I didn’t have a clue what they meant when they told me I needed to attend an atonement ceremony. Nevertheless, I’ve learned to never ask questions or try to imagine the greater purpose of the many mystical rituals in this place. It’s best simply to expect the unexpected and fully embrace the intensity of the moment when it arrives.

There was something a little scary about the concept of atonement, though. It implies sin and the need for punishment—by the time I’d reached the ceremonial space, I’d worked myself up into a state of pure terror! Had I done something wrong in the eyes of The Order?

The room caught me off guard. I was expecting an airy, light space, like the one where I was anointed. But this place was oppressive and dark; so dark, in fact, that I couldn’t tell how large it was. A number of candles in ornate holders flickered and filled the room with ghostly shadows.

Three stern masters sat in the room, waiting. They barely acknowledged me as I walked in, which was unnerving because I knew two of them fairly well. Master Kamp had interviewed me when I first arrived here, and Master St. Michael anointed me about a month ago. I was excited to see them both. My encounters with them had been utterly mind-blowing in an almost profound way.