Healers abound at Summer Solstice festival


Stephen Henry plays a crystal bowl on the back of Teri Augiar during the Summer Solstice Spiritual and Alternative Health Festival at the Seraphim Center on Saturday in Gainesville.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 9:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 9:15 p.m.

Toni Thompson was in need of sage to cleanse her house of bad vibes, and she figured she could find it Saturday at the Summer Solstice Spiritual and Alternative Health Festival in Gainesville.

The festival held at the Seraphim Center was a marketplace for alternative physical and emotional healing techniques that ran the gamut from chiropractic to crystal bowl balancing.

"I like to travel. I went to Thailand and Cambodia and got kind of interested in (alternative healing). I like the alternate lifestyles to take care of yourself. I've been to India and that is the same sort of thing — get in touch with yourself," said Thompson, a dog obedience trainer in Gainesville. "My brother is a physician, and I think he is beginning to use some of this now."

The Rev. Diane Childs explained that the Seraphim Center is a place for people who do not fit in with traditional churches to seek spirituality. A reading room in the center features statues and icons of many religious leaders, including Jesus and Mary, Buddha and others.

The church is part of the Alliance of Divine Love, an international organization with the goal of seeking and sharing knowledge that promotes spiritual and mental growth while ensuring stability and balance.

The center has a library and several rooms where healers can practice their crafts.

"We're non-denominational, non-judgmental, nonprofit," Childs said. "We are not a traditional kind of church with a minister in a pulpit. Every week is different. One week we'll have a talk on crystals. One week we'll talk about A Course of Miracles. We have rooms for other people to come in and use."

A Course in Miracles is a spiritual enlightenment program.

Some of the healers who regularly practice at the center were there for Saturday's festival.

Among them were card readers, acupuncturists, masters in Reiki energy and massage.

Demonstrations were given in crystal bowl balancing, in which bowls are first tapped with a striker in specific pitches to affect different part of the body. The striker is then circled around the rim, creating a meditative sound. When placed on a body, the bowls create a vibration.

Carol Jo Garfinkel, of Hawthorne, was at a table covered with purple velvet to give past-life and aura readings, past-life regressions, spiritual counseling and healing.

Garfinkel, 77, said she first realized she had the gift when she was in her 30s and that she has clients around the world.

"My information comes from angels or archangels. I channel the angels and archangels — their energy comes through me," Garfinkel said. "I asked for God to slow me down and when he closed one door, two more opened. As long as I'm doing God's work, I'm going to keep on."

Gainesville is considered to be a city that is open to alternative medicine and spirituality, said several festival attendees and vendors. The Seraphim Center is at 1234 NW 14th Ave.

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