Posted in Spiritual Direction

Love Waiting to Be Found

This past weekend, I had an interesting experience.  A man I know to be one of the kindest, most generous, faithful and humble human beings, posted a horribly negative comment against our incoming government officials who are of the Muslim faith.  I joined my daughter in righteous anger over his comments.  How could someone who claims to be a devout Christian, and otherwise a good, kind and generous man believe such horrible things of our Muslim brothers and sisters?  I was angry, but beyond the anger, I felt horribly sad.  How could this man, for whom I otherwise have the utmost respect, believe that his hatred and fear of Muslims is any way shape or form consistent with Jesus’ teachings?  I wanted to step in and ask him if he had read the story of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37) – a story Jesus used to teach us that often the kindest and most “Godly” acts are performed by those who are not of our “tribe” or “belief system.” I also wanted to quote the story of the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30)  who was instrumental in converting Jesus of his own beliefs – who through her persistence and insistence convinced Jesus that he was here for the whole world – not just the tribes of Israel.  I refrained from commenting, but I still found myself troubled. So I brought this quandary to prayer.

This is when my compassion stepped in.  My friend, in his fear and hatred of Muslims is simply believing what he has been taught by the version of Christianity to which he subscribes – a version cloaked in the same fear of “the other” that he already carried in his mind.  To me, this is very sad.  And yet, this man, like every single human being walking this planet, is a vessel of Love just waiting to be found.  Quite simply, he hasn’t yet found the fullness of his Love – the Love he already is and was made to be, but which is currently hidden beneath a curtain of fear.  He freely and generously loves those who believe as he does and in his working profession, generously loves those in need of his service.  But, because he doesn’t yet know the fullness of the Love that he is and he hasn’t yet discovered the fullness of Divine love, he is not yet able to love every human being in the way that God does.  Here he is bearing out Jesus’ most profound and simplest teaching:

 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12: 30-31

This scripture has most often been interpreted as a commandment, but it could just as easily be taken as an observation of what is true.  We are only capable of loving our neighbor to the extent that we love ourselves.  Put another way, the degree to which we are able to love other human beings is proportionate to the degree to which we believe in God’s love for us, and the degree to which we are able to love ourselves as God loves us.  This is a plain and simple human truth.  My friend is unable to love his Muslim brothers and sisters because for some reason he does not yet comprehend the vast and unconditional nature of God’s love and in this, is also unable to unconditionally love himself.  He still has more love in him waiting to be found.

The same is true of all of us.  Each and every one of us is Love waiting to be found.  And each and every one of us is somewhere along the continuum of finding and then living from that love. Our actions on this human plane then reflect the degree to which we know the love that we are. 

This brings me to the topic of evil….

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Posted in Inspiration, world changes

The Grand Test

(rated PG)

This is the grand test. If you, like me and like all those to whom I minister, and my brothers and sisters on this journey) are here to support the birth of a new world…..things are getting INTENSE!  If we thought it has been rough before…..hang on to your hats!  This, as they say, is where the rubber meets the road. And it is entirely (in the worlds (words) of one of my mentors, Lauren C. Gorgo), “an inside job.”

It goes something like this:

  • Shit happens.
  • We find ourselves triggered (fear, anxiety, anger, rage, self-righteousness, grief, overwhelm, helplessness) by the shit.
  • Then we DO something about the shit.

BUT….it is not about going “out there” to change things. Oh no! It is about going WITHIN to identify the unhealed wound in ourselves that is being triggered by the shit “out there.” Then it is about doing the work we have practiced soooooo long to heal and transform that wound.  Meditation.  Prayer.  Chanting. Reiki. Shamanic healing practices. Movement. Journaling.  Etc. etc. etc.  Now it is time to get out all of our tools and USE THEM to heal ourselves.

Then as soon as we heal one wound, another shows up to take its place. This current cycle of transformation is RELENTLESS.  It keeps coming and when we think we can breathe a sigh of relief, it comes again. This is the real shit!

The energy is relentless because time is of the essence. We are quickly approaching the death of the old world paradigm and the new world is getting ready to take its place.

But it sure doesn’t feel like the promise of new life right now. It feels like death….because that is exactly what it is.  The death of the patriarchy and of all of humanity’s wounds related to patriarchal fear, power and control.  We are transforming these wounds within ourselves – not only for ourselves, but for the sake of the whole entire world.  It is like Christian theologians say about Jesus – “he took on the sins of the world and died for the sake of those sins.”  Personally, I no longer belief that Jesus died for our sins as some sort of sacrifice, but when put in the context of transformation, I can see how this is true.  In moving through his own pain and fear of separation and transforming that in the resurrection, he did the same for all of humanity.

This is what we too are called to do. Again, not as a sacrifice….but in saving ourselves, we are supporting the salvation of our world.  When we heal ourselves of our patriarchal wounds, we are supporting others in the same healing.  Soon, the patriarchy will no longer have the power to trigger our fears and our fears have been healed.

BUT….knowing all this does not make this RELENTLESS Intensity any better. It is excruciating.  Jesus Christ, it is hard.  And yet, the only way out is through.

This is the grand test. It is the Universe (our Soul) asking us again, “Are you sure you’re up for this?  Wouldn’t you rather just fold and go back to the life of blissful ignorance you enjoyed before waking up to your Divine gifts and calling?”  On many days, I can assure you I want to say yes to blissful ignorance.  But as soon as I think that’s the choice I’m going to make, my SOUL steps in on my behalf and pulls me back onto the path.  It seems, we don’t really get to say no.  Like it or not, we are here for a reason.  We signed up for this.  We don’t get to quit.  (dammit!)

So brothers and sisters – put on your big girl/boy panties. Tighten your boot straps and get to work.  Stay true to your path and do not let the “devil” take you from your path.  We are in this together and if you forget this truth….reach out to those you know who LOVE YOU, who value your gifts, who appreciate your vulnerability and who will hold you in your fear, anguish and pain until you are ready to once again hold yourself.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Money is one of the grand tools used by the Patriarchy to manipulate and control us through fear.  Heal your money wounds and be free of this conditioning:

Shamanic healing,. Only $9.99.

 

Posted in Magic, Order of Melchizedek

Announcing: The Order of Melchizedek Training Program

Order of Melchizedek Two-Year Training Program

The Primordial Tradition of Judeo-Christian Magic

Ritual, divination, shamanism, healing, and the Kabbalah for the purpose of attaining Divine Union.

EARLY REGISTRATION PRICING HERE

The Order of Melchizedek, created and facilitated by Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, is a two-year training program with an emphasis on ritual, divination, shamanic practices, healing and in-depth study of the Kabbalah. Through knowledge and practice, you will learn and discover the true origins and purpose of magic – which is to achieve Divine Union.  When we, like Jesus and the High Priest of Salem, achieve this state of Union, we become a vessel through which the loving nature of the Divine can be made manifest in our world, proving the alchemical adage, “As above, so below.”

order of melchizedek, ritual, magic, shamanism, kabbalah,

The Order of Melchizedek is made up of six individual courses, completed in succession (follow the individual course links for detailed descriptions of each course):

Order of Melchizedek Level One Training

Introduction to ritual and divination practices

22 lessons

Order of Melchizedek Level Two Training

Shamanic Practices Intensive

7 lessons

Order of Melchizedek Level Three Training

Authentic Freedom – healing spiritual fears and their resulting compulsions

9 lessons

Order of Melchizedek Level Four Training

Aleph/Beis Attunements and the Major Arcana of the Tarot

24 lessons

Order of Melchizedek Level Five Training     

Deepening Freedom – The Aramaic Lord’s Prayer

10 lessons

Order of Melchizedek Level Six Training (Final)

The Kabbalah including Sefirot Attunements

14 lessons

Each course includes scripture, reading, lecture, mindfulness and creativity exercises, instruction, practice and discussion. There are several required texts and the remainder of the work is completed online.  The course is made to be completed in 91 weeks, but you may take as long as you need to complete the required work.

The program also includes six one-on-one mentoring sessions with program creator and facilitator, Lauri Ann Lumby.

The Order of Melchizedek training is highly transformational, supporting you in exorcising the fears, false perceptions and ego attachments that might otherwise prevent you from knowing Union, and empowering you with knowledge and skills which will support you in understanding the truest purpose of magic – to be a vessel through which the Divine vision of Love can be made manifest both in your own life and in the world around you.

Early Registration Pricing HERE.

A Note from Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, program creator and facilitator:

For my entire life I have been fascinated by magic. Naturally drawn to the mystical, I found my childhood role models in Samantha Stevens, Morticia Addams and Lily Munster.  In my teens, I become overwhelmingly obsessed with anything that had to do with King Arthur and read every book on the subject that I was able, ultimately culminating in the Arthurian masterpiece, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  To say that I loved Tolkien and Star Wars would be an understatement, and Excalibur was my friend. 

This love for magic was further supported by my Catholic upbringing which brought me up close and personal to magic that “turned bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ,” that healed the sick, exorcised demons, and made a humble human into the “child of God.” Jesus magic was everywhere and the rituals which facilitated this magic spoke to something very deep within my Soul.

Fast forward into adulthood, along with formation as a Catholic lay minister, I studied Wicca, Native American spirituality, Celtic myth and magic. I set up my home altar and when I asked for guidance it came in the form of a brick which flew through the air, awakening me to my true purpose which had to do with Priesthood – but not the priesthood I had grown up with.  As it turned out, neither was my call to Priesthood somehow wrapped up in any of the neo-pagan, priestess or goddess movements.  Instead, it seems like it was a Priesthood that predated all of these – what I have heard recent authors call “the primordial tradition.”

In the Judeo-Christian tradition in which I was raised, this primordial tradition is given a name: The Order of Melchizedek.  First mentioned in the Book of Genesis as relating to the High Priest of Salem, Jesus is also mentioned as associated with this tradition.  What distinguishes the primordial tradition from the systems of magic popular today is that in the Order of Melchizedek:

  • Magic is not done for the sake of “getting what we want,” but for the sake of aligning our purpose with that of the Divine.
  • It is not we who are “doing” the magic; it is the Divine working through us.
  • The Order of Melchizedek “keeps it simple,” acknowledging that the true power of magic is not in complicated rituals, invocations, chants or spells, but is in our intention to be One with the Divine – surrendering our own will to the Divine, and emptying ourselves so that the Divine might live in and through us.
  • We acknowledge and accept what was said to be true of Jesus:

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,
 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,

being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.

Phil 2: 5b-8

It is for all of these reasons that in spite of more training programs on magic and ritual (including the ancient Jewish mystical system of the Kabbalah) than you can shake a stick at; I have endeavored to create a training program that presents magic in another light.

Learn more about Lauri Ann Lumby HERE.

EARLY REGISTRATION PRICING HERE.

Posted in church, Healing, Raised Catholic

Recovering Catholics – 42.7 Million Strong

The Second Largest Religious Denomination

A few years back, I learned that the second largest religious denomination in the United States (reported by PEW Research, second only to the Roman Catholic Church), is made up of non-practicing Catholics.  I sat down and did the math and the number of people who still call themselves Catholic, but who no longer attend mass on a regular basis is 42.7 million!  That is a HUGE number of people.  If you are reading this blog, you are likely one of those 42.7 million, or perhaps you were raised Catholic and no longer call yourself Catholic, so we can simply add you to this number and we might find that there are in fact 85.4 million Recovering Catholics in the United States. If that were the case, we would outnumber the active Roman Catholic population!!!

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Who Cares?

You might ask yourself, “Who cares?”  Why is this significant information?  What does this prove to anybody, if anything?  Well, it means something to me.  And here’s why:

1) There are a significant number of men and women in the United States that had a particular religious experience growing up which formed them (for better or worse) and which contributed to who they are today.

2) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic probably continues to inform them (again, for better or worse).

3) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic becomes part of the marrow, blood and bones of one raised in this tradition and cannot be exorcised no matter how your current religious experience has changed (if, indeed it has).

4) For those who are no longer practicing Catholics, there is a unique form of grief that comes with the separation from Catholicism (whatever the reason for that separation), and there is a unique form of longing that cannot be quenched.

5) There is a unique set of needs residing within the hearts of Recovering Catholics, that for the most part, are not being met.  We cannot get these needs met in another religious institution.  We cannot go to the Catholic Church to get these needs met.  We cannot meet these needs on our own.

6) I am here to help the 42.7 million (or more) Recovering Catholics get those needs met.

 

Click on this image to register.

What are those needs?

I see the needs of Recovering Catholics as the following (and if you see more, please let me know what they are…..and I will see how I can help!):

1) Grief Support:  Catholics leave for a multitude of reasons, most boiling down to the fact that the truth God revealed to them is in conflict with the doctrine of the Church – teachings on contraception, homosexuality, vocations, divorce, remarriage, etc. etc.  Some leave because they have been directly harmed by a representative of the Church – sexually abused by a priest, physically or verbally abused by a teacher, counselor or lay minister, given incorrect information about Church teachings that made them feel unwelcome (like a certain family member who was told they were no longer welcome to come to communion simply because of a divorce).  No matter the reason, when we leave a community in which we were one time a member, even if the parting is our own decision (kind of), there is grief.  Recovering Catholics need support for the grief they experience in leaving the Institution behind, or in being asked to leave.

2) Resolution: Many Catholics (especially in the past), who left or were asked to leave, were asked to leave based on faulty information.  A representative of the Church misinterpreted the doctrine, or interpreted it to fit their own personal agenda.  For these people, the healing is helped when they learn the faulty nature of the information.  Yes, this will certainly stir anger, but for some, it opens the door to their return….something many are ultimately longing for.  Recovering Catholics might not seek this resolution from a priest, so I can be that bridge….if this is what they need.

3) Longing:  In my generation and the generations that follow, the number one reason I have heard for people leaving is because in the Catholic Church, their needs were not being met.  Specifically, the desire to:

Know themselves.

Know God.

Find Inner Peace.

Know their Gifts and how they are called to use them.

Find meaning and purpose in their lives.

The Catholic Church, most often, attempts to meet these needs through religious formation – the dissemination of doctrine, or doesn’t even go so far as that and simply stands in the belief that providing you with an opportunity to attend mass and receive the sacraments is enough.   Unfortunately, this is an intelligent and wise population of men and women who are looking for something more than to have their heads filled with rules and regulations, history and traditions.  And for many, the mass is not relevant (or the homily given at mass isn’t relevant).  They want DEPTH!  They want something that has meaning and relevance in their own lives and which allows them to know God personally, not just through someone else’s interpretation.  In short, what they are looking for, but don’t have the words for, is Spiritual Formation – something the Church has not done a good job of making available to the men and women in the pews. Spiritual Formation just happens to be one of my areas of expertise!

4) Validation: Recovering Catholics also desire validation….and they deserve it!  They have been formed to use the brain God gave them to reason, discern and exercise truth.  And, many, if not most, grew up in a culture that lost its trust in authority.  They/we have come to question authority and to not blindly follow simply because we were told.  Instead, authority has to be earned and our own reasoning minds need to be validated.  We need to be given credit for having a brain and an intelligent thought and the freedom to challenge and question what we are being told.  In the Institutional Church, questioning is often discouraged or outwardly condemned.  What the Institution has forgotten is that the most important stage in faith development is the questioning and searching stage.  If the Church really wants mature disciples, this stage needs to be honored.  If the Institution will not welcome these questions, I am happy to do so!  I’m excited to see how your questions will help you grow….and me as well!  🙂

If you are a recovering Catholic and looking for support, I am here for you.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedomacademy.com to find out more. 

Click on this image to register.

 

Posted in addictions, Authentic Freedom, Boundaries, codependency, detachment, Empowerment, Healing

Heal Yourselves! Lessons on Detachment

It is said, “The good Lord helps those who help themselves.”

The key here is “help themselves.” The Lord (or whatever name you give to the transcendent aspect of the Divine that is said to be a source of guidance and support) cannot help those who refuse to take responsibility for their own lives, their own patterns of dysfunctional behavior, their own woundedness and their own fears.

The same can be said for us. When we reach out as a source of loving support for others, we can only help those who are willing to help themselves.  We cannot help those who are unable or unwilling to identify their own patterns of dysfunctional or compulsive behaviors (including behaviors of gluttony, addiction, victimhood, martyrdom, rage, power and control, envy or jealousy, sloth or pride); and we cannot help those who are unwilling to do the work of identifying the unhealed woundedness or fears that are in fact the cause of their dysfunctional behaviors and the unfortunate life situations their behaviors get them into.

What we can do is provide a listening ear and a compassionate heart. We can be a presence of unconditional abiding love.  We can educate, inform and direct them toward resources that might help them (including ourselves if we have the proper resources).  The rest is up to them.

As it is also said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

Whether or not those we hope to help refuse to drink from the well of support we lead them to is completely out of our control. Even if we could make them “drink” that doesn’t mean they will actually do the hard and often painful work of taking responsibility for what ails them.  This is where the subtle and necessary practice of detachment comes in. When we have offered all we are able in the form of guidance and support and when those we hope to help refuse to help themselves, there is nothing left for us to do but walk away.  For the sake of our own wellbeing, we cannot allow ourselves to take another person’s decisions personally; neither can we lose a minute of sleep over it.  As one teacher says, “their decisions are none of my business.”  Detachment is the ability to be a loving source of support while also having no attachment to what the other person decides to do with our offer of support. If they receive the support and take appropriate action, then they are well on their way to healing.  If they refuse the support and continue in their dysfunction, it is now on them.

As the Lord helps those who help themselves, it is also true for us. We can only help those who are willing to help themselves.

The Authentic Freedom Mastery Course empowers us with the ability to identify our gifts, along with our compulsive and dysfunctional patters of behavior and then provides tools for helping us to heal these patterns ourselves.  Learn more by clicking the image below:

 

Posted in Being Human, Empowerment, Inspiration, Jesus, Magic, self-actualization

When Life’s Purpose is Struggle and Pain

When Life’s Purpose is Struggle and Pain

No one said life would be easy. In fact, most of the time it is hard.  This is true even when we have found our life’s meaning, purpose and mission.  Look at Jesus for example, or Martin Luther King, Jr.  Even the Dalai Lama has faced his fair share of adversity.  This is especially true for those who are called into this life to transform and transmute the difficulties of this life into something meaningful.  Empaths, Shadow Walkers, and Shadow Workers, especially, are called to this task.  Not unlike Jesus, their (our) job is to experience the fullness of the human experience – suffering and all – so that others might live.  Empaths, Shadow Workers and Shadow Walkers feel and experience the suffering of the world in ways that others do not.  Not only do they (we) have their own unique brand of suffering, they feel the suffering and pain of others.  The purpose of the suffering is so that healing may come to the pain.  More than anything else, Empaths, Shadow Walkers and Shadow Workers are healers.  This is what we came here to be and to do.

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Shadow Walkers, Shadow Workers

Copyright 2016 Lauri Ann Lumby

 

Transmuting the Darkness.

Seeing and Feeling the pain,

the fear,

the constriction of the world.

Receiving it into the forge of our own bodies

So that it may be transformed.

 

Plunging into the depths

In search of every pebble of darkness

So as to bring it forth into the light.

To point out to humanity, the source of all that ails it.

Not because they have sinned,

But because they have allowed their fear to choose their path,

Instead of that which was originally intended –

A path made only of love.

 

 

Each of us is uniquely gifted to find meaning and purpose in our lives and to be a vessel through which healing, transformation, love may come into the world. If you are interested in learning more about what your specific gifts might be, check out my class “What is Your Magic.”  50% off through April 4th!  Click HERE to learn more.

Posted in Empowerment, Inspiration

The Witches’ Redemption

For the past 5000 years, since the warring hoards, with their jealous and wrathful gods, conquered the people of peace, all that is Holy within us has been suppressed. This has been especially true of a unique holiness possessed by certain women and men – men and women who had heard and accepted the call to be a channel through which Divine Love was to be known in our world.  These men and women had been charged with holding and maintaining the balance and did so through their intimate connection with the Divine.  They were said to speak and lay with the “gods” and in this they came to know the fullness of Love, becoming the bearers of Love in the world.  They then brought this connection forth in the world through their gifts of healing, teaching, and prophecy. They saw the presence of the Divine in each and every thing and through this observation, guided by the Divine, learned how to heal with both the matter of the earth and the energy of the Divine.  In “speaking with the gods” and observing the movements of nature, they learned to predict nature’s events and how to harness the powers of nature – earth, air, water and flame.  They understood the workings of the human body and how to support the transition into life, maintaining wellness, and acting as guardians at the threshold into death.  With the voice of the Divine to guide them, they were able to discern truth and support the cause of justice and did so by allowing the Divine to speak and act through them. With the eyes of the Divine to guide them, they perceived the shifting of the tides – including that which heralded harmony’s destruction and the coming of their own death as a force and a power for maintaining the delicate balance of Human and Divine, Masculine and Feminine, Death and Life.

History has called these people witches.

Sally (Sandra Bullock) plays a modern-witch in the movie Practical Magic.

And for 5000 years, those who carry the fear of the warring hoards, with their jealous and wrathful gods, have tried to rid the world of those who would speak and act for the cause of Love. For 5000 years, women and men who have been called to be a force of Divine Love in the world and who have tried to do so through their unique gifts of healing, teaching and prophecy have been sought out, chased down, hunted, and killed for daring to share their gifts.  In the West, millions upon millions have died for wanting to live the fullness of their powers of Love – the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Witch trials and burnings, Joan of Arc burned at the stake, the Holocaust, and countless wars fought “in the name of God”.  If the voice of Love wasn’t killed, it was silenced or imprisoned by laws meant to keep the power of Love from making its way forth in the world – laws or corporate policies that makes it impossible for midwives to share their gifts, herbalists fined for prescribing plants not approved by the FDA, healers condemned by their Church for “doing the work of the devil.”   For 5000 years, men and women who bear this call, who have been Divinely appointed to be a force of Divine Love through which harmony can be restored and then maintained in our world have been demonized, condemned, silenced, and in many cases, killed for “being a witch.”

 

SamanthaStevens black

The “Witch’s” Purpose is Love.

Our world is broken and it is dying and there has never been a time when it was more critical that the cause of LOVE be empowered in the world. What was true 5000 years ago is still true today – certain women and men have been uniquely called to be a force of Divine Love in the world so that the world might be restored to and maintained in its originally intended state of harmony and peace. Those who have been called “witches” are the force through which LOVE will have its way and the world will be restored to its originally intended state of harmony and peace.

If you are one who has heard this call, who has sensed the power of the Divine within you, who has glimpsed the gifts of healing, teaching and prophecy awakening in you, you are not alone and your time is NOW. In the company of your brothers and sisters who have already awakened and who are in the process of awakening, step forth from the chains of oppression, be freed of the guilt which has imprisoned you and your ancestors before you, walk forth into the light of your Divine call and BE THE LOVE that you were called to be so that our world can once again be free!  We need your gifts and we need them now.  The burning times are over and it is once again time for Love to be known in the world and it wants to be known through you!

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Healing, Spiritual Practices

A Special Gift from Authentic Freedom

I’ve just arrived home from Muse Camp and am still in re-entry mode.  I did, however, still manage to facilitate the Authentic Freedom Sunday Service yesterday morning.  Below is a recording of yesterday’s service, featuring a guided chakra meditation for healing and wholeness.  Save a copy for yourself and use it often to heal your fears, release old wounds and enjoy spiritual, emotional, mental and physical restoration!  35 minutes in total! 

https://youtu.be/L_IQs22zIvc

CalmKundalini

Posted in grief, Raised Catholic

The Cyclical Nature of Grief

Yesterday, and old grief was triggered in me, along with all the symptoms that have come along with this grief – deep sorrow, rage, hatred, anxiety, panic, trembling, emotional and intellectual paralysis, nausea, upset stomach, etc.  When I found I could not even give words to what I was feeling, I turned to my blog archives and found exactly the words I needed to hear – the words that clearly articulated my grief and the loss surrounding this grief.  In this I have been reminded of how grief continues to come back around seeking another layer of healing.  Thank you those who shall remain nameless for inviting me into another layer of healing and to the gift of God’s healing presence. 

The Church That Turned Away from Me

(originally posted on Good Friday, 2015)

Copyright 2015  Lauri Ann Lumby

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For the past eight years, I have been fasting from the Eucharist.  To one on the outside looking in, I might be accused of turning away from my Church.  The opposite in fact is true.  It is the Church that turned away from me.

As a Vatican II Catholic, raised in a Vatican II Church, I have had a unique experience of Catholicism, markedly different from the generations that went before me.  I never experienced the Latin mass or was drilled on the Baltimore Catechism.  I attended Saturday evening folk mass accompanied by Kumbaya’s, Up, Up with People, and To Be Alive! Fish on Friday was reserved for Lent.  Ecumenical dialogue was encouraged and instead of Heaven being the privilege of Catholics only, the pearly gates stood open to all who lived in love. I was brought up with a rock n’ roll Jesus Christ Superstar who in his humanness pleaded to be released while weeping tears of blood at Gethsemane and to whom we desired to “see more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly,” as he danced around us in rainbow striped suspenders, sporting a Superman t-shirt.  Speaking out on matters of social injustice and working for peace; feeding the poor, clothing the naked and setting captives free was the understood responsibility of every person sitting in the pew.  Divine retribution and punishment had been left on the editing floor of the Holy See – along with indulgences; and even the unbaptized had a place in God’s loving kingdom. The only God I knew was the God of love. Jesus came to know this love and taught us how to love and was set up as the model and example of how every Christian was called to live.  We were called to be Jesus’ hands and heart through the unique charisms gifted to us by God’s Holy Spirit (sometimes even spoken of as a woman!).

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This is the Church I grew up in and the Church that I deeply loved.  Strengthening this bond was the mass that provided sanctuary and support for my inherently contemplative nature. Gothic arches, painted statues and stained glass windows serenaded by artistic soul.  And the stand up, kneel down, bow and sit of Catholic choreography nourished my need for a spirituality that was as much physical as it was emotional and intellectual. Devotion to Mary satisfied my need for a Divine Mother and the saints became my superheroes.

If I love my Church so much, you may be wondering why I have been fasting from the Eucharist?  What went wrong?  In short, it seems I took what I learned about God, Jesus and our Christian call too literally:

  • I believe in an unconditionally loving God, a Son that is both fully human and fully divine; the call to follow Jesus as an example of how to live my life and to be and do as he would in the world.
  • I love God above all else, my neighbor as myself and I consider ALL of humankind to be my neighbor.
  • I judge not (lest I be judged).
  • I pray for my enemies.
  • I try to forgive 70 times 7 times.
  • I pray without ceasing.
  • I feed the hungry.
  • I clothe the naked.
  • I give sight to the blind.
  • I set captives free.
  • And, I heal the sick.

Oshkosh WI 2/9/11: Photo by Jeannette Merten.

In the end, it was the last three actions that caused my Church to turn away from me.

After eight years in Catholic school and an equal number of years in academic and professional education and formation as a lay minister and spiritual director, I was guided by God to study hands-on-healing and Eastern Energy Medicine (Reiki). Out of this training and experience, God guided me further to develop a protocol through which people found healing from the spiritual wounds that separated them from God’s love, thereby healing them of their sin.  Right in line with Jesus’ teachings, right!? Apparently not, because the practices that I had learned and successfully applied were not “explicitly handed down by the Magesterium.”  I was challenged and confronted, hateful emails and letters were sent. I was accused of every nature of evil. Local bishops, fueled by the fear of the vocal minority, challenged my work and eventually handed down a prohibition calling it “witchcraft and sorcery,” in spite of my attempts to reason with and explain things to them.  Through this, I endured, but when I was attacked by a newly-appointed  pastor for a course in “Christian Zen” that I was sponsoring, who claimed it to be “outside Catholic teaching” and who identified Eastern practices as “dangerous,” I broke.  My heart was broken and my resolve with it.  The Church I had loved and out of whose embrace I had come to know God’s love – the Church who had called me to continue the work of Jesus – had betrayed me.  My gifts, my call, the unique way I had come to know God was no longer welcome. More than that, my ministry had been condemned as “dangerous,” “witchcraft and sorcery”….some even called it, “the work of the devil.”

ChristianZen.jpgOn that fateful autumn day, I listened beyond the voice of the fearful priest, the self-appointed inquisition, and even the Vatican II teachings that provided space for the ecumenical nature of the work I was doing and the unifying discussions that might arise out of this work.  I listened instead to the still, small voice of God within.  God’s voice was not small that day.  God spoke directly and loudly to my heart, “Lauri, you are my beloved daughter.  I have placed my word within your heart.  I have anointed you to be my servant.  Who will you obey?  Man or Me?”

Of course I chose God.

With God and the echoing support of Peter and the Apostles who similarly responded to the Church who turned away from them, “We must obey God rather than man, (Act 5: 29)” I handed over my keys and walked away.  Buoyed by God’s eternal promise of freedom, I knew that I could more freely do the work God had called me to absent the on-going scrutiny of the Church and the fearful minority.

Some would suggest that in leaving the Church I have also left behind my faith.  The opposite, in fact is true.  My faith has remained intact, and in truth, has been fortified.  I start every morning in prayer and meditation over the daily scripture.  Jesus is my constant companion, teacher and guide. I discern daily the ways in which I am being called to continue Jesus’ work in the world. I have seen the clear evidence of God at work through me as I witness the profound healing experienced by those who have become part of my ministry, and I am continually amazed at how God works through me to bring people more and more deeply into love and more closely connected to their own gifts and vocational call in the world.  I see the power of faith at work as I witness the empowerment experienced by those who come to me for counsel, attend my classes, read my writing and partake in my weekly services; and with each passing day my faith is strengthened and affirmed.

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Regarding the Church, I wish I could say that like Lot, I never looked back.  I find, instead, that I am more like Lot’s wife, forever gazing back in profound longing – grieving the loss of my home, my sanctuary, my community, my Church.  Beyond my own grief, however, I weep for my Church.  I long for the Church that I had come to know – one that is firmly rooted in the truth of God’s unconditional love and acting as that love in the world.  I long for a Church that works for unity and empowerment of all humankind – regardless of their gender, beliefs, or sexual orientation.  I long for a Church that is willing to set down its wealth and its power and get in the trenches with those who need its help – the hungry, the poor, the imprisoned, the fearful, the wounded and the broken. I long for the Church that takes Jesus’ example seriously by being humble, giving the seats of honor to those without honor and washing the feet of strangers.  I yearn for a Church that supports people in becoming self-actualized, mature disciples – fostering the psycho-spiritual growth of men, women and children so that they can find the God they have forgotten in their hearts, discover their own unique giftedness and vocational call and become empowered in the fulfillment and use of these gifts in service to the betterment of the world.  I long for a Church that recognizes the earth as holy and sacred and works to be a steward for the gifts God gave us so that all of humanity may not only survive but thrive.  I cry out to the Church to work for justice – justice for all – not only for those who “are Catholic in good standing.”  My heart yearns for a Church that welcomes ALL people to its table – inviting all to know the unconditional and infinite love that is their truest nature. This is the Church that I once knew and I often wonder what happened to that Church – or if all along it had really just been a figment of my imagination.

 

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, MATP is a published author, ordained interfaith minister, spiritual director and teacher.  She ministers to a world-wide audience, most of whom were raised Catholic but who were also turned away by the Church.  Lauri lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  You can learn more about Lauri and her ministry at www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.

Posted in Death, Divine Revelation, Inspiration, Lessons, Mystics

Pluto Rising – The Resurrection of Love

NASA’s  New Horizons spacecraft and its journey to Pluto, is an historical event that shouldn’t be missed. (Learn more here on the NASA site: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/pluto-s-bright-mysterious-heart-is-rotating-into-view ) For the first time in our human history, we are getting an up-close and personal view of this dwarf planet and its surrounding moons (especially Charon). This is a monumental moment in our history as a scientific and technological accomplishment, but more importantly, bringing Pluto into view is ushering in a significant shift in the consciousness of humanity. This shift is nothing short of the resurrection of love.

Photo credits:  NASA-JHUAP-SWRI
Photo credits: NASA-JHUAP-SWRI

On her site, The Cosmic Path, Stephanie Azaria speaks of the astrological and consciousness significance of our meeting with Pluto. I want to share with you my own thoughts on this arrival from the perspective of my own personal experience working with the Pluto archetype, commonly known as The Lord of the Underworld.
In 2008, while on pilgrimage to Glastonbury, England, I had a profound mystical encounter with Gwynn Ap Nudd – Celtic (specifically Welsh) god of the underworld. I had no idea who Gwynn was and his “arrival” was startling to me and in truth, quite disarming. What did the Celtic god of the underworld (and by association Pluto) have to do with a Catholic-Christian devoted to Jesus? After getting over the shock, I voraciously researched Gwynn and his place within Celtic mythology, what he represents and what he is here to teach us. What I discovered was beyond amazing, especially the symbols associated with Gwynn that had for years spoken to the quiet places within my heart. In many ways, I felt as if I was meeting, for the first time, someone I had known for a very long time. In meeting Gwynn, I felt like I was coming home.

Gwynn
I quickly learned, however, that the arrival of an “underworld god” is not all wine and roses (or in this case, Guinness and Holy Thorn). What I learned is that the underworld god archetype is about coming home, but before we come home, first we have to “die.” The death that is called forth by the underworld gods is the death of the ego – but not through ascension or enlightenment as “upper world gods” would have us do. Instead, the underworld gods teach us how to transcend the ego by confronting our shadow and staring down our fears. While underworld gods have nothing to do with hell (pre-Christian traditions have no hell….they only have the underworld which is a place of restoration and renewal in preparation for the next life to be lived), they are here to accompany us through the hell we have created in our own minds through judgment – specifically of ourselves.

What the ancients knew, that we have forgotten, is that suffering on this plane is rooted in all the ways we have separated ourselves (or been separated from love through childhood conditioning) from the love that we are. Underworld gods (Gwynn Ap Nudd, Cernnunos, Hades, Pluto) are here to bring us through the thorn-covered hedge of our fears, our unhealed wounds, the places within ourselves we have rejected or judged as imperfect, all the while guiding us home to the place where we are able to love ourselves without condition and in loving ourselves, learning to love the world.

Pluto, then, is here to teach us how to love. And in case you missed it…..the very geography of his planet proves that this is what he is here to do.

Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI
Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI