Sign Up for Our Bi-Weekly Email

Expand your perspective with thought-provoking insights, quotes, and videos hand-picked by our editors—along with the occasional update about the world of EnlightenNext.

Privacy statement

Your email address is kept confidential, and will never be published, sold or given away without your explicit consent. Thank you for joining our mailing list!


The Transmission of Consciousness

Reviving the Role of the Spiritual Master

An interview with Dr. Dario Salas Sommer
by Jessica Roemischer


In our cultural milieu, the traditional model of the teacher-disciple relationship is, for many, a relic from the past. Indeed, postmodernity has fought hard to wrench itself free from the strictures of religion and religious authority. In a time of unprecedented personal freedom, even those who are drawn to a spiritual life can find it difficult to imagine being beholden to anyone. So it is rare to find someone, particularly from the contemporary West, whose life and work express the conviction that in order to fully realize our human potential, we must yield to another to guide us and enter into the classic definition of discipleship.

That doubtless conviction comes from philosopher, spiritual teacher, and author Dr. Dario Salas Sommer. Salas, who has published eight books under the pseudonym John Baines, is a strikingly passionate advocate for the teacher-student relationship. He has rekindled a mystical teaching known as Hermeticism, which first emerged in the temples of ancient Greece and has been conveyed from one generation to the next by living transmission from master to disciple. Practiced and preserved over the millennia in the inner sanctums of secret societies, Hermeticism has inspired many of the West's mystery schools, including Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and Theosophy, and Salas has revivified the essence of this teaching for a postmodern age.

A legendary figure in his native South America, Salas is becoming more widely known throughout the world. The director of the Institute of Hermetic Philosophy, which he founded in 1961, and which has centers on three continents, he is engaged with an expanding international body of students located in North and South America, Europe, and Russia. As the guiding inspiration to his students and thousands of others worldwide, he upholds the perennial goal of the spiritual life—“moral and spiritual elevation”—and affirms the only means by which, he believes, it can be attained: an authentic relationship between student and teacher.


Subscribe to What Is Enlightenment? magazine today and get 40% off the cover price.

Subscribe Give a gift Renew

This article is from...


December 2005–February 2006