Another Step: Self-Help, Lunatic Fringe Style

What is Another Step? The inner resources I bring to Another Step
What happens in Another Step classes? Frequently asked questions about Another Step
How do classes-by-phone work? Technically? Spiritually?
How can we really connect as people by phone?
Class schedules, fees, and the like

Another Step:
Self-Help, Lunatic Fringe Style

The world’s full of marvelous oddballs; we who are one are blessed indeed. Another Step curriculum is for mystics, artists, pagans, social innovators, and other original thinkers – – people who want to soar past limiting definitions.

Please do not think, “I don’t fit into her portrayal of innovative types so I guess I’m excluded.” Have your own definition of originality. For example, your uniqueness might express itself in the way you manage the family budget, get the kids to school on time, or buy presents.

Want to
* live fully,
* bravely,
* and in truth,
* yet not feel like a rejected loner out on a limb?

Another Step curriculum is sacred madness – – support and tools for the fabulously wild soul you are, or would like to be.

This material is for people who think the alternative movement isn’t alternative enough. Lessons address the challenges that independent thinkers and innovative personalities face, and help you embody your core truths, ideals, and desires – – those values, dreams, and feelings that are uniquely you.

Founded in 1986, Another Step is a body of mystical teachings and tools for people of all faiths, as well as for those who are fine ‘n’ dandy without one. 1986, drawing on ancient transformative practices and wisdoms, as well as inner resources which are discussed below in my bio, I started developing innovative modalities and understandings: A crucial piece of Another Step philosophy is that we are ready to take alternative methods of spiritual healing and empowerment another step – – and must do so if we’re to go the last nine yards to living our personal dreams, protecting human rights, and saving Gaia.

Another Step classes cover a wide variety of topics ranging from traditional spiritual healing to ecstatic spirituality to gender issues to pastoral counseling to sacred sexuality to multi-cultural shamanism to evolving our DNA to healthy madness. Whatever the topic, two goals underlie all the curriculums: to help participants find self-fulfillment, and to help them effectively do their part in making the world a better place. By personal fulfillment, I don’t mean the “I’m so holy” version, but the yummy, good food, good sex, “I love my feet” rendition. My spiritual mentoring is what you could call renegade style.

Each course is a complete training unto itself. Those who desire to focus only on the material and empowerment available in that particular class learn a coherent body of work.

A holistic sense of self, whereby one honors all her or his emotions, ideas, and other facets, is often promised by alternative teachers. Another Step goes, well, another step. Whatever specific topic a curriculum focuses on, classes always show some aspect of why we, as a culture and as individuals, haven’t yet become thoroughly holistic. We constantly learn how to become trulywell-rounded, integrated, and able to embrace our own inner diversity of thought, emotion, and talent. As such, Another Step students, whatever course they’re enrolled in, learn to recognize and draw on more of their innate powers, and break the inner restraints to total self-expression and effectiveness in achieving goals.

In the same vein, original thinkers have often learned to celebrate their uniqueness and follow their dreams, but still may not be able to achieve heartfelt goals. They don’t understand the discrepancy. Another Step curriculums constantly provide explanations and solutions.

We also look at why people who refute hurtful mainstream beliefs – – with all the brave, difficult work doing so entails – – still may not be happy. Without realizing it, these folks might not be acting according to their new belief system. For example, Georgette rejected unhealthy hierarchy, wanting freedom. Despite this huge leap, she still felt dominated – – by vague inner forces. Taking Another Step, she made her hard won doctrines bear fruit as a way of life instead of as just ideas.

Another Step reveals and heals many other problems that suppress potential. Spiritual development and life’s inevitable challenges constitute a journey that won’t stop. There’s always another step – – and always Another Step curriculums to help, and to reveal options that often go unseen. These opportunities help attendees achieve exceptional self-expression, wholeness, and success.

Inner peace, romance, career advancement, life’s tragedies, recovery from trauma (physical or emotional), and social change – – these are too big to be addressed by glib answers. Curriculums squarely face common personal and societal problems, and provide viable, effective solutions – – based on years of experience with clients and informed by my own personal struggles and victories.

I want to help mystics be down to earth and apply our visions practically. Then we can fulfill ourselves and obligations to family, friends, community, and planet. This sometimes demands another step – – another step – – in our evolution.

Each course explores one topic in depth. The Gentle Heart Palm Up teleseminar is an example: It offers eight principles of surrender that keep you from being a cosmic doormat and make you unstoppable. (I call it “naptime for spiritual warriors.”) Another example: The teleseminar called  “The Spirituality of Art and the Art of Spirituality” nurtures both creativity and spirituality, and  shows how to use each to support the other.

However, the focus in each curriculum is not an exclusive one: If we are to become truly whole, then any topic has to be approached via many related topics. In the same vein, one can’t effectively change any part of one’s self or life by only addressing that single part. So each course description inevitably encompasses the betterment of many aspects of one’s self and life.

Therefore, all courses help you:

  • Explore the mystic’s deep, ecstatic union with all of nature. This is Nature Spirituality without any dogma.
  • Trust, interpret, and use your “ridiculous” and fanciful hopes and longings.
  • Bring spiritual depth together with down-to-earth practicality.
  • Tune into your immediate environment to “read” life lessons directly from nature and from urban surroundings.
  • Empower your inner guide, inner god(dess), inner poet, inner mischief-maker.
  • Find, honor, and share your own spirit-sustaining conclusions about the cosmos.
  • Break down barriers that original thinkers often have with each other, blocks to the support and fun that friends, lovers, family, and community offer us.
  • Create heart openness to deep relationship with the Divine, family, and community.

Reading this page, many people will think I’m crazy. But it can take some real insanity to shake up your life enough to open you to greater joy and possibility. My classes ain’t standardized self-help-101-white-bread, but ecstatically-unhinged-earthy-grungy-wonder. Your goals, ideals, and dreams have immense value. They’re worth more than me teaching – – or you using – – the same ol’ material. It never managed to take you all the way to what you long for, deserve, and are capable of achieving. You just need the right kind of help. Read on.

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I teach mostly by telebridge. Here are the technological and other logistics of a teleseminar, followed by how a telebridge class works mystically speaking.

My classes are teleseminars, a simple technology whereby individuals around the world participate in class simply by dialing the phone. No computer or special equipment is needed. You can study where you live.

Total cost consists of enrollment fee paid to me, plus possible long distance charges to the U.S. area code for the event’s tele-bridge, depending on your phone plan. Pay the long distance charges on your phone bill.

Usually, a small group meets on the same day of the week for six or seven consecutive weeks. Meetings are 55 minutes-long. Which brings us to how teleseminars work on a spiritual level.

A small group allows for focused, personal, effective sessions. Lessons are interactive and provide spiritual assignments to apply between meetings.

I use traditional shamanic teaching methods. The dreamworld – – other world, alternate reality – – is where shamans go with their students for lessons. We can get there just as easily talking on the phone.

It’s not me lecturing at you for an hour, it’s really magical, and you get to ask all the questions you need, and there are amazingly meaningful dialogues. The teleseminars have proven to be a viable means to teach in a holistic, rather than dry, didactic, way. There’s a depth to our time together, as well as to our spiritual growth and mystic awareness. This provides transforming experiences. There’s also a warmth and togetherness in our teleseminar community. I’m grateful for the journey we share.

Instead of impersonal theory, I try to offer relevant, practical tools, and, if you want, directly address your current goals and challenges.

The classes’ lectures, spiritual exercises, and discussions can be vigorous and deeply moving. Therefore, a safe emotional and psychic space is essential. I’m committed to always creating such an environment. For example, registration is usually limited, so that no one gets “lost in the shuffle,” and everyone’s needs can be addressed.

Classes are multilayered, tailored to be suitable for both beginners and adepts.

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Though the rest of my bio is here, below is additional information about me. This might help you understand Another Step, because you’ll know what I bring to the table when creating curriculum and leading classes.

My mother was a Sicilian psychic. The mystical, magical, otherworldly realities were never foreign to me. They were just a part of life. Mom read tea leaves, knew intuitively when someone was in dire straights, and so on.

As an adult, I went through a rigorous seven-year shamanic training, done the old way – – it was a full-time commitment, the way others go to college full time. This multi-faceted training included an in-depth exploration of Celtic Spirituality. I’m initiated as a Faerie Shaman and as a Kahuna, as well as ordained in the Fellowship of Isis by Lady Olivia.

Between my training and innate gifts, I’ve been made a traditional spiritual healer, an avatar, a guru. Those last two words are suspect nowadays. When told I was a guru, I protested. This was the response: “A guru’s not someone who tells people what to do and they mindlessly obey. What a guru used to mean is someone who’s tapped in and helps others do the same.”

I do that in my classes via the curriculums I create – – the tools and theories I construct – – as well as the way I teach them.

I’ve never heard a name for the following, but avatar seems right: I’ve the power to directly access messages from the other realm and use them to construct a comprehensive system – – of practices coupled with a cosmology – – that helps people, in turn, find their own type of power.

Here’s an example. I spent seven years in trance, 24/7, (a different seven years than the aforementioned training, though there was overlap) when first channeling Another Step material. This resulted in a massive amount of material that was intricately, carefully woven together as a comprehensive training. I channel more if an individual student needs it during class, and when I see new classes might be helpful.

I’m a mystic. I make no apologies for this – – I don’t justify mysticism by saying it’s only a psychological construct or a metaphor for women’s power. While mysticism is, in fact, a means to psychological health and gender empowerment, it is also something unto itself.

I also strive for head in the clouds, feet on the ground. This means I try to provide a direct, to-the-point perspective as a spiritual guide.

Being who I am, my lessons don’t provide the safety of a rigid dogma and prescribed set of actions. Instead, I provide lessons for people who take a frightening journey: They want to walk between the stars, achieve spiritual greatness – – whatever that means to the individual – – and find self-realization.

Moving on: I’m a poet who channels a poetry of transformative earth spirituality: A great deal of what the Divine gives me to communicate can only be conveyed through lyric. The Divine may give me the lyric, but only if I’ve polished my language skills to be a clear poetic channel. Poetic technique needn’t always suppress inspiration. Instead, it can create a stable vessel to catch the illusory Divinely-given words when they arrive.

Dry lecture alone results in dry spirituality. An earthy, sexy, life-changing mysticism can demand poetry. By poetry, I don’t mean obscure, academic sounding language puzzles, but the accessible beauty of, for example, song lyrics.

So I approach the curriculum not, for example, as a psychologist or anthropologist, but as a poet. This affects the meditations, contemplations, rituals, and other spiritual exercises I write, including material I compose on-the-spot when a student has an immediate need. In everything I’ve read, the term bard is not used the way I use it, but I intuit that bardic must at some point have meant a use of poetry similar to mine.

I may “channel,” but my linear logical process is used at the same time. For example, the Muse may give me words to convey lessons, but the ability to analyze, edit, and rewrite is just as divinely bestowed. In fact, some of my channeling happens in the first place as acts of conscious composition – – we are all channels, whether “channeling” as mediums or using our left-brain, as long as we are tuned in while doing so.

Poetry, mysticism, shamanism, sacred tomfoolery, analytical thinking – – if I approach my work using all my assets, it helps everyone involved use all of theirs.

My description of the process I use to create Another Step is grossly oversimplified. However, an in-depth explanation would take too long for this context.

Suffice to say two things: 1) even the word channel is too simple. 2) The creative process, whether it’s painting, parenting, spiritual healing, or computer-code creation, is a second-by-second integration of many inner aspects. Such a constant integration of the whole self is a major goal of Another Step classes.

Paul Beyerl, author of The Master Book of Herbalism, wrote that one of my books “allows the reader to set aside dozens of pedantic books [and save] a year’s income in weekend seminars and goals which fail due to lack of inspiration.”

Student Feedback: “She has a true gift of . . . pulling together a very diverse collection of people into a cohesive, supportive, loving, and productive group…Very quickly, during a teleseminar, you stop thinking of yourself as being in a phone conference and are drawn into the warmth, magic, and joy…” – – Kathi Somers, Southern California

Lynn Andrews, author of Medicine Woman: “Francesca De Grandis has given us an inspirational bridge between ancient wisdom and our current life.”

Complete Woman magazine: “De Grandis teaches others how to have great sex, spiritual power, and enjoy the world…”

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are quick n’ dirty answers. The rest of the page often addresses the same issues in detail.

What if I can’t afford the tuition? How do I know if Another Step is right for me?
Which class is best to take first? What about Third Road – – your Wiccan classes?
What do I take if I’m a complete novice? How can I find out about class schedules, costs, etc? How can I contact you to ask more questions?
Where do I start if I’m an old-hand at self-help, spiritual, or psychic work?

Q: What if I can’t afford the tuition?

Francesca (FDG): Don’t be afraid to phone to discuss a scholarship, partial scholarship, work trade, or payment plan. I’m a grass roots let’s-do-this-together-somehow woman. If you’ve a specific skill or product you want to offer, call me about a trade. Please wait to call until a class that you want to attend is scheduled. In other words, once on my mailing list, you’ll receive notice of upcoming classes.

Q: Which class is best to take first?

FDG: Classes are meant to be taken in any order, unless otherwise noted in the email announcement of a  specific class.

Q: What do I take if I’m a complete novice?

FDG: Unless otherwise noted in the email announcement of a specific class, all classes are totally accessible to beginners. You’ll need absolutely no background in anything whatsoever to get the full benefits of a class.

Q: Where do I start if I’m an old-hand at self-help, spiritual, or psychic work?

FDG: You sit on your hands and start at the beginning. Spiritual seekers on any path occasionally have to start from the ground up anyway. Moreover, my material meets you where you live. So adepts usually find my beginner classses hit them in an advanced way, offering them substantial challenges and transformation. Elders from many traditions have found Another Step an excellent supplement to their own paths.

Q: How do I know if Another Step is right for me?

FDG: That’s a very individual thing. Perhaps your intuition can guide you. Feel free to phone me to discuss your particular goals and needs.

Q: What about Third Road – – your Wiccan classes?

FDG: A few Another Step curriculums “cross over” as part of Third Road training, Faerie shamanism for the Goddess’s children. Third Road classes are often attended by non-Wiccans; the Goddess is happy to give anyone a hand, and doesn’t feel She has to convert someone to do so. Anyone can borrow empowering tools from Wicca. In the same vein, Wiccans often attend Another Step classes. My community is an inclusive, fun, diverse bunch (who also tend to be wonderfully mad!). Go to my Wiccan site for info about Third Road.

Q: How can I find out about class schedules, costs, and the like? How can I contact you to ask more questions?

FDG: For more information, go here. You’ll receive email notice of upcoming classes, which will include their prices, curriculum details, and the like. If you need other information call (814) 337-2490 but please do not e-mail me. I’m happy to talk as long as you need by phone, or someone else at my number will take care of you instead, but my physical disabilities severely limit e-mail use.

Crazy times call for healthy madness. Know your beauty, be free, and fulfill your daring fantasies.

Copyright 2005-07, 2010, Francesca De Grandis.

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