11 Phases of Spiritual Growth

I find that among circles of spiritual seekers, many of us tend to recognize and agree that there are certain phases of consciousness that we’ve all traversed through on our journeys. I’ve written a bit here about each of those common phases in the particular order that they tend to happen.

Pre-awakening: Life was just normal and you thought you knew it all. Just a regular ole’ muggle. Nothing to see here. Then suddenly, one day you come across information that you’ve never really considered before, but it really resonates with you. It makes you stop and think and it piques your curiosity. This is your catalyst–the moment that your world will change forever. You begin a search for answers that change you irrevocably.

The Information Seeking Phase: You can’t get enough of this new information… it’s addicting. Your mind is suddenly open and you’re reading everything you can get your hands on and you’re learning about things that you never knew existed. The weirder, the better. Things you would have laughed off yesterday suddenly seem possible. The whole world is teeming with new possibility. It’s exciting.

The Processing Phase: The information you come across starts to create more questions, and some of it is conflicting, and you become confused. What does it all mean? Why does this person say one thing and this other person say another thing? You also still haven’t quite let go of old doubt and dogma. You’re wavering back and forth between “This is right!” and “Am I crazy?” It’s a fragile moment. Fear still has a grip on you.

The Discovery Phase: You’re starting to wake up to social issues and systems in the world that you never really gave much thought to before, and you’re PISSED. I also call this the “conspiracy” phase… you lose trust in government, in religion, in capitalism, the economy.

If you’re not careful, you can become very bitter, and you start to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. Such big problems and little ole’ you has no ability to solve them. But it’s just a natural part of the process–it’s the destruction of your old way of thinking.

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.” -Chuck Palahniuk

The Evangelism Phase: I also call this the ‘Outrage’ phase, because it’s two-fold. You take up social causes left and right and feel it’s your duty to wake up the rest of the world to this atrocity we call Earth. You may also be shouting to the world about the exciting information you’ve recently learned only to discover that it’s not as well-received by the rest of the world.

People may laugh at you. They’ll ask you if you need them to call an ambulance. They’ll treat you like you’re stupid. It’s a fragile moment… fear is still there. You may begin to doubt yourself. You waiver back and forth between excitement and shame.. but that shame is fear’s attempt of keeping hold of you. Remember, that which you resist, persists…

The Realization Phase: You begin to see how emotionally draining the outrage and the evangelism can be and you start to take a step back and perhaps reassess your situation. But this is important, because it opens a door for you. Things start to make a lot more sense. This is the beginning of acceptance. Acceptance for the world around you and acceptance for your new beliefs and acceptance for yourself. That which you accept disappears.

The Disciple Phase: Once you’ve begun acceptance, a floodgate of new understanding opens. You re-read things that you saw before and you find new meaning in it. You understand it more thoroughly and more deeply. Fear finally loses its grip on you and you let it go. It feels like a ton of bricks has been lifted from your shoulders.

You’ve waded through the waters of gurus, swamis, channeled messages and psychics and aliens and beings from other dimensions and you’ve settled on one or two teachers that really resonate with you and you follow their messages more closely. When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear.



You have to be careful with these phases in the middle of your spiritual journey. There are many pitfalls involved. You’re in an incredibly vulnerable state at the beginning of your spiritual journey, and it makes you ripe for psychic predators in the spiritual community, of which there are many. Narcissists and dilettantes masquerade as coaches, spiritual teachers, psychics, and healers, often inflicting harm on vulnerable people who put their trust in them.


Be diligently discerning about who you trust. I cannot emphasize this enough.


Just because someone claims to be a psychic or channeler does not mean that they have done the ego work required to pass on those messages without twisting them through their own fear-based belief system.


Just because someone has a pretty instagram wall with thousands of followers (or even hundreds of thousands) does not mean that they have actually done their own shadow work or fully grasp the concepts they are alleging to teach. Much of the time, they’re just feeding their ego instead of taming it.


Just because someone claims to be a healer does not mean they’ve healed themselves.


Additionally, for the women reading this, PLEASE BEWARE OF SEXUAL PREDATORS IN THE HEALING BUSINESS. I have encountered MANY. They will offer you free healing and slowly begin to make sexual advances. They look for women who are emotionally vulnerable with weak boundaries. Also BEWARE OF EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL PREDATORS, AS WELL AS CULT LEADERS. If you have a history of trauma or abuse, you are especially vulnerable to these people. Uphold your boundaries, and by all means, work with only women if that makes you more comfortable. If you are unsure about someone and would like a second opinion, contact me.


And finally, you, yourself, have to be careful not to become one of these people. Don’t get stuck in one of these previous phases through spiritual bypassing.


Need help discerning who is and isn’t a credible spiritual teacher? Here’s some posts that will help.


The Shadow Work Phase: Now it’s time to put all of those things you’ve learned to work. You spend much more time looking inward for answers than from someone else. You might start meditating. You may start developing intuitive abilities of your own. You connect with your guides, you start learning about yourself on a soul level, and you begin your healing journey. The hard work of facing your shadow, getting really honest with yourself,

You now base your learning on your own experience rather than on someone else’s word and you’re able to look back at your life and see how all of your experiences shaped you and led you to this moment. You feel at ease and self-assured. You know this is your path. It’s the most important work you will ever do. And then you meet your dark night of the soul: when the student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear. All of the wisdom you’ve gained throughout your journey is put to the test. Are you truly ready to break free from your self-imposed chains?

The Rebirth Phase: You emerge from your shadow work like a phoenix from the ashes of your former self. You have really weird experiences and are doing things that you never imagined were possible when you were just a muggle. You may have understandings about things that no one behind you can comprehend, because they haven’t yet faced their shadow. In many ways, you begin the process all over again, because we’re never finished on this path, and being further ahead on the path is no better than being further behind because there’s always someone ahead of you and behind you no matter where you are.

The Guide Phase: You’ve learned enough on your path to begin helping others, and not in an egoic, “I think this is fun and I don’t really know what I’m doing but it feels really good to pretend I do,” sort of way or the excited feeling of converting all of your friends over to your new way of thinking that you experienced during your Evangelism phase, but out of genuine compassion for your fellow man because you were once where they were. You may even feel called to do so with a sense of greater purpose to help heal the world around you.

But all the while, you grow and you change and you understand that you’re never finished. You are always growing and changing and evolving. You’re perfectly comfortable with who you are and that allows you to be a better teacher because you don’t need to argue to be right, and you don’t fear rejection. You simply offer contrast–another option, another view. You understand and respect other people’s paths and you know that their view is as likely to change at any moment as yours did all along the way, so you leave a bread crumb if they choose to follow it.

Did any of these descriptions resonate with you? Which phase do you think you’re in right now? Do you think there’s a phase I missed?




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  1. I seem to be mixing Evangelism and beyond all together. But I know why. It’s cuz I am both Right and Crazy at the same time. I am on a riiiide…

    • A love roller coaster.

    • Congratulations, Me. I have advanced to The Guide Phase, but I think I’ve accidentally been in The Advanced Phase all along.

  2. The last bit made me think of those annoying chain songs where a person starts singing and in the middle another joins in and so on and so forth. It is constantly a cycle and someone is always starting a round of the song.

    I hit a hopeless stage after my truther stage. I just started feeling like it was all shit and we were all going to die, so with that in mind, what was there left to do? What did I actually have control over? I surmised that the only thing left to do was figure out what I believed was after we fucked ourselves and self destructed. That was 3.5 years ago.

    I have had my primary people I learn from….Erik, Bashar and now, my new “go to” person, Dolores Cannon. I can’t stop saying “Well in Dolores Cannon’s book…” lol That woman has put out some amazing information I am devouring all that I can. I am reading 3 of her books currently and have a 4th on hold at the library.

    I would say I am at the advanced stage. I am at the stage where the psychics and mediums are just confirming information I already know. They aren’t actually telling me anything new because I get that information on my own from my guides. Sometimes I find myself confident enough to point out filters they have…which isn’t always received very well. hahahaha The advanced stage is also when you go to classes and you end up talking about stuff that the instructor seems to have no knowledge of and they look at you blankly. lol It is at moments like that in which I realized how I have grown exponentially in a short amount of time. It is easy to feel like I still need to learn, learn, learn because there is still so much I don’t know, but when you are faced with a situation that shows you how much you have actually absorbed and you didn’t even realize, it is pretty eye opening.

  3. muggle that made me smile

  4. A very insight filled blog Ashley. Maybe a 12th Phase would have something to do with Acceptance and Harmony.

    I see that our Spiritual journey here will lead us to a state of total acceptance and harmony; acceptance of who we are, acceptance of what we are, and acceptance of why we came here. Some might call this the I AM view.

    To me a big challenge is the total acceptance that I made a free-will choice on the other side to journey to this land-behind-the-veil and that I actually made the decision because of the veil. It is on this side of the veil that allows us to sense a separation that does not exist in ¨reality¨…where All Is One.

    It is here that I can experience the extremes of emotions, the polarity of emotions, with all my human bodily senses. It is here where I can learn the value of love, the extension of love, and service to others. It is here I can work with and confirm the power of such virtues as forgiveness, gratitude and humility. Learning opportunities abound in this land-behind-the-veil, unlike any other realm.

    Only when I accept that I am a spark from a Powerful Spiritual Being who has taken on this human body to play a role, am I then able to accept that I came here to experience all that is presented to me. I can then accept that all is happening perfectly to plan and I can be in total harmony with that.

  5. At first I thought there would be something missing from this if I read it. Only because I’m in the phase between withdrawing and comfort. Thank you for this article.

    • You’re welcome 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  6. Fantastic post, and oh, so right on the money with my own experiences. The Discovery/Evangelism phase just about did me in. Cusping on the Guide Phase with a few nods to really weird experiences. Every blessing, I’m subscribing!

    • Thanks 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it.

  7. I like Cranky You.

  8. Thank you so much for that…….luv

  9. <3

  10. This is really good and I can recognise myself going through those phases one by one and it’s so helpful to have it laid down like this and understand why I’m feeling so different from people around me but I’m getting so I don’t care quite so much!

  11. Oh, you know me so well! Ha-ha! I was a political activist long before my pre-awakening phase, which began when I watched “The Quantum Activist” with Amit Goswami. I turned 76 today, and that first phase started only several years ago. Then I read and read, communicated with my son through a lovely medium and now I’m pretty lazy about moving forward much. I don’t like the idea of reincarnation and having to come back and experience more of this earthly life. But that’s a long ways away, and I’ll deal with that in the afterlife! So I guess I’m in the Shadow Phase. But at least I’m in a phase! I don’t think it makes me better than anyone else. I’m simply grateful that I had the opportunity to develop this awareness before leaving this earthly life. Thank you for breaking this process down, Ash!


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