He’s seeking spiritual adventurers

'Spiritwind' workshops tackle ‘out-of-the-box’ subject matter
By: Paul Cambra, Features Editor
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Study group for spiritual adventurers
What: “Understanding the Meaning of Your Dreams”
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, April 18 and April 25
Where: Unity of Auburn, 1212 High St., Auburn
Who: Rev. Dr. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
Cost: Free, offerings accepted
Info: (530) 823-8610

Upcoming workshops
The Christian origin and meaning of the tarot
June: The history of witchcraft and the modern expression of Wicca
July: The Muslim Jesus
August: The New Thought Movement: Christian Science, Church of Religious Science (Centers for Spiritual Living) and Unity
September: Buddhism: The Buddha and basic teachings, Tibetan, Pure Land, the Beat Poets and Buddhism
October: Women and spirituality: The Goddess trilogy and Halloween/Samhain
November: Creation spirituality not creationism!
December: Winter holiday traditions: Hanukkah, winter solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa
January: Homosexuality and the church: the Bible and homosexuality, putting things in perspective, personal testimony
February: Prayer: Valentine’s Day, praying the rosary, different forms of prayer
March: Numerology and sacred lists of things
April 2014: Life after death: Different views, materialism, R.I.P., sleeping in the grave, immortality of the soul, going immediately to heaven or hell, reincarnation
May 2014: The religions of India: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sihkism
June 2014: Mysticism
July-August: Philosophy in the making
September 2014: UFOs in the Bible and modern times

Coming to a church near you: Witches, UFOs and the Beat poets.
Okay, I don’t mean taking up pew space and sharing fellowship over coffee. But they are all topics of discussion to be tackled during a study group called “Spiritwind,” held Thursdays at Unity of Auburn.
Rev. Dr. Richard Reich-Kuykendall wants to offer people in the community spiritual topics they would normally not hear of in church.
“My policy has been anything having any remote relationship to some part of spirituality I am willing to cover,” Reich-Kuykendall said. “If you look at the topics, there is a pretty wide variety of stuff there.”
If this all sounds familiar, it’s because he held Spiritwind workshops when he was senior minister at First Congregational Church in Auburn beginning in 2003. Now retired, Reich-Kuykendall was asked by the pastors at Unity of Auburn to resurrect the study group, which originated when he was a minister in Tehachapi, Calif.
“When I gave the course before in Auburn we would have anywhere from 20-50 people attend, with the majority of them from the community,” Reich-Kuykendall said. “I saw them as people who were interested in looking at all different areas of spirituality but not interested in church.”
Each month will feature a different topic that will be covered in four consecutive weeks. Since April’s class won’t start until this week, there will only be two sessions on “Understanding Dreams.” From there, it moves on to “The Christian origin and meaning of the tarot.”
“In the 20th, century tarot cards have been demonized, linked with the occult, the people seen as servants of Satan,” Reich-Kuykendall said. “I try to show that tarot cards have their origin in early Renaissance in Northern Italy. They were actually of Christian origin.”
They turn up the heat in the summer months with back-to-back hot topics, “The history of witchcraft and the modern expression of Wicca” and “The Muslim Jesus.”
“With the terrible problems going on in Middle East between Christians and Muslims … if the two faiths put aside their differences, there’s a lot more in common than we acknowledge,” he said. “There are actually more references to Jesus than to Mohammed in the Koran. Islamic people believe Jesus born of a virgin. Mohammed said Mary was a ‘most blessed woman.’ I’ll go through other literature by Muslim writers that talk about Jesus.”
Next up is “The New Thought Movement: Christian Science, Church of Religious Science and Unity.”
For this workshop, Unity of Auburn co-minister Reverend Mark Schindler will step up to the mic.
“I spoke on Unity at the Spiritwind held at First Congregational some years ago,” Schindler said. “Either Karen (his wife and co-minister Reverend Karen Schindler) or I will speak at this year’s.”
Schindler considers himself a spiritual adventurer and looks forward to participating when his schedule allows.
“I would be interested on Jesus as seen by Islam; that would be fascinating. I only have a cursory knowledge of that. Anything in Buddhism as well. The whole Zen beat generation thing, with Alan Watts and Kerouac and Ginsberg.”
That would be September’s workshop, “The Buddha and basic teachings, Tibetan, Pure Land, the Beat Poets and Buddhism,” with local artist Stan Padilla taking on the Tibetan chapter.
Rounding out the year will be “Women and spirituality: The Goddess trilogy and Halloween/Samhain,” “Creation spirituality not creationism!” and “Winter holiday traditions: Hanukkah, winter solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa.”
“I will talk about what Christmas originally was meant to be, not what it’s become,” Reich-Kuykendall said. “And I am going to try to have guest speakers for each tradition.”
Guest speakers will be sprinkled throughout the series. Someone from PFLAG will be there in January for “Homosexuality and the church: the Bible and homosexuality, putting things in perspective, personal testimony.”
Other topics Reich-Kuykendall will cover in 2014 include prayer, numerology, life after death, the religions of India, philosophy and mysticism.
“Most of the churches sweep mysticism off because most religions try to have a more academic approach, deal with intellect instead of intuition,” he said. “St. Francis of Assisi had plenty of mystical experiences. The first instance of stigmata wounds happened to him in a mystical state.”
And it wouldn’t be complete without a look at “UFOs in the Bible and modern times,” which will focus on the book “The Bible and Flying Saucers,” written by a Presbyterian minister.
Suffice it to say, Reich-Kuykendall does not shy away from controversy. He puts it out there and says people come if they’re interested or don’t come if they’re not.
“In the beginning, in Tehachapi in 1990, people heard the topics to be discussed and some other ministers in town tried to protest what I was doing,” he said. “But it was a very small town, we never received that in Auburn.”