Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Thursday, October 15, 2009

James Ray replies - sort of

This is the response to the deaths in Arizona on James Ray's website.

For All Those Affected by the Tragedy in Sedona

I am shocked and saddened by the tragedy that occurred at Spiritual Warrior in Sedona, Arizona, Thursday evening. I wish to express my deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives as well as offer my prayers for a speedy recovery for those who were taken ill. Because there are so many more questions than answers at this time I believe it inappropriate to comment further until we know more.

Out of respect for the deceased and their loved ones and for those who have taken ill and for whose speedy recovery we pray, we will not be replying to individual postings. Instead, we thank you for writing, and we hope you will share in our continued wishes of support, strength and comfort to all those impacted by this tragedy.

We also want everyone to know that a friend has been at the hospital monitoring the condition of those still ill. Our love and warm affection is with all who mourn and with all of you in this time of grief, sadness and challenge.

With never-ending love and prayers,

James Arthur Ray
James Ray International, Inc

I read that the deaths were being investigated as homicides. Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh said the deaths of Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown N.Y. and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee were not accidental.
"A combination of circumstances led to the deaths," Waugh told reporters. "Whether or not we can prove a criminal case, that has yet to be determined."

Ray led more than 50 people into a makeshift sweat lodge at a retreat outside Sedona, Ariz. on Oct. 8. After about two hours, Brown and Shore were pulled out of the sweat lodge. Nineteen other people were taken to hospitals, and one remains in critical condition.
"He's a motivational speaker who tried his hand at very dangerous physical things, and it was reckless," Brown's cousin and family spokesman Tom McFeeley said of the sheriff's announcement. "It doesn't surprise us in the least."

It was also noted that a search warrant was served Wednesday at Ray's California office. Police were looking for medical records of attendees to the retreat and other items not specified.

Ray also conducted a group teleconference call for those who were at the retreat "to provide closure." It was noted that one individual proposed that the two victims "chose" on some level, to "leave." I've heard this baloney before and I call it blaming the victim. These two people chose to give almost ten thousand dollars to Ray to obtain some kind of spiritual awakening and that's all they chose. I despise the premise that people CHOOSE to have cancer, heart attacks, to die or be half beaten to death, whatever terrible things that befall them - all in the name of learning lessons. Shit happens, plain and simple.

In any event, this IS a lesson that we all need to be careful in our pursuit of enlightenment. We need to do our homework and make sure that when we trust someone to lead us on to another branch of our spiritual path, that they are well-trained to do what they do - not always easy. James Ray has led these sweat lodges before - quite a few times. There was a problem only once in 2005 and it certainly did not result in death.

I resent the fact that this tragic occurrence will give metaphysics and alternative spiritual pursuits another beating. And, most of all, I feel heartsick that two people, Kirby Brown and James Shore, who were searching for answers, enlightenment and healing, are dead. They didn't chose that.

Blessings nine!

Addendum: Liz Neuman of Minnesota died a few days after Kirby Brown and James Shore, the third victim of this gathering. May she find peace and renewal in the arms of Hekate!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Sweat Lodge Disaster

When I read about the deaths and injuries that took place at James Arthur Ray's Spiritual Warrior retreat in Arizona, I was terribly saddened. Sixty four people attended the retreat. I have read news stories that state all 64 were in the sweat lodge, others that state only 21 were crowded into the lodge. All of this to transform their lives - at almost $10,000 each.

I saw the following on AOL: Joseph Bruchac, author of "The Native American Sweat Lodge: History and Legends," called the number of participants in the lodge "appalling."
"If you put people in a restrictive, airtight structure, you are going to use up all oxygen," he said by phone Saturday from his home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. "And if you're doing a sweat, you're going to use it up that much faster." American Indian sweat lodges typically hold about 12 people and are covered with blankets made of natural materials, such as cotton or wool, and the air flow isn't restricted, he said.

I also read that Ray had done this type of retreat before - for the last seven years without any issue. However, his retreats, and those like them encourage people to go beyond their limits to get to their epiphany, if you will.
Jason Pitzl-Waters, on his blog, The Wild Hunt, notes that this event certainly did change the lives of people, two of them permanently. (http://wildhunt.org/blog/)
At BeyondGrowth.net, they had this to say: "When something goes wrong in such a seminar due to it being overly intense and dangerous, usually the victims are blamed for “not taking 100% responsibility,” thus dodging the responsibility of the seminar leaders. Personally, I think we should hold James Arthur Ray 100% personally responsible for the death of these two seminar participants, up to and including going to jail."
I would think that Ray is devastated and beyond sad that these people died, likely frightened at what he may be facing too. However, I also read that he refused to speak with authorities and left Arizona. Now that disappoints me. Where's the warrior? Many wonderful teachers will suffer the consequences from this event, undeservingly. Many people who could have vital and beneficial spiritual experiences, will shy away now from any of this kind of work.
There is a very great lesson here. Many people call themselves shamans and are playing with spirits and realms they do not understand. Techniques are being used that can be dangerous - even with the direction of experienced and sincere practitioners. When a person chooses to charge great sums of money to do spiritual work for you - you should run the other way. We all have to be wary of whom we associate with and allow to "teach" us in the realms of metaphysics and the occult - in any area, in fact. Unfortunately, sometimes these lessons and experiences have results we were never anticipating.
We can hope that James Ray does everything he can to help the authorities find out what went wrong at this retreat, so he can learn, so we can all learn. Yes, we can hope.
Many people are going to have to deal with the results of this experience; to all of them, healing and prayers. To those who passed, safe journey.
Blessings nine!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Needlework finishes

Another weekend coming to a close, eleven-thirty PM, a cup of Sleepytime tea at my side and all is well - well, finally. Spent half of last week with a stomach virus which kept me out of school most of Wednesday and all of Thursday. Luckily we had the day off on Friday, because there was no way I was going anywhere! By late Saturday afternoon I was able to stand up and get around. This was a relief because a few women were joining me for a celebration of the full moon - which by the way, was just a lovely and magical evening. By Sunday morning I was mostly back on track but stayed home just to be sure. Did a little stitching, a little napping and a little take-out for dinner - a peaceful, restful day.

I finished another little needlework mini - Hallows Eve this weekend. Both Wicked & Hallows Eve are freebies from Primitive Betty's (http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/18669910) - I love her designs. The other piece, Cat, is from Blackbird Designs' Trix or Treat booklet. Actually I love lots of designs which is why my stitching work is never done!
Toadstool Condo is decked out for the Hallows season. I stitched this Mosey & Me design back in 1995 and it has hung on the front door every year since. I can't remember the name of the design, but it was great fun to stitch. I made a few changes, one of which was adding a drawn thread border using a Needle Necessities thread that I believe was called Succotash - and that's exactly what it looks like! I love it! I will have more photos of Toadstool condo in all her Hallows glory later in the week! Until then...

Blessings nine!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Interesting Interview

A little something for your pleasure! Village witch, Cassandra Latham, talks about what she does in Religion Today's Open University Podcast. Add some needlework and this is very similar to what I'm doing most days.

Blessings Nine!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Blessings

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns."
- George Elliot -
"The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on."
- Emily Dickinson, Nature 27 - Autumn -
Happy October! I love Autumn most of all and wouldn't mind a bit if I lived in a perpetual Autumn. I have strong memories of Octobers in New York - the scent of the apple orchard, burning leaves, the earthy scent of the season's decay. There was a flurry of apple pie making in my childhood home, filling the freezer with pies ready to be baked. Bushels of apples sat in the basement and that scent lingers in my memory too. I can remember sitting in the backyard under one of our big willows, the air chilly and crisp, thinking how much I loved that season.
Well, I am in a place now that has perpetual summer and while I certainly appreciate the lovely weather, I miss and long for autumn. I have to create it inside of Toadstool Condo and I do that with great gusto! This includes making apple butter, baking apple pies, decorating for the season and anything else that will satisfy that longing.
Usually I trek to North Carolina for a week or so in October each year, however, this year I will have to remain home due to school commitments. I am a little sad, but will somehow make it up to myself and enjoy my October here at home.
And now... a cup of tea!
Blessings nine!