Hello friends :)
Back from vacation, the last days of which in Red Hook and Bard College were truly amazing. Red Hook / Annandale-on-Hudson in Upstate NY is one of my Top 3 favorite places in the US to be. When you see the pics you'll know why.
There will be a separate post for Bard/Red Hook. Today I want to share some of the pics I took during my travels. There will be more on Instagram, so follow me there. (Lost the charger during trip, so couldn't post during all last week, but I took a lot of good pics). I'll be posting the legendary Erie Canal - one of the 10 mega-projects that made America, the charming Little Falls, Hudson Valley, including CIA (not the spooky one in Langley, something totally different...), historic Rail Trail in New Paltz and more!
For years during my journeys I was kinda a slacker and took very few pics. I decided to correct that oversight. Before I move out of New York and US altogether, I want to say goodbye properly, by visiting and revisiting some legendary and favorite places around Upstate NY. There is so much nature and history here! Upstate is the place where the famous American industrialization and its unparalleled entrepreneurship began, making the US into what it is today. Many war battles were fought here. Today Upstate is not only famous for its lush nature, but also for its colleges, and also for its sanctuaries and monasteries, of which we'll talk below.
With good comes the bad and the ugly, as anywhere I suppose. This is the nature of our polarized existence in 3D. But I want to primarily remember the good. These posts are a way for me to say thank you to New York, which has been a good place for me to live for a time.
Without further ado, these are some of my images and stories!
Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY
The Church at the monastery. I didn't take any pics inside out of respect for the monks. There was a private service at the time inside the church.
The fresco over church entrance. Nothing like the grand cathedrals and historic churches of Russia, but it has its charm.
Main entrance: the weather was gloomy and I worried pics won't come out. But this artwork is lovely in any weather. This was all built based on private donations of immigrants. I was told the story: it took them a while back in the 1920s. They first bought the land, then took out the loans and paid them back slowly as they worked. That was the time America shone at welcoming and allowing a shelter to religious outcasts from other nations. Much has changed since, but some places became frozen in time, the time capsules of what was...
It was a rainy and chilly day, but the monks' hospitality was exceptionally warm. They invited me to receive the blessing from their oldest monk at 97 (I naturally had no idea how to do it, there is a whole procedure to that. But they were very gracious about it). And they invited Az and I to share their lunch, which was extremely bountiful and delicious. One of the best meals I'd ever had in the US.
The Holy Trinity is not just any monastery. It is the seat of the Global Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, established in the 1920s, when priests and parishioners emigrated to the US after the 1917 Revolution. The Church Abroad was split from the Moscow Patriarchy till just about 10-15 or so years ago, when reconciliation took place and it rejoined the mother-church, retaining broad autonomy. There is only arch-Bishop elected in the Church Abroad, the Patriarch is always in Moscow.
The previous arch-Bishop of the Church Abroad, who was a monk from the Holy Trinity, preferred to continue living at the monastery until his death several years ago. He was considered a holy man and much revered. A humble man, he continued to serve his monk's duty, such as washing the dishes, even as arch-Bishop. He was credited, together with Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill in re-uniting the church in the 2000s.
The monastery houses burial crypts of its former heads and holy men. Each is a separate chamber with two marble crypts and gorgeous frescoes. Despite foggy weather I managed to take some pics, and the monks were happy to oblige.
There is also an old Russian Orthodox cemetery, where some believers choose to be buried. It's full of old traditional Russian crosses.
The current arch-Bishop and head of the Global Church Abroad is Australian and per custom he resides at the Synod mansion on the East Side in Manhattan, which also has a big church, considered the main Russian Church abroad. A very interesting place, albeit firmly stuck in the past, with former countesses and princess frequentining it. I've been there a couple of times for the all-night Easter vigil and Krestniy Khod. It was all very grand and the NYC authorities closed down traffic within several blocks.
THE MONKS' HOSPITALITY AND VERY SPECIAL LUNCH
We very much enjoyed the warm hospitality, beautiful art, serene nature and the peaceful, humble atmosphere. I also enjoyed the lunch, during which a chapter from the scriptures was read in Russian, a story of a saint from the 1300s and his life, how he became a humble teacher to others.
Az, of course couldn't understand the story, but he enjoyed his lunch. It turns out he was seated next to a monk who was English-speaker and with whom he tried to conduct an ecumenical philosophical discussion about religion and spirituality. I am afraid the monk didn't appreciate everything Az had to say, but he was very gracious nevertheless.
I was seated in a separate dining hall for women, connected to the larger dining hall for monks and visiting men through an arch. It was small, since there were few women, but it had nice light through the large windows, plus some lovely frescoes. The men's hall, where both the monks and male guest ate, was a lot larger (I took a peek) and unlike ours, it was filled with people, also had lovely frescoes all over, but it was a lot more solemn and darker as it didn't have any windows. You'll see my pics of the dining hall for women below.
As one monk said to Az, who was impatiently pacing outside after lunch, once women get together... There were pilgrims from Iowa: a cute blond woman and her blue-eyed little daughter, both dressed the part: in scarfs and long dresses. They were very polite but said little. The husband was sitting with the monks, so I didn't get the chance to meet him. During lunch I made friends with one woman, who was local and came to these luncheons often. She told me a lot of interesting things about the monastery and parishioners. The nearby tiny village is where many of the original Russian immigrants still live. Names on many houses were Russian.
This is the women's dining hall, after they cleared the tables. Out of consideration, I didn't want to snap pics while everyone was eating or praying. Simple tables and benches and lovely frescoes on all walls:
All in all my monastic lunch experience was very memorable. I will treasure this memory and I'll remember the taste of that special - for me - lunch. For them, it was a regular meal. This was a weekday, not a holiday. But to me there was something about it... Something eternal, something sacred. The lunch, of course, was blessed and prayed upon. That always brings in an elevated kind of energy. There was a lot of love that went into it. Incidentally, it was almost vegetarian. No meat was served. The fact that during lunch a story was told that was educational and positive, which reminded you of the eternal, was also a very important ingredient. The whole experience was rather mystical, despite a busybody woman seated next to me at the table, who kept bossing everyone around, but maybe she was just hungry. Naturally, everyone else at the table just let it go.
I am saying all this on purpose, in order to put in perspective what I'll say later in this post.
TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WANT TO BE TREATED - AND YOU'LL GET THE BEST TREATMENT IN RESPONSE
During a visit to Russian monastery the most important part is to be respectful of their rules. They really appreciated that I dressed for the occasion: in ankle-length skirt, scarf and hat. Mind you, I shopped for that long skirt ahead of time, knowing I'd be going there. Women visiting the monastery must cover their shoulders and hair. They must wear a skirt or dress. Men aren't allowed into the monastery, and especially into the church, in shorts and tees. I made Az wear appropriate attire: not his usual jeans and tee, but a proper shirt and slacks. The monks really appreciated all this. Their invitation to share lunch and get the elder's blessing was the consequence.
There were some American tourists at the gate, who obviously never did their homework. They came wearing tees and women wore pants. They read the polite request to wear appropriate attire, hezitated at the church's door, then the men went in, leaving women behind, but they felt very much out of their element inside and left very quickly.
We had the opposite experience. Actually, the monastery isn't large at all and the day was pretty bad, yet we got more than we expected out of the visit. We lingered longer than planned, had delicious lunch and educational conversations. We wondered around the seminary and the library full of rare books. It was a journey to remember...
THOUGHTS & OBSERVATIONS: ROAD TO SPIRITUALITY
In this section of my post I have to admit that my visit's impressions were ambivalent.
We all have some wonderful qualities, and at the same time we all have blind spots. Therefore, what I'll say below isn't meant as criticism or a way to diminish the experience or the accomplishments of the monks and parishioners. It is said with compassion and hope for the better understanding among Russians and all people on out planet. Please take it this way! The people there were wonderful in their own right. But if I told them about my multidimensional theories, my quantum calibrations, my geopolitical analysis, etc., I'm not sure they would have understood and they may have even labeled it as 'blasphemy.'
What I want to say next... I know how hard this is to understand for those who live in the West. All your lives you've been told the USSR was evil. Just think then: why do millions wish for it to be back, why so many remember it as the best time of their lives? Sure, we usually see the past through rosy glasses. But you wouldn't remember a jail or a place of evil with rosy glasses, no matter how optimistic you are. You can remember the good in your life only when you actually lived it.
The truth is, I count myself privileged for many things I experienced while growing up in the USSR. One of them is that I grew up in a non-religious household. It was the environment in which we were taught to think critically and independently, yet to respect and appreciate the past and tradition. No one imposed any religious views on me, no one dragged me to church or Sunday school, as a result of which many developed an allergy for the religion in the US.
I was able to make my own decisions when I grew up as to what I liked and where I wanted to belong. As a result I was free to learn from all spiritual and religious traditions on planet Earth. It was always my own idea to visit various churches, temples, shrines, and mosques when traveling. And I enjoyed these experiences, while observing and learning.
A deep spiritual understanding, as well the innate feel for the truth were an integral part of me since I was born. I developed spiritually, taking the best from all those traditions that appealed to me, and then, based on this foundation, I grew cosmically, well beyond the confines of human religion.
With that, I always felt tremendous respect for all the good that every religious and spiritual tradition has accumulated. They are depositories of knowledge and wisdom, creativity and art, roots and traditions, some of which are priceless reminders of who we are, hidden behind religious facade. There is plenty of bad, but there is always lots of good. The important thing is not to get confused and avoid throwing the baby out with the dirty bath water. Unfortunately, many in the West forget to differentiate the two.
All that said, I have to talk about the sad aspect of my visit.
Holy Trinity Monastery, the museum and library building. The library was fascinating. I found lots of first editions from the 19th and 20th centuries there. The majority of non-religious books were dedicated to the study of the 'totalitarianism and Stalin's regime in Russia.' I noticed no books that were positive or patriotic towards Russia, or the books that spoke of contemporary accomplishments. And that was the first alarm bell, of which there were many.
They are also big on the last Tsar's family. To them tsar Nicolas II and his family were martyrs to the evil Bolsheviks. I guess they conveniently forgot that it was tsar's own family, aristocracy and generals that first betrayed him, deposed him and kept him and his family hostage. There was a clear involvement by the Queen of England, who was also his relative.
This was the visiting exhibit at the monastery museum:
Tsar's cousins were at the forefront of it all. I previously spoke a lot about what really happened and how in reality it was the privileged classes who almost destroyed Russia and betrayed tsar in February of 1917, well before the Bolshevik Revolution of November 7, 1917. The assassination of Grigory Rasputin in 1916 was also performed by the close to tsar circles, to weaken Nicolas. The Bolshevik Revolution actually saved Russia the Great Balancer. If Lenin and the Bolsheviks didn't rise to the occasion, at a huge cost to Russia and Russians, today the whole world would be living either under the worst version of Nazism or globalism imaginable.
Find out all about it in EARTH SHIFT WEBINAR 6: THE PUTIN ENIGMA.
More pics of the Holy Trinity Monastery
OLD SINS CAST LONG SHADOWS - WHEN WILL HUMANS FINALLY LEARN TO FORGIVE AND DEAL WITH THEIR HEAVY KARMA?
The Church Abroad, along with all other Orthodox Churches around the world and even the Catholic Pope, took a stance against the recent split of Ukrainian church attempted and failed by Poroshenko and US. It re-affirmed its commitment to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Based on that, you'd think those people would be more pro-Russian or at least sympathetic. To my great surprise, they continue to live shockingly in the past and their anger and animosity haven't subsided. I am mainly talking about parishioners. Some of them are heirs of old defunct aristocratic families, others are simple farmers, and some are the intelligentsia of some sort. One thing they share is that they all seem to be very religious. It seemed like for some it wasn't true faith but rather tradition and a need to belong. All they know and understand is that at one point 'communists were bad to the church' and that 'Russia is totalitarian.' There is certainly no critical thinking.
Old sins cast long shadows. Brainwashed to the core, they seem unable and unwilling to get out the matrix. They listen to the worst of the 5th column Russian media and biggest Russophobes out there are there guiding light, by their own admission.
Telling them that Russia moved on, evolved into a new reality, and is a completely different country seemed like a waste of time, or maybe not...
I made friends with a woman there, who didn't seem as brainwashed as perhaps some others. I think she was confused, if anything, perhaps because she wasn't born in the US, but only emigrated here 25 years ago. Because of that she seemed to exist in two parallel realities, having known real Russia a little. She said her late husband taught Greek at the Holy Trinity's Seminary, which is the main seminary for the Russian Church Abroad, preparing priests for the whole Western world.
Priest is Batyushka in Russian, which loosely translates as 'dearest father.'
This woman mentioned that she took her little granddaughter, who was born in the US, on a trip to Russia. The 9-year-old girl was awed and shocked to see how beautiful and happy Russia was. One of her comments was: 'This is St. Petersburg? How come it's so gorgeous? I thought it's where millions of people died and the city was destroyed!' She was talking about WWII and the Blockade of Leningrad. She apparently was taught it in such a way, what with constant Russophobia and all, that she appeared to think the city was still in ruins as hungry, destitute Russians were wondering its devastated streets. She also said, 'Grandma, do you know how they always tell us in school that America is the most beautiful country in the world? You know, I don't think so anymore.'
Just wanted to illustrate to you how much the kids are brainwashed in American schools, and on top of that, those poor kids belonging to religious families are doubly brainwashed in church. Between their not very bright parents, church and school, plus US MSM, they get zero perspective on the reality on earth.
I mentioned that instead of listening to the sworn Russophobes, she should try to get an alternative opinion and watch RT and Channel 1 Vesti on YouTube. This was a huge and shocking news to this poor woman, who, it seems was genuinely craving to learn the truth. She obviously felt something was amiss in the picture of the world presented to her by her church community. She had no idea RT even existed but was willing to try. I think the idea of the patriotic Vesti went way over her head, but maybe one day she'll get it, and maybe she'll tell others, who'll also get awakened. I didn't even mention my own YT channel and FuturisTrendcast blog; thought she might get a heart attack reading my stuff.
Unfortunately, in the US I had previously met some viciously Russophobic Russian or Ukrainian migrants. Once it happened in the Berkshires, in a writers' group at the Great Barrington library, of all places. Needless to say, I never went back there.
I heard from some of those people that 'Putin was a murderer.' Based on what did they think so? Oh, but they heard it on some Russophobic TV from someone, to whom in Russia no one with any sense would ever pay attention. But that's all these people are exposed to in their environment. The US, Canada and other Western countries encourage Russophobia. That was and continues being a way to keep their own populations under control. It'll eventually come back to haunt them, as the Earth Shift and global rebalancing progresses and as they begin falling behind.
It would've been much better to work cooperatively, as Russia and Putin suggested many times, but those who are stuck in the 3D confrontation paradigm won't learn.
My monastery visit was for the memory and soul, but I saw how these poor people, for whom I feel terribly sorry are torn between worlds, how confused they are. At least the people who I met at the monastery were kind. They didn't mean any harm.
But the situation I described above, when years ago I tried to join a supposedly 'highly-regarded' writers' group in Great Barrington, MA, those were very aggressive and angry Russophobes. They pushed their agenda and they trashed my novel The Earth Shifter. because I wasn't portraying Russia as evil and ugly. No they didn't say that: they trashed it based on the 'wrong style,' 'some word they found was out of place. If one wants to trash something, it's awfully easy to do. You can find faults with paradise, if you choose to. They did just that, and they relished being nasty about it. Those people live in an ugly alternate universe, carrying uncured sins of their fathers with them. Who knows, some of them may have been ukro-nazi Bandera followers, as it had occurred to me in retrospect.
Some years ago I also met a young Crimean Tartar Russophobe, who was rather pleasant, until she decided to share with me 'how horrible Russia is for invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea.' That braiwashed Crimean Tartar girl and her parents, who taught her all that, lived in Upstate NY and held Russian passports. Once I heard the 'Crimea' confession, I immediately knew who I was talking to. I gently tried to hint on a different scenario, but I don't think I had gotten anywhere. I got a clear glimpse into the warped psyche of that girl and her family. They hold a grudge for their ancestors being relocated under Stalin during WWII from Crimea to Uzbekistan, because many Crimean Tartars were traitors and collaborated with German Nazis, betraying the Red Army and selling secrets. They carry this karmic wound with them generation after generation, unable to rise above it. Starting during Gorbachev, and especially under Yeltsin and Putin many Crimean Tartars returned to Russia. Since 2014 Putin authorized a broad amnesty and rehabilitation, including monetary restitution for all Crimean Tartars. They are all invited to return to Crimea, if they want to. All normal Tartars are actually grateful, but there are those who continue to harbor ill will.
This girl admitted that her family lived in Moscow, before coming to the US. Yet the hatred they feel towards everything Russian, and towards Putin personally was evident. Basically, they constitute Trojan Horse sleeper cells, who could be activated at any time as terrorists or spies. The US generally has served for a long time as a depository of various Russia-haters. And this breeding ground is encouraged to proliferate as we speak.
You know how they say that the old generation has to die out for the paradigm to shift? In this case, it's not enough, since the US propaganda on the school and media levels remains the same. The new generations are fed the same lies or twisted tales as before, while whitewashing their own history.
My trip, which overall was enjoyable and peaceful, was also sad on some deep level. It just confirmed how much stuck bad karma still exists everywhere, even in places one would want to perceive as peaceful and elevated.
I have been talking about parishioners, but a similarly torn between two worlds problem exists with the monks. Some, more evolved ones, are able to forgive and rise above it, such as the late arch-Bishop I mentioned above. But I heard things from the monks with whom we've talked that also indicate they are stuck firmly in the past, somewhere in the 1920s - 1930s. They still have no idea how much Russia progressed and evolved since then. And incidentally, many monks there are actually not Russians but Americans who decided this was the place for them to cleanse their soul. They are somehow drawn to Russia, its culture and language, yet they also have the victim attitude (at least they aren't hateful or passive-aggressive, like other people I described). One novice monk we talked to was an American, who joined the monastery seeing it as his salvation. He was an older man, probably a retiree, who manned the monastery shop where we bought the monastic raw honey. He told us 'confidentially' how terrible Russian government was to the church priests. Lots of them were sent to jail or killed. Az, who actually knows Russian history very well got confused because the monk made it sound like it just happened two days ago.
"Killed by Russian government? When?" he asked.
I had to intervene and remind him that the 'sweet' monk was talking about the 1930s and Stalin's repressions. Oh, yeah, agreed the monk offhandedly. It mostly happened in 1937(!).
He forgot to mention - likely had no idea, since this wasn't what these poor monks are taught - that today there is not only a resurgence of the Russian Orthodox religion in Russia, but all religions co-exist in peace and harmony there. I stayed in a 4-star hotel in Moscow, and from the window I could see a Russian church, a mosque and a synagogue, all within walking distance of each other and all built with the support of the Russian government. In Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, the Russian church and the mosque stand tall, complimenting each other. Kazan, where Russian Orthodoxy and moderate Islam have peacefully co-existed for centuries, is considered one of the best large cities in Russia to live.
Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia - the mosque and the church
The monastery was like a time capsule. No one there, except the old woman I met at lunch, seemed interested in knowing what Russia really is like today and where it's going. I have been to monasteries before. I have to say, the victim mentality is a norm in the exile monasteries. The same kind of tone towards China exists in the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and I can understand that. But Tibetan Buddhists have really moved on in large part.
I actually have a complete theory why this had to happen and why Tibetan Buddhists had to leave their land en masse. One day I'll share it with you on Patreon. It's a fascinating Multidimentional Earth Shift theory on why the destruction & re-birth happen and why large movements of people periodically take place around the planet. Stick around!
I'll be posting more pics on Instagram - visit and follow me there!