Esoteric power is a bit of an oxymoron, because “power” is a concept of the ego, and the real esoteric juice is from the Spirit. By the way, until you’ve done enough inner work (ego taming) to be really familiar with the fact that you are not your ego, this discussion will make no sense at all. If that’s the case, I invite you to revisit this topic a little later in your journey.
Our symbol here will be a clear drinking glass. When you are born, it is filled with mostly clear water (representing spirit), and topped off with a layer of oil (representing ego). As you develop through age 14 (or as long as 21), the glass exchanges water for oil (due to programming and conditioning), until it’s about 50-50, half spirit half ego. As an adult you choose to either add more water, add more oil, or just go with what you have at that point. Most people just go with what they have, because changing what’s in the glass takes applied awareness. Keep in mind, the glass only holds 100%, so to add more spirit, you must reduce the amount of ego. You can’t expand the glass.
True power (for lack of a better term) comes from the spirit. The pure, clear water in our analogy is pure energy from source. The more you can remove the ego, the more spirit you can hold. The ideal situation is to return to the state you were born in, with only a thin film of ego on top of this clear water of spirit. It isn’t that the ego is bad in any way, only that it is, by its very nature, limiting. You need an ego to direct personal will, but if there is too much, it limits the amount and flow of spirit.
Another important layer of this analogy is the substances. If you spill water, it just leaves a clean spot when you wipe it up; if you spill oil, it can take a long time to clean. You can easily see through clear water, but looking through oil is extremely distorting, or even impossible. The list goes on. The ego is a necessary part of living in this world, but true potential lives in the spirit.
This does provide a nice fail-safe to power, though. It is only the ego that is interested in power and control, but to reach the highest power potential, most of the ego must be rejected from the glass, thus limiting the amount of power available to the ego-bound. I’m not saying people with a strong ego-need for power can’t harness and direct esoteric power, only that there is much more esoteric power available to those who make room for it by giving up the ego. Good will always win, simply because of this.
In spiritual alchemy, adultery is defined as the mixing of the spirit and the ego. This is perhaps the greatest esoteric danger. At some point on the path, the initiate will begin to feel the influx and flow of spirit, and may easily mistake it as their own power, which activates the ego. This is where people get pulled to the dark side, this is the sin of adultery. That is why humility is so greatly emphasized in true Mystery School teachings. Spiritual power flows through you, not from you. Taking ownership of this energy is both limiting and dangerous.
Luckily, most people never feel even a glimmer of this power until they have done much work with their ego, and are on a path to truly know themselves. True esoteric power is limitless, but we can only access that potential as a conduit, not a vessel. When we are willing to let spirit flow through us, without ownership, we can experience the power of the cosmos. Welcome to the initiated.