The Book of Trials: On the Path to Seeing the Nature of Spirit

February 6, 2023
By Dennis Klocek 3 min read
Guardian of the Threshold

All those who seek to understand the world through the workings of spirit will meet the Guardian of the Threshold, who shows us our own true inner nature, the noble and the ignoble. To cross the threshold from the physical world into the spiritual as a practice of initiation, we are presented with trials through which we can purify the ignoble within ourselves to learn to be in the spiritual world without losing ourselves, or causing chaos through unchecked desire.

Overcoming these trials clears away our self-centered blocks to perceiving the nature of spirit. Recognizing the nature of the trial can give insights into the places one can work on oneself to overcome them.

The trails have elemental characters of earth, water, air and fire that are specific to particular organs and stages of life. Each trial employs anxiety producing elements such as fear or doubt. However, each trial visits those states of mind in different ways according to the elemental character of the trial. The following list is useful in determining  the nature of the trial.

Trials of Earth – Relates to Lung

Earth trials involve fears with specific phobias that involve details that must be put into particular places. This trial entails periods of being overwhelmed by details so that there is the mood of being stuck in mud. Every test is about a detail that creates an impediment to development.  There is often despair over the task at hand where the person feels like nothing will ever change so why bother even starting. 

Anger keeps the focus on the present situation that seems impossible to change. Petty tyrants often arrive to create the mood of oppression and inevitability where imagined future encumbrances actually manifest and create blocks to development. People in earth trials are often bored with life, lack will and initiative due to expected failure.

Trials of Water – Relates to Liver

Fears are that life will keep changing the requirements needed for successful control of situations. This trial involves errors in timing that keep multiplying until a cascade of errors spins life out of control. People are overwhelmed by schedules, plans and sequential tasks. Indecision leads to sequences of mistakes and missed opportunities that create the feeling that all aspects of life are set adrift. Simple tasks become hopelessly entangled in shifting complications that cascade into crises. Anxiety arises as the person focuses on the unknowns that seem to be multiplying at alarming rates rather than consequent actions. Petty tyrants keep changing the compliance requirements with a frequency that prevents enthusiastic engagement in tasks.

Trials of Air – Relates to Kidneys

Fears in the air trial center on feelings of shame and blame when there is a reversal of fortune. This trial involves errors in planning that consume energy when developing  situations shift into reverse.  People in air trials are overwhelmed by the feeling that they have nothing to stand on since all of their plans are no longer valid. Soul moods tend towards alternating polarities of sullen alienation and manic business in order to fill the void. Anxiety states center on perceived strained relationships to others where no approach seems to be able to solve differences. Petty tyrants are often seen to be in oneself as the air trial dissolves the forces and beings around the person leaving them spinning in the wind like a leaf caught on a spider web.

Trials of Fire – Relates to Heart

Fears in the fire trial center around the inevitability of death or loss of relationships. This trial involves deep karmic struggles that seem to lack a sense of purpose but keep repeating in life again and again. People in fire trails are overwhelmed by anger that destiny has put them in a particular situation. Life is highly frustrating and irritating. Actions intended to solve the situation only inflame the passion and turbulence of the reactions from others. Anxiety states prompt indignant and impulsive actions that accelerate the dysfunction and heighten tension. Petty tyrants are seen as mortal enemies that must be battled to the death at all costs.

 Recognizing the nature of these trials can give insights into the places one can work on oneself to overcome them. Overcoming the trials clears away our self-centered blocks to perceiving the nature of spirit.

Learning to perceive the nature of spirit can help your work in the world. Visit the Lectures section for classes, articles and lectures for educators, healers, medical professionals, gardeners and farmers seeking a way to deepen their understanding of their field.


Dennis Klocek

Dennis Klocek, MFA, is co-founder of the Coros Institute, an internationally renowned lecturer, and teacher. He is the author of nine books, including the newly released Colors of the Soul; Esoteric Physiology and also Sacred Agriculture: The Alchemy of Biodynamics. He regularly shares his alchemical, spiritual, and scientific insights at

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