Roses Abound

by Christine Ford

Symbols … The way the Lord of Life speaks to us through the interface of our exchanges and comings and goings.  Do we pause, be still and hear the promptings and whisperings of the One as It beckons within the busy day to day treadmill we call “life” through the symbols around us?  If we do hear the smallest whisper, or even a shout, do we listen and heed the prompt?  Do we see the unfolding of events, the inter-mesh of patterns weaving the days, years and decades of our lives as we tread blindly through the maze of the Minotaur, making the motions of living, while just merely repeating the patterns which have been ingrained into our belief system from infancy by well-meaning parents and replicated by ourselves in how we perceive the experiences that built the foundation of our reality?

Sadly, while living immersed within and pursuing the dream, we rarely take the time to attempt to dissect the process by which we arrived at the erroneous state which we have come to believe is our reality.  With the ear plugs and blinders firmly in place, we put one foot in front of the other, trudging along as the Sun rises and sets, as the Moon waxes and wanes, as the Solstices and Equinoxes come and go ignoring the symbols we are given as goads to make change while repeating the old worn out habits.

Symbols speak from a deep layer of our consciousness which does not need words to convey a message; most recently a symbol that has haunted my life since early childhood has been brought to the forefront of my awareness.  By listening to the promptings of the Lord of Life to explore the meaning of this symbol in combination of the co-mingling of knowledge from classes with Dr. Stickler, pulling out and dusting off past experiences, dialoging with my fellow travelers, and looking at the symbol with fresh eyes, I have had an epiphany, solved a mystery that has shed light into the biases and prejudices upon which I have built a good portion of my so-called “life.”  Please note that I do not use the word “epiphany” lightly; I can actively feel the discovery of this experience unraveling and moving into a multitude of layers of my being, changing the way in which I perceive the world.

The Winter Solstice and the season of Christmas hold a mystical significance for those who choose to look inward, be still, and listen; it is a time of deep personal contemplation infused with energies for discovery that only are available during this time of year.  It is my hope that I am able to convey even a brief instant of insight into my new awareness as I am limited to speaking in words, not symbols; but it is a symbol of which I speak.  I would like to share my understanding as a gift to our readers at this mysterious and glorious time of year, to hopefully spark a similar experience for them.

Let me begin at the beginning, with a trip down memory lane!  One of my earliest childhood memories is gardening with my mom, who just celebrated her 92nd birthday.  She was an avid gardener and lover of flowers especially; together we grew Cosmos that reached the roof of the house, snapdragons and petunias flourished and transformed into shrubbery under her care.  Knowing Mom’s love of flowers, I would wake up early on sunny summer mornings and sneak off into the woods alone to commune with the fairies and sprites, and to gather bouquets of wild Trillium, sometimes finding a rare red or pink one.  Silently I would sneak back into the house to arrange them in a vase on the kitchen table; then I would jump into bed and pretend to be asleep, anxiously awaiting Mom’s exclamations of joy at the gift from a “secret admirer”.  We never talked about where the flowers came from, but she always made sure to rave about their beauty and give thanks to the anonymous donor.

For a years we played this game; I truly believed I had her fooled and that she thought they just magically appeared there as a gift to her for sharing her love of nature and beauty with the world!  Somewhere in the process I realized she knew where they came from, but continued to play along.  A small part of my recent “epiphany” is that I have come to understand where my lifelong pattern of doing things for people in secret while delighting in avoiding the recognition came from; where the seed was planted in my early childhood that became a belief deeply ingrained in my personal reality; hearing her happiness was enough; I did not need personal acknowledgment or thanks.  Can you see how this process works?  The true revelation that I am sharing, however, came through the symbol of the Rose.

Mom had a special affinity for roses; we would gather them carefully, knocking off spiders along the way, putting them into giant (or so it seemed to me as a child) baskets to give to the neighbors.  Once we had collected them, we would sit on the back porch and painstakingly, literally, break off each and every thorn on the rose stem before giving them as gifts, because, as my mom in her wisdom stated over and over, and I, as a child, soaked right up and made my own, “The beauty of the rose should not be tarnished by the pain of the thorn.”

Dun dun dun!!!!!  Can you see where this is going?  Unknowingly, built right into my belief system through the symbol of the rose at a very early age was the idea that beauty was to be nurtured, sought, shared and given freely, but pain could not be a part of the process; according to my patterning, and repeating of the pattern to myself, the thorns had to be completely removed in order to experience and share the agape of the beauty of the rose, to protect the person being gifted from pain.  Whew!  Talk about heavy with implications and insight as to how I built my belief structure and patterned my personality to respond to pain or negativity!  Just break it off, throw it away, ignore it and pretend it was never there in the first place… Thanks, Mom!  At the ripe old age of 67, with lots of work and years of experiencing the pain of hiding the pain, the breaking off of the thorns to try to spare myself and others the “pain”, hiding away and denying any kind of negativity, I have come to know where it started!  And in all fairness, thanks me, for continuing as an adult to blindly accept that and weave it into the patterns I chose to reflect; all this from the symbol of the Rose.

Steeped in religious and spiritual meaning, the Rose is symbolic of a myriad of ideas and concepts. 1 The Rose has come to symbolize the many layered unfoldment of spiritual awakening, as it opens from a tight bud into full bloom, in all its five petaled (five senses) glory. The symbolism of the Rose is explored in the Tarot of BOTA, with the red rose denoting desire, and the white rose depicting purity.  The Golden Dawn uses the symbolism of the Rosy Cross from the Rosicrucian Order, a white rose in the middle of a cross and the ritual of the Rosy Cross affords one protection.  The scent of the Rose has been associated with the presence of God, Angels, Saints, Miracles and the Soul.  The Virgin Mary has been called the Mystic Rose, a Rose without thorns, and it has been said that in the Garden of Eden, Roses existed without thorns.  The Rosary of the Catholic Church, which means “Crown of Roses”, involves offering a group of prayers to Mary like a spiritual bouquet.  The thorns were there in the end, however, placed upon the head of the Great Rabbi before he was crucified, to signify the sin and pain of this physical world.  The relationship of the Virgin Mary symbolized as a thornless Rose, and the significance of the Crown of Thorns placed upon the head of Yaheshuah is a mystery in and of itself, far too complex to be explored in this writing, as well as the complex symbolism of the Rose summed up in this brief paragraph.  Suffice it to say; the Rose carries with it an ancient history and profound, significant symbolism; although the Rose spoken directly to me for years, the message had fallen on blind eyes and deaf ears.

The Rose came in and out of my life in ways too numerous to mention, but in hindsight, I can see that I felt stirrings and heard whispers from this powerful symbol of the heart, but never responded.  To mention a few, my favorite flower was always the Rose, most specifically the yellow rose, after having been described in a poem as “The blinding gold of sunlight, the warm saffron of fields and flowers, the glowing amber of living love is her color”.  Ah, the romantic…and always, ever, without thorns.  The only flower I ever gave as a gift was the Rose, always with the thorns removed.  In high school choir I couldn’t make it through the Christmas hymn “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” without dissolving into tears.  The first home my new husband and I purchased was the house next door to my mom and dad, and the man who owned it was a prize-winning rose grower.  Before he died, he taught me how to nurture his roses, which I plucked, removed the thorns, and shared with my neighbors as my mom had taught me.  My dad’s last words to me were “Always, always, remember to stop and smell the roses.”  Most recently this sentiment was repeated to me during class by Dr. Strickler, a strange comment coming from him, for those of us who know him well!

Blithely I went through the moments and years of my life repeating what I had learned and woven into my beliefs; denying the pain, removing the thorns, smiling and laughing, outwardly painting the picture of loving the world and everyone in it, while silently screaming out inside for what I knew had to be more.  I raised children and passed a similar belief on to them I am sure, though I have yet to discover exactly how and what the implications are for them as they move along their paths.  And the most astounding aspect of this now to me is that I was unaware that this bias was even there, totally oblivious to the seeds of how this pattern even started; until the symbolism of the Rose recently began repeating its presence to me, in dreams as well as fleeting experiences, conversations, memories and promptings that cumulatively I could no longer ignore, and I wisely, for once in my life, stopped to listen to and began to see.  Way back in February of 1992, I first began to awaken to what is “natural”; after meeting Dr. Strickler in Naples, FL.  It was through him and his class lectures in exploration of the Tarot that I came to begin to hear and see a new belief; that this plane is comprised of both positive and negative, that a “natural” part of the beauty of the rose is its thorns, that one must always consider the “A and not A” of a situation.  The doublets of the Tarot Keys representing the chakras reflected a positive and negative energy; Life and Death, Peace and Strife, Wisdom and Folly, Wealth and Poverty, Sin and Grace, Fertility and Sterility, Dominion and Slavery.  The Sephiroth on the Tree of Life contained both positive and negative energies.  The words “Lord of the Light, and Lord of the Darkness” became a part of the daily ritual I performed.  I learned, repeated and memorized, but did I weave this into my belief system?  Did I accept this as truth?  Did I change my patterns of behavior?

Hell no!  I ran from this Truth because it did not fit into my learned belief that the thorns had to be removed from the rose!  For years I hid from it, denied it, argued it, raged against it, pretended to believe it; there were times when I totally blocked out any part of Dr. Strickler’s teachings and slipped back into the comfort zone of the artificial beauty of the rose without thorns, even though I was convinced that I believed his teachings.  This “epiphany” I speak of is not one that happened overnight as a flash of insight, but rather one that has been prompting, prodding, poking, growing, and speaking to me through the symbol of the Rose for some time, and has taken some twenty three long years to discover, to acknowledge, and to bring out into the light of awareness.

This world is not perfect, and no one can wish it so or make it so.  No amount of protecting, giving, hoping, loving, or praying can take away the thorns of the rose; and what would be the purpose of that anyway?  Life and living is a balance of beauty and pain, of good and evil, of joy and sorrow.  Pretending that the thorns don’t exist does not make them go away; breaking them off the stem of the rose so they are not experienced creates only half the experience of the beauty and grace represented by the symbol of the Rose.  Eventually, no matter how fast you run, how hard you try to break them off and throw them away, or how deeply you hide the Truth, the thorns must be acknowledged, handled, perhaps with care, perhaps with abandon, but accepted as a part of this plane.  They are natural; they symbolize their own special kind of beauty and must be accepted as a part of the polarity of life, as part of the symbolism of the Rose.

My roses now have thorns.  They still smell as sweet and look as beautiful, and I handle them carefully, with respect and awe, because the combination of energies, the co-mingling of the bitter with the sweet, is the natural product of this plane, and is symbolic of a Truth that I have spent much of my life actively denying.  I cannot save the world; I can only save my world by experiencing and embracing the polarity of the symbolism of the Rose.  Without the darkness we would not recognize the light.

So at this magical time of year, let me leave you with some of the words to a song that has always been among my favorites, though I didn’t understand why until I so recently began listening to my own story of the Rose.  As you read it, listen for the positives and negatives that are used and note the use of the word “afraid”; fear, fear of the pain, fear of the unknown, fear of taking a risk…fear of the thorns on the Rose.

The Rose
…It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dying
That never learns to live…

Look inward with joy, truth and clarity this Christmas Season to find your own personal Rose, significant only to you, symbolizing the roots of the patterns of the biases and prejudices upon which you have built your life, bearing thorns of risk and change.

Christine Ford
Spiritual Climate Newsletter, Editor

2016 Christmas-NewYear

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Prelude to Stupidity

Thanksgiving Regoosed

by Christine Ford

Working with young minds, even young minds that are somewhat compromised by various forms of Learning Disabilities, Autism, and Emotional Disabilities, can be a genuine challenge. The children of today just, plain and simple, think differently than we of the pre-internet-in-every-home-era think. Their minds have been tuned by society, schools, and the web to research, to find bits and pieces of data, and to reconstruct those facts into a finished product. Gone into ancient history are the days of curling up surrounded by books, loose-leaf notebook paper, highlighters, pens and pencils and searching for those bits of information that would be pulled out, reworded and reworked, and used to create the end product of a gem of knowledge. Now all you have to do is type a word in Search, and voile! Instantly, all the places to find everything you ever wanted to know about…. Anything! Choose a topic; the internet is a source and resource for boundless information. Incredible, in so vastly many ways, I agree. The world of information is at our fingertips, but what about the world of knowledge?

Hmm, information vs knowledge; a study in words. What would a good teacher’s article be without a couple definitions to bore the readers? I have printed only the meat and potatoes of “knowledge” and “information” to keep you from falling asleep, but they are key to the argument I am presenting! According to Oxford Dictionaries-© Oxford University Press:

1. facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject
2. awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation

1. facts provided or learned about something or someone
2. what is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things

Some may think the parsing out of the difference between those two words is nit-picking; if that is your reaction, then please, I beg you, continue to read, because you have already fallen under the spell that I am referring to. I promise I will do my very best not to turn this article into a rant, but will simply point a finger in the direction of a trend that I, as an educator with some thirty five years of experience under my belt, have watched in horror expand and increase, and see as the furthering of the devolution of the joy of learning, the agape of discovery, and the acquisition of true knowledge in exchange for the shallow mere gathering and compiling of information.

Let me introduce you to one aspect of this growing knowledge vs information dilemma that I have experienced first-hand. My special needs students are able to develop slide presentations in Google Docs at lightning speed, cruising around the world-wide-web, clipping and importing, twisting and turning images and words, print as well as audio, to compile into a finished product. On a positive note, this does help level the playing field for my challenged kids. They are actually helping me become familiar with some technology that was prior Greek to me and they love it; what a boost to their self-confidence. The students in the General Education classroom are even more adept at weaving astounding presentations from facts, pictures and audio blips that they gather and assimilate, cut and paste, into a finished product that looks professional, can be extremely informative, and is visually pleasing as well as auditorily stimulating. Wow, that is incredible, you might say and I agree! Look at how they are utilizing technology to learn!

But wait; is that truly learning? Take those very same students. Give them paper and a pencil, a dictionary and even a paragraph or sentence starter. (For those of you who are not educators, that is a prompt of several words on the topic to get them started) Ask them to write, in their own words, what they have just “created” with the aid of technology, to write a narrative, an essay, even a single paragraph about that which they have just learned, and what do you suppose you get? I can give you an answer from experience. You get, for the most part, nothing, and I don’t mean nothing as in the “No-thing” of the Occult world. You get zilch, nada, squat!

They have collected the information, arranged it in pretty patterns, and perhaps even set it to music, (Please refer back to definition 2 of information) but very little has been processed as knowledge, made their own, stored in their memory, or kept to strengthen the foundation upon which new awareness and knowing are built. The final step in learning is totally missing: the experience of turning that gathered information into knowledge, the practical understanding of a subject, the awareness gained by experience of a fact. (knowledge, definitions 1 and 2) The knowledge just doesn’t quite make the leap to their own personal stash of knowing; it remains locked in the information stage on the electronic memory of the computer.

The growing delusion that they are truly acquiring knowledge in this way and are embarking upon the path of discovery and agape of learning; that taking parts and pieces of “other’s” works and combining them into a collage of color and sound, as beautiful as the end product might be, and stopping with simply the gathering of information absolutely terrifies me. Back in the good old days, this was called plagiarism. By today’s standards, it is creativity, learning, and yes, innovation, to tie into Dr. Stickler’s current article in Spiritual Climate. This shift deeply saddens me, especially as I project into the future the complications of the dumbing down humanity by turning education into a process of information gathering rather than one of acquiring knowledge.

Alarmingly, this trend is not only happening in the lower levels of education, as I can state again from personal experience. I teach with a brilliant young lady who is a genuine educator. She has the heart of a true teacher, the ability to impart knowledge to her students, as is evidenced by the growth and excitement in her classroom; she too teaches special needs children. She is not a “hot house” teacher, but spent four solid years in a face to face university setting, learning and practicing the techniques being taught, acquiring a profound base of knowledge as to the how’s and why’s a student learns. Recently she was bitten by the bug of furthering her education and signed up for Graduate School to get her Master’s Degree in Administration; an admirable endeavor. A school and its teachers can only be as strong as the administrative support behind them; knowing that gifted teachers with a true understanding and knowledge of teaching techniques and pedagogy are not leaving the profession, but are dedicated to staying and expanding their knowledge, is a bright spot for me in an otherwise dismal environment.

Having experienced a solid education in the knowledge of teaching while obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree, my friend was eager to be back in the setting of exchanging ideas, paging through books and highlighting important words, having challenging discussions and exploring face to face with like minds the philosophy of administration. Her first indication of the impersonality and use of technology that would make her graduate experience so different from that of her undergraduate experience, one of information gathering vs acquisition of knowledge, was upon being accepted and attempting to enroll.

Phone calls were not even an option; she was unable to get through to a live person. Everything was done online, with no personal contact at all; a video tutorial was sent to her by the university online as to the process of enrolling online; she created her account and was warmly welcomed electronically. She was invited to a Forum for discussion online, her welcome note came from her professor online as well as her twenty page Syllabus. She was astounded and dismayed, when attempting to order text books, that there were no hold in your hand, dog-ear and highlight, write notes in the margins text books available; only… you guessed it…. online digital copies. She meets with an in person group of twelve students one night a week for four hours; other than that, all work and communication are done online. A report is due each week relating to the subject discussed the previous week, but that report can be as simple as “discussed during class” and submitted online, as long as one attended. This goes on for five intense weeks, and then that Course is complete, and she is ready to move on to the next class. I mentioned “hothouse” previously; perhaps you have a bit more of an understanding of what I meant. Needless to say, my friend was disappointed by the lack of encounter and exchange in this new model and method of higher education, and we talked about where the experience (knowledge) comes in to the mix; I didn’t have much in the way of comfort to offer her, as I have watched this shift spreading and encompassing the entire arena of education for years.

The state of Arizona is in abysmal shape in education; 50th in about every category1. In Arizona, We have Won the Race to the Bottom. Teachers are leaving the state at an alarming rate; vacancies are being filled by full time substitutes and teachers who are have obtained their teaching certification by the “hothouse” method described above; “Come on down, if you have a Bachelor’s degree in anything, combining that and your work experience, we can turn you into a bona fide, certified teacher in eighteen months, and you will be guaranteed job security, because we have chased all the true educators away.” Sorry if I sound a tiny bit jaded; I remember the days when being a teacher was a distinguished, respected, and earned career with at least four knowledge packed years in learning methods and techniques of reaching kids and long hours spent having the experience of applying them, seeing what worked and what didn’t, making the knowledge your own through experience. If you really believe the majority of the teachers turned out by this “hothouse” method of information swallowing and regurgitating have the knowledge and wisdom to be responsible for the education of your child or grandchild, give me a call; I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Frank Zappa

There are more reasons than I care to go into right now for the death throes of education in the state of Arizona, as well as the sad state of education across the great country of ours in general; that is not the focus of this article. What I do know, in the depths of my heart and Soul, is that underlying it all, be it educating our elementary school children, or teaching our teachers to teach, the swing of that gigantic pendulum from regarding the acquisition of knowledge as the hallmark of education to the acceptance of the electronic compilation of information wrapped up in a sensorily attractive package is harkening the slide down that slippery slope into the devolved state of even more stupidity than is evident in society right now. True scholars are a dying breed, and I mourn the loss of the agape of knowledge being turned into the cheap sensorium of the information age. We, as a country, and as humanity, fashioned in the likeness and image of The One, are more grand, noble and inquisitive than that. We are selling ourselves, and the future of mankind, short in the name of information and innovation.

May you grow in your ability to make the information you gather your own and, like an Alchemist turning his personality from lead into gold, turn that base chunk of coal of information into the precious diamond of knowledge.

Christine Ford
Editor, Spiritual Climate Newsletter

Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC



  1. start here: ‘Report: Arizona ranks among worst states in nation for public school education funding’ by Jessica Suerth, 2015 September 28, link here –[]
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Tangled Webs

By Christine Ford

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive.

Sir Walter Scott
Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)

Words! Written centuries ago by a Scottish gentleman, so long ago that the word “practise”, spelled according to his culture and time, was autocorrected to “practice” the first time I typed it. Words we heard repeatedly as children, or at least I did in my Anglo-Saxon/Polish/Croatian upbringing. Words I passed on to my children and continue to repeat to my granddaughter and students. Words that were etched in my heart and mind to become a motto to live by and still remain a silently whispered mantra , albeit sometimes a challenge, to live my life in truth as I expand my horizons in an ever shifting culture that is rampant with deception and lies.

Sadly, the tangled web of deception has become a consensus reality, the accepted norm of today’s society; this deception is strangling the very essence of what we, as a Nation, stand for. The blind acceptance, the ignore-ance of deception, is a malignant cancer desecrating the principles of truth, freedom and democracy upon which the United States of America was created, hurtling us into an illusion of dismal quasi-reality that the masses unthinkingly buy into, unquestioningly react within and blindly believe in, too preoccupied or perhaps too programmed to even question.

Are people totally oblivious and unaware of this hoax, this game of smoke and mirrors that they are participating in every minute of every day in multiple facets of their lives? What has happened that has made the citizens of the great Untied States of America give up, stop questioning, cease truth seeking, and become zombie-like puppets sleepwalking through the most beautiful creation of all… LIFE? When did questioning and demanding answers to inquiries while expecting intelligent, truthful responses succumb to the blasé’ acceptance of the apathetic sham of the current state of affairs?

Do they care, are they even aware, that their vote, one of the guaranteed and protected rights in this incredible country of the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” doesn’t really matter anymore, because the choices are rigged from the get go; that the politician with the biggest monetary support is going to win, whether most qualified and best suited for the position or not? With Citizen’s United in control, between the Koch brothers’ campaign contributions and the lobbying of Big Money, the Middle Class, Grass Roots candidate doesn’t stand a chance. We hear (words) campaign promises made that are not kept, but then we are told (words) oh my, of course, yes, the promises were, in fact, kept, and you see, this is how…when the reality is a wishy-washy, semi-sort of-kinda like bill is passed, with padding and jargon that makes it appear on the surface with a casual perusal that the will of the people has been served, when the reality is the will of the Almighty Dollar has won out once again. Have we, as a society and as humanity in general, been brainwashed into believing that this demise of light and freedom is inevitable; that there is nothing we can do to make a difference?

What direction are Public Schools, the institutions that educate and prepare our next generation to take over the reins and control of this great country, heading? Short, sarcastic, probably somewhat biased response from a 40 year plus educator: the institution of Public Schools across the United States is failing miserably, disintegrating into a mass confusion of splintered ideologies, most of which rest upon the premise of accountability being defined as an endless maze of standardized testing, creating an anxiety ridden learning environment for not only the students, who have become “score scared“ but the teachers as well, having salaries, in some cases, tied to pay for performance to the point that they are actually cheating and changing answers on the tests, AZ Republic: Diane Douglas asks AG to review test irregularities.

Unfortunately, in Arizona, we are headed down a particularly slippery slope! We are told (words) by our officials that our children and their education is a priority, yet our school system in Arizona is 47th in the Nation in spending per pupil, $3,000 per pupil below the national average. They tell us (words) that money doesn’t create better schools, but how can a gross lack of it, a decrease in what is already being spent with tragic results, possibly make a disintegrating institution better? Is it any wonder our brightest and best graduates in education are fleeing to other states to begin their teaching careers at salaries on the average $5,000 more per year?  The “Dark Money” of the Koch brothers et. al., is infiltrating and influencing not only the on the Federal level, but within State governments as well, making a mockery of the mere thought that we have any control over funding, yet we listen to arguments and lip service (words) from our elected officials, nothing gets resolved, and the slow, steady spiral into inferiority, indeed bordering on the collapse of public education, continues in this, the greatest nation in the world.

Why do we, as a society, look the other way and permit this to go on? What has happened to the initiative of discovery and expectation of superiority, the pride in being competitively at the top in education, the privileges and rights that come with being an American fought for and forged in blood by our Forefathers?

We are battered on all sides by unrest and distrust, lies and deception. In an attempt to convince us that the woes of our economy are rooted in deficit spending and wasteful handouts to slackers by programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps and Medicaid, the Republican stronghold of Congress is threatening to cannibalize the meager income of Seniors who worked, invested and planned, putting them in dire straits with nowhere to turn for help. They would penalize the disabled who have no other means of sustenance, while padding the coffers of the top .5% by not charging them the fair share of taxes they should be paying. We are discovering that Police Departments across the country, the very institutions we were taught to trust, believe in, and turn to for protection, are seemingly with reckless abandon slaughtering young Black men. Advertisers have engineered ways to sell us goods while hiding the truth under twisted advertising campaigns to make us believe we are getting one thing, when the truth is quite the opposite, and jokes are being made about it right out in the open. See: Dilbert on technology here.

The Media blares on, shouting out semi-truths, disguised as facts, while the unquestioning public listeners wait with baited breath for the next scandal of bus drivers holding students hostage, priests molesting innocents, the impending doom of the sin of marijuana being made legal by druggies, the horrors of LGB community taking over the sacred union of marriage and the scandal of wanton women running around getting abortions! And we, as a collective society, are held captive; enthralled, mesmerized, preoccupied by the horrors being presented to us, enslaving us and leaving us ignorant to the more destructive force of the undercurrent of deception and lies, the tangled web that is being spun around us, suffocating us, while we move on with our busy, over productive, lives.

How did we, humanity, the Jewel in the Crown of Creation, allow ourselves, collectively, to become ensnared in such a tangled web of deception? Is there a way to climb out of the cave of shadows referenced by Plato, and experience the light of truth, clarity and awareness rather than the shadow world we are being coerced into believing is reality? Based upon the teachings of the Western Mystery Schools, and the renderings of Dr. Strickler that I have been privileged to experience over the past 23 years, yes, there most certainly is a way out, but it is not easy; it takes work, time, desire, sweat and tears, but reward of the freedom, liberation and truth that comes as a result of that effort is a priceless gem. And we must ask ourselves and answer truthfully the profound, searing question…

Are we the deceived, or are we the deceivers?

The simple part of the answer is that we have allowed ourselves to be programmed to accept anything we see, hear, read, or are told, as truth. We seem to think that because we see it, hear it, or read it, the material presented must be based in factual events or circumstances. Nothing can be further from the truth; anyone can say or print anything! Come on!!! Seldom does it occur to one anymore to put in a pause, to pursue a weighing of options, an exploration of A or not A, a researching into the source to determine its validity or reliability. The all-encompassing power of media and technology is beyond frightening, and with the ease of communication and blurring of lines of security and privacy, the manipulation of the truth and the power of deception has become stronger than it has ever been, creating that tangled web that we, as a collective society, have allowed to be spun out of apathy and laziness.

Becoming aware of what is, and what is not, is the faculty of discernment, and is a cornerstone for the teachings that Rev Strickler gives voice to. Discernment isn’t learned overnight, but by practice, by incessant questioning; by checking into the “whys and why nots” of an event, one can develop a keen sense of being able to smell the shit, even if it is camouflaged by gold paint and glitter and has flowers growing on top of it! Self-conscious awareness, intentional discernment, not accepting every damn thing we see, read or hear as fact, but discovering and uncovering the truth behind the words; that is the opening to the reality of the situation. So the first, simple step is pausing to ask yourself, “Is it real, or is it Memorex?” for those of us old enough to remember.

This leads very logically to the next step, making peace with and directing our Memory… enter stage left, Subconsciousness!… That loyal, forgiving part of each and every one of us that sits patiently waiting for a suggestion, for a direction, without a single original thought or idea of “her” own, counting on us (Self-consciousness) to feed “her” the truth, to give “her” the low down, so “she” can duplicate, replicate and bring into being the thoughts and words upon which our reality is built. “She” will loyally repeat and duplicate any thought or suggestion that you (Self-consciousness) give her, whether it be based in truth or not. She will weave the tangled web of lies, or the symmetrical, clear web of truth; it all depends upon what you place in the repertoire for her to work with. And it all depends upon what you, as Self Consciousness, have determined through discernment to be the fact of the matter.

As a result of this complex, yet simple, exchange, subconsciousness unquestioningly does what she was created for: habits are built; patterns are established and become rooted in our psyche, actions and reactions are constructed, reinforced and repeated, personal beliefs are created from what you, as Self-consciousness, hear, read, believe as truth, and mirror to your Subconscious, which faithfully and methodically reproduces into the web of your life. What you place there within your Subconscious, based upon how well you have honed your skill of discernment, determines whether your personal web of reality will become the tangled web of blindly accepted lies and deception that you are being fed by the government, media, advertisers and Big Money, and gobble up without a second thought, or an organized, orderly, pure web of beauty and truth based upon that which you have taken the time, effort and personal responsibility to discern as true and factual.

If you are shaking your head and saying, Wow, I just don’t have the time to deal with it all this discernment crap because of my job, my kids, my spouse, my life, my social media, I have made my point! Humanity, as we currently are programmed in this society, is so overwhelmed and enslaved by merely making it from one paycheck to another, that we (Self-conscious) have fallen into the trap (tangled web) of lying (deceiving) to ourselves (Subconsciousness) and the Matrix continues to reproduce itself in full glory! If you are saying, Shit, this seems like an awful lot of work, Bingo, you got it! It is work; it is the Great Work, undertaken by those who believe that there is hope, there is a way out of the Matrix, and that we can take back our Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, but it will not happen without intentional action of the people.

And so, in closing, I simply ask you to ponder this question once again; Are we the deceived, or are we the deceivers? May you grow in discernment, wisdom and understanding of what seeds you are planting and cultivating in your own personal Subconscious garden, so that your web becomes one of freedom and truth, not a tangled one of deceptive, self-generated enslavement.

Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

you know you want to do it:

Spiritude Check!

by Christine Ford

While driving to school the other day, I heard on the radio an ad that made me perk up my ears. It was for a Spa located in Gilbert, AZ, and the name of it was – Spiritude -. Hmmm, I thought, what a cool word! Dr. Strickler has quite a talent for making up descriptive words during his Saturday evening knowledge lectures, and we, his students, have come to anticipate with almost childlike glee the gems he comes up with…Genuinosity, idiotsyncrasy, and most recently, tonguefused (instead of “confused’ while stumbling over words) to share a few… so I have been conditioned to attend to unique verbiage over the years. As I had been contemplating the topic for my upcoming Spiritual Climate article, the word Spiritude immediately resonated deeply within me and I knew my topic had found me.

Spiritude is not a word dwelling in print, as of yet anyway, in Merriam Webster, but the suffix “tude”, indicates a condition, state or quality. The word Spiritude therefore, is a created word indicating the condition, quality or state of Spirit. Did you ever ponder the quality/condition/state of your Spirit? Probably not something the normal Joe spends too much time thinking about, but the readers of Spiritual Climate being more introspective than most, quite possibly have had some thoughts in this regard.

In essence, the state/condition of your Spirit is perfection, but your life experiences and reflection of your Spirit, as your Soul extends from Spirit into this most dense of physical manifestations called Earth to gain experience and grow, are far from perfect. Spiritude, as interpreted by this writer, is more indicative of your relationship to your Spirit, the quality or condition of Spirit that your consciousness selects to express through your experiences, choices, relationships and interactions with fellow travelers along this journey. With the high speed, do it all now, never a moment to rest and breathe hectic pace of life we are subjected to day in and day out, how in the world can I find a moment to consider the condition of Spirit that I am reflecting into this negative plane of existence, you may ask? Based upon some insight I have gleaned over years of personal introspection and discovery, I query back, how can you possibly choose to remain mindlessly oblivious to the small still voice that ever beckons, ignoring the nudges and whisperings that urge you to question the seeming futility of the day in and day out struggle of just getting by?

Having personally gone through the frustration of countless shades of the overwhelming futility of the “Life’s a bitch and then you die” syndrome in the past, I had chalked it up to aging. Recently, however, most likely in preparation for writing this article as I look back on it, I have had the unique experience of exchanging thoughts with some incredible younger friends and family, who have expressed their discontent with the state of their Spiritude without being consciously aware of What was speaking through them. (HINT! Ding, ding, ding, ding! That’s how it works!) I have come to realize this feeling of unfulfilled destiny, of time slipping by while waiting for life to happen is not an age related phenomena, but rather a shared expression of a common discontent crossing all boundaries of age, gender, and profession. It is a direct reflection of the illusion of separation from Spirit and Soul.

We, as a society in general, feel as though we have no choices, that we are tied irrevocably to the job we need to desperately cling to in order to repay the monetary debts we have incurred. The more we do, the better we perform, the more we are expected to produce and give, until there is no life left in living, there is only the stark repetition of daily drama reenacted ad nauseum, reducing us to nothing more than robotic slaves at the mercy of having to “earn a living”. Strange twist of words, when you really give it some thought, isn’t it? That living is something to be earned? Living is a gift of the Life Power, not an item to be earned. How subtly we shape our beliefs by planting seemingly innocent phrases in the fertile soil of our subconsciousness which then does all it knows to do, duplicate whatever we plant there… And so we do, in fact, in the very truest sense, reap what we sow.

The life that Spirit sent your Soul into existence to experience in this incarnation is far more meaningful and beautiful than the dull trap of the endless spinning of the gerbil wheel in the cage that it feels as if you are imprisoned within. How to escape is the question; when in the world can I make time in my already filled schedule to do anything else? There is an answer, one that I have learned from Dr. Strickler, which he gives freely to all his students. By practicing this formula for years now, I can state with “genuinosity” that I am more in touch with and more able to truly reflect my Spiritude as I move through my daily activities.

Start by simply giving yourself the gift of fifteen minutes each day to quiet the incessant babbler in your head in a still, calm place without distractions. Turn your attention inward, asking sincere, genuine questions of yourself, the direction you need to move into, and the choices of experience that stand as open doors before you. Listen with receptivity, constantly seeking, but don’t expect a voice to boom down from on high and give you a ready-made answer in 140 characters or less. Pause, be still and open to hearing the urgings of your Spirit as it speaks through Soul. Initiate contact by knocking; as your hand reaches up, a hand will reach down to guide you, but first you must make the choice to make contact. Then by taking action one small step at a time, you can begin to make your escape from the drudgery of darkness and move into the light of a clear reflection of your Spiritude.

By giving yourself permission to take the time to listen to the urgings of Spirit as it speaks through Soul weaving into the fabric of your life in your daily exchanges with those around you, you can raise your awareness of the direction that your Spirit via Soul is beckoning you to take as you traverse your course through life and begin truly living rather than merely earning a living.

May you more clearly and with active awareness increase your connection to and reflection of your true Spiritude, so your way becomes more meaningful and your clarity of discernment grows into a knowing that permeates every aspect of your life. – Christine Ford

Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

Brain Injury Awareness Month

you know you want to do it:




By Christine Ford,

I had quite an enlightening experience while doing some real live in person Christmas shopping. I went out to the Mall in the hopes of lifting my spirits a little, as I was suffering from that recurring stigma of Holiday Blues that seems to increase for me as each season rolls around. Having done most of my Christmas shopping online this year, and having items conveniently shipped to Florida for my annual return to share this time with my children and grandchild, I hadn’t spent too much time in the stores with the holiday shoppers joyfully perusing purchases to be shared with loved ones! (Hehehe! Tongue in cheek, but a thought!) Noting that perhaps I was missing the “human element” this year, feeling somewhat like a virtual recluse, I thought it might behoove me, and my dour mood, to get right in there elbow to elbow, heart to heart with the crowds and hum Christmas Carols while pondering the ideal gifts for family and friends.

After experiencing three hours of rudeness from customers as well as merchants, after standing in lines to ask questions and getting no answers, after trying to find out the real prices of items, where they were located in the store, if there were any left, and being met with stupidity, insolence, ignorance and just plain hostility at every turn, I reluctantly sulked back to my computer cave to complete my online purchases in the sanctity, sanity and safety of my private little abode. What I experienced, while being depressing and somewhat alarming, was at the same time a real shocker and an eye opener! I find myself asking just exactly what “IT” was that I stepped into and attempted to become a part of!

I am still not at this point sure, but I can tell you all that the overwhelming sadness, the lack of joy, the hollowness and emptiness that cried out to me from the shallow eyes of those I encountered was startling and evoked a poignant feeling of grief and hopelessness within me that is difficult to express. On the other hand, the extreme pushiness, the feeling of “I’m the only one here, get out of my way or else”, the intolerance and non-communication of those bags of blood as they mindlessly swarmed in what appeared to be holding patterns in a massive airport was frightening! The herd moving blindly and totally oblivious of those around them through the labyrinth of aisles without a pause to look or ponder, like rats in a maze, literally running over anyone who dared to break the rhythm left me angry and frustrated, to the point that I had to just leave and sit in my car for fifteen minutes before I could even drive home. I felt as though I were walking through a mass of lifeless, physically animated corpses, whose minds were numb and whose hearts were dead.

There was no acknowledgement or recognition of human kindness, no exchanged glances or greetings, no “excuse me”, “I’m sorry”, or “pardon me” as they forced their way through narrow aisles of stacked items, plodding behind shopping carts moving towards the next item to be numbly placed within the cart, just another item crossed off the list. I was reminded of the Discovery series I have watched where the ants start marching in a stream and that forward momentum stops at nothing, but devours any that may pause or come into its path. It was almost as if these torrents of “people” were communicating somehow on an internal channel like the Borg in Star Trek, with one mass mind devoid of any individuality, driven only by the direction of the flow, carried forward by the get what I want syndrome of gratification. This leads me to ask what has changed, because though I know I struggle with this sensation every year, I have never felt such a slam dunk of sorrow, hopelessness and emptiness in my life.

In the past I’ve written my pre-holiday gloom off to various “osophies and syndromes”, such as the Scrooge syndrome, the old lady crabbiness complex, the Christmas is for children philosophy, the I’m too busy for this crap camp, and the ever faithful, but always true, when did Christmas become nothing more than a merchandising holiday rant. I have in the past, however, been able to somehow overcome and sublimate these feelings of emptiness and shallowness and find a glimmer of hope within the eyes and hearts of those around me. Perhaps it is the romantic part of me that did that, creating joy when it didn’t exist at all, an illusion to lighten the season for myself. Perhaps there is no change in the external circumstances; the crowds may be the same as always, the beauty and joy may be in the air, and I just don’t perceive it; perhaps the change has taken place in me. At this point I cannot determine where the change originates; within the masses, within my perception of them, or from within me. I am surmising that it is a combination of all three, but I have some thoughts as to why it may be happening!

Over the past couple months, I have had the pleasure and delight to hear stories from some of my “Elders”. I hope they don’t take deference to my calling them that, I mean it in the most respectful and reverent way. Though I won’t mention names, at our weekly meditation nights we are blessed with the presence of an incredible couple in their mid 70’s and one beautifully wise woman in her mid 80’s. They have relayed to us memories and experiences of their childhood and growing years that have become true eye openers to us as to the changes that have taken place within all areas of life: familial, societal, governmental, political, ethical, moral, religious, educational, technological… The list could go on and on. I have found that recently my mother, who is approaching her 85th birthday, has been strolling down memory lane with me in her conversations more often as well. From the tales of these experienced and intelligent, caring individuals, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge as to the comparison of the way PEOPLE interacted “then” and how they interact “now”. I have also come to the realization that the manner in which people communicate and hold each other in regard in our present society is dramatically different than it was in my childhood and younger years. Having come to a tentative conclusion as to the why of it, I’d like to share this with you for your consideration and pondering.

It seems to me that what we are experiencing today within all levels of society appears to be a gross depersonalization of humanity, a trend towards self-absorbed behavior that negates interpersonal relationships and makes a mockery of intimacy and true sharing of oneself with others. As this thought turned over in my mind, I quickly became aware of the similarity there was to this premise and the definition of autism which afflicts the children that I teach each day. Autism is a brain disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, causing restrictive, repetitive behavior. The New Latin word “autismus” (English translation autism) comes from the Greek word “autos” and is used to mean morbid self-admiration, referring to “autistic withdrawal of the patient to his fantasies, against which any influence from outside becomes an intolerable disturbance.” Sounds alarmingly like those zombies I experienced while shopping, complete with their inability to see beyond the limiting boundaries of their self defined focus of attention.

May I digress for a moment to be sure that those of you reading this understand that there is a gross difference between autism spectrum disorders, the autism the children I teach exhibit, and what I am suggesting that the masses have been induced into. My children have beautiful moments of feeling and interaction; times when you can reach right in and almost hear their thoughts. They communicate on their own level and in their own very unique ways, using phrases and events they relate to and are familiar and comfortable with to survive in a world they are completely overwhelmed by, not consciously a part of, but this is NOT the type of manufactured autism which I refer to as the stigma that is enveloping and silencing individuals in today’s world. I am merely using the etymology of the word “autism” to convey a point. Let me here refer you to a pdf document in which the use of the word autism brilliantly described the state of education within Economics: Editorial: Still Autistic Finance, by George M. Frankfurter.

In the 1940’s, Leo Kanner, coined the term “Refrigerator Mothers” as an explanation of autism. His premise proposed that cold, frigid, uncaring parents actually created autism a within child. In a 1949 paper, he suggested autism may be related to a “genuine lack of maternal warmth”, noted that fathers rarely stepped down to indulge in children’s play, and observed that children were exposed from “the beginning to parental coldness, obsessiveness, and a mechanical type of attention to material needs only…. They were left neatly in refrigerators that did not defrost. Their withdrawal seems to be an act of turning away from such a situation to seek comfort in solitude.”

Now I know for a fact that this theory is not true, for the parents of my children with autism are some of the most dynamic, communicative, loving individuals you would ever want to meet. Their daily, in fact hourly sacrifices and commitment to the well being of their kids is a whole article that I will write someday. Leo Kanner’s premise is unaccepted in today’s standards as a “cause” of autism but consider for a moment his premise when applied to the societal “parents” leading us in the political, governmental, educational, religious and technological arenas. The coldness, unwillingness to listen, uncaring decision making, demands of more time and more energy with no reward; couldn’t this be the syndrome which Leo Kanner, before his time and missing the mark a bit, may have been referencing in an almost prophetic manner? Have the parents to whom we have entrusted our spiritual, psychological, emotional, mental, physical and financial well being sold us down the river?

Have we slowly become a society of desensitized humanoids creating our sterile, unfeeling prison cells of separation while we exist only within the fantasy of our realms of purely perception? Are we increasingly becoming further isolated and withdrawn from human verbal exchange while being so addicted to technology and constant auditory and visual stimulation of mechanical devices such as television, video games and the like that we have no desire or use for the sound of the human voice, the touch of the human hand, the sharing of the warm gold of the human heart? The more this thought is mulled over in my mind, the more concerned I have become that perhaps there is no hope for the masses of humankind who choose the illusion of the Matrix over the realities of Truth. The Spirituality and beauty that was once the foundation of this sacred holy season has been denigrated and blasphemed by the engineered society, economy, religion and government; just as the U.S. Constitution written by our Founding Fathers is being slowly annihilated and ignored with glee by the same perpetrators. The community and family of the past has been reduced to dinners on the run and cell phone conferences, the joy and love shared at this beautiful season as well as year round has given way to a compressed, harried exchange of “Seasons Greetings” and Happy Holidays”, to the point where one feels politically incorrect and almost ashamed to shout a “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

The sad reality of this has almost hammered me flat this holiday season as person after person, young and old, comment, “Does it seem like Christmas to you? I just can’t believe it’s really that time of year.” This common thread of thought expresses in a vague but concerned manner that there is just something missing, “things” just aren’t right this year. Yes, I agree 100%, something just isn’t right about the feel of the energy and the vibration this year. I do believe that it has to do with the attitudes and emotional states of the PEOPLE who are burdened by time crunches due to increased productivity, money tightness due to financial fiascos of lending institutions, dwindling personal exchanges due to modern technology advances, sadness of loss of young lives in a war that has commonly become referred to as the “Theater” by politicians and the isolation of feeling as if no one cares, no one can make a change, no one has any power, and no one has any voice.

Enter the age of engineered adult autism! Can you say PERSONAL IMPOTENCE any clearer than that? Is it any wonder that people retreat into their joyless shells and stumble around like lifeless marionettes animated only by the strings controlled by those who aspire to “lead” them, while chanting, “I gotta get it done and I only have an hour to do it in?” This is a state that we have gradually and slowly, in infinitesimal increments allowed ourselves to be lulled into, NOT because we are ignorant, but because we trusted those in power, be it in religion, economy, education or the government to put our best interests before any profit margins or private agendas and we forget to ask necessary check-point questions. Where within this dismal picture is human dignity, beauty of the soul, fire of agape, joy of personal exchange and the brilliant solitude of the darkest night of the year breaking into the dawn of the first light of Christmas morning, ablaze with promise and life?

This question I actually have an answer to. That human dignity, beauty, fire, joy and light resides deep within the hearts of each and every one of us. It is within you, and can be discovered, nurtured, fed and replenished only by you. The flame can also be smothered, drowned, hidden and cut off from becoming a blazing torch, but again, that can only be done by you, to you, if you allow the influences of the idea of personal impotence to be your mantra, if you allow ‘engineered adult autism’ to be your choice. The one thing that you cannot do, however, is totally extinguish that flame, for there will always be a tiny glimmer remaining, and that spark will eternally be your connection with the Divine, your Soul and Spirit.

The first light of the dawn of Christmas day is given freely to all, as is the indwelling spark of Genesis. Dr. Strickler points out the fact that it is not the physical sun but our spiritual consciousness represented behind the physical mask of the sun in any system of creation. May this holy season rekindle within you the strength and desire to fan that flame and to break away from the desolate autism of the personal impotence which has been imposed upon you.

May you Find the that Light that Brightly shines within

Christine Ford



you know you want to do it: