Carlos and the wildfire

Level 4: the Renunciate, and the 5 Stages of Human Evolution

Being ready to give it all up opens the way for your Destiny to make an appearance.

Back in 2020, Carlos had the great good fortune of making that discovery. He still remembers the week it culminated for him.

It was a busy week.


His birthday is coming up on Wednesday, but this is not turning out to be anything like a normal birthday week. The pandemic and the 2020 U.S. election fast approaching had already made 2020 a highly unusual year, you could call it an unforgettable year, but now things were about to get even more chaotic.

Chaos. Commotion. Mishigas. Confusion. Craziness. Strange, weird, disorienting, unsettling. There were a lot of words to describe 2020.

Over a weekend in mid-August, in excess of 10,000 lightning strikes hit the state of California. Wildfires were about to make 2020 an epic wildfire season, on top of the unsettling pandemic, on top of the approaching insanity of the election. When Carlos moved back to California in 1988, after his arrival, the wind-driven 49er Fire of Nevada County flared up and became the 3rd most destructive California wildfire on record. By the beginning of 2020, the 49er Fire wasn’t even in the top 20. By the end of that year, it would drop even lower in the standings, replaced by ever larger and more rapacious infernos.

This particular week in August would go down as the worst fire week in California history.


On his way to bed, when Carlos arrives home in the morning after a night of work, his wife tells him there’s a fire north of town, caused by lightning strikes over the weekend. Carlos doesn’t give it much thought, because the fire ignited in a river canyon a long way from town and therefore far from their home.

Carlos sleeps in until 4 p.m. A rare event. Usually he wakes in the early or mid-afternoon.

When he gets up, his wife informs him that the fire is out-of-control and heading towards town. The fire had been idling in the river canyon where it was ignited, in a state park with wildlands and no homes or businesses. A freak northerly wind has picked up, carrying the fire in their direction and threatening not only them, but also his sister and his father in his retirement home.

The fire that had been idling at around 20 acres is cutting a swath that would grow to 500 acres and then 700 acres.

Uh-oh.

The rest of the evening is madness.

At 5 p.m. he is calling his job to tell them, on short notice, that he can’t come in to work. The next few hours, with the wind driving the fire their way, Carlos and his wife are packing and making hotel reservations and monitoring the evacuation of Carlos’s dad and the evacuation preparations of Carlos’s sister.

He has been working for over a year on wildfire preparedness for his neighborhood fire safety organization. In fact, not a month has passed since Carlos gave his neighbors an evacuation planning presentation for the possibility of a wildfire evacuation. Now here they were, putting that plan into action.

Carlos has prepared himself mentally. His presentation to the neighbors was comprehensive, including a special map showing escape routes out of the area for different fire and wind scenarios. But he has never had to pack to prepare for a possible evacuation.

It’s a flurry of activity for the next 6 hours. Clothes and financial documents and cherished items and pet necessities are packed into their own distinct carry cases and suitcases.

In the middle of packing, his Dad calls. Apparently the retirement home is moving all the residents down to a sister retirement home in another city. Carlos immediately informs his other sister, the one who lives in a major metropolitan area, so that she can watch over Dad’s evacuation and make sure Dad has whatever he needs.

Everyone is on high alert.

Carlos manages to finish packing everything he needs to evacuate. Their neighborhood is under an evacuation advisory, not a mandatory evacuation order, but in the heat of the moment, that distinction isn’t immediately clear to everyone in the family. Being prepared to leave, versus being told you must leave, that distinction is not obvious when you are lost in the high anxiety of packing your life into a car while trying to stay on top of the latest fire news and weather news.

The sister who lives locally keeps numerous birds and cats as pets in her home. She also has a pen on her property with chickens and other exotic domesticated fowl. The stress of preparing to transport her house pets, preparing to open the bird coop so that the birds aren’t trapped if a fire arrives, and packing herself, has put the sister’s anxiety level off the charts. She is freaking out. Who wouldn’t be.

By the time 10 or 11 p.m. rolls around, the unusual northerly wind has long died down. But not anyone’s stress level. Between packing, texting each other, getting animals ready for transport, trying to locate the latest news about the fire, finding out the current wind speed and direction, everyone is on such high alert that no one is getting any decent sleep that night.

The next morning, the texting begins again at 5:45 a.m. The wildfire has been stopped 3 miles north of town. However, the entire day is filled with anxious monitoring of fire news, weather news, additional preparatory activities that didn’t quite make it the night before in the heat of the moment, and so on. No one is ready to let their guard down.

That evening, the day after the fire threat, Carlos is on the phone with his ex-wife. The ex and her husband are also monitoring a fire. Their home is not in immediate danger, certainly they are not under a wildfire evacuation advisory, but nevertheless they are concerned and making preparations anyway. During that conversation, Carlos receives a text from his wife that the advisory has been cancelled.

It isn’t until that moment, during the evening of the 2nd day, when the evacuation preparation advisory is cancelled, that everyone breathes a tentative sigh of relief and realizes how much weight of concern they have been carrying.

Two days after the fire, everyone in the family is still decompressing and experiencing the aftermath. It is Carlos’s birthday, and no one really cares, including Carlos. Everyone is piecing together the fallout from the experience and picking through the emotional wreckage.

During one of his long nights of driving when Carlos has returned to work, he realizes that packing to leave his house is a godsend, of sorts. He packed some bare necessities into carry bags and suitcases, and most of the things in his life would have been left behind. Packing his life into his car has provided a contrast between what he needs, basically just clothing and bathroom personal care items, and what he doesn’t need, everything else. Now he feels gratitude for his house, his bed, his shower, his conveniences at home. Everything in his home feels like a gift, and a luxury. Because if he and his wife had had to move into a hotel room, he would have had to forego all these special luxuries and conveniences which bless his life.

For Carlos, 2020 has been a year of wanting to start over.

Nothing like a crisis to put into perspective the priorities in your life. The wildfire threat brought home what really matters, and what doesn’t matter. Looking around his bedroom every day since that crisis, Carlos sees now the few things he really needs, and even those few things could be replaced. Clothing comes and clothing goes, you can always buy replacement clothing. Taking clothing with you if your home is lost just saves you the trouble of shopping and finding clothing that fits and looks ok on you. The mementos and memorabilia in your life aren’t essential. All that can go. It’s just emotional baggage. Where you’re going next, you can’t take it with you anyway. Financial documents nearly all go with the house; it’s the house that consumes most of the money you make. If you don’t own a house, utility bills and home insurance policies and property tax records don’t matter.

All you really need, when it comes right down to it, are the people and pets that you love, your own worthless skin, and maybe a bank account and credit card and driver’s license. There was even a time in history not long ago, a little more than a lifetime back, when no one in the U.S. had a driver’s license: you could just jump into a car and drive it away. In those days, there were no credit cards either. Cash, maybe a bank account, and your good name was all that anyone needed to purchase things and then pay for them. Since then, of course, someone figured out how to get in the middle of financial transactions between a seller and a buyer so they could skim money off the top without having to do any real work to earn that money. Enter the credit card company. With cash and a functional debit card linked to your bank account, you can minimize use of that credit card or even eliminate it altogether.

For most of 2020, Carlos has been discarding his unnecessary baggage. He just wants to start over. He wants a fresh, new life. Carlos is due for a big change in his life, and he is ready for it.


The Academy has 5 levels. The first 4 levels are the ones you and I care about, because those 4 levels are the ones we occupy. To simplify, we can call them Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. Each of these “years” is a period of time when the soul is working on a particular quantum level of experience. Each level, or degree, is a quantum leap upward and forward from the level which precedes it. Think of the states of an atom or molecule. Each of the components of an atom or molecule operates in a certain quantum space, a certain stratum of energy. You can also picture plateaus, one higher than the next. In transport terms, imagine driving in a flat valley, then going up a cliff onto a flat tabletop mesa. You’re on that mesa for a long time, it’s a very long drive. Then you climb another cliff and are driving on a new tabletop mesa with an even higher elevation. And so on.

The description and categorization of each level is a subject for Helena Blavatsky, Annie Besant, and other scribes, and the Faculty members who oversee those scribes and who oversee the human population. Not this narrator’s area of expertise.

One series of terms for the 5 levels of human evolution is the Birth, the Baptism, the Transfiguration, the Renunciation, and the Revelation. The Birth is “Freshman Year,” the period of first awakening to the soul. Before the Birth, before 1st Level or 1st Degree, a person is basically rudderless, a sheep who drifts with the cultural tide. The Baptism places you at 2nd Level, or 2nd Degree, call it “Sophomore Year.” The Transfiguration, another name could be Soul Recapture of the Human, is when the person is completely in touch with their soul and acutely sensitive to the spiritual and moral world. Call Soul Recapture “Junior Year,” 3rd Level or 3rd Degree.

Renunciation is where Carlos is hanging out. That’s 4th Level. The physical life of human bodies and human culture looks for all the world like a theater setting, an elaborate theater of human story and activity. William Shakespeare, a man who is rumored to have been presenting the works of Francis Bacon, is admired and respected for his productions of the theater of human life. The well-known icons of Greek theater, the featureless white masks which portray comedy and tragedy, also symbolize this viewpoint which holds all of human life as a play.

The members of the Faculty of the Academy include the most illustrious figures in human history. Faculty members are predominantly 4th Level and 5th Level.

Once you have arrived at 5th Level, aka 5th Degree, you are no longer operating as a conventional human being. “Revelation” is Graduation. Upon arrival at the transition point from 4th Level to 5th Level, the moment of Graduation from the conventional human condition, you are inducted into the Faculty. You are now superhuman, or what we have been calling homo radiens. A 5th Level, or 5th Degree, person is no longer bound by conventional rules of human operation.

After Graduation comes post-graduate life, the world of upper-level work, action, and activities. For a glimpse of Graduate Life, we will need an appearance by a Faculty member. Mere mortals have little or no conception of this dimension of reality.

What saturates and permeates each level of human evolution, and therefore all of human experience, is Love. In the absence of love, human evolution slows to a snail’s pace. Love, one of the several rays streaming into and through the human vehicle, accelerates the process of human evolution by enhancing the lessons in life. The frequency and radiant energy of love is like a catalyst and accelerant that speeds up the process of transforming a caterpillar, a mere grub, into a butterfly. When inside the cocoon, call it the house of the 4th Level Renunciate, the caterpillar is transforming magically and miraculously into a brilliant, iridescent mariposa which has the ability to fly and to travel in ways unknown and, frankly, unimaginable to the lowly worm.