“To the desert go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles. Here the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality.”—Paul Shephard, Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Aesthetics of Nature. 2nd Ed (1991)
The Desert is calling you. I am here to guide you deeper toward that Voice. For some the Desert is a place of emptiness, desolation and death. For some it is an impersonal encounter with Nature. For myself and other wisdom seekers the Desert invites us to a transformative experience with a Presence. Here we will come to know our True Self.
I suppose you could say that I have been “cross training” in the Desert for forty years. During this time I have been a professor of world religions, teaching about the world spiritualities; opening the treasures of each tradition. I have also been an Episcopal parish priest in the Logan Barrio of Santa Ana, California: a place of daily struggles for recent immigrants and the urban poor.
Many years ago the Desert called me out to encounter the Presence during the many health crises of our son Erik. In particular the arid landscape of the Owens Valley was where I went for solitary retreats. Here I found grace and strength to return to the hard work of parish priest, college teacher, and loving father to our son.
My mission on this webpage is to share my journey with you and resources, testimonies and guidance for your own desert journeys into intimacy with the Presence. I hope you will share your experiences with me and other readers to create a spiritual synergy of our pilgrimages.
Father Brad Karelius