ON BARBARA BRENNAN
Founder of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing
by: Robert Ross
"She moves her hands up her body, just inches from it, as if she were fingering notes on a flute. Her breath grows raspy; her smile beatific. Nearby, a harpist plays. Brennan rises and dances along the stage, gliding as if she were a marionette. Someone in the class begins to cry. Then a second breaks into sobs.
The harp fades, and Brennan sits down. She stretches out her hands and feet, as if she's awakened from a deep meditation, then stands and rings a bell, 'When I do the Goddess, it's hard to talk about it' she says, then giggles like a five year old. A teacher escorts Brennan from the stage, and the students stream out for lunch.
So goes the dozens of articles written about Barbara Brennan sent to me in the form of a press kit, from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, located in East Hampton, New York. Until this point in time I had interviewed two healers in Southern California, part of past writing projects. The name Barbara Brennan was mentioned by one healer, but it really didn't register. Barbara Brennan? If anything, the name reminded me of my sister who's also named Barbara. And having lived in California most of my life, I assumed that when it came to gurus, we had more than enough on the west coast to keep us enlightened for decades.
So who is Barbara Brennan?
Was Barbara Brennan just another guru? Another sixties type who . . . unlike the president, perhaps "inhaled" a little too much? The more I read, the more I wanted to read and the more I wanted to know: who is Barbara Brennan?
Barbara Brennan has an impressive resume. She's fifty-six, a former NASA scientist, has a Masters degree in atmospheric physics, written two books, founded the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and owns a Lexus (a guru who enjoys the finer things in life!) She also has an interesting history, three marriages, a daughter, and a stint in the Yucatan where she had planned on sailing around the world. Pregnancy and a recurring fever not only prevented her from sailing around the world, but also brought her back to the U.S., where her spiritual journey began in earnest. It was after returning to the U.S. that Barbara Brennan became a bioenergetics counselor and eventually met John and Eva Pierakos at the Pathwork Center in Phoenicia, New York (Eva wrote The Pathwork for Self Transformation). The Pierakos' would be very influential in Ms. Brennan's spiritual development. In fact, it was not long after leaving The Pathwork Center, that Barbara published her first book: Hands of Light, A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field. She now found herself instructing others in the art and science of healing in addition to operating a healing practice. So successful was her venture into healing, that when she decided to concentrate solely on her healing school, appointments at her practice were scheduled a year in advance. Although she was in demand, she decided to concentrate her efforts on developing the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
A quick glance at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing catalogue, and one would think they were perusing the catalogue from a traditional four year college, with classes covering such topics as anatomy and physiology. A closer look, however, reveals something vastly different than any traditional four year institution. For example, because of the intensive emotional and psychological nature of the student's work at the school, students are required to be in therapy twice per month (two hours per session/eighteen sessions per school year) with a professional therapist (psychiatrist, psychologist). Also, once the first year core requirements are satisfied, the student can expect to be taking classes with names like, High Sense Perception, Awakening Skills, Sacred Healing Vessel, and Healing Science Lab. The actual course descriptions are permeated with terms like "chakras," "auras", "energy lines", and other non-traditional expressions.
The student body meets five times a year, each time for five days of intensive training, in Long Island, New York. For the 1996/97 school year they expect 725 students from all over the United States as well as Canada, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. The tuition is $4750 per year.
The real McCoy
After reading dozens of articles about Barbara Brennan, which included extraordinary accounts of her ability to see auras and lines of energy, her proficiency in manipulating these energy fields in such a way as to assist the patient in the recovery process, and after reading glowing reviews by noted psychologist Rollo May, Elizabeth Kubler Ross and Louise Hay, I was convinced that Barbara Brennan was indeed, the real McCoy. Curiosity being what it is, I still wanted to know more, like, what was she really like. It was time to hit the phones and talk to people who knew her or had attended the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
My first call was revealing (and unexpected). "Distant" and "forward" (as in dispensing with formalities) were terms used by a former graduate. The voice on the other end of the phone went on to say that Barbara Brennan didn't exhibit a lot of warmth. O.K., I thought to myself, heading a four-year training school with instructors, deans and hundreds of students wouldn't leave most of us with the emotional capacity to be warm and fuzzy to everyone around us. Still, the questioned lingered, who is this person who's influenced tens of thousands of people with her two books ("Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field" and "Light Emerging: the Journey of Personal Healing")? Time for a second call.
My second call was also to a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. "Charismatic", "persuasive" and "dynamic" the voice on the other end stated, referring to Barbara Brennan. The former graduate went on to discuss how Ms. Brennan had truly provided a service by bringing the concept and "healing" to the general population.
Two former graduates, two points of view. Chakras, energy lines, and auras may not be terms and concepts you're comfortable with, but if you have a desire to know more and perhaps make your own judgement about Barbara Brennan, you'll have an opportunity this February. Barbara Brennan will be in Los Angeles, at the Omni Los Angeles hotel, February 27, 1997. Call 516- 329-0951 for details or visit the Barbara Brennan Web page at: http://www.barbarabrennan.com.
Curiosity being what it is . . . I'll be there!
* The opening quotation was from "High Energy Healer" by Diane Goldner, New Age Journal - January/February 1996
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