At 14, I found my Christian upbringing could not answer the questions I had about spirituality and life. I began to turn to existentialism and other forms of thought. My teenage years were spent frustrated at the lack of diversity in both thought and spirituality. I applied for my undergrad to Hampshire College in Amherst Massachusetts, which is about as lefty crunchy hippie as you can get without being in California. I went there for four years and moved to Berkeley pretty much right after that, in 1990.
The week before entering Hampshire I participated in an amazing event. It was a pre-college trip for incoming students which consisted of a twenty mile hike to campus through the woods, and in the middle of it was a three day Visionquest with fasting and visioning etc. There were twelve students and three leaders. That was my first real sacred ceremony, first naked coed massage circle, etc. so pretty mind-blowing for sheltered Andy. During my Visionquest, I had an incredible experience. I saw myself climbing a huge mountain. As I looked up, I saw the enormous face of God inset into the mountaintop. The closer I approached, the cracks began to appear in the face of God, and yellow light began to shine through. When I reached the top, the face of God completely exploded into glowing fragments. Inside, I saw a huge Black woman, with skulls tied to her belt, wielding huge double edged axes, with large fangs and wild eyes, laughing and stomping around in an ecstatic dance. Mind you, I had had no exposure to non-Christian iconography or culture – it was purely channeled from collective unconscious spiritual archetypes.
So of course after that I began delving deeply into feminist spirituality. I read Starhawk, Carol Christ, Mary Daly, and a bunch of other influential authors of the time. I began using We’Moon as my datebook and guide, which I have been using pretty consistently over the past 30 years. I pretty much dropped Christianity as a viable spiritual path, although I am still fairly fluent in Christian speak, call upon it where it makes sense, and can use it when needed.
After arriving in Berkeley, I joined a sacred circle dance group, which met every Friday night. There I met my first spiritual teacher, who founded the American School of Geomancy. I studied pretty intensely with him for three years, learning about spiritual dowsing for water and earth energy; seasonal cycles of the Earth; Labyrinth design, construction and meditation; Feng Shui; Astrology, Tarot and other divination forms; Sacred Geometry; Eco-psychology, Intuitive Counseling; and how to get connected to devas and other Earth spirits. I still practice many of these forms, and I am intending to delve into these practices and work as a spiritual teacher and counselor as my life path from now on.
During those three years, we did Sacred Earth Mystery workshops at a number of retreat centers in northern California, and one of my favorites was Shenoa in Philo, which has now been purchased and is being developed by folks at The Land, influenced by One Taste. We held an amazing workshop there this past March which was a powerful learning experience for all of us.
Around the year 2000, when I was getting deeply involved in transformational courses, festivals, Burning Man etc, a small group of us got together at the dining room table and began brainstorming about what would make for the most excellent and exquisite sacred sexuality community. How would we organize events? How would we make it safe, pro-feminist, and self sustaining? After many meetings and discussions, we developed this community (which has a secret name and membership) and eighteen years later it is still going strong. I learned many vital lessons about how to develop collective trust and intimacy during those years.
My work in Twelve Step recovery over the past eight years has been instrumental in helping me to stay grounded and connected to my purpose and Higher Power’s purpose for me. I have integrated active recovery as a part of my spiritual practice which has helped my sanity and financial stability significantly. I have been practicing meditation and my own intuitive spiritual practices, and these things together form a powerful matrix and context for healthy living.
It occurred to me recently, in a flash of insight, that what I would like to manifest over the coming months and years is to create and nurture, a Community of Practice around Intuitive Arts and Healing. It is with this intention that I join, Peace Mountain. Please join me as we build this community together!