I met Vijali at Mantak Chia's first Healing Tao classes in Malibu. I was taken by her paintings of androgynous beings; she in turn found that my explanations of alchemy paralleled her clairvoyant visions into nature. She had moved from painting to sculpting the landscape to reveal spirit within matter. She would hike the mountains for hours until a particular rock formation called out to her, and then sculpt it.

I had recently separated from my lady Danae who moved out of state with my boy Julian at age 4. I was deeply sad, but when I met Vijali I fantasized that the universe had brought this new woman to me who could consciously assist me in my alchemical hopes. Certainly she had more mojo and a better connection to the energetic worlds than I. For a few months we were together but it can to an abrupt end when the ex came back and I had to choose. Unhesitatingly I chose my son; despite my hopeful fantasy, there was no way Vijali could accept the wound of being the "other woman." But our sudden break up at the height of my passion for her served another unexpected purpose which I came to realize later: This so sealed in my psyche as by a thunderbolt that my inner processes cooked and circulated as in an enclosed flask for decades; and now I think it was that psychic force that carried me through many solitary years of future study and practice.

In 2005 or so I looked her up again and we met for one night; but still, it was not to be! She gifted me with a shaman's arrow to further draw out my toxins. She has remained for me the Unattainable Wounded Woman, the hieroglyph of a Grand Trine between Moon-Venus-Saturn. I love this woman deeply. Here is a gallery of images.

Raised in a Vedanta nunnery, she was named Vijali ("little thunder") due to the kundalini phenomena which surrounded her, both a curse and a blessing, which she spent many years learning to use and control. For a while she was married to pioneer LSD shrink Dr. Oscar Janiger who treated Cary Grant:

Of the numerous publications of this type that have made effective lay propaganda for LSD, it is sufficient to cite just one more example: a large-scale, illustrated article in Look magazine of September 1959. Entitled "The Curious Story Behind the New Cary Grant," it must have contributed enormously to the diffusion of LSD consumption. The famous movie star had received LSD in a respected clinic in California, in the course of a psychotherapeutic treatment. He informed theLook reporter that he had sought inner peace his whole life long, but yoga, hypnosis, and mysticism had not helped him. Only the treatment with LSD had made a new, self-strengthened man out of him, so that after three frustrating marriages he now believed himself really able to love and make a woman happy.
                   -----LSD my problem child by Hoffman

Later she began her largest project, the World Wheel, The first Earth Mandala took seven years beginning in Malibu, California and continued on to the Seneca Reservation, New York--Alicante on the Mediterranean Sea of Spain--the Umbrian Forest of Italy--the island of Tinos in Greece--the desert of Egypt--the banks of the Dead Sea in Israel and Palestine--a tiny village in West Bengal, India--a cave in Shoto Terdrom, Tibet--a national park in Kunming, Western China--on the banks of Lake Baikal, Siberia. In October of 1993 the culmination of this journey was in Japan at the ancient Shinto shrine of Tenkawa.

Vijali explains, "The motivation for the Earth Mandala came from an experience in the mid 70's when my perception of ourselves and the world shifted, and the Unity of life stood revealed. The next few years were a search for a way to live within this web of life that connects all life. Specific ideas for the Earth Mandala came to me in a dream; I saw myself carving sculptures out of the living rock and involving people from many culture in a process of ritual in a giant circle around the world. The circle itself represents Unity in the sense that each spoke of the wheel has a quality that is unique, distinct from every other spoke of the wheel and yet it is from these differences that harmony arises, from these differences that the whole is created.

As soon as I arrive in a country, I ask each person I meet, three questions:

1. What is our essence?
2. What is our sickness, our imbalance ... personally, communally and globally?
3. What can heal this sickness, what can bring us into balance?

Their response from these questions form the art and ritual performance. Each earth sculpture serves as the performance space and is left as a gift and permanent installation to be used by the community, continuing to connect them to the concept of Unity of the Earth Mandala.

The world became my studio. I was a pilgrim who made offerings and gave voice and form to the spirit of the earth and the people I met along the way. I kept expanding the borders of what sculpture was, what art was, integrating it more and more into life itself--the people around me; their problems their hopes, their dreams of the future. I saw that at the root of these problems is the misunderstanding of ourselves as separate, isolated beings needing to exploit the earth and each other for our gain. This dualistic way of thinking is the direct cause of our ecological and social problems which is rapidly leading us toward global disaster."

Vijali now gives away free her autobiography which also contains her World Wheel Journey. You may also download it here.

Now here is one of those synchronistic oddities! Vijali was contemplating her World Wheel when we met, but I don't think I was aware of that, or was just too enthralled! She was wondering how to start. Maybe even what to call it.
She said once that people treated her like delicate saint or "pure virgin" image when she was "just plain Vijali." Inasmuch as I found her marvelously attractive sexually, one day while driving I was inspired to suddenly drive us into a Motel for a little old fashioned afternoon (and night) nookie. She was delighted. "No one has ever treated me this way!" she purred. Well, I honor the high and the 'low' in her, as in all, as the hopeful alchemist must do.

But here's the thing that always made me wonder, what was the cart and what was the horse? For just down the street from that motel we had to drive by a bicycle shop (still in business) named Wheel World! Was that the inspiration for her project as yet unnamed?