Willow Speaking On:
I was raised Unitarian, until I moved to the commune and then got exposed to a lot of Eastern religions: yoga, meditation, and stuff like that. Oh, and a little Quaker. Because a lot of the people that started the commune were Quaker.
We got introduced to Avatar because we had this wonderful chiropractor in Oregon whose wife was the manager of the business. All she was was this “manager of the business person.” She didn’t have a life. She wasn’t a well-rounded person. There was just no [personal] connection [with anyone]. Then she came down to California and we had dinner with her. And there was this whole person there. She was connecting with us. We were like, “What happened to you?” It was just like, “Wow!” It was like this this whole person had blossomed in front of you.[We said,] “Oh my God! What happened to you?” And she said she’d done this thing called “Avatar.” We said, “How do we find out more about it?” So, she turned us on to the person who had taught her, who happened to live in Marin. Then we went to a party in Marin, learned more about Avatar, started on our Avatar path, and kept doing that. I don’t think we’ll ever stop doing that. [Avatar is] a set of tools to manage your life. It doesn’t tell you anything about what to do with it, or what to believe. You get to choose that part. It just allows you to use the tools to make what you believe [a] reality.
The underlying beliefs that create a whole structure become apparent, if you’re looking at it from an Avatar point of view. There are some beliefs that are underlying the structures of standard religion and organized religion that aren’t very nice. [Avatar] doesn’t preclude organized religion. It’s just, organized religion tends to get a little too constricting, [but] if you want to, you can do any religion you want with it.
Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, 15 August 2007; transcribed by J. Zander; edited by Laura S. Hodgman. Audio file held in the Museum of Arts and Culture.