David Spangler

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David Spangler (1945-) is an American spiritual philosopher and self-described "practical mystic". He helped transform the Findhorn Foundation in northern Scotland into a centre of residential spiritual education, and is a friend of William Irwin Thompson. Spangler is considered one of the founding figures of the modern New Age movement, although he is highly critical of what much of the movement has since become, especially its commercialistic and sensationalist elements.

Clairvoyant development

From his earliest years, Spangler claims to be clairvoyantly aware of non-physical entities. While in Morocco at age seven, he said he had a classical mystical experience of merging with a timeless presence of oneness within the cosmos and then remembering his existence prior to this life as well as the process by which he chose to become David Spangler and entered into his present incarnation. Following that experience, he claims his awareness of and contact with various inner worlds of spirit was heightened, though he believed throughout his childhood that everyone shared the kind of perception and experience that he had. This changed when he moved to Phoenix where he claims to have discovered other individuals who were clairvoyant or were acting as "channels" for non-physical entities and realized that his own inner experiences were not common. In his late teens he was asked by members of metaphysical study groups to give talks on his own inner contacts, leading up to 1964 when he gave the keynote address at a national spiritual conference on "Youth and the New Age." This led to his receiving a number of invitations from around the United States to come and give lectures to various spiritual and metaphysical organizations. At the time he refused these invitations to concentrate on his scientific studies, but the following year, in 1965, he decided to leave college and begin sharing his own particular insights and inner perceptions.

This led to his going to Los Angeles in the summer of 1965 where a series of lectures led to further invitations and resulted in the career that he has followed since then as a lecturer and teacher of spirituality. Some of this early history can be found in his books Blessing: The Art and the Practice and Pilgrim in Aquarius.

Going beyond the "New Age"

Over the years since then, Spangler has continued to lecture and teach and has written numerous books on spirituality. He is considered one of the founding figures of the modern New Age phenomenon, but early on he identified its shadow and rejected what he termed "its further outgrowth into a myriad of 'old age' pursuits (including spiritual pursuits) dressed in 'new age' garb". This devolution into commercially-driven fads, identity politics, mystical glamour, atavistic spiritualisms, and uncritical guru reverence was a main theme of his Reimagination of the World, co-authored with fellow-traveler and cultural historian William Irwin Thompson.

Spangler has often been miscast as a new-age channeler due in part to the "transmissions" received while living at the intentional community at Findhorn, Scotland in the 1970s, which became the core of his first book Revelation: The Birth of a New Age. In hindsight it can be seen that Spangler's ideas were at that time transitional between the earlier theosophical esoterism represented by Alice Bailey and an emerging worldview that is more postmodern, less obscure, and less metaphysical than theosophy. Spangler himself reports that it took him some years to develop a language in which to communicate clearly the insights and experiences he had been having since childhood.

Recent Activities

In recent years he has emphasized a practical or incarnational spirituality in which our everyday lives—our physical, embodied, sometimes resplendent and sometimes shabby persons—can be experienced as spiritual or sacred, as opposed to a spirituality concerned solely with the transpersonal and transcendent.

Partial bibliography

  • Revelation: Birth of a New Age, 1971
  • The Little Church,1972
  • The Laws of Manifestation, 1975
  • Towards a Planetary Vision, 1976
  • Relationship and Identity, 1977
  • Reflections on the Christ, 1978
  • Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, 1984
  • Reimagination of the World: A Critique of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture, (with William Irwin Thompson), 1991
  • Everyday Miracles, 1996
  • The Call, 1996
  • A Pilgrim in Aquarius, 1996
  • Parent as Mystic, Mystic as Parent, 1998
  • Blessing: The Art and the Practice, 2001
  • The Story Tree, 2004
  • The Manifestation Kit, 2005
  • The Incarnational Card Deck, 2008
  • World Work, 2008
  • Space Crafting: the Incarnational Self, 2008
  • Crafting Home: Generating the Sacred, 2009
  • Crafting Relationships:The Holding of Others, 2009
  • (revised), 2009
  • Incarnational Spirituality, 2009
  • The Flame of Incarnation, 2009
  • Subtle Worlds: An Explorer's Field Notes (2010)
  • Facing the Future, 2010
  • An Introduction to Incarnational Spirituality, 2011
  • A Midsummer’s Journey/EM>, 2011
  • The Call of the World, 2011
  • The Soul’s Oracle Card Deck, 2011
  • The Card Deck of the Sidhe, 2011
  • Apprenticed to Spirit, 2011
  • Apprenticed To Spirit: The Education of a Soul , 2012
  • Conversations with the Sidhe , 2014
  • Journey Into Fire (2015)
  • Working With Subtle Energies (2016)
  • Lorian Textbooks: Slightly edited transcripts of online classes:

The Findhorn Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

In 1970, Spangler went to Britain where he visited the spiritual community of Findhorn in northern Scotland. He claimed to have been told by non-physical, spiritual contacts that he would find his "next cycle of work" in Europe; he arrived at Findhorn and was told that one of the founders, Eileen Caddy, had had a vision three years earlier that a David Spangler would be coming there to live and work in the community. Not knowing who David Spangler was, Eileen and her husband Peter Caddy and their Canadian colleague, Dorothy Maclean, the three founders of the Findhorn Community, had been waiting for someone with that name to arrive. Upon Spangler's arrival, he was offered and accepted joint directorship of the community along with Peter Caddy. He remained in the Findhorn Community until 1973. He then returned to the United States with a number of other Americans and Europeans, including Dorothy Maclean, where they founded the Lorian Association as a non-profit vehicle for the spiritual and educational work they wished to do together.

Spangler became a co-director at the Findhorn Foundation spiritual community.

The October 1982 Conference ‘Building a Planetary Village’ hosted by the Findhorn Foundation marked the beginning of serious attempts by the intentional community, which had existed at Findhorn since 1962 to demonstrate a human settlement that could be considered sustainable in environmental, social, and economic terms.

Lindisfarne Association

Also in 1974 Spangler helped William Irwin Thompson to found the Lindisfarne Association and became one of the first Lindisfarne Fellows, a group of scientists, artists, religious teachers, political activists, economists, and visionaries.

  • Spangler's disembodied spiritguide John in Revelation: Birth of a New Age, (1976) p. 177: "As the energies of the Cosmic Christ become increasingly manifest within the etheric life on Earth, many individuals will begin to respond with the realization that the Christ dwells within them.  They will feel his presence moving within and through them and will begin to awaken their heritage of Christhood and Oneness with God, the Beloved."
  • Reimagination of the World, p. 140: The Christ becomes the Cosmic Christ. Just as an advertiser can repackage a product and call it "new and improved," so the Cosmic Christ repackages the Christ. ... the new packaging may make it more accessible to people and help us to recognize some of the qualities of the Christ that have been overlooking for the past two thousand years. ... It (the Cosmic Christ) is present within nature. It is the spirit of sacredness within the Earth and within the whole cosmos. It is as present in other faith traditions, including many of those we call pagan, as it is in Christianity, and sometimes it seems to me that it is more present in other religious understandings than in some of the Christian denominations whose attitudes and actions betray the compassionate, universal, and loving qualities of the Christ.
  • Spangler in Reflections on the Christ (1978) p. 36: Some being has to take these energies into his consciousness and substance and channel them as it were to those other beings who must receive them, in this case humanity. The being who chose to embody these energies and to be in essence the angel of man's inner evolution is the being we know as Lucifer.
  • Spangler in Reflections on the Christ (1978) p. 41: He [Lucifer] comes to make us aware of our power within, to draw to ourselves experience. He comes to make us aware of the power of creative manifestation which we wield.

    When you are working with the laws of manifestation you are in essence manifesting a Luciferic principle.

  • David Spangler in Reflections on the Christ, p.44-45: Christ is the same force as Lucifer... Lucifer prepares man for the experience of Christhood. (He is) the great initiator.... Lucifer works within each of us to bring us to wholeness, and as we move into a New Age ... each of us in some way is brought to that point which I term the Luciferic Initiation ... for it is an invitation into the New Age.
  • David Spangler in Reflections on the Christ, Findhorn Lecture Series, 3rd ed., 1981; p. 45: “The true light of this great being can only be recognized when one’s own eyes can see with the light of the Christ, the light of the inner sun. Lucifer works within each of us to bring us to wholeness, and as we move into the New Age, which is the age of man’s wholeness, each of us is brought to that point which I term the Luciferic Initiation, the particular doorway through which the individual must pass if he is to come fully into the presence of his light and his wholeness.

    Lucifer comes to give us the final gift of wholeness. If we accept it, then he is free and we are free, that is the Luciferic Initiation. It is one that many people now, and in the days ahead, will be facing, for it is an initiation into the New Age.

  • The book Revelation: The Birth of a New Age is a compilation of channeled transmissions he received from his disembodied spiritguide “John.”
  • At one point in Revelation, Spangler documents what “John” prophesied about “the energies of the Cosmic Christ” and “Oneness”:

    As the energies of the Cosmic Christ become increasingly manifest within the etheric life of Earth, many individuals will begin to respond with the realization that the Christ dwells within them. They will feel his presence moving within and through them and will begin to awaken to their heritage of Christhood and Oneness with God, the Beloved.

  • Spangler in Apprenticed To Spirit (2012), Prologue: For as long as I can remember, I have been aware of invisible, non-physical beings and dimensions from which they come. These dimensions have been given many names in many traditions: the Other Worlds, the Inner Worlds, the Higher Realms, the Spiritual Realms. As a child, I never thought to call them anything. The fact that at times I could see and talk with beings who were not parts of the physical world did not seem strange. They were just part of the diverse, rich, and wondous world that I experienced growing up. ... I reach inside myself for the senses and capacities to see and engage with them.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 30: Eventually, I ended up drawing heavily on the images and cosmologies offered by the esoteric tradition, particularly the writings of theosophy and Alice Bailey, along with infusions from Christian and Buddhist mysticism, with some Sufism thrown in for good measure.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 34: Since we believed that the new age was not so much an event as a state of mind, it was something we could create and express now, not wait until after some eventual catastrophe.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 35: Instead of spreading warnings of apocalypse, let Findhorn proclaim that the new age is already here, in spirit if not in form, and that anyone can now cocreate with that spirit so that the form will become manifest. Because all at that meeting felt the same way about this issue, this philosophy of "we are creating the new age now" became Findhorn's policy.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 38: In many ways, the phrase an emerging planetary culture is replacing the phrase an emerging new age among those who are concerned with such things. For example, the Findhorn Foundation community is more likely now to call itself a planetary village than a new age center.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 42: This is the awareness that all life is interrelated and interdependent, that the formative elements of creation are not bits of matter, but relationships, and that evolution is the emergence of ever more complex patterns and syntheses of relationships. A contemporary Jesuit theologian, Thomas Berry, puts it that every atomic particle is present to every other atomic particle in an inseparable unity, a unity that enables us to say that the volume of each atom is the volume of the universe."
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 67: Over the years it has been evident that John's [Spangler's own spirit guide 1963-70 & 1973-92] main interest is the emergence of a new age and a new culture, and he identifies himself as one of those on the spiritual side of life whose work is specifically to empower that emergence.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 74: The emergence of a new culture comes from hundreds of thousands of such small, anonymous acts that collectively exert an influence.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 81: On this level the new age is fundamentally a spiritual event, the birth of a new consciousness, a new awareness and experience of life. ... It is the new age as a state of being, a mode of relationship with others that is mutually empowering and enriching. ... this level centers upon the spiritual function, which is service: the giving of life, the nuorishing of life, the upholding of life in its desire to unfold.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 82: The sacred becomes what we encounter on whichever sabbath day we celebrate, ... we would not so often treat each other as things, without regard for the holiness within us. ... In you and with you I can find the sacramental passages that reconnect me to the wholeness of creation.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 82-84: I have developed the following criteria for recognizing the new age spirit at work when I encounter it:
    • First, it offers a positive image of the future. Equally important, it offers a vision of my capacity to create that future. ... I am a cocreator of its emergence, ...
    • Second, ... It [this world view] is holistic, in that it affirms the interconnectedness and intercommunion of all things ... It is therefore ecological, affirming Gaia and our role as participants in, and stewards of, the well-being of nature.
    • Third, the new age offers action. ...
    • Fourth, ... I see the new age not just as a vision but as a very real spirit. ... This spirit is reaching for a new level of beingness and creativity, a new level of integration with the earth, and a deeper state of communion with God.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 92: Sometimes in groups as well as in individuals the desire for self-discovery takes the form of rebellion against tradition and authority.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 93: This usually happens when a person or an organization is impatient to "do something", to "make a difference," to "stop talking and start acting," to be "relevant."
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 96: There is a frequent image that one encounters among "new paradigm groups". This is the image of the "quantum leap" the idea that the transformation can come suddenly because of the development of a critical mass of people believing and practicing the values and strategies of the new paradigm.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 97: these were the questions that Findhorn confronted in 1970, when it decided it would be the new culture now, ...
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 97: The fourth stage, then, is the embodiment of new values in service.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 100: This assumption of powerlessness and helplessness on the part of humanity has always been a failing of the apocalypstic viewpoint.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 101: Jesus and other great models of humanity say it simply: to love God, to love oneself, and to love one's neighbor.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 101: This quote is from an interview with [David]Bohm in The Holographic Paradigm and Other Paradoxes, edited by Ken Wilber.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 103: we participate in cocreating the world we experience. We are part of the creative process.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 103-104: It and other similar theories coming out of the fields of chemistry and biology suggest that a cultural transformation, and the adoption of a new paradigm could come about very swiftly - out of the learning and embodiment of the essentials of that new vision by only a few members of our species. ... no single individual is too unimportant to be able to make a contribution.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 107: The idea of a new age as an image of the future offers us several things. It provides us an alternative to images of pessimism and despair. It maintains that the future need not be determined by inertia, habit, or the momentuof the present - transformation is possible. By challenging current cultural assumptions about ourselves and our world, this idea encourages revisioning and innovative thinking. Further, it offers us a new set of values, a new world view to guide our efforts at future-building.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 110-111: It [the future society] will also honor nonverbal means of communication, finding in the arts such as dance, music, and drama, skills and techniques that greatly enhance the experience of a planetary language. The mystical arts of meditation, intuition, and even extrasensory perception may also be brought into play here.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred (1984) p. 112: These corporate entities will represent one of the forms through which humanity explores its collective consciousness and its capacity to create community. ... There will be several religious and spiritual disciplines as there are today, each serving different sensibilities and affinities, each enriched by and enriching the particular cultural soil in which it is rooted. However, there will also be a planetary spirituality that will celebrate the sacredness of the whole humanity in appropriate festivals, rituals and sacraments. There will be a more widespread understanding and experience of the holistic nature of reality, resulting in a shared outlook that today would be called mystical. Mysticism has always overflowed the bounds of particular religious traditions, and in the new world this would be even more true.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 144: But the emerging paradigm is not a new religion.  It is more a mystical or holistic sensibility that is in alignment with the essential teachings and mystical traditions of all the great world religions. Though they are often equated, mysticism and religion are not the same thing. Mysticism is the experience of the wholeness in which we are embedded - the perception of the presence of God. It is an experience of unity with that presence, the discovery of the spirit of God within ourself. ... mysticism shows us how we are one with God and coparticipants with divinity in the unfoldment of creation.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 148: The interventionist outlook takes different forms. It can appear in an overreliance on guidance from spiritual sources (and in a plethora of people willing to provie it - as John has said, there are persons on both sides of the line between the visible and invisible worlds who are only too happy and willing to tell others what to do). This comes from the idea that spirit, being spirit, knows better than we what we should be doing; the emphasis is on obedience, not on cocreativity.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 151: In whatever form it takes, the interventionist philosophy, with its images of spirit as power, denies the promise of spirit as connectedness. It obscures the mystical dimension of our life and our participation in that dimension and is ultimately disempowering. It says that the challenge before us of creating a better future is too big for humanity, that we are good at making messes but unable to clean up after ourselves.  ... If spirit is to intervene, then it will be in partnership with us, acting through aur attunement and our efforts, our compassion and our wisdom.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 151-152: There is a final way in which the new age represents the emergency of the mystical dimension. That is in the birth of a new consciousness. John has stated from time to time that the new age is an act of planetary incarnation, the birth of a planetary mind and soul. In this view, humanity is at the threshold not just of cultural change but of an evolutionary leap. Through the growing complexity and intimacy of our global connections, a new level of awareness altogether, a new mind, a new consciousness will emerge. ... In this way, the new age is the emergence of a new revelation, a new covenant between God and the wholeness of planetary life.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 158: Evil is, when all is said and done, a true imposition of limits.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 159: So much of the new age thought and its images draw on millennarian expectations and traditions, such as the idea of apocalypse. Failure to see it as a recurrence of an old idea makes us more vulnerable to modern versions of that idea.
  • Spangler in Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred, (1984) p. 160: The new age is a process, not a sudden event.
  • Emergence is reviewed by Ashtar Command at www.amazon.com: Humanity is called upon by spiritual forces to create a “new age”, but not through apocalyptic destruction, revolutionary action or obedience to some authoritarian religious leadership. Rather, humans should become co-creators with Gaia and the spirit-world in a gradually emerging planetary culture. While Spangler is at pains to sound non-partisan, the planetary culture sounds radical-liberal, with green technology, decentralized communities and global networks functioning to some extent as a democratic world government. ... Spangler's own spirit-guide “John” is a co-worker, not an “ascended master” or heavenly guru. Spangler chose to tone down the more overtly Theosophical-Anthroposophical material for this volume.

Fra Den okkulte løsning, av Karl Milton Hartveit, s 358-360: I 1970 ble Spangler telepatisk kontaktet av et vesen som han definerer som et over-personlig vesen ved navn Grenseløs Kjærlighet og Sannhet. Ved å fungere som medium for dette vesenet mottok Spangler en rekke budskap som gav ham en detaljert okkult forklaring på hva som egentlig skjer med menneskeheten og jorden. ... I 1971 ga han ut boka Revelations: The Birth of a New Age. Boka er det nærmeste man kommer en New Age okkultismens bibel. ... Grenseløs Kjærlighet og Sannhet sier selv at han ikke kan virke gjennom enkeltmennesker, men kun gjennom grupper, og at det derfor er vesentlig at man danner okkulte grupper som kan skape en gruppesjel vesenene kan virke gjennom. ... På en noe uklar måte knytter Spangler den nye energi til atomkraften, som igjhen er koplet til Kristi annet komme.

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