, numerology, occult science, and about every kind of metaphysical study. He was perhaps most interested in Buddhism of all forms, in particular, Zen, also Sufi wisdom.

During my years with Andrew McIver he initiated me into a lineage of esoteric knowledge, some of which I will attempt to share with readers here if I can find the words. As mentioned above, Andrew would tell me that he was reading this deep esoteric knowledge (like you would write out a script) deep within my mind and consciousness. He literally would say that he was tuning me like one would tune an instrument and that many years from that time I would remember, and this knowledge would come alive in me and live on. Think on that for a moment. That was a powerful experience for me and I am sharing it with you!

And to give you just one example, as I related earlier, he would repeatedly say to me.

“Michael, imagine yourself standing at the center of the Sun,” he would then growl at me, “That’s hot

And years later when I became well-known as an astrologer it was heliocentric astrology
(sun-centered) that I became an expert in. Literally, I imagined myself standing at the center of the Sun. That is how it worked with Andrew. That is what initiation and lineage can be like.

And the proof of the pudding (to me anyway) came when I traveled to Tibet to meet His Holiness the Karmapa (like the Dalai Lama, but of another lineage) high in the high Himalayas (something like 15,000 feet). In that remote place the Karmapa (who did not speak English) through a translator, gave me a name. He said “You are Tenzin Nyima.” Later, our translater explained to me that this means “holder of the Sun” or “Keeper of the Sun.” Talk about confirmation.

When I knew him, Andrew spent much of his day working with language, with words. Palindromes were a favorite, words or phrases that read the same forward as backward, like the famous one about Napoleon, “Able was I ere I saw Elba.” More often he would take a word and create a list of all the other words that could be derived from it much like the popular game today called “Boggle.” And most often he would take the English language and spell words out on the spot to me, like the word initiate -- “In-It-I-Ate.”

Andrew would declare that this helped to give insight into the inner meaning of the word. This was his gospel or as he would say it “Go Spell!“

From his point of view the words themselves were signs or mudras that described their own nature. Their secret was in plain sight. He would also do any and all kind of word games, where letters were rearranged. Not crossword puzzles mind you, but other sorts of word gymnastics.

Andrew had very little money and true to his Scottish heritage was somewhat frugal on top of that. He lived until the very last months of his life in a tiny room at a boarding house. The few belongings in his almost empty room were always neatly placed.

He loved to read newspapers and, in particular, learn of fresh news of that day, but with a special twist. It seemed that whatever happened on a national or international level would also happen to Andrew in his life at the personal level. For example when race riots broke out in Detroit, that same day Black youths broke into Andrew’s tiny room and destroyed something. Andrew was totally aware of this and felt it represented a level of consciousness he had earned by burning off various obscurations.

Just like we astrologers say that the cosmic dance up in the heavens is acted out down here on earth at the same time, so what happened in the news around the world seemed to happen to Andrew McIver personally and daily. Of course I found this remarkable.

It was the imperfections, Andrew would say, that kept him still around on this earth and he would show his slightly-bent little finger on one hand that had been injured years earlier. This imperfection, he would say, helped to keep him from passing on. I never knew if he was just kidding or using this example to instruct me in one of life’s secrets. I was always the rapt student, but it often took time for me to grasp the meaning of what Andrew presented. I am still learning.

And Andrew was an expert on just about every business establishment in the campus vicinity. He made a point of visiting them all and would not stand for bad service or the deterioration of service. He was always vocal about this sort of thing, would make his observations known to management, and if unanswered, he would avoid the place completely. I would not like to own one of those businesses that Andrew shunned. Today, they are all gone.

There is no question that Andrew McIver was a protector being, perhaps what the Tibetan Buddhists call a ‘dharma protector’. He was fierce, although his indignation at those who harmed others never burned anyone. He was pure living fire that did not burn. The correct term for what Andrew often exhibited would be righteous wrath, wrath at all and everything that obstructed and obscured the pure flowing of the life force.

Perhaps you can imagine encountering a five-foot figure in his eighties on the campus of the University of Michigan and casting this old man a condescending kindly glance, only to suddenly be eye-to-eye with the most vital force in the universe. Unforgettable, I assure you!

And I will mention this just once: Andrew was ‘with’ us but not one of us, in that his personality had no shadow – cast no shadow. He was so perfectly clear that his presence was like a window in this dream we all have called life, a window through which I could for a time gaze. He was only there to help. Aside from that he was not there at all. He was there for people like me. Got it?

Andrew had a notable chance meeting of the governor of the state of Michigan, who greeted Andrew as if he was one more doddering senior citizen in a group of elders. “And how are you,” Governor Romney said in his obsequious politic voice. Andrew responded, “It’s not ‘How are You?’ but ‘Who are you?’ that matters,“ he replied, to the governor’s complete confusion.

And Andrew was very careful with what he ate. Over his long life he had tried eating almost everything and learned what each thing did to his system. He could tell you exactly what certain foods would do to his body, producing a boil here, a rash there. For example, this brand of tomato soup would cause a rash on this or that part of his right ankle, and so on. He ate very simply and would cook food for me once in a while. Andrew taught me how to boil coffee by dropping the grounds into boiling water, turning off the heat at once, and covering the pan. We would often drink coffee together.

And he had real powers. I could recall many times when I approached Andrew at a time when I was in a bad mood. Andrew could sense this at once and would always tell some story that led to an emphatic action of some kind on his part. He would be talking along, getting more and more crisp about some point when, taking the newspaper that he usually carried, he would bring it down sharply in his hand or on the edge of a table or something. Whack!

In that instant, at the precise point where the sharp sound occurred, my headache or bad mood would just vanish. It was gone. Andrew did this all the time, like swatting a fly.

Andrew McIver must have had a number of students and I know that many people benefited from his presence. I only knew a few of his other students personally. As time went on Andrew and I became almost inseparable. On Andrew’s death on March 9th, 1969, I was the one who worked with the police, contacted his sister in Scotland (his only remaining kin) and saw to his burial.

Andrew was buried in the Forest Hills cemetery near the corner of Observatory Street and Geddes Road in Ann Arbor, up near the student's dorms on the hill. I saw to this and designed a tall granite gravestone with the symbol of the Sun on it, a circle with a dot in the center. I enclose it here.


He would have liked that. If you want to visit his grave, it can be found just inside the fence near the sidewalk along Geddes Road, about 3 blocks from the cemetery entrance and to the South. I often visit there when I am in Ann Arbor.

Well, I have told you something about Andrew McIver, but for me the most important point was that in Andrew I had found an individual and a person who had no shadow, no personality flaw of any kind that I with my outsized critical eye could discover.

Andrew McIver was absolutely transparent and empty as far as obscurations were concerned. He had none that I could see and I had looked you can be sure. And yet his mind was as vivid and lucid as a cloudless sky. As mentioned, you could see right through him into yourself. And through Andrew I could finally see into the future of… myself, i.e. that I had a future.

It was clear when I met Andrew McIver that this man cared more for me than I knew how to care for myself. I sensed this and trust and confidence arose in me (for the first time in my adult experience) for another ‘person’. Through Andrew I could see clearly and I was able to open my heart to him with no reservations. And with that gesture, all of my fear of other persons vanished and I ceased to be hung up on other people’s personal faults.

This is not to say that I stopped recognizing flaws in those around me, but rather that I was no longer afraid that others could infect me, that I would end up like them if I listened to or learned from them. Andrew McIver was like a pole star in the general direction of my life. Because he was authentic, genuine, I was able to trust my own judgment because I had with me now the experience of the real deal, a fully realized being who, once known, left no doubt in me about who was a poser and who was not among those around me.

Once I encountered someone like Andrew I could never again get caught up with those who just pretend to know. I now knew the difference, and knowing that, I could have compassion for those who just pretended as opposed to fearing them, debating them, or thinking they were contagious. It made all of the difference.


I want to give you at least a taste of Andrew McIver’s teachings. As I get right down to doing this, it is clear to me that these teachings are not only very useful and profound but also very, very difficult to realize experientially. There is a long journey between grasping these concepts vaguely with your mental understanding to realizing that they are actually true, much less living that reality consciously.

This is what is called esoteric or occult (hidden) doctrine and this kind of learning has usually been passed down from mouth to ear, not because it is secret or forbidden, but rather because it is self-secret, hidden from ourselves by our own ignorance, which means society chooses to ignore the obvious, And these kind of teachings are well hidden in the obvious, in plain sight, the one place we would never think to look.

Andrew McIver was very much about what are called climactic life events, pivotal points of change on which our life turns, times where there is a definite before, during, and after. These kind of events are often called rites of passage or life passages, gates we each pass through whether we are aware of it or not.

Andrew called these passages ’initiations’ and he would often say: “We are all initiates, but it is
a question of to what degree.” Andrew’s view was that each of us goes through and experiences all of life’s passages or initiations fully, but often with little or no awareness of what is happening to us, and thus no memory of the event. It was never consciously recorded. This is perhaps why he was so fascinated by Buddhism because as we know the word “Buddha” simply means awareness. Gaining awareness of what we are going through in our life was very important to Andrew.

Recognizing these great life events or rites of passage is important, but even more important
is celebrating them. So much of these deeper life initiations are never spoken of in public, much less actually acknowledged and celebrated. It would seem that in these times each of us celebrates our own most intimate self secretly, privately, or perhaps with almost no celebration at all. This indeed is sad and moreover unnecessary, but still true.

Andrew was very aware of astrology and in particular the motion of the great timekeeper, Saturn. The planet Saturn completes its first circle or return to its original birth place in the zodiac around thirty years of age, its first circle. According to Andrew, one of the key or main life passages (climactic events) is that first Saturn return at 29.4 years.

You know the old phrase “Never trust anyone over thirty.” Well, there is a reason for that. The area of time in our late twenties and early thirties marks a great life initiation, a great passing or passage.

Andrew used to say that 33 was the year that Christ died and he would also say that 33 degrees is when ice melts. And then there is the 33rd degree of freemasonry, and so on. In life, the 33rd degree or year marks a pivotal change for every person, although most of us have only a dim awareness of it at the time.

And although we all experience our Saturn return (this rite of passage), not that many of us do it consciously and with full awareness. Instead we tend to sleepwalk through these life changes and miss or ignore these important inner passages or events.

Andrew McIver was very much into helping people (especially young people) go through these rites of passage consciously (and with full awareness) before they were thirty rather than sometime later on.

“Awareness is everything” was his view, so you can see it was quite natural for me to eventually wander into Buddhism, which is all about being more aware.

Andrew wanted those people under thirty years of age to go through the great Saturn initiation in their 30th year with their eyes open and not ignorant (ignoring) and asleep in their bodies at that crucial time. His philosophy was very much one of “go and meet your maker consciously” rather than be dragged into awareness reluctantly.

Waking up was what Andrew McIver was all about, and there is much more and it gets deeper. I will present two esoteric truths for you to consider and I warn you that they are not easy to grasp and may even appear as pure nonsense, so don’t jump to conclusions.

Relax, and just let these concepts roll over you and do their work for a bit. Thinking won’t help you now. These concepts work internally on their own. Here I will just attempt to point them out. You will either get
a glimpse of them or you won’t.

The first esoteric concept is that all of the hoo-haw about being “born again” is nothing other than becoming aware of this great rite of passage that takes place around the thirtieth year. Although Christians have claimed it for their own, there is nothing particularly Christian about being born again.

We all are born again by virtue of living beyond the age of thirty, but not all of us are equally aware of it. When we do become aware of this, that is what is called being ‘born again’. Again, awareness of these events is always the key, not whether you experience the event. We all experience this passage, but we don’t all remember it consciously.

And while it is perhaps best to have this awareness of being born again ‘while’ you are going through the rite of passage at around thirty years of age (because it is an event that happens to each of us), we can become aware of it at any time after that. In other words, we can also realize that we have become "born again" anytime later on in our life. It is like those kernels of popcorn that pop after all the rest are done.

However it can only happen once, this awareness, this being “born again,” and not over and over. That is what defines a ‘realization,” the fact that once you have experienced it you never forget it. It is indeed an unforgettable experience and not something that waxes and wanes, that comes and goes, but rather instantly a permanent part of us, a realization.

And now for the really esoteric part, the hard part to grasp.

In the esoteric sense, the ‘death’ we all wonder about and perhaps fear, but have no choice but to look forward to, does not come at the live-long end of life like we imagine or have been told. On the contrary, the important death comes right smack in the middle of life, around that first Saturn return at thirty years of age. In other words, death happens in the midst of life and after ‘that’ death are only the ‘after- death’ experiences, what the Christians call the resurrection. We ‘are’ literally born again, each of us.

In other words, we die and are born again right in the middle of life and not at the very end as we imagine and have been told. By the time we reach the old-age end of life we are about dead, physically, but the death that counts and that everyone fears happens right during life itself. In fact the prime of life (like the top of the bell curve) is simultaneously the exact point of our psyche or spiritual death (and rebirth) for each of us.

I know this may be hard to understand for some of you who are reading this, so I can appreciate that you may want to just ignore all of this and move on. But there may be a very few of you who can grasp this very esoteric or occult (hidden) concept and make it real for yourselves: realize it consciously. And I will try to explain this in more detail in a moment, but know this:

Andrew McIver was very much into initiating anyone (those who could grasp it) into these concepts and helping to prepare us to experience this great rite of passage consciously and not have to piece it together later in life a bit at a time or not at all.

After Andrew’s death, I saw to his funeral, designed a gravestone, and sent all of his belongings and what little money he had to his sole surviving sister in Scotland. In thanks, she sent a little painting to me, which Andrew would have appreciated. It was a watercolor of a thistle, with words above it that said something like "I looked for something Scotch for you, the thistles asked if they would do."


Some of you have commented or messaged me that these concepts are hard to understand. Well, yes they are. Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. It took me years to understand these concepts and that is pretty much par for the course, so relax and let it permeate and percolate. Let it work like pickles work in brine.

Keep in mind that the statute of limitations never runs out on this realization because it is not about ‘time’. By definition it is outside or beyond time as you and I know that term. That is the whole idea of Saturn we are discussing here. Remember that in astrology Saturn ‘IS’ time itself, all the time in the world, all the time you and I will ever know. And once Saturn completes its first full cycle of the zodiac (which is around thirty years of age) it starts to repeat itself and to go over the same zodiac degrees for a second time. This repetition is key.

That is when we start to wake up, because during that first round of Saturn we are all caught up in time and unable to release ourselves. Our body is busy growing itself. When Saturn gets repetitive, starts to go over the same material again at thirty years, it is like a Déjà vu experience for us. Somewhere inside we dimly know that we have done this before, been here before, and we stir awake.

Time’s (Saturn’s) grip on us starts to fail and we quite naturally begin to wake up and (as the Christians like to say) are born again. This ‘born-again’ experience can be sudden and all at once like a lighting strike or it can be gradual and slow like the Sun coming up. It takes all kinds and this experience varies just as we all vary from one another.

Since we live in a materialistic time and in a materialistic society, we have been trained or indoctrinated to focus only on the material body and its eventual death. That’s materialism, plain and simple. But there is another more-important death or change that happens to us and that death happens right at the prime of life, right when the physical body stops growing and is complete. And that change is (we could say) the “death” of death, which is why it is a rebirth or a being born again. Two negatives always make a positive.

It is unfortunate that the concept of being born again has been Bogarted by the Christians. It is not their fault that they were smart enough to catch on to this, but their enthusiasm can be off-putting to the rest of us to the point of driving us away from our own experience of this climatic event, an experience we each need to have to complete ourselves. Here is more about the way Andrew presented this concept to me:

He spoke of this ‘being born again’ epiphany as like a space capsule, a vehicle that each of us builds during the years that our body is growing and forming, those years when we are less than thirty years old, you know, yet to reach maturity and be grown up. Andrew spoke of this time as if during these early years we are on Earth or somehow within the body – on the inside. And it is at that time that we make changes, choices, and otherwise modify our own personal vehicle, our particular space capsule.

However, so he taught, at around thirty years of age that space capsule we have formed through our youth (the body) is launched into space and then time (as we know it) just stops. Think about that for a moment because that is the end of time or what is called the “end time.”

Time no longer has dominion ‘over’ us and ceases to fascinate or transfix us. You could also say that Saturn (Satan as the Christians say) loses his grip and we pull free of that force, the force of time. He continue to grow, but are now beyond time. Some call that eternity.

Then, as Saturn starts to go around in its orbit for the second time, degree by degree, we are launched, ready or not, beyond time and out in space.

Because modern society has lost the awareness of deep inner changes (rites of passage) like these, there is no discussion and little awareness of this natural life initiation. We each are left to figure it out for ourselves privately, to celebrate alone as best we can what would better be celebrated outwardly with our family and friends. But as it is, we each get short services and silence from those around us. And we enter that silence.

This great inner change (the loosening of the material death-grip on us) releases us from the body and we float free like an astronaut on a tether in space. In the occult tradition this is called “entering the Silence” and it can be a somewhat frightening experience when time appears to stop.

This of course is just an analogy, but it is an apt one. Andrew McIver made it very clear to me that once our vehicle is launched beyond time (around thirty years of age) it cannot be altered physically. Whatever we have achieved, however we have formed it, all of that remains just as we left it. In other words, we leave the body at that time just as it is, finished, half-finished, or unfinished. We just up and move on, which is the awakening experience I am trying to describe here. I am not going to call it “born again” any longer because that phrase carries too much baggage. We wake up or become aware which (as I keep saying) is what Buddhism is all about: awareness. Nothing more.

Andrew spoke of three orbital periods of Saturn, three cycles of thirty years each: the cycle ending at around thirty years, one ending at sixty years, and a final one at ninety years. And he said this:

We spend the first thirty-year cycle building our vehicle (growing our body), the second thirty- year cycle repairing the damage we make launching our vehicle (getting out of the body), and the third thirty-year cycle (if we live so long) actually becoming a conscious part of the creative force itself. That last cycle is incredible, so think about what that might mean, ourselves being a conscious and actual part of creating life!.

A traditional analogy is that of a flower. First there is the bud (first cycle), and then the opening of the flower (second cycle), and finally, beyond blooming, and the total relaxing of the flower (third cycle).

For those of you with an interest in this I have a free e- book on these concepts that I wrote years ago called:

“Astrology of the Heart: Astro-Shamanism”

It is all about this death-in-life concept and you can download it here:


This awakening experience can happen around the age of thirty or ANY time later, whenever we start to realize that we have already left (or are leaving) the body, when we wake up.

This wraps up this piece on my life teacher Andrew McIver. Of course words cannot express my debt to Andrew or my deep-felt love and appreciation for the man. He caught me in the throes of struggling with my own personality, successfully tamed me, and then proceeded to instruct and initiate me into my own mysteries. It changed my life.

Looking back from now it seems that Andrew was some kind of emanation that appeared to me. I have no idea how I merited it and it came at the end (and caused the end) of years of my struggling to not-take anything from anyone. Remember, I never graduated from high school because I literally could not be taught.

Part of that problem was because if my would-be teachers had personal faults, I refused to learn from them. I used their failings as an excuse to ignore what else they had to say and would take nothing from them because I did not want to end up being like them. I did not want the bathwater that perhaps came with the baby. This was a mistake (miss-take as Andrew would spell it) on my part.

Lucky for me Andrew helped to correct that mistake. He was so perfect in every way that I had no complaint and just had to listen. He had my undivided attention. This is what I mean by “he tamed me.” With Andrew I had run out of excuses, ran out of time…. into eternity.

Even today there is a quality about Andrew McIver in my mind that was more like a dream than real. A better way to say this is that the dream was real. He was more than I ever dreamed life could be. And through Andrew I got over my resistance to other people and (as I mentioned before) their personalities and in two ways.

The first way is that by meeting someone who I felt confidence in and that I could totally trust, my inside world or psyche was finally projected outside myself into (and through) Andrew and that opened a window on reality that gradually widened. In other words, my outside and inside began to mix and merge and this was key. Like a drop of water in a still pond sends ever-widening concentric circles that are more and more inclusive, so did my pent-up inner psyche go out into and through Andrew, gradually mix with that threatening outside world, and both myself and the world become more balanced or equalized. This is called "mixing."

And second, having known Andrew, having known authentic wisdom, I never took another wooden nickel from those who had no authentic experience and literally did not know what they were talking about, those who had perhaps abstract knowledge but no experience and no realization. For me this was a big thing. Before Andrew, I could not tell who was authentic and who was faking it. I had no reference point or experience to go on.

Although I did not know this at the time, it was a sign of strength that I was able to manifest a real life teacher in my outer world, that it was even permitted to happen. And these things don’t just automatically ‘happen’. You have to want them, ask for them, and pray for them. You have to REALLY want and need this. Andrew was that bridge to the outside world that I needed and that I had been waiting for all my life up until then.

I will close by sharing with you what I now see is an important truth. Although I needed a pristine and perfect example in the outside world to have confidence and to forge a wormhole into a new dimension, this was a misunderstanding on my part.

Of course I found that example in Andrew McIver, but since then I have learned:

It does not matter what the personality of your teacher is like. Of course it has to be within the limits of your tolerance for differences, within your idea of what is acceptable behavior. But that aside, what is important (and the only thing that is really important) is that the life-teacher is capable of pointing out to you the way into yourself. That alone is initiation.

There is no teacher of any kind, nor has there ever been or ever will be, that can do it for you. The whole point is that we have to do it ourselves, to actually have the experience and to learn to “know.” All written words, all spoken (and even all silent gestures) are only signposts, pointers
to having the real life experience for ourselves. All are signs that point to our jumping into the pool of life and experiencing it for ourselves. It is the only way to know.

A teacher is someone who can point out to you how to realize yourself. That is their entire job. Period. They don’t have to be your friend. They don’t have to look or act perfect. Their personality is their business, not yours. The only question to answer is: CAN they (are they able) to point out to you a method for you to know yourself and for you to know the true nature of your own mind. In other words: when they present it, do you get it? As I understand it, that’s all that is required.

Andrew McIver was very much in the “now” and would say to me more than any other saying:

“Michael, this is it!” And sometimes he would add "If this hell, it is up to us to make a little heaven from it."