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Goin’ In: Sanctuaries


The sages tell us that inner peace is accessible to each of us every moment.   During prayer and/or meditation we feel that sense of calm and serenity, but as soon as we walk outside of our doors…!  Although we hope to create sanctuary within us, sometimes we need to retreat to a place of restoration, to a physical sanctuary.

During these times of transformation, I have found these sanctuaries to be touchstones to remind me of my truth and to renew my spirit.  I invite you to take a glimpse at them, and I hope you will Comment and share some of the places you have visited to retrieve your sense of peace.



Om Sanctuary


Visit the beautiful 54-acre mountain retreat center in Asheville, North Carolina to learn, explore, seek wellness, experience mindfulness and bring balance to your body, mind and spirit while surrounded by nature.

During your visit you have the opportunity to experience cell phone free common areas, participate in a variety of holistic classes, access the wellness center, hike the woodland trail, enjoy the gardens and waterfall within a nurturing, supportive community. Bring peace and balance back into your life; look for an up-coming program, personalize your retreat, or inspire others and Bring Your Program.

OM Sanctuary is the ideal destination for coordinators looking to bring a Spiritual Retreat, Meditation Retreat, Yoga Retreat, Wellness Retreat or Personal Retreat.


I had the opportunity to stay a few days at Om in preparation for a ceremony for the 4 Elemental Mothers.  The grounds and amenities were soothing, and the labyrinth allowed me to ready for the ceremony taking place at Sacred Circle Sanctuary.


Sacred Circle Sanctuary


Established in the spectacular cradle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sacred Circle Sanctuary was created to serve community in providing a place of spiritual practice in communion with the local Spirits of Place and invited Allies. Intended to encourage interconnection within the larger community of spiritual practitioners, this sacred gathering site has been host to ceremonies and celebrations of many types and practices. Embodying the belief that we are all One, this location has served to enable people of many belief-practices to come together and discover/develop ways to celebrate the Divine as it is expressed in all of our unique human forms. The common creation of ceremony and celebration around the fire circle has been an expression of cultures throughout all times. This symbolic use of light and energy transcends all religious and spiritual definitions, touching upon that common denominator to all sacred practice, the intentional connection of the celestial light with our earthbound creation.


The fire ceremonies are for gatherings of individuals seeking to bring more of the sacred into their everyday expression through a variety of traditions and beliefs. We gather as Buddhists, Hindus, Shamans, Jews, Pagans, Christians, Muslims, Star-Seekers, and a variety of other expressions having the one thing in common that we honor a creator/spirit and acknowledge our interconnectedness with all living things. We create ceremony to tap into the archetypical and symbolic subconscious that has driven men and women through all times to create meaning through ritual and symbolism. We gather to acknowledge the Divine in each of us and to create a sacred vessel together where we can celebrate, pray, dance, drum, and participate in Sacred Play. Each fire is uniquely influenced by those present and the intent of the ceremony. Sometimes there are special planned elements, and sometimes it is spontaneous.

One thing all fires have in common is that they create a safe and sacred container for each person to do their personal work, make offerings to the fire for consumption, and prayers to be carried high with the sacred smoke. There is no expectation on anyone coming other than to be open to the moving of spirit within them, honor each person’s own expression as sacred for them, and lovingly hold space for the ceremony to proceed in its own way.


Roy Eugene Davis is the founder and director of Center for Spiritual Awareness. All authentic enlightenment traditions are honored and the innate, divine nature of every person is acknowledged. We affirm that it is possible for everyone, by right personal endeavor and God’s grace, to have a conscious relationship with the Infinite and to fulfill all of life’s purposes in harmony with natural laws.

CSA is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of Georgia in 1964. The international headquarters is located off Lake Rabun Road, in Rabun County, in the low mountains of northeast Georgia, 90 miles north of Atlanta, Georgia. Our facilities, on an 11-1/2 acre wooded site, include the administration offices and publishing department, six guest houses, the meeting hall with a dining room where vegetarian meals are served during scheduled meditation retreats, the Shrine of All Faiths Meditation Temple, two library buildings, and a book store.

Meditation seminars are offered several times a year at our headquarters retreat center. These programs are attended by truth seekers from all walks of life. While our teaching emphasis is that of the kriya yoga tradition, people of all faiths are welcome. Here, they have a supportive environment in which to be physically and mentally renewed and spiritually nourished. Class themes include holistic lifestyle guidelines and meditation instruction and practice. Meditation retreats and seminars are also offered in several cities of North America and in some other countries. Programs are offered on a voluntary donation basis.

Request a free literature packet, mailed anywhere in the world, which includes a sample copy of Truth Journal magazine, listings of Mr. Davis’ books, videos, and audio CDs, and schedules of meditation retreats and seminars. There is no obligation to you.


The Center for Spiritual Awareness was a stone’s throw away, outside Atlanta and welcomed me with open arms to all things healthy to the spirit.  An interfaith chapel, meditations, yoga, long walks on the grounds, great vegetarian fare, all for a love offering.  Mine was generous.


In Abadiania, Brazil, Casa de Dom Inacio holds a special place in my heart.  My first visit was for my own renewal; my second visit was with/for my husband, who was stricken with cancer.  I recount my visit there in my blog, Camping Out.  The following is an excerpt describing the Casa and John of God:

Abadiania is home to John of God, who is said to be one of the foremost mediums in the world. As Marge Cuddeback ascertains:

João De Deus, who is commonly referred to as “John of God,” is the most powerful healer alive today! People come to his healing center in Abadiania in central Brazil (about an hour and a half drive from Brasilia, the capital of Brazil) from around the world to experience the miracle healings that happen there. Abadiania is built on a crystal bed, which amplifies the healing energy. João provides free treatment in his center, known as Casa de Dom Inacio. The Casa is open three days each week: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The medium, João, allows designated spirit entities to work through him ( St. Ignatius Loyola being one of the main ones) to do visible and invisible operations, cures and treatments of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. Many who flock to João have run out of medical options. At the Casa, there is a whole room full of discarded wheel chairs, walkers and canes.

Most will feel profoundly changed by this experience. All “cures” are not instantaneous. The majority takes time to effect a cure. As with orthodox medicine, there can be no guarantee. But the majority of people, depending on the gravity of their illness, respond favorably with time.


The grounds of the Casa. Visitors making soup.

Google the name, John of God; check the chronicles of The Discovery Channel, Primetime Live, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and you will come to know his constant mantra, I am only a man. God does the work. This work is common practice in Brazil, and there are a number of houses for healing called casas.

As a medium, João de Deus, or John of God, (JOG), incorporates over 33 entities, which are spirits that perform works of healing, including spiritual and physical surgeries.  Amazingly, João, the man, has been a vessel for healing others over 40 years. He finds his way to the world renowned Casa he built, (Casa de Dom Inacio,) three days a week.  There, he engages in two healing sessions a day, which last up to three hours.  After the last session on my most recent visit, he was scurrying t

o catch a flight to another part of Brazil, where people needed him. He charges nothing, and every work, including the service of many volunteers, is compensated by love. The Casa is sustained through donations, the bookstore, the pharmacy, and João himself. (They say, the entities told him to build his house on a bed of emeralds.) All who enter this profound world of healing sustain the frequency of love.


Stairs to the Indian Mound, Florence AL

Two other places that have been a source of healing, The Indian Mound and Tom’s Wall, both in Florence,AL. 


The Prayer Circle at Tom’s Wall, Florence, AL


Most of my travels to places of spiritual renewal have been initiated  and orchestrated by Dr. Deborah Carter, Founder and Director of The C.O.R.E. Center, in Muscle Shoals.  However, The CORE Center itself has found me in many of its healing meditations, African dance, and drumming, which have helped me to center in peace. 


My final invitation.  I am sustained by my daily practices, but I give thanks weekly for Living Spirit Church:  A Center for Spiritual Oneness.  It is a sanctuary of peace and love and has sustained me through all of life’s processes.


Come through our doors, and you may meet people of different faiths. Living Spirit offers an opportunity to transcend dogma and to center in Truth, which is the thread that connects us all.  Our intention is to be Christ-centered.


Our mission is to minister through demonstrating and teaching how to live consciously, and to exercise compassionate outreach to the local and global community. Our Celebration Service includes Spiritual Expression of music, spoken word, dance, and art. A Healing Circle takes place after each service.



Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Garden Spices Magazine

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