No. 110. Beyond the Bucket List – Part II for August 15.

Rev. Steph

On our 2nd day in Egypt, June 12, 2019, on the spiritual pilgrimage with Rev. Michael Beckwith and the Agape group, we got up at 3.30 am for the Sunrise Meditation in the Great Pyramid.

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With Nancy Koenig on the bus to the Great Pyramid

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View from the Cairo Sheraton with Pyramids in the background

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Entrance to the Giza Plateau

As requested by Rev. Michael, everyone was wearing white.  It was such a beautiful and otherworldly sight to see ca 68 white beings moving around the Giza Plateau or climbing the stairs to the Kings Chamber.

 

 

We sat on the floor around the walls of the King’s Chamber and Rev. Michael led our prayer and meditation. This was it. I was in my bliss. The Bucket List item was manifesting.

 

 

With the adorable Akili Beckwith, brother of Rev. Michael Beckwith

Egypt Group from JH

 

Afterwards, when we visited the Sphinx, I spoke to Reverend Michael and told him that I had now done everything that I had to do in this lifetime and if I had to die the next day, that would be OK with me.  Rev. Michael turned to me and said: “Just die to your former self.”

 

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And, indeed, the rest of the trip was a dying to the woman I once was, a releasing of the beliefs and behaviours that had not worked to get me what I wanted and a deeper surrendering to the relationship with my inner Sacred Self.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 109. Beyond the Bucket List – Part I

Rev. Steph

Between April 2001 and April 2002, I found myself in Egypt 5 times!!  The Egyptian Addiction of this incarnation had begun.

The first time in Egypt was on a pilgrimage which I led with a small group from Soul Home – my new multi-racial ministry in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The second time was two months later, in June 2001, because I wanted to spend my 43rd birthday meditating in the Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo and because I had been invited to an Egyptian wedding in Luxor.

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The third time was in August, 2001, after my best friend Harriet in the USA had told me that Rev. Michael Beckwith would be taking a group to Egypt on a pilgrimage.  As I did not have the right to re-enter the USA at that time, the only way I could meet Rev. Michael Beckwith and the Agape community, was to connect with them somewhere outside the USA.

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A 3rd trip to Egypt, after I had barely unpacked from my 2nd trip, seemed like the obvious thing to do. 🙂  You can read about this particular experience on page 192 of my book “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex.”

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As I was not officially a part of the Agape tour in 2001, I was not permitted to enter the Great Pyramid with the Agape group and experience their private meditation in the Kings Chamber.  I put it on my bucket list: one day I would go to Egypt with Rev. Michael Beckwith and have that experience!

Fast forward 17 years to November 2018.  My friend Muzi Cindi asked me to edit his book “Jesus for a Digital Age.”

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His timeline was so tight that I knew I could not complete it alone.  I enlisted the services of two assistant editors:  my former practitioner student, Penelope Gottlieb in Cape Town and my friend, Nancy Koenig in Long Island, NY.

Nancy is a member of Agape whom I had met when she came to Johannesburg, S. Africa, in 2017, with Rev. Michael and a group from Agape for the “Birthing our Divine Feminine” Conference.  That is when I did my first very public talk on God & Sex. And Nancy was not only super supportive when I came down off the stage but she also believed in me and knew that this work of debunking the myths about sexuality and divinty would set people free and be welcomed around the world by large audiences

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Nancy and I worked intensively on the editing project for three weeks. Every day, despite the 6-hour time difference, we sent loads of emails back and forth with editing comments and questions but we also shared what was going on in our personal lives and prayed for each other to overcome our various challenges

Soon after the editing project was completed and the launch was over in late December 2018, Nancy and I were going through editing- and friendship-withdrawal symptoms.  There was a void in both our lives.  Then Nancy contacted me and told me that Rev. Michael would be taking a group to Egypt in June 2019.  Nancy was going to sign up and she urged me to sign up too.  She did not know about my history with Egypt at that point or that my recent book, “The Sex Goddess”, contained plenty of humorous stories about my sexual miss-adventures with Egyptian men in Cairo and Luxor.  She just thought that it would be fun to meet up again and journey together with the Agape group.

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Nancy did not have to ask me twice.  I instantly decided that I would go and wrote to Jo Keita, the Agape travel agent, for more information.  There was no question about it, no logical decision making process about how I would manage it financially.  Simply, I had to go.

Right after I said YES in my heart and paid the initial deposit to hold my place, my UK boss at English in Action offered me a month of marketing work in Austria which would help me cover the costs.  Not only that, the marketing contract was in May and would finish a few days before the Egypt trip started in June. The dates dove-tailed beautifully.

There definitely seemed to be some Egyptian magic afoot.  The signs were plentiful as I opened up to the energy of my beloved Khemet…..

Read more about the journey in the next blog post.

 

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 108 Consciousness has no borders – Part II

Rev. Steph

My South African friends in Los Angeles have a  daughter, Sarina, whom I have known since she was 2 years old. Sarina invited me to her wedding in Boston on 24 August 2019. Much as I wanted to go, I knew it would be impossible.  The US government would never let me in, given my history as a law breaker.  I promised Sarina that I would try to find a way to make amends for my past to the US government.  This proved to be impossible.  There was nothing else for it but to bite the bullet and apply for a visa which would cost a significant amount of money – money that would not be refunded if the visa was declined. And I was so sure it would be.

I filled out the application form online, shaking all the while.  I was totally honest about my past and my reasons for outstaying my welcome – namely to get my ministerial qualification which I could not get anywhere else in the world.  But I knew that as I wrote my answers to the questions on the form, I might, indeed, be officially rejected from the USA forever.

I submitted the form and called to make the appointment for a visa interview.  The earliest option was at the end of April, a few days before my departure on a 2-month trip overseas. To prepare for my interview, I gathered supporting letters from various people in my world who could vouch for the fact that I had compelling reasons to return to S. Africa, if I was allowed to re-enter the USA.

My psychic friend, Ayleen, had a strong sense that I would get my visa and so on the day of the interview, I went to the US Embassy in Joburg with a lot of optimism.  I was sure that I would walk away that day with a clear answer of Yes or No.  I was completely wrong about that.

The young female embassy official behind the glass window asked me lots of questions and typed furiously for about 5 minutes as I answered her. At the end of that exercise, without asking to see any of my fabulous supporting letters, she told me my visa had been declined but I could submit my passport for additional administrative processing.  I went away so discouraged: it would be at least another 10 -12 weeks before I got the final answer.  But a lot was about to happen in that 10 – 12 weeks.

The most important thing was my trip to Egypt with Agape during which we had the special privilege of 2 x private meditations with Rev. Michael Beckwith and his brother, Akili Beckwith, in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid.  On the last day, before entering the Pyramid for our final sunset meditation, I approached Rev. Michael Beckwith and asked him if he would pray for me to get my visa so that I could come back to America both for my friend’s wedding and also to be with the Agape community again in LA.  He quickly went off into another dimension and in a split second came back to me and said “IT IS DONE!”.  I was satisfied with that and in no way expected that he would bring up my prayer request in the King’s Chamber and ask the entire Agape group of 68 people to pray with me for my visa!!  Wow, I could not have asked for more cosmic energy to accompany me in this process of ending my sense of separation from my good!

When I got back to South Africa from Egypt at the end of June, I called the US Embassy to find out about the procedure for submitting my passport.  I had to take it to an approved DHL courier office from where it would get shipped overnight to the US Embassy.  Along with my passport, I submitted my stack of supporting letters, knowing that they might be tossed in the bin but hoping that they might help to change the outcome.

A few days later at Soul Home, I was speaking about worshipping false idols and the human belief that something or someone out there has something which we don’t have within ourselves.  We worship money, celebrities, thin bodies, fast cars and none of them has the power to give us the connection to the Divine within that we are really seeking.  I used the example of my visa as a false idol which was based on the belief that I was not free unless I had my visa and could freely enter the USA.

A few days later, still feeling quite despondent and hopeless, I noticed on the US government website that I might have to wait for up to 6 months before getting a result and that result could still be negative.  I decided to stop waiting.  I would simply do my inner work to remove any mental or emotional blockages to my freedom.

And then I checked my emails.  To my surprise, there was an email from the US Embassy in which I was told that my passport had been dispatched to the DHL office for me to collect.  That meant that a decision had been made.  But what was it?  I called the Embassy and was told to track the process of my visa on their tracking system.  When I did that I saw this.

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My visa had been issued!!!!!

Wow!!  I cried.  But how long was it for?  No one could tell me.  I was still negative.  Probably it was for the minimum length of time, I thought. Probably only 30 days.  Maybe 3 months maximum.  I went pick it up the next day, so excited to see that visa sticker in my passport.

Denise, the lovely DHL staff member who served me, fetched my envelope from the back office and told me to check all the contents carefully.  Sometimes there were mistakes, she said. When I saw my visa sticker, I went weak at the knees and nearly fainted.  I thought there must, indeed, have been a mistake.   10 YEARS MULTIPLE ENTRY!!

Denise told me not to faint. She did not want to pick me up off the floor.

“I can’t believe I got 10 years” I said and stared at my visa sticker in amazement.

“Yes, they must really like you” she said. “Hardly anyone gets 10 years these days.”  She went on to say “God is good” and “Anything is possible when you believe”.

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Denise at DHL in Sandton, Johannesburg 

 

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 107. Consciousness has no borders. Part I

Rev. Steph

When I left South Africa in 1989 to start my studies at the Santa Anita School of Ministry in California, I had a US tourist visa for one year and a job offer as a translator from a congregant at the Santa Anita Church. This job offer would allow me to get a Green Card – or so I thought. That completely bombed. 😦

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The Santa Anita Church, Arcadia, California

Throughout the 10 years I lived in the USA, I constantly applied for visas and Green Cards but each one was declined.  I lived in fear of being deported and not being able to finish my ministerial studies.  I had completed my ministerial training at Santa Anita in 1992

Front cover, Miss-Adventures

Graduation day at Santa Anita, 14 June 1992. 

This photo, taken round the back of the church after the graduation ceremony, became the obvious choice of cover image for my autobiography 🙂 

but was not inwardly ready to go back to S. Africa and start a ministry so I had registered for further training at the Agape Campus of the Holmes Institute under Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith.

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Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith

My beloved teacher and friend, Rev. Nirvana Gayle, was the Dean of Students there.  One night, after a class, I shared the fear of being deported with Rev. Nirvana and he reassured me:

“Stephanie, if you weren’t supposed to be here to fulfill your calling as a minister in training, you would not be here. You are here under Spiritual Law which is a higher law than the human laws pertaining to immigration.  What’s more, you will be here for exactly the amount of time you need to be here.  When your time is up, and you have completed your mission here, you will leave but not a moment before.”

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With Rev. Nirvana Gayle at the CSL Convention in Vancouver, Canada. 2013

That conversation was very reassuring.  And Nirvana was right.  About 4 years later, I got my “call” to return to S. Africa in January 1999. It was just a few months after I had graduated as a Religious Science minister from the Holmes Institute in June 1998. In November, 1999, I left California and flew back to Johannesburg to start the first New Thought multi-racial ministry in S. Africa as a means of healing the legacy of Apartheid.  I knew I had to heed the call even though I was still waiting for the result of my most recent Green Card application.

As I left the US out-of-status in 1999, there was a 10 year ban on re-entering.  I thought I would be allowed back into the US in November 2009.  It turned out I was wrong about that too.

In 2003 and 2004, I was asked by the United Church of Religious Science to speak at their annual convention about the successful ministry I had started in S. Africa.  The US Embassy official I spoke to in 2003 said there might be hope of getting a visa waiver but in the end my application was declined.  In 2004, when I applied again, the next US Embassy official was very stern.  He told me not to assume that I would automatically be able to re-enter the USA in 2009 because the terrorist attacks on 9/11 had caused the United States immigration authorities to be much more selective about the kind of foreigners they let into the USA.  Obviously, as I had lived in Los Angeles illegally, I was persona non-grata and my reasons for reentering the country would be suspect: I might once again try to enter on a tourist visa but with the intention of immigrating illegally.  The Embassy official warned me that I might never be able to re-enter the USA and, with that, he closed my file and dismissed me.

I got used to the idea of being denied entry to America. However, thanks to consciousness evolving towards greater and greater Oneness and the miraculous demonstration of that in the form of sophisticated technology, I was able to Skype with my friends in the USA. And, just when I was missing the Agape community particularly badly, my best friend Harriet suggested I get on to Facebook where I was able to reconnect with nearly all of my Agape friends and so many other friends around the world too. I had spiritual community again, albeit in cyber-space, but a whole lot better than nothing.

So all was not lost but I was banned from the US and I became stuck in that mindset of being an alien and an out-law.  I did not apply for a US visa again for another 14 years and only then because a dear friend of mine invited me to be a guest and a ceremony facilitator at her wedding in Boston, Mass., in August 2019.

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Find out what happened in the next blog post…..

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

 

 

No. 106 Dubrovnik bus miracle

Rev. Steph

Dubrovnik has been on my bucket list for years and the opportunity to go there presented itself this summer.

In 2017, my Austrian friend, Maelle, packed up her flat in her home town near Vienna and moved to a tiny little village on the Adriatic coast, south of Dubrovnik: Mikulici.  She invited me to stay for a week while I was in Europe this June.

There were 2 or 3 buses into Dubrovnik per day and, on my 3rd morning in Mikulici, I was woken early and “told” to go to Dubrovnik on the 6:30 am bus.  I raced out of bed, puffed and panted up the hill to the bus stop and got there just in time for the bus.

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The views during the bus journey along the Adriatic coast were spectacular.  At the terminus in Dubrovnik, the driver told me that the last bus back to Mikulici would leave at 8:15 pm from the bay that we were standing in.

After a fabulous day in Dubrovnik in a total camera frenzy because of all the amazing medieval buildings and the views from the city wall, I got back to the terminus in plenty of time but there was no bus to Mikulici.  I checked with the staff member at the ticket desk.  She sent me to the wrong bay. 😦  At 8:12 there was still no bus.  I started getting worried.  I went back to her.  She shrugged her shoulders, muttered at me in Croatian, and sent me to her colleague at the next window who told me to go to a different bay.  I waited. Still no bus.

By now it was gone 8:15 pm. I had started working on Plan B:  I would find a cafe with internet and book myself into an hotel in Dubrovnik for the night.  But then I was prompted to talk to the woman standing at the next bay about the bus to Mikulici.  She said: “Come with me please.”  She took me over to a bus full of passengers on the other side of the terminus and spoke to the driver in Croatian.  The driver’s English was pretty good.  He said to me: “Your bus gone. But I know driver.  I call him and tell him to wait.”  Sure enough, he called his buddy and told him to wait at a particular stop about 45 minutes south of Dubrovnik. He then told me to get on his bus and he would take me to meet my bus. After 45 mins, we pulled up behind the bus to Mukulici where my new driver and the other passengers on the bus were patiently waiting for me.

Mikulici was near the end of the route and no one was left on the bus except me and the driver – or so I thought.

“Where you stay?” the driver asked.

“With my Austrian friend,”  I said.

“What is address?” the driver asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.  “She lives near the bus stop.”    (Actually everyone lives near the bus stop in Mukulici because it is such a tiny little village!)

There was a paved road part of the way to Maelle’s cottage. She had to park her car outside her neighbour’s house (weirdly the neighbour was another Austrian from Vienna!) where the paved road ended and then walk across a very rugged rocky patch of land on the mountain side to get into her back garden. That was tricky to manage even in the daytime. At night, the chances of stumbling on a rock were very high. Plus the coyotes were out in full force and howling away once night fell.

As I stood up to get off the bus, I was surprised to see a young woman get off the bus before me.  She had been sitting quietly at the back of the bus. The driver spoke to her in Croatian.  Something like: “This crazy foreigner doesn’t know where she lives or how to get there.  Can you help her find the house where she is staying?”  “Yes” she nodded and, satisfied that I was taken care of, the driver continued on his way.

In perfect English, the young woman said to me:

“What is the name of the friend you are staying with?”

“Maelle” I answered.

She looked confused.  I only understood why later.  I had met Maelle six years ago just before I moved to Vienna.  She introduced herself as Maelle. She had combined her two given names, Maria Elisabeth, to create the name Maelle and, with that, a new identity for herself.  It turned out that I was the only one who called her that.  Our group of friends all knew her as Maria.  As Maria is a popular name in Croatia, everyone in the tiny village of Mikulici knew her as Maria too!  No-one had heard of Maelle….

I pointed to the paved road going down the mountain opposite the bus stop:  “She lives at the end of this road.”  I said.  The Croatian woman kindly switched on the flash light on her phone – my phone had died as a result of excessive picture taking during the day – and angelically shone the light for me all the way along the paved road and the rocky mountain path until we reached Maelle’s back garden.  Then she said “Goodnight” and disappeared into the darkness.

Grateful to this Croatian angel, the bus driver angels and all the others who help to guide us on our journey home.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 105 Coffee Beans and Synchronicity

Rev. Steph

I have just returned from a 2-month trip overseas where I spent time in the UK, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Egypt and Jordan.  The itinerary was intense (hence the lack of blog posts over the last few weeks) but there were many miracles along the way.  Today’s blog is about an Austrian miracle with a South American flavour.

In 2010, when I was still working full-time for English in Action in Europe, I met hundreds of English teachers in the schools I visited and some I hit it off with better than others.  Dagmar taught English in a grammar school about 45 minutes west of Vienna. She and I had an instant rapport. She always allowed plenty of time for my marketing visits so that we could have a personal chat as well as talk shop.

One Sunday evening in July 2012, I had spent the weekend with friends in London and was on the train back home to Canterbury.  I saw someone I recognised on the train. It was Dagmar!  Unbeknownst to me, she had registered for a summer course at Canterbury University and was in town for a couple of weeks.  I invited her for a PR cream tea at Tiny Tims in Canterbury – a beautiful mediaeval tea shop with ghosts on the top floor.

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Dagmar enjoying a cream tea but facing a scone that she might not be able to conquer.

We sealed our friendship over the cream tea and the next time I visited her in Austria, she supported my new author status and bought a copy of my first book: Down, Dirty and Divine: a spiritual ride through London’s underground

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Dagmar told me she would be getting married and, shortly thereafter, leave for a two-year teaching post with her new husband at the German School in Lima, Peru.  She kindly invited me to come and stay with her and her husband. I was thrilled. Lima was on my bucket list but Peru was not on the divine agenda – not at that time anyway.

Later that year (2013), I moved to Vienna so that I would not have to spend so much time flying back and forth between the UK and Austria.  Most of my friends there were ex-pats and towards the end of 2013, I met a woman from El-Salvador called Carmen.

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She had studied in the USA and spoke fluent English.  Her family in El-Salvador owned a large coffee plantation. Carmen’s vision was to import and sell coffee in Vienna and be able to share the profits with the workers and their families on the plantation.

With Carmen, farewell to Vienna, July 2015 IMAG2443_BURST002_COVER

After I quit my job with English in Action in August 2015 and moved back home to S. Africa, I still returned to Europe once per year to do a short freelance contract.  I often stayed with Carmen and her family in the west of Vienna. I even met her mother who owns the coffee plantation in El Salvador and who visits her daughter and her grandchildren once per year. During her 2018 visit, Carmen’s mother went to a Coffee Expo in Vienna and picked up the business cards for 3 x local coffee roasters. Carmen introduced herself to the one who lived the closest and they went into partnership together: she provides the beans from El-Salvador, he roasts them and she packages them and sells them. You can read more about her direct trade business here. https://zalvera.com/

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Sadly, I lost touch with Dagmar.  After she moved to Peru, my emails to her old address kept bouncing back.  But on this last marketing trip to Austria in May 2019, I was thinking about her very strongly and wondering how I could get in contact with her again….

I happened to be staying with Carmen one Friday night in May 2019 when she got a call from her roasting partner to remind her to meet him the next day at the Meidlinger Markt in Vienna to promote their coffee.  She was going to leave early on Saturday morning and take the bus and then the underground. As I woke up the next morning, my inner voice said “Offer Carmen a ride. She has too much stuff to carry on public transport.”  Carmen was relieved.  We set off for the market.  When we got there, her partner, Juergen, had begun setting up and Paul, the coffee shop owner, already had customers in his shop.

“How did Juergen get into the coffee business?”  I asked Carmen. “Oh, he spent two years in Peru while his wife was teaching at the German School and he learned a lot about coffee. When they came back to Vienna, they had a baby and Juergen needed to find work he could do from home while his wife went back to school and he started a coffee roasting business.”

The connection was uncanny.

“Was his wife an English teacher?” I asked

“Yes,” said Carmen. “She speaks really good English.”

“Is her name Dagmar?”  I asked

“Yes” said Carmen.

Wahoo!!!  I had found Dagmar. We told Juergen.  He took a picture of himself and me together and sent it to his wife.  Dagmar was out shopping with their son Paul.  She could not believe it!  The next time I was in Vienna, I went over to visit Dagmar, met her little boy and then she and I caught up on the lost years – over a cup of coffee!

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Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 104. The Grand Budapest Bath-House in the Gellert Hotel

Rev. Steph

Many years ago in an in-flight magazine, I saw a picture of a beautiful old bath house in Budapest, Hungary.  It looked like a Roman temple, complete with decorated columns and beautiful turquoise water.

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I put it on my bucket list despite the fact that Budapest did not hold happy memories for me:  I was nearly raped there in 1984 when I was travelling alone behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe .  You can read about that incident in my book “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex.”

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Years later, in 2013, I met a TEFL teacher from Hungary at the annual English Teachers’ conference in Slovenia.  Her name was Beatrix and she was married to an Englishman, Justin.  This particular IATEFL conference was my favorite of all the conferences I attended each year when I was promoting English native-speaker courses in European schools. The venue was a spa-resort in the mountains of Slovenia – Topolsica.

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Enjoying the hot springs at Topolsica, English Teachers’ Conference, 2015

Beatrix and I were both addicted to the pool, the hotsprings and the sauna at the conference.  Whenever we had a gap between talks and events, we would dash downstairs for a dip or a steam.

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Bea explaining the merits of Marmite at my stand, Topolsica 2013

In 2014, while I was still working for English in Action, I got going with designing my business website to offer my services as a sacred ceremony facilitator.  (www.TimelessTransitions.net) And in the same year, I began offering spiritual talks at the Slovenia conference on “The Power of the Word” and “The Law of Attraction”.  Beatrix attended all my events and, over breakfast the next morning after my first spiritual workshop, without knowing about my new business venture, she suddenly asked me if I would come to Hungary to facilitate a ceremony for her 51st birthday the following month. Of course I would!  Such a lovely demonstration of the Law of Attraction!

On that trip to Hungary in April 2014, Bea took me south to Csurgo to meet her parents.  Her father and I had a lovely rapport.  He was such a gentleman and did his best to communicate with me in his few words of German and English.  (All I could say in Hungarian was “Cheers!”). He had seen a lot of history and, with Bea’s interpreting help, we had a lovely chat about his experiences during the war and under the communist regime.

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Beatrix’s father, Ferenc

Five years later, via Facebook, I heard that Bea’s father had died on 19 March 2019.  Naturally I reached out to her to express my condolences and we made a plan to meet up during my next contract in Austria in May 2019.  She invited me to her home again in the suburbs of Budapest – about a 3-hour drive from Austria’s capital, Vienna.

Bea asked me if there was anything I would like to do during my visit to Hungary. And then I remembered the picture in the magazine and asked her about the old bath-house in Budapest. It turned out that there were many old bath-houses all over the city and, in fact, all over the country. Hungary is full of hotsprings!  Bea began researching online and showed me some pictures.  The way I described it, she knew right away that I was probably talking about the baths in the Hotel Gellert.

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The Bath House at the Hotel Gellert

Sure enough, there were the yellow columns and the turquoise water.

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The rest is herstory. 🙂 

And to make the day even more fabulous, we caught the wrong tram when we left the Hotel Gellert. It took us all along the banks of the Danube where we could see the beautiful city of Budapest by the light of the full moon.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 103 Soul Home’s 19th Anniversary and Our Call to Greatness – Part III

Rev. Steph

Last week you read the first part of an excerpt from my autobiography about how I got my call from Martin Luther King Jr. to start the first multi-racial New Thought ministry in S. Africa.  The book is entitled: The Miss-Adventures of an Irreverent Reverend: a spirit-ed guide for rebels and renegades”.  This week I have posted the rest of the chapter.

Front cover, Miss-Adventures

“The next day, Sunday, right before Day 2 of the workshop started, I was standing in the queue for coffee in the Holman Church, thinking that I would tell Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith about my experience.

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Rev. Michael Beckwith, Founder of the Agape International Center of Truth, Los Angeles

In that moment, I turned around and, miraculously, there he was right behind me in the queue! Without so much as a “Hi,” he abruptly asked:

“Stephanie, when are you going back to South Africa?”

“I don’t know exactly.” I replied. “But I had my call from Dr. Martin Luther King last night.”

“Yes,” he said knowingly as if he had been there.

Then he walked away, and left the church. He did not come back for the rest of the day. It looked as if he had simply touched down for a moment to get the confirmation of something he had already intuited.

Later that day, when the workshop had finished, I raced the forty miles over to the Santa Anita church, where I had completed my first ministerial training, in order to attend the Memorial Service for Dr. Roger Stevens who had been a teacher of mine at Ministerial School.

Santa Anita church

The Santa Anita Church, Arcadia, California

Dr. Margaret Stevens, the former Minister of Santa Anita, who had interviewed me in South Africa in 1989, had flown down from Ashland, Oregon, especially to officiate at the Memorial Service for her ex-husband.

images Dr. Margaret Stevens

Dr. Margaret Stevens

I felt such gratitude to the Santa Anita community. The members had embraced me when I first came out from South Africa even though most of them had not understood a word I said, divided as we are by our common language….

After the service, many old friends came up to me and asked:

“When are you going back to South Africa?”

It was a simple enough question, but I had never been able to answer it properly until that very day.

“In December,” I replied confidently.

A plan had already begun formulating itself in my mind over the course of that day: I would fly back to South Africa in December 1999, and attend the Parliament of the Worlds’ Religions in Cape Town just the way I had wished it.

Parliament, Cape Town 1999 (2)

After the Parliament, at the beginning of the New Millennium, in January 2000, I would go back up to Johannesburg to start my multi-racial ministry.

God’s timing, not mine.”

 

COPYRIGHT Rev. Stephanie Clarke, 2016

The book is available on Amazon or Kindle. Click on the link 🙂  https://www.amazon.com/Miss-Adventures-Irreverent-Reverend-Spirit-ed-Renegades-ebook-dp-B01MRZJ3E1/dp/B01MRZJ3E1/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: debunking the mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

 

102. Soul Home’s 19th Anniversary and Our Call to Greatness – Part II

Rev. Steph

This week’s blog is an excerpt from my autobiography The Miss-Adventures of an Irreverent Reverend: a spirit-ed guide for rebels and renegades. It is the story of my call to start my multi-racial ministry in S. Africa.

Front cover, Miss-Adventures

“My second ministerial graduation was in June, 1998. By this time, I had completed a further two years of study at the Holmes Institute (the new name for the United Church of Religious Science Ministerial School, based at Agape) and in August, 1998, I was officially granted status as a Fellow of the United Church of Religious Science.

What next?

I had no plans.

Look, I had never forgotten my original vision to start a multi-racial ministry in South Africa but I was still enjoying life in California and certainly did not have any immediate desires to go home. Being a part of the Agape community was a very compelling reason to stay in the U.S.A. I loved all my teaching and counselling work and being surrounded by so many friends and powerful teachers who were consciously on the spiritual path, such as Marianne Williamson, Neale Donald Walsch, Dr. Louise Hay and Deepak Chopra. Last but not least, by this time I was living right by the beach in a luxury apartment in Marina del Rey, California.

Villa Venetia apartments M7h4cLOUPf6

No, there was no way that I was going to prize myself out of my sunny comfort zone, especially not before establishing my Green Card status that would have allowed me to return to the U.S.A. at will.

Well, you know by now what happens when I have a cunning plan for my greatest comfort…. It rarely coincides with God’s Universal Purpose for my life. In fact, it backfires. Spectacularly.

In December of 1998, I heard the news that the next Parliament of the World’s Religions would be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in December 1999. The Parliament is a gathering of religious leaders, which is held every five years for the purposes of dialogue and global inter-faith peace work. The 1999 Parliament was going to be the first year in which the New Thought movement would be recognized as an official world religion and Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith had been invited to be our global New Thought representative, as well as to present the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, with the Ghandi-King Peace Prize.

Nelson_Mandela-2008_

Oh, how I longed to go to the Parliament, to be in Cape Town again and to witness Rev. Michael on stage with Nelson Mandela! It would be a magnificent reconciliation of both my worlds in South Africa and America, the perfect cornerstone in my vision, the culmination of all my hopes and dreams.

But I discounted the idea.

I was too attached to America and would not risk being refused re-entry after a reckless trip to Cape Town.

Regardless of my little human preferences to stay put in America, Something Huge had already been set in motion but it was outside the range of my awareness. In other words, God was scheming again behind my back.

One of the projects at Agape that drew me was the 1999 Season for Nonviolence, created to honour two of the world’s great peace activists who were both assassinated: Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Season begins on 30th January on the anniversary of Ghandi’s death in 1948, and it ends on 4th April, the anniversary of King’s death in 1968. Eisha Mason, RScP (Religious Science Practitioner) initiated and organised the annual three-month Season on behalf of Agape to examine and heal the violence within ourselves, within our city and upon our planet.

eisha_mason

Eisha Mason, my teacher in my final year of Practitioner studies at Agape, 1993

In January 1999, shortly before the official beginning of the Season, we were invited to a weekend workshop at Rev. James Lawson’s church, Holman United Methodist Church, in South Central Los Angeles. What a privilege it was to meet and be taught by Rev. James Lawson. He had actually marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and was part of King’s intimate circle of confidantes and strategists.

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With Rev. James Lawson at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Toronto, Canada, November 2018

Our homework on Saturday night was to read The Letter from the Birmingham Jail written by King when he was jailed for his Civil Rights activism.

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

True to form, I got home late and only started my homework at about 11:30 p.m. almost falling asleep over the page. As I began reading, intending to simply skim over the material so that I would be familiar with the basic content for the next day, something happened that I have never experienced before or since: my consciousness was split down the middle.

To the right of me and slightly above my head, I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reading the letter to me in his southern American drawl. I had never heard any recordings of him speaking but I knew immediately and intuitively that it was him.

To the left of me was my human consciousness reading the letter for homework.

I could move between both dimensions at will. I was startled when I heard the Voice, and fascinated that I could switch it on and off voluntarily, depending on where I chose to focus my attention. The Voice was compelling and yet I flipped back and forth between belief and unbelief. Was this really happening? How did it come about?

The Voice moved me. It got under my skin. I began to shake and cry. I could not continue reading. There was a cement mixer in my gut and in the midst of the churning I heard what seemed like a different Voice inside me say:

“It’s time to go home now.”

Martin Luther King had been speaking to me from the field outside my body. This Voice, which was telling me to go home, came from my centre, my gut.

I knew what it meant:

“Go back to South Africa, start the ministry, Green Card or no Green Card, like it or not.”

I was in awe, in fear, in trembling. Without feeling any sadness, my body got taken over by loud unrelenting sobbing.

This thing that was happening to me was too big to keep to myself. I had to tell someone. But who? Who do you call at midnight on Saturday, who will be happy to talk to you, who will understand the enormity of the experience and who will not judge you as an attention-seeking religious drama queen?

Rev. Carole Traylor (deceased 2007) was my woman. Rev. Carole was an African priestess living in flimsy disguise as the Youth and Family Minister at Agape, a teacher at the Holmes Institute and also my personal spiritual counsellor.  I knew there was a God when she picked up the phone. I do not remember what I said or what she said. The important thing was that she was there as a witness. She believed me. She made the experience real. I slept peacefully, knowing I would follow the Voice, come what may.

(To be continued in the next blog post)

COPYRIGHT Rev. Stephanie Clarke, 2016

The book is available on Amazon or Kindle. Click on the link 🙂  https://www.amazon.com/Miss-Adventures-Irreverent-Reverend-Spirit-ed-Renegades-ebook-dp-B01MRZJ3E1/dp/B01MRZJ3E1/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: debunking the mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

 

 

101. Soul Home’s 19th Anniversary and our Call to Greatness – Part I

Rev. Steph

I founded Soul Home, the first New Thought multi-racial ministry in South Africa, on Easter Sunday 2000. In the last blog post, we were gearing up for Soul Home’s 19th birthday.  We celebrated on Sunday, 28 April 2019.

My talk was entitled “Your Call to Greatness” and I shared an excerpt from my book “The Miss-Adventures of an Irreverent Reverend: a spirit-ed guide for rebels and renegades” regarding my own call to begin the ministry in S. Africa.

rpt

Forever Irreverent

I also asked my colleagues, Rev. Gerd Pontow, Melanie Hall (practitioner) and Anka Daly (retired practitioner) to share the call of their soul to live a larger life.

rpt

L-R Kabelo, Rev. Gerd and Lifutso

Gerd shared his desire to be a global citizen and a messenger of peace and he has become that as well as the Director of Soul Home since 2005.

mde

Marcia Kay and Melanie Hall.  (These two wonderful souls first met at Pembury Frail Care in Johannesburg.  Marcia was the nurse assigned to care for Melanie’s mother.)

Melanie always wanted to be a school teacher and she has become that and so much more: now she is a spiritual teacher and a facilitator of Compassionate Communication.

Anka wanted to fly.  While she was studying Science of Mind and actively serving at the Church of Religious Science under Rev. Gladys Harrison in the, 80’s and 90’s, she got her pilot’s license and bought her own plane!

Anka and Steph – Practitioner student classmates under Rev. Gladys Harrison in 1989.  Anka and Gerd, Practitioner student classmates under Rev. Steph, graduated 2005.

I asked the Soul Home community members who were present to share their sense of calling with one another.  It was a Sacred Gathering and birthday celebration rich with insight and appreciation for the inner call and the meticulous divine orchestration that has allowed, and continues to allow, that inner call to fulfill itself in form.

In the next blog post, I will share the excerpt from my book “The Miss-Adventures of an Irreverent Reverend: a spirit-ed guide for rebels and renegades” regarding how my spiritual call to the ministry came about.

Front cover, Miss-Adventures

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: debunking the mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter