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Finding Sanctuary in the Subtle World

By Karen Johannsen

Editor’s Note: The Lorian Blog is currently featuring posts on the topic, “Lorian: Who We Are, What We Stand For.” Blog contributors are regular writers and also newer voices who have been exploring Incarnational Spirituality in their own unique ways. Today’s blog writer, Karen Johannsen, is a Lorian colleague and author of Full Moon Magic: Invoking Spiritual Energies for Personal and Planetary Transformation, available in the Lorian Bookstore.

In the mid-eighties I think the universe must have conspired to catapult me into a whole new level of consciousness. Several life altering circumstances converged to expand my concept of the world. The first thing that happened was I came across the material put out by Machaelle Wright and her research center in Virginia, called Perelandra. I began using her flower essences and reading about the deva kingdom. She introduced me to the concept of co-creating with nature. That nature is a living intelligence and that we are hardwired to work in cooperation with these living beings. That they hold the blueprint for our evolution and they desire to work with us to assist us in our own processes of expansion. This was a completely new idea to me. At first, I have to admit, I resisted it because I suddenly felt overwhelmed that I now had to consider nature in making decisions…about my garden, about how I treated the earth, about my life. It seemed like just too much to take in.

About the same time I came across the Findhorn experiment and started reading Dorothy Maclean and David Spangler’s work. It reinforced this idea that the subtle worlds were real and accessible. My resistance vanished and I realized that I carried a deep longing to be more in sync with nature and her cycles.

About this same time I decided to go to graduate school to get my Masters in Transpersonal Psychology. I wasn’t at all clear about what I would do with an MA degree, but I felt compelled to begin this study. With young children at home I studied part time and it took me five years to complete my work. During that time there was another huge expansion of consciousness for me as I began processing and looking clearly at my own life. I emerged committed to begin a practice as a psychotherapist. But as I unraveled some of my own issues I began to see the dysfunction in my own life and my marriage.  

Three years after graduating, in 1990, I ended my 33 year marriage. Terrified and uncertain, I began to use some of the tools elucidated in the Perelandra work. I connected with a MAP team, beings in the subtle realms, who worked specifically with me and whatever issues were coming up for me. I would enter these sessions full of fear, doubt and uncertainty and would emerge 40 minutes later in a complete state of calm. Nothing external had changed. Internally my whole perspective was transformed. With the understanding that I had learned from David’s work and the Perelandra material, I was even more convinced of this field of subtle energy. And connecting with these special beings several times a week strengthened my belief and washed away any lingering resistance.

During this transitional time another practice I incorporated into my life was connecting to trees. I had always loved walking in the woods and now that I understood the true nature of that world I began walking in a different state of consciousness, really noticing the trees, asking to be connected to them, asking to be blessed by them. I decided to pick a tree that was along my walking route and just sit with my back against its trunk. Every day I would go there in so much anguish and fear and would feel the energy of the tree filling me with strength and solidity. I would visualize the roots of the tree supporting and grounding me. That earth energy was palpable and healing and sustained me through this life transition I was experiencing.  

Each of these practices helped me to deepen my faith in this unseen world. I began to long to be in sync with nature, to somehow honor and participate in her changing seasons. I began a practice of going out each morning to sit with my bare feet on the earth, giving thanks and sending gratitude to the overlighting deva of the land and blessing the angel of my hearth, feeling my connection to the subtle worlds deepen. I could then begin my day from a place of peace and alignment.  

My longing also led me to begin holding full moon meditations in my home as I was drawn to a practice that would align me more deeply with all of nature’s cycles. I have been holding these ceremonies now since 2002.

It is through these monthly gatherings and the practices inspired by my work with the subtle realms that I am strengthened and empowered. Each month I feel the qualities of the astrological signs pouring into me. Consciously receiving them, I strive to express them from my highest nature.

Before every full moon gathering I invoke the four directions, the astrological energies, my MAP team, the deva of the land and the angel of my hearth and other beings of light I work with, giving thanks for their participation. I ask that they bless each person who enters my home, that they may feel welcome and safe and receive whatever they might need. I have heard from so many people that entering my home feels like being in a sanctuary. One day my daughter came to visit and I was not home. She sat in my meditation chair and as she meditated this is what came to her.

May all who enter this house feel truly welcome, just as they are.

May all who enter this house dwell in ease of body and mind.

May all who enter this house feel the comfort of belonging to family.

May all who enter this house receive that which truly nourishes.

May all who enter this house be inspired to communicate that which is honest and true.

May all who enter this house know that in this place they may rest, free of judgment, scorn or expectation.

May all who enter this house feel the trees, the sky, the light and the birds surrounding and supporting them.

May we all take the strength and goodness we receive here and

Share it with the world.

This is my prayer to those unseen beings every month when we meet and I am forever grateful for their presence in my life and in my home.

If you have a story you’d like to share of your personal experience with Lorian and Incarnational Spirituality, please email