Great Swan Peace Cathedral

 

Dandelion Sustainable Farm is A Gift to Nature, Humankind and the Divine – Sustainable Living Serves World Peace

 

Great Swan air-form and truck delivering shot-crete
Great Swan air-form and truck delivering shot-crete

 

Great Swan Peace Cathedral, the crowning jewel of our love and service to the Light on Dandelion Sustainable Farm has been in process for a number of years.

Oscar Duckworth doing shot-crete inside Great Swan Peace Cathedral air-form. Nov. 5
Shot-creteing the inside of the dome

The background story of how Great Swan Peace Cathedral came to be. 

It is near impossible to convey  the Great Swan story without sharing essential events and developments in my life over the 33 preceding years that guided, tested and grew me from the age of 21 to 54 preparing me for the vision that called Great Swan into being.

For short version scroll ahead to The Vision and Words)

The Brief Spiritual Awakening and Premonition

It all began when I was 21 in 1967, with a brief spiritual awakening, a profound encounter with Living, Conscious Light, “the Love Light” I called It. I was laying on my bed  meditating on love, noticing the love was for LOVE Itself, not really any person at all, when an Immense BRILLIANT Light that was Alive like an unfathomably Great Being appeared. I recognized It instantly as my True Self and the True Self of all. In that same instant I lost all sense of limited self awareness as I became one with the Light.

Etched glass window in Reign of Grace bath house
Etched glass window in Reign of Grace bath house

When my usual awareness returned after some time, a transformed light was now receding down a long tunnel, likely what people encounter in the death process. My heart was stricken with the thought of loosing the Light that had just become the Beloved of my heart beyond all time, beyond all else. I tried to follow this form of light down the tunnel, but it morphed into a vision of great gates held open by attendants on either side. My heart already had a powerful connection to this place recognising it as “HOME” and I knew I had to go there. Then just as suddenly as it had all begun, I was returned to bodily awareness on my bed…heart pounding in amazement with what had just occurred. I had never had “spiritual” experiences before.

Only years later did I discover, that first encounter with the Light  initiated a profound reorientation to life and powerful premonitions of my life to come years away, as a devotee of Adi Da Samraj.  The great gates were “7th Gate”, a holy place where some of my first service work as a devotee would occur. That time finally began with the greatest moment of my life on “The Day of the Heart” 1979 when I first saw Adi Da Samraj….another story.

Serving the Light with my life

After that first encounter with the Living Light  I wanted nothing more than to give my life to serve It in any and every way that I could.  It was my true Beloved. Anything I could do to deeply remember it, to serve or glorify it was to be refreshed in that greatest Love.

Discovering Art as a way to Commune with the Light

At the time of the first spiritual event , I had just begun experimenting with jewelry making as my childhood expected creative work as an artist. When I was finally able to create a very rudimentary piece of jewelry, a spiral shape in silver wire with flattened pieces of silver wire dangling from it  like a sun with rays, I wept for joy to have made something that somehow linked my heart once again to the beloved Light. From then on my jewelry art and all other art forms, became a means of meditation and service to the  beloved One, the Light, and also soon my spiritual master, Adi Da, who lived and functioned as that Light in my life. My very ordinary life as an ego was a torture as I imagined everyone’s is. But I found relief in Love when creating beauty and I found it a way of serving the Light and contacting  spiritual depth.

A Spiritual Calling…the Sustainable Community Farm

When I had finally found Adi Da and we were getting ready to move to become his devotees in early 1979, a spiritual “calling” came. I recall exactly where I was standing looking out a window toward the ocean beyond hills and trees. An understanding was forming, that we were about to give our lives to a great master and to the Light. We would be giving our all, everything we had and could do. What had been an important part of my life with Loren, came into particular focus…our experience with sustainable living. It became clear a community size gift of our sustainable skills was being asked of us to help the world in service to Adi Da and the Light.

After years of premonitions and finally discovering Adi Da, I now knew he was intimately linked to spiritual happenings in my life and consciousness! We had planned to buy another 5 acre piece of land to continue our sustainable life style in N. Calif. as we became devotees, but to fulfill this calling we were going to need something far larger. And this was not within our financial means.

In response I spoke in my heart to Adi Da and communicated that we would happily do what was being asked, if we were provided the financial means. Within a few months we were able, miraculously to sell our little freshly finished but never lived in artist dream home for 5 times its market value! Thus the financial means came in a way we recognized confirmed a serious spiritual agreement with the Divine.

The Gift of Intense TESTING

For the next 15yrs. our commitment to fulfill this agreement giving it our all was tested profoundly.  It seemed others considered sustainable living a waste of valuable resources that could be used elsewhere.  My mind would struggle, rehashing repeatedly all the reasons sustainability was needed.  My heart would contract and my stomach churn with threat.   I would be driven to doubt myself. I had no written proof of, nor did I dare confess the spiritual calling for fear I would be considered nuts.  Finally after thrashing like a drowning person, I would let go the hold on my life, on  my mind, all I “knew” or presumed altogether. An immediate shift would take place and I would begin to see signs of blessings while obstructions would fall away miraculously. Continuation would become the clear way forward for a time  until the next test in a new form far more intense and demanding than the last. So the years of our sustainable work for community went on.

Thus slowly I learned to let go of my mind and trust the Light and my master, with my heart. I gave up the farm over and over in this process, but it kept being returned to us to continue. Eventually in 1995 Adi Da stopped us from literally giving up the farm completely and moving. He then Blessed the farm and the testing ended. He made it clear to us we had indeed had an “Agreement” with Him and we had better not abandon it! Slowly I came to realize all the difficult testing had been a tremendous gift that had grown my self understanding and capacity to surrender self in trust of the Divine.

The Great Mentor

After I offered Adi Da a gift of my welded bronze jewelry, He began to gently guide my creation of jewelry art in 1981 by allowing me to make things for him to give as gifts to others. I discovered this was a way to serve the Light! I would feel that profoundest of Love I first felt with the Light fill me when I was asked to make something, when I made it and when the gift was eventually given. Each time Adi Da gave my art service work his regard I would be showered with spiritual LOVE! I was completely hooked the very first time! It became a passion to serve Adi Da making gifts of jewelry for him to give as Blessed gifts to others.

Adi Da suggested all kinds of jewelry designs that were not in my preferred artistic vocabulary, things that I would never have made on my own. Welded bronze was not a common jewelry form, so I also had to develop new techniques to be able to make what he suggested. My tastes and creative capacity  grew constantly as I was led in love beyond all kinds of limits and grown as an artist.

He Suggested I make large Metal Sculpture

In 1999, Adi Da Blessed my artwork when I was on the road to an art show. But I fully felt some wonderful spiritual happening occurring and called home to discover what it was. I also learned he had suggested I try making large metal sculpture. This being such a BIG leap from jewelry, it was not really something I wanted to do.

But I saw with this Blessing of my art that I had not really given my all in the form of my art capacity to serve far more greatly than the thousands of hours I had already given with jewelry service. It suddenly became clear to me that by adding much art to the sustainable farm, it would become far more  broadly attractive and interesting, thus drawing more people to learn about sustainable living and thus make better choices for earth.

While working in large metal art was not appealing to me, it was clear personal Guidance from a great master who always proved he knew me vastly better than I did myself. I knew this was an important Admonition I should not fail to fulfill! So Loren, my broadly skilled husband upon whom everything we were able to do depended, helped me to weld a simple garden gate that I designed and cut parts of with a plasma torch. At the very top I had made a small spire,  for no conscious reason….why?

After the gate’s installation leading to our garden and home, when I saw that spire, my heart shot infinitely UP into Light for a brief but eternal moment. In that brief ecstatic transport, a new profound passion gripped me. I wanted to spend the rest of my life making spires pointing to the Light. Had Adi Da foreseen this? He had step by step mysteriously drawn me the point where this could come forth.

I was terribly eager to get on with making metal spires. And so Metal Hymn garden temple was soon begun with a substantial spire on its top.  I learned to weld with the help from a neighbor working together on Metal Hymn and then began Queen of Heaven Gate.

Metal Hymn with mosaic
seen through Blanket of Flowers arbor

I had only begun welding large metal art for a couple years. But my health was already very challenging and getting more and more extremely difficult. After the main piercing of Queen of Heaven  gate, the plasma torch fell silent and expanse of pierced gate fell to earth where it rusted away for months.

Vision and Words “Peace…Cathedral”

For me, a typical imperfect, ordinary person like most of us here, this life has been a strange, mysterious unfolding that makes me no better, but more determined to DO better!

I have been fed, led, nourished, housed, helped, protected, graced, taught and uplifted. I have also struggled, suffered and abhorred my ego patterning. But that seems minor compared to terrible possibilities here on earth. I have been given SO MUCH!

My response? Make my life a gift of gratitude, my particular abilities a gift of help. Dedicate all I have and can do to higher purposes.  At this pivotal point in world history, I feel compelled to do my part for the highest good of all, to DO the change I pray for in the world.

(an excerpt from the longer story of unfolding events leading to this moment)

By 2002 I felt my life was nearing its end.  There were signs in my psyche I was nearing death for some nights.  I was in a free fall, letting go of everything, of life itself while holding on to the Light. I felt deeply connected to all of humanity, and It seemed there was much darkness in that vast shared space. There was a form of communication taking place, that no matter what happened I had to always stand with and for the Light, to always serve Its benign Force wherever I might be, in the face of whatever darkness might be encroaching there.

The Vision and Calling of the “Peace…Cathedral”
came in 2002, But the story really started when I was 21 with a sudden,  profound spiritual experience in 1967. This was the first of several premonitions of my life in the future as a devotee ofAdi Da Samraj. In 1979 that time had finally come, accompanied by spiritual “callings” and years of intense testing. My life became a spiritual odyssey that prepared my whole being for the making of Great Swan as an artist but even more,  I was roundly prepared to accept and commit my life to this.

 

 

On one particular evening, when at the end of my capacity to continue and feeling death near, I prayed, that should I

Staghorn sumach in full fall color, long after its vitamine C richly coated seed clusters have vanished.
Staghorn sumach in full fall color, long after its vitamin C richly coated seed clusters have vanished.

survive that night, If there was yet an important lesson I had to learn or something more I had to accomplish for the Light and for Adi Da, that these be made clear to me.

In the next moment I  was swept away and lost in sleep for the first time in days on an unknown drug a friend had given Loren to help me. It gave me 3 desperately needed hours of sleep. Upon awakening, I again felt connected at heart to all of humanity. I felt the depths of suffering and a spectrum of higher possibilities on into selfless Love and unlimited Living Light. Feeling such starkly painful, dark human possibilities as well as happy potentials, to those joyous beyond words, I understood I must always serve the higher possibilities for all. There was no question about this! It was an absolute admonition pressed deep into my consciousness.

With the integration of this lesson,  a beatific vision unfolded before my internal eye of a dome structure adorned exquisitely with intricate metal arches and high elaborate spires, shimmering gloriously beyond anything I had ever seen. The words “Peace…Cathedral” were spoken very, very slowly, along with the vision that lingered resplendent before my mind’s eye for long moments, piercing my being with overwhelming ecstasy. It was the Divine Itself arrayed in extreme Beauty beckoning me to give myself in Its service far beyond what I could have ever dreamed or chosen.

Along with the vision and spoken words also pressed into my consciousness was the understanding that World Peace was to be served  by bringing this sublime vision into form. How this was to happen was an enormous  mystery to me. It was a calling that I simply had to trust, do my best to serve and allow to unfold.

The vision revealed an imminent,  monumental undertaking in my life to come, indicating I would live and had a great deal of work ahead. I hoped I would have help!

The vision calling guaranteed countless more tests of every kind for years to come. It was both a huge demand and a mighty Leap of Faith beyond anything I could have imagined before. But that  exalted Beauty hovering before me had its own profound alluring. Perceived challenges were vaporized in the  face of this beckoning exquisiteness.

Indigo Swan Necklace
Indigo Swan Necklace

I named It Great Swan Peace Cathedral and began the metal work for it as soon as I was able to work again and a  good start was made.

But there was so much that had already been Given that had to be completed.

Vernal pond to recharge water table, in front of solar home and gardens
Vernal pond to recharge water table, in front of solar home and gardens

In 1999 my art work, Bindu Jewelry, that supported us and our service on Dandelion Farm, had been spontaneously Blessed by Adi Da Samraj,
Da Hand w flower much orangeHe also suggested I might make larger, even sculptural metal art. In our efforts to fulfill this admonition, Loren helped me weld a garden gate. It was not something I really wanted to do. But we did our best. I topped it with a spire. Who knows why?

 

Looking at that spire upon installation, my heart shot upwards to infinity and into the

Birth of Spires Gate
Birth of Spires Gate

Light. I was lost for a timeless moment in limitless, Blissful Light. Upon return, a new intense passion had already gripped my being. I wanted to make spires forever more, pointing to the Light all over Dandelion Sustainable Farm!

I realized I had not really given my art capacity in service on Dandelion, even though I had done many hundreds of hours of art jewelry as service. I also saw that this larger art on Dandelion,  would transform it and help inspire many others to make sustainable living choices. This level of art service promised an enhanced  ability to help sustainability.

Reign of Grace out windowMy large metal skills were just developing and there was much of this larger art to be done for Dandelion before I could concentrate on Great Swan Peace Cathedral.

In 2012 the world felt so agitated, we decided we had better move ahead on Great Swan as a way to focus on the Light and on World Peace. So we did a little ground breaking ceremony and poured a foundation. We still had no clear way to create the dome structure in spite of the years we had pondered over how to build it with architect friends.MetalHymn Thru Gate

By 2013 It was clear we had really fulfilled the calling for the sustainable community circumstance. There is still more that will be completed, but it is essentially full. We had researched sustainable living with our very lives on the farm for 34 years. I had spent countless hours, every season that 34yrs, testing endless plants that could serve sustainable food production, saving strong farm adapted seeds, researching sustainable means for soil fertility into the future, We had done natural building and alternative power and developed a wholesome vegan diet we could grow with relative ease. Amarath seedWe had great gifts to share of sustainable living skills and experience with the world.

The art for the farm had also reached a point of fullness that delighted visitors. Much more can be done in these areas, but these first callings were essentially complete. it was really time to move ahead with Great Swan Peace Cathedral!

I again was having months of unrelenting health struggle. I felt I had no time to waste getting on with Great Swan Peace Cathedral. Surprisingly, the perfect technology to construct the dome suddenly came to us when we were at last urgently ready to move ahead. We met friends of good neighbors that were building domes of ferro cement in the manner perfected by Monolithic.com. The dome becomes a monolith (single rock-like unit of great strength) upon completion. This kind of structure can last thousands of years. How PERFECT for a Peace Cathedral with a destiny hinted in the depth of my psyche for service far into the future!Loren on Tactor

All this may seem a bit unbelievable. I confess, were someone else telling me these things I would really wonder about it. But I have learned that I simply must do what is Given by Grace directly to do. Our lives have proved this to us. Who knows where we would be had we simply followed our natural inclinations for pleasurable distraction and self fulfillment? Mysterious purposes have driven me and Loren has helped every step of the way. We have worked without vacations, using all our resources and creativity, supporting it barely, without knowing the why or how or if we will be able or successful or if it will actually help the great many it could help. But my being has been impassioned by these callings to serve the Light. I have simply learned to practice  trust in a mysterious process that goes far beyond my mind, and to give my all to fulfill what I have been Called to do.

Loren, completely blows my mind. He has served along side me through thick and thin. He has lived a life that has demanded unusually hard work and the constant use of his many technical talents, when really travel was his passion. Loren is so humble and so utterly heroic to me in our odd, difficult, wonderful life of working/serving together. We both give our all, to make a difference with our talents and skills, our special gifts to a world on the brink of a most questionable future. Our creation of Dandelion Sustainable Farm and now Great Swan Peace Cathedral is a prayer in action for a most positive future, a transformation of humanity such that all serve the higher good of all and for a world aligned to the Living Light.

Can you help?

Loren and Candace 2013

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