Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Connie Pham and her 13-month-old son Aiden after rescuing them from their home surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on August 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas. #

Photo by David J. Phillip/AP

First-hand Account-From a Citizen of Houston, via Dana, shared by Lumina Greenway, one of OHI’s Board Members.
Dearest Out of town peeps,
I’m going to try and explain what we are seeing here. Words are not expansive enough to put into a mental picture. I’m not going to worry about grammar, etc.
FIRST: The Scope
Start in Galveston head north up Interstate 45. Every county to the East to Beaumont and to the West to a small town called Columbus is underwater. About 100 miles in any direction. Keep moving north past NASA and once again every neighborhood Is underwater. If you get a Houston area map and have your eyes move horizontally–Move 100 miles to the the east and west….every piece of land, every subdivision, every business, every school is underwater. Now there are some that are not totally under, but I would say maybe 20% still have a semblance of dryness. ( I’m one of 20%) for now. Keep moving. Up to Pearland, Dickinson, Baytown and remember to move your eyes left and right 100 miles each way. Keep going north to Loop 610 pass Astrodome and NRG home of the Texans. A giant lake as far as the eye can see. the famous medical center is underwater. Keep moving to Interstate 10. Most is totally underwater with the depths reaching the bottom of the cross overs. The side roads are gone. Imagine the MILLIONS OF PEOPLE living along your path in every type of housing known to man. The water is reaching second and third story balconies of homes and apartments. As you move North still heading North I10 to San Antonio and Beaumont is under water. Get to Fm 1960 and I-45 and the road is GONE. Once again let your mind imagine the hundreds of thousands in neighborhoods etc tucked in..stranded…scared.
Go to the Woodlands/ Conroe…under freakin water!!! It’s this way all the way to  Huntsville Texas. All the way to Columbus Texas past Katy. Under water. All the way to Anahuac Tx. Under water.
SECOND: Human Scope. This thing is no respecter of wealth. It becomes a matter of resources. There are garbage bags to name brand luggage. What is common is a sense of frantic…being pulled out of high end homes or mobile homes with the clothes on your back, your kids, and the pets…then being taken to a shelter…somewhere. Your family in the area might as well be in Europe. The “ocean” is that expansive. New borns, children with their little backpacks, if they’re lucky. The look on their parents faces. And you should see the helicopter rescues of people dangling in the sky or in the basket with children and their pets. Old, disabled…it’s a wave of humanity that does not stop. Regardless of their circumstances they all say in Spanish, Vietnamese, and many other dialects “We’ve lost everything.”
The shelters are filling up. The school districts are opening up their high schools. Do you know how huge Texas high schools are? Filling up as soon as they open up. Great Houston private businesses are giving their big trucks loading up people, depositing them under bridges. This is a DUNKIRK of massive numbers.
One of the richest men in Houston, Mattress Mack of Gallery Furniture opened two of his huge furniture stores as shelter. He gave out his personal cell phone. Providing food, security and welcoming their pets. Another major furniture guy Hilton furniture, is providing his trucks to move people. The grocery stores Not under water are trying to open but have no workers. They’re letting five people in at a time until they run out of food. And there is the amazing HEB! I will never shop at another store.
Calls are going out for supplies for shelters…no one can get there! We are talking MILLIONS of people.
THIRD: The infrastructure of disaster. I’m just going to make a list for you to think about: Moving people from point A to B. Hundreds of thousands of cars are destroyed.
Public services, like buses, cannot move.
Public safety vehicles cannot move where they are needed
Hospitals are under water…emergency centers, care clinics are under or closed– all hospital staff are in the mess of this.
Shelters need EVERYTHING. The Red Cross is doing what it can. ONCE AGAIN…it’s the huge scope of
Law and order. It will get worse.
Trying to coordinate Texas’ very decentralized local and state jurisdictions. Very complicated which can
Lead to confusion and mixed messages. The county judges are doing fantastic Work as they are
The primary lead for counties. The Governor stepped up with the National Guard call out. But
Putting “boots on the ground” takes time. People must not criticize the Coast Guard for
Not flying at night in the rain. There is a chain of command…there are safety protocols to protect
The pilots and crews.
AND all local police/first responders have to navigate the flooded highways…some cannot make it. PEOPLE INCLUDING THE TV STATIONS NEED TO BE QUIET about this.
I believe FEMA is responding as well as expected.
FOURTH: Houston is NOT the only disaster area. CORPUS,
ROCKPORT, PALACIOS…destroyed. That’s about 200 miles south of Houston. Resources are limited for immediate response. I’m worried that in a few days people’s frustrations will boil over…I hope not. Desperation breeds anger and violence.
Last: As I watch what is happening, I’m overwhelmed with the lack of the rhetoric we’ve witnessed in Charlottesville, Arizona, blogs, etc. If you can, stream a Houston tv channel. Every color, race, ethnicity, religion is involved in the rescues.
See a large rough looking man of any background lift a frail Asian, Hispanic, African-American elderly adult…cradling a small child as they take them off boats…they are not asking for legal papers…they are humans being humans practicing God’s Grace……..
God Bless ALL in Houston and surrounding areas.

A child makes his way through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey while checking on neighbors at his apartment complex in Houston on August 27, 2017. #

Photo by LM Otero/AP          

Additional photos are included in Alan Taylor’s article for The Atlantic, August 28, 2017, and may be viewed here.


  1. Click on this link for a list of organizations responding to Hurricane Harvey’s victims in Houston and South Texas.
  2. You may donate directly to Orenda Healing International’s Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund.  OHI is sending half of every dollar donated to at least two of these organizations.  This fundraiser will extend through the month of September.





Spiritual Counselors Desperately Needed in Texas!

This is an urgent message from Holli Emore of Cherry Hill Seminary:

Some of you know that I am the “volunteer lead” in charge of Disaster Spiritual Care for the Red Cross in South Carolina. In that role I have helped deploy 2 of my team to Texas over the weekend. Word from down there is that the need is dire and there are not enough DSC responders, not by a long shot.

In fact, the need is so acute that someone is scheduling a sort of emergency training for ministers, chaplains, etc., who may be willing to deploy for Red Cross. This training will mostly apply to people who are already San Antonio and can get to it.

If you are endorsed in some way by a recognized religious body (a national Pagan organization would be best), have some experience/training in helping people in crisis, and an interest in stepping up:


  1. Go here and fill out the online form: If you cannot get through just stop and try again later. There are currently 18,000 apps in the pipeline since Harvey hit!
  2. Here is what I know about the San Antonio training:

3 hour training that will focus on the key areas of Disaster Spiritual Care and credential others to provide Disaster Spiritual Care in shelters. This will be offered two times:

Friday — 9 AM to 12 PM at the San Antonio Baptist Association, 5807 Interstate 10 Frontage Rd, San Antonio, TX 78201.

Saturday — 9 AM to 12 PM also at the San Antonio Baptist Association.

The person in charge of this is named Dan Franklin. You can reach him at or text him at 210-842-8221. Dan is a Texas Crisis Resiliency Team Coordinator (might be a Southern Baptist group, I’m not sure). He welcomes any Pagans who are good listeners to attend. Be sure to email him if you intend to do so because they may have to change one of the locastions.

  1. It may be difficult to reach someone at a Red Cross chapter by phone at a time like this, but your local chapter volunteer coordinator is who you would normally connect with.
  2. If you have questions, email me back and I’ll do the best I can.

Thank you,

Holli S. Emore, Executive Director

Cherry Hill Seminary

Photo by Richard Carson/Reuters


After Charlottesville


In response to the events of the last few days, which were sparked by unacceptable and vicious acts of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Orenda Healing International stands with the people of conscience who gathered there to oppose the Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and other Alt-Right White Nationalists.

While it needs no more fuel added, be very clear:  the wave of racism and hatred sweeping America today is a forest fire lit by the man who currently occupies the White House.  His behavior—both before and since his installation—has given permission to those who, for whatever reason, may feel they suffer and must therefore strike out at their tormentors.  Unfortunately they mistake the real source of their misery and, egged on by Mr. Trump and his backers, have chosen to accuse immigrants, refugees, and other non-White citizens and residents of this country of causing all their woes, when in fact it is the oppression of capitalism that has divided this country into the “haves” and ”have-nots” and continues to wreak havoc around the world.  This is hard to look at, and harder still to address.  But as with any other illness, we cannot heal until we are willing to acknowledge its extent.

Orenda does not espouse or condone violence, no matter its perpetrators.  But until the truth is widely known, events like the melee in Charlottesville will continue to happen.  Rather than attack each other, all Americans must begin to use their gifts of observation and common sense, see what is really behind the furor our country is currently experiencing, and work together to oppose it and replace it with a true democracy.

We believe there is enough land, enough food, enough shelter, for all.  America, whatever challenges she faces today, still has the potential and the obligation to encourage and support everyone in this country– citizens, immigrants, and refugees– to thrive, free of condemnation, repression, or violence of any kind.

Photo by Steve Helber for the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Wisdom Healing Qigong for Health Care Professionals



Being a health care professional or healer is extremely fulfilling… and yet the work can lead to overwhelm and burn-out.  When you’re not at your best and your “energy bank” is empty, it’s challenging to provide compassionate, effective care to others.  But there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

We invite you to join us for a workshop with Qigong Master Mintong Gu, specifically designed for health care professionals and their clients, to help integrate Wisdom Healing Qigong tools into other protocols and modalities. Qigong is the ancient art of energy healing and has reaped benefits for nearly 5,000 years in China.

Many years ago Qigong Master Mingtong Gu envisioned today – a time when many health care practitioners like ourselves would be called to activate a new healing paradigm.  Professionals who are unsatisfied with experiences of symptom-relief-focused medicine, looking for

A practice deeply effective and complementary to your area of specialty…

A way to preserve your deep love for the healing and health care craft, and to replenish the energy to keep doing it in the midst of a challenging and stressful systemic shift…

A way for you, the healer, to “heal thyself,” as well as clients, patients, and loved ones…

This workshop is for you!  

Wisdom Healing Qigong for Health Care Professionals
July 30 in San Rafael, CA
July 31 in Petaluma, CA
or via Livestream


You can learn more here about Qigong and Master Mingtong Gu’s work and register  for the workshop today.


3Ds of Spiritual Rehab Still Available

If you missed Dr. Rosie Kuhn’s fascinating MiniWebinar presentation on July 5, take heart!  You can still view the video recording.

Just sign up here to receive the recording link.  You’ll gain a lot from her extensive experience, lively sense of humor, and deep wisdom.

Walking Their Talk in Santa Fe!

OHI is proud to honor The Santa Fe Dreamers Project , a group of local lawyers who are modeling for other legal professionals what needs to be done to help young immigrants stay in the US and how to do it.

This small group of Santa Fe lawyers, led by founder Allegra Love, travels through rural areas in a van/mobile legal aid clinic, guiding each of their 500 clients through the application for DACA status from start to finish.

“The Project primarily focuses on assisting individuals in deportation defense (specifically political asylum and special immigrant juvenile status) and through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process, the immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in June 2012.”

Every now and then we’re reminded of how good it is to live in Santa Fe!



Facing North: OHI Spring Webinar Update!

If you haven’t had a chance to see the YouTube video recording of Facing North:  Navigating Turbulent Times, take heart!  We’ve extended the time for free viewing, and we welcome your thoughts, comments, and interest in this particular example of Orenda Healing International’s work in the world.

OHI is a 50l.c.3 nonprofit, based in New Mexico since 1993.  Originally a service organization, we’ve morphed into an institute whose mission supports education and research in the many aspects of Alternative Healing.

The Facing North Webinar was created with the understanding that in chaotic times, what people need most– what is most healing– is to feel there is something they can do to improve the situation for themselves and their loved ones.  Our guest speakers– Alan Levin, Jan Edl Stein, Bahman Shirazi, and Ana Perez-Chisti– have all dealt with multiple challenges and found calm and balanced ways of working with them that have proven most helpful.  We are delighted to be able to support them in sharing this wisdom with viewers.

We’re also excited to let folks know that we’ll be publishing the Spring issue of our Four Winds Journal in May, expanding the theme of Facing North, with thoughtful articles, riveting art work and poetry, book reviews, and more.

For more information on Orenda Healing International’s programs and projects, please visit us.

Some Thoughts about Facing North: OHI’s Spring Webinar

From Jan Edl Stein, Director of Holos Institute:

I recently had an opportunity to share my thoughts on a webinar panel discussing how we can face the events of our time and maintain our center. The webinar is now available on Youtube, free, but only for one week (until April 9). After that, it will be available for a fee from Orenda Healing International, which sponsored the event.

My participation in this webinar confirmed my hopefulness in a complex but unifying vision of an emerging awareness that can heal the many splits in the collective human psyche we are now experiencing.

One of my offerings in this webinar and for the Holos community is a very simple, heartfelt, and nature-based list of ways that one can take care of oneself in such turbulent times: Some Thoughts About Self-Care and Action in Turbulent Times. Please feel free to download this by clicking the highlighted link and feel free to share this as you wish.

I’d like to point out that one of the panel members, Alan Levin, is the founder of Holos Institute. I welcome your feedback and encourage you to subscribe to Orenda Healing International for further events such as this one.


From Alan Levin, Founder of Sacred River Healing:

I recently had an opportunity to share my thoughts on a webinar panel discussing how we can face the events of our time and maintain our center. The webinar is now available on Youtube, free, but only for one week. After that, it will be available for a fee from Orenda Healing International which sponsored the event.

Participating gave me an opportunity to further clarify my understanding of the seeming split many people feel between focusing on the inward quest of spiritual awakening and the outward activity of healing and repairing the world. All of the panelists, in their own ways, shared the view that we need to dissolve the misunderstanding that such a split exists. We are, after all, in this together.

I encourage you to watch the video and I’d be very interested in hearing your feedback or questions.

If you sign up at Orenda Healing International, you can receive notices of future events that they sponsor.

Peace and blessings,


(Alan Levin addresses these issues on his website in his insightful article, Spirituality and the Political World.)

Facing North:  Navigating Turbulent Times

How do we confront today’s challenges—as individuals and as members of local, national, and global communities?

How do we deal with this maelstrom of unpredictability, this sandstorm of change?

It seems we’re beset on all sides—the current political scene, climate change, war, poverty, mysterious diseases—how can we stay centered and calm enough to steer through these choppy waters? 

Guest Speakers

Alan Levin, MFT,  Founder, Sacred River Healing, Tomkins Cove, NY

Ana Perez-Chisti, PhD,  President, SUFI Universal Fraternal Institute, Orinda, CA

Bahman Shirazi, PhD,  Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA

Jan Edl Stein, MFT,  Director, Holos Institute, San Francisco, CA

(Reprinted by permission of the authors.  Photo credit Holos Institute.)