Sunday, May 26, 2019


    This Sunday morning marks an exciting new phase in the ongoing growth of the Celebration Circle: we'll be celebrating the ordination of Angel Santiago as a new minister of the Circle, in acknowledgement of his spiritual studies, service and leadership over the past five years.  We will also be honoring the four graduates of our first official Spiritual Leadership Training class: Kathy Barrios, CeeJay Black, Linda Cuellar and Mary Mosley. These new leaders will be assisting with various duties on Sunday mornings in the coming months, adding their diverse voices and talents to our programming, and broadening our community with their skills as spiritual companions.

     We are deeply grateful to Angel for his support in developing this training program, and to these four graduates for their willingness to embrace this new process, as well as their support in refining it. And we're really excited that they'll be collaborating with some other voices in our community to co-create an experimental format for next Sunday, June 2, which they're calling a "Cosmic Circle." It will be a more participatory version of our usual Sunday gathering, focused on movement, music, meditation and collaboration. At this point, it's just a one-time event, but who knows, it  might turn out to be something we do more often.
      Rest assured that we both hope to continue serving as Spiritual Director and Executive Director of the Circle for a long time to come. But, having faced significant physical, emotional and professional challenges over the past two years, we realized it was time to expand the leadership team to help sustain the increasing diverse spiritual community which the Circle has become, and ensure its continuity in the years ahead. To that end, we're excited to honor these newly graduated leaders -- and to announce the second Spiritual Leadership Training class beginning in the fall. We will be opening the application process for that program this summer, and look forward to combining what we've learned from this first class with the co-creative impulse which has been guiding the Circle since its inception twenty-seven years ago.
     As always, we're grateful to you, dear reader, and the many other folks who have helped keep this inclusive, independent, interfaith community and its creative approach to spirituality alive and thriving. Thank you.
With gratitude and blessings, 
     Zet and Rudi

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.

Sunday, May 19, 2019


      As I wake up, I begin the day as usual, feeling the freshness of the morning, launching a silent prayer of gratitude for my many blessings, and focusing on my sacred intention to serve Spirit today:  "new day, new start, open mind, open heart." But, all too soon, those moments of bliss get shoved aside by my Monkey Mind, chattering on and on about the long list of things it thinks I need to get done and/or should have accomplished yesterday. 
     Fortunately, that semi-panicked feeling that quickly arises is an old acquaintance of mine, and I'm learning how to simply acknowledge its presence, rather than letting it throw me for a loop or run away with my attention. Instead of trying to make that feeling go away, I choose to observe it without giving it much energy, then focus on getting calm, centered and focused on my statement of purpose, which is "to experience, explore and express the free flow of Love moving to, through and from me."
     From this space, it's easier to remember what I am really here to do today: to Love and be loved.
     All I am being asked to do is to show up with an open mind, an open heart and a willingness to recognize each person and situation I encounter along the way as a potential teacher, here to help me become more present and less resistant to the free flow of Love. And that includes my Monkey Mind! It, too, is one of my most powerful teachers, and each time it distracts me from my purpose by chattering on about insignificant details, it is not really a problem, as much as it is a prompt, reminding me to make a new choice.
     And, yes, I often forget this sacred intention. But that gives me more opportunities to remember.  And, yes, I still have a long list of things to do -- but I might as well do them from a place of peace -- and they don't all have to get done today. At least until my Monkey Mind kicks in again... Which will just give me another chance to remember.
With gratitude and blessings,

      Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.

Saturday, May 11, 2019


     Once upon a time, not that long ago, in a place not that far from here... a man drove to a flower shop, because he wanted to order a bouquet of flowers wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he pulled up to the flower shop and got out of his car, he noticed a young boy sitting on the sidewalk, looking downcast.
     He approached the boy and asked kindly, "Are you okay? Is something wrong?"
"I really wanted to buy a red rose for my mother," the boy replied. "But I only have a dollar, and roses cost two dollars each."
     "We can fix that," said the man with a smile. Come on, I'll buy you a rose for your mom." So, they went into the store together, where the man bought a single rose for the boy, as well as ordering a nice bouquet to be delivered to his own mother. As they left the flower shop, the man asked the boy if he wanted a ride, and the young man gratefully answered, "Thank you, it would be great if you could take me to visit my mother."  He proceeded to give directions to a nearby cemetery, where he got out of the car, and carefully placed his rose on the freshly turned dirt beneath a simple tombstone.
     Driving away with tears in his eyes, the man immediately went back to the flower shop, canceled his previous order, picked out a beautiful bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to deliver them in person.

     This Sunday, I hope you will join us in celebrating Mother's Day in the Circle, as we collectively make the metaphorical, metaphysical "long drive home" to honor our birth mothers, as well as invoke the vast field of loving and supportive feminine energy that has made our lives possible.
     Having said that, it's also important to acknowledge that you may have a less-than-joyful relationship with your mother. Or perhaps she died so recently that your family memories are still clouded by feelings of grief and loss. Please know that those feelings, too, are a welcome addition to our time of shared ritual remembrance of the Divine Feminine alive in us all. For the metaphysical energy of the Divine Mother is not all just sweetness and light; life and birth. It is also the energy of darkness, chaos and death, for there can be no light without darkness, no nurturing without challenge, no birth without death.
     And yes, it's hard to make sense of this paradox; the language of logic, precision and prose struggles mightily under the weight of carrying these seeming contradictions. Which is why I find so much value in the power of gathering together and focusing consciously through shared silence, poetry, music and ritual space. As we approach this Great Mystery of the Divine Feminine as a spiritual community, we're able to mine the rich seam of meaning and purpose that awaits us, in a deep and meaningful way.
     So, whether or not you are able to attend our Mother's Day Sunday Circle in person, on-line through Facebook Live, or are "merely" tuning from somewhere else, I truly hope you'll consider tapping into the vast field of generative, feminine energy we'll be focusing on together. It promises to be a powerful time, and it wouldn't be the same without you.

 With love and blessings,   
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.

Sunday, May 5, 2019


      I'm down on my knees in the garden, vigorously pulling up weeds and planting seeds. Ever since our car wreck a year and a half ago, I have largely ignored this patch of ground, so the weeds and hackberry saplings have had plenty of time to multiply and get rooted. Getting them out is pretty slow going, but it's deeply satisfying work, tugging at each weed, reaching down low at just the right angle to get out as much of each root as possible, to clear this tangle, plant new seeds and prune back the old, woody growth from the established herbs.
     I'm doing this in part because it's getting near the end of the planting season in South Texas  but mostly because The Cosmic Mass last Sunday literally picked me up by the seat of my pants and shoved me outdoors. So what if my knee is sore and my fingers are stiff. Ignoring the call to be outdoors and working in the garden is no longer an option. It was so very energizing and uplifting to be in involved in The Cosmic Mass alongside 350 other people, engaged in ecstatic dancing, a powerful grieving ritual and stimulating visual images of nature. It also provided a pointed reminder of my body's deep-seated longing to be in direct, physical contact with the Earth. That's something that's very easy for me to forget, since much of my time and energy is spent reading, writing, thinking and responding to head-oriented stimuli. I'm grateful for the reminder, and find myself feeling more energized than I have been in a long time.
     If you were at The Cosmic Mass, you probably know what I'm talking about. If you weren't, you can find a link to video of the event at the bottom of this newsletter, and get a taste of what I'm referring to. And if you heard our guest speaker, Matthew Fox, last Sunday, the chances are good that you, too, are eager to find life-affirming ways to respond to the his elegantly-stated challenge to embrace our Sacred Earth fully.  
     What does that mean? I don't know, exactly. But we'll spend some time in this week's Sunday Circle leaning into that question, and affirming our intention to support each other and ourselves in finding answers. I hope you can join us and add your energy and insights to the process, whether in person or on-line via Facebook Live. It wouldn't be the same without you.

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.