A Post Script & Parting Shot for Patti Simpson Rivinus

By Doug Marman

Patti's Wedding Picture

August 3, 1933 – May 4, 2011

When I first saw Patti, in 1973, she seemed larger than life. It wasn’t because she was giving a talk to thousands of people. And it wasn’t the fascinating experiences she shared about her time as personal assistant to the founder of Eckankar, Paul Twitchell, and the unique training she went through working for him.

It was the ease in her voice. The simple way she had of saying the most amazing things. It was her honesty, her sense of humor. She wasn’t trying to be anything but who she was, and somehow she made that seem grand.

In other words, she loomed so large because she wasn’t trying. She was just being who she was. In fact, she seemed to enjoy making fun of herself:

“…to my knowledge, I have never made the same mistake twice. Actually, that is not really such a remarkable feat, considering how many mistakes are available to us without our needing to repeat any. And I say, with some chagrin, that while I may not hold the record, I have accomplished a respectable volume of work in that category.”[i]

This only brought her more fans. To which she responded by assuring us that she didn’t deserve it:

“…no matter what I have done, or how often I might have appeared to be in a role of leadership, I have never been anything but a soldier in the trenches. Nor have I lost the sense of wonder, the sense of the miracle, that all this happened to me, a basically average, unremarkable human being.”[ii]

Unremarkable? Hardly. Patti’s life was extraordinary.

She taught a three week course in Beginning Japanese Cooking at Fassero’s International Ecole de Cuisine, only to say that she didn’t intend to repeat the experience because “There were too many things to think about and do all at once.”

She decided to take sailing lessons one day. A friend asked her, “Oh, do you have a sailboat?”

Patti helping Paul Twitchell with his microphone at an early Eckankar seminar

Patti helping Paul Twitchell with his microphone at an early Eckankar seminar

“No,” she said.

“Are you going to buy one?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, then why in the world are you taking sailing lessons?”

Which left Patti speechless. Later she said, “I was dumbfounded at her viewpoint that there had to be a very practical reason for me to go to so much time and trouble.”

She was doing it for “the glory of new adventure; the challenge of pitting yourself against the unknown quality…the learning of a thing‒being aware of what and how it is, is the reason to do it.”

You won’t find more of an adventurer, who loves exploring the edges, the out-of-bounds areas, and the mysteries, with every project she takes on.

Especially now. Nothing’s changed.

* * * * *

When I sat down to write this article about the passing of Patti Simpson Rivinus, her presence surrounded me. It was unmistakable.

This was curious, since I knew she had already moved on to bigger and better things, in the worlds beyond this plane of existence. So, this wasn’t her, they were blessings: A gift wave she left behind. I’ve never experienced this before.

As I followed this wave, I saw it reaching thousands of people, friends, and family. I was amazed at how many Patti touched around the world, from all different walks of life.

Some knew her only from reading the books she wrote, or hearing a talk she gave, or from one of her many articles published long ago. Some knew her from art classes they took with her, or the sharing of a book, or a helping note she sent out of the blue. Or from her free counseling moments that she dispensed regularly, especially for those in need.

Let me give you an example. I got to see one of her unexpected acts of friendship, one day.

She called to say that she had just returned from a trip, and a stewardess on the plane had broken down in tears. Her husband had just died and she was completely lost. She didn’t know what to do. Patti took her under her wing, and asked if Karen and I could help.

We drove over together to spend time with the stewardess, who none of us knew, and to help around the house. We cleaned up, fixed some broken appliances, which her husband normally took care of. But more than anything, Patti just wanted to share some light. The results were unmistakable. You could see the spark coming back to the stewardess, as she started to perk up, feeling a new kind of energy that she had forgotten.

Life. It is so important, and Patti dispensed it like candy.

After the worst of the storm passed, we left the stewardess a little more hopeful than before, feeling that she had received an unexpected gift from people she didn’t know.

That was Patti. She was doing things like that all the time.

So, I shouldn’t have been surprised that she would leave her friends and family with another gift, with her passing.

* * * * *

I’ve never seen anyone who left such a trail of grace behind her, as Patti did. I wasn’t the only one who experienced this.

Fred Foos wrote:

“I was in Portland on business all week and had the experience of Patti’s great golden pillar reaching into the Universal Source of All Being.”

Christopher Rivinus, Patti’s step-son, wrote:

“I am finding a ton of good memories sharpening in my mind. Patti came into my life at a critical time and so much of who I am today is because of her. Somehow over the last few days the big lessons she taught me, the critical lessons, are coming back to me. It’s as if she’s talking to me and reminding me of things I’d forgotten. Good things. Things about how the universe really works and things about who I really am inside.”

Rosalind Richards wrote:

“My husband and I took a walk tonight fairly late.  A few seconds out  of the house and we heard the train horn blowing a long, low and beautiful tone. It was very deep and noticeable because I don’t remember hearing the train before. After walking down the hill, we heard it again at a distance. It must have stopped and rang the horn again as it went on.  The tone now was at a lower octave.

“I thought to myself that this was Patti’s love. Then the symbol of another octave lower and there she is again as her love continues on into the other worlds. I thought about her, the whole walk. What a happy, loving, generous, bright Soul. What a thrill it was to hear her talk at Seminars with her wonderful humor. How much Paul trusted her and depended on her. How important she was to him.

“If I had any doubts about her sending love to me and others tonight, that was quelled through the Sound of the Train Horn. As I finished  the walk there it was again. Three beautiful whistles of Patti’s love and presence. How lucky we all are to have known her.”

* * * * *

This article isn’t going as I planned.

Patti smiles. “That’s life,” her presence says to me.

Her laugh is infectious.

She doesn’t want me talking about the past. “That old stuff?,” she says. If her death is about anything, she says, let it be about this moment now.

A presence that speaks such wisdom is rare. It can only be found with those who have moved into the universal life. This is a sign of mastership, which is not a title, but a state of being.

Patti is absolutely right, this moment of celebration about her life is about now, the experience and adventure of life. It’s not an ending, but a poignant turning point. It isn’t the closing of a circle, but a spiral that keeps growing.

“However,” I say to Patti, “I have a story that needs to be told. It starts in the past, but brings us something for this moment now.”

* * * * *

I had the pleasure of working with Patti, through the mail, in 1978, when I worked at the ECK World News.

Patti started EWN, an international news magazine. Paul Twitchell, the founder of Eckankar, had talked about his vision for such a publication, and it resonated with her. Patti got it up and running, and ran it for the first two years, from 1972 to 1973. Then, she turned it over to others.

One of her classic trademarks, when she was editor, was the way she ended every edition with her “PS.”

Sometimes PS stood for Post Script, a final comment for the edition, usually a funny quip. For example, she ended the September 1973 issue this way:

“Since last month’s issue hit the streets, homes, prisons and libraries, we have been receiving some interesting mail regarding Black Holes. It seems that readers everywhere have recognized that Black Holes are not necessarily ‘out there’ but right here. Many of us have chucked out forever such ideas as negligence, absent-mindedness, and the other nasty incriminations usually applied to mysterious disappearances. It’s been a great relief to those of us who tend to lose things to discover that we are not remiss after all‒but have just had certain items confiscated by some nearby insatiable Black Hole! I find this explanation very satisfying and much more to my liking than the idea I used to have that I tend to lose things. I personally suspect that I have more than one of these in my general area, but I thought I’d let you know‒that black shoulder strap handbag I usually lug around with me is one that has been positively identified.”

Other times, PS stood for Parting Shot. Such as this beauty:

Parting ShotAnd, of course, PS always stood for Patti Simpson, although she never once said that.

* * * * *

When I was co-editor of the ECK World News, I asked Patti if she would contribute an article. She sent a short piece that has always been one of my favorites. She began The Bombing of a Philosopher:

“One thing we are as sure of around here as death and taxes is that come spring the mockingbirds will reverse the natural order of things and begin dive-bombing the neighborhood cats. It’s one of my favorite things and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it is just the fascination of seeing creatures jump out of traditional molds and do the daring and unexpected.”

This put her into a philosophical mood about the amusement of nature. She laughed at the ridiculous picture of the next-door cat running from the little bird. She ended her article like this:

“I was still musing about the silliness of the powerful cat when I heard the mocker shrieking again. I looked up thinking they both were back and I’d be in for some more fun. But only the bird was back. He was perched on a rosebush about five feet from me and there was no doubt as to whose shiny hair he had his eyes glued on. It was an eyeball to eyeball confrontation. I said, ‘You wouldn’t dare!’ He fidgeted and shrieked again and I suddenly remembered I had some things I should be doing in the house and I quickly disappeared behind the door muttering to myself.”[iii]

The Bombing of a Philosopher, was therefore both about her being bombarded by a mockingbird, backing down from the silliest of threats, and at the same time it was about her failure as a philosopher.

It’s easy to laugh with her, but what I love is the subtle way she hints at something profoundly moving. We love to sit back and observe life from a distance. We look out over the world and philosophize about the craziness of it all. The joke’s on us, since we are part of it. That’s where we belong, in the fracas, not watching from the sidelines.

This article also showed her love for the offbeat, especially when it included reversals to the natural order. I think that is why she wrote in such an unassuming way. In the middle of her most thoughtful articles and lectures, you still feel as if you were sitting next to her, having a casual chat.

For example, take the way she begins her book, Hello Friend, written for new students of Eckankar:

“It was one o’clock in the morning, in the Spring of 1980, when I was awakened by you…

“I know a lot about you. You have carried within you a deep yearning to know more about the nature of things. In your quiet moments you have asked yourself strange questions. Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here?

“You have within you the seeds of a revolutionary; a pioneer. You sense or know there is far more to existence than is commonly accepted and you can’t help being curious about the unknown, although there are moments when you wish it weren’t thus; moments when you wish you could be as satisfied and accepting of the safe, traditional forms as others seem to be…

“You didn’t tell me all this specifically when we met in the middle of the night. What you conveyed to me was that we are very much alike, you and I. And so, I have just written for you a fairly accurate description of me as I approach the path of Eckankar. There’s a name for this condition that we have. It’s called ‘Divine Discontent.’ It is the mark of the Seeker. And when I meet one, I call him or her, Friend.”[iv]

When she called you Friend, she meant it. She made thousands of friends down through the years.

This note came from one, the day after word of Patti’s passing got out:

“Many years ago, when I was introduced to Eckankar by my Dad, one of the first names I got to know was Patti Simpson. I really can’t remember how or why it stuck, but when I found her on Facebook, it didn’t matter. She just seemed to have this light permanently in her eyes that is so unmissable. I wasn’t very close to her even on Facebook, but for some reason, that name became engraved in me.

“She was a beautiful Soul…

“Know that from far away, in Nigeria, Patti meant something to someone and we will all miss her dearly.”

* * * * *

“Enough with the old tales,” Patti says to me. “It’s time for something new.”

“Okay,” I answer. “Then it is time to tell the untold story. But, first, let me give everyone a bit of background.”

* * * * *

At the peak of Patti’s popularity, in the mid-1980’s, she made a move that surprised everyone. She resigned from the long list of responsibilities that she held in the organization of Eckankar, and turned away from the spotlight completely.

She and David, her husband, also packed up all their personal belongings and moved, leaving California and all their friends, to live in a small town in Vermont, where Patti knew no one.

Few could understand why she would give up everything. Some wondered if she left in protest over something, but that was never Patti. I never saw her running away from anything, and she never had a problem speaking her mind. She was always moving toward something new.

Patti went radio silent on the subject until a few years ago. An ECKist wrote asking why she made such a change in her life back then. Patti answered in a letter dated, July 2007:

“The time came when my extensive work on the outer path was no longer where I needed to be. This became clear to me in many different ways. I needed to be doing my work on my own, with my own inner life, instead of such a public forum. Everything I ever found myself to be on the outer path, I continue to be, with the added richness that I work quietly and anonymously in the world with people who have no idea what I have done in the past.”

It wasn’t an easy change at all. It was one of the hardest things she had ever done.

She didn’t want to leave all her friends behind, and she loved the work she was doing. But inwardly, the message was getting stronger and stronger that it was time for a change. A big change. But she wasn’t quite ready.

That’s when she slipped on an icy curb and busted her ankle to smithereens, as she described it. Her bones were fractured in so many places that she required four separate surgeries, with pins and plates, to put her ankle back together. Now she wasn’t going anywhere.

She talked about the waking dream “accident” with David, who had been giving talks on the subject. They both agreed that the inner message was clear: It was time for her to make a clean “break.”

A while later, after her ankle healed well enough to get around, she got a request from a long time friend to be guest speaker at an Eckankar seminar. She wondered if maybe she could do this one last little thing, since it was coming from a close friend. So, she agreed. On her way to give the talk, she tripped down some steps and broke her elbow.

Then she knew that there was no choice except to go forward with life and see where it was taking her.

In a letter dated June 2007, she wrote to some close friends:

“You know, on the outer path, most of your friends are ECKists. Most of your work and your identity is that. Then you move into a small New England town and no one knows you and you have to start over, from scratch. David was a tenor and got involved with the music scene. Tenors are always in great demand. I did nothing at first except sit up on my mountain nursing my fiercely wounded ankle. My first contact in the town on my own were my dentist and my orthopedic surgeon. All the music people put up with me because I was ‘the tenor’s wife,’ but in the beginning that was all. It was total anonymity. So, I had to be Patti, pure and simple. I had to share my expertise, my humor, my time and work on very mundane levels.

“But gradually I emerged from my cocoon and became a person to them (and if you can do that with New Englanders, you’ve really done something.) I like to think of that time, in that small town of 13,000, as giving birth to myself. A new self, with all the experience and talents and insights I developed in Eckankar, but without the ready made audience of folks who loved and listened to me in the past. In ECK I was very known, very visible. In Brattleboro Vermont, I was no one. But when we left, people were crying, over both of us. 70 people came to our going away party.

“And since I’ve done this once, I have no reticence about doing it again. Every one of us have things to say, and to give, and we need to do that without tying ourselves, in any way, to an organization. That just helps us grow. Because we need to come from our own authority. We are co-creators. And we need to move into the freedom and joy and service of that space.

“All this is to say, I think Paul waited a long time to see us realize this.”

I agree completely with Patti, that this is indeed one of the lessons Paul hoped we would learn. But it is one of the hardest lessons to leave our old paths behind to find where life is taking us now. Yet, this is how the path of life works. We can’t be so caught up in our path that we miss The Path of life itself.

Paul put it this way, as captured by Patti’s trusty tape recorder:

“…the majority of ideas that go on in these fields of religion and philosophy have narrowed themselves down to a very narrow path. I can be a Christian or I can be a Moslem, I can be almost anything, but then I’m put into a strait jacket…

“So, what we have to begin to think about‒and I’m guilty of this point myself‒is that we can’t really say that ECK is even a path. It embraces so much of life because It is life itself. The only thing we’re doing is using certain exercises and certain ideas in order to open ourselves to this flow‒or whatever you want to call It, that is coming into us‒or we are traveling out to It. So we find that we are embracing the whole of everything and not a small, narrow path. And the minute that we begin to put ourselves into this narrow path, we have failed, because we then put ourselves on another path.”[v]

That’s “another path” because it is no longer the path of the whole of life.

* * * * *

Patti was a pioneer, always exploring. So, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone when she suddenly left the spotlight, to lead a life of anonymity.

In the middle of her most serious writing, she would often say something like this, from her book, Hello Friend:

“…these are great and important things we are discussing. And I’m feeling neither great nor important. Such things are better left to the big guys. But just between you and me, I find small, simple things work the most profoundly.”[vi]

That is indeed where the spiritual path strikes gold. Not in the shining lights of fame, but in the small and simple things. It isn’t about finding glory, but the glorious moment of now, here, filled with the fullness of being.

You can see it in her artwork, during her anonymous years. Both the Dalai Lama and African Lady paintings show her upmost respect for the strength of individuality, facing truth in daily life.

Dalai Lama by Patti Simpson RivinusAfrican Lady by Patti Simpson Rivinus
The piece she liked best, however, is also the simplest, and one of her most recent. A red truck, in the stillness of a field. You can hear the quiet, far from the spotlights.

She wrote this note about her truck paintings, just a year ago:

“Living for many years in rural Vermont where almost every farm has at least one old truck and/or cars tucked away in the nearby forest or in a weedy forgotten place, I developed a deep love for this interesting phenomenon of rural America. The old trucks seem to be like old grandfathers, once strong and dependable, hardy workers, who can no longer produce, but remain beloved.”

Red Truck by Patti Simpson RivinusFor Patti, the painting was also autobiographical, showing her the completion of a good life: An old work vehicle put out to pasture. It wasn’t being used any more, but was filled with too many good memories to be sent to the junk yard. The telephone pole is a bit off kilter from the weather and years, symbolizing old communication lines that are now out of date, but were once used on a daily basis.

* * * * *

To understand fully the magnitude of what Patti was working on, when she turned to an anonymous life, we need to hear a personal story that no one knew. She never told anyone, outside of David, what had happened, until about a year ago, when she pulled me aside, in her home.

She said, as best as I can remember:

“Paul asked me if I would be the next Living ECK Master, but I had to turn him down.

“He told me that I had the ability. I could do what he was doing. But he didn’t ask his question directly. I was too much in shock at what I was hearing. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized he was asking me if I would be his successor.

“I still had four kids growing up, at home. I had Pete [her husband at the time], who had already sacrificed too much for my work. I couldn’t abandon my responsibilities as wife and mother.

“I had to say no, but I hated doing it.

“I knew I had to give Paul my answer in person. The next day I saw him, and I saw what a letdown it was.”

This happened after Paul had been poisoned. He knew he needed to find a successor. Even Gail, his wife, told him to pick someone, before it was too late.

I asked David if he would share his memories about this untold story. He wrote me the following, and gave permission to include it in this article:


Patti being offered the position of the Living Eck Mastership by Paul was an incident that haunted her until only a few years before she died.

As you know, masters, when they really have something to say, rarely speak their minds directly. So Paul broached the subject indirectly to test the waters. Patti was anything but spiritually blind and she was certain enough of Paul’s “hint” that it put her into a near panic.

It was a double-edged sword. One blade of that sword was that she was forced to confront the possibility that she HAD understood Paul correctly. She imagined herself in the role that was‒she felt reasonably certain‒being asked and expected of her, namely, that she was to take over the leadership of Eckankar in the responsibility of its Living Eck Master. She saw herself, still in her late thirties, married and with small children, and with all the accompanying responsibilities that this role entailed, being suddenly catapulted through a series of intense initiations‒then being obliged to take over the guidance of a young spiritual movement with its growing number of chelas, each with his or her intense spiritual needs. (Can you imagine?) She knew almost immediately that she could not do this, certainly not at that juncture in her life; that her responsibilities on the physical plane‒her marriage, her children, her role as mother‒had to take precedence. There had already been one broken marriage in her young adulthood and she would not put her children through that experience again. She knew she had to refuse Paul.

That led to the other blade of the sword: What if she had misinterpreted Paul? What would this do to their close working relationship, now oiled like an exquisitely running machine, if she went to Paul and openly, directly (arrogantly?) turned down an offer that he had never actually made?

She was beside herself. But, as we all know, Patti was no shrinking violet. She mustered every ounce of her courage, went to Paul, and told him that she could not accept the role of the Living Eck Master; it was simply impossible for her at that time in her life.

If there had been any doubt at all in her mind up to that point as to whether Paul had actually made the offer, his reaction put it to rest. She told me that he said nothing, simply nodded his head in understanding and resignation and then she watched as he VISIBLY, PALPABLY, GRAVELY took the entire burden of the path back onto his own shoulders.

Her decision broke her heart. Paul was the individual on earth whom she respected and loved the most and she felt that, in that moment, she had profoundly let him down.

Until a few years ago, when you approached her with questions in regard to your writing of “The Whole Truth,” the only person she had related this incident to was me. She repeated the story several times during our marriage and never once did she alter a single detail. And always, there was the sense of misgiving, the fear that, especially in light of what happened during the Darwin years, she had made a decision that was horribly, horribly wrong.

The first relief she got was during our Vermont days. Patti was now in her 60s and she attended a workshop by an author and spiritual teacher named Richard Moss. He’s not associated with the Eck movement and Patti was there as much out of curiosity as anything else. But as we all know, sometimes the Mahanta speaks through unexpected sources and something Richard said struck home so deeply that Patti knew it had come directly from Paul. I wasn’t there so I will have to paraphrase the words, but the message was this: The first and most supremely important spiritual prerequisite to mastership is to be absolutely and uncompromisingly true to yourself.

Patti said that, as the meaning of Richard’s words began to sink in, she felt a burden lift off her own shoulders that gave her immense relief. She knew, at last, that she had acted correctly and that Paul had understood and had accepted her decision from the moment she had made it. That allowed her, finally, to share it with you a few years later and, at that point, she completely let the responsibility go. For her, it was a colossal weight removed.

Yet for me, sitting safely out of the line of fire, her decision, from the moment I heard of it, was nothing shy of awesome: I cannot imagine a more courageous act, done by a young woman exploring completely uncharted territory, and doing so leagues and leagues away from being in sight of any shore. What a blindingly bright light she was–and still is for that matter, in that even more vast arena in which she is currently working!

As this story would come up from time to time during our Sunday pillow talks, my own curiosity would lead me to ask any number of questions, the most puzzling of which was, “What about the Eck doctrine that claims only a male can be the L. E. M? Patti would raise her palms and shrug her shoulders, the message being crystal clear: “I know what it says and I also know that Paul asked me‒a woman‒to accept the job. So you go figure it out, then tell me and we’ll both know.” It was one of those wonderful, rich paradoxes of being married to Patti that made life so frustratingly and profoundly beautiful.


When I asked Patti if she would contribute to my book on Paul Twitchell, The Whole Truth, she jumped in with both feet. She dug out her old notes and recorded an audio tape for me on her thoughts.

She told me that this allowed her to finish a promise she had made to Paul, to write his biography. She felt her book, Paulji: A Memoir, was a personal account, and something more was needed.

I was thanking her for her help, while she was thanking me.

After we were done with the book, she got serious and said something almost identical to what she wrote in her book, Hello Friend:

“More than once, as Paul was talking to me, teaching me, sharing his life history and his visions, I would ask myself, ‘Why is he giving me all this? Why is he spending so much of his physical time and attention on me?’ Sure, he needed me to help free up his time to get his books written. But that was too obvious. And there was too much more going on for it to be only that.”[vii]

When she spoke with me, she still had this feeling that there was some other purpose that Paul gave this to her, and she felt the need to pass it on.

That’s when I realized what she was asking me: Would I take this from her? It was a subtle question, more on the inner than the outer, but I could see her need to fulfill this final task for Paul, to pass this on.

Outwardly, she asked if she could give me all of her files from her notes with Paul. I said that I would be honored, seeing the full meaning of the gift she was giving, and that I could help in some small way for her to let it go. It was the last bit of Paul’s mission that she carried with her.

She may have turned down Paul’s question about her being the next Living ECK Master, but I don’t think she ever turned down mastership. That was what she was working on during her years out of the spotlight, away from all the things that came so easily to her, thanks to Paul. To see what it meant to be ruthlessly true to herself, and to live from her own inner authority.

That is a sign of mastership, as I see it. And so is this gift wave she left behind, the trail of grace.

One week after word got out about Patti’s passing, David had already received an avalanche of emails. He showed Karen and me the stack. It was over two inches tall. Over a hundred messages from around the world, in three different languages, from Israel, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Nigeria, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Columbia, Switzerland, South Africa and the US.

Thank you Patti for your presence, right now, and the way you encourage everyone to be themselves. You’ve made the meaning of it grand, indeed.

But, of course, it is only fair to let Patti have the Parting Shot. So, I’ll end with the last words she used in her book, Paulji: A Memoir. It seems even more appropriate now:

“The hour grows late. The story has been told and … well, Paulji, I think we ought to take off …”[viii]


[i] Patti Simpson, Paulji – A Memoir, published by Eckankar, 1985, page 74

[ii] Patti Simpson, Paulji – A Memoir, published by Eckankar, 1985, page 64

[iii] Patti Simpson, The Bombing of a Philosopher, The ECK World News, May, 1978, page 7.

[iv] Patti Simpson, Hello Friend, Illuminated Way Press Publishing, California, 1981, pages iv-vii.

[v] Patti Simpson, Paulji – A Memoir, published by Eckankar, 1985, pages 292-293.

[vi] Patti Simpson, Hello Friend, Illuminated Way Press Publishing, California, 1981, pages 113-114.

[vii] Patti Simpson, Hello Friend, Illuminated Way Press Publishing, California, 1981, page 171.

[viii] Patti Simpson, Paulji – A Memoir, published by Eckankar, 1985, page 306.

18 thoughts on “A Post Script & Parting Shot for Patti Simpson Rivinus

  1. Patti was one of the first few people I met in Eckankar, in Laguna Beach, summer of 1973. I was introduced to her by the then Area Mahdis, Archie Hurst. I had been a student of Eckankar for about six months at the time, was just a year or so out of Army service, which had taken me to Greece for 18 months in NATO, and to the sites of Eleusis, the Acropolis, Delphi (1969-71), a homecoming of sorts. Patti was a very cheerful, just delightful person, and her “vanity” California license plate then was this: HUUUUU. Needless to say, it brought joyful chuckles from newcomers like me, maybe just me. Later, in 1974, I helped (physically) to get out the monthly EWN from the offices in Irvine’s business center, directly under the flight path of commercial and private aircraft landing at Santa Ana A (later John Wayne) Airport. She would pop in occasionally, to chat and see how things were going. On an impromptu trip to Sedona (my first) for a regional Eckankar Seminar on the July 4th weekend in ’85, there she was with her husband, David Rivinus, giving a really energetic and informed talk on “The Waking Dream”, which was the theme of that seminar, and she, her husband and other speakers gave some astounding examples of their own waking dreams. Life is always speaking to us, and sometimes shouting! From that time on, the Waking Dream helped me to focus on the vast importance of the Here and Now, because first and foremost I had been a soul traveler, from childhood on (my Army experience helped prepare me for the Here and Now). Patti was one of a kind among the kindest, and I count myself fortunate to have met her, and listened to her insights.

  2. Lots of names in here that I haven’t heard or thought of in years. Patti was a dear soul.

    I injured my left ankle, really bad sprain strain. Went to an emergency room where a really bad doctor did nothing. The next day when Patti heard about it, she sent me to her acupuncturist, a 7th generation acupuncturist whose family had been pretty much wiped out by Mao.

    Patti put a lot of time, money and effort in getting Wai Wan Ku a green card. Here is her obit https://obits.ocregister.com/obituaries/orangecounty/obituary.aspx?n=wai-wan-ku&pid=148644267

    That was Patti – as your article points out in spades.


    • John,

      Thanks for sharing the stories about Patti. I saw a similar case. When Patti was flying back home from a trip, one day, she got to talking with one of the stewardesses and discovered that the stewardess’ husband had just passed away. Patti began consoling and talking about her own experience, when her first husband died. When Patti got back home, she immediately went out to visit the stewardess in her home, bringing gifts and food. Karen, my wife, and I went along and we all helped clean the house and help her relax. The stewardess was overwhelmed with the kindness.

      As you said, that was Patti!

      Thanks for sharing.


      • WOW! ^ I got to thinking about about Patty yesternoon during the Temple of ECK HuSong @ 12:30pm CST & realised that Patty has to be a member of the Order of Vairagi Masters for Paul Twitchell to asked her if wanted the job back in 1971…

  3. Hello David Pack! (& Doug Marman who I met in 1982 days before Memorial Day when I ran into Sri Harold in Palo Alto as well…)

    Great stories shared here by all. Marlin Ouverson was the one of those who told me about Patty’s translation. I never met the amazing lady PS, though. I was nearby her once @ a ECK seminar when she chatting with my old LV friend Pat Henderson.

    I was telling Don Ginn tonite @ the T.O.E. where he was tending the bookstore there about this fascinating side story in Eckankar’s herstory.

    I was one of the last people to shake Sri Harold’s hand in Anaheim 1981. I also saw Don Ginn show up as Darwin’s emissary to usher the new Mahanta out of there, but Don didn’t bother Sri Harold whatsover as he finished seemly shaking everyone’s hand.

    Since I was quite late arriving to the Eckankar seminar from L.V. via car, I found out about the new Mahanta in the restroom. I subsequently ran into old friend Homer C. (Eckankar’s board member) & he warmly shook my hand. Then I walked into that auditorium where Sri Harold was shaking hands after his Acorn talk & I took a seat nearby next my old Sedona friend (who also was from Minneapolis) watching everyone.

    After Sri Harold eventually left, I noticed my $20 bill to pay originally for this special evening had disappeared…Oh well…

    Since I was sleeping in my car that evening…Sri Harold inwardly seemingly via dreams & whatsnots was quite concerned that people didn’t see me sleeping in my car with Eckankar bumper stickers in THAT parking lot

    Oh, well…I did my best.

    Fun reminiscing here.


    PS (LOL) I also told Don G. about reading John Gordon Jenkins SF book the last couple nites….same Smashboard site that has Margie Klemp’s book, but John’s novels r free for now. Quite a delight I must say☇


    Love in Eck,

    • Hi Lee: Your mention of Pat Henderson, whom I knew when she lived near Crown Pt. Indiana brought back some memories. One was with her and Edna Bowen. I’m sure you remember her doing all the International Travel/Seminars, having that charter flight out to San F. for the 73 Worldwide that a friend and I were to be on. We drove all the way from TN up to IN where we were “supposed” to park my car and get in another car and carpool to Chicago O’Hare and board that charter jet that Edna and Pat had arranged. Well, for some reason the other car didn’t show up and all they had was my 72 Dodge Dart that I had taken the back seat section out of for room to stretch out when in a rest area. Feet in the trunk type thing and head on the bottom seat. The back part of the seat was missing! Anyway I had to take 4 people in the back of that Dodge Dart WITH LUGGAGE and 3 in the front with me driving; and trying to follow this guy who drove like a bat out of hell weaving in and out of lanes at 70+ MPH. I told people in the car…”HANG ON GUYS!!” I kept up with him but barely. He (from Chicago) also had a Plymouth Valiant and had 4 in the back and 3 in the front. So you could imagine us flying like a race car driver trying to get to the terminal on time! LOL Anyway Edna and Pat were in the front car. We arrived and unloaded the luggage and I had to follow this maniac back through the streets of Chicago to his house where his Uncle drove us back to the airport also at break-neck speed! We made the flight! What an adventure it was. Some of us wound up sleeping in Edna Bowen’s living room after we returned from SF on that red eye charter flight. I was already zoned out from the seminar and flight not to mention a re-enactment of the 2 cars weaving in and out of traffic going back to Crown Point Indiana!! Whew~~~ What a vivid experience burned into my mind. LOL

      You mentioned another friend I hadn’t seen in years and regretfully missed him at the 81 WW in Los Angeles, Homer Carlyle. I remember Homer driving that big two-tone Cadillac of his. Last time I saw Homer was in Tulsa, OK at a regional seminar. I stayed to help strike the stage and box up things since Homer was helping and he offered to drive me down to Muskogee, where he lived. Homer took me to the Trailways bus station after we stopped for a bite to eat with his wife. Homer picked up the tab at the restaurant that night. Homer was a 1st class guy in my book, a true gentleman he was.

      • Hi David! That was an absolutely HILARIOUS retelling of perhaps typical CRAZY, CRAZY early ECKANKAR seminar arrival adventures!

        I missed saying goodbye in the physical to Pat Henderson here in Minneapolis in 1996 @ her going away party – because a then very, very favorite certain Portuguese lady had TOTALLY jilted me to marry another & she was going to be @ Pat’s party. So I went to the small International 1996 UFO seminar held then in Minneapolis instead. I booked for a 2 hour class with Brad Steiger.

        David Wilcox/Edgar Cayce now every two weeks in Cosmic Disclosure covers some of the stuff Brad was discussing back then. It was after Brad’s outrageous slide presentation – I raised my hand to ask Brad about Paulji.

        He looked @ me for a VERY, VERY LONG FEW SECONDS & then turned around & said that Paul Twitchell was the most amazing man he ever knew. And then continued on his talk like I had never said anything at all

        The Portuguese lady today is one the people doing the seminar filming during Sri Harold’s semi annual talks (along with her ex husband) & we r ALL very best of friends…lol

        I never physically net with Homer Carlyle again after the 1981 WW. AWESOME Soul.

        PS Here’s an interesting side story for those who were @ the Sedona ECK center when that was Eckankar’s Seat of Power. My old ufo Sedona friend Gary Foster relayed it to me several months ago @ T.O.E….Enjoy:)



  4. I joined Eckankar in 1971 just a few months before Paul Twitchell translated. I never met Paul but knew quite a few of the Higher Initiates even back in the early 70’s. It was my privilege and honor to have met and made friends with Tom Flamma, one of the most enigmatic and powerful figures in the movement. He was a God-Father type to many young men including myself. At the Worldwide seminar in 1973 in San Francisco I started a conversation with Tom in the lobby of the San Franciscan Hotel and in a short time about a dozen young male Eckists gathered around him. He was expounding on one of his usual impromptu lectures when he suddenly stopped cold, looked over the crowd of young men gathered to listen to him and proclaimed: “One of you here will become the Living Eck Master!” I half jokingly said: “NOBODY MOVE!! I’m taking down names!!” To which Tom replied…”No David, you’re not.” Then he continued on with his talk as curious glances went around those young men gathered there. I can only recall one friend from North Carolina who was standing next to me. I know Harold Klemp was not in that group but evidently had heard Tom proclaim that same thing to a group Harold was in. According to Harold he quietly withdrew implying that the other guys were egotistical or overly concerned with who it was. That did not happen with Tom in S.F. in the lobby of the hotel. On another note I read somewhere that Patti Simpson claimed that she ran into this young future L.E.M. and wondered to herself if even he knew he was a future Master! Over the years I have wondered and still do to this day who will succeed Harold Klemp? I’ve heard that people not even in Eckankar have had experiences with Paul many years before he even started Eckankar or was a Master. Same goes for Klemp from what I understand. Too bad Patti didn’t write it down or at least give a biographical sketch of who the next L.E.M. might be.

    • David,

      Thanks for sharing your memories. I remember that seminar in San Fransisco in 1973. And I remember meeting Tom Flamma at that seminar! This brings back memories.

      We rode in a car together, to the seminar. We both were sitting in the back seat. I remember, because after we went over one of the many hills in SF, we all went flying up in the air. Tom hit his head on the roof of the car and then joked that it may have hit is crown chakra, but that wasn’t going to stop him from leaving his body. He could leave his body a hundred ways. He said something like this: “I can leave my body through my thumb if I want to!” He was quite funny. I was also impressed with the depth of his awareness. He was a remarkable man.

      My favorite comment of his was this: The difference between a Master and a chela (spiritual student) is that the chela spends more and more time doing less and less, while a Master spends less and less time doing more and more.

      I did hear about Tom’s comment that you recounted, and interestingly, I heard Millie Moore say something quite similar to a group she was talking to. In fact, I think it was at that same seminar, if I remember correctly.

      Those were the sorts of comments that seemed to open my inner awareness, as I tried to see where they were speaking from. What kind of inner awareness could see these things? It seemed far beyond me.

      The odd thing is that, around that same time, I had met Harold Klemp and we became friends, as we both worked at the Eck office in Las Vegas. I watched him grow. And then in 1975, a year and a half later, I suddenly had this inner awareness that Harold was going to become the Master. I couldn’t figure out how I knew this, but the inner awareness was there. I didn’t trust my own awareness at first, but it grew stronger until I realized that it wasn’t my imagination. It was an awareness of something real. I even tried to talk with Harold about it, but he wouldn’t let me. That actually confirmed it for me.

      Later, I heard Millie Moore say that she first saw that Harold would be the next Master in 1975 as well.

      This might all sound like something that is beyond us, but I think that, in a way, recognizing that someone is a Master can only come this way – through inner recognition. When other people tell us that someone is a Master, that is not the same, because what they tell us isn’t something that we know from our own inner experience. Even being able to recognize when another person is spiritually aware requires an inner knowingness, but this is something that many people have experienced.

      I think that Tom Flamma, Millie Moore, and Patti Simpson all tried to help others open up this inner awareness for others. And, of course, that includes Harold as well.

      Thanks for bringing back some nice memories.


      • Hi Doug and thank you for the interesting reply. I was going to the Univ of TN in the early 70’s when I met Tom Flamma for the first time. There weren’t many Eckists in Knoxville,TN back in the early 70’s. These two female Eckists a mother and daughter paid for Tom’s airplane ticket and hotel and flew him down here for some talks, tv/radio interviews, and a lecture at the University that night. Anyway Dorothy and Dottie ,the mother and daughter asked us “local Eckists” to stop by and say hello to Tom , go visit and not leave him alone in the hotel in a strange town. I was working just up the street from the hotel and walked down during my lunch break to meet this man and extend some Southern hospitality. I met him and instantly liked him and made friends with him. We chatted with another male Eckist who was also there visiting him. I couldn’t stay but about 15 minutes as I had to get back to work. This Eckist told me later that Tom made a most interesting prediction concerning me. Tom said after I left (paraphrased): “That young man will speak to over 10,000 Eckists one day!”

        Now back in 1972 or 73 there just weren’t THAT many Eckists around even worldside! I remember the 3rd Worldwide at the Marriott Hotel in Chicago, it being the 1st one I ever attended where Darwin, the new Eck Master was to speak. There were only about 500 people at the Worldwide in 1972. Anyway many years rolled by and I forgot about Tom’s prediction since I never gave any talks at major seminars and thought Tom was way off on his prediction until I was at the Los Angeles Worldwide in 1981 when Harold became the Master. I was sitting on the edge of the stage watching the Darshan line when some lady came up to me and said..”Sir..will you please make an announcement for parents to PLEASE come and pick up their children so we can leave?!” I said I’d be glad to and walked to the mic and did a line from a Monty Pyrhon movie. It’s where the Catholic man comes home and says he can no longer support his children due to being laid off and they will all have to be sold for medical experiments! Anyway I say: “May I please have your attention. Will you parents please go to the children’s room and pick up your children immediately or else they’ll be sold for medical experimentation! Thank You.” At that point Harold stopped shaking hands and whirled around to see who was making this shocking announcement. The whole Darshan line and thousands of Eckists and guests suddenly looked at me with mouths open wondering “WHAT did this man just say?!! ” LOL Harold looked at me then turned around and started shaking hands again. I can only wonder what went through his mind.

        At the time I was living in Los Angeles and came downtown to see who this man was I had dreamed of on Oct. 8th, 1981 as being the next L.E.M. In the dream I became aware of standing under an Oriental -type Pavilion building with the curved up corners and open sides. This was at the edge of a flat plateau about half way down to the valley below and extending out from a double-peaked mountain in the distance with a drop-off behind the pavilion; and all these ECK Masters milling about talking. Others were coming down the mountain path and appeared to be a candle-light procession until I realized that they themselves were making their own light. Where this path split and came out on each side of this stone curved arch stood a stone platform with Darwin to my left and this unknown guy on the right. The Mastership was transferring along with the Rod of Power and there was a semi-circle of several masters standing in front of this stone stage where Darwin and Harold stood side by side. (only later did I know who he was at the 81 Worldwide in person)

        I always heard things transferred around Oct. 22 in this Valley up in the Himalayas but in this case it was on the early morning hour around 2 a.m. Los Angeles time. When I woke from the dream I wrote it down on the calendar. I was determined to go to the 81 Worldwide and see for myself who this new Master was. Harold was the same guy I saw in the dream experience on Oct. 8, 1981.

        I had a chance to go to the Las Vegas office around 1973 or 74 with a friend from Knoxville who just planned to stop in to visit the ECK office manager on his way to California. My friend Lee wound up working at the office for a while. You two may have met but at any rate Lee met Harold who worked in the printing dept. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether I would have been hired or not. Besides I had an aunt living in Vegas so if bad came to worse I could stay with her. Anyway I was in college and working and couldn’t make the move at the time. In retrospect I wish I had.

        Best Always,
        David Pack

        • David, great stories. It is fun to reminisce.

          Yes, I was working at the Las Vegas office in 73 and 74. You mention “Lee.” Did you mean Lee Catlett? I’m not sure I spelled his name right, but yes, Lee was working there at the time. I remember him well. So, I was probably there when you stopped by.

          I love your Monty Python story.

          I wrote about my experiences from those times in my book on Paul Twitchell: “The Whole Truth – The Spiritual Legacy of Paul Twitchell,” and another book, “The Silent Questions.” So I won’t repeat them here. But the experiences were special.

          I feel so fortunate and such a deep sense of debt for all of it. That is why I keep this web site going, to give back just a portion of the gift I received.



          • Greetings again Doug. Yes, that was the same Lee Catlett you mentioned. He’s back in the East TN area and has been for a long time. We keep in touch quite often. If you wish I can help you make contact, just let me know via email.

            I think I got the wrong number when I mentioned the 3rd Worldwide in Chicago 1972. Probably was the 5th as details escape me after so long ago. It was the first WW I ever attended and the 1st time I met Darwin Gross. He stood next to me in the back of the large hotel convention room with a body guard on each side. Also I was at the San Antonio seminar in May 1974 where I got my 2nd Initiation. I was amused at your mention of your “Awww” reaction to DG! I would have done the same thing. I don’t recall Harold being there although there weren’t a lot of people attending as I recall and Harold kept a low profile it seemed. I’ve only met Harold that one time in Los Angeles 1981.

            I look forward to reading your book on Paul Twitchell. It’s been a pleasure walking down ‘Memory Lane’ with you.

            Best Always, David

  5. Thank you for sharing this information about Patti. It has taken over 4 decades of Eck study for me to finally open to the love and wisdom Patti provides. All good things come about as the inner doors continually open along the path. We share truth in the ocean of love and mercy.

  6. Only tears of having read about Patii Simpson full of Eck love and fulfilling her tasks. Great love she shared with us through her writings and today with your writing. Thanks and thanks that i got the chance to read this through this writing of yours.

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