Monday, February 11, 2008

Like Minds

I was "supposed" to love Asheville, N.C. where I went to receive my Reiki Master attunement last summer. I liked it fine, but it didn't grab me as my friends thought it might. Virginia Beach, on the other hand, was described to me as yet another tacky beach town, just beyond the reach of the industrial southern Virginia cities of Portsmouth and Newport News. I assumed I wouldn't care too much for the place. But I did! Go figure.

American southerners are such an exotic bunch, so opinionated while also completely polite, and so extreme in their beliefs but also extraordinarily tolerant of people who think differently. I'm certain not every southerner could be described that way, though I've found it to be true in a general way everywhere I've visited in the south. Virginia Beach is a very special example of the paradoxical Southern mindset.

None of the people I talked to at the fancy hotel where I stayed were psychics or interested in the subject, but all of them admitted that they appreciated the presence of the Association for Research and Enlightenment and all the interesting folks the Center brings to town. The mix of locals, tourists, local psychics and visiting psychics is delightful.

Turns out it was A.R.E. hosting the conference that wasn't really a conference, of psychics. The workshop title, "Be Your Own Psychic" resonates with me. I had a couple of nice conversations with participants, and had a look at the workshop curriculum which was balanced, ethical, grounded and meant to help people thrive in the 'real' world. Wow.

In the wiccan tradition I used to be a part of, we honed psychic skills so we could read each other's minds. At A.R.E., people are taught to read, first of all, their own minds, and secondly, to connect, for brief moments of inspiration and insight, with the mind of God. The training is not about gathering personal power or using willpower so as to satisfy personal desires but rather to cultivate skills with which people can heal themselves and others. Fantastic! Setting out with the intention of gathering personal power in order to satisfy personal desires is a path that leads people in any tradition to such dark places. At A.R.E., people learn the same kinds of skills I was taught in wicca, but with with a completely different intention. Students are taught to be aware of the shadow of course, but to trend towards the light for the greater good of all. Cool!

I guess I won't be making fun of A.R.E. or Edgar Cayce ever again, though I still don't understand his infatuation with castor oil. Oh well!

Should mention that the Jin Shin Do class was great, and grueling, too. We were in class from 8 to 6 every day. I barely saw the ocean, though I grabbed moments here and there to dash across the street and take in the sound, the negative ions and the magic of the big water. Whenever possible, I walked the stone labyrinth in front of the massage school.

It was great - and - as wonderful as the weekend was, it's good to be home. There's no place like home.


Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

Reya: haven't followed your link yet but this resonates for me. I was always leery of the wiccan world for precisely that reason. Over the years, I ran into a few people on personal power trips of the mindreading variety. If you ask me, the LAST thing people need to learn is how to "read" something that's broadcasting on large bandwitch 24/7. Ethics, balance, grounding: those words speak to me.
But...castor oil? Guess I have to read up on Edgar :-)

Reya Mellicker said...

A couple of people in the workshop, coincidentally, had worked with one of the offshoots of the wiccan trad I was once a part of. Both of them got out of the groups because they felt they had to put up huge defensive energetic shields every time they joined the group for a ritual. I remember that feeling.

One of them described the group as similar to a "Skeletor" game in which everyone is trying to blow away everyone else. Yeah. I remember that too. Good to be out of that mindset!

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

sorry, Reya, me again. But this is just too funny:
"a friend of theirs ...has had almost complete remission of his epileptic seizures by regularly massaging his right upper abdominal area with a mixture of peanut oil and olive oil, and taking small dosages of olive oil by mouth."
Damn! to think all I needed to do was add some peanut oil to the olive and rub it ON instead of ingesting it.
(I'm weak with laughter.)
for more, see here

Reya Mellicker said...

Actually, all healing is faith based. Personally I don't believe in peanut oil, nor do I believe that I could heal myself from cancer by laughing a lot, but other people have cured themselves by these and many other kooky methods. If it works, why not?

Barbara said...

The labyrinth looks very COOL. I love the blue stones. Sounds like your time away was exactly what you needed. I'm sure Jake was happy to see you come home!

Squirrel said...

Love the top photo! oh, and the bottom photo is beautiful--it reminds me of the beach, (shells and water springs to mind)

Reya Mellicker said...

The center of the A.R.E. labyrinth is not the usual six petalled Chartres design, it's a circle oriented to the four directions with a mosaic of yin/yang dolphins. At first I found that departure from tradition shocking, but I came to really like the dolphins. There are other beautiful things on the grounds of the Center - a meditation garden that's gorgeous even in winter, and a stone walk, made with different kinds of limestone. Walking this "road" is a reflexology treatment. Well. It's supposed to work that way. In reality it was kind of difficult to traverse, but I enjoyed it.

The labyrinth is up on a hill so while walking, you can see the ocean, about a block away. Fabulous!

And when I saw the sign in the shop (not connected to A.R.E. btw) I had to laugh. Massage therapy and psychic readings is exactly what I do every day at work! Like minds! Very cool.

Steve said...

Sounds like an interesting weekend! I've never been too much into Cayce, but I agree with you -- whatever works for people, you know?

kimy said...

really enjoyed the post - it's nice when a place exceeds one's virginia beach did - maybe it's not so 'tacky' when it's not the height of the summer season. I always find places more charming when it's off-season.

love the pictures - I'd like one of those stone labyrinth nearby - wonder if I can talk the local park into putting one in! wouldn't that be fun a labyrinth in every park! there is one downtown at the episcopal cathedral - but it's a canvas one in one of the traditional patterns.

welcome home. hope the weather isn't too cold!

Reya Mellicker said...

It's freezing here, but that's oK. It's February!

Yes, off season definitely always adds to the allure of any destination, if you ask me. Also having some purpose in being there, like taking the Jin Shin Do class, really helped.

Anonymous said...

oh what a wonderful recap!

I resonated with so much of what you wrote-- I also love walking laybyrinths-- Grace Cathedral in SF and Chartres . . . sounds like a wonderful visit.


Moonroot said...

Sounds like an amazing place! Glad you had a good time. Bet Jake's pleased to see you home, though!