An Inclusive, Interdisciplinary Approach to Spirituality Without Dogma or Religion
Alchemical Dialogues - from Lead to Gold
Alchemical Dialogues are live and unscripted conversations recorded on Zoom brought to you by the great folks of Amber Light International. We choose topics from our current social and cultural climate, with an emphasis on humanism and spirituality. If you would like to participate in our podcast, please contact us using this form.
When the edited audio podcasts are released, announcements and links are sent out to our general mailing list, and posted on our Facebook and Instagram pages. You can subscribe to Alchemical Dialogues on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or search for us in your favorite podcast app.
For Dr. Aude Chesnais, decolonization is more than restoring political and governmental independence to present and former colonies. We must decolonize across all areas of our lives, and to do this one first must confront the distinctions and differences our present predominantly white, western, patriarchal worldview imposes on ourselves — on how we perceive, think, relate, and act. True decolonization is rooted in a deep respect for both our uniqueness and our interconnectedness. In actuality, its foundation is spiritual. We must fearlessly deconstruct ourselves and how we have been colonized from independent beings with an easy connection to each other, nature and the cosmos into rigid belief systems emphasizing separateness and dominance, forcing allegiance to other than what is natural. This solid spiritual base affects our perceptions and informs our actions, but it confronts systems of power which resist its emergence in so many dimensions: personal, cultural, political, religious, gender, sexuality, racial, and more. Aude Chesnais, Ph.D. (Aziza Noor) has encountered various spiritual traditions before finding her family on the Sufi path since 2017. She also is a political ecologist and senior researcher for the Native Lands Advocacy Project, and has been working closely with native communities in the USA for the past 10 years on issues of land sovereignty and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, particularly in support of regenerative food-systems transitions. In her work, Aude has had to strongly reflect on her positionality as a white researcher working in indigenous settings. Although her spiritual path has led her on the quest to understand oneness, Aude’s professional path and commitment to social justice constantly reminds her of the real social impacts of human distinctions on their lives. Reconciling these two coexisting realities is her lifetime quest. Dr. Chesnais received her MA in social and solidarity economics from Université de Haute-Alsace, France... View Article
Henry Cretella continues his discussion with Sensei Margot VanEtten. In our last conversation with Henry and Margot, some questions were asked by our participants about the nature of the sword. Here is a deeper dive into that discussion, along with the relationship between a practitioner and her sword.
Henry Cretella, M.D. talks with Sensei Margot VanEtten about women in martial arts and spirituality.Martial arts is a spiritual discipline. Its focus on awareness, being in the moment, and mastery of the body and mind lead to a greater freedom, especially from fear. When practiced appropriately, this naturally encourages non-violence. What is less recognized is how it opens one to a power greater than oneself. Women and feminine energy play a pivotal role in making all of this immanent, real in the present moment in one’s body, mind and heart. As the martial arts have played a role in increasing women’s physical and mental confidence, they also have allowed a greater freedom for women to choose their social roles rather than accepting only what is expected. In turn, their involvement has increasingly allowed for what mystics call “the divine presence” to become felt and realized in our very being, right now. As we learn to reconnect to our natural world and our natural selves – including our bodies – the energy of the feminine plays a pivotal and increasingly important role. Margot VanEtten has a wide and varied background in spirituality and meditation, interfaith study and dialogue, martial arts, and ministerial practice. She holds several black belts in related forms of Karate-do and Japanese sword arts. Margot has studied and taught martial arts for more than 37 years at Harp Karate/the Martial Arts Center of Rochester, as well as developing and teaching women’s self-defense classes. Her integrative interests lead her to teach an Inner Development class at Harp Karate for many years, further developing her expertise in the mind-body-spirit connection within the martial arts and in the rest of life.
Henry Cretella, M.D. talks with Donald Londorf, M.D. Lac about multidimensional healing.Don views healing on a continuum. The different healing modalities at our disposal are not competitive with each other. They create a landscape or map which allows us to explore the many dimensions of health. This multidimensionality is the hallmark of being human. Dr. Londorf graduated from McGill University medical school with the Campbell-Howard prize in clinical medicine. After his residency in emergency medicine at Emory University and a fellowship in emergency medicine at McGill University, he practiced and taught this specialty at University Medical Centers until 1996 when he opened his own Chinese medicine practice. Dr. Londorf received his acupuncture and Chinese medicine training from Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China. He is certified as a diplomate in acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Dr. Londorf studied with Grand Master Tzu Kuo Shih and became a certified qigong therapist and second level qigong Master. He has also trained in Peruvian Andean shamanic medicine, and studied and practiced meditation since the age of 12. Dr. Londorf practices at the Inner Sage Healing Arts Center in Pittsford, NY.Visit his website: https://innersagedoctor.com
Personal and Universal Dream Meaning and Integration, Waking: A Conversation with Dr. Henry ‘Wadud’ Cretella Today, we are showcasing the talents of Joel Lesses, host of the religious and spiritual podcast Unraveling Religion. Joel and Henry recorded a podcast for the Unraveling Religion audience in 2017 about the meaning of dreams and integration. In it, they explore what is beyond psychology from a religious, mystical, and spiritual perspective. They also discuss the relation of dreams between Freud, Jung, and Sufism in the areas of: What can dreams teach us? What are the symbols? Where does the meaning stop? With an emphasis on the archetypes, the unconscious, accidents, symptoms/neurosis, Joel and Henry explore the balance of our actions as tipping the scales to what is good. Unraveling Religion’s mystical and practical discussions are explorations of spirituality and its relation to religion and psychology, with questions always. Beyond a specific religion or spiritual practice; what do we share, what do we have in common? These talks are a work in progress evolving our rich inner life, including reflections on religious texts, poems, art, and what is common in our human experience enhancing understanding of our relationships: with ourselves, with one another, and with the world we share. You can find Unraveling Religion on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/unraveling-religion/id1510379967 Joel David Lesses’ background is in psychology and counseling with other passions including the intersection of poetry, spirituality, science and phenomenology shared and disparate in the human experience, and transformative power of self-inquiry and introspection through contemplative and meditative practices. Joel was nominated by Artvoice in 2013 and 2014 as Buffalo’s Best Poet and won the honor in 2014. He has been published in various magazines and publications, founded Ground and Sky Poetry Series, and facilitated numerous poetry workshops.
It was our pleasure to welcome Bettie Scullin for a discussion with Henry Cretella, M.D on the Akashic Records. “Akasha” is a non-physical field containing information unique for each person and accessible with training or the help of others. What is gained can be practical, informative, transformative, and healing. Being in touch with this field can lead to a more natural, holistic, and authentic way of living. Here is how Bettie describes herself and her experiences: “I grew up without a true sense of my genuine self, feeling alien in a bewildering world. Conversely, I felt a deep spiritual connection to illuminated beings that protected and at times guided me. Unaware of my empathic nature, I floundered through life, reacting to events in a manner that often proved counter to my highest good. On many occasions I was saved by unseen forces by a clear intuitive knowing and/or direct action. Profound as these experiences were, it never occurred to me to ask for help from these mostly unseen beings until I learned how to access my own Akashic Records. “My work in the Akashic Records connected me to a deep source of support, wisdom, love, and guidance as I was shown how my life fits into the fabric of life, how we are all connected, and how to live a more genuine, authentic life. While these experiences have been profoundly healing, I have also relied on this connection to help with such tasks as business meetings, reorganizing my home, and creative pursuits. I felt called to help others access their records, either in a consultation with me, or by learning how to access their own records. I am deeply grateful for the people who have trusted me with this honor. “Loving, supportive, and often humorous, the beings we refer... View Article
It was our pleasure to welcome Hafizullah, a Sufi spiritual teacher from Seattle, WA for a discussion with Henry Cretella, M.D on spiritual bypass. It is almost impossible to follow a spiritual path without engaging in some version of using spirituality, consciously or unconsciously, in the service of avoiding painful issues. What matters is knowing this, learning to catch it more and more quickly, and getting back on track. Returning to the main highway involves a willingness to really get to know ourselves, not just “transcend.” It is to genuinely deal with the mystery in our shadows where our unique gifts and talents lie right next to our wounds rather than only focus on the light. It is then that our spirituality becomes whole, meaningful, and transformative.
Henry Cretella, M.D. talks with Paul Brew about Paul’s personal journey into finding his relationship with spirituality. Paul is formally trained in history and is an adjunct teacher at local colleges. His travels have included working at Eastman Kodak as a Group Leader, an advocate for LGBTQ rights, glassmaking, photography, martial arts, and a love-hate relationship with religion. Paul’s extensive reading and life experiences brought him to a love of mysticism. Paul says, “If you want to be kind, think of me as a spiritual Renaissance man.”
Henry Cretella, M.D. talks with Dr. Cheryl Tisler on Zoom about Cheryl's personal journey into holistic psychiatry. Dr. Tisler describes her life journey in which she synthesizes her experiences starting with her upbringing and adult relationships, physical status, allopathic, and alternative medical explorations and spirituality, into a focus on holistic psychiatry.
Henry Cretella, M.D. talks with Rev. Dr. William Huston Wilkinson on Zoom about spiritual interconnectedness. Rev. Wilkinson is a pastor/teaching elder of The First Presbyterian Church in Medina, NY. He brings experiences as a sociologist, hospital worker, sheet metal worker, physician/scientist, and theological educator to the building of missional churches and congregation-based community organizations.
The information provided on this website and these podcasts is for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website and in these podcasts is intended to be a substitute for medical, psychological, psychiatric, or any health related diagnosis or treatment.
The opinions expressed by the guests in these podcasts are not necessarily the opinions of Amber Light International and anyone associated with this organization.