The Institute of Noetic Sciences exists because of our members. And, we’ve just lost one of our most respected, earliest, and most dedicated ones. On January 5th, Claire Russell, a vibrant noetic explorer to the very last day, died at the age of 95.
My last visit with her was at her beloved succulent garden at The Redwoods, the community she lived in and loved for the last many years. As always, Claire shone with a light, peace and joy that was apparent to everyone who knew her.
With a keen mind, a dedication to elevating collective consciousness, and a passion for exploration, Claire was a longtime friend, supporter, volunteer, and leader in our IONS community. I first met Claire when she not only supported the IONS Transformation Project financially, but also joined our team of volunteers who spent hours painstakingly coding interviews with transformative teachers and spiritual leaders. Over the years, she was involved in advancing multiple programs at IONS, including our research on Collective Consciousness and Channeling, and our Conscious Aging program for elders and Worldview Explorations program for youth.
Like many of our IONS members, Claire had an extraordinary life. Born in Minneapolis, she grew up in Sacramento until attending U.C. Berkeley majoring in International Relations and attending charter meetings at the United Nations in 1945. After nearly 30 years traveling the world, two children, and many adventures, in 1971 she had an epiphany while hiking on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California.
In her words, “I started feeling waves of love come over me. This feeling of loving everyone persisted, amazingly, for three weeks and then gradually diminished.” This experience led her to read the book Psychic Explorations by IONS Founder Edgar Mitchell, and eventually to IONS where she was a central part of the community for over 40 years. At The Redwoods, she introduced the residents to the IONS Conscious Aging program, as well as organizing a Self-Compassion and Eckhart Tolle “live in the present” discussion on Monday nights. In a full-circle moment, in 1989 Claire met the Dalai Lama on the top of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California, who had helicoptered in after a meeting in San Francisco.
As her trusted friend Kathleen Erickson-Forder (former IONS Development Director and Conscious Aging program creator) shared with us: “Before Claire transitioned, she asked her dear friend Shirley Freriks to convene a circle of ten close women friends to bring closure to her friendships, share her intentions for her end time, and ask for support. We met in sacred circle and shared readings we thought would be helpful for her journey, laughed, cried, shared some stories (though she did not want it to be like a eulogy) listened to music and hugged. For over two months, the group meditated every day at 8:30 am together as an ongoing virtual circle, each lighting a candle we had received during the circle and engaged in a daily email chain that contained our reflections, shared poetry, photos and visits. Claire choose a conscious death… with dignity and choice and love.”
As Claire said, “The world is so magnificent, if we just sit back and take the time to experience the stillness and the healing.”
We honor Claire Russell and celebrate her life, with our deepest gratitude for her many contributions to IONS and to the world. Thank you to Kathleen Erickson-Forder and The Bark newsletter at The Redwoods for providing content for this post. The poem below was written by one of Claire’s circle.
Claire in The Moon Bow Light
She made it…finally….
she has melted through the Circle of Light …
She has become the Light…
She is the Light.
So ends the journey of conscious dying…
The passing through all the hues and tonal vibrations
The colors forming her days as slowly the body gave way to her Soul journey.
This is the story of my friend Claire.
She studied for years subtle energies and
how they affect consciousness and life.
A devoted student of the invisibility of the All.
Daily meditations honing the mind to guide the forces.
Gathering those about her who did the same.
David Spangler of Findhorn fame,
his books, tapes and podcasts
showing the way.
The intention set at 95
“I want to pass by this date.”
A circle of friends meditated daily together
from where ever we were… we sat with clear intention.
Claire was sure it would be so, A disconnect of the subtle life energies.
December 17th came and went.
The rainbow hues still in tact.
The life Frequencies stubbornly vibrating in full force.
So began the Fasting for the Light
The Light of Death.
Days came and went…
each passing slowly…earnestly
Each few brought Claire further into the moon bow’s center
Through the glorious and not so glorious purples, golden and bluish greens
So she traveled with her circle of Light friends lending their will.
The body’s deprivation slowly giving way to the mind’s intentions.
When the day came, January 5th of this new decade
Claire became that golden Light she so fervently sought.
All about her sighed in relief and release….
She had accomplished her sought for transformation…
Turning life into death… and being into all being…
and for those around her, Sad into Glad…
The Light does that you know….
Turns Sad into Glad, Down into Up…Undone into Done
My friend Claire now in the peace of the Light.
And we are all left smiling at her life’s run as we sing
“Oh Go in Beauty, Peace be with you, ‘Till me meet Again in the Light”
So be it. Amen. Aho…..
Joy Watson 1/2020