Finding Community at Ozark Research Institute


For years, a couple of my Metaphysically-minded friends have been telling me about a place they like called the Ozark Research Institute. At first I wasn’t interested because it sounded like the same new age Christianity I sampled at Unity and I was always looking for something more Pagan and polytheistic. But recently I’ve been open to attending more social functions, and looking for more community to supplement my UU and Druid gatherings. ORI’s monthly potluck was brought to my attention in time for me to go, and so I finally went. I did see a lot of Unity members there, as well as members of Centers for Spiritual Living, both “New Thought” (read New Age) Christian denominations I have visited in the past. And yes, there were a lot of angel images everywhere. But…I also saw a lot of people I’ve known in the local Pagan community as well. There were a lot more people there than I thought there would be. Everyone was so friendly and seemed to know each other so well. I struck up easy conversations. The mood was homey and earthy and loving. It’s strange to say, but I felt like I had walked into some kind of haven; a community made just for me.

I stayed after the potluck for the workshop that followed; “Dowsing with your Angels”. This wasn’t just a talk. Pendulums were passed around for everyone to practice with, but beforehand everyone there was asked to introduce themselves. There were more people here than at the UU fellowship I had attended that morning, and yet the facilitators took the time for everyone to introduce themselves, taking as long as they liked- and the introductions were often quite lively! When someone didn’t say much about themselves, one of the facilitators would chime in and tell more about each person. I have never experienced such a community as this!

When the workshop began, I kind of expected everything to be framed in Christian terms, but the facilitator took the time to add phrases like “or whatever higher power you call to” when mentioning god, and “or spirit guide” when mentioning angels. (In any case, when I hear the word “angel”, I have started to do this thing where I mentally translate it to Dísir– ancestral protective female spirits.) The facilitator had a very down to earth and inclusive way about her and I immediately felt at home and a part of the group.

So we dowsed a lot. We dowsed to learn more about our angels or spirit guides. We broke down into smaller groups to discuss our findings and dowse for other things. Occasionally someone would ask a question or ask for everyone to dowse on a certain subject to see how many people got a “yes” and how many a “no”. I asked someone in my little group “what other divination methods do you use” and got some answers I had never thought of. The question went around the circle with very interesting answers in response. A couple of these people (who aren’t even Pagan, that I’m aware of) said that they receive messages from Nature Spirits! One older gentleman said he used to dowse for water so people could dig wells- and the dowsing rod he brought out when water witching was just for show. He didn’t even use it to find the water- he felt vibrations in his body when he walked over the best spot for digging a well and didn’t need the tool at all!

The facilitator shared with us lots of little tidbits of wisdom. One of these is that the state of your car and house reflects the state of your consciousness. Once she had her car stolen. When she got it back, she noticed that the energy of the car had changed- but in a way that was positive for her. She had needed the youthful daring energy at that time in her life. Another thing she shared with us is that your angels/spirit guides “don’t want to twiddle their thumbs in heaven”. The idea is that the spirits attached to us want to help us. It gives them purpose, and so we should feel free to commune with them and ask for help and guidance as much as we please.

I learned a lot; from the facilitator and the participants. It appears that this group is a meditation and healing circle with a bit of magic school thrown in! All-in all, a great place for community. I look forward to many happy returns and widening my circle of community.

metaphysical community


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