||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
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
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
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
-----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
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
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
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?