Once we start down an initiatory process, it becomes very difficult not to draw comparisons between what we are experiencing and what others have experienced. This can be beneficial, especially when we are comparing our experience with people who have undertaken initiation through the same set of practices as ourselves. It can also be problematic, especially when we compare our experiences with those of people using alternative practices. When beneficial, it allows us to judge our progress and better understand how to overcome the obstacles confronting us. When harmful, it leads us to use techniques ill-suited to the specific challenges of our initiatory work and potentially hinder our progress.
The coil of life model provides at least some explanation for how this process of comparison does and does not help us. Because the coil is specific to each individual, the initiatory work of understanding it is similarly specific. The similarities in initiatory work are guaranteed by the common fractal structure of each coil. No matter where you look in it, you will find the coil-tree structure repeating. Within Yesod is a coil, within Netzach is a coil, within Hod is a coil, and so on. While the structure is identical, the substance is not. There is a density, tone, texture, rhythm, to each coil based on its specific materiality. The patterns repeat, but the material varies.
As the material varies, so, too, do the tools for working with them vary. While there will be a certain parallelism, the means of realizing the initiatory process will vary depending on which aspect of the coil it is undertaken. Ceremonial-Hermetic initiations have a strong ties to the stuff of Hod, Netzach, and Yesod, and so tend to develop tools suited to those. Visualization and symbols are prominent thereby, Spiritist work, by contrast, favors the stuff of Binah and Chokmah, favoring various forms of ecstasy and possession.
The neat thing about initiatory work is that, because of the resonance between the aspects of the coil, changes undertaken within one set of spheres will manifest elsewhere. However, the sphere in which the initiatory work actually takes place is the ‘master’ sphere calling the shots. When mutliple initiatory trajectories are comingled, there is an opportunity for rivalry between the different levels, with one set of processes running at odds with another set. Initiatory processes are not necessarily interoperable. While the right use of an alternative technique can provide just the right boost, so too can it provide an unbalancing twist.
A technique can develop something very much like what we are attempting to manifest in our initiatiatory work but nonetheless be the wrong tool for developing it. Or, a technique may have very little to do with what we are attempting to achieve but form a complement to it. Sacred places and objects favor different forms of initiation, too, for very similar reasons.