By Drena Griffith
Growing up in the subtropical Coastal South, sun and sea filled my childhood with warmth and reflection. Curious and introspective, I spent many sunny afternoons after school sky-gazing. Though I wouldn’t have been able to describe it easily then, there was something magical about the elements and celestial bodies coming together - sky and sun and endless miles of water connecting, flowing, swirling around great, unseen edges.
This playground of my childhood inspired my first explorations of the inner planes.
One afternoon when I was ten years old, I decided rather spontaneously to go sky-gazing to find God’s “house.” But I wasn’t looking for the Jesus of the Gospels recited at Mass and discussed in Sunday School. What appealed to me more was the Old Testament story of God’s creation of the world. Even then, I had a love of ritual and structure - and God was certainly thorough and ceremonial as He painstakingly separated darkness from light, air from sea and earth from heaven, then breathed life into animals and human beings.
But where was God before the six days? Was He alone in a vast void of nothingness?! Surely, He was still out there, up there - back there - waiting to be found before going through all the trouble to make the world, and I was going to uncover his hideout!
Slowly, painstakingly, I peeled back the days of creation, layer by layer, looking for the place where God lived before he formed Universe.
Clearly, time was a slippery concept for me to grasp because the idea of God waiting in dark pre-Creation silence seemed quite tangible in my mind's eye. Even so, though I’d like to say that I discovered the Source inspiring such sincere devotion, most days I returned empty-handed, with throbbing temples. But that rarely slowed me down! For many years I played a game of hide and seek with the Infinite.
In my early thirties, after one too many life disappointments and on the edge of leaving Christianity, I wrote the following poem about that early experience:
"As a child I believed in the orderliness of God more so than in his Goodness; I watched as the sky twisted itself from light to dark, from shape to void; that’s where God lives, I told myself, before he formed universe.
My child’s mind never thought to look for God inside my young life; he existed beyond the repugnancy of dawn and sunsets; outside of storm and insomniac dreams. Outside of time, where matter had not yet been forced into cruel shapes, it didn’t matter what love was and where it could not be found no matter how hard I concentrated my focus.
With my childhood sky I had an Infinity that had not yet taken on names. With my childhood faith I had God unstaged."
Now, more than three decades after my childhood vigil, and extensive exposure to a number of diverse spiritual approaches, including Incarnational Spirituality, I see those childhood efforts in a brighter light. They were my first attempt at piercing the veil, peering into the unseen realms that Lorian and others refer to as the subtle worlds. Now, it’s hard for me to not feel appreciation and respect towards an early recognition of what to so many people still remains mysterious and invisible.
But of course now I also know we can do more than gaze longingly across the chasm. Surely we can visit those realms and interact within them as easily as we can our neighborhoods, communities, and childhood playgrounds. In fact, more and more scientific research, including a recent experiment in creating and measuring “objective reality”, lends credence to the possibility that what we consider the known, visible world may actually depend upon the vision of the beholder - something that mystics and children have known for eons.
As I have progressed on my own spiritual journey, my connection with the subtle worlds remains curiously similar to my early voyages. Though I no longer see God living in a house outside of time, or see myself as separate from Divinity, it’s still enjoyable to gaze lovingly into the subtle skies from time to time, hoping to discover a fresh sighting of an old Friend.
Exploring and interacting within the subtle worlds is integral to understanding Incarnational Spirituality. In fact, David Spangler has written a number of books on the topic, but inevitably questions arise:
“What does it actually mean to interact in the subtle worlds?”
“How do I know if what I’m sensing is real?"
“What kind of relationships can humans have with subtle beings?”
“Why do the subtle worlds matter?”
For the next several months, the Lorian blog will explore these and other thoughtful questions in an Incarnational attempt to demystify the inner realms. Topics include: basic principles of engagement in the subtle realms, developing subtle world awareness, adventures on the inner planes, and even marriages to subtle beings. If you have questions you’d like us to consider responding to, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.