Diravon / Rhoda Pg. 1

Desperately seeking someone or someplace that could teach me more about metaphysics, astrology, and everything else beyond the fundamental level of “churchianity”; Morningland II jumped right off the yellow page in the phone book and hit me in the face. I called the number and was told that Morningland was a university of divine sciences, and I was invited to come see for myself. I was skeptical, but I went to the Rose Street temple anyway to check it out on my lunch hour. It smelled so-o-o good! Having just stepped out of a cold, uncaring world, the lavender walls were quietly comforting, and the music was soothing. The people were happy and more than friendly; and after giving me the grand tour, I felt I wanted to be there all the time. But, …. something was definitely different. Could I trust it? ….. Well, I was willing to try, but no promises! So, I gathered all the information I could about the astrology classes and signed up on the spot.


About a month later, I heard that ‘Donato’, the spiritual leader and master teacher would be here and I could ask for discipleship. Knowing only that I wanted to belong to this group, I left home for my appointment in spite of the taunting laughter from my brother and husband. I didn’t


to become a disciple, I


Donato I wanted to be a disciple. I don’t remember him saying yes or no but he did tell me to sign the golden book on the way out. Stepping out of Donato’s office, to the reception area, Perion greeted me and asked, What did Donato tell you? When I answered that he said for me to sign the golden book, she squealed, (((hugged me))) with a huge smile on her face and handed me a pen and a book similar to a wedding guest book. I was



At a Sunday evening service about two months later, Sri Patricia looked straight at me and said Donato had made ‘transition’ at the lodge. What did that mean? She explained that during a retreat for married couples, he had had a heart attack and died and she was the only woman who came back without her husband. Unable to stop the tears and racking sobs, I cried for days, not willing to deal with the feeling that I had been abandoned. Sri Patricia was so loving, gentle, caring and understanding I felt I could trust her with my life. I was so naive and gullible. My father had often told me this but I would not listen to him. (Had I listened & kept my skeptical attitude I might not have been hurt so much later.)


Very early Saturday morning, the weekend of Donato’s funeral, my husband & his son left to go fishing & I had delivered my son for a weekend visit with his father. I was by myself, and free to go to Morningland as much and as long as I wanted. After returning to Escondido, I walked into our house, & was overwhelmed with this creepy, cold feeling as if someone or something had been waiting for me to show up. My body was suddenly twitching, registering goosebumps; chills racing up & down my spine, on the sides of my face, behind my ears, and moving to the back of my neck. There was an icy cold feeling in the house which made my flesh crawl; something was there, and it frightened me to the depths of my soul. The cat jumped onto the breakfast table; back arched, pacing back and forth, tail straight up, extremely agitated. The dog was charging around the kitchen, growling & barking with teeth bared at the wall; staring fixedly and jumping up towards the ceiling trying to get whatever it was. Shaking so hard I could hardly move, I finally managed to get the sliding glass door to the backyard opened.


Charlie Beagle ran out into the yard about 4 feet, flipped around and charged at the inside corner of the house, jumping up against the wall, snarling, barking & howling. Whatever my son’s dog had chased out of the house, it was definitely gone now, and I felt greatly relieved. Then I called Morningland to talk about what I had just experienced in my own home & was told to come to the temple right away, there was something of major importance happening.


There were lots of disciples and gopis there, from both Escondido and Long Beach temples. We were told we were gearing up for a major battle with the satanic forces, in other words, Light against Dark, Good against Evil, etc. I felt very proud to be a part of this “Army of Light”, but at the same time, being just a two month old disciple, the craziness I was seeing and feeling going on around me was really scaring me; these people were CRAZY, …. totally nuts! What the hell have I gotten myself into this time? Should I leave or stay? In retrospect, I remember thinking, “This is mass hysteria, this cannot be real. What in God’s name is going on here?” Several times I thought we were being hypnotized by a performance to end all performances.


Having decided to stay, we stood in the middle of the temple, holding hands, chanting, swaying, jumping up and down and yelling for hours on end. We chanted the same words over and over and over, until our tongues got so twisted; our words were coming out backwards & making no sense at all. Sri Patricia would then change the chant, giving us different words to use. Periodically we’d break for about a half hour and then go right back at it; finally stopping to go into the healing chairs for healings. I remember one time during the chanting, Sri raced up to me, standing face to face, arm raised and finger pointing at the door & demanded, yelling, GET OUT!! Standing my ground, refusing to leave; I was afraid that some of the men would physically remove me like they’d done with some others.


I felt something painfully heavy hooked into my shoulders, running down my back, and hooked into my waist. About a week later, Sri told me she had not been yelling at me, but at the creature that was hanging on my back. I was very young and not expected to be able to see or feel anything yet, [could it have been muscle fatigue?]. At one point many people were collapsing, falling down & passing out. They were carried into the adjacent room (‘infirmary’) where they were laid down on sleeping bags to sleep. We were told they were injured in battle and if anyone fell, someone else would have to carry their load for them. Determined to ‘carry my own load’, I lasted until about 4:00 in the morning. I could no longer stand, much less function, and I was sent totally exhausted to the ‘infirmary’. At daybreak the next day we were all awakened & gathered together to go outside to greet the new day, as we were told we had won the battle with ‘Satanicoo’. Sunday was dawning in full glory, clean & clear; a day arriving with a brilliantly sparkling blue sky and absolutely no trace of the gray black clouds that had threatened us the night before. We were convinced the freshly washed and fragrant day, was that way only because of our efforts the previous night.


“A thought away from Donato” classes were clearing sessions, more like the ‘Spanish Inquisition’. During these group ‘psychotherapy’ sessions we were questioned, ridiculed, & prodded to dig up some of the worst, vile things we could about our parents, siblings, and relatives. We were told we needed to renouce our ‘former lives’; the experiences of our childhood years. It was at this time I threw away all my high school year books, and my shoebox full of pictures from Girl Scouts, Job’s Daughters, etc. If the things we brought up weren’t ‘bad enough’, we were expected to wholeheartedly agree with and accept whatever they said about any situation or relationship, even if they were out and out lies. They would then get us to admit that we had been a willing accomplice in whatever it was and now we should CLEAR all these deviant behavior patterns. Then, they would ‘lighten’ the mood, get us to laughing & attribute that to how much ‘lighter’ we were since we dumped the ‘baggage’ we had been hauling around for so many years.


Whenever there was a speaking engagement planned for Sri to ‘speak to the people’, we would all go. We were not allowed to speak to any guests because we didn’t have the proper ‘tapes’ to run. Regardless, we would not miss one of these events for the world. We loved to watch the show; the glitz; and listen to Sri mesmerize the audience, including all of us.


My new marriage was going ‘to hell in a hand basket’ due to my intense involvement with Morningland. My husband had been becoming angrier and angrier because even though I had started out with only one class in Astrology on Tuesday nights, as time went by, Morningland wanted more & more of my time. I was told I needed to continue my Astrology class but also sign up for a Oneness class; then ‘A Thought Away From Donato’ class; plus I needed to come to the Sunday Evening Services. Even though I continually invited my husband to come with me, he not only refused, he got increasingly bitter and belligerant towards Matt and myself. I was now spending at least 4 & sometimes more (special events I couldn’t miss!) evenings a week away from my husband and family. He became very jealous of ML’s hold on me and tried to break that hold by any means he could. He even told me that I had to use the child support money ($200 a month) from my ex-husband along with my salary from working for my Dad & brother to buy all the food and household supplies for our family of 4 (us and our 2 boys) as well as all of Matt’s clothing & school supply needs; the cost of my ML classes; gas for my car, in other words, everything.


He called me at work one day and said he had just slapped my son up one side and down the other for breaking an ice tea glass. That was the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’; everyone knows it’s better not to get in between a mama bear and her cub! But wait…I’m getting ahead of myself. He and his son always ‘picked’ on Matt, my son, about Morningland & the ‘crazy people’ there, and it was just too painful for him to stay at home while I went to class. They were so mean to him I could see his personality change drastically. At home he would shuffle his feet, walk with his head down & shoulders slumped, yet when he went out with me or was with other Morninglanders, he would be the bright, happy, fun loving boy I knew as my son. So I started taking him with me when I went to classes. I would drop Matt at Linda’s apt. to spend the evening with Sean while she & I went to class in the Temple, in the next property on Rose St. The more intolerable my marriage became, the more I asked for help from the gopis at Morningland. Eventually I was told to leave my husband, because he was holding me back. Finally about mid to late October I told him to move out, but a week later gave in to his pleading & agreed to try to work it out. Well, it didn’t improve so Matt & I made plans to move after the Palomar Concert in November.


To be fair, in retrospect I can see why my husband had gotten so bitter. His first marriage had ended in divorce, as had mine, but his ex-wife could not handle the oldest of their four children and had placed him with a foster family, and he was being hurt psychologically. Only because we were married could my husband get his son removed from the foster family program and brought home to live with his new family. No wonder the man fought tooth & nail to keep this marriage going. He didn’t want to lose his son again, nor did he want the boy to have to go through the pain of separation again, and he did not want this marriage to fail like the first one had. Well, fail it did, and now, from my present perspective, I can see it was because Morningland wanted too much of my time & energy, and left me no time or space for a normal life with my family. I moved out of the house with my furniture, belongings, and son on the 19th of November, 1976, about 12:30 A.M.


The next major trauma in my life was at Christmas time. Matt & I celebrated our ‘Christmas’ together on Christmas eve because we were supposed to meet his Dad at 10:00 Christmas morning. He was to spend 4 days with his father. At 6:00 PM Sunday evening, the day after Christmas, there was a knock on my door. Opening it, I saw my ex-husband’s nephew standing on the porch. He said, “Hi Aunt Rhoda, Merry Christmas”. I responded with, “Merry Christmas, Steve, HOW ARE YOU and what brings you up here?” (He worked for the San Diego Police Dept.) He handed me a letter and said, “This”, then turned & walked away. “This” turned out to be a legal paper that Matt’s father was having served to me; one stating he had filed a petition & was granted the physical custody of our son and was declaring me an unfit mother, and therefore I would not be able to see my son again unless he agreed to a visit. I was totally devastated. My son had been stolen from me. Again, in my grief I turned to Morningland & was consoled with, “Rhoda, look how it really is, you can’t afford your son so let his father raise him, he has more resources than you do.” Well, maybe that was true but that didn’t help get rid of the pain, besides, I had managed to care for us both for two years since his father & I split, the end of January, 1975. But you see, if I didn’t have a son to care for then I could spend even more time at Morningland, now that I was no longer married. And just think, all that money I could save on groceries & family things could now be funneled into Morningland. Hm-m-m-m.


This time my grief was all encompassing. I could not concentrate on much of anything and would break into tears at any moment, so Sri Patricia suspended me from working in the Astrology Dept.; nor could I attend classes for awhile because I was JUST NOT CLEAR. My father called me one day and said, I have a legal paper here that Jim wants me to fill out and sign against you. I won’t do it, but your brother is going to. (Denny was working for my brother in his business & I’m sure he filled my brother’s ears with our problems, and his complaints against Morningland.) Dad continued, “Denny (2nd husband) called Jim (1st husband & Matt’s father) & told him a bunch of lies because he said Morningland turned you against him.” Well now, isn’t that interesting?


To be continued…..


Love and Light…


Rhoda / fka Diravon