Light, Shadow, and Transcendent Leadership in the Traveler’s Mystery School, By Andrée Leighton, Ph.D. and Linda Whitaker, Ph.D.

By: Andrée Leighton 
and Linda Whitaker

Linda Whitaker and I are having an amazing experience teaching one of the three courses in the Transcendent Leadership (TL) program for the Spring semester at Peace Theological Seminary & College of Philosophy (PTS). We wanted to share some of what is unfolding with our class and the program as part of the Traveler’s mystery school.

One of the innovative aspects of the TL program is that students can participate in various ways, choosing a level of participation that serves their preferences and needs. Students who are engaged on a weekly basis in each course’s online space can earn either the MSS or a PEACE Certificate. Students may also come for the magic of PTS’s Peace Awareness Experience that we know so well from PATs and retreats, without completing written assignments. Whatever a student chooses, the entire program is sourced and flowing from the mystery school of the Traveler and PTS.

Part of the uniqueness of the TL program is that it uses a “blended learning” approach. Most of our time and interaction is spent online, using video conferencing and spaces for written sharing. We also come together physically once every semester. This year’s inaugural cohort includes people from around the world.

So what does a typical week look like in the TL program? We have the opportunity to come together daily to do s.e.’s in an online video conference solarium, at various times to accommodate our different time zones. Each week students move through a curated curriculum related to the theme for the week in each of their courses (readings, videos, seminars, meditations). Students submit written posts online about their experiences and awarenesses, linking the content with the Traveler’s teachings and their evolving experience as transcendent leaders. Posts receive feedback and support from faculty and classmates. Students also meet in small groups online to call in the light and share with each other. Once every semester, we come together physically in Los Angeles for a residency. It is a lovely rhythm.

The course we are teaching this semester is Light in Shadow: Adventures in Transcendent Leadership. The course syllabus leads with this quote from J-R:

“We have to go into the dark part of ourselves and love that dark part. For loving it is the key to the Kingdom. And we have to stand up and acknowledge that it is part of us.”
— John-Roger (1998, p. 11).

Loving and acknowledging the dark parts, and knowing they are held by a greater light, is proving to be an uplifting journey for all of us. We are learning so much about being a transcendent leaders as we walk through our lives and this world.

To illustrate the various ways students are participating with the program, we wanted to share some excerpts from their weekly posts.

A recent assignment involved students spending time outdoors in darkness, and sharing from their experiences of spirit and the night. The following excerpt speaks to the evocative nature of the work we are doing together:

The quietness and darkness of the night puts me in direct contact with my soul, I can feel immense love, joy and happiness. There is no time or space or dimensions. Just my soul embracing the beauty of what I see. My body fainted, like it’s not there, it feels so tiny in front of this immensity… It’s just Me, my Soul and God. — Dolores Savastano

Another student excerpt highlights the integrative spirit-led scholarship of master’s students. This post demonstrates developing a theme, illustrating it with textual evidence, and moving into transcendence with connections with John Morton’s work and the student’s personal experience:

Transcendent leaders bring an invitation to all of a new way of being in the world, just by our own “being-ness”. Being involves the awareness of and combining of three parts of myself — my intention, my conflict, my choice. These alchemize to be a frequency that exists in me. It affects, transcends, alters all of the patterns or frequencies not only within me but around me… When the intention is for the highest good of all concerned, the divine and magnetic patterns merge.

In an interview about relationships, light, and shadow Dr. Keith Witt calls the act of working with his shadow a fractal interface. He tells of transcending the energy of anger by bringing in the light of loving and acceptance. The wave of energy coming from oneself changes. The result is a transcendent wave of caring compassion (Witt, 2019).

When I breathe in Light and exhale forgiveness, I am open to receive and loving is the fractal energy that I get back. John Morton says it this way: “As you invoke the Divine, you build it as a field of awareness so you are at ease with all the conditions of life, all the shadows (Morton, 2000, p.108). — Judy Pendleton

Finally, for a reflection assignment, another student post beautifully expresses integration and soul transcendence; the overarching Peace Awareness Experience that emanates from the Traveler and that which is in all of us:

Whatever “exists”…IS because I make it so. There is no reality in anything because whatever is going on, is only going for as long as I give it my attention. It is my energy that feeds all things….and when I transcend to the other side, they are no more… I am managing my house through loving, compassion, and the knowing that I am my own Christ, my own healing source, my own living miracle and a person I love to wake up with in the morning. Life came in for me with its share of lessons and challenges. I am doing the best I can to go with the flow…..and the grace of God carries me and holds for me. — Eric Meyrand

We hope this conveys some of the value and richness of the experience we are all having together, and the many ways to participate with the TL program.The faculty are already in preparation for the next cohort to come and join us in this adventure this coming August. We would love to have you with us! Please reach out to any of us, or to our radiant dean, Joanie Clingan, if you want to talk about the program or ask questions. Please also check out the program’s website at

With our deep gratitude to John-Roger, and a special note of love and thanks to John Morton, for his steadfast Traveler support of the program and constant encouragement to discover, share, learn, and love in service to soul transcendence.

We love us!
Linda & Andrée

P.S. While we could not include quotes from every student in the program, we want to honor everyone in this pioneering cohort. Please applaud, cheer, and send Light to them and all of us!

P.P.S. If the word “scholar” brings up instant school karma, we are happy to share that the word comes from the ancient Greek scholastes, meaning “one who lives at ease” (Scholar, n.d.). We don’t think it was an accident that while we were working on this article, we received a Loving Each Day e-mail with this quote from John-Roger: “God is always at ease, always present, always now, and is constantly creating and expanding” (John-Roger, 2019, March 8).

Note: All student excerpts included with express permission. With thanks to Joanie Clingan, Greg Stebbins, and David Whitaker for their collaboration and support.


John-Roger. (1998). Spiritual warrior: The art of spiritual living. Los Angeles, CA: Mandeville Press.

John-Roger. (2019, March 8). Loving each day. Retrieved from

Scholar. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Morton, J. (2000). The blessings already are. Los Angeles, CA: Mandeville Press.

Stebbins, G. (2018). Traits of a transcendent leader. Retrieved from

Witt, K. (2019). How the “shadow” influences our growth in life and in a relationship with Dr. Keith Witt. In J. Higgins (Producer), Empowered relationship podcast [Transcript]. Retrieved

Joanie Clingan