For me, the initial appeal of Nine Gates Mystery School was twofold. First, it was the diversity of spiritual teachers. I have never believed there is only "one way" to understand this universe in which we live. Second, one of the former students told me that Gay was all heart - that the school was all heart. I think that made me feel safe.
It was definitely challenging at times, but I also remember laughing a lot. I loved the focus on ceremony, but I also got to a point where I needed help to get more from the experiences than just what I was thinking in my head. The good news for me was that the support was there for whatever came up.
Some years before, I had quit my extremely demanding and stressful career due to total burnout. Unbeknownst to me, I was embarking on a spiritual quest. When I quit my job I had a feeling-thought that I needed to "live with more heart". I had no idea what that meant at the time. For me, Nine Gates showed me a way with heart, a reminder of how I want to live my life day-to-day. It's the feelings that remain more than any particular set of practices or teachings - the personal empowerment of the process.
I find the school manual a very rich source, and I still find myself turning to it for information. I also find that I use some of the exercises and breathing practices to help in specific situations. The other part of the experience that is as important as anything else is the people I've met. What a grand diversity! We're all in this life together. I've made some special friends and appreciate the gifts offered by the teachers.
I don't know what I'd say to a prospective student. I really don't know "why" I went to Nine Gates when I did except that it just felt right. That's one of the new ways I've learned to be in this world: I trust my feelings and I do things without knowing why. It's great.