Carolyn 18-02-2002

Let me just think for a minute… I think my spiritual journey began when I was 11 and I was raped by three men, and the reason that I say that was the start of my spiritual journey is because that was the start of my spirit’s loss of innocence and struggle to know if there was any meaning to things. And, interestingly enough, I did not remember being raped until I was 38 and in therapy. So what I can say is in the time between being raped and when I was 38, I…

I mean I was in Hollywood, I was a product of the 60s, I was a hippie. I did a lot of drugs, and I must say that basically, doing a lot of acid, I think really opened up mind to other dimensions and other possibilities. I know it’s not popular to say that drugs are cool, and I wouldn’t advocate them for anybody else, but as far as I am concerned, I saw and learned a lot of things, that I have taken the rest of my life basically to grow into. And – so I think acid helped me a lot on my journey. I was also a seeker, you know, I did est, you know what that is?

- Ya.

I was always a seeker and I did this thing called est and then, I also did a thing called the polarity institute, where I learned about – which was up in OB – where I learned about energetics of body, and we did body work. I also have been in t’ai chi for many, many years, did yoga for many many years. Then I did this thing called… I can’t remember what’s it called… I had a teacher with whom I studied and, we talked about the energetics of different colors, and actually working with different colors and using them within our body and clearing out things, and adding things, so you could like, you could effect healing, you could do protection. I mean those were the two that have been the most useful for me, but also a question of expanding my energy field, like in all directions, the size of a football field, or a mile, or ten miles, or whatever. And we were taking my… expanding my awareness, far away from my physical body.

A Book That Speaks was very significant in my life. Another book by the same author, Jim Roberts, called the Something of Oversouls Heaven, was also very amazing. And I loved Carl Jung, when I read his book, Memories Dreams and Reflections, in fact many many things kind of clipped into place. In fact he’s the first dead guy I really fell in love with [laughs]. Anyway, so… I can’t say that organized religion was a significant part of my upbringing one way or another, my parents were not… my father never forgave God for letting his mother die, and my mother had, as she said, her own personal God who had a good sense of humor.

I went to church, though, I always would go with my friends. I loved the ritual, and the holy water in the Catholic Church. But none of it… I looked there, but it wasn’t there for me. So I looked in a lot of different places. I also abused a lot of drugs, particularly cocaine, and alcohol.

So… and I had a very extended adolescence. Travelling, I traveled in South America for 13 months, and that was very significant for my spirit’s journey, going to all of those incredibly powerful energy sites. It was very real to me, and those sites really kind of reinforced things for me.

As I’m talking about my spirit’s journey, which is basically what I think you’re asking about, then I would say that for all of the phenomenally transcendent affirmations that I’ve had in my life, you know, I’ve often done the most learning through pain, or discomfort, because that’s how I know when I’m not personally centered, so that’s kind of my own… That’s become my own barometer, when I’m uncomfortable, or… I get anky or wanting to blame others or wanting to avoid my life, then I know I’m out of center, and often,…

I mean my church, if I had a church, my church is Joshua Tree. That’s where I go to recenter myself. I started doing – I ran into – I didn’t run into, there was a free Women Quest event, that this woman put on, and she had somebody come in and talk about Tarot Cards, which I had been doing for ever, and she had all kinds of things, but two of the people she brought in had to do with Native American tradition.

And a friend and I had gone together, and it was a very significant connection, because, as a result to that and our own personal journey, basically the women’s group, that was the start of that women’s group that I’ve been in, the Fireweed Eagle Clan. The thing that’s so amazing about that, the thing that I really love about that is not only the women – I’ve always wanted a sisterhood, I was in a sorority at college, it was not a sisterhood, and this group of women is a sisterhood – but the thing that I really love about it is that we combine our energy together for the greatest good, and we’re not… we are what we are… We all have different, we all bring different strengths and different points of view.

If I were going to say what is my thing, one of my strengths, is that I feel energy very strongly, and I can generate energy, and some energy I can transform… perceive energy, and at the bottom of my belief system, I would say, is “thought creates form,” so to the extent that you can imagine something, if you direct your energy in that way you can manifest it. And that’s not to say that I don’t believe there is something, you know, bigger than we are, because, I definitely do. I mean, we’re not in charge of our lives and that’s a good thing. I feel very small and insignificant, not in a bad way, in a realistic way, like a grain of sand. And there is a certain freedom in that, knowing that I’m not in charge. But we also, within the realm of our own individual life, we have the ability to manifest or to create, whether the art, or friendships, or whatever. Life as we perceive it, in my opinion is a, kind of a collective agreement, collective thing. And there are so many of us on this planet and we lead such different lives. You know, my reality and your reality may overlap, quite a bit, and they apparently do, like you just went to Joshua Tree, but I know that there are many many people who never get beyond survival, and their perception of life is gonna be very different from my perception.

But it all kind of makes sense to me, if… when I think, ok, if we’re here for our Spirit’s journey, we have come here to do some learning. And it’s like, after you learn a lesson, then you don’t have to do it anymore. You get new ones. But, if you don’t learn that lesson, that lesson keeps coming back in different forms. And so I do think that life is potentially a format for higher learning, a university for the spirit perhaps. I use the cards, because they’re such a great shortcut, and they give such a great clarity. And I often just use them by saying, ok, what is it that you want me to learn today, opening myself up to the angels or whatever helpers I have. I certainly believe that there are other realities happening simultaneously. But, where I learn is not in my most expanded form, where I learn is my most pain filled form, where I’m most uncomfortable.

Mainstream society is very materialistic and basically is run by people interested in money and power. And I don’t think it’s very spiritual.

Well, they’re not for me. I think that any time people pray together for the greater good, that’s a wonderful gift to the world, or wherever they’re addressing their prayer to. Combining energy for the greater good is a wonderful thing. When there is rules, when you start to judge other people, when you say, “our way is the only way,” it’s anti… you’re missing the boat. But I think that if a lot of people combine their energy for very positive things.

My spiritual activities are, the ceremonies with the Fireweed Eagle Clan. Probably… it’s a spiritual journey when I go to Joshua Tree. I think anytime my focus has shifted to where I’m asking difficult question, or I’m in a state of gratitude, or I’m in a state of asking for help… Anytime I step outside myself, then I’m on my spiritual journey. And it might be driving in my car, it’s just switched. And that moment of gratitude… I think that the state of gratitude is the state of grace. So I try to be grateful, I try to remember to be grateful, a lot.

- Do you consider your artwork a spiritual activity?

I consider my artwork a visualization of my spirit’s journey. But I don’t necessarily feel spiritual when I’m creating my art. When I’m creating my art, I’m in the world, I’m a craft person, it’s a very mechanical kind of thing. The images that come through me, the images that I create are gifts. They’re gifts for me, and they’re gifts for me to pass on. Yes, in that respect it’s a spiritual activity.

My perception. I read an incredible amount, I love science fiction and fantasy, and to the extent that a good idea will like, trigger something, or take my mind on a little expansion trip, and books that I gave you before, have been very important sources for me, but basically, it’s pretty… my world is pretty ego centric, in terms of my spirit’s journey, because it’s MY spirit’s journey. I don’t listen to others to tell me about MY spirit.

Most people that I know and like share my beliefs. In one form or the other. It’s why they’re friends.

I think it’s the best story, I think it’s a gift. Sometimes I don’t recognize it as a gift, and sometimes I see it as the gift that it is, but basically I feel very lucky to be alive in this life and this body. I feel very grateful.

Well, if you’re talking about the planet, this blue-green earth, and I think that the earth will probably survive. Man may do himself in, but I think the planet will survive as long as it’s supposed to. Even the planet, is only supposed to live, a certain number of billion years, and then it’s supposed to explode anyway. I think we’re incredibly ego-centric, the humans. Humans think somehow we’re a pinnacle, and I don’t really believe that. Obviously, it’s my perspective, so… I work for, I care about this planet. I care about the humans on this planet, being able to survive with a certain amount of grace. I care that politicians being more long-range or far-sighted, so that we don’t make money and greed our Gods to the exclusion of… destroying the planet that provides for us. I think people are very short-sighted, and… The older I get, I don’t feel less passionate, I just feel not as hysterical. It’s not that I was hysterical. I used to be more inclined to put people in, the Good Guys and the Bad Guys. And on some level, I think that we’re all doing the best we can. Which doesn’t mean people don’t make me crazy with their short-sightedness, or their greed, or their whatever. But, you know, it’s easier now to step back a little, and just kind of [sighs]… sigh! [laughs]

No, I don’t think my spiritual belief is ever challenged, I think that when I forget about it… When I forget to remember that I know, and what I am, then I’m challenged. But it’s not like I go, “that’s it, I don’t believe anymore.” It’s never like that. It’s just that I forget!

I think New Age is kind of like, a big blanket term, equivalent to “Yuppies.” That includes everything from crystals to the people who speak to people who are dead and moved to the other side. For me, in society it’s come to be kind of a condescending term, people who are like, “oh, my God! I believe in crystals!” It’s because it has come to mean in the mainstream, people who are not really connected. I think it used to be, like in the 60s and stuff, it used to have a sense of integrity about it. I think it was about people who were questing outside the mainstream. But I think now it’s become sort of hackneyed and trite.

Probably just trying to get away from the New Age, it probably has the same… I think that there are a lot of charlatans and a lot of earnest people, who are seeking… and teaching. And I think, within the mainstream, you have the same elements that you have in any stream. In any stream, you have the same elements that you have in the mainstream, that is you have charlatans, you have people who take abuse of power, who are con, people who are longing for something. I also think that you have very dedicated and sincere people. I think that the characteristics of humanity stretch across the board, no matter what practice people are, or are not pursuing. I’m not much of a joiner.

alternative spirituality has a more substantive ring to me, it feels more earnest. It feels more, looking for other options.

My daughter has been involved with Neo Paganists, she went to big events, up in San Francisco. And she said they were truly extraordinary. All these people coming together to join their energy. I think it’s kind of a moment’s rush, although I know that there are, for whom it is kind of a bottom line work in their life. I’ve also known of neo paganists who were doing strange and bizarre sexual things. So… They’ve kind of gone off on a bit of a binge. I think, because I’m a believer in energy, that if you connect your energy, you send it out for the greater good, which is what they say they’re about, that’s a good thing. I have not personally been involved. What I know is from my daughter and this other group of people.

Most spiritual places? Well we could start with Joshua Tree, it’s number one on my list. And not just in California, I would say that it is in the world as well. I think the ocean, I think where the water meets the land, in terms of the ocean’s… great potential. And I also think that bodies of water, because what I find is that people become reflective around bodies of water, people feel different. When people are near the ocean, they are literally breathing different ions, especially if the air has come off the ocean, and I think it energizes our etheric body. There’s something about water, and there’s something about moving air, or moving water, where… You can talk about forests, you can talk about nature, and I think probably any place that… any place that anybody goes, that makes them take a deep breath and go: “Woah… it’s good to be alive!” That is a spiritual place. I find personally that my animal body knows a lot. And I would say that, when determining spiritual places, whether in California, or United States, or around the world, that my animal body is the one that really makes those decisions, that really makes those decisions. Basically, I’m defining them now, there are places that allow my animal body to take a deep breath, and just relax. And… right outside my backdoor, on the lawn outside my backdoor can be a very transcending experience, and I would also say that, I had a series of people stay at my house, and they’ve always brought animals, interestingly enough. All my friends have a dog or cat or whatever here, and all the animals that come to stay in this house are very comfortable here, they like it a lot. And so do people. So I happen to know that this place, is a place that makes people feel relaxed, and that’s what an energy center is. Now there’s some places in, well Joshua Tree is really the place for me. I certainly experienced great awe in some of the Redwood places. Being around trees sometimes, but all the places that I know in California, that I know consistently, if I go to this place, I will get in touch with my spirit, is Joshua Tree. That’s the only place I know, guaranteed. There are other places where I had, you know, transcendent experiences.

I did a lot of traveling. I tell you, there was a … I haven’t traveled that much in the United States. But there was some place in the outbacks in Australia, that really… the earth energy just filled me with Joy. And I went to New Zealand, and I didn’t find it in New Zealand, and I went to Bali, and I didn’t find it in Bali. There are some places in South America, the Andes is a very powerful energy center. And, there are some places in Brazil and in the Amazon that are just like… amazing.

No, I think that… I was watching a program about Iran, this was actually before 9-11, and they were talking about how the followers of the Quran went through a Golden Age. So, the summary is, it seems like many religions go through a Golden Age, or age of enlightenment, there are these periods that occur and have occurred, throughout history as I have studied it. Egypt certainly had its heyday, and the Islam certainly had an amazing time when they were building churches and schools and hospitals… And Christianity, I’m sure, also had its moment. But what seems to occur – and, you know, Tibet – what seems to occur is that different parts of the world, there’s been sort of a collection or accumulation of energy, which is very spiritually centered, centered toward the evolution of the spirit. And sure enough, some… usually, some big testosterone group kids get into it, and they just smash em all up, and kill ‘em and burn ‘em… It’s like, why? I don’t know, you know… It just seems to be part of man’s nature, when those pockets occur, this need to destroy them, and not be softened and impacted by them. Anyways, so, I just see that this has occurred. I can’t… I don’t know that there are things more important or less important… I mean, look at Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, I mean people come and get other people’s attention periodically on this planet, to say, “hey, you know, God is love, ” whatever all that stuff is, and then the big bullies come on their horses, or their chariots, or their tanks, their airplanes… need to blow everybody up. I think that’s pretty much human nature. I don’t think it’s changed considerably. I think what we call civilization is basically a pretty thin veneer. I don’t feel terribly bad about it, because there’s nothing that happened to me directly, but I certainly see that there’s been a lot of suffering.

Goddess is another one of those things that’s become for me almost hackneyed. It’s like, I think, for me when Goddess had the most meaning, it’s when I was a woman looking at, living in a very patriarchal culture and world. And it had the most potency for me when I related to it as a balance of power. I think God is sort of the generic word that, again, the culture and my society use for a supreme deity. I don’t have anything against God, as a word, I just think it can be a bit limiting, because it’s pretty much Judeo-Christian… But my feeling behind it, of something greater than we are, that is a wonderful thing. Good idea, good concept.

The earth is a kind of God for me, in the sense that we’re so dependent on it, it is so much greater than we are, and the complexity of the dance and the balance and the change and the growth, and whatever occurs on this earth, is quite divine to me.

Dualism is to be alive [laughs]. Dualism is like… Ya. When you say “dualism,” I just wanna say “ya.” I’ll answer dualism by simultaneous, synchronicity, the Dao, Yes and NO, Black and white, the place where things merge, confounding, maddening, complex, beautiful…

The thing about mythology… I always enter into a little foray into mythology, with the hope that somehow I’ll gain some great life lesson, or some sort of… more knowledge about myself, or whatever, and I’m always kind of disappointed, it’s like going to the Bible. And, I don’t even find the stories that interesting, it’s like mythology, the concept, is that there will be some really interesting seed, that will make you feel like you found the answer, so basically when I delve into mythology, I get kind of bored.

- Would you say that applies to the book Daughters of Copper Woman?

No. I love Daughters of Copper Woman, when I think of mythology, the word mythology for me is the Greek stuff. Even when tell Native American mythology, I’m not… Daughters of Copper Woman I think is a stunning book and is very very meaningful to me, but again I can pick up Native American mythology and put myself right to sleep [laughs]. It’s not somehow that relatable to me.

I love ritual. I think ritual is cool, I think it’s an incredible tool for combining energy, for combining and directing energy. And, I think it also can be… sort of hypnotic. It can help you shift your concentration. But there’s ritual and ritual. So the kind of ritual I’m attracted to obviously, I find very attractive! But I also could go, “that’s tedious! Do we have to do every step?” But I think, behind it the idea of ritual, on a fundamental level, is taking steps to bring about a conscientious result, that has to do with prayer or spirit, or shifting our awareness from the mundane to consciousness. And I like that idea a lot.

I love magic. Magic is that thing that allows us to believe that there is something greater than we are. Magic, usually, it’s like… Magic can happen in daily life, and it’s something that just makes you go “Yeepee!” I don’t think of magic as magic cards, or shows… I think of magic as just seeing through a child’s eyes is magic, something catches their attention. And then you look, and you see it, and it’s like, “wow, I never quite saw it that way!” Magic allows you to see things from a different perspective, and that’s totally cool, whenever you step outside yourself, and gain a little perspective, or a little joy, or a little wonder, good thing! Magic is what catches you by surprise, where you couldn’t predict the answer. That cool!

I saw a rainbow yesterday, every time I see a rainbow, I’m a little kid again. The rainbow is the way the light is in the air, and the way it’s divided into colors. People use it, I think to… Gay people being the Rainbow Coalition, I love that idea of a Rainbow Coalition, but little arch rainbows have become a very trite symbol for me. It’s like little hearts have become a very trite symbol for me. And also, the feeling behind them, I approve of. Because I’m such a visual person, when things become hackneyed or overused, or loose their… Advertising pisses me off! Because it takes – and it’s doing it now, all the time, with the Goddess – and it takes these words that we have found, to give something, a meaning for us, and then it says, you’ll have this if you buy a car. And it’s like, it’s very frustrating. That media. So rainbow is one of those things, Goddess is one of those things… Many things like that have just sort of lost their authenticity because they become mass media.

Yes… we are all the family of man, let’s start there. Family is feeling connected, and there’s blood family and there’s family of choice, and… I have a very large extended family, and when I am most depressed, when I feel most hopeless, what I do is I think about the people that I love, and that is my family, my extended family. That’s my definition.

America is just full of itself. I feel incredibly lucky to live in this country, and all of that stuff… I was raised in the 60s, and Berkeley was a place I visited often, and… I think that Americans are really stupid. I think they’re stupid politically, I think they’re egocentric, I think they’re unaware of the rest of the world, I think they buy a very simplistic story about what politicians are doing, I think the machinations of what the CIA and our underhand organizations do overseas, is incredibly controlling, manipulative, self-serving, dishonest. I don’t have a terrifically rosy view of Americans. Although, again, it’s like, here I am, and I feel so fortunate to be here and to not be worried everyday about whether or not I’m going to have enough to eat, or my children are going to die before I do, from starvation… I think that we’re naïve, and we allow ourselves to remain ignorant.

I forgot to tell you that astrology, while not a daily significant factor in my life is definitely a good tool, in my opinion.

I think technology, we have this love affair with technology, since the turn of last century. I think it’s a mixed blessing. The faster we move across the land, the less we honor it. At the same time, when I am trying to grind out my bronze figures, and I can plug in a machine, and let that tool do the job for me, I’m like, yes, thank you very much. I think technology is cool, I think the tools, and the toys, and whatever, are cool. I just think that we’re like new kids with them, and again we’re short-sighted in terms of the long-term effects that cars and pollution have… it’s kind of like… I think most of the time, we’re very young and stupid, and I think some of the time, we’re diabolical. It’s a double-edged sword, and… It would be great if we had university courses on what technology is and what the applications are. We’re starting to get that about ecology. But technology definitely has a vast influence on ecology, and it might attract more people who like the toy. I don’t think technology in and of itself is evil, I just think we need to be more thoughtful about it.

Well, it’s gonna happen whether or not we want it. I mean, it implies that we’re getting better. I think, to evolve, doesn’t that imply that we’re going from a lesser to a greater, or a simpler to a more complex, or whatever? I don’t know that we are evolving in terms of getting better, I think that as a culture, as a society, as a world, I don’t know. I’d like to reserve my final judgment for hope.

Darkness is a scary word. And I think you have to do a lot of soul searching to come to a place of comfort with the darkness. Darkness is that part that you cannot see, it’s the time at night where… it’s the kind of feeling alone, or unprotected, lonely. Darkness has the shadow aspect to our personality. All of that goes into the realm of darkness, and yet, one of the things that I learned, kind of on a deeper level that time I was in Joshua Tree, is that our animal bodies respond well when we have the day and the night. And in a sense, culturally, we may be so afraid of the dark, that we have lights on all the time. We extend our productive hours and we… like we’re keeping the darkness at bay, with all this electricity, and yet as we keep the darkness at bay, we keep half of ourselves, or half of the natural rhythm that we need for our animal body, at bay. So we keep ourselves out of sync with ourselves. Perhaps it’s a reflection of our individual and our collective fear. It’s usually colder at night [laughs]. The pollution and the lights and everything, it’s like you can’t see the clouds during the day, you can’t see the stars at night. You don’t see night, cause you don’t go outside of your house. That’s why I go to Joshua Tree, to try and find that balance again, and to find the magic and the mystery, and the wonder. So I think that it’s hard not to equate darkness with fear, and I also think that it’s been given to us as the seasons have been given to us, day and night, light, dark, and yet… we’re trying to ignore it. And perhaps we do that psychologically, perhaps we do that with all of our drugs and television and addictions.

I have friends who are dreamers. And what I mean by that is that I know people who get great information from their dreams, and they tap into other realms. I think there are people who are dreamers, and there are people who are seers, I think there are people who have different skills and different areas than we usually think of, or the etheric, or the other realms. Seeing into them, or traveling into them, or feeling into them. I think we have people who are gifted, whether in magic, or anticipating where things are gonna be, all that. I think they’re part of the human ability, but we’re much more involved with technology than we are in esp. We’d rather have a cell phone than esp. So I think we’re in the quick-fix stage of our human development.

I am not a dreamer, and I think that probably we all could become dreamers, but like I’m not a musician, and I think probably if I did a lot, a lot of practice, I could probably learn how to play a musical instrument. But I am an energy person. I have the gift of energy, and I probably could learn the gift of dreaming but it seems like too much hard work, for me. Periodically I’ve kept dream journals, and practiced awaking myself, so that I could write down what was going on, and then of course I could remember my dreams. I think it’s another source for information.

Well, my mind goes from self to other, in terms of relational… But when I go to Joshua Tree, it is to be with myself. It is to hear my own heartbeat. It is to hear my own rhythm, and also, to hear my inner dialogue. Because when I am in the busy world of my life, I don’t really take time to listen. But when I go to the quiet and solitude of Joshua Tree – I usually go alone, I prefer to go alone – and I can hear myself. And I hear my wailing and my whimpering or my joy or my strength… I like getting in touch with myself, because when I do I see we’re both on the same side [laughs]. And it’s usually an affirmation, which is not to say, that I don’t see parts of my self that I would like to improve, or that embarrass me or whatever, but it’s like, when I go to Joshua Tree, or when I take time to deliberately just be with myself and my inner dialogue, I’m able to look at those aspects, without cringing or avoiding, and then I can sort of forgive myself, and/or make amends to others and/or make intentions to change, in ways that are not bringing me or others… harmonious exchanges.

Community is another one of those words that they’re starting to take away. I hate that, because community is a sacred word. Community is for me a sense of people cooperating and working together. It’s a place where people can converse and find ways to combine their energy constructively. My women’s group is a community. I believe we are.

Life is a gift. When you get to go on your spirit’s journey if you’re lucky enough to not have to be concerned about survival. Life is magic and we have to learn about dying in life. We have to learn about living in death or after we die.

There are a lot of people in social organizations who see the value of not encouraging prejudice. I concur. I think that there are also a lot of people who have become so concerned with political correctness, that they left authenticity, or they don’t leave room for authenticity. Tricky business, but I don’t think you can walk over genuine feelings and make them disappear just because you want them to. I think that prejudice, fear of difference, otherness, is a part of the human equation. And also the desire to feel comfortable and at peace with others is part of the human longing. So… I also think a lot of people mouth their words, but in fact, Asians still hanging out with Asians, and Blacks still hang out with Blacks. Sometimes it’s just lofty words, and nobody really practices. We may have been closer in the sixties. Now, we’re more politically correct, in the sixties we were more vulnerable about it. In order for rainbow coalitions, or different groups of people to happen, we have to go with open heart rather than open mind.

Ya, when I remember [laughs]. My spiritual whatever it is, is a part of me and my life, it’s not something… I mean, yes, I have set times, and I go to the desert for that purpose. But now I remind myself of my mom, she had her own personal God, and I said what is he like?, and she said,

I’m practicing my spiritual life when I say thank you, when I’m in a state of gratitude.