Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Metaphysical Healing

I have been on my healing path for over 12 years. I teach Usui Reiki, Karuna Reiki, Shamballa, Crystal Healing and more. But what I have found with my healing of others is my own healing. Just when I think I have put issues to bed it comes back through a healing and lets me know that I still have work to do on that issue.

Much of this course is a lot of what I know and use in my healings. I found the information on the African Healing very interesting. I would like to explore other countries and their natural healing methods. When I go to Italy again I plan to search out a healer or two and see if I can spend some time with them and share knowledge.

What I really liked about this course was the process to “unruffle” the aura field.

I found a real difference in the energy when I did that and so didn’t my client. I now show others how to do that and have had great feedback about it. I always seal my healings at the end, but I like that Katharine described it as “putting on an etheric bandage”.

I am also a certified hypnotherapist. I use this with clients who have trouble relaxing when they are with me for the first time for a healing. I also use it for past life therapy which, as you know can help with issues in this life time. I did not care for the Expedition into the body meditation. I found it uncomfortable and I did not enjoy it.

But, it is filed away for another time. I never throw information away; it is always filed for further consideration.

I found the Anatomy and Physiology section very informative. The illustrations are very helpful to me. They make great reference material.

A lot of my healing work is done intuitively. I ask for help from my guides, angels and other beings of the light. I enjoy this class and found it full of great information.

I would suggest this course to anyone in the healing field.

Rev. Linda Lynch

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Spirit-Quest

The Spirit-Quest course is just what I needed. From the very first lesson I received, my life started to change for the better. From the first lesson, I realized I needed to make a list of spiritual goals such as losing weight and quit smoking in order to be healthier and to be able to respect my body as well as my spirit better since I believe that my body is a temple that should be treated very well. With the lesson on forgiveness, I needed to learn how to forgive people including myself. I had built up anger and resentments through my life which cause me to have temper tantrums and anger outbursts. After writing some letters to the people that I felt anger and resentful towards, a lot of that anger and resentful feelings just disappeared. 

Another lesson I gained a lot from was the lesson that dealt with competition, both physical and spiritual. I was an athlete from elementary school through my sophomore year in high school. I was always driven to win that game that we were playing. But I was always telling myself and other people how much better I was than them which are spiritual competition which isn’t good. I realize that now after taking this course that I am no better and no worse than anyone else that I know or will come to know. Because of this spiritual competition, I spent a lot of time being isolated and separated from people and God. 

I also learned to speak in the positive since that is what the universe hears. I am still working on improving my speaking in the positive since I have been speaking in the negative pretty much all my life. I liked the lesson on amusement. Since I work in a big grocery store, a lot of people come through so I sometimes try to amuse the customers as they check out. I am working on be more amusing and less sarcastic which at times is amusing when the time is right.

Another lesson that stuck out at me is the lesson on music. There are some songs that just vibrate with me just the right way. If I am having a bad day, music will be able to turn that around and I will finish that day out pretty happy since the music resonates with me real good. The lesson in asking the right questions was a great lesson for me. A lot of the times, I end up asking the question in a bad way and then I get a bad response to that question or don’t get the answer I was looking for. Sometimes, I will have a question but don’t ask it which is considered omission and also a case of not asking the right question. I also found some things interesting from the lesson about pain. The thing that I really liked about the pain lesson was the Emotional Cellular Release Therapy that was mentioned and described how emotions like anger and resentment are stored in our bodies in different places and if these emotions sit there long enough, they will create illness. The money lesson was a very important lesson to me because I am one of those people who would never worry about money and I would go out and shop to buy things because that is how I valued money. But since reading this lesson, the way I have valued money is not the way I want to value it anymore. I did some meditating on this and decided to come up with a budget to live within and the budget includes pay off my credit card bill which has a sizable (at least to me) balance on it. I am viewing money as a safety net for the future, my retirement, and for unexpected emergencies. I think that money does symbolize power and status, at least here in the United States. I am not after money for the status of having it or the power that might come with it. I am just using it as a safety net so that I can lead a decent life so I can help others in their lives too.

I found this course very worthy while and will keep each lesson that was e-mailed to me so I can review them more times in the future. There are a lot of great things that I have learned from this course. I will keep incorporating things from Spirit-Quest into my life. 

Rev. Michael Barth

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Spiritual Awareness

The Insight Into Awareness course is based on the ten insights presented in the Celestine Prophecy. It is a wonderful course that can be easily applied to provide intense spiritual growth. I loved this course!

The First Insight is the awakening. It talks about an awakening that is currently occurring on the planet. There is a critical mass of people who are experiencing their lives as a spiritual unfolding through meaningful and mysterious coincidences. As we begin to pay attention to the coincidences, we notice more of them. This is the realization that the divine is leading us in a particular direction to fulfill our mission. Many times we do not recognize the “blessing in disguise” until later. An example in my life was when I decided to take a class in herbal medicine. I loved it and thought it was fun, so I became involved in an herbal apprenticeship class for 7 months. I still wanted to know more after that 7 month class, so I decided to look for a degree program and found one that fit my needs (and budget). Five years later, I have a doctorate in natural health and will open a business in a few years when the finances allow for it. This will help me fulfill my mission of helping others with their health and stress.

The Second Insight is called the “longer now”. People are becoming more aware of the purpose of our lives on this planet and the real nature of the universe. We are spiritual beings with a spiritual nature. This new focus replaces the preoccupation with technology and the gaining of material comforts. In the past, I was always focused on my career, being promoted and being a super-achiever. At a point in time (when my Dad passed away), I became much more focused on spirituality. My focus increased considerably when my mother passed away a couple of years later.

The Third Insight is about energy and the fact that our universe is composed of dynamic energy, not matter as we had previously thought. This energy is sacred and through projections, people can focus this energy and increase the number and pace of the coincidences. Wherever we focus our energy, is where the energy flows. I became aware of this truth with my Reiki training and am now a Reiki master. With the constant use of Reiki, my understanding of this truth expands.

The Fourth Insight makes us aware that we are in a struggle for power. Too often we cut ourselves off from the source of energy. We tend to compete for other people’s energy by wanting attention. This competition for scarce human energy is what causes conflict. This insight explains why there is conflict within families—especially between parents and children.

The Fifth Insight teaches us that when we tap the source of divine energy within us, all of the conflict and violence ceases. This is the message of the mystics. Once we make this connection, we feel light and a constant sensation of love. I have found one way of making this connection is through meditation and Reiki.

The Sixth Insight show us when we tend to lose connection… usually when we are under stress. We become aware of when we manipulate other people’s energy and steal it. The more we become aware of when we are connected and when we lose connection, the more connected we will stay.

We also must recognize what our parents gave us, how we are using it and then clear the past so we can eliminate our control dramas. This opens us up to aligning with our spiritual path more clearly. I find I lose connection when under stress. I am trying to become more aware of every situation in which I do this.

The Seventh Insight is about engaging the flow of energy once we become aware of our personal mission. Once we are in the flow of energy, the coincidences increase, we daydream and have meaningful dreams to find answers to our questions. At some point there will be synchronicities that when we have a question, it will be answered intuitively by another person. This has occurred for me on several occasions. Usually, the answer comes from my husband a day or so before I ask the question!

The Eight Insight teaches us the interpersonal ethic and how to conduct our relationships. We need to uplift everyone that comes into our lives and be careful not to lose our inner connection with our romantic relationships. It is easy to become co-dependent on another’s energy. It teaches how to project energy to others and handle family situations. This is one insight that I will use from now on.



The Ninth Insight is about our evolution to spiritual beings through synchronistic growth and attainment of higher energy states. We will eventually end the cycle of birth and death and will unite the afterlife dimension with the physical dimension of earth. I work with Reiki to continually attain higher energy states.

The Tenth Insight is about fulfilling our birth vision in remembering how to live this spirituality on earth. This spirituality is what all humans have strived to accomplish. Once we remember that we are here on assignment, we will pull a fuller vision of what we wanted to accomplish while on earth and be able to live it. I have the vision of what I wanted to accomplish and that is helping others through counseling. Living it on a daily basis is a challenge.

As I have a strong interest in the Celestine Vision, I went a little further and found that there is now an Eleventh Insight that talks about extending prayer fields. Every religion and sacred writing refers to the power of prayer, positive thinking, etc. Using a prayer form of holding a vision of intention for a spiritual world, we are helping to transform the world into spiritual form. I have been participating in a global prayer forum where many people hold a positive vision for the world together.

There is a Twelfth Insight under development. Stay tuned!

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shamanism

I have been studying shamanism since my travels to Peru in 1999. I was hoping to gain more insights on Peruvian shamanism in this class. There was very little discussion on this cosmology. Although the material was in-depth and much research done, there was way too much on Siberian shamanism. Even though they may be the “founding father” of shamanic history, I was anxious to get past their doctrine/philosophy. None-the-less, Pat did cover a vast amount of information and I especially liked Lesson 18, which brought his personal journey to light. As with any topic/discussion there is a dark side and a light side. I prefer to focus on the light.

The first lesson I received was introduced as ‘Dr. of Shamanism’. It was a bit confusing on what course I signed up for however, it was vital in preparation for the following lessons.

The art of shamanism transforms, heals, blesses, and reveals the core of your soul. One can experience the gift of prophecy, magic and miracles as well. These are all very positive aspects of shamanism. The 2 most important gifts in the path of shamanism are healing and soul retrieval. In fact, in many instances a soul retrieval should be experienced to help heal soul issues, and to get to the heart of the matter. It creates a much- needed shift to reclaim power that was lost, stolen and given away, and bring back an awareness of the soul’s true identity. A soul retrieval can bring clarity, purpose, and direction to the individual. It can bring back their voice and connection to what is going on around them, giving them courage to make and face necessary changes. The soul is the nature of humanity. My belief is that there are many lost souls, and many have felt lost at one time or another, including myself. That is the beauty of knowledge and reflection, it enables one to transform their life the way they want to live it. You have to first recognize that you are lost to effect change.

Shamanism embarks on a life-long commitment of healing and discovery. I have a long way to go with this methodology.

Although many of the lessons were interesting, enlightening, or intriguing, the one lesson that pulled me in was lesson 18. I am satisfied with what I have learned.

Rev. Nancy Kimes

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

MYSTICAL CHRISTIANITY

I found this class the most profound and reflective of my own spiritual journey from all the classes I have taken so far in the seminary program. I decided to express my connection to the information I received weekly to what enabled me to connect to my spiritual self.

I feel the course brought "HUMANITY" to our belief system. I could connect with the Gnostic writers. It seemed that the writings were of simple truth. Today when one reads the gospels they seem so distant in meaning and are locked in a certain time period. The gospel of Mary Magdalene had the truest identity I thought Of who Jesus was and what his teachings could aspire to. It was perfectly natural in reading and I accept this as my belief in the relationship between Jesus and Mary. I feel this should not be viewed as heresy rather as "HUMAN REVELATION." It brought Jesus down from the exception to the example.

During my reading of this course the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" kept coming to my mind. I love this interpretation of the man called Jesus. The part where Mary Magdalene sings "I don't Know How To Love Him" is a pivotal part of my concept of Jesus-Christ. He was a man who had a deep spiritual connection. A Philosopher, Teacher, Lover, Friend and Enemy. He lived and died. His teachings are for me the symbol of his Resurrection.

I felt as I read these words of the Gnostic Gospels a connection to the humanity reflected in Teacher Jesus. Throughout many teachings of Christianity I feel we have lost the simple connection of these simple passionate spiritual people who have shaped the traditions of our modern church, not from themselves but from the power of men who wanted to write the word of God as a fearful law. Somewhere their voice and vision was changed.

The chapters on Mother Mary again reflected my belief on the concept of the profound love of Mother and child. In every culture I feel there is an innate bond between Mother and Child. These lessons I feel were enabling me to connect further with my inner God. As I write this paper I'm listening to the Musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" This again is a strong social statement on what really was happening during the time of Jesus, what would his journey be like if he would come today? Would it be all that different from two thousand years ago? Have we as a species really come far with the development of our human ego?

The Gospels are not stagnant. They are breathing life into our understanding of our spiritual belief. We are creating our own gospels as the bridge between creation and our creative world. What Jesus spoke of still remains as substance to debate. This demonstrates that his life, teaching and spirituality still harness our imagination and will to find our place in the continuation of divine thought.


Rev. Kurt Fondreist


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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

SPIRITUAL AWARENESS

This was a great class. I would like to thank Rev. Elizabeth King for writing this great course. It was very informative. I would also like to thank Amy for all your hard work.

One of my favorite quotes from this discourse (Lesson 12) was “How can I approach such a situation next time with more awareness or more knowledge.” I say this every morning during my prayers and meditation. It has helped me a great deal with how I face the day.

The course talked about nine insights. These teachings can be found in many cultures from around the world dating back to approximately to 600 BCE. Each of the insights is devoted to a particular revelation into the actual essence and meaning behind life on this planet. People will begin to grasp these insights sequentially. One insight will reveal itself, then another, then another as we move from where we are now to a completely spiritual culture on earth.

I learned about your Sacred Space, my journey to inner discovery. My Sacred Space is a place where no one can enter without my permission. When I meditate, this place can be indoors or outdoors. It is a place where you can work on your Higher Self, Spiritual Guides, Angels, and the Holy Spirit to gain understanding and guidance on how to become a Being of Insight and Awareness.

I personally have worked especially on my Angel connections a lot. During the day or evening I read or listen to audio books about Angels. Most of them are by Doreen Virtue, PhD. Then I get up at 5:30 in the morning (everyone is sleeping) and I have about an hour and a half for myself in my Sacred Space. It is quit relaxing and I can become one with my awareness. Part of the time is also spent with the Holy Spirit in prayer. This way my day starts off very relaxed, yet I’m energized. I’m aware of smells, sounds and my other senses.

Finally, I would just like to say this course has taught me how to come to be aware that my life has a purpose and events happen for a reason. I realized that what I pay attention to will expand. This is a must course for everyone.

Rev. Nancy Rutledge


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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics, as well as courses in Mystical Christianity, Buddhism and Comparative Religion. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Wicca

I have been studying and Practicing Wicca for the better part of 9 years now but I found this course very enlightening and informative. It is an excellent way for a beginner to become familiar with Wicca and the traditions. This course helped to reaffirm my beliefs and cement the path I have followed and shall continue, For being a solitary it is easy to get caught up in everyday routine tasks and not set aside time for spiritual side.

I have always found a similarity between many religious traditions and the Pagan ways, and I firmly believe the Catholic religion especially adopted there ways and traditions from the pagan ways but put a different twist on many. The section on Dowsing I found very interesting for it is an area I up to now never paid much attention to, But when I tried it and found the level of accuracy to be so high I was amazed. I also found the section on spells so very important. Wicca has become so misunderstood in this area, so to relate prayer to spells is an excellent observation. For we cast spells to bring about change in ourselves not others. By changing ourselves everything else changes also. 

Another Most important subject touched upon is fact we don’t believe in Satin or the Devil. A part of society believes that we worship Satin but in fact we do not believe in the devil and in fact we can wish harm nor cause harm we are quite the opposite. Positive energy is what we are about, For positive begets positive and the respect for all living things. The only thing we banish is negativity and what it creates.
A very interesting phase in the Wicca course was on Bioelectric energy. It is the energy that every living thing has. It is what carries the instructions from our brain to our fingertips. This energy can be channeled externally. One assignment was to put one hand above the other (palm to palm). Close your eyes and think of a flow of light. After a few moments of concentration you should have felt some tingling or coldness or a hot sensation. If it didn’t work try again by rubbing your hands together in a circular motion, then proceed as written above. I found this to be quite enlightening, perhaps a form of self awareness. 

Overall the course is setup in an excellent structure in the way it teaches you step by step but in an important order. I found it left me wanting the next lesson, waiting a week was in most cases a long wait. I think this course could be a great information resource even for someone who is not following a Wiccan path.

Blessed Be
Rev. Frank L Ducharme

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Four Gospels

Katherine MacDowell, M.Ed.


When considering what topic to focus on after exploring The Unvarnished Gospels and the course study notes, I found myself returning to the Gospel of John’s chapter 15, which demonstrates a fascinating theological linkage between all three prior gospels’ use of the God the sower/farmer, vineyard, and fig tree parables and events. In John, Jesus states:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Each branch of me that bears no fruit, He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He cleans so it will bear more fruit….If someone doesn’t remain in me, he’s already thrown out and withered like the branches which are collected and thrown into the fire and burned.
One of the more confusing passages in the gospels occurs in Mark when Jesus comes to the fig tree just outside of Jerusalem and curses it when he finds it has no fruit and he is hungry. The passage acknowledges that it is not fig season, so it makes little sense that Jesus would have been surprised to find the fig tree not bearing fruit given the emphasis on agrarian knowledge of his time and the internal emphasis on agrarian cycles within the gospels themselves. As such this passage must either assume the reader holds prior theological information about the Jesus and his relationship to fruit-bearing trees or later gospel writers sought to elaborate on Jesus’ inconsistent and petulant behavior. Here we can begin our journey in Matthew.

Chapter 24 indicates there is a lesson to be learned of the fig tree, whereby the fig tree is utilized to teach the disciples how to recognize the presence of God and His judgment. Here, God is likened to the cycle of spring and summer, reflecting bounty, nourishment, and harvest. In this capacity, Jesus is assuring his disciples that, not only are they learning the natural signs of God, but that when God does appear in judgment it is a time of abundance and bounty. It is a fruit-bearing time (at least for those who know the signs). If we interpret Mark through Matthew’s fig lesson elaboration, we can suggest that Jerusalem is not in season. It is not a place where God’s presence is ready to flourish and indeed, Jesus curses the tree so that it can never bear fruit. Given the fruit and flourishing reflect the presence of God nourishing those who receive Him, one way of interpreting this passage is as a reflection of God withholding His nourishment from Jerusalem. Given the gospel writers were writing after the final destruction of temple of Jerusalem by Rome, early Christians likely utilized these events as support for their belief in their new covenant with God

Yet this passage becomes even more complex as we explore the parables of the vineyards within Luke and Matthew. In both of these texts, Jesus likens God as the owner of a vineyard. The Vineyard is leased to the Jewish people (it cannot be interpreted as humanity at large as there is a distinct relationship of a contract or bond between the Vineyard owner and the tenants) who become unruly and unfaithful tenants, failing to live up to the contract or more accurately the covenant, becoming consumed with the need to possess all the wealth of the vineyard for themselves (a criticism that Jesus lays at the feet of the Pharisees). The servants are sent (likely contemporary prophets of Jesus such as John the Baptist) are beaten and killed. The vineyard owner then chooses to send his beloved son in the hopes that they will respect the heir, but they murder. In this capacity, the fig tree (a creation of God) of Jerusalem withholds its fruit from Jesus, denying him his rightful place as the farmer’s son. As such, Jesus, in his more sword-wielding role described in the texts when referring to the rapture, condemns the fig to wither and die (where its use becomes that of fire wood—recalling the themes of being cast into Gehenna). Thus we may also look at the Fig Tree incident as Jesus being revealed as the sword of God, the one who comes to deliver wrath (here I cannot help but be reminded of Steinback’s Grapes of Wrath). Thus we see Jesus theologically revealed not only as the passive sacrificial lamb, the final lamb of Passover to be sacrificed to God to reestablish the new covenant, but we see him as the lion that the Book of Revelations will eventually focus on. Jesus is both passive and submitting to God’s will; but when it comes to the will of man, Jesus is not submissive. Thus as John states, Jesus takes away the non-fruit–bearing tree of Jerusalem as God’s stand-in: the son who returns to the vineyard to check the progress of the tenants.

In considering this type of interpretation, it strikes me that it says more about the gospel writers’ relationship to the Jewish community and their growing need to appease Roman rulers (thus Pilate, whom we know historically was one of the more cruel governors, becomes a sympathetic figure, while the Jewish leaders become more and more demonized the later the gospels are written and gospels themselves, including several Gnostic texts become increasingly anti-Semitic). As such, I find it hard to believe that Jesus would overtly preach an ethic that condemns the Jews, since all gospels centrally agree that he retained and valued the Mosaic Law and felt, not that Judaism was evil, but rather that it needed to be revitalized and stripped down to its non-materialistic or cultural artifacts. Further, more statements from Jesus suggest he felt that if you were not accepted by any group, dust it off and move on—thus the wrathful vision of Jesus does not seem to be well supported, but may be an important image for early Christians facing significant bodily and social harm (hence the vineyard parable whereby God’s servants are harmed).

In this capacity, I think there is some value as to why when many of us read the Fig tree event it seems incongruent—overly harsh and judgmental. Yet as it is elaborated upon within the four gospels, it does illustrate what I do think is a beneficial conception of God as a farmer (interestingly echoing a new interpretation of the Book of Genesis, whereby Adam and Eve are viewed as the farmers of the world and God more distant), whereby God is diligent and ensures that His crops flourish and have all the nutrients they need to thrive and generate. In this capacity, we see it theologically revealed that God is close to us; hence John says that if we keep Jesus within us, we become like the vines of the vineyard and through this we directly benefit from an even more intimate relationship with God, the farmer.

by Katherine MacDowell, M.Ed.

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Metaphysical Studies

"As a Student of A Course In Miracles (after starting this course), I was very resistant to separating form from non-form or the flesh from spirit. I had much experience with Catholicism, Paganism, Druidism, Taoism, Shamanism, Hinduism, Kriya Yoga, Kabbalah, Judaism, Sufism and several forms of Buddhism but none of them came close to understanding reality as ACIM did. I started researching the Vedanta because ACIM has been known to be the Christian Vedanta and I wanted to understand the roots of that connection.

I tried applying my beliefs to convince others that their beliefs weren’t correct and that they should start looking at the world as unreal and having no effect on anyone who is living or experiencing it.

Alas, I learned that you can not change anyone’s beliefs unless they are ready to and even then, they will change them regardless of you or anything else that happens – it will happen when that person or that event is supposed to happen or when the time is right.

Love is the only thing that’s real. Everything in this reality is made of Love even when it’s manifesting as something else (which doesn’t make it real at all). Once you see past the non-love or illusion, then you can see that you don’t have to react to the non-loving or illusion and you can just forgive it and take away any belief, feelings, thoughts or emotions connected to that illusion or unreal manifestation of our collective mind.

Even the notion of individuality is an illusion since God and I and everyone else are One and feeling separate is an illusion. The identity self of Ego or Fear wants each of us to stand our ground and reinforce our individual rights to exist when the very existence of this Unreal Universe isn’t real at all but a manifestation within the Decision Maker’s Mind.

Forgiveness helps undo Judgment. Judgment reinforces the illusion. Forgiveness undoes the Ego and everything associated with it. Once you undo the Ego, all that’s left is Love and Reality of being One with God. One Mind, One Will, One Love, One Spirit, One Being is the reality of ACIM.

I will continue to believe in love, emanating this belief from my heart center and help heal the world by undoing the belief that it needs any healing at all.

Thank you for helping me see the light, the truth and accepting Love as the Only Reality."

Rev. Michael Allan Navarro


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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

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Druidism

Having been a practicing pagan for several years, and a practicing druid for about three years, I decided to take this course for three reasons, none of which were to actually learn anything new. I took it to see what kind of courses and what quality of courses ULC Seminary offered, to reaffirm the ideals and beliefs that I had already had and ultimately as a step towards completing the ULC Seminary Program. Having taken the course I can honestly say I learned some new things that I had not originally thought I would.

The course in general was a good introduction to Druidism and its beliefs. I felt that some of the things covered were historically inaccurate, especially parts the involved roman writings. As we know much of what was written by the Romans was done so to either convince the Roman populous that that war was worth fighting because the Celts we barbarous heathens or was written by early Catholics as a way to demonize and eliminate the pagan religion that was competing with them for followers. The parts of the course that analyzed Celtic society were exceptionally useful in that they give you and idea of what the druids may have been like and may have done. Although this is also no proof that any of it is true because almost everything we know about the druids is tainted by outside sources. The few things we know about them that aren’t directly tainted by outside sources are found in their legends which are of course inflated truths of imaginative writers and have been translated several times by people with little or no actual knowledge of Celtic society or of the druids which in turn leads to a misinterpretation of the text. Another modern misconception is that all Druids were male and that there could never be a female druid. The Tain Bo Cullainge, a text quoted in the discourse and frequently used in place of historical fact, for example, contradicts this by talking about a female druidess who teaches the young CĂșchulainn about the magic and fighting. 

Rev. Justin M. Oles


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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Insights into Awareness

I must admit when I first started on this course I wasn’t really sure where it would take me. I have always had a deep faith and have regularly attended a very traditional church all my life taking my place most Sundays in the choir for the past 36 years. However although I have found great solace and a connectives to God I have never really questioned my beliefs. Well actually that’s not strictly true. At the age of 21 years I did a Bishops Course which moved me into thinking I had a calling towards ministry. However I had recently lost my Mum from cancer, was having to look after the family and wanted to get married, all of which pushed my feelings into ministry well and truly into the background.

I suppose I re-entered my spiritual journey about 2 years ago at a time I was feeling particularly detached from God. I attended a prayer meeting which, although I didn’t realize it at the time, was to become particularly significant. Our priest prayed a very moving prayer for me which left me with a wonderful sense of peace. About a year after this I was inspired to write a song. Now although I can sing and play the violin, I have never attempted to write music before. A friend of mine told me there was a song in me to which I replied don’t be daft. However a few weeks later “The light at the end of the Tunnel” was written. It relates to a moving experience I had while visiting a waterfall where I felt the presence of God coming through in nature. My 2nd song” Holy Spirit come down from above” was written a few weeks later and relates directly to the prayer which was prayed for me a year earlier.

I mentioned the above as I feel these events were a huge influence on the rebirth of my spiritual journey .As I worked my way through the course I began to appreciate that life is filled with co-incidences and I gradually became aware of different situations occurring at appropriate times and to trust my intuition. I have always had dreams but never paid much attention to their content. However I have come to realize that our dreams have meaning and together with our intuition can guide us to our destinies. When I kept a record of co-incidences for a week I was amazed at how they linked up to my dreams and intuition.

I had always found meditation difficult but was able to create my own scared space and I now retreat to it often when I need “time out”. I became aware of the energy present all around us and often take time out to reconnect with the energy field. I find this particularly helpful when I need to face stressful situations which would leave me shaking and quivering as I realized how other people can drain our energy from us and instill in us feelings of fear and negativity: feelings such as hate greed anxiety, jealously. I overcame these feelings by learning to analyze situations by using the parent, child, adult theory and can now face up to these situations which I would have previously run away from. An example of this is how two years ago I was asked to set up and run a music group in the church. There was a lot of opposition to this from the rather aging congregation and the very traditional church choir. I have to admit to quaking in my boots at the time. However after a year or more of opposition, by using the material I’ve learned on this course I managed, much to my own surprise, to deal with the conflict and move this project on. Now the music group is very much a part of worship in the church playing at 2 services a months bringing in more contemporary, spiritual feel to our worship.

I gradually began to realize that by replacing negative emotions with positive emotions you replace the feelings of fear hate greed etc with feelings of love empathy joy admiration etc. This guides us to a place of love and healing in our hearts and makes us one with the universe. I feel spiritually is not connected to any one religion but is a way of life that brings us to a feeling of wholeness and peace within oneself thus enabling us to live a fulfilling life of love ,compassion, and being non-judgmental towards others.

I still have along way to go on my journey and my prayer is that God will guide and protect me along the way continuing to fill me with spiritual awareness to enable me to reach my destiny.

Rev. Julia Clark

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Four Gospels

The thing that I was most touched by and reminded of is that of forgiveness and the Golden Rule in the Book of Matthew. I think I don’t forgive people enough forgiveness. A lot of people that I work with cause me a lot of frustration and anger for things that they do. I need to learn to forgive them for these things because I know deep down that these people are doing the best they can at their jobs. I think this also deals with judging other people too which is definitely mentioned by Jesus in the Book of Matthew. I have always had a part of me that judges people, mostly in a negative way. This is one of my things that I am trying to work on right now is judging people and forgiving them. Most of the people that I work with, I don’t know too well since I have been at my current job less then a year. 

A lot of the people I work with are great people, but it is the few that I really judge harshly and have the most difficult time forgive. This is where the Golden Rule comes into play for me. One of the guys in the bakery I had also thought of as a jerk and I always tried to avoid dealing with him at any cost. One day, I decided I would start saying hi to him and ask him how he was doing. Well, in a short time after starting to do this, he says hi back to me and asks me how I am doing and I don’t think he is a jerk anymore. His personality is just that way where if you don’t talk to him, he can come off as a jerk. By being nice to him, he is returning the favor to me. This has also worked with a lot of the customers that I deal with too. While I have been instructed by my employer to be nice, I had to fake it at first. But when I had been there awhile, I started to get to know some of the customers and started being friendly to them and they became friendly with me and I am starting to learn their names and what they are doing in their lives.


I had always been brought up to forgive people, not to judge people, and to live by the Golden Rule that was discussed in the 4 Gospel course. Somewhere along the way, I had gone astray and not too many people wanted to help me or forgive me for what I had done. Reading the Book of Matthew again had me thinking about the way I had been living for some years. As I am actively working on forgiving people, not judging people, and living by the Golden Rule, my life has been getting better. More people have been willing to help me and have been willing to extend their hands when I really need the help, especially when I am having a mental health crisis. So the impacts of “If you forgive people for stepping out of line, your heavenly Father will forgive you too. But if you don’t forgive other people, your Father also won’t forgive you for stepping out of line” has taken a new meaning to me now since I know that my heavenly Father might be the only one to forgive me for stepping out of line.


The other passages that I am referring to in the above essay are “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged; you will be sentenced to the same sentence that you sentence others…” has meaning to me that just occurred to me as I was rereading it. I have a tendency to be harsh to other people when I judge them and want to sentence them.


The last passage that I was referring to is “So everything you want people to do for you, you do the same for them, because that’s the law and the prophets.” I used to not want to do things for people, especially at work, but would expect them to do the same for me. Now, I am doing a lot more for people, both inside and outside of work, and I do get help from the people I have helped which is very nice to see nowadays.

By Michael Barth


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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

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My Spiritual Path

Druidism is not a spiritual path or a religion to me but Life itself. When I found Druidism 12 years ago I was not familiar with it or any of the stories, but what we have of the history called to me and I knew I found home.

I specifically love Keltrian Druidism because it interconnects with the history and the myths which to me honors The Gods, The Ancestors and The Nature Spirits more than anything. It is not easy for most people on the Keltrian path, as much of the path is learning about oneself and developing a lifelong set of morals and standards along with commitment in practicing the path. When books say it could take 20 years to become a druid, I definitely understand why and I feel that is what Keltria represents.

I have found, for me, my spiritual beliefs needs to touch every aspect of my life. Eight years ago I felt my job was a conflict of interests and I decided to go back to school. At first I wanted to go for Forestry/Naturalist type of career as it definitely has the nature side that would be compatible to the path, but I found it also has a scientific and governmentally controlled side to it, which did not appeal to my search. I then went to school to get into sign language, as I am hearing impaired. I was happy to learn sign language and to understand the deaf culture but I did not feel this career met any spiritual needs within.

Finally I was looking through a local holistic magazine and found an ad for a Massage Therapy school and with this in mind I sought to find an associate degree compatible with massage. This is what I pursued and I now work fulltime as a COTA and do Massage/Reiki on the side. Working in healthcare compliments and emphasizes my spiritual beliefs or at least has no conflicts of interest.

My finances also have been touch by the spiritual side. I believe we will and deserve to be provided for, if we do what is need for ourselves. My mom taught me that the money I make does not belong to me until my bills are paid. If we follow through our responsibilities and pay off our debts then somehow, some way the items of want/desire will come to us. BUT if we ignore our debts and buy the objects of desire we would only become more in debt. Basically… the universe will reward us for being responsible….If you give you shall receive… what you do comes back to you….all karma, I guess. I also believe visualization has a part in this too. When I was going to the two schools (at the same time) I visualized I would graduate both schools with no debt and I used my resources to the best of my ability to accomplish this. I took regular loans vs. school loans and working part time started paying immediately vs. waiting. I applied for financial aid and scholarships. Doing this every semester and establishing a budget I did graduate from both schools debt free. This sounds like I made it easy - but why just me then, as many others end up with debt. How is this spiritual? There were moments that occurred that could have proven my plan was incapable but I continued to believe and would tell myself everything will be ok. The day after such feelings, I received an unexpected check or something to that extent that would keep me afloat, and of course emphasized my belief.

A few years back I got a tattoo to represent my beliefs. I like to have people interpret it in their own way, as my meaning or truth may not be truth for someone else. On my left should is the Otherworldly Tree. Within the blossomed branches is the Rays of Imbus (or awen –I try to stick with Irish terms!!!) On the truck I have in Ogham the word Truth. The roots of the tree are visible leading to a green/yellowish Oak leaf representing my first grove into Keltria, The Grove of the Golden Oak. Below that is a horizontal doorway opening to another world… representing the otherworld; other dimension; other perceptions, etc. On the inside of my arm is a wizard representing magic and the unknown. On the back of my arm is a small dormant tree with a skull at the bottom, representing death into rebirth.

I honor my spiritual path by practicing using Keltrian Ritual, to honor the cycle of seasons and how the cycle can be seen within our lives and in our spiritual journey. 

When starting this course I only knew of Keltrian druidism. I never had a need to seek elsewhere for beliefs. This course made me realize there are other types of druids out there. I also learned that I need to separate my personal beliefs from group beliefs…similar beliefs bring us together but not everyone will belief in the exact same things.

As far as the coursework, some aspects of this course I would not consider druidism. I have never heard of “druids in black robes” in the “history” books. I also never heard the seasonal rites called as Sabbaths except in local Wiccan covens. I would also caution about discussing sacrifice early in the lessons as it could imply or be interpreted that modern druids continue this practice. It would have been nice to have more of a comparison of the modern druid groups. I understand the basics of each group but what are the specific path differences or beliefs? How are their rituals different? What aspect of each group makes it Druidic vs. eclectic or Wiccan? 

My only concern is the title of this course. I have been studying and practicing Keltrian Druidism since 1996 and I am no closer to being a Master than I was when I started. These lessons and many text books emphasize that it commonly took 20 years to learn Druidism. This course by no means teaches a “master” level. A more appropriate title could be: “Introduction to General Druidism” or “Druidism Basics”. 

While this course did not change or create my beliefs as a Druidess, it has helped me to be more open to other types of Druids and Druid beliefs. Understanding this in turns helps as I mentor others.



By Rev. Amye


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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Shamanism

The value of studying shamanism is to learn how we can use it to help others heal today. Even though different types of shaman are recognized throughout the world, many of their healing techniques are universal. Some shaman specialize in healing the body, some specialize in healing the mind, some specialize in healing the spirit, either before or after the physical life. Yet others recognize that you can't heal one without healing the others. 

Shaman often help someone heal by entering an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC). They enter this state by drumming, singing, chanting, meditating, fasting, dancing, using entheogens, and more. During the ASC they journey across the Axis Mundi to the “upper world” to communicate with ancestral spirits. They may also journey to the “lower world” to visit power animals. They may journey into the past to help heal from a past experience, journey into the future, or journey into a remote part of the earth where the local spirits have the information the shaman needs. 

During the journey they encounter spirits who play an important role in human lives. These spirits, though usually sympathetic with humanity, are not always helpful. So the shaman either controls or cooperates with the spirits to help the community. Every human has helping spirits, even if they aren't aware of it. These spirits usually are eager to help identify the cause of illness, either involving a power loss, or soul loss. Shamanic healing is designed to regain power and the protection this power provides. The soul loss may be the result of power-intrusion in which vagrant spirits come to reside uninvited in the body. So healing involves returning the intruding spirits to their rightful place in the universe. 

A shaman's strength is derived from the strength and number of spirits she can call upon for help. The spirits are of varying strength and it is their strength that determines the shaman's rank. They help the shaman treat people, foretell the future, and influence it. The more powerful the shaman, the more loving, because with the power comes a lack of fear.

The shaman needs the spirits as much as they need her. It is said that spirits must be in touch with our physical world to stay charged with energy. So when a shaman, for some reason, decides to sever her ties with them, this may have dire consequences for both of them.

Shaman have a strong understanding of their surrounding environment and their true purpose is to balance humanity with nature. They learn by watching birds, animals, and fish. They may also simply ask the earth to answer their question. Different locations are believed to have spirits who command the birds and animals living there and can help humans if they choose.

Animals may be called upon to be united with the power and essence of the animal. Each animal has attributes that we can learn from and use to become stronger. An animal may also come to you as an omen or messenger. For example, bird songs will welcome you to an area, while bird fights will tell you to be on guard. Shadow animals invade you with fear to teach a lesson.
Many places on the earth are considered 'power spots where people can go to increase their power or experience greater power: Crater Lake in Oregon, Mt. Shasta in California, Stonehenge in England, Black Hills in South Dakota, Skellig Islands off the Irish coast, Serpent Mound in Utah, Red Rock in Sedona, Arizona, just to name a few.
Divination is the control over weather. Shaman believe they can smooth a tidal wave before it hits shore, or divert a tornado around the village rather than through it. They merge with the tornado, and as the tornado they aren't able to make it turn around and go the other direction; but they are able to encourage it do go a direction that it may have gone anyway. Shaman will gather together for added strength when severe weather conditions warrant it.
Wind/directions have spirit animals, elemental association, and attributes: East (lion/fire/spirit/enlightenment), South (human/water/emotions/strength), West (buffalo/earth/body/transformation), North (eagle/air/mind/information). The shaman uses this power of the wind, but doesn't control it.
The Axis Mundi is a location, bridge, rope, or plant symbolic for where the physical and metaphysical meet. The axis connects heaven and earth as well as provides a path between the two. So the shaman goes across the axis to bring back the knowledge needed for healing. The caduceus, the symbol for medicine today, uses this axis as the staff in the center and the serpents going around the staff are the guardians or guides to the other realm.

Another important role of the shaman is story telling. They tell stories about how they have experienced the world through the eyes and ears of mythic and spiritual beings. They are masters of symbolism and interpretation. There is a well-known tale of a group of blind men who come upon a strange entity that has just arrived in town, known as an elephant. Each blind man is trying to figure out what this elephant entity is all about. One puts his arms around its huge leg and concludes the elephant is probably a living tree, another crashes into the massive body and visualizes the elephant as a solid wall, a third feels the vibrating tusk and naturally infers it must be a huge serpent, while yet another touches the tail and concludes that it is just a wimpy, rope-like animal. The point of the story is that each one of us can only relate to life using the experiences we have available to us. These experiences may be very limited and therefore limit our ability to understand someone else's experience. Or we may have many experiences in our past that help us understand the troubles someone else is living today.
Many, if not all, religions have roots in shamanism. Hebrew/Jewish scriptures supported shamanistic practices. Had they never been given their Torah they would have been able to learn all they needed to know from the animals. They even recognize the importance of the four directions/winds, as having an organic, living nature.
Jewish shaman perceive magic in the ordinary, miracle is the natural course of events. Where most people will be awestruck at the sight of a passing comet, the Jewish shaman will be awestruck at the sight of a fallen leaf. By seeing the miracle of what we consider ordinary, they unite with the Creator in a clear and open relationship. Then the veil between spirit and matter grows thinner and thinner and they no longer experience themselves as observers of this wondrous planet, but as integral parts of it.
Some shaman use breath to redirect and transform the body/mind/soul. Breath is believed to connect the physical body with thoughts. Breath calms the mind creating a space that reflects our true nature. Without this stillness we see only distortions and illusions of separation and loss of love. Our true nature unites cosmic intelligence and human consciousness with the universes potential. With proper breathing techniques we can synchronize our breath/pulse with the breath/pulse of the universe.
One such breathing technique to begin a meditation is to inhale and hold it for a count of 4, then exhale and hold it for a count of 4, then slowly increase so that you are holding for a count of 12 or more! Meditations may also use symbols, mantras, sacred postures, drumming, music and burning of herbs.
Shaman believe life is a dream that we created and continually create with our thoughts, without limit. The apparent limits are the result of what we have learned. It is our beliefs, decisions, and actions today about ourselves and our world that give us what we have and make us who we are. So during psychotherapy the shaman tries to understand the source of the illness, believing it's the result of scars from our past that created a feeling of separation, or loss of love, in our subconscious. Understanding the origin of the pain, and bringing it into the conscious, releases deep seated traumas.
Sometimes they would encourage the 'patient' to embrace the suffering. By reaching a place where one can embrace the suffering, the negative emotions vanish. Sometimes they would get the 'patient' to figure out the right question he needed answered. Once the right question was formulated, the answer appeared and the sickness disappeared. The shaman may also ask the patient to touch the area of the body in pain and say “Whatever this is related to, I forgive it completely and it doesn't matter anymore.” The shaman believes if the power was in you to create the illness, then the power is within you to change it. 

Denial of deep seated emotions is very dangerous. Just like embracing the negative emotions helps one to heal, the denial of these emotions makes one worse, more angry, more fearful, and more out of control.
The shaman teaches to watch your thoughts because your thoughts become your actions. Watch you actions because your actions become your habits. Watch your habits because your habits define who you are. It all starts with a single thought. So the more we can focus on positive thoughts the more positive our life will be.
Shaman may use chants like this Kahuna (Hawaiian shaman) chant: be aware, be free, be focused, be here, be loved, be strong, be healed. Is this more psychotherapy or is it calling spirits, or is it both?
It is said a shaman can resurrect the dead. A Kahuna would revive the dead by pushing the person's spirit back into the big toe. Surprisingly astute since squeezing the big toe is a well-known method for reviving someone who has fainted.
Other techniques, not mentioned above, include behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, family therapy, herbal therapy, drug therapy, psychodrama, and dream interpretation. The shaman may also direct communal rituals, communicate with animals, invoke spirits, dream quest, make rain, smudge, create animal and human-like creatures out of the earth, exorcise wandering spirits, part waters, draw water out of stones, heal snake bites with a copper serpent, and consult oracles. 

Today's shaman recognizes the earth is at a turning point and people need to become aware of clues through our senses and intuition. By developing our sensitivity to plants, animals, water, rocks, soil, etc. and by relating to them with appreciation we can gain powerful allies. To focus our thoughts on our intention to learn nature's language, the more she will communicate with us. By stating our intention, nature responds. Just like when we form the right question, the answer appears. Shaman believe that everything that exists is inter-connected. So a single thought of love or hate affects the whole world. Also, everything that exists is alive and can be communicated with, if approached properly. So by developing our sensitivity to the natural world we strengthen her.

There are many correlations between the earth and humans. The colors of the chakras are in the same order as the rainbow. The nervous system sends energy through the body, just like electricity sends it through the house, just like the ley lines send it through the earth. The invisible meridians of the body send energy like the invisible meridians of the earth.

Science proves many positive physical changes take place during spiritual practice. An increase of T-cells and salivary immunoglobulin has been documented which increases our immunity functions. Also, the more time someone spends in spiritual development, the less time they spend in pain and disease, because it triggers a shift in brain activity that brings a more positive sense of well-being. Science recognizes that 90% of all matter is empty space. Perhaps this is the creative void we use to create our lives.

I have shown the origin of religions to open the path for all people to return to shamanic ways. For the doubtful reader I have shown areas of science that support shamanic activities. If every sentence written here is truly absorbed into the mind and body of the reader, we will discover the shaman within each one of us and unite together to return the earth to her vibrant state of health.

By Chris Goin

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.