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. In a cross-collaboration with both Lisa Carley's new podcast The Labyrinth, and Joel Lesses' Unraveling Religion podcast, we have begun posting 'Selected, Best of The Labyrinth' and 'Selected, Best of Unraveling Religion' episodes on Alchemical Dialogues. We continue to promote conversations that evolve our understanding of the vital topics of spirituality, the humanities, psychology, and The Arts and deepen community through this mutual support. Please check these out!  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.

Here's a short sample from one of our podcasts:

August 18, 2022

Podcast #25- Fix Yourself, Serve, and Heal the World

Listen to and share our latest podcast with Rudy Rivera. We all have wounds. We all have wounded others. Accompanying these wounds are tremendous gifts. Rudy Rivera has found that when we persevere, work on healing ourselves, finding those gifts, and then turning to serve others in our own way, we contribute to a still greater re-balancing and wholeness than we at first thought possible. That’s the journey Rudy has lived and shared with us.   Rudy was challenged with what most of us would call obstacles. To him, they were fuel for a greater purpose that he at first could not see. Mentors were pivotal in Rudy’s life and remain so today. He honors them through his work at the Father Tracy Center in Rochester, NY. In these days of over-specialization, Rudy refuses to be saddled with a constricted mission. He aims to provide total service and attention to the betterment of the human condition through outreach in his designated sphere of influence. Hear how Rudy has found his purpose, grown through his challenges, and has been inspired and now inspires others—including us. Rodolfo (Rudy) Rivera is the CEO of the Father Tracy Advocacy Center, which he founded in 2017. Rudy has been in public service all of his life, having worked as a youth advocate, HIV outreach worker, community program analyst, and more. Throughout his career, Rudy has worked to address the human condition by dealing with the entire needs of a person, rather than simply looking at one issue. In Rudy’s role as CEO, he continues this approach and sees himself as a researcher, investigator, teacher, and advocate for the improvement of the quality of life of others. For more information or to make a donation, please visit:

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June 30, 2022

Podcast #24- Be a Liberationist—Be Free

Listen to and share our latest podcast with Reverend Lewis Stewart. Henry’s partner Kathleen connected him with Rev. Stewart about doing an interview for our podcast. Henry thought they would spend a half-hour or so getting to know each other and sketching out a topic. Two hours later, Henry had made a new friend who felt like an old friend. We expect that the same will happen to you. During their conversation, Henry suggested to Rev. Stewart that he discuss his work as a community activist. Rev. Stewart gently corrected Henry and said that he considers himself a “Liberationist.” Then, as their discussion deepened, we gained greater insight into what he meant. Hear how Rev. Stewart was inspired by the people he met and his enormous interests, his spiritual education and path, the causes and challenges he confronted, and his commitment to work for the liberation of all, especially the oppressed and disadvantaged. The goal of Alchemical Dialogues is to allow something new to emerge from a conversation. It has so far, it did with Rev. Stewart and Henry, and we are confident that this podcast will inspire and liberate you as well. Reverend Lewis W. Stewart, Jr. was born in Newburgh, New York, earned an AAS degree from Orange County Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and History from SUNY Brockport, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozer Theological Seminary. He then studied at Syracuse University School of Social Work. Rev. Stewart was ordained as an Elder in the Churches of God in Christ in June 1972 in New York City, and as a Baptist Minister. He served as an Associate Minister at Second Baptist Church in Mumford, New York under the leadership of Dr. Charles Thurman, and at Christian Friendship Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership... View Article

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May 30, 2022

Podcast #23- Art as a Spiritual Force for Change

Henry is very proud to welcome Tania Day-Magallon for a compelling discussion on art and spirituality. Artists are agents of personal and social change. On a personal level, Tania explains that art is an ancient, primal way of expressing inner feelings without words. As artists surrender to their craft, their intuition develops, and perhaps without knowing it, they begin to see “beyond” the personal. Their art then becomes a mystical expression for society as a whole of something deeply felt in the culture, but often hidden from awareness. Tania Day-Magallon’s art is a sharing of her spiritual journey, founded on re-connecting with the divine feminine and integrating this into an overly patriarchal social structure. When Tania explored her cultural and family heritage, she discovered that most of her influence came from a lineage of female ancestors who were healers and community leaders. She emigrated from Mexico and recently took citizenship in the United States. This experience of being a migrant sensitized her even more to the trauma of disconnection and the pain of neo-colonialism. She attributes her perseverance, including surviving patriarchal art teachers and schools without losing her center, to “stubbornness”; but as you will hear, this is really a deep passion and commitment to truth. A selection of Tania’s work that was discussed during the podcast recording is available on our Friends of Amber Light page. Click on the link: Tania Day-Magallon was born in Mexico City and has collaborated in various art events and exhibits in Chicago, Mexico City, and Rochester, NY. She has exhibited her work at Casa Hispana in Nazareth College, the Rochester City Hall, the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC), and at other venues. Tania has collaborated in projects at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) and at the Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC)... View Article

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April 22, 2022

Podcast #22- Montessori and Peace

Henry is very proud to welcome Dr. John Erhart for an enlivening discussion on the Montessori Intervention Program. Dr. Maria Montessori was a force with which to reckon. Trained as a physician in the 1890s, a first for a woman of her culture at that time, she quickly realized that the children to whom she was assigned and who were designated as untreatable and mentally deficient were actually capable of accomplishment, sometimes above average. Dr. Montessori devised a method that brought them out of their shell to which they had withdrawn because of their general treatment, and then devoted her life to education. Over the decades, Dr. Montessori’s approach has found its way into other educational settings and is seen as a basis for harmony and peace among people and nations. John Erhart, M.D is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who collaborated and developed the Montessori Intervention Program (MIP) with Monica Sullivan-Smith, MS Ed, a Montessori teacher. The program has received recognition by New York State as a model program serving children with emotional and developmental disabilities. For more information, please visit:

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March 30, 2022

Guest Post: Joel Lesses from Unraveling Religion

Honoring Traditions and ‘The Deep River Flow’ of Life, Walking an Autumn Path, Making It One’s Own: A Talk with Henry Cretella, M.D on Spiritual Development Today, we are showcasing the talents of Joel Lesses, host of the religious and spiritual podcast Unraveling Religion. In this walk and spontaneous talk through a local neighborhood and nearby meadow in Rochester NY, Henry and Joel discuss Henry’s development in spirituality, syncretism, Indigenous teachings, Shamanism, forces in nature, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism. While walking through the rustling leaves, Henry and Joel explore synchronicities, Henry’s guides and teachers, various lessons, and how he opened up to deepen his human experience beyond a successful career as a psychiatrist. Henry and Joel also discuss the development of Amber Light International, the Alchemical Dialogues podcast, and his various classes. The areas of manifestation through the study of desire, wish and will, and connecting to community through the universal practices found in Sufism, including life’s teachings and lessons, are very personal to Henry. As a lifelong student of humanism and seeking the freedom of many traditions and paths that spirituality can offer, Henry and Joel explore the universal aspects of the different paths through our shared human experience. 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: Joel David Lesses’ background is in psychology and counseling with other... View Article

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March 13, 2022

Podcast #21- Change Yourself and Change the World: The Unity of Mysticism

Henry welcomes back Joel Lesses for a thought provoking discussion on mysticism and poetry. The arts are instrumental in creating change within ourselves and in the world. This relationship of the inner and outer reflects the unity of mystical experiences, defined as those that connect us and the world with a power greater than our individual and collective selves; however we may wish to call it. Joel is particularly immersed in poetry, and for him, this art form is an expression of humanity’s mystical longing. He also explores other avenues of change through his podcasts on Unraveling Religion, his commitment to revisioning our conception of mental health issues and treatment, his spiritual practices, and reflecting on his own personal journey. Join us and dive into the change that we all long to embody. Joel David Lesses crafts poems about the landscape of our mind and life, capturing the mystical and spiritual elements of being human. He explores our humanness and resilience in the face of true suffering, overcoming these with the transformative power of self-inquiry, introspection, contemplative, and meditative practices. Joel grounds our human experience and spiritual realms in poetry. He has lived in Nepal and Israel, and now resides in Western New York. Joel was previously voted ‘Buffalo’s Best Poet’, founded WNY’s ‘Ground and Sky Poetry Series’, and created the podcast Unraveling Religion, which explores world mysticism and spirituality. His autobiography, Odyssey of Autumn’s Breath, is in-progress, and combines much of his life’s poetry with prose. You can find Unraveling Religion on Apple Podcasts.

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February 12, 2022

Podcast #20- Healing with Sound

Henry welcomes back Mahdiah Esther Jacobs-Kahn for a wide-ranging discussion on music and sound. Note: Please be aware that because of sound latency issues on Zoom, the sound exercise with the syllable “ah” is not as precise on the recording as it is in person. Music and sound therapy have become a part of our medical healing modalities in recent years. They have been integral to indigenous and spiritual healing for millennia. There is something in music and sound that activates subtle centers that open people to the essential states in their own bodies that heal. In the teaching of the Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan, he says that the purpose of a Healing activity is to Awaken Humanity to the power of the Divinity to heal. Ancient wisdom has always used sound as a way to heal our bodies, hearts, and souls. Pythagoras saw us as living in a singing universe and Inayat Khan saw us as musical instruments that are healthy when we are tuned to the vibration that Pythagoras called the symphony of the spheres. Mahdiah Esther Jacobs-Kahn, LCSW is a senior teacher, shafiyat, and retreat guide in the universal Sufi lineage of Hazrat Inayat Khan. She is an experienced therapist and a teacher of the Diamond Logos work. Mahdiah has worked with sound from a variety of perspectives and holds a certificate in Sound Healing from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She does Healing with tuning forks. Mahdiah has also studied voice and Indian music with Karuna Mayee, played the harp, and gone deeply into the practices and teachings on sound from Hazrat Inayat Khan and Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. She spends much of her time tuning her body, heart, and soul.

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January 6, 2022

Podcast #19- Embodying Your Natural Self

Listen to Henry’s insightful and thought-provoking conversation with Lee Anne Byrne, a psychotherapist. Lee Anne firmly believes that uniqueness is natural and mindfully created within each one of us by something bigger. Her spiritual journey began as a child when she would walk to church while the rest of the family slept. In her thirties, her spiritual explorations expanded in diverse directions. Now, she considers herself a freelance spiritual pilgrim. This life course, along with her professional training and experiences, solidified her worldview. Recognizing, developing, and cherishing our own natural uniqueness—OUR Natural SELF—is central to happiness, self-acceptance, and a sense of purpose. From OUR Natural SELF, we also develop our deepest connection to the source that created our unduplicated self. We hope you will join us and explore how to bring this alive in each one of us! Lee Anne Byrne, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in Kalispell, Montana. She received her BA in Social Work from SUNY College Buffalo in 1981, and her Masters in Social Work from SUNY in 1986. She blends holistic and conventional approaches to support people in recovering from trauma and loss. Lee Anne’s work always centers on encouraging people toward a more authentic expression of their natural selves. While her professional journey began 40 years ago, her personal recovery journey had begun at age 13 when she promised herself that she would leave certain family patterns behind her. Lee Anne has continued to focus on her personal and spiritual growth ever since. These professional, personal, and spiritual journeys informed the writing of Lee Anne’s yet to be published book: “Nourishing YOUR Natural SELF: Embodying Who You Naturally Are In a Life That is Truly Yours“. Check out Lee Anne’s inspiring and informative posts on:Facebook:

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November 24, 2021

Podcast #18- Finding Your Own Way

Listen to Henry’s lively and humorous conversation with Iqbal Jonathan Lewis, a meditation teacher and disciple of Murshid Samuel L Lewis. Warning: This podcast contains occasional mild language that may be uncomfortable for some listeners. It may sound like an oxymoron, but Jonathan Lewis, Iqbal, believes that we are already spiritually “awake”; we just don’t know it. This ignorance is a mask. We search elsewhere for what is inside each of us or don’t seek it at all. Our wanderings, when successful, bring us back to ourselves, sometimes with quite a surprise! Iqbal Jonathan Lewis is an original disciple of Murshid Samuel L Lewis, having lived with him at Sufi Khankah, the Mentorgarden in San Francisco. Sam was a Sufi Murshid, as well as a recognized Zen Master, and gained illumination at the Anandashram in India under the guidance of Swami Papa Ramdas. OM SRI RAM, JAI RAM, JAI, JAI RAM. After Murshid Lewis died, Iqbal studied (hung out) with Joe Miller (Zen) for 20 years, and then Don Gilbert, the 77th Patriarch of the Choe Ge Jong Zen tradition. So, what does all of the above have to do with Iqbal Lewis? Nothing and everything. The teacher’s illumination is not the student’s illumination, but it helps enormously to study with a realized teacher. Each of these streams offers incalculable wisdom and methods toward living and realization. If you keep looking through real keyholes, eventually you will see and wake up to the real goal of all life.

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October 17, 2021

Podcast #17- There is always Hope

Listen to Henry’s candid conversation with Dellenna Harper, a Licensed Master Social Worker and author. Warning- This podcast contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for some listeners and listeners with children. Discretion is advised. To say that Dellenna Harper’s life has been a roller coaster ride, is a massive understatement. As she so openly describes in her autobiographical work, God’s Teardrop: My journey of healing from addiction and prostitution published in 2020, she barely survived from one day to the next until, in her words, she became “spiritually bankrupt.” Dellenna held on dearly to her values, but was not living them. When she finally bottomed out spiritually, she managed to find that hope and light others had seen in her. From then on, the roller coaster became more like a bullet train, not without its curves, but with a clear direction led by her heart. Dellenna Harper is a Licensed Master Social Worker whose passion is advocating for and working with formerly incarcerated women who struggle with mental health, substance abuse, trauma, and other difficult issues. Her former lifestyle that included many of these struggles became the fuel for her healing work. Dellenna is currently Director of Hope Harbor and Harvest Hill Programs at the Salvation Army in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was previously the Director of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach Jennifer House in Rochester, N.Y. where she had been a resident in 2006. Dellenna is a proud alumna of Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, and The Greater Rochester Collaborative of SUNY College at Brockport and Nazareth. She was one of the first graduates of the Addictions Counseling Program at MCC. Dellenna was also the recipient of the 2013 Jessica Shackelton Maclay Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by the Nazareth College Social Work Department and was also an honoree for... View Article

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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.