When I started out I would have loved to have known the answer to, “How to start your spiritual journey.”  In teaching the journey of spiritual awakening as a process the outline below is how I now invite you to explore such a process.

How to start your spiritual awakening journey begins by learning about your spiritual type and temperament. This will guide you to the spiritual path that you are created to follow and will be the 1st step into the adventure of a lifetime.

How to Start Your Spiritual Journey

This article will give you much to reflect upon, but I hope it serves to give you an overview of what I refer to as the attire that you wear on your journey.

The plan for this article is to give you an overview of the possibilities open to you.

Once this outline is in place, I will explore each of these types, paths, and temperaments in a broader outline. If you would like to keep informed about this broader invitation, then I recommend you sign up for the related email course.

What is the Spiritual Journey?

effortless yoga

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The focus of this website is to guide you on the spiritual journey of awakening as a process and through the understanding of awakening as an experience of revelation.

I share this spiritual journey of awakening through

  • The Preparation
  • Maps
  • Language
  • Stages
  • Levels
  • Paths
  • Signposts
  • Steps
  • The Return

This is how sharing the journey is unfolding as the website develops.

This journey of spiritual awakening is a journey for life and for all your life. It is a journey of union—meaning yoga.

This article has as its key focus the exploration of learning how to prepare for the journey.

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home—Matsuo Basho

Imagine that this article is where you explore what you will wear on holiday.

This is pertinent because the journey of awakening is a commitment to making your daily life an expression of wholeness (holy).

How to Start Your Spiritual Journey

First 1st Discover Your Type

discover your spiritual personality

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I teach this journey of spiritual awakening by introducing you to the way that wisdom teachings down the ages recognize that there different paths to suit different people.

As the mystic poet, Rumi says.

Let the beauty that you are be the work that you do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground – Rumi.

The beauty that you are is the revelation you seek on the spiritual journey of awakening. In my experience, you can be born into a situation where you are told how you should kneel and kiss the ground.

In this way, you become like The Sleeping Beauty, locked in a lofty tower of intellectual knowledge and belief. The beauty you are as the Essential Self remains unawakened.

The Road Less Travelled By is missed, and you, therefore, miss your birthright in KNOWING your true magnificence.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This article invites you to explore ways in which the spiritual journey is recognized as a series of distinct paths up the same mountain. The important 1st step is to recognize the path that best suits your soul type.

This article shares with you the path that might best suit you personally and in addition how to recognize spiritual group dynamics that you may keep you on a path not suited to your soul type.

The 4 Spiritual Types

4 spiritual types

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A study of different religious traditions gives you an understanding of different personal approaches to the spiritual journey. We may categorize them in slightly distinct ways, but the focus is much the same.

These four spiritual types are:-

  • Head
  • Heart
  • Social Justice
  • Mystic

This is how spiritual types are categorized in Corinne Ware’s book, Discover your Spiritual Type: A Guide to Individual and Congregational Growth. This book is written with a Christian focus and has a focus on using this structure both individually and for groups.

There are also four spiritual types outlined in an older tradition that is the science of yoga. These are referred to as the Paths of Yoga.

  • Jnana Yoga.
  • Bhakti Yoga.
  • Karma Yoga
  • Raja Yoga

While there is no absolute correlation between the focus as outlined by Corinne Ware and the 4 Paths of Yoga there is a distinct connection.

  • Head—Jnana Yoga.
  • Heart—Bhakti Yoga
  • Action—Karma Yoga.
  • Mystic—Raja Yoga.

There is a recognition that the mystic and the path of Raja Yoga is where the journey of spiritual awakening is headed. However, that is not where most of us begin.

There is no hierarchy here. One path is no better than the other. The important point is to ensure that you follow the path that Creation designed you to follow.

Neither are you typecast for all your life. At the beginning of my spiritual growth and development, I was someone whose direction was head focused.  Now, in my eighth decade, I would definably see myself as being the mystic.

It’s your road and yours alone.
others may walk it with you,
but no one can walk it for you.”

― Rumi

The 9 Spiritual Paths

9 spiritual paths

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When you study the spiritual journey, you find that there are different numbers related to spiritual paths depending on the spiritual map that you choose. These maps relate to a specific religious tradition.

The map shared below is one I discovered only last week and I find it of interest. While it has a very Christian focus with all the over-used language that accompanies that focus, I still think it has value whether being a Christian is your religious focus.

  • Naturalists
  • Intellectuals
  • Sensate
  • Traditionalists
  • Ascetics
  • Activists
  • Caregivers
  • Enthusiasts
  • Contemplatives

There is a lot here that I will clarify in later articles.  Each of these nine types has their strengths and their weaknesses.

Below, I summarize these types as shared by the writer Gary Thomas.

Naturalists’ hearts open up to God when they get outdoors. God seems more real to them when they’re hiking under a big expanse of sky or at least sitting under a tree.

Intellectuals really like books — even the reference kind — and live in the world of concepts. They want to come out of their devotional time with new understanding. If their mind isn’t engaged, their heart may feel cold.

Sensates are more aesthetically inclined. These are the artistic types, and they prefer creative and original music or even good architecture to open their hearts to God’s presence. Their worship is about seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, and even tasting God’s presence.

Traditionalists find great meaning by worshiping God according to set patterns — their own or historical ones. They may organize their life around scheduled times of prayer and may even choose to carefully observe the Christian calendar, aligning themselves with centuries of faith. Traditionalists often make good use of Christian symbols.

Ascetics meet God internally. They prefer to shut out the world and meet God in solitude and austerity. For ascetics, the best environment for personal worship is a quiet place with a rather orderly environment, and they usually don’t like the distractions of group worship. They are often advocates of all-night prayer vigils and many of the classical disciplines, such as fasting and meditation.

Activists meet God in the vortex of confrontation. They want to fight God’s battles. God becomes most real to them when they are standing up for justice or working on the frontlines to build God’s kingdom.

Caregivers love God by loving others. Providing care or meeting needs in Jesus’ name spiritually energizes caregivers and draws them closer to the Lord.

Enthusiasts like the excitement and celebration of group worship and probably buy more praise CDs than books. They feed off the enthusiasm of other believers and typically revel in God’s mystery and supernatural power. Their exuberance tends to lead them to embrace creative forms of worship.

Contemplatives are marked by an emotional attachment and surrender to God. They are God’s lovers, and they want to spend their time in God’s presence — adoring Him, listening to Him and enjoying Him. They often find benefit in journal writing, where they can explore their heart’s devotion.

Extracted from https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/nine-spiritual-temperaments/

There is a lot here that I will critique in related articles. For example, contemplatives (with which I identify) do not have an emotional attachment to God.

One value of this listing is to recognize how individuals within groups engaged in the same practice of worship, might find the experience different and more or less satisfying.

The types I recognize in myself are contemplative, naturalist, and sensate. I would not be a traditionalist, activist, or enthusiast.

I find this of value because for those of you looking to begin the journey of spiritual awakening it helps to have at least some intellectual appreciation of the diversity of the journey.

The spiritual path—is simply the journey of living our lives. Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don’t know it. – Marianne Williamson

The 9 Faces of Soul

9 faces of the soul

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The other 9 spiritual paths that are those that are part of the spiritual classification of personality known as The Enneagram.

The enneagram is one of the world’s oldest models for understanding how humans relate to each other and the divine. In different forms, Buddhists, Sufis, and Christians have used it for many centuries.

Today we use it, not only as a tool for greater self-knowing but also to see how loved ones, co-workers, and others face the difficulties in life. It is a way of sacred wisdom that can help you break out of your trance-like state of limited awareness and open to the gifts of the spirit.

Extracted from THE ENNEAGRAM – Exploring the Nine Psychological Types and their Inter-Relationships in Love and LifeAudio Recording from Sounds True. Helen Palmer..

The Enneagram is not a rigid box of personality traits and quirks. Rather, it’s a dynamic and nuanced system where each type blurs into adjoining types. It’s a tool to help connect you to your heart, to discover your authentic self and ultimately—to understand your purpose in life.

The Nine Enneagram Types

Read through each Enneagram personality type to determine which one feels right to you.

Type 1: The Teacher

Judge, reformer, critic, perfectionist, and entrepreneur – the Teacher is principled and opinionated. She believes that being your best self is a moral duty, and she strives to help others reach their potential too.

Need: To be right and justify her opinion.

Seeks: Excellence.

Positive Aspects: Wise, discerning, strong personal integrity, fair, idealistic, rational.

Negative Aspects: Judgmental, preachy, punitive, self-righteous, overly critical.

Type 2: The Helper

Caretaker, planner, giver, and people-pleaser—the Helper sacrifices her own needs for those of others. Sensitive and outwardly focused, she expresses her feelings and wants others to reciprocate and acknowledge her worth.

Needs: To feel needed and appreciated.

Seeks: Love.

Positive Aspects: Empathetic, caring, altruistic, generous, compassionate.

Negative Aspects: Patronizing, manipulative, martyr mentality, coercive, self-deceptive.

Type 3: The Achiever

Role model, communicator, performer, and magician – the Achiever desires to improve herself and be outstanding in everything, including a prestigious career and an attractive appearance. She is a self-assured ideal for others.

Needs: Affirmation and attention.

Seeks: Recognition.

Positive Aspects: Confident, authentic, popular, ambitious, self-assured.

Negative Aspects: Narcissistic, competitive, arrogant, pretentious, calculating.

Type 4: The Artist

Individualist, creator, dreamer, and a true romantic—the Artist has powerful emotional reactions that require expression. She lives in the inner world of feelings and may over-indulge to counter the sense that something is missing.

Needs: Understanding and expression.

Seeks: Discovery of her authentic self.

Positive Aspects: Creative, humorous, inspired, romantic, emotional integrity.

Negative Aspects: Melancholic, masochistic, envious, overly dramatic, self-absorbed.

Type 5: The Thinker

Observer, innovator, visionary, and intellectual—the Thinker is insightful, drawing conclusions through thoughtful reflection. She may retreat from the world, choosing instead to gather knowledge and create safety in an imaginary realm.

Needs: Knowledge of the world.

Seeks: Clarity.

Positive Aspects: Perceptive, original, analytical, smart, decisive.

Negative Aspects: Anxious, detached, reclusive, obsessive, extremist.

Type 6: The Guardian

Hero, sceptic, loyalist, and traditionalist—the Guardian values faithful support and mutual cooperation. She believes they make rules for a reason and procrastinates vs. taking action.

Needs: Security and approval.

Seeks: Constancy.

Positive Aspects: Trustworthy, hard-working, dutiful, loveable.

Negative Aspects: Insecure, fearful, rigid, indecisive, overly cautious.

Type 7: The Adventurer

Enthusiast, energizer, opportunist, and epicurean—the multi-talented Adventurer loves to stay busy with imaginative action. Do more, be more, see more. She feels awed by life’s wonders and avoids pain at all costs.

Needs: Activity and fresh experiences

Seeks: Freedom

Positive Aspects: Joyful, inspiring, gifted, vivacious, responsive.

Negative Aspects: Obnoxious, addictive, materialistic, impulsive, greedy.

Type 8: The Leader

Chief, challenger, protector, and boss-lady—the Leader is naturally self-reliant. She wants to make an impact on history and to do things her own way, prevailing over herself, others, and the environment.

Needs: Autonomy and influence

Seeks: Victory

Positive Aspects: Honourable, enterprising, courageous, strong, inspirational.

Negative Aspects: Aggressive, insensitive, intimidating, megalomaniac, belligerent.

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Optimist, comforter, mediator, and friend – the good-natured Peacemaker has a passion for comfort. She wants everyone to get along and tends towards psychological inertia, merging with others to avoid strife and create harmony.

Needs: Preservation and routine

Seeks: Peacefulness

Positive Aspects: Content, easy-going, genuine, generous, tolerant.

Negative Aspects: Passive, complacent, oblivious, neglectful, ineffectual.

Each Enneagram type also has unique paths towards healing and disintegration; explore your type and learn more at enneagraminstitute.com.

One of the people who I regard as a spiritual teacher is Father Richard Rohr. Here he shares his insights into what the writer Sandra Maitri refers to as, “The Nine Faces of the Soul.”

The enneagram is not so much a mapping of personality as it is a focus on the Essence within different people.

This is the 1st part of a two-part series. You may want to save it to listen to later.

Maybe it’s a personal approach to exploring this dynamic, but it is easier for me to drop those types I know I definitely am not and then explore the ones that are left. For example, I am definitely not the Guardian or the Adventurer.  I am not the Leader or The Thinker.

The closest type I associate with is The Teacher and the Artist. However, there are some traits in other types that I could definitely identify with.

12 Archetypes for Heroic Living

12 archetypes

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As a storyteller and writer, I love the invitation that comes through an understanding of what is referred to as Archetypes.

A long time ago I read a book by Carol Pearson entitled The Hero Within – Six Archetypes we live by. I loved this book. I would open it at random and read.  It was packed full of insight.

At the back of the book was a quiz that allowed you to determine which of the six archetypes most applied to you.

I loved that I got the archetype of the Sage. I hated the idea that I had the archetype of the Orphan.  As it turned out the Orphan really is key to who I am.  I needed to heal the Orphan in order that the Sage be allowed full expression.

I think the Orphan in me kept me humble. Had it not been there I think I might have succumbed to one of the dangers of being a Sage, which is arrogance. I have seen this negative trait in others who have the Sage archetype.

This combination of Orphan and Sage is illustrated in the beautiful poem by Hafiz. I identify with this poem which is really an outline of the three stages of life and the 3 stages of my life..

That Sweet Moon Language

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
Someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a

Full moon in each eye that is always saying,
With that sweet moon language, what every other eye in
This world is dying to hear?

Hafiz of Shiraz

The 12 Archetypes

We recognize the twelve archetypes as follows.

  • Ego Types
    • The Innocent.
    • The Orphan. – Ordinary Guy/Gal
    • The Hero.
    • The Caregiver
  • Soul Types
    • The Explorer
    • The Rebel
    • The Lover
    • The Creator
  • Self-Types
    • The Jester
    • The Sage
    • The Magician
    • The Ruler



The Ego Types

group of archetypes

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The Innocent

Motto: Free to be you and me

Core desire: to get to paradise

Goal: to be happy

Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong

Strategy: to do things right

Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence

Talent: faith and optimism

The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.

The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal

Motto: All men and women are created equal

Core Desire: connecting with others

Goal: to belong

Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd

Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch

Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships

Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretence

The Regular Person is also known as: The good old boy, every man, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbours, the silent majority.

The Hero

Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts

Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world

Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”

Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible

Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight

Talent: competence and courage

The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner, and the team player.

The Caregiver

Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself

Core desire: to protect and care for others

Goal: to help others

Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude

Strategy: doing things for others

Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited

Talent: compassion, generosity

The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.

The Soul Types

soul group of archetypes

Image by AD_Images from Pixabay

The Explorer

Motto: Don’t fence me in

Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world

Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life

Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness

Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom

Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit

Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul

The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.

The Rebel

Motto: Rules are made to be broken

Core desire: revenge or revolution

Goal: to overturn what isn’t working

Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual

Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock

Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime

Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom

The Outlaw is also known as: The rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.

The Lover

Motto: You’re the only one

Core desire: intimacy and experience

Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work, and surroundings they love

Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved

Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive

Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity

Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment

The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.

The Creator

Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done

Core desire: to create things of enduring value

Goal: to realise a vision

Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution

Strategy: develop artistic control and skill

Task: to create culture, express own vision

Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions

Talent: creativity and imagination

The Creator is also known as the: artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.

The Self Types

archetypes of the Self

Image by AD_Images from Pixabay

The Jester

Motto: You only live once

Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment

Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world

Greatest fear: being bored or boring others

Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny

Weakness: frivolity, wasting time

Talent: joy

The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker, or comedian.

The Sage

Motto: The truth will set you free

Core desire: to find the truth.

Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.

Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.

Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.

Weakness: can study details forever and never act.

Talent: wisdom, intelligence.

The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.

The Magician

Motto: I make things happen.

Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe

Goal: to make dreams come true

Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences

Strategy: develop a vision and live by it

Weakness: becoming manipulative

Talent: finding win-win solutions

The Magician is also known as: The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.

The Ruler

Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

Core desire: control

Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community

Strategy: exercise power

Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown

Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate

Talent: responsibility, leadership

The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager, or administrator.


12 Spiritual Tempraments

12 spiritual temperaments

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The 12 Spiritual Temperaments are something I have only recently discovered. Their exploration is the work of Timothy Conway Ph.D.

He calls this A New Model of Religion.  For the sake of brevity I will list the 12 spiritual temperaments and at the end share with you a link where you will find more information.

I wish that I had access to this kind of information earlier in my spiritual journey. It would have allowed me to make more sense of the way in which people approach the wide-ranging experience called religion and spirituality.

  1. The Compassionate Server.
  2. The Devotee.
  3. The Intuitive Mystic/Sage.
  4. The Intellectual.
  5. The Dogmatic Believer.
  6. The Monastic-Communalist.
  7. The Hermit.
  8. The Cynic/Freedom Seeker.
  9. The Ritualist-Ceremonialist.
  10. The Yogi—Psychic Experimenter.
  11. The Prophet—Trance Channel.
  12. The Sensual Ecstatic.

I think an intellectual understanding of the above helps, especially when you get into group dynamics.

Again recognize that you are not just one of these 12 types. You are more likely to be a combination of two or three.  For example, at different stages of my life, I would be the Intuitive Mystic, The Monastic Communalist, and the Yogi without the psychic experimentation.

It is also easy to see which of the above does not fit with whom you are. In my case, I am not the Dogmatic Believer, Cynic, or Prophet.

I would have touched upon some others such as the ritualist and the intellectual, but these would not be as central to my view of my Essential Self.

Begin Your Spiritual Quest

start your spiritual quest

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When you explore all the above in brief, I think you recognize that there are certain types included in each of the various classifications.

For example, most of these classifications have the dynamic of the caregiver. Many have the dynamic of the Sage.

There is a lot of material here that I think is helpful to have at the beginning of your spiritual journey. This material allows you to get closer to the Essential you.  These patterns are collective patterns. We all have them.

The problem is that within the Western culture there are only a few of the patterns that are recognised and supported to any degree. For example, the chief archetype of the West is the Achiever. The archetype of the Orphan is frowned upon. We call the Orphan a Loser.

My intention over the coming months and years is to share with you in greater detail how these classifications can support your journey of awakening spirituality. This is the journey of spiritual awakening as a process rather than as a revelation.

Tony Cuckson
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