When I was in kindergarten and my brother was in first grade, I discovered that while I was being read to, he was learning how to read. According to my mother, I hounded my brother daily until he taught me to read.
That insatiable desire to learn has driven me all my life.
In college, I majored in Health Science, because I wanted to learn as much as I could about this human body I occupy. I completed two graduate degrees in Public Health to teach young people what I had found so fascinating about being physically human. As a professor, learning even more about health, I became even more passionate about passing knowledge to my students.
This is who I am: a learner and a teacher.
Later in life, I immersed myself in spiritual studies, reading everything I could get my hands on about the spirit world and the infinite interpretations of it. Inevitably, I left my public health career to enter seminary. I longed to learn about the spiritual dimension within and surrounding us humans. Not knowing or caring what future occupation this learning experience would lead to, I predicted that the spirit realm for which I thirsted would guide me once I finished my formal studies.
I was right: upon completion of my Masters of Divinity degree, I became a chaplain and an ordained minister. Once again, I was ecstatic to be able to share what I learned and experienced, and I have been blessed with many varied opportunities to do so ever since.
This is who I am: a seeker and a minister.
While serving as chaplain in a pediatric long-term care facility, an email made its way to my inbox that publicized an event offered by Stephen Jenkinson (a.k.a. “Griefwalker”). I watched Jenkinson in the promotional video and instantly knew that I was to become a student of this amazing teacher. He was talking about life and death in ways that I had never heard before.
Enrolling in Jenkinson’s Orphan Wisdom School launched me into ways of perceiving and understanding that were ancient, yet so new to me. I learned to consider what it means to be fully human, who and where I am in the universe, and how that universe operates.
My learning opportunities have increased exponentially since then. I now find myself at the most transcendent point of my lifetime of seeking, learning, and teaching. With heightened awareness, I have discovered that the “new” is just the “old” whose value has been rediscovered: What our generation calls a new age was dreamt into being by our ancestors.
Now, my models for learning are indigenous populations, those peoples who live in-sync with Mother Earth to honor her. My guides include shamans and other wisdom-keepers; my teachers are fellow seekers; and my library includes ancient texts as well as new Earth/new age websites. Thanks to these multicultural spiritual influences, I have learned even more about who I am, where my place is in the universe, and what my life’s purpose is.
As I was writing the book, Reviving Our Indigenous Souls, a Maya shaman revealed to me what he saw as my purpose in this lifetime: to bring the past into the present in order to manifest the future. Happily, I was already embarking upon this very purpose—it is the intention of the book and the focus of this website. Both convey my translation (literally a “carrying over, an offering, an extending”) of what I’ve learned from other cultures into a form that is designed for those of us who grew up in the dominant, Western culture.
This is who I am: a translator and an author.
Rev. Dr. Cathie Stivers is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, and a former pediatric hospital chaplain. She was a 3-year scholar at Stephen Jenkinson’s Orphan Wisdom School, where her own indigenous soul remembering began in 2011. She lives in Richmond, VA where she continues to minister, teach, write and remember.