Portrait in Light

Apparently no one saw the robed, Christ-like figure walking out of a column of light appearing over an Arizona highway late in the evening of Nov. 8. But two days later, when a California woman looked at her photographs of the light and screeched, "Oh, my God!" the news was out. This intensely bright light–which lasted for 10 minutes, scrambled fighter jets and briefly raised the government’s threat code–must contain a message from some enlightened master. Because....well, here he is!

Such is the story that came to me by e-mail in mid-December, accompanied by two photographs: the first a column of light with a figure coalescing in the bottom left; the second a white-robed, Christ-like image in golden clouds. The source of the e-mail was a friend of a friend of a friend.

Sounds suspicious, doesn’t it? And what’s more, despite being an investigative journalist, I’m still unable to talk directly to the photographer or locate the news reports about this light. But a funny thing happened on the way to the facts. I discovered that the question is not, "Is this photo real?" The question is, "Why is it here and what am I going to do with it?

This article is about the quest for those two answers and how, once this journey reached its zenith, some startling evidence suddenly showed up.

It’s a journey from this image into the twinkling skies of the Harmonic Concordance, Jesus’s real teachings, thought waves into thoughtforms, and ascension into the "light body" of the mental and buddhic realms. It’s kind of a long story, but I don’t think you’ll be bored.

If you want to test these waters, the best way to begin is with an inner look-see. While your impressions are still fresh, ask these questions in the stillness of your heart. What did you feel, deep inside, when you saw the Christ-like image in the second photo? Did it somehow seem familiar to you? What sensations, perhaps hopes and dreams, stirred within you? Were you uplifted, angered or unmoved?

Starry, starry night: a glittering backdrop

Whether this portrait in light is Jesus or not, he's an amazingly appropriate symbol to have shown up while hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people were meditating to bring about global peace and the Second Coming–that is, a spiritual awakening of the universal Christ Consciousness within.

The light column materialized on the first night of the Harmonic Concordance, a celestial "portal" which opened on November 8 with a total lunar eclipse and closed on November 23 with a solar eclipse. Six planets formed a fairly rare star tetrahedron, astrologically a Grand Sextile that is more familiar to us as the Jewish Star of David. One of the "planets" in this configuration was Chiron, a hybrid comet-planet whose glyph is an old-fashioned key; it brought along associated qualities like quest(ions), healing, wholeness, transformation, time and doorway.

Before the Harmonic Concordance, many thousands of meditators listed their gatherings all over the world on a huge number of Internet sites, hoping the star tetrahedron really would be a portal through which consciousness would ascend to draw hope, joy, unity and transformation into the Earth. Some 2,000 years ago, people held the very same expectations, according to Percy Seymour, Ph.D., a Scottish astrophysicist and author of a best-selling book, The Birth of Christ: Exploding the Myth: at that time, they expected and were waiting for a Messiah to bring in the new age of Pisces.

Metaphysically, last year’s Harmonic Concordance couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. For one thing, a much deeper understanding of Jesus’s true teachings came in 2003 with the publication of a revelatory book, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, by Princeton professor Elaine Pagels. Pagels, who helped translate Egypt’s Nag Hammadi texts, discovered in 1947, drew widespread attention that opened many hearts to Jesus as an illumined teacher of the path to enlightenment.

In the Gospel of Thomas and other Gnostic texts found in Nag Hammadi, all anathemized by early church leaders and hidden for safekeeping, a very different Jesus–a holy man–calls us to prayer and meditation in the "kingdom within," where we, as sparks of the divine, can always meet God and evolve into Christ-consciousness as Jesus was able to do–and, indeed, is what Harmonic Convergence meditators also aspired to do.

So to me it would make perfect sense, by the law of resonance, for this ascended master, Jesus, to give us the "high sign" in an intensely bright column of light. This manifestation, real or not, draws us to a new understanding of Jesus's message: that we ourselves, through the power of the divinity in human consciousness, must fulfill those promises made by the master teacher so long ago: to ask and receive, seek and find, knock and open up the highest portals of spiritual awareness.

A celestial being or a "worm trail"?

I kept going back to the photographs, however, wanting to know if they were real. So I e-mailed my friend Bob, a New Mexico minister who had e-mailed the story to our friend Janie, who sent it to me. I interviewed Bob by phone and here’s what he told me.

The woman who took these photographs was riding a Greyhound bus along I-40 between Holbrook and Winslow, Ariz., near the town of Joseph and not far from a mile-wide meteor crater, when suddenly, at 10:40 p.m., an intensely bright pillar of light appeared over the highway. The bus driver hit his brakes and declared loudly, "I don't know what that is, but I'm not driving through it!"

Nor would anyone else. Traffic stopped on the freeway and after a few minutes of caution, people got out of their cars to gaze in wonder at the column of light, which touched the highway and hovered in mid-air for nearly 10 minutes. The California woman, grabbing her disposable camera, got out of the bus and took two photographs of the light. She was excited and, like other people, had never seen anything like it before.

The next day, Bob tells me, newspapers in Arizona and New Mexico reported that the U.S. Air Force had scrambled fighter jets, and our government briefly raised its threat code at 10:45 p.m., fearing a nuclear blast. Later on, newspapers reported that the government denied notching up the code and scrambling jets, despite sightings by people living near Air Force bases who watched the fighter jets take off en masse.

Since then, Bob reports, newspapers have said that the light was a "worm trail," that is, glowing plasma left by a large meteor which can glow for 2 or 3 minutes after it burns up. However, this column of light hit the Earth and, by definition, would be a meteorite leaving a crater. No crater was found, and a very small meteorite leaving an indistinct crater would have formed a much narrower column of light and would not have lasted so long. In following weeks, local newspapers wrote about strange lights over Albuquerque and Moriarty, New Mexico.

But no matter how hard I try, I cannot, as an investigative journalist, independently verify any of the news accounts or directly talk to the woman about her experiences. You’ll see why.

"Tool of Satan!"

The California woman, still excited by the column of light, got off her bus and went on to her religious school in the Midwest. The next day, she dropped off her disposable camera at a Target store. She picked up her photographs at lunchtime, between classes. People in the cafeteria, including Bob, heard her exclaim, "Oh my God!" and were just as amazed by the photos as she was.

She returned to Target and made copies of the photos for friends, who scanned and e-mailed them to others. Some of the copies were intercepted by Christian fundamentalists who phoned and wrote the woman. They called her "a tool of Satan" and expressed their intense hatred. But it was the threats of bodily harm which frightened this quiet, older woman, who neither wanted publicity nor asked for it.

Deeply upset, she retreated into obscurity. "I don't want any more contact with this," she told Bob. Our friend Janie e-mailed the photos to me in mid-December as a kind of Christmas present. I'd just begun to search for artwork to accompany Christian Allman’s screenplay, "The Life of Christ in the 21st Century," a fictional Second Coming story (published in the current issue of OneWorld).

This coincidence was interesting in itself and even moreso because it was the perfect artwork for the screenplay. I was delighted, but something else stirred in me, also, as I looked at this mystical image: a sense of excitement, a burst of hope for our suffering planet. Despite my typical disbelief, I heard myself wondering if this could this be real and wishing that it was.

I also had a sense of familiarity about the Christ-like photograph. Not that I’d seen it before in everyday life or knew it as a religious archetype–the chord it strikes in many people. It was a deeper memory, as if I’ve seen it in a dream or even before coming into this life.

In the weeks ahead, I would have an eerie number of deja-vu experiences, all of which stressed to me the magnitude–more precisely, the amplitude–of the present experience: that I would "re-see" so many discrete events. I knew that something big was going on, at least for me.

Bob shares my feelings about the photographs and that’s why he sent them out. "We're not alone on this planet," he says. "There are ascended masters who come in to help, and I think sometimes they make an appearance just to give hope. That's my personal belief."

Hoax or truth? Well-intentioned artistry or some enlightened master, maybe Jesus? I still don’t know and am beginning to accept that I may never know the objective truth.

The photographer is in hiding and steadfastly refuses to talk to me. I can tell you, with reasonable certainty, that she is not a hoaxer, but not that she hasn’t been hoaxed. I’ve searched the databases of two major newspapers in New Mexico and Phoenix, but cannot find any mention of the light column. Which would seem definitive, except that while Bob was at ministerial school with the photographer, lots of his friends saw these newspaper articles and also saw fighter jets scrambling from nearby U.S. Air Force bases.

I can only conclude that the point here is not to verify the facts but to look beyond them. Various obstructions refuse to move and the ambiguities will not resolve themselves, so it’s clear to me–knowing that you can’t deal with the problem on the level of the problem–that to understand these events I must widen my view.

I can only conclude that the purpose here is to move people, including myself, out of the realm of logic and into the realm of intuitive knowing or "direct revelation" as the Nag Hammadi librarians called it. This is because it takes a profound leap of faith for the ordinary, non-religious person to recognize the superordinary when we see it, just as in Christian Allman’s screenplay, no matter how impressive the pyrotechnics.

Can you just see a messiah showing up today, and what he or she would have to do to get the world’s attention, much less belief? In the past century, Marian apparitions witnessed by millions of people have taken place all over the world, yet these get only the briefest mentions in major newspapers and are cursorily discounted. It’s no wonder the "rapture" story in Revelations is so big. The author knew it had to be!

It’s always dark versus light in this plane, isn’t it?

Push and pull in the magnetic field

If, indeed, as Gregg Braden and other spiritual scientists claim, our planet is speeding toward a "shift of the ages" that will bring peace on Earth, it makes perfectly good sense for Jesus or some other herald to show up just now. We are rapidly moving, and some say have already moved, out of Pisces into the dawn of the new age of Aquarius, associated with the water of Spirit and its love, compassion and universal oneness. This is the humanitarian era, if ever there will be one, of our quantum leap in consciousness from homo sapiens to homo universalis (per Barbara Marx Hubbard) or homo agapean (spiritual love, as Bob likes to put it).

It's a well-known metaphysical phenomenon that small, similar events foreshadow a shift in consciousness. These initial patterns can be read by "those with eyes to see and ears to hear," and so they were by many psychics, including Edgar Cayce, who were told that 1998 would be the beginning of the long-awaited spiritual awakening on Earth.

Indeed, there are many signs of this spiritual age, including an unprecedented number of books on spirituality which have caused major publishers to declare this The Age of Soul. A study by Lifestyles on Health and Sustainability (see lohasjournal.com) has found that 25 percent of American adults, some 63 million well-read Cultural Creatives, are focusing their interests and dollars on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living.

As always, shifts in consciousness push and pull the magnetic field of particulate reality within and around us, and vice-versa.

I experienced this directly on August 11, 1999, as Europeans watched the Earth darken with a total solar eclipse taking place during the first modern planetary alignment, the Grand Fixed Cross, which was heralded by Christian mystics as the awakening of the Christ Consciousness within.

I was powerfully affected by the energies of that day: while meditating with Findhorn friends on the Scottish isle of Iona, my heart opened and my whole being shifted from a surly dislike of Jesus to loving compassion for this master teacher so long misunderstood. In mid-2003, reading the wealth of Internet material on the Harmonic Concordance, I held the reins on my skepticism and waited to see what, if anything, would happen.

First a Christian cross and now a Jewish Star of David, I mused. But this time around, I realized, people better understood the truth of Jesus and the power of the Maharish Effect to alter physical reality. In the past few years scientists have proved in hundreds of consciousness experiments (see PSI & I, Global EEG Coherence) that group meditations produce healing, diminish violence and can stop armed conflict.

Say, is that your light body?

Astrologer John Mirehiel, who was randomly looking at star configurations on his computer back in 1998 and spotted the Star of David coming in 2003, read the energies of these planets and announced that a planetary portal to higher consciousness would open up at this time. "If you can conceive of how it might feel to live as an Ascended Master in an Ascended World, you can step through a hole in time anytime, and bring that existence back into your daily experience, right then and there, here and now," he wrote for Druvalo Melchizedek's website, fieldwerks.com.

Probably no one, at that time or since, considered that an ascended master, resonating with this widespread expectation, might step through a portal into a column of light that landed on an Arizona highway.

But there were very high expectations, and for lots of reasons. For one thing, many traditions have looked at 2003 as a pivotal date in history. Peruvian shamans have predicted an important event in the late fall of 2003, a tear or hole in the fabric of time enabling people to walk through into their luminous bodies. Some Christian ministers claimed that the "end times" prophesied by Daniel would arrive in 2003. Time researcher Preston Nichols, who has studied time and consciousness as they are shaped by frequencies and magnetic fields, pinpointed 2003 as the "time wormhole" on the other end of the Philadelphia Experiment in 1943.

So did we step into a Merkaba, the symbol of the light-body form, and morph into our astral bodies on November 8?

Two days ago, just for laughs, I claimed in this article that I didn’t know anyone who did. But in recounting a couple of experiences, I realized that I just might have stepped into my astral body, and maybe higher, during this period of time–and it’s entirely possible that you did, too!

On the afternoon of Nov. 8, I went to a meditation gathering and serendipitously met author-artist Lesta Bertoia, whose computer art appears below and whose book excerpt personifies our feature on remote viewing. In the following days, while visiting my home town to teach meditation and intuition, I did notice considerably higher frequencies of sound during my meditations. And then one night, most likely because of my class on dreamwork, I had a strange and wonderful dream showing the movement of pre-symbolic, pre-figurative energy into form.

In writing the present article, I suddenly realized that this dream might have witnessed the higher energies of the Harmonic Convergence moving into the Earth plane. I was impressed enough by this, but then, between the first draft of this article and right now, I was powerfully drawn to read a few chapters of a borrowed book, Ina Crawford’s A Guide to the Mysteries. I knew immediately that this dream also illustrated a thought wave–its essence, character or idea–moving into a physical thoughtform.

Crawford’s brilliant chapter on subtle energies, distilled from the wisdom teachings of Theosophy, explains a great deal more in this article. By providing an energetic structure of consciousness, it validates my personal experiences, and might explain yours. Proof of these principles is found in the synchronicity that brought them.

"Star," by Lesta Bertoia

Emerging Patterns

The pattern that emerged in my mind, before reading Crawford’s book, yielded a logical and also metaphysical explanation of these photos and their story. I believe that the gathering power of our expectations and belief called for a great master and the energies of this call took form. It's a call-response dynamic, the same magnetic resonance that explains how the high-frequency energies of love and meditation reshape water crystals into beautiful, dancing forms
(see the gorgeous photos on Masuro Emoto's site, http://www.hado.net). This is also very likely the process by which high-frequency energies of some higher mind, perhaps our own higher thoughts, brush stalks of grain into the exquisite geometries of crop circles. (See the stunning Harmonic Concordance crop circle at http://harmonicconcordance.com/__ConcordanceCropCircle2.htm).

This is what my scientific-mystic mind said in ordinary consciousness. In a meditative writing, the voice of my soul said that Jesus the Christ answered our call on November 8 in an actual appearance, one that was both within us and also manifested in external reality: "As the hunger and desire for help increases, so does the energetic manifestation of the giver strengthen upon the earth. The call is answered. The answer is in each person, each soul, and has been all along."

In the wake of our increasing need, this enlightened soul manifested as before, but this time with the message of perfection in each one, this time better understood.

Manifesting Mother Mary

The Body of the Planet
with its
7 Planes of Electrical Frequencies


Divine Sparks


The Masters of the Wisdom

Higher: Soul or Causal Plane
Lower Mental


Higher: Etheric Level
Lower: Dense

I have no objective proof of this, as you already know, but Crawford’s chapter on subtle energies might ring as true for you as it did for me.

Theosophy, of which I previously knew nothing, except by way of direct experience, says that beautiful thoughtforms generated by our beliefs and expectations coalesce in form and exist as subtle energies in the higher mental dimension. An example of a beautiful thoughtform would be the creation of a great work of art or a feeling of loving gratitude for a spiritual teacher or God.

If many people hold the same belief, the power of their shared belief brings their thought wave or thoughtform into distinctive clarity; it actually takes shape and can be identified as a symbol or entity, and it has the potential to vibrationally influence individuals and societies. Marcel Vogel, the scientist, proved this by concentrating for one hour and succeeded in projecting into liquid crystal a thoughtform of Mother Mary that was later photographed and written about in Vogel’s newsletter (Psychic Research Newsletter, Vol. 5, no. 4, July-Aug. 1988).

In the mental plane, where Vogel produced this image through the energetic impulse of thought, there is no need for language: the vibrations of a thought in the mental level can produce either a thought wave or thought form, as we said. Just below this level is the higher astral; the person on the path of spiritual initiation operates here in an effort to discipline the busy mind and quell the impassioned emotions of the physical level, just below. The purpose of this is to train the mind and emotions to align with the soul, so that soul may build into us a finer and more responsive quality to soul energy.

What struck me was a single sentence explaining the challenge of the spiritual initiate: to learn the dispassion, discrimination and detachment necessary to distinguish between the real and the unreal. Here also is the challenge of the second photograph. Is it an unreal thoughtform in the astral plane or an eternal truth in the mental plane, which could have been projected from us upward or could have come down from the buddhic level--or both, simultaneously. Like light shining through a film negative from one or both directions.

On Nov. 8, according to this Theosophical structure, the universal love of so many meditators would have risen upward from the mental plane into the buddhic levels, bringing our frequencies of consciousness along in a global wave of spiritual intention and desire. By the law of resonance, these people rose with their thoughts from the emotional astral into the higher mental and beyond it, into the buddhic level to experience and become at-one with its splendor and glory.

In short, by the power of our thoughts and intentions, we rose in consciousness into our light-bodies. And with so many people’s thoughts and intentions gathered in these mental and buddhic levels, there might well have a master like Jesus on hand to meet and greet us.

The Planetary Soul

If Theosophy is not your cup of tea, then we can jump back to logic and go from there.

My definitive question was this: is the image on the photographer’s roll of film adjacent to other real-life images recorded by her camera?

From my new, multidimensional point of view, it doesn’t matter what is or is not on the photographer’s film. The only images that matter are the ones in our minds.

Are we creating negative or positive thought waves and forms with our beliefs and expectations? Are we willing to release useless old angers toward Jesus, Christianity, religion and God in order to call forth a purified new-age version of the Christ Consciousness in each of us, whether this brings an enlightened master into the physical plane or not?

When will we, as Stephan Schwartz asks in our article-interview on remote viewing, begin to live in alignment with what we want our lives and our planet to become?

In light of these questions, the appearance of the Christ-like photographic image is a call, regardless of whether it’s a hoax or a physical manifestation from beyond. Everything is happening in divine right order. Even if the Harmonic Concordance stirred someone to create or re-circulate a faked photograph, the image’s beauty and energetic pattern in the buddhic level can only enlighten us in a mighty work indeed.

We are all instruments co-creating with the divine, including those who accused our photographer of being a "tool of Satan," if and only if we choose to see it that way. Otherwise, we look through the physical eyes at the lower planes of consciousness and see nothing else but chaos, turmoil, confusion, conflict and war.

How can we do otherwise?

Well, we can use our astral bodies to outpicture peace in a perfect world, which will raise us into that world and lift everyone else into it, as well. So, everywhere you look, see this done: in the timeless spiritual worlds, each soul has already blossomed in a garden of infinite beauty and perfection.

In conclusion, we might ask one more question: did Jesus the Christ show up on November 8 to call us to higher awareness and a global shift to spiritual consciousness?

I’d have to say so, but then, the future is entirely up to us, isn't it?

Postscript: Convincing proof of the authenticity of these photos appeared after this article was written. Bob sent me a copy of the second photo. Numbers printed across the back certify that the positive was printed from the photographer's film negative, meaning that she did take the photo and it is not a fake.

Judith Pennington, founder of OneWorld, is a meditation teacher and author of a book about the soul and consciousness, The Voice of the Soul: A Journey into Wisdom and the Physics of God. This mystical quest of mind and heart, logic and intuition, and science and spirit is a compelling story of one woman's search for truth and how she found it within her own soul. Visit the Books & Tapes page of www.eaglelife.com to order your copy.