One of the troubling questions asked by many former Disciples of Donato pierces the heart of Morningland – Was Donato For Real?
I do not think that question can be answered with any certainty. I certainly don’t know. Was he Donato the Christ, did he truly make his Maha Samadhi? Was he a big fraud propped up by gorgeous and powerfully psychic ministers? In my less than humble opinion, Donato was a Master Teacher whose untimely death unbalanced Morningland at its core, unleashing destructive personalities in a struggle for power and leadership that destroyed the organization he built. Two years after his death, the Morningland I was drawn to, joined, loved, and cherished had ceased to exist.
If you subtract the spiritual component from Morningland and look at its structure and organizational dynamic, very interesting patterns emerge. This examination has given me a greater appreciation of Donato as a man and as a teacher, and his special gift: empowerment.
Recently I watched the video transfer of Brent/Karas’ film footage of Morningland. In it, there is a shot of all of Donato’s Gopis at a Festival of Light. When I looked at that lineup from my experience I now have of the world, I saw something extraordinary. I saw nine women who radiated self-confidence and empowerment. They did not doubt who they were and they did not doubt their connection with Donato.
What sort of leader can effect that result in so many people? An uncommon one. Looking at the results of his work, it is clear that this was a man who was able to attract people with unique talents and who was able to help them develop their skills and talents as well as foster in them an ability to inspire and lead others. While some of the Gopis were self-directed and self-confident to begin with, I know not all of them initially were. It is HOW he worked with them that helped them develop into what we saw – utterly remarkable people.
This is not how Patricia worked; my case is a good example. I view this dynamic from a unique position, to say the least. I was in the Inner Circle and I was one of Patricia’s First Three Chosen. Patricia brought in Saravati, Selendra, and me as the next tier in the Morningland hierarchy – what some people call the Inner Circle. This was in the works even before Donato’s death. But guess what? It was a secret. None of the Gopis in Long Beach knew. None of the Disciples knew. To everyone else in Morningland, I was Patricia’s “assistant.” Saravati was Melikia’s “assistant.” Selendra was Celta’s “assistant.” Only we six knew.
Based in secrecy, Patricia’s organizational development led to divisiveness, not “oneness.” Rather than empowerment, which I see as the measure of the man and teacher Donato was, Patricia built her power base on co-optation. That is the antithesis of empowerment. Those of you who became close to her will see some familiar themes in how she treated me.
Her language may have been similar to Donato’s, but she was unable to empower people the way Donato did. She did not infuse people with knowledge or empower them to develop their talents. She (and Melikia) had an expectation that once Selendra, Saravati, and I were hooked up to them, that our abilities would just be there. That always baffled me.
Patricia and Donato had actively studied metaphysics for many, many years. Yet Patricia subverted my attempts to attain real knowledge. While others were encouraged to take classes, she pulled me out of classes, and yet expected me to be able to give people readings. Just call in Donato – the knowledge will be there. When I was unable to perform well, she turned me over to her henchwoman, Melikia, who emotionally eviscerated me.
Patricia worked to convince me that all my talents were “gifts” from upstairs and that these abilities came to me through her. She positioned herself as my link to everything/everyone Upstairs — the conduit without which I would have nothing. And once she had secured my acquiescence, she would generously bestow or punitively take away these alleged benefits or connections. Some examples:
She told me I had a soul mate, a twin flame – but that he was Upstairs. Only through her could I connect with him. When I was playing music, I would sometimes be visited by a presence. Patricia named him and claimed him, alleging contact and control over even this. She would dissect my songs, claiming that some came from Upstairs and others did not. Even more confusing, that some verses were from upstairs and some were not. At one point of displeasing her and/or Melikia, she told me that my Teacher had been withdrawn. She even retroactively claimed credit for my spiritual experiences prior to Morningland.
Month by month, she co-opted and claimed credit for or ownership of just about every intangible in my life.
I think the only thing I would not let her take from me was my writing, but she found ways to punish and reward me with that as well. The very foundation of our close relationship was “the work.” She said that only by being connected to her personally would I be able to transcribe from her and ultimately write her much-ballyhooed books.
Those of you who knew me in those days assumed that I was getting lessons upon lessons, growing in spiritual awareness and power by the week, and was being introduced to a plethora of spiritual mysteries. Some of you were palpably jealous of what you assumed was going on, and especially of all the time I “got” to spend with Patricia.
In truth, I was her handmaiden, at her beck and call every time she needed a ride somewhere, and was forced to sit around like a chauffeur waiting for her, but not allowed to do anything constructive or fun with my time. Throughout much of my last year in Morningland, I was allowed to have no friends except those assigned to me (Saravati and Selendra, who were not actually my friends), prohibited from being alone with a man anywhere anytime, and allowed out of Patricia’s sight only to go to work and periodically to sleep. I wasn’t permitted to socialize with most of the disciples, which I’m sure made me appear snotty and aloof. I really did not know how to handle the position I was in and more than one of you have told me I did not handle it well. I agree, and I apologize.
This is what it was to be her “favorite.” What it got me was continuing disempowerment as she seized control of ALL of my time outside work, my activities, my friends, and of course my thoughts.
I can’t help but compare my situation to that of Donato’s Gopis. In fact, I’ve discussed it with Dorie/Pathena and find it remarkable how different it was to be tutored by Donato, a natural teacher, vs. trained by Patricia, a woman of definite psychic abilities and a natural power player and strategist, but by no means an authentic teacher.
Donato empowered his ambassadors by connecting them to something greater, themselves. Patricia sought to connect everyone to herself for the purpose, in my opinion, of empowering herself with our belief and powering herself with our energy.