David's Page

Who is David Spangler?

Since 1964 David Spangler has been an author and teacher of spirituality.  He began his career at nineteen as the keynote speaker at a national conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on "Youth and the New Age."  The success of that talk led to other invitations, and a year later he left college, where he was studying molecular biology, and under guidance from inner sources, moved to Los Angeles where he became a featured speaker at the Fellowship of Universal Guidance. 

     This led to further invitations from other groups, and in 1966 he moved to Redwood City on the San Francisco peninsula where he taught classes and lectured on spirituality, the Western Esoteric Tradition, and practical mysticism.

     In 1970 he visited the Findhorn Foundation community in Northern Scotland where he was invited to become its co-director and to be a teacher-in-residence.  He lived and worked in the community until 1973, becoming the founder of its educational program. 

     Along with several friends and colleagues from Findhorn, he returned to the United States in 1973, and in 1974 he joined with them to create the Lorian Association, a non-profit spiritual educational foundation, which remains to this day the organization for which he works.  In 1984, the Lorian Association moved to Issaquah, Washington where it is today.

     In the years following his return from Scotland, David has developed and taught classes at a number of institutions, including the University of Wisconsin, Seattle University, Bastyr University, and the California Institute of Integral Studies.  Also, since 1974 he has been a Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association—an association of scientists, artists, philosophers, economists, and spiritual leaders working at the cutting edge of scientific and cultural transformation.

     His current work involves developing and teaching a spiritual practice called Incarnational Spirituality.  His books include Emergence; The Call; Everyday Miracles; Parent as Mystic, Mystic as Parent; Blessing:  The Art and the Practice; The Story Tree; Manifestation: Creating the Life You Love; and The Incarnation Card Deck

     David is happily married to Julia Manchester whom he met at Findhorn in 1971.  They have four children ranging in age from twenty-five to fourteen.  He considers being a parent his primary spiritual practice.

David's Desk, Current Issue

#83 Suiting Up

David's Desk is my opportunity to share thoughts and tools for the spiritual journey. These letters are my personal insights and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you wish to share this letter with others, please feel free to do so; however the material is ©2014 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters please let us know at info@Lorian.org. Previous issues of "David's Desk" are posted on www.lorian.org.

The Flame of Incarnation book coverPrevious issues of "David's Desk" are available here. You also can now buy a volume of twelve of of David's Desk essays, entitled The Flame of Incarnation.


   

            In action movies, there’s often a moment when the hero or heroine “suits up.” Bruce Wayne puts on his uniform and becomes Batman, Clark Kent tears open his shirt and becomes Superman, Diana Prince spins about and becomes Wonder Woman, the marshal ties on his gun belt and pins his badge to his chest, the knight puts on his armor. These are always transition moments when an ordinary person becomes something else, revealing his or her inner qualities and the determination to meet whatever challenge is presenting itself. In the movies, they are moments of high drama and mark the point at which the hero is about to meet the problem head on, ready to take names and kick ass.
 
            Films often linger over this moment; for instance, we see Batman putting on his boots, buckling on his utility belt, pulling down the cowl over his head, thrusting his hands into his gauntlets, each act presented in loving detail, sometimes in slow motion to emphasize the importance and power of this transformation.
 
            We have “suiting up” moments in our lives, too, though rarely as dramatic or colorful as those shown on screen. Film has to use outer symbols such as uniforms and costumes to visually represent what is really an inner change, invisible to the eye but very real to the heart and mind. They are moments when we feel something powerful within us come to the fore to enable us to act for something larger than just our own private good. It need not be a moment of confronting danger. It can be as simple and ordinary as a single mother who shrugs off her tiredness and sense of overwhelm to take on her day’s work to ensure her children are clothed and fed.
 
            Some years ago, I twice had the privilege of giving the Sunday morning sermon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. This was no simple affair. It began with Dean of the Cathedral, the Reverend James Park Morton, and I and several priests putting on appropriate vestments in a “vesting” room before processing out to the altar. I wore a traditional scholar’s red robe while the Dean put on an “alb” or tunic, a stole, and a chasuble, a richly decorated outer robe. I watched him “suit up”, and with each garment he put on, I could feel layers of spiritual energy surrounding him. By the time we were ready to process, he had transformed from “ordinary Jim” to a true priest of Light. He was tapping his spiritual self, and the presence around him was palpable.
 
            This was dramatic. But I have seen others do something similar without changing clothes or adding anything to their outer appearance. Instead, there was an inner shift, a realization that the moment was calling out to the “angel of their better nature,” so to speak. They “suited up” inwardly.
 
            In baseball language, we might call such a moment “stepping up to the plate.” Whatever we call it, it is when we access our identity as a whole person ready to bring our full attention and presence to the needs and demands of the moment. We’re not hiding behind some secret identity, pretending we’re a mild-mannered nobody. We’re not passing the buck, sitting on the fence, making excuses, or whatever other cliché you’d like to employ. We are drawing on our resources to do what we must because someone, somewhere is depending on us. We are taking responsibility. We are ready to make a difference.
 
            Each of us has our own way of suiting up as well as of knowing when it’s time to do so. Such times need not be dramatic or life-changing, but they are moments when we bring our loving commitment to building a better world around us—and within us—to the fore. You know these moments when they come. Often they are when the motivating question within us changes from “What can this situation or person do for me” to “What can I bring and give at this moment? What resources do I have, ordinary and simple though they may be, to make a difference?” Suiting up is other-directed.
 
            Suiting up can sound heavy, even burdensome, but in fact these are also moments of joy, even exhilaration. There is nothing quite as wonderful as standing in our sovereignty and capabilities and saying to the world, “Here I am, I’m ready for you! I can make a difference!” In the world of comic book superheroes, when an individual discovers his or her powers or previously unknown talents, it’s a moment of wonder and delight. Think of Peter Parker in the movies when he discovers his Spiderman powers. There he is, shouting with excitement and joy as he leaps from rooftop to rooftop, amazed at what he’s discovering about himself.
 
            We don’t have to be superheroes to know such moments. A friend of mine works in a bar. It can be a stressful place, and the work is demanding. But she sees it as her spiritual gym. “It’s where I can develop my spiritual muscles,” she told me. “I know if I can bring love and blessing into this place, I can help create a better atmosphere for everyone. And doing so helps me discover my own ability to handle stress and make a difference. It’s not always easy, but I’m finding I can do it, and I’m better for it.” So when she goes to work, she suits up. You won’t see her wearing a superhero costume, but if you could see her attitude and determination to make her little slice of the world a happier and more harmonious place, you would know the “suit” is there. And to top it off, she told me, “since I’ve been doing this, I’ve been more joyous in my own life. Nothing like bringing love to others to discover it bubbling up within yourself!”
 
            I happen to think that humanity itself is facing a suiting up moment as we confront the growing challenges of the Twenty-First century. We wear the outer clothes of a fractured, warring, self-oriented species, disconnected from the well-being of other lives upon this world and the health of the environment. But underneath all that is the garb of a true planetary consciousness, one with a sense of being a participant in the living wholeness of Gaia. Within us is a knowing that the take what you want dominating, power-seeking attitude that has governed civilization since the dawn of agriculture, won’t help us to “live long and prosper,” as a Vulcan might say in Star Trek. We need another way of living and being on this world. We need to ask what the world needs from us and how we can make a difference.
 
We need to suit up.                     

 David  new 6-week long online class, Partnering with Subtle Worlds: The Subtle Ecology, begins May 23rd. This class is the first in a two-part series exploring the invisible ecosystem that is all around us and offers practical ways to partner with it. More information about this and other of David's spring classes on the Lorian website.

Visit the Lorian website to read the Lorian blog, view a short video, read past David's Desk posts or engage self study work. View the Calendar to learn more about other classes. 


From J.M. about David's Desk: "David, I always look forward to your monthly pieces, and always feel a lifting in my heart/soul on those days when I see the subject line in my email box. I have enjoyed all of them, often pondering on them for days or weeks or more afterwards."


" Views from the Borderlands"

Beginning each June, Lorian offers an annual subscription program for the quarterly, Views from the Borderlands.

Views from the Borderlands quarterly includes the following benefits:

  • Views from the Borderlands, a printed journal sharing David Spangler's perceptions of the subtle worlds, mailed four times a year at the equinoxes and solstices.
  • Two online forums a year, one in the spring, one in the fall, where David Spangler will be available to discuss material from the quarterly journals and answer questions.

Click here for further information from David Spangler about the Views from the Borderlands along with samples of the kind of material it contains.

The cost for the subscription is $100.00 annually. 


 

“I appreciate the classes very much, but the Borderlands Forums provide not only your field notes but also people who bring a wide range of experience in working with the subtle worlds. It is very supportive for someone like me who is just building my confidence in this work. It is a lively community and great fun! “
Subscriber SN
“Being in this forum, participating in research with you, with all these wise ones, is like a dream come true! It feeds me in ways that are essential to my well being. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
MP, Subcriber

A Lecture on The Christ

This presentation of The Christ by David Spangler, was recorded via Skype in December, 2011 by David to an audience atDavid Spangler photo Findhorm in Scotland. In it he describes his understanding of the Christ, as it has evolved over the years. David first wrote about the Christ in his book, Reflections on the Christ, in 1977. Although the essential concepts around David's understandings as described in the book have not changed, there have been refinements and deepening into that body of work.

 

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“Your profound and considered exploration of our world and the worlds that intersect it and can be influential to us are of great value. I feel fortunate to have made your acquaintance and to have read many of your books. You are a light in this world.”
LC, Program Participant

David's Other Articles

Subtle Activism and Syria's Civil War
Questions and Comments:

TH: A question has been percolating in my mind. I know I feel Subtle Activism creates a feeling in me of it having an effect. And I know we have talked about creating a field of love.  But I was wondering what is the real effect? How do our inner allies see it? Does one person engaging in subtle activism really have an impact, or is it a drop in the ocean? For example, the Angel of Damascus comes and asks for our help. Why? What does our inner work do for it?

DS: There is no one answer to your question, but let's explore some of the possible consequences of subtle activism.
Click here to download the rest of the article.

A Mystic Looks at Inner Citizenship
Part 1,The Soul of America

The United States of America is like a wondrous play. What we see of it on stage is compelling, dramatic, inspiring, and powerful: its vast landscapes, its abundant farmlands, its towering cities, its network of roads and town and villages, and its millions of people. This is the outer America, the visible America. But there is a part we don’t ordinarily see as well, an invisible part behind the scenes. If it were a play, this would be all that takes place back stage, including the writing, the directing, the financing, the organization, and the stagecraft that makes the play possible. This is the inner America.
Click here to download the rest of the article.


A Mystic Looks at Inner Citizenship,
Part 2, Inner Citizenship

We usually associate citizenship with the civic and political part of our lives. It may consist for most of us of such activities as voting, paying our taxes, fulfilling civic duties that may come our way such as serving on a jury, and obeying the laws of the land. With a bit more effort, it can include running for public office and serving as a public servant. It may for some of us include protesting what we see as injustice and faulty laws, campaigning for those who have been disenfranchised in some manner, fighting for causes, and championing issues in a public forum.
Click here to download the rest of the article.


A Mystic Looks at Inner Citizenship,
Part 3, An Anatomy of the Soul of America

Outer citizenship is usually conceived as operating primarily within our civic and political life. Inner citizenship is not so restricted to any particular domain. Whatever enhances the quality of life (both inner and outer) in our country is an act of inner citizenship. Being a nourishing and empowering father or mother is inner citizenship at work. Creating a garden that brings beauty to your neighborhood and good energies to the invisible lives that are part of the land and part of the inner realm of plants is inner citizenship at work. In a holistic spiritual vision, the land and the creatures who live upon it are also citizens with us, all contributing to the greater holism that is America.
Click here to download the rest of the article


A Mystic Looks at Inner Citizenship,
Part 4, Working with the Soul of America

In this final part of this series, I want to explore one way out of many that we might work with the Soul of America as described in Part 3.

     It begins with a question: Can I embody the Soul of America in myself?

     A second, related question is, can I be a means, an ally, through which the spirit and energy of the Soul of America enters the psyche, the personality, and the active life of the United States without distortion?

     It is followed by another question: Can I hold to my sovereignty, think for myself (and think holistically), and choose a mindful course of action in the midst of collective pressure to do otherwise?
Click here to download the rest of the article.


Now and Then
The Problem of the Eternal Now

I have always found the teaching or technique of the eternal Now problematic. Like many such ideas, I find it can have unintended consequences. It sounds so sensible and intuitive, the "spiritual" thing to do. Yet, when I practice this state, drawing my attention away form anything having to do with yesterday or tomorrow and being fully focused upon what is happening in the present, I find a diminishing of my creative and spiritual powers. I feel narrowed, not expanded. My soul seems further away to me, less rather than more accessible. The "Eternal Now" disempowers me.
Click here to download the rest of the article.


The Pilgrimage Dimension

What is a pilgrimage? Usually it is thought of as a journey involving time and distance to a holy place or a place of some special significance. Such a journey may require an effort that can be transformative, making the pilgrimage life-changing. This gives a pilgrimage a dimension that makes it more than simply a tourist excursion or a sightseeing trip
Click here to download the rest of the article.


Statue of Liberty
"This work we are doing together opens up a world in which experiences can dance and glow and illuminate our lives in ways that are not possible otherwise."
MC, Program Participant

Colleagues

These are a few of the individuals with whom I’ve worked over the years and whose teachings or writings I recommend. Some have also collaborated with Lorian as a whole, but others primarily have a relationship with me. For other recommended and important colleagues, please see Friends of Lorian under Boundaries.

John Michael Greer: John is the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). He has been active in the alternative spirituality movement for more than 25 years, and is the author of some eighteen books, including The Druidry Handbook (Weiser, 2006) and The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age (New Society, 2008). He is a scholar of the Western Hermetic Tradition. His blog, The Archdruid Report, offers “Druid perspectives on nature, culture, and the future of industrial civilization. I highly recommend it.  http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/.

Dr. Brugh Joy: Brugh is an old friend and one of the finest spiritual teachers around, a unique individual who offers classes and training unlike any other I’ve seen. He and I co-sponsored a New Year’s Conference for twenty years at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. His book Joy’s Way is a classic. You can find his website at http://www.brughjoy.com/.

Catherine MacCoun: Catherine is one of the clearest thinkers and finest writers I know in the area of inner growth, alchemy, and the hermetic tradition. With a background in both Tibetan Buddhist training and Christian Hermeticism, in addition to her own inner contacts and training in the arts of Focusing, she brings a unique sensibility and awareness to spiritual work of all kinds and particularly that of healing.
Her website is at http://www.catherinemaccoun.com/hermeticist/index.html.

Robert Moss: Robert Moss is one of the world’s leading authorities on dreams and dream work. His books are classics in the field. Dreams are one of the ways we access the Second Ecology of the non-physical worlds, and I know no better guide to this process than Robert. We have been friends for a number of years. For further information, see his website at http://www.mossdreams.com/.

Janet Piedilato: Janet is a transpersonal psychologist with an eclectic background that is grounded with a doctorate in biology, tempered with a doctorate in transpersonal psychology, and empowered by years of study as a student of shamanism, herbal therapy, and ancient dream ritual. I have known Janet for years, and she literally straddles the fence between the scientific and the intuitive, the waking and the dream realities. She has her own private practice, facilitates workshops and pilgrimages to sacred sites, is the founder and CEO of Immaginal, and founder/director of Temenos, a sacred teaching space. Her business website is http://www.immaginal.com/.

Arthur Zajonc: Arthur is professor of physics at Amherst College, where he has taught since 1978. He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and a Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. He is an optical quantum physicist whose research has included studies in parity violation in atoms, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between sciences, the humanities and meditation. He is also a scholar of the Western Hermetic Tradition, a former President of the American Anthroposophical Society, head of its International Esoteric School, President of the Lindisfarne Fellowship, and a participant and scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue with H.H. the Dalai Lama. His most recent book is Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love.  Arthur’s website is http://www.arthurzajonc.org/.

Susan Stanton Rotman: Susan is a gifted intuitive and teacher who guides others in discovering and applying their inner resources.  Her background is that of an attorney and mediator, and she brings outstanding skills and integrity to her work with inner contacts.  I have always been impressed with her work. As she says in her website, she offers "heart-centered guidance toward self-discovery and transformation for engaged, creative and joyful living." For anyone seeking vision and strategic direction, Susan has a great deal to offer. Her website is at http://www.susanrotman.com

 
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"Thanks, David, for the magnificent teachings and observations you gave us, the amazing exercises you set for us, and for all the varied and profound discussion that all the forum-ites were willing to bring to all of it!  Thank you, thank you all. 
RR, Program Participant

David, your work is valuable, and I am delighted to support it and you in this way. And the forums -- even when I haven't had the time to engage with them as fully as I would like -- are always rich, full, evolutionary experiences. Thank you for continuing to offer this subscription series.
HB, Views from the Borderland subscriber

 " Thank you, David, once again for your amazing thoughts. I just adore the idea of 'Fingerprints of Love.' It really struck a cord with me, you promote love and respect in most of your thoughts, and I really work toward that goal on a daily basis"
DE, about “David’s Desk”









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