When asked what I do I say I am an elder. Just that. Of course, they want to know more; I offer the laundry list of my skills, but in truth elder is the most appropriate answer I can give. According to Webster’s an elder is, “one having authority by virtue of learning and experience.” In today’s vernacular I might be an “influencer” in the realm of spiritual search. I am an influencer of Source.

Many people tell me that they are looking for their tribe. When I ask them to describe this tribe I hear they want to be among people who share the same ideas and beliefs, who refuse the same philosophies, hold similar opinions, even have the same currency in society as well as finance.

People of like mind are not necessarily our only tribe members. Difference plays a part in our spiritual and human growth. Of course, we know this; we hear about the need for diversity all the time; but that refers to school or work or urban planning, not spiritual endeavor. But if we only surround ourselves with those who think and observe in the same way, how are we challenged to change? How do we learn to love?

Energy in spiritual language has been defined as a vibration, a current, a sensation. It can be all. When rivers are overtaxed and not cared for they end in seabed cemeteries. When magickal or spiritual currents go unused or unacknowledged they become dry and without potency. The Dalai Lama knew that Tibetan Buddhism needed to come to the Western mind to keep the energy of the lineages alive.

When I got sober I went to AA. It was told to me that it was a spiritual program to help with a spiritual disease that manifested itself in alcoholism and addiction. I was lucky. It was not proposed to me as a self-help program, and I learned to use the steps of that program to propel me into, not only sobriety, but a meaningful and useful spiritual trajectory that has lasted all these years. In encountering this program, I was told to hang out with the elders, the people who had more sober time than I did. They would help steer me onto the path that would work for me.

I had a magickal partner in my life who told me to become familiar with a new spirit tradition every year. It was excellent advice and his advice has supported me through many changes, including the ones I didn’t know I needed to make within myself. He was younger than me but had knowledge and experience I did not. I am blessed that I did not let his difference in age, or sexual orientation (along with many other aspects of his life and principles) keep me from accepting him as elder, as teacher. He was and is, even after his transition, part of my tribe.

In these times, and moving forward, we will want to know how to survive well, how to get into the flow, how to choose a path, how to live and die consciously.

We are a great river, moving deeply over the land. Not all rivers reach the sea. We need to support the life of spirit by nourishing the growth of the energies so that we all may reach the source of enlightenment and harmony. There are many tributaries, but we are one clan. We are one planet. This is your tribe, and I am an elder in it.