California Daze

I left the family business and spent one year on the road in a prolonged vision quest seeking a new home and life. I finally landed in Monterey, California in 1980, and what a blessing it turned out to be. A veritable cornucopia of classes was on offer in the area, and I found a home at the Pilgrim’s Way bookstore. Whilst living there, I met two amazing people who would influence me tremendously. First, I was lucky enough to study Psychic Development with Pat McAnaney and eventually get to know him well. Pat is one of the most incredible psychics I have ever known and a wonderful person.

Then in 1983, I began studying the Thoth Tarot deck with P.C. Tarantino and thus began my long-term interest in tarot, archetypes, and symbology. She also became a life-long friend and mentor. She is an amazing soul, and I owe so much to her wise guidance. Goddess bless her.

In 1984, I had the honor and pleasure of attending a month-long, on-site “Way of the Warrior” program- a smorgasbord of disciplines, activities, and personas at the Ojai Foundation. This exhilarating experience changed my understanding of my spiritual path tremendously. I had had a fairly conservative introduction to spiritual disciplines in the early 1980s, but this month of living on the land with such a diverse group really opened me up to alternate possibilities. An amazing array of talent and genius attended this revolutionary event. Just some of the masters to teach and live on the land with us that month included:

  • Wallace Black Elk,
  • Soen Sa Nim- Korean Zen Master,
  • Chukdud Tulku Rinpoche- Tibetan Buddhist Master,
  • Joan Halifax- well-known anthropologist,
  • R.D. Laing- famed psychologist and author,
  • Elie Hein- a shaman from Burkina Faso, and
  • Harley Swift Deer- founder of the Cherokee Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society.

This kicked off my love of Shamanism and the Native American Indian Earth way. See a selected text (“Way of the Warrior Adventures with Elie Hein”) from Texas Tumbleweed in this section for more on this incredible, life-changing experience.

One of the highlights of my life occurred in 1984 when I had the opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama speak in person at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is such a beautiful soul, a beautiful man. It was a first hand, up-close peek at what an enlightened person can be. Every word out of his mouth was the truth; you could not argue with what he said- in any way, shape, or form. I just sat there and let those words and his love roll over me. I got high as a kite just in being in his presence and by listening. Simply amazing! What a guy!

After “Way of the Warrior” concluded, Elie Hein came and lived with my family for the next three months. What a treat it was to hang out with him and sit in on his healing sessions and learn. He held these healing consultations every morning for “his people” and never ceased to amaze me at his powers to diagnose and heal – all of which were powered by his gentle heart.