The Online Publication of the Reiki University
Pilgrim - Prophet of Peace
by Ellen Louise
Kahne, Reiki Master
For over 28 years and
25,000 miles Peace Pilgrim walked the talk of a prophet of peace for humankind.
It wasnt merely that she spoke of peace or taught peace, she embodied
Peace. Leaving behind her given name and all her earthly possessions to
walk on faith, she became a living prayer for peace, a dynamic teacher
who actualized inner peace, peace on all levels throughout her life itself.
Standing for a moment in her well traveled shoes , inspired by her Divine
Law of Love, we see Peace Pilgrims vision of a Golden Age
of Peace in our time, for all times to come.
Prophets arise in response to great need in times of
dimensional shift and struggle. They are messengers bringing us clarity
of vision as they connect and focus our purpose on right action as we
move through dynamic historical changes. A prophetic voice is both a solution
for the times in which it is heard and a message of inspiration for all
future times. Adding one powerful drop of undiluted Universal Truth of
a prophets life and words catalyzes and changes an ocean of doubt,
confusion and spiritual misdirection across all boundaries for generations.
During the 20th century, a century of tribal hatreds,
unprecedented wars and carnage which poised humanity on the brink of nuclear
annihilation, three prophets arose in response to their times to transform
the way we think of and treat one another, to reconnect us to our inner
knowing, to teach us the tools for inner Peace, so that we can transform
our society in the way of Peace. They held for us the mirror of our behaviors
and possibilities and urged us to balance and transform both inwardly
and as a society. Mohandas Gandhi was the prophet of non violent resistance,
he raised his voice and spirit to lift the yoke of colonial repression,
class prejudice, bigotry and discrimination. Edgar Cayce, the sleeping
prophet, navigated the intuitive waters of universal wisdom for the past,
present and future progress and healing of each individual soul. He electrified
our overview of energetic shifts (changes) in individuals and in the earth
itself. Peace Pilgrim was the prophet of Peace, accompanied only by inner
spiritual guidance, she walked over 25,000 miles fearlessly, with clarity
of insight and purpose, as an emissary of Peace.
Peace Pilgrim - Preparing For Prophecy
Fifteen years before she began her pilgrimage for peace
in 1953, Mildred Lucette Norman Ryder experienced the dark night of her
soul. As she walked for hours though the woods seeking direction for her
life, she came upon a clearing in the forest which became the clearing
in her soul. There, she turned over her life to God with the intention
of serving Him in any way He would guide her. She said here I am...take
all of me, use me as you will...I withhold nothing. Immediately,
she came into balance and wholeness. From that moment to the end of her
life, Mildred experienced perfect health and she knew the purpose of her
life would always be working for peace. Fifteen years intervened between
her spiritual transformation and the beginning of her pilgrims journey.
These years were filled with preparation, service and spiritual growth
which enabled her to achieve inner peace and actualize the commitment
she had made to God.
Peace Pilgrim came from an economically poor background.
She was born in 1908 in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, a town founded by
her German grandfather who left Europe to get away from constant wars.
As the eldest of three children, Mildred grew up on a small poultry farm
enriched by the love of her parents, three unmarried aunts and an uncle,
in her unusual extended family.
Mildreds sister, Helene Young, has said we
were brought up to think for ourselves, not to follow like sheep.
Peace Pilgrim and her siblings were raised by non violent people, free
thinkers who favored social justice. The children werent given
any formal religious training, but were allowed to explore their spiritual
connection as they were individually guided to do so. Peace Pilgrim attended
her first church service at sixteen, as a wedding guest. Near the end
of her pilgrimage, she entered her religion in a guest book
as Universal Truth.
Mildreds spiritual development came through her
familiarity and connection with nature, through her personal observation
of the causality of change all around her. Her understanding of spiritual
forces unfolded naturally as she realized that the poetry of universal
energy was powered by the mathematically coherent glue of Universal Truth
and the Divine Law of Love. In adulthood, she spoke of the
energy which is manifesting in living things, saying she saw the
As a student, Mildred Norman was at the top of
her class, on the debate team, a dynamic person, devoid of all fear.
She developed an amazing amount of self discipline and focus, even as
a young child she prioritized according her rule of first things
first to accomplish her goals. She interpreted the Golden rule as
if you want to make friends, be friendly. In adulthood, she
amended this to if you want to make peace, be peaceful.
Mildred found that she did not have to be a follower
to be well liked. When her friends urged her to use alcohol and cigarettes
she would not succumb to peer pressure. She often turned the other cheek.
Whenever she met resentment and hostility in others she responded with
kindness and understanding.
Mildred Norman spent fifteen years prior to beginning
her journey as Peace Pilgrim in a process of spiritual maturation and
preparation. She overcame petty bigotries which surfaced in her teen years,
according to her sister Helene. She examined and discarded her love of
material possessions, including personal vanity and a love of fashionable
clothes. Formerly an enthusiastic meat eater, she became a vegetarian,
as she decided not to eat anything which she wouldnt kill. Mildred
began the practice of service which was the heart of her prophecy. As
a committed pacifist, Mildreds refusal to support what she termed
legalized murder in World War II was instrumental in precipitating
her divorce from her husband, Stanley Ryder.
Prior to her pilgrimage, Mildred lived in Philadelphia.
She worked with Scott Nearing, the father of the back to the land movement,
who had been arrested and tried under the Espionage Act of 1917 for championing
war resistance, as the executive chairman of the Peoples Council, a peace
coalition. She joined Father Divine, founder of the Peace Mission Movement.
Also, she was a member of the Womens International League For Peace
and Freedom, the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission and the United Nations
Council of Philadelphia. Mildred was both a committed peace activist and
a volunteer who helped the sick and elderly in her community.
Later, Mildred was the first woman to walk the Appalachian
trail alone. She did this in preparation for her lifes work, her
pilgrimage on foot. She had seen a map marked with the path of her first
pilgrimage across the United States revealed to her in a vision.
According to Helene, Mildred was training herself,
making herself hearty for what she was planning to do. Part of her
preparation was the severing of old relationships. This was included in
what she termed the struggle between the lower self and the higher
self. In the midst of her fifteen year long struggle to let go of
personal ego to reach spiritual maturity, Peace Pilgrim caught her first
glimpse of inner peace. She later told a young follower, I have
a secret but I would not call it that. There was a time long ago when
I died, I really died to myself. She was reborn as Peace Pilgrim,
the phoenix arisen from her own ashes.
Peace Pilgrim was propelled by the urgent need of her
times to begin her pilgrimage at the Rosebowl Parade in 1953. She was
motivated by a deep spiritual commitment to peace and spurred to action
by the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the McCarthy era and
the Korean War. She was able to cast off the comforts of family and friends,
the material life of things as she called it, for a guided
life of higher purpose, that of bringing the message of peace on every
level to anyone who would listen.
Peace Pilgrim walked without any institutional backing,
without possessions of any kind except the simple dark blue clothing she
wore, a pen, a portable toothbrush and a comb. Without so much as a penny
in her tunic pockets, without a protective coat or a pair of gloves, she
determined to live completely on faith to walk until given shelter,
to fast until given food and to live as a wanderer...a wayfarer,
until mankind has learned the way of peace. She felt that humanity
was at a crossroads and had a drastic choice between annihilation
or a Golden Age of Peace.
The intent embodied in her prophecy of peace was to
overcome evil with good, falsehood with Truth, hatred with love.
As she walked her talk, as she lived it, Peace Pilgrim had been given
the spiritual gift of her message through her inner communion with God.
The principles and Divine law of Love which she spoke of were
not original to Peace Pilgrim, what was original was that she embodied
them, lived them simply, completely and fully and she carried them on
foot for twenty eight years with boundless energy and enthusiasm until
her death in July, 1981.
Peace Pilgrims tunic made her contacts with people,
she said in the kindest way. She never approached anyone or
asked for anything, she was visible as a walking sign post along the roadway
of change. On the front of her tunic was written Peace Pilgrim,
on the back the message of her walk was emblazoned along with the mileage
she had covered for peace. After walking over 25,000 miles, Peace Pilgrim
stopped counting miles in 1964, then she reordered her priorities. Speaking
and writing took precedence over walking, and although she still walked,
she accepted rides to lectures and appearances.
Walking on faith meant just that. Peace Pilgrim never
accepted more than she needed or allowed things to possess
her, as she had said. When one of her hosts offered an apple as she was
leaving, she gently chided her are you trying to ruin my connection?
As the person offered her a sheet of stamps for her correspondence, she
said I need only three stamps, thank you.
Peace Pilgrim traversed the United States seven times
during her pilgrimage. She walked into Canada and Mexico. As a prophet
for her times, she developed the ability to engage media attention and
to meet and attract supporters. She led walking trips of Alaska and Hawaii
which were sponsored by her devoted followers. She spoke at churches,
lectured at colleges and universities, appeared on television and radio
programs across the country, always in the cause of peace. Her talk was
peppered with humor and with personal insights, her lessons
as she called them. She captivated her audiences through the obvious love
and kindness which poured through her, by her rational defense of peace
and non violence on all levels, and through the example of her boundless
energy and vibrancy which Peace Pilgrim said was powered by inner
peace. She said energy comes to me as easily as air.
Peace Pilgrim attributed her joyful demeanor to knowing
God. She said, as I lived according to the highest light I had,
I discovered that other light was given; that I opened myself to receiving
more light as I lived the light I had.
Peace Pilgrim became the message of peace. She said
I have found inner peace, not I am seeking inner peace. Shortly
after beginning her pilgrimage, she decided not give reporters any information
about her early life, not her given name or her background, as this was
unimportant, only the message of peace was important. She authored a pamphlet
called Steps Toward Inner Peace and a series of newsletters,
but did not write any books during her lifetime even though she was urged
to do so by her followers and friends.
Peace Pilgrim Lights the Way - Friends Of Peace Pilgrim
On July 25, 1981, Peace Pilgrim made her transition
to a freer life. This was how she expressed her death to her followers,
years before the fatal automobile accident which took her life. On the
night before the accident, Peace Pilgrim ended her talk early. She had
been looking up during her talk, suddenly, she turned to walk through
her audience, touching each person and saying bless you. She
had told one of her young followers what she wanted when my work
on this planet earth is done, that I move out, that I go very quickly.
Several months after her death, some of Peace Pilgrims
followers gathered in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a memorial service to her
extraordinary life. John and Ann Rush, who had first met Peace Pilgrim
on her trek across Canada in 1957, decided to compile a book along with
three other friends. They assembled the book from Peace Pilgrims
writings and from the videotape footage of interviews conducted during
her pilgrimage. Five thousand copies of the book, Peace Pilgrim - Her
Life and Work In Her Own Words, were initially printed and distributed
free of charge to share the memory of Peace Pilgrim with others. The book
has become a world wide spiritual classic. In the past seventeen years,
a half million copies of the book have been distributed in ten languages,
one million Steps Toward Inner Peace pamphlets have been distributed
in twenty five languages. The Rushes have dedicated their retirement to
their unpaid labor of love, distributing books, video and audio tapes,
and newsletters, along with thousands of others who have donated voluntary
gifts of time, money and energy to spread the message of peace exemplified
by Peace Pilgrim. The Rushes head the non-profit, tax exempt, all volunteer
organization known as Friends of Peace Pilgrim headquartered
in their home at 43480 Cedar Avenue, Hemet, California 92544 (909-927-7678).
Friends of Peace Pilgrim and the energy and light of
Peace Pilgrims prophecy have inspired peace projects around the
world, including peace walks, a legal mediation program based on her principles
which has resolved over 25,000 cases with an unheard of 80 percent success
rate, and an inner peace program pioneered at Arizona State
Prison which has dramatically cut the recidivism rate of released prisoners.
The light of Peace Pilgrims message continues to transform all who
hear her words, all who touch her life and make a decision to follow her
Steps Toward Inner Peace.
Peace Pilgrims Steps Toward Inner Peace - As She Lived Them
These are the steps toward inner peace that I wanted to share with
Theres nothing new about this. This is universal truth
1. Assume right attitudes toward life.
2. Live good beliefs.
3. Find your place in the Life Pattern.
4. Simplify life to bring inner and outer well-being into harmony.
Then I discovered there were some purification's required of me...
First, purification of the body.....clearing physical living habits
Second, purification of thought.....If you realized how powerful
thoughts were, you would never think a negative thought
Third, purification of desire...you can come to the point of oneness
just to know and do your part in the Life Pattern....
is there anything else more important to desire?
Finally, purification of motive....your motive, if you are to find
must be an outgoing motive---it must be service...giving not getting
Now, the last part.....the relinquishments....once youve made
the first relinquishment, you have found inner peace
First...the relinquishment of self-will....if you are motivated
to do or say a mean thing....deliberately turn around
and use the same energy to do or say a good thing instead
Second...the relinquishment of the feeling of separateness....
we are all cells in the body of humanity
Third...the relinquishment of all attachments...anything that you
relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you
you do not possess any other human being...they must live in
accordance with their own inner motivations
Fourth...the relinquishment of all negative feeling....if you dont
live in the
present moment you never get around to living at all
No outward thing.....can hurt me inside, psychologically. I recognized
that I could only be hurt psychologically by my own wrong actions
which I have control over...
Copyright Ellen Louise Kahne, all rights reserved.
Ellen Louise Kahne, founder and president of the Reiki
Peace Network and Reiki University, is the publisher of online Reiki Magazine
which appears on her website, www.ReikiPeaceNetwork.com. Ellen is a performance
poet, freelance writer and peace activist. She teaches and practices Reiki,
which Ellen defines as a Universal pathway to Peace and balance
through the loving energy of hands-on healing.
This article first appeared as the feature (lead) article in the April/May
2000, issue of The New Millennium - A Journal for Times of Change and
Transformation on "The Way of Peace" (New Millennium Magazine
is the bimonthly publication of the Association of Research and Enlightenment
and the Edgar Cayce Foundation).
To Contact Ellen by email: HealNet@aol.com
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