Ethnic
Journey to the Sacred Altar
Ethnic
It is such a blessing to be in Divine Science. I have found that Divine Science speaks directly to my consciousness. The writings of Nona Brooks and Ernest Holmes are deep and profound. Even though I have been a minister for ten years and taught many different classes in Buddhism and New Thought, I must say that never a day goes by that I don't learn more and these classes have been a wonderful experience. Divine Science Principles and Consecration are particularly powerful. Brooks Divinity School is growing as more and more people discover Divine Science and awaken to the power of the presence of God in their lives. I believe that Divine Science is a vehicle for growth for many and that individuality among teachers and practitioners is essential to growth. I believe that we must remain relaxed and loving, caring and compassionate in all our choices and embrace others from any denomination in Divine Science regardless of their attitudes. We must see, live and speak love and kindness. When we counsel others, whether in person, on the phone, or through cyberspace, we must always dwell within Unity consciousness modeling and demonstrating New Thought through seeing and affirming health, happiness and love. As New Thought ministers, we cannot afford to let events discombobulate us. It is easy for people to be misled by surface interpretation and make grave errors and then even to act upon false perceptions. This affirms all the more the need for relaxed loving affirmation of the presence of God in all places, people and events. The Lords Prayer is perhaps the richest example of New Thought and it is an admonishment that the ultimate development of consciousness is when we are able to deal with the most difficult circumstances but remain centered. I have sometimes heard people talk about living one's pain. I think that the important thing is to acknowledge that you have pain or that you have had it, but not to live it and if you have pain to let go of it. Healing is about letting go of false perceptions and dwelling in the perception of perfection of Higher/Christ Consciousness. New Thought teaches us to do this, to focus on what we wish to manifest, to know that even in the Valley of the shadow, we will not want, in fact God will prepare us a banquet. I think instead of living pain we must live love and freedom from pain through the development of our consciousness to the point that we know the message of Psalm 23 clearly and that we learn to live our lives through such deep love and compassion that we are able to live the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. We must understand that others have their difficulties and their challenges and instead of condemning them for the mote in their eye, we need instead to pluck out the beam in our own. It is a great challenge to do this. It is easier to find fault than to turn the mirror on ourselves, but just because something is difficult does not mean we should shrink from it. We must be unafraid and walk in the clear knowledge that God is with us now and always because the whole of Divine Science is the practice of the presence of God in our lives.

ONENESS WITH NATURE - THE ALTAR OF REVERENCE
For me, one of the most sacred spots in the world is the upper hotspring in the Jemez Mountains. The hotspring has been naturally carved through time and geology into the shape of a five pointed star. Likewise for me, New Thought is a sacred teaching that is the key to higher consciousness and is like the North Star enabling us to continue our progress in the right direction to God. Each class in Divine Science is a gift and an opportunity to grow. I don't mean the hour or two of class though that is a great opportunity as well, but rather the entire assignment of each class. When I dedicated an hour within the bosom of nature as part of consecration class, I decided to drive to one of the most beautiful parts of the world so that this special communion would have a deeper meaning to me. I suppose this has to do with the fact that I live in my heart and have spent a great deal of my life learning to master language and later more than one language in order to communicate about what I feel are the most important parts of life. When I read the works of Nona Brooks, I am continually reminded of shared feelings and perspectives about Life, Love, Spirit and the Cosmos. It feels the same when I am reading Ernest Holmes or Emmet Fox. But one thing I have learned lately through the Center is that I should share my feelings in the context of writing or public speaking. One experience that taught me this was sharing something about a men's group that I was asked to attend with someone outside of the group and having them totally misinterpret what had happened at the group and then later lash out at me in a very aggressive manner. This experience taught me a great deal about how important it is to stay grounded and in integrity in all situations and not to share everything, but to selectively share those things which will be understood. Some things can be misunderstood and so they should not be shared. It is like flirting. People who flirt often get themselves into trouble. It is best to be grounded and loving and not to share all things. Also painful events in my life over the last summer led me to acknowledge that the deepest source in my life, God, is a well that I can always draw upon, a presence that is always there for me. I never feel a need to appeal to an angel or a saint because I know that God is the power and the presence in my life and that I can cultivate the Christ within through meditation and the other tools of transformation. Through this I always keep my perspective correct, which is that God is in all places, and all people, at all times. As I travelled to the hotspring I had many thoughts and feelings such as these that were carressing my spirit. I would observe these thoughts and their consequent feelings, where they were taking me, and then let them go and refocus on the moment I was in.

THE JOURNEY
I paused by the side of the road when I came over the first hill on my way to the sacred rendezvous. I stopped the engine next to the roadside historic sign about that particlar pueblo history and got out of the truck. The contrast of the air conditioned truck and natures actual temperature was immediate the hot sun beat down upon the desert. The rhythmic sound of the occasional passing vehicle behind me was a reminder of the strength of the human presence even outside the city. I squatted down in the bracken to feel the power of the moment. I noticed the mixture of the nature with the refuse of humanity. Three old Miller beer bottles, one broken, 5 Budweiser can in various states of disintegration, the ants moving steadily throughout the scene searching and working. I looked at the way the sand seemed to slowly be devouring the presence of these articles and how the labels of the Miller bottles were bleached white. There were flying insects, a desert wasp of some sort that was landing on small yellow flowers and moving around me. The heat dancing on my hat was slowly penetrating into every part of my body, an ant found my flesh and bit me. It was time to rise, this part of the journey was over.

I GOT BACK IN THE TRUCK.
In the short time I was outside, it had heated up and though the air-conditioning came on, it seemed to only move the heat. Looking out upon the scene one last time, across the fence, across the valley a sign told the tale of a pueblo that was only used for ceremonial purposes now. There had been changes in the water shed and the pueblo had been abandoned except for special ceremonies. I started the engine and as I drove toward on toward San Ysidro, I thought about the ceremonies. I then thought about other ceremonies as the vistas changed and the mountains rose on the left where they were mining lime or some kind of white rock. I recalled how sometimes huge trucks would lumber out of the dirt road and onto the highway I was on. I passed the natural gas pumping station on the left and then the entrance to the new pueblo. Other ceremonies came to my mind as I commuted toward my destination. Catholic ceremonies in different countries and Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies as well. They seemed to have much in common, the hats, musical tones. I felt happy that in my faith ceremony and costume was not considered essential. I thought about Emmet Fox's admonitions against such accouterments. I made the turn at San Ysidro and then drove through Jemez Pueblo. I didn't stop. I thought about it for a moment but then I pulled off again at Red Rocks.

RED ROCKS
I parked the car. Greeted the natives selling grease puffs and honey to excited tourists. The tourists had purchased soft drinks at the gas station across the way. They stood next to the roadsite booth watching the boiling lard and then devoured the grease puffs with honey washing them down with coca cola. One man had a six pack of budweiser and seemed to be beating back the heat by quaffing one after the other. He drank at least 3 while I was watching. I wondered if my sense of time was off. I turned and walked out into the sacred fields of Pinons and when I was sufficiently far into the low forest, I sat in the shade of a Pinon tree and looked at the majestic red rocks and all their beautiful natural cuts and curves. This was one of the sacred places that my friends had taken me, long ago, and that I had spent 20 years visiting. More than once I had taught spiritual classes in this very place and before those classes I had taught actors the sacred art of exploring and revealing human emotions. The last class I had taught here was to a small group of five about how we are one with God and the only thing that ever separates us is ourselves. Here, under these trees, we had had a talking circle for three hours. My mind was brought back to the eternal now by the presence of a jackrabbit, his tall ears impossibly erect when one would think they would droop. But he did not linger long because high above a bird of prey circled. I watched it for a moment moving in absolute harmony with the sky, the wind, then it dropped down and disappeared into the trees maybe 100 yards away. I looked at the rocks to see if I could see an ayrie but I saw nothing. I thought I saw some movement in the trees and then I noticed that the ants were not only on the ground around me but were on my sandaled feet. It was time to return to the car and resume the journey. I drove past the high school and then up through the canyon and then dropped down into the valley. I pulled over into one of the national forest stops.

PAUSING BY THE JEMEZ RIVER
I observed the low bushes and the trees next to the river. I got out and this time it was not so hot as it was even at Red Rocks. There was no one there, just the smells of the restrooms and once clear of the parking lot, the cool smells of the river. I moved to the edge and sat in the shade and looked across the ripples and waves. My thoughts disappeared into the rambling rush of the rivers flow. The rocks, the water over the rocks, the white bubbles, the noise, the dance of dragonflies near the rivers edge. Green algae growing in a strip of mud. Water vegetation. Roots of trees. Water flowing. Late summer flowers bending in the breeze.

SOUNDS OF CHILDREN
The sounds of children startled me from my reverie. A car had pulled in next to me and I had not heard it pull in because I was at one with the river. But the sound of the children and the slam of the car doors reminded me that I was still not at my destiny. Three children and a jolly, heavy mother who seemed very happy to be out of the country were clustered about a station wagon. She was struggling with a cooler so I offered to help her which she accepted. After helping her put the cooler near a picnic table, I was back in the car travelling toward the sacred hotspring. I drove through Jemez Springs, past the old Servants of the Paraclete retreat which was now closed and stopped at Soda dam.

SODA DAM
There was a gaggle of Japanese tourists, taking each others pictures at the entrance of the cave. I navigated my way through them with a well placed "Arigato", which caused me to remember that Arigato comes from the Portuguese "obrigado". I guess the Japanese did not have a word for thank you until after the Portuguese missionairies. I wonder if they just used a bow or sign to express gratitude. I thought about my Japanese friends in Vienna. The various retreats and the sharing of different traditions, different points of view, different choices. I left these thoughts, these memories, behind in the warm dampness of the cave. The honeycomb of the soda is beautiful. The greens and yellows of the pool inside the cave. I listened to the sounds of the water, the rush of the stream, with the chatter of the tourists blending in behind it all. I heard a sound behind me. A petite Japanese woman stood behind me with sparkling eyes and bowed. The cave was small. She said "buddhaful." I said: "yes" We smiled at each other and exchanged places. Soon I was back on the road again. Past Hummingbird, past Battleship rock, I came to the parking place. There were some cars parked in the lot. I pulled in, turned off the engine and grabbed my pack. When I opened the door the air was cool and nice. The sun was moving toward the far side of the valley. I checked the flashlight in the pack and then I closed up the truck and took the direct descent. Since I was alone, I didn't have to worry about a companion or leading a group of people. The way was steep. I slipped on the gravel, sat down with the motion of the energy and slip part way down. No scrapes, so I was fine. I resumed my descent, grabbing a root for a moment then using the mountain goat descent. Soon I was at the base of the incline near the river. I took a moment to sit next to the river. This was a different biosphere. A verdant green permeated everything. I saw a fish, probably a trout near the shore. There were insects dancing in pools of sunlight and in the shade. A soft breeze blew late summer fragrance through the narrow river gorge. Water roared. Beauty is in everything, everywhere. I heard a noise and turned to be greeted by two women. One wore a t-shirt that read: "dykes love bikes", the other was dressed very fem with long flowing red hair, a five pointed star hanging around her neck. The redhead smiled. The T-shirt woman reached out to her companion and said "let's go." But her partner just stared at me with this smile which seemed to aggravate her companion. I said: "blessed be." They both looked at me and responded: "blessed be." At that moment, the T-shirt woman seemed to relax and asked: "Is this the way to the Spring?"
"Actually it is up the path," I said, "I'll show you if you need to know," walking toward the spring.
"Are you Gardenian?" the redhead said.
"No," I responded with a smile, "My name is A'lan, and I am not Gardenian. "
"My name is Colleen, this is Asp."
"Great name, Asp, I like that."
Asp over took her companion and asked "Have you been here often?"
"Yes, on and off for many years."
"Are you a Wiccan?"
"I am a Divine Scientist."
"But you said, 'Blessed be'"
"Yes."
"Do you believe in Earth Spirits?"
"I believe that there is one source of all energy and that as we turn to the source, the Creator, this Creative Energy, our way is made easier for us. I believe we must value what we have, take care of Mother Earth, insure that Father Sky is clean and pure, see that all things are fruitful and multiply. Live through love because love is the energy that unifies. When we are rooted in Love and Compassion then we best embody Great Spirit."
"Sounds like what we believe."
I smiled and kept ascending the mountain, rounding the big rock, crossing the stream, noticing the way the sunlight filters through the trees. The lush grass, contrasting with the rusting spikes that probably once held a log stairway in place or some landscaping timbers that had long since rotted away. One must be aware. It is essential to be fully aware of all things, to focus upon the path, to feel the breeze, listen to the water and the movement of the trees. We were practically there. A murder of crows flew by and landed upon a rock above. They seemed to be looking at me while I ascended to the lower spring. Everywhere around the lower spring were drapped nude women, mostly younger women, a few were older. Some were kissing each other, others were in the act of multiple massages, many wore the same five pointed star as the redhead. Some of the younger ones were tattooed and pierced. There were a few men men, but they did not seem to constitute but maybe ten percent of the gathering. One of them had many tattoos over his body and peircings through his private parts. Obviously, I had come at the time of a gathering of Wiccans. I asked my acquaintances what the gathering was for.
"Full moon," was the reply.
"Ah, yes." I stood at the top of the spring and looked out across the valley. The wind moved through the trees. I sat down on the edge of a log. I was alone. I closed my eyes and relaxed into the movement of the wind. I was one with the wind, dancing through the treetops feeling the whispers of life permeating the valley, lifting wings into the clouds. "You are welcome to stay." I turned to the voice. It was an older woman with long brown hair that had elegant grey streaks. She was in good shape, relaxed, comfortable with her nudity blending in with the large boulders and the pine trees behind her. She offered me something to smoke but I declined. "I'm ok", I said.
"Take off your clothes and stay awhile", she responded.
"Thank you, I need some solitude first. I am writing in a journal. A spiritual moment, an hour or so."
"Please return, blessed be"
"Blessed be."
I turned to go but she stopped me with a touch of my arm, "Is there another spring?"
I thought for an instant. Usually I did not confirm the existence of the higher spring and Wiccans often burned candles around it which covered the rocks in wax. "Yes. The sacred spring is smaller. It can only hold a few people."
"Every spring is sacred," she replied.
"Yes." I smiled, "We are blessed to share such beauty."
"Do you mind if I come up later and share your special spring with you?"
"The Spring is for all who love it."
"Thank you," she turned to the lower spring and began to descend through the boulders. A young woman went to her, glancing at me and then saying something. The older woman smiled and nodded her head. They both waved. I waved back and moved on up the hill toward the high spring.
There is always a moment of wondering if it will be challenging to find the spring as I climb the hill. I have been here many times,but still it always occurs. This time I took the right hand path, crossed the marshy stream below the upper spring then turned left, saw the rocks and arrived at the spring. The Sacred Spring gushed forth from the loins of mother earth; I was blessed to be alone. I crossed the stream flowing out of the pool, took off my pack, arranged my things, put down the mexican blanket, disrobed, reached out and touched the spring. It was hot, very hot. I moved in and felt the heat surround my body. I knew the rule, never dunk your head in the spring. The flow in this spring was fast though and it probably didn't matter but I followed the rule.
Amoebic meningitis was not to be courted. We must use our minds in conjunction with our hearts. I left the thought behind, eased into one of the sitting places and looked about the spring. In one nook there was a spiders web and on the edge of the web, a spider waiting for one of the mosquitos or a larger insect to become ensnared. After a moment or two I heard a noise, turned, and a squirrel came into the small nook above my head. He knew that people would often leave some granola or something behind and that there might be a snack from this new visitor. He looked about then left. I looked upward at the pines bending in the breeze. The sun was already against the far side of the valley and the sunset would begin. A dragon fly danced for a moment across the hot surface of the spring, competing against the spider for a snack. I watched its perfect dance. Hovering, moving, wings beating, then it flitted away in an instant and disappeared. I watched the top of the pines and felt myself transported there, moving, one with the water, one with the earth, one with the trees.

AN AFFIRMATIVE PRAYER
God is everything, Creator flows through everything, Creating always, the Creation always without end, Creator moves through me, I open up, accept and receive a beautiful wonderful experience, a beautiful transformation of self, consecrating myself to Divine Science, I see Divine Life Center expanding and growing, people coming and loving the light, the love, the kindness. I see Gabriella in the light of love and compassion. Bless her with joy and happiness, deep spiritual growth and love. I see everyone opening up and flowering in Unity consciousness. I see Divine Science everywhere and the presence of God is everywhere. The various denominations are letting go of their divisions. A Divine Scientist is a Divine Scientist. All is one. There are many wonderful teachers. I open up, accept and receive all this beauty in my heart and I give thanks for it and release these thoughts into the hands of God, Creator, knowing they are so and so it is. My prayer carries on in my heart beyond my words. A quiet acceptance, a gentle knowing that everything will unfold into Unity and Peace. I recall Anne's kind email telling me to seek out other Divine Science ministers in order to have the benefit of being being taught by more teachers. It seems like a wise idea. I look forward to learning Spiritual Psychology. and to doing a class with Happy and with someone else. I know there are challenges in life but these make us stronger. My mind turns for a moment toward my recent difficulties but I remember the teachings of Ernest Holmes. Direct your attention to that which you wish to see and want to manifest. Acknowledge reality but continue to direct your attention to what you would like to see manifesting. I do this. I think about Brooks Divinity School growing and expanding. I remember the students to whom I have taught New Thought Principles. The basics, identifying hidden belief systems and then letting them go by replacing those beliefs with new ones and imbedding the new Unity beliefs into your consciousness. Change your Mind, Change Your Life. I am drifting in the spring. It is time for me to drink some water. I get out. Drink and write more notes in the log, chicken scratch on now damp paper. I do my best to dry my hands but somehow there is still dampness. When I finish writing again, I drink more water then I slide back into the Spring and witness the beginning of the Sunset. There are enough clouds to make it glorious. The clouds become filled with light. There are oranges, yellows, soon reds. The colors are dazzlingly beautiful. My mind strays for a moment to the coven below. I seem to hear some chanting. I let it go returning my focus to the sunset. The dance of colors interweaving in a glorious symphony of nature, a natural of spectrum of cosmic beauty. Soon the purples are taking over, the reds are what is left of the oranges, the yellows are gone and only the outline of the clouds persist in being gilded with divine gold. Then this passes and the oranges are now turned into dark crimson which is soon transformed to a deep purple, a bright star shines through, the clouds pass over it. The light of the sun fades away and night begins its reign. With scarcely a pause, with the measuring of the beats of my heart, the moon is climbing into the sky and soon there is a soft gentle light bathing the valley and outlining the tops of the pines. I will not need the flashlight to descend. I climb out of the spring again and make some more notes. I think about my beliefs. I am consecrated to Divine Science. Though I am one with nature, I do not consider my path to be the path a shaman. Instead I feel total committment to Divine Science. I do not have a need for duality. The shadows are only an absence of light. There are no demons in the darkness, perhaps a bear or two but the only real energy is God. We might postulate other forces but the only real, lasting, and true energy is God and when we dwell upon this presence, all anguish and all shadows are dispelled. I recall a friend who once told me I was being stalked by a demon. I wanted to tell her about God, about Divine Science, about how we believe in Unity and not in duality. But I had failed, I had had the perfect opportunity to talk about New Thought and Divine Science but I had failed at that moment. I guess perhaps my academic propensity toward acceptance had caused me to let this opportunity pass. I thought about how I had gone through Fundamentals of Religious Science years ago and learned the importance of Unity consciousness and the letting go of old dualistic beliefs. I thought about the other advice that I was given about letting go of "five dark hearts" in my life. I took this as good advice but more in the vein of trimming the tree, pruning the vine. Letting go of unhealthy relationships is always a good thing. We must not be trapped in co-dependence. At this moment for some reason I recall some of the signs of the abuser. An abuser demands absolute loyalty, no deviation from a spoken or unspoken set of rules, or a combination of both. An abuser blames and shames and finds fault always and rarely finds beauty. I was happy to let go of such people. I was happy to be accepting, to be loving, to be forgiving. I let go of those people and let God guide me to my highest good and them to theirs. I wondered about the dark hearts though. I am not sure that there are any dark hearts. I think perhaps there are only people who are deluded, people who are sick and delusion can be dispelled, sickness can be healed. As the moon moved through the sky, soft shadows moved in correspondence to the movement of the celestial body and it was obvious. Light dispells the shadows. The shadows have no substance in and of themselves. I thought about the New Thought classes I had taught in past. I thought about the Buddhism classes I had taught. The meditation classes. The Divine Voice class. They dispelled shadows and helped to bring people to a consciousness of their own power. I thought about what had happened to me of late. Why? I saw many lessons unfolding for me and I realized that everything is in Divine Right Order. I must be quieter. I realized that I must know that the moon will move and change and the sun will rise but God is always in me, a light that never descends, never wanes, is always there.

ANOTHER PRAYER
I felt the movement of the breeze on the water. Felt the bite of a mosquito and began another prayer: "God is Everything, Creator moves through everything, Creator moves through Andrea, Rayanne, Nonnie, Margie, Mara and Happy and all members of Divine Life Center. I open up, accept and receive, a wonderful ordination for Happy, perfect love and harmony among all who attend. I open up, accept and receive transformation for each person to the deepest understanding of Unity consciousness. I see each person as a beautiful light of God Consciousness shining upon the world they move through and dispelling all shadows. I see all these people loving and sharing and being one in Great Spirit, in Life, in Love and I give thanks for this, expressing deepest gratitude and releasing this into the hands of the Creator, knowing that my words are always answered with a resounding yes and with deepest love and joy releasing this into the hands of God knowing it is so and so it is.

The movement of pines permeated the forest with soft creaking noises, the leaves moving together and dancing a divine dance through the full moon night. I open my heart to love and life and joy and express my highest gratitude for being consecrated to Divine Science. I am happy to have learned and taught for over ten years and now to be moving toward a new ordination in New Thought. I am happy for all the work I am doing on the internet, helping different New Thought groups and most of all to be helping Nonnie, Margie and Mara build up their Brooks Campus. I see the most beautiful unfoldment of love and kindness and Unity. I see them teaching the deepest truth of the power of the presence of God, the divine spark within us all. I see the Center radiating love and light and joy and in turn receiving love and light and joy. I see Happy ordained in a wonderful ceremony. I hear a noise.
"Hello. Are we here?"
"You are almost here," I spoke up. "Just follow the stream, cross it at the broken log, then come up the hill, then turn left at the pine tree."
After a moment, three women were standing over the spring looking at me through the soft moonlight. They were adventurers, wearing hiking boots, the younger in Doc Martens. One of them was the woman I had spoken with earlier.
"There are apples in the backpack, and some natural juice and cups if you are thirsty." I offered.
"Thank you." One voice responded.
"Your welcome."
"Is it nice in there?"
"Yes. Very"
"May we join you?"
"Of course, it is your spring as much as mine."
"We are all one in Goddess." One of them said.
One of the other women responded: "Blessed be."
They disrobed in the soft moonlight and got into the pool. We talked as the moon moved through the sky about all the amazing things in the world. About love and life and the different names people use for Great Spirit. We spoke about transcending gender roles and learning to be truly one with Great Spirit. We laughed and dreamed and later I descended the mountain, made some final notes when I was in the truck then drove back to Albuquerque, tired but refreshed from a beautiful journey to the Altar of Reverence.

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