A Long and Winding Road
A Long and Winding Road
Cover: Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1 1932 by Georgia O'Keeffe. © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/ DACS, London
Marianna Lines enjoys an autobiographical journey in search of fulfillment. The Jeweled Highway: On the Quest for a Life of Meaning by Ralph White. Divine Arts, 2015. ISBN: 9781611250343.
Ralph White is Everyman searching for spiritual fulfilment, for enriching the destiny of Earth and achieving his full potential.
Many of us may give up on this after a few enthusiastic years in our own self-made Never Never Land, but The Jeweled Highway takes us further. This is the story of all those post-hippie travellers who backpacked around India, climbed Machu Picchu and then found a community family before setting out on their own to discover the world – or just get a job.
Ralph and I, at the time we were living at the Findhorn Foundation, once attended an International Communes Festival in Galloway, Scotland alongside anarchic commune groups from Denmark and Spain and even a warrior women cult from Ireland – the Amazonian Women. It was embarrassing to be dubbed the ‘Martini Set’ among the more earthy crowd of like-minded anarchists out to save the world. However, Ralph changed all that by ending the festival in a dance, a Sacred Dance, a circle dance. We were no longer capitalists against socialism, or bohemian New Age iconoclasts. We were one in that single moment in time.
Ralph White began life in Wales and grew up around Huddersfield before breaking away to explore the world. He eventually went on to establish The Open Center, the first holistic centre in New York City. His is an adventurous story. The reader is transported from the early years in Northern England, down Route 66, hitchhiking to Machu Picchu and across the Eastern Himalayas into Tibet. Hardly a travel journal, this book describes a bejewelled road that is full of challenges and pitfalls, and it also tells of a deep cultural shift taking place. The origins of the major holistic movement define why it serves as a focal shift for the emergence of greater wisdom, awareness and sanity in the world.
Leaving the straight world and going full-on into an alternative life with no financial back-up is a courageous scenario. On the last page White writes: “Without my stumbles, doubts and dark times, or my joys, ecstasies, and insights, I would never have uncovered the trail that leads toward the Jeweled Highway. But once found, that road goes on forever.”
In this post-modern, apocalyptic age, where spirituality is a rare concept and oft despised, this book offers a vision of how to find a life beyond the ordinary. It actually makes the reader feel the urge to write his or her own story.
As these concepts are even more relevant in the second decade of the 21st century as the pulse quickens, it is even more significant to find our base line, our modus operandi, our credo for life on this planet. As David Attenborough, the great British naturalist, says, “The world is in turmoil. All species are being tested.” Ralph White, who has been described as a “blending of the modern Western mind with an ancient sense of soul”, is possibly an antidote to what is reining us in, what is stopping us from going forward. Mystery surrounds and beguiles him, and this is a key to his Western Mystery Tradition teachings and beliefs.