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Working with
Subtle Energies

by David Spangler
His insights and experiences with the non-physical dimensions of Earth.

The Call
by David Spangler
Who am I? Why am I here? The Call presents insights on what inspires, transforms, and sustains us.

Journey Into Fire
by David Spangler
An introductions to the core message of Incarnational Spirituality.
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Subtle Activism: An Interview with David Spangler (Part 1)

Interview By Annabel Chiarelli

ANNABEL: A popular stance in subtle activism work is that of the “spiritual warrior battling against dark forces.” You have cautioned against this, and I’d like to hear your thoughts about why it’s so important not to fall into that trap, as well as your thoughts on the nature of “dark” energies or forces and the band of negative energy you call “The Scream.” Do they have some kind of independent malevolent agency of their own or are they fueled by plain old human greed, hatred, aggression, and lust for power?

DAVID: Let me begin by saying that before I became a spiritual teacher when I was twenty, I was studying in college to become a molecular biologist. Thus, even today, fifty years later, I still tend to think in biological and ecological terms and metaphors. These are the metaphors I draw on to answer your questions.

The sources of evil in the human world are complex because humanity is complex. It’s not as if there’s a single entity who is the source of all malevolent and negative forces and actions, inspiring–if that’s the right word–human beings to acts of violence and hurtfulness. As you rightly suggest, much of what motivates us to act in ways harmful to others, to the world, and to ourselves are simply unresolved and negative patterns and habits in our own psyches. It’s our own greed, our own fear, our own lusts, and so forth. This is often quite enough to create the problems we see in our world.

What I call “the Scream” is a layer of negative energies in the subtle borderlands close to the physical plane that is the product of our own negative projections and actions. I think of it as a kind of psychic smog which in some cases is simply irritating but in others is truly toxic, just as pollution can be in the physical world. By itself, it doesn’t actively or willfully seek to expand or promote its conditions; it has no agency. But given the right conditions, it can spread just as physical pollution can spread unless steps are taken through energy hygiene to prevent it or to clean it up. For instance, if an angry, vengeful energy exists in an area, people can pick up on it, feel their own anger amplified or augmented, and then add to it through their own actions and projections. We are the agency through which this psychic pollution makes itself felt and can grow.

It’s important to understand that it’s not making us do this. But it does create psychic or subtle energetic conditions that can make it easier for us to choose to go along with those conditions because of elements and habits in our own psyche. We can resist, and we can transform such subtle conditions if we choose to do so and are willing to do the inner and outer work of emotional, mental, and even physical hygiene that may be involved. In other words, we can choose love over hate, courage over fear, respect over contempt, and so on. It can be work to do so and not always easy, but that’s the kind of work our souls call on us to do!

This is not a matter of fighting anything. I don’t “fight” pollution. I recognize it and then I clean it up. I can be deliberate and focused in this cleansing process–I hesitate to use the word “aggressive”–but I am not being a “warrior,” except in the sense that I am courageously standing in the midst of the pollution and not running from it.

But as a biologist, I know that any environment, including toxic ones, can become niches for opportunistic organisms which may in themselves be toxic. For instance, a local beach on a lake near our home was closed down this summer for a time because sewage had leaked into it and pathogenic bacteria had been detected. People who swam in the water got sick.

There are subtle forces that feed on negative energies such as fear, hate, and so on. The ecology of such forces and beings is complex. For instance, there are bacteria in sewage that will make you very sick and even kill you if you take them into your body, but they are necessary to help process the sewage; they are part of the natural cycle of decay and transformation. There are subtle beings and forces like this, and left alone to do their work, they have no malevolent intent towards human beings. But human beings sometimes don’t leave them alone and do invoke them, much as people use toxic bacteria to create bio-weapons. When this happens, such beings may be let loose into the energetic world of humanity and can become a hazard that has to be dealt with through appropriate steps of energy hygiene.

On the other hand, there are beings and forces that are simply malevolent in nature. Their origins are, as I say, complex, and many come into being as products of human thinking; they are potent thought-forms that have been created by someone specifically to do harm and then are released into the world. And some have origins deep in the primeval past of our planet.

What is common to all these “dark” beings and forces, though, is that, like any organism, they seek to create environments and conditions conducive to their nature. They seek safety and they seek food, and because they are subtle beings, both of these are energetic in nature. So in a worst case scenario, yes, forces and beings can arise that actively work to generate and maintain conditions of fear, hatred, anger, lust, and so on within the human world. These beings are truly parasitic as they require human complicity to create the environments they need, and once created, they will seek to trigger human emotions and thoughts along lines that will continue to generate the necessary negative conditions.

So, do I fight these beings? Again, I think here like a biologist. None of these negative forces can exist if the environment becomes inhospitable to them. But to change an environment can require a combination of energy hygiene or subtle activism and outreach and ordinary physical, psychological, and spiritual work with the humans involved so that they stop generating the energies that such negative inner forces use parasitically to maintain their existence.

This involves, to my way of thinking, an ability to create and hold the desired environmental conditions of love, Light, courage, respect, safety, and so on in myself first and then to expand those conditions outward through how I relate to the environment and the people in it. This is why I have trouble with militaristic metaphors. They may make us feel powerful and good about ourselves, but it’s all too easy for us to slip into an adversarial stance that actually ends up feeding more negativity into the environment.

Clearing up the more extreme areas of subtle toxicity is not a simple process, and there is truth to the idea that I want and need to stand in my sovereignty in a courageous and warrior-like way. Even something as relatively passive as the polluted psychic energies in the Scream can resist being changed. There can be some pushback, and I need to be prepared for this. If I’m dealing with a force or being whose current existence is dependent on a hateful, negative environment, then that pushback can be fierce. So I need to be clear, strong, stable, and above all loving in my ability to hold the qualities of the environment I wish to create. I’m not a warrior wielding a weapon of Light, but I am a “warrior” wielding a stout heart, courage, presence, and a fiery hope! (And as an aside, I shouldn’t attempt dealing with such negative organisms unless I do have the skill, the knowledge, and the connections to deal with the possible pushbacks and consequences. I don’t wade into the toxic water of a lake to clean it up unless I know what I’m doing, understand the nature of what I’m dealing with, and have the right equipment to help me.)

Are there malevolent dark forces seeking to take over the world? No, not in the sense of a centralized, vast planetary conspiracy. But are there “dark” subtle organisms that would like to expand the negative environment that protects and feeds them? Of course! It’s what organisms, whether physical or non-physical, do. We don’t need to “fight” them in a militaristic sense, at least not as a general rule–there can always be local exceptions–but we do need to be strong and clear about the kind of physical and subtle environment we wish to have and use our agency to make it so, drawing on whatever spiritual and subtle allies are near and dear to us. In so doing, our “stance” really does need to be one of love, for love is at the heart of the best environments!

[After David sent this response, one of his subtle colleagues offered a contribution to our discussion]

SUBTLE COLLEAGUE: Blessings! This is an interesting discussion which caught my attention. As I’m sure you realize, you are only scratching the surface here. But I thought I’d contribute the following from my perspective. I am aware of three kinds of responses to three kind of forces and beings that are sources of negativity in your world. One is healing and redemption, one is recycling and restoration, and one is destruction.

In the first case, we seek to heal and redeem those who to us are suffering diseases and pathologies of the soul, internal habits and ways of thinking that promote harm, whether to self or to others. This can be a simple process or it can be a complex and lengthy one depending on the soul involved and the nature of its consciousness.

The second deals with the forces you think of as energetic or psychic pollution. These are vectors of energy that currently are harmful but which can be realigned and reorganized to be harmless and restored to a pristine condition. Altering the environmental conditions as you have described is usually sufficient to accomplish this.

Finally, there are those constructions of thought, feeling and energy that are wrongly made from the outset. There is no being here, and the energies that make up such constructs are bound to its shape and purposes. Here is where we wield what metaphorically you would call the Sword or Spear of Light to break up and destroy the construct, thereby allowing its energy to be freed and redeemed. Some of these constructs are very ancient, formed in the distant past, and by now they have gorged themselves on human negativity and seek more, for they have become simply black holes of energetic hunger, never able to get enough. They are unstable at their core, but they can be very resistant to change. They cannot be changed simply by altering the environment but must be broken up by the surgical application of Light.

However, as you have perceived, this cannot be done in anger or even in a prideful way as one wielding spiritual power. It must be done from a neutral and strong place of soul. When confronted with such a construct, we do not interact with it but act to destroy it if possible (and sometimes it is not possible as incarnate humans are actively supporting and maintaining it for their own purposes). Thus, there is no compassion for the construct, only implacable will, but there is love for the energy trapped inside the structure. When the organizing impulse of this construct, that which holds it together, is destroyed, then we receive the liberated energies in compassion and love and set about their redemption.

This is all I have to offer. I thought you would be interested in hearing the perspective of one not in the body.

Again, blessings!

Part 2 of this interview will appear next week.

Discovering Presence – A Lorian Discovery Class

One-week online class

June 11 – 17, 2017



There is a well-known saying – The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This week-long discovery explores the understanding that our embodied life is comprised of several elements –  a personal self, a transpersonal self, a human self and a world or nature self.  Each of these elements has its own gift and each is an important part of what helps us to function and thrive in our world. We have the capacity to hold and consciously nurture all these aspects of our incarnational self, and as we do so, our Presence, that wholeness that is greater than the sum of any parts, emerges. 

Each day of this online Discovery class you will access a short exercise focusing on one of these four aspects of yourself at a time convenient to your schedule. The exercise invites you to spend time with a part of yourself, deepening in relationship.  At the end of the week, there will be a live teleclass session (also recorded) to draw together the whole process in one flow of experience.  The intent is to build toward a felt sense of that place within you that draws all your various inner “selves” into a wholeness and gives expression to your Presence in the world. 


Discovering Presence will be held on our online education site. where participants have access to the online discussion and materials 24/7 for the duration of the class. Course includes:

  • Downloadable written and audio presentation of exercises
  • Daily practice with guided audio recordings
  • Opportunity for online discussion
  • One shared audio teleconference session (recorded) on Saturday, June 17th at 8 am Pacific Time.  

New participants will create user accounts on our education site; further details and instructions for doing so will be emailed the week before the class. 


Cost: $47


FACULTY: Julia Spangler 

Julie is passionate about music, humor, good science fiction, and the natural beauty of the world and all the beings who inhabit it.  As a Parenting teacher, she delights in seeing parents discover playful ways to redirect their interactions with their children into more successful pathways.  As a Certified Counselor, her focus is on the ways we can, with insight, redirect our behavior more constructively.  She is a founding member of Lorian, beginning her spiritual work at the Findhorn Community by developing the guest program and singing with The New Troubadours. She is ordained as a Lorian minister. She loves human ingenuity, artistic expression and ideas which shake the mind out of unexamined patterns of thinking. 


Lorian Discovery Classes

Discovery Classes help you deepen your experience of a key practice or principle of Incarnational Spirituality so that you can work with it more effectively in your life. They are based in an exploration of connective inquiry, an approach that engages your physical, mental, emotional and energetic connections with the world through love and reflective perception.

Classes are held on Lorian’s online education site and include written and audio practice exercises broken down into step-by-step bites that build upon each other and allow you to integrate them into your active life schedule.  All teleclass or live webinar sessions are recorded and available to download for your own use. Please read each course description to see dates and activities specific to that topic and class schedule.

Join us for a one week online- and teleclass- based exploration of key Incarnational principles. 

Try out a focused incarnational practice designed to deepen your capacity to bring love and partnership into action in your life.

Discover more about your ability to connect and enhance wholeness in the world.


Since my last “David’s Desk”, a friend has died at the age of 117. We’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship for the past thirty-three years, but this past year, we’d gotten close again. The death came as a shock.

What died is our local newspaper, the Issaquah Press, which first started business in 1900. It was not like the New York Time or the Washington Post, but it was the voice of the community, a common source of news about what was happening in our town and in the region. When it needed to do so, it was also a source of good investigative journalism, keeping our local politicians and developers on their toes.

We shall miss it.

The death of newspapers is all too common these days as print journalism struggles to keep up with competition from all the digital media now available. It takes attentiveness to peruse a newspaper, taking time to think about what we’re reading rather than just responding to a tweet. Not everyone is now willing to spend that time.

What struck me this past month was that the death from financial anemia of our local paper came just as there was so much discussion and concern in other media about the proliferation and impact of “fake news.” While newspapers have certainly been instruments of propaganda, and I’ve personally seen instances where reporters and editors have gotten their facts wrong or misinterpreted what is happening, on the whole newspapers have been a valuable source of accurate information. Newspapers at their best can be an antidote to fake news. When the Issaquah Press died, I thought, “Well, there’s one less resource we have for finding the truth or for being informed about the issues of our community.” There are some roles and needs that digital media just don’t fill.

Thinking about the ease by which propaganda, misinformation, fake news, and out-and-out fabrications can now be generated and distributed to millions of people through digital media every day reminds me of a friend of mine back in the late Fifties and early Sixties. She was a terrific psychic and I remember her saying to me, “David, the time is coming when people will be challenged to distinguish between truth and lies, facts and illusion, and everyone will be living in their own private bubble of information.” With the arrival and growth of cyberspace over the past three decades, I’ve been watching her prophecy come to pass.

Finding truth is always important; decisions and actions based on falsehoods or misinformation can have damaging consequences. The first step towards truth is to be open to it, even when it means changing our minds. If all we look for is information that will confirm our own beliefs and biases, then we filter out anything that threatens or contradicts those opinions, even if it’s true and what we believe is not. We need to be willing to step beyond our private bubbles of information, as my friend put it so many years ago. Discernment becomes a survival skill in a world filled with daily attempts to manipulate our consciousness to someone else’s point of view.

My criteria for separating “true news” from “fake news” or propaganda, whether from the Left or the Right, is how much the source of the information wants me to see a limited, partial point of view that will engage me emotionally and stir me to conflict of some nature. It tries to convince me, stir my emotions, and bend my thinking, with no regard to my own sovereignty. It does not want me to think for myself but to accept without question the information and perspective being handed to me.

These days, everyone wants to turn me into a follower, it seems, even very worthy causes. In some cases, I’m OK with this, but I still want to choose out of my Sovereignty to support that cause. I do not wish to be coerced because they’ve made an emotional appeal or are trying to frighten me by telling me all the awful things that are happening or that will happen if I don’t support them.

When presented with news or other information, I ask myself if it adds to my understanding and compassion, making it easier to make connection with someone different from me, or does it seek to divide me from others, creating a feeling of “us” vs “them?” Does it make me resilient and more capable in my life?  Does it enable me to engage the world in a loving and hopeful way? Does it open possibilities.

There is no doubt there are frightening things happening in the world. I can understand the desire to build walls around ourselves for safety and to filter out any information that threatens us. But our safety in the future does not lie in fortresses or the mentality that creates them. It lies in how we can communicate, understand, and cooperate with each other for our mutual benefit and the benefit of the earth around us. The future belongs to the collaborators, not the separators. Fake news denies this and works to keep us separate. The good news is that we can choose otherwise.

Would you like the opportunity to meet David Spangler in his first public appearance in many years, alongside an international group of spiritual teachers and explorers? Join us on July 28-30 at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington for Gaineering: A Lorian Summer Conference. Click here for more information.




Back in the days when I was regularly traveling to give lectures and workshops, I always tried to drive to wherever I needed to go. If time were an issue, then I would take a plane, but otherwise, I loved road trips. I loved seeing the various parts of the United States and getting to know my country from the ground up; after years of cross-country trips, there are only three States I’ve never had occasion to visit. The United States lives in me in my memory of all the different landscapes that I’ve seen. When I think of America, it’s all there for me, from Maine to California and from Washington to Florida.

As my family grew, my travel time diminished. I didn’t want to spend so much time on the road away from Julie and the kids. So, I began flying more. I enjoy flying, too (or I did when it was a more comfortable and less harried and crowded experience). There was a thrill to looking down and seeing countryside through which I had previously driven. Still, I missed the closeness with the land and with places and people that I experienced while driving. I had become a “flyover” person.

I don’t know when the term originated or started to become popular, but I became aware of it last year during the Presidential Election: “Flyover States.” These are the States in the middle of the country that air flights between the large urban centers of the East and West coasts regularly fly over. To be a Flyover State is at one level a simple description of a fact of life as more and more people live on the East and West coasts and take non-stop flights back and forth. But especially last year, the phrase took on additional meaning.  Flyover States were the homes of the “forgotten Americans,” the ones whose opinions and activities were not as important when compared to what goes on in places like New York, Washington, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, the large metropolises on either side of America. To be a “Flyover State” carried connotations of being ignored, overlooked, not seen, or even disdained as being of lesser importance. Certainly, if a person’s only view of America is from 30,000 feet, he or she is not seeing and connecting with the country in the way a person does who is driving from one coast to another.

There are commentators who describe one of the divisions in this country, of which there currently appear to be many, as that between the heavily populated and generally more liberal metropolitan areas of the Coastal States and the less populated and often more conservative Flyover States. I’m sure there’s a truth to this, and the last election would seem to confirm this, showing again the intent of the Electoral College to give political power to States with smaller populations.

However, when I think of Flyover States, it conjures up an entirely different image for me. It seems to me that one of the many challenges facing us in this country, and for that matter in the world at large, is how easy it is to step into a “flyover state.” Such a state is not a place but an attitude that can arise when we encounter someone who is different from us. This difference could be political, religious, ethnic, racial, economic, or something as trivial as a difference in hairstyles or clothing. Unless we are compelled for some reason to engage with this person, we can “flyover” them in our minds and hearts. We can fail to encounter the territory of their life; we can fail to make connection.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this, both as the one doing the flyover and the one being “flown over” and overlooked. We all live at one time or another in our daily lives in a flyover state. The cumulative effect is that we come to know each other less and less, and spend more and more time clustered mentally and emotionally with those with whom we agree. “Flying over” pushes difference out of our lives or at least diminishes its impact. We see only what we want to see.

I believe that our hope lies in our ability to connect, and this requires that we walk into each other’s territory, at least enough to appreciate another even if we don’t agree with his or her positions and beliefs. Turning each other into flyover states will not help us going forward. The future depends on understanding. The major problems and challenges of the world are systemic and cannot be solved except through collaboration and cooperation. If we can’t go so far as to love each other, we must at least know and respect each other. This requires looking at our differences directly, up close and personal, and not dismissing or ignoring that with which we do not agree.  

At this time, our country is embroiled in problems caused by our various differences. If we hope to solve them, we must work to connect and live in our hearts and minds in united states, not flyover ones.

Join Julie Spangler and Susan Sherman, with guest David Spangler, for  Journey Into Fire. During this six week online class behind held on our Educational website, participants will explore their unique, human journeys and practical ways to experience the sacredness within.  For more information or to sign-up, click here.



David’s Desk is my opportunity to share thoughts and tools for the spiritual journey. These letters are my personal insights and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you wish to share this letter with others, please feel free to do so; however the material is ©2017 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters please let us know at


Some years ago, a friend of mine wrote me to tell me that I was in the Encyclopedia Britannica under the topic of the New Age. Not having a copy of the Encyclopedia, I couldn’t check it out, but the next time I visited my library, I remembered and decided to look me up. Indeed, there I was! But as I read what had been written about me, I became more and more dismayed as there were statements about events in my life or things I had said that I knew had never happened or that I had never said. I was reading about an alternative David Spangler!

I’ve had more than one experience in my life of reading things about me that are not true but which fit the writer’s preconceptions or are what the writer would like to believe. However, I didn’t expect to find this in such an august document as the Encyclopedia Britannica. I knew the scholar who had written the entry by reputation; he was well known for his alleged expertise about alternative religious and spiritual movements in the United States. What bothered me was not that he had made the errors he had but that as a scholar, he had not tried to verify his information. It wasn’t as if I were inaccessible. At the time I had an active public career and was easy to get hold of. He could have simply written or phoned me and said, “This is what I’ve been told about you. Is it accurate?”  I mean, why not go directly to the source to ascertain the correctness of your “facts,” especially if that source is readily available?

Because of my training as a scientist and because I’ve been on the receiving end of misinformation and “alternative facts,” I’m sensitive to the need for good information and for sticking as closely as we can to the truth. But increasingly, we are living in a time when misinformation is more and more prevalent. The Greek poet and dramatist Aeschylus, living some five hundred years before Christ, said, “In war, truth is the first casualty.” Now, though, we don’t have to be at war for truth to suffer. We simply need to have an Internet in which anything can be said by anyone (usually anonymously) about anything and someone is going to take it as fact because it fits their belief system or their desire that it be true.

Back in 1959, a psychic said to me, “David, the time is coming when the astral plane will be materialized, and no one will know what to believe anymore.” The astral plane, for those not up on esoteric jargon, is a non-physical realm of thought and emotion in which reality is whatever we think or want it to be. Its other name is the “Plane of Illusion” because a person caught there loses the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood. With the advent of the Internet, social media, twitter, and the like, I would say that that psychic had been wonderfully prescient, for there is indeed an illusory, “astral” feel about the digital world in which so many of us increasingly live and function. At the very least, as many others have pointed out, it allows each of us to access information that is tailored just to what we believe and are likely to accept. We can each live in our own private digitally supported thought-world, which is precisely what the astral place is like in esoteric lore and why it is regarded as a dangerous place if one is not discerning.

I believe firmly that our hope for the future rests on our ability to communicate and collaborate with each other, giving birth to both creativity and a wider, deeper vision that is enriched by our differences. We know ecologically that monocultures—the planting of only one kind of plant in a field, such as all corn or all soy, and doing so year after year—are not resilient or sustainable when confronted with environmental change. It doesn’t take much awareness to look around and see that nature depends on diversity. So does human creativity, especially in the form of collective decision making that some are calling “crowdocracy.”

But reaching across boundaries of thought and feeling, transcending differences, and being able to talk to and cooperate with each other requires trust. When truth is compromised, when everyone has their own set of alternative facts, when there’s no information one can truly count on—or the information isolates us through how we cherry-pick what we want to know and believe—then trust suffers. Trust is broken, at which point a creative and healing collaboration becomes difficult, if not impossible.

When our leaders in all fields play fast and loose with truth and make claims that reality is what they say it is, so that disinformation is the name of the game, we are playing with fire. People have always told lies and governments especially have always been deceptive, but in a time when the Internet diffuses information in ways that create a fog of “alternative facts,” not being scrupulous with truth is like lighting a match in a room filled with gasoline vapor. The result can be an explosion of distrust that makes any kind of fruitful working together hard to come by.  Given the planetary challenges that face us, we cannot afford not working together.

In esoteric lore, the astral plane lies between the physical world and the realms of spirit, the realms of love, wisdom, and wholeness. Symbolically, it’s as if one has to push through the illusions created by one’s own thinking and feeling in order to come to a place of truth. It’s a call for discernment.

We are certainly called to be discerning. But we can also bypass the “astral” and the realms of illusion and misinformation by simple acts of reaching out, connecting, listening to each other, making an effort to see truth beyond the illusions, widening our sources of information, and most of all, by learning to love each other. Love is the alternative to “alternative facts.” It allows us to build the trust we need to survive the storms of misinformation and distrust that seem to be upon us.

Join David Spangler, along with Julie Spangler and Jeremy Berg, for Recognizing the Note of Your Call– a free teleclass on Saturday, February 11, at 8am PT. Click here for more information or to register.



First and most importantly, let me wish you a very happy, prosperous, blessed, and healthy New Year as we welcome 2017 into our midst. New Year’s is always a special time filled with the promise of new possibilities. Of course, every day presents us with this same promise, but it’s more heartfelt at this time when the coming of midnight marks the passage from one year to another.There’s something about hanging up a new calendar on January 1st that adds to the drama of endings and new beginnings.

There are many traditions that mark this time of year and the celebrations of the Holidays. One that is renewed on television every year is the broadcast of the 1946 Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life with James Stewart and Donna Reed. This is not one of my favorite Christmas movies—it’s just a tad too preachy for me—but I have to admit that I can easily get drawn into watching it, partly because I’m a huge Jimmy Stewart fan and partly because of the power of the story. And I’m always uplifted at the end. I just hate all that I (and the hero, George Bailey) have to go through to get to it!

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the story of a man—George Bailey—who has great dreams and ambitions but at every turn sacrifices them in order to help someone else fulfill their dreams. Further, he runs a savings and loan that enables people to own their own small houses rather than having to rent homes from the movie’s villain, Henry Potter, a banker who wants to control the housing market and who is mean-spirited, greedy, selfish, and cynical about human nature. He is so bad he out-Scrooges Scrooge!

A crisis with his savings and loan drives George Bailey to the brink of suicide, feeling that his life has been worthless. But his guardian angel, Clarence, appears to show him what the world would have been like had he not lived. People whose lives had been saved by things he’d done would have died, his wife would never have married, and Bedford Falls, the town he lived in, would have become Pottersville, a dark, dreary, slum of a place. In the Bedford Falls that George Bailey helped to bring about, neighborliness, trust, cooperation, and goodwill dominated but in Pottersville, anger, distrust, selfishness, and competition were the byword.  

The main point the movie makes, and none too subtly, is the difference each of us makes in shaping the world in which we live. This is an important…no, I would say, a vital idea. But there’s another theme to the movie that is inspiring my thoughts right now as I write this month’s essay. That is the power of choice.

Within each of us is the potential to be a George Bailey but also to be a Henry Potter, just as within us is the potential to create a world based on goodwill and trust or a Pottersville world. Which of these potentials comes to pass is a matter of the choices we make. George Bailey makes choices to uphold neighborliness and helpfulness, giving hope to others; Henry Potter makes choices to create hopelessness and to diminish the sovereignty and power of others so that he can be on top. George Bailey wants community. Henry Potter wants wealth.

Of course, the movie dramatizes this in stark ways. The “Bailey/Potter” choices each of us faces daily are usually far less obvious or dramatic. Do I put someone else down with a disparaging comment so that I will feel better or superior in the moment or am I encouraging and supportive in my dealing with them? Do I create a “Bedford Falls moment” or a “Pottersville” moment? Whichever I choose, the choices ripple out in people’s lives, and in the process, the archetypal Good Community is either strengthened between us or weakened, and likewise the archetypal Pottersville, which is unfortunately a lurking presence in human affairs. We build our world through our choices each moment in each encounter no matter how unimportant or undramatic the moment may seem. Which is really what Clarence the angel is trying to show George Bailey: there are no unimportant moments when it comes to crafting a life, a society, or a world.

I think this year we will be presented with many opportunities to choose between creating a “Bedford Falls” or a “Pottersville.”  We always are, anyway, but it seems the world is moving in ways that highlight these two possible destinations for humankind.  This makes the power of choice that we each have even more important and critical. We are shaping our future. May we shape it wonderfully.

detail-of-american-flag-11279635008nzan1Join David Spangler for To Protect and Defend, an Inauguration Forum from January 14-21. Like the Election Forums we held in the summer and fall of 2016, this week-long online gathering will be an opportunity to go deeply with David into an understanding of subtle activism and to blend our hearts, minds, and spirits in both individual and shared acts of blessing and Light for the out-going President Obama, for the in-coming President Trump— and most of all, for a divided citizenry. Click here for more information or to register.


David’s Desk is my opportunity to share thoughts and tools for the spiritual journey. These letters are my personal insights and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you wish to share this letter with others, please feel free to do so; however the material is ©2016 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters please let us know at


The night after Thanksgiving, I walked into our dark bedroom and was struck by a vision I had forgotten about. Our bedroom is on the second floor of our house and looks out over the neighborhood, a view more open at the moment as our maple trees have shed their leaves. Two blocks away in a cul-de-sac, a house was glowing with tiny white Christmas lights and on its lawn, a tree had been trimmed in multi-colored lights.

Every year, these neighbors are among the first to put out their Christmas lights, always on Black Friday, which seems rather appropriate and symbolic. They are always the first house we can see from our windows that is decorated. Walking into our bedroom and seeing the house lit up, as if hundreds of little stars had descended from heaven to outline it in light, has for years now been a signal for me that Christmas time, Solstice time, Holiday time is upon us.  

In dealing with the aftermath of the Presidential election, in addition to hosting the Thanksgiving holiday for beloved family members whom we had not seen for some years, I had forgotten all about this ritual. So when I saw the house lit up in its otherwise dark corner of the neighborhood, it struck me like a welcome visitation from Heaven. I could feel tensions in my body that I hadn’t even consciously recognized I had suddenly relax. It was more than just greeting an old friend. It was as if order had been restored to my universe.

Seeing my neighbor’s house lit up reminded me that there is more to the world than mulling over the pros and cons of the new Administration. This is the time of hope celebrated for thousands of years in the Northern Hemisphere as the moment when light (and Light) returns to the earth. This is the season of the Solstice. Winter begins to give way to spring and to new life as the days grow longer and the nights shorter.

This is a time when we acknowledge that we all journey through dark places in our lives but if we reach out to each other in loving fellowship, we can bring the Light back. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, if you can be, or if not, then at least open to the potential of new life and new possibilities. If nothing else, this time of year can remind us there are things to look forward to and much to be grateful for.  

I get up early most mornings to write. It’s a time when the world is calm and peaceful, and my thoughts flow more easily. Given that it’s December, it’s also very dark as I move quietly through the house so as not to wake up anyone else. Glancing out the window, I see that my neighbor’s house is dark, too. The lights are on a timer and switch off sometime in the wee hours. But the tree on their lawn is shining as brightly as ever. It’s such an old symbol, almost a cliché: the Light shining in the darkness. It’s wonderfully reassuring, nonetheless. It touches something primal in me, something below the level of rational thought. The world may seem dark, but the Light is still there.

This Holiday season, half the country is rejoicing and half the country is in mourning. It will take time and effort for the divisions created over the past year to heal; it will only happen if we are able to truly listen to each other and hold each other in loving respect in spite of or even because of our differences. Even more, many of our fellow citizens are filled with fear over what lies ahead. How can we comfort them? Comfort each other?

The times are challenging, and not simply because of the Election. The world is going through difficult and dangerous times. Fear is everywhere, a darkening force. Now more than ever, we need to find ways we each can “light a tree” in ourselves and bring back the Light for each other, a Light of hope, of love, of confidence, of collaboration, of neighborliness. It may seem difficult right now, but it is the Season for it.

On Thursday, December 1, please join David Spangler for a Virtual Event— Healing our Divided World— hosted by David Nicol, director and co-founder of the Gaifield Project, on the Global Shift Network. Click here for more information.

hopewholenessPlease consider supporting Hope and Wholeness in the world by making a tax-deductible donation to The Lorian Association. Click on Support Lorian to donate online. Or you may mail a check to Lorian Association, PO Box 1368, Issaquah, WA 98027. Thank you for standing with us.

December Teleclass – Celebrating the Light

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Thursday, December 15th

9am PT, 12 noon ET, 6pm CET



Join Julia Spangler and Freya Secrest in a 1 hour free teleclass exploring the light within your incarnation. 


  • Explore that fire of light within yourself
  • Strengthen your own inner source of power and energy
  • Share in a discovery practice that supports your light and wholeness

When registered, you receive the teleclass link to join in to the session and a link to the recording that will be emailed after the class is held.



Celebrating the Light Teleclass – Free

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