James Jereb was not looking for a mystical experience when he set out on his annual hike in the mountains near Sedona, Arizona, on February 17, 1996. He did not consider himself to be particularly religious or spiritual, and his only goal was to enjoy the invigorating walk as he admired the spectacular scenery. Dr. Jereb, a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, enjoyed an active academic career. He had travelled extensively in Africa and was an expert on Morocco’s culture and history.

As Jereb observed the Kachina Woman Peak, he recalled idly that this had been a place of sacred significance to the ancient Pueblo Indians. He wandered off the path to get a better view of the mountain. He noticed a ring of stones on the ground. Prayer ribbons adorned a large stone in the middle and pieces of sage and precious stones were mashed into the earth around it. Jereb knew that this was a sacred place. He looked around to see if he was intruding on a spiritual ritual. He was totally alone.

A voice in his head told him, “Ask permission to enter.” He did. He walked to the centre and sat on the large rock. A strange energy enveloped him and suddenly the stones on the outer circle burst into flames. Jereb was sitting in a ring of fire. He was paralyzed. Not a muscle in his body could move. One beam of light was directed towards him and a figure walked through the flames. A Native American with long white hair wearing a cloak of blue and white feathers and a headdress of stars and golden symbols approached him.

Do not be afraid. I am Grandfather of the Ancient Ones. I am here to guide you. Take out your journal and start writing.”

Jereb felt a strong energy as his pen moved forcefully across the page. When it stopped, he read what he had written: “You are experiencing the rising of the Snake. It will subside. You are not who you think you are. You must forget everything you know. You will create totally for Spirit, The One. You will create sacred spaces and begin painting on walls and canvases.”

It was getting dark. Jereb realized he had been sitting on the rock for hours. He stumbled out of the circle, feeling dizzy. His thoughts were jumbled. Paint on walls and canvases? How could that be? He had helped a friend paint his house once. That was the extent of his past experience with painting. Jereb found the trail and managed to get back to his motel. He fell into bed exhausted, but sleep eluded him. Another vision appeared and he had an out-of-body experience. He felt himself flying on the back of a huge blue eagle. His head was filled with geometric forms and objects.

Upon returning to his home in Santa Fe, Jereb tried to dismiss the visions as his “Sedona Experience” and continue with his work in preparing an exhibit of Moroccan artifacts. That evening he sat on his bed in the corner of his loft apartment to write in his journal. A strong force took his hand and wrote: “JAMES!”  The message that followed in automatic writing told him that Grandfather Azarias had returned. Jereb learned more about his mission. The closing left him inspired to move forward.

“We love you and you must do as you are instructed. Forget your rational mind. Ask your questions openly. They will be answered in dreams, visions and meditation. Go in peace, breathe slowly.”

For many months Jereb sat on his bed every evening at 9:00 p.m. as the automatic writing and visions took him deeper and deeper into his spiritual experience. Azarias instructed him in the STAR Meditation.

S – Surrender

T – Trust

A – Allow

R – Receive

He gained a whole new mindset as he learned that we do not fear the dark. We fear the power of the light; we fear knowing. Jereb learned to respond to life through energy and love. And Azarias assured him: “You are not losing your mind. You are using it.”

As a result of his transformation Jereb did, indeed, paint several large murals and went on to create other impressive artistic formations, including a beautiful chapel of stars and light in one end of his loft. He was led to purchase a twenty-two acre site of land outside of Santa Fe. He named it Stardreaming and created twelve Temples of the Cosmos labyrinths, each oriented towards specific stellar, lunar or solar alignments. The temples consist of 353 tons and 50 different kinds of stone and crystal ranging from multi-ton boulders to hand-chipped pieces. These temples were created according to the Hermetic tradition of sacred geometry, alchemy and magic. They create portals for divine energy and healing.

Stardreaming: Gateway to the Stars, a sacred site, is open to the public, but advance registrations are required. Here visitors find opportunities to discover their own spiritual worlds and find spaces for discovering the oneness in all things visible and invisible. As Jereb himself says, “My paintings, sculptures and sacred sites offer vehicles for raising consciousness, thereby creating a better world, while recognizing the divine in all of us.”

Dr. Phyllis K. Kennemer lives in the Fort Collins area of northern Colorado. She is a Certified Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator and a life-long learner and educator with a specialty in children’s literature.

image: Hand of a woman meditating via Shutterstock