Rev. Vicki A Bennett D.D.
As a child I was deeply spiritual, something that I brought with me into this lifetime. I had visions and was clairvoyant from the time I was around 7 years old. I soon realized that I was different than my friends and by my late teens had suppressed most of my psychic abilities. I then lost (for lack of a better word) my way spiritually for the better part of 15 years.
Every good story has to have a starting point and this one begins in my late 30’s. I am restless…I know that I want/need something but can't quite put my finger on it. I quit my job and go back to college…maybe what I need is another degree. After a year I am still floundering, but I have a new neighbor and she draws me into conversation about psychic phenomenon. She wants to buy a deck of Tarot cards and wants me to go with her to a “new age” bookstore.
I have no clue what “new age” is all about, but I read Tarot cards when I was 19 and I think, this could be fun again, maybe I will get some answers. I end up buying the cards, but I find Ralph Blum’s Book of Runes. I buy the Runes, incense and Tarot cards and spend the entire weekend sitting on the floor of my tiny apartment reading the cards and runes and journaling every reading. This will continue to be my way of contacting that higher self for many years to come.
Every reading takes me a little deeper into myself and I am amazed at what was there to be discovered. Soon I am reading everything there is about becoming aware and enlightened.
I take classes in crystal healing and learn how to journey out of body. I decide that I will be a healer and a teacher. I find an incredible Reiki master and receive my attunements from him. I know that now I have found my path and am anxious to see where this will lead me.
By chance, I pick up a book on Native American Spirituality and then go on to meet up with a friend of mine who is a therapist. While waiting for her, an associate comes over, sees the book and tells me that he is doing research on Shamanism and there is a woman who is working on her PhD studying Native Shamans. He promptly gives me a flyer for her workshops and walks away leaving me bewildered.
My friend never shows up, she has forgotten our meeting. So I go home and finish reading the book. Next I get books by Fools Crow and then study the visions of Black Elk and want to know more about the Lakota. How can I do this? I don’t know anyone who is Native American, much less how to approach them.
So I root around and find that flyer that I was given 4-5 months earlier. I call the woman and she is excited to hear from me and wants to share her journey with me. She is having a drum making ceremony and she tells me to order a kit from this Native man in Washington State and come to the ceremony in 4 weeks.
I am awakened again and again the night before with dreams that my drum won't go together. I wake up groggy, grab the wet leather from my bathtub and drive to her house. I stop at a traffic light and next to me is the most gorgeous man I have ever seen. He is definitely Native American, long flowing black hair on a huge Honda motorcycle. I say to myself, “why can't I ever meet a man like that..”
He is totally oblivious to me, and he drives on toward the river. I turn toward her house and then decide that I need caffeine to make this day work. After a quick drive through, I pull up in front of her house and a big black motorcycle flies past and screeches into her driveway. Yep, it’s him.
Long story short, his name is Petaigig Ichiwaiwanka (Peta for short) it means “Keeper of the Fire” in Lakota. We spend the next year together as he is dying of cancer. He tells me as he lay dying that I am to write the book of the warrior of Black Elk’s vision who brings the world together in peace.
I tell him “NO”… he refuses to let it go. Finally to shut him up and maybe give him some peace, I agree. He dies that night and I spend 8 years studying with the Lakota.
My life is completely consumed by the writing of this book. I am having visions almost every night; the spirits come into my room and awaken me, explaining what I need to do next.
When I ask a Lakota medicine man to bless my ceremonial pipe, he blesses my apartment first. When he enters my bedroom, he stops dead in his tracks, turns to me and says, “Are you aware that you have a doorway to the spirit world in your bedroom?”
“Yes I am aware.”
He just nods and continues with his ceremony. The book of the warrior takes 6 years to finish. When it is finally done I think, “This is the path of my life, this is what I came here to do.” But nothing happens. My agent has a meltdown and runs away from Manhattan and never returns the hundreds of pounds of paper that I have sent her. I finally self-publish the book.
When the Celestine Prophecy comes out I read it in one sitting. I have experienced so much of what he is writing about and I share the book with my friends. We are all amazed at the journey that we have embarked upon and that so many others are doing the same.
I am getting restless again, so I go back to teaching college and it is a student who gives me the next push. She is getting married at a small wedding chapel. It is a sad little affair and the people who own it are fairly miserable…no happiness, no smiles…just business. Take your money, rush through a short ceremony and toss you out. No photos, no nonsense.
She says to me, “YOU SHOULD DO THIS, YOU COULD DO THIS SO MUCH BETTER.” I laugh. She goes on to say that I have the personality for this, that I would make brides feel special and…on and on she goes.
Six or eight months pass and I get to thinking about what she said, it suddenly piques my interest and I think, “why not?” I call to see what I need to have to do this and am told I need to be either a minister or a judge.
I am neither. But when I was a hippie…(insert laughter here) there was a church in California that was ordaining people. And my friends were all ministers performing weddings. What was that church called…you guessed it…Universal Life Church. I did a search online and found you.
Now, this was a big step for me. I was by this time in my mid-50’s and a Buddhist. I take my spiritual path very seriously and I am not sure that I want to be ordained online. It takes me several months to decide that I could still teach and do this too.
That is how I came to you. My wedding chapel is all the rage, I am an older woman who has seen much and experienced much more. My life is filled with love. I am called upon to share the most important day of a couple’s life. I get to join them in love and compassion and send them on their way to fulfill their dreams. I wrote this for the ceremonies that I perform, it is a Buddhist way of thinking, but I think that it applies to all people who are in a relationship:
Today you have declared yourselves to be husband and wife. Today you have committed yourselves to one another for the remainder of your lives. This one simple act has changed your lives forever. It was your passion for one another that brought you together originally and passion that brought you to this moment. But a union founded on passion alone cannot survive. From this moment on, you will need to learn to transform your passion into compassion. Compassion for one another will give you the strength to grow and endure as the years go by.
And when things get rough as they will in any relationship, I ask you to stand before one another as you are doing here today, hold hands, look deeply into one another’s eyes and remember this day, this moment, the sacred vows you have just pledged to one another and the deep and abiding love that you share.
Thank you for the gift of the seminary. It is a wonderful place to share and express ideas and most of all faith.
Rev. Vicki A Bennett D.D.
The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.
The Universal Life Church offers handfasting ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and free minister training.
As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge selection of Universal Life Church minister supplies. Since being ordained with the Universal Life Church for so many years and it's Seminary since the beginning, I've watch the huge change and growth that has continued to happen.
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