Reverend Judith Andrade,

My Ordination Journey.

Over the weekend of October 1-2 2011, the second of my firsts came to fruition. Imagine at my great young middle age, having the opportunity to participate in something new, something never done before with an amazing group of people I never met and doing it for the second time in less than three months! I thought my time in Hollywood  was awesome but my ordination as an interfaith minister was as challenging as it gets.

Although I had been  ordained in 1999 through The International Assembly of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards, I didn’t take my divinity degree until 2002-4, when  I realized a dream to build a new and unique Ministry for and by women. The additional training added a wonderful dimension to the work. The whole plan started to blossom  in 2004 only to have it shattered with the sudden and unexpected death of my co-collaborator, dear friend and business partner. Everything was put on hold. For the first three years I was shattered, feeling that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be. Then one day, I woke up, like Buddha and wondered why I thought all the dreams we shared as friends  should end. Some dreams die with people who share our goals, some have to be adjusted and some should go on in order to honour the person and keep their spirit alive. This dream we had of helping women and men to overcome trauma and childhood abuse was worthy and needed. Our vision was not for ourselves but for how we could help others. So I started on projects which clearly got me back on the right track. I completed and published my two novels, The Will To Be True/In The Shadow of the Blackbird and a third, Suspect, Love. Just as I completed my third book and pitched it at the first ever ‘Pitchfest’ organized by my publisher in Hollywood,  I was offered a chance to be ordained with the seminary, AIHT, where I completed my degree, something which was not available at the time I graduated. How do they connect?  The novels relate stories of strong women who have overcome childhood traumas and succeeded where they thought the status quo was the only option. On completing the books and having them published, I was inspired to follow my global paths and fulfill those dormant dreams. Getting to the point of ordination was not easy. We were given three months to complete herculean tasks (well it seemed that way to me). With much focus, I finished the required courses, books, and services. ( I mean, who needed to write another 10,000 word essay after writing a 100,00 word book?). I mailed my last assignment two days before the deadline and blamed Canada Post for not getting it there on time. I wasn’t the only one but the College faculty were beyond understanding and so patient with all of us because this whole ordination things was new for them too. Our group was just amazing. We were from all walks of life, sharing different histories, but working with common purpose to prepare for our ordination and bring our strengths to the  multi-faith service in which we all took part.  I never met any of my colleagues but knew most of them by voice. With very few hitches, we were all ordained by the hardworking Administrative Director and Director of the College through the support of A World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy.

Change and challenge are always wonderful exercises which allow us to observe the strength of the human spirit.  As humans we are blessed with the ability to look back at where we started and see where we reach, then use that impetus to move us forward. What will always please me is the chance I had to be first again and pave the way for others. I am mindful that  in these later years of my life I must follow the example and goals, set as a standard for achievement, by my pioneering grandmother way back in 1927. If I emulate her courage even for a day, I hope I have made her proud of me.

The Spiritual Compass

The Spiritual Compass

Some years ago, when I was buying everything that I could see, but not really understanding why I would ‘need’ a particular object, I found that over the years the knick-knacks, which I purchased or found in different corners of this wonderful country of ours, have become very useful as I’ve grown older. Many objects that I purchased on faith, have justified my faith. I realize that  part of what I needed to do was to put together or synthesize my trinket world and my concrete world in a way that made sense. After much internal struggle this past year, I was able to finally recreate a little sanctuary to replace the space that I had in Singhampton.  Above all, I did not want to lose the energy which helped to build that original space nor a vision of the benefit of a having a small quiet corner in the midst of a busy world.

Rediscovering objects that I saved over the years has enabled me to look at life and look at what look at what I can now make useful, not just to myself but also to others who utilize @womenzpace  now open at Discover the Path.  The compass, which hangs in the window, is fashioned  from metal and  stained-glass.  It serves as a reminder to me every single day that life is full of points of light and dark,  soft and sharp. All of these things meld together to create our own guideposts to choosing paths for living life when we hit the inevitable crossroads. However, the compass is so much more than points.  Attention to its non verbal message helped me to realize that I could add some non specific cues for each of the sixteen points and to this end, I have started working on a draft of the way in which I hope our visitors, meditators and healers will find a helpful resource, which can be individualized, in the search for balance.

We all have a spiritual compass. Our great difficulty is determining how that spiritual compass can be utilized to make our lives better. The complexity of a compass should provide an understanding of the self within the self and how each aspect of the self can serve the other.

A compass, like so many other tools or events in the daily life, can point or drag you in many directions. Life is circular and while we may sometimes feel that we are walking in a straight line through an endless desert, truth is that we will wander out of it, encounter an oasis of peace and beauty before entering yet another period of desolation. It’s always a circular path. That give us hope, which is heartening, because we know there is change ahead. A wheel/circle has 360 points on it and each of those points can certainly impact your life in some way. Moving degree to degree won’t necessarily make you feel like you have exited a prescribed route, but when you look back from time to time, you will see where you have been, what you have experienced and know that there is a future which is different. In my mind, there is a great need to create some grouping. It has been done with Astrology for millennia.

Personally, I created groups or sections in the compass in which I can identify tools or find cues in the visual circle of our life which will will help us to utilize the best of a particular grouping by choosing from a portfolio of elements, senses, and energies. Our goal is to help the individual realize all that nature has to offer  in terms of foundation, color, feeling, sensation, sight and sound needed to support  health and well-being every day.

Moving forward,  we are looking at this spiritual compass as a template for our present and our future and we offer anyone interested a chance to frame their own compass in ways which are meaningful to them.

I am posting a picture of its beauty. I have no idea who is the creator but will remain eternally thankful for its inspiration in helping me to define and concretize the mission of the Sanctuary @womenzpace

Spiritual Compass

Spiritual Compass


My Black History

One of the things I remember as a child growing up was the occasions when my mother and grandmother would dress up in immaculate white dresses and caps and attend what seemed to me to be secret meetings.  I knew the name was The Household of Ruth and the women did wonderful things in the community and the churches.  I didn’t think much about it then but as I look back I remember that I was impressed, even as a child by the bearing of the women, their dedication to a cause and their work in tandem with the men who had a similar role in the community.

I hadn’t given it much thought over the years but every February during Black History Month, I take out the old albums and review memories.  Because my parents took prolific pictures there was always lots to look at.  Mostly I just like to remember stories which my grandparents and parents would share with us but as time has passed and throwback Thursdays are becoming more and more popular, I thought I would do a little of both this year.

One of the first pictures I found was an older photo taken perhaps in the late ’50’s or early ’60’s.  With internet accessibility, I was able to find out a little more about the Household of Ruth and the Grand Order of Odd Fellows.  Both my grandmother and mother appear in this picture.  I hope it will bring back some memories for others as well.  More information about the two organizations can be found at http://guoofamerica.com/oddfellows_natl/Household_Of_Ruth.html.


The Spiritual Compass




I love to cast astrology charts for folks I meet. I also love to read Tarot cards.  I have studied both, in detail, with professionals and amateurs alike.  What I know about both astrology and tarot is that they function, for me, like a black mirror, a bottomless pool, allowing me to see beyond chart circle, beyond the myriad of designs on a card, into the heart of any issue.  The result will always remain subjective, after all I am the reader, but the fodder for the reading is directed from person who was curious about a personal failing or success, a puzzling issue, or unfolding event which is troubling.

What I know after years of reading is that I can only see what the person wishes me to see, because we are all in control, whether consciously or not, of our destiny. At the outset of any reading, I inform my clients that I am not a fortune-teller.  If an opportunity to gain money is part of the reading then so be it, but the term is outdated and misleading.  What I most hope to do is explore the individual strengths  and focus points which can help the client choose a path that will bring about the most happiness or success and the least pain and suffering, because we have an abundance of all of those things in life.

Just to be clear, reading charts and cards is not my profession. They are tools I have used over the years to help others, which is my true calling. Reading charts and cards while working as a professional in health care are not mutually exclusive actions any more than being an interfaith minister prevents me from counselling troubled and abused women to terminate unwanted pregnancies or walk away from abusive relationships.  Learning to be non-judgemental and open to all options are a necessities.  The opportunity to read for others has been as rewarding as it is challenging.  There is a need to strive to do better, learn more, understand the fine details of any reading, but after so many years, this is a fruitless exercise.All that is needed is a willing, open heart and mind, then listening to the inner voice which always tells the truth. When I was able to separate that inner voice from my own need to do everything right, the process was more rewarding for my clients.  At the end of the day, something was absent from the process which I could not identify.  So for the past little while, I have had to backtrack a bit because I needed answers.

For years, I have led or supported women’s wellness groups. In those group settings, I always brought some idea, which I read about or researched and introduced the concept into the group.  Vision boards, puzzles, music, tarot cards with different themes (the homemaker got it when I brought the Housewives Tarot deck for her).  Out of those experiences, the women evolved and grew and so did I.

One of the most interesting activities which became part of our open chat time was the introduction of the mandala from any one of numerous patterns that I have collected over the years. Talking while colouring allows the mind to work unconsciously filling in details to suit our own taste. Everyone had the same pattern but each individual used a wide array of colours to decorate the spaces.  Each design yielded a range of responses. The beauty of each and the creativity of the women stuck with me over the years since the initial group activity.

At the back of all my efforts over the years has been the need to study. The wonderful AIHT (American Institute of Holistic Theology) has been a constant prop at my back prodding me to continue to learn, partly for my own good and partly for opening my consciousness to the idea of limitless possibilities.  I have been blessed to receive my degree in Divinity, complete the requirements for Ordination, complete my requirements for entry into the Masters program even if it has taken me years, because learning is a journey which has no destination other than those self-imposed limits.

This year, I am determined to finish the Masters course in Holistic Theology. One of my electives is a study of the Mandala, a gift I gave myself unknowingly. While I draw my lovely Mandala as part of the course assignment, I remember and realize how beautiful is this ancient tool for individualizing and opening the doors to my own inner voice and healing journey.  Mandala meditation is not separate and apart from astrology or even tarot cards because elements of both are included in all modalities. Creating a personal mandala goes beyond the restrictions of charts and the formulae of tarot cards to open the individual unconscious to a spiritual compass. The words, spiritual compass came to me as I stared at one of the interesting icons gracing the Sanctuary which is the home of my hearth ministry.

No thought is ever original. I would like to lay claim to the idea but others have also seen the directional light. Google says so. However, I choose to use my compass in a way that honours my astrology and tarot and leaves much of its interpretation to the individual. More about this journey next post.

I love Mrs. Obama!

Mrs. Obama at the State Dinner for President Hollande


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 275 other followers