'It's a lot of UFO stuff and a lot of healing': Inside L.A.'s wackiest spiritual convention

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On nan first caller satellite successful February, not agelong aft Pluto had entered Aquarius, Shima Moore stood for illustration a priestess successful flowing achromatic robes down a podium successful nan Los Angeles Ballroom astatine nan LAX Hilton. She was location to officially unfastened nan 22nd Conscious Life Expo pinch a 12th dimensional stargate meditation.

“When we’re successful nan 12th dimension, we’re much receptive truthful nan angels and ascended masters, quality spirits and our ain higher selves tin travel to us,” she said successful a deep, resonant sound arsenic celestial euphony played softly successful nan background. It was 10:30 a.m. connected a Friday and a crowd of 220 attendees nodded appreciatively.

Moore shared nan shape pinch Asil Toksal, a erstwhile advertizing executive turned channeler, and Viviane Chauvet, a Phoenix-based female who claims to beryllium a personnel of an ancient alien title sent to Earth to stock her civilization’s wisdom.

Three group pinch their eyes closed sitting connected a shape successful beforehand of a crowd astatine nan Conscious Life Expo.

Shima Moore, co-founder of nan Conscious Life Expo, left, healer/channel Asil Toksal and Viviane Chauvet, who says she is an interstellar Arcturian being who ascended thousands of years ago, usage a Stargate, acold right, to behaviour a 5-D StarPortal Stargate Activation during nan convention’s opening ceremonies.

“I cognize I look a batch for illustration a human, but that’s nan idea,” Chauvet said arsenic members of nan assemblage chuckled. “This was nan champion measurement to beryllium a conduit.”

Even an open-minded resident of this astir open-minded of cities mightiness balk astatine these far-out proclamations, but fringe beliefs are business arsenic accustomed astatine nan yearly L.A. convention, which took spot Feb. 9-12.

For 22 years, nan gathering has been a meetinghouse for astrologers, channelers, aura readers, quantum life coaches, psychics, hypnotists and a increasing number of “starseeds” — group for illustration Chauvet who judge they are galactic volunteers who person taken connected a quality shape to thief “the children of Gaia.”

“It’s a batch of UFO worldly and a batch of healing,” said Robert Quicksilver, 75, who co-founded nan expo successful 2003 and has been moving it since. “I deliberation of it arsenic offering a Space Age translator of nan cosmic wisdom.”

Hands clasp a ineffable geometry pendant successful nan style of an alien head

Sacred geometry pendants sold connected nan Conscious Life Expo’s normal floor.

 "Our turf, get lost, defy nan ET intervention."

Justin, an activistic who declined to springiness his past name, spreads nan connection astir his declare that dispute aliens are already present to return complete nan Earth.

A spray vessel of Cosmic Contact group successful a glowing purple doughnut-shaped display

Cosmic Contact, a mist that claims to cleanse auras, is 1 of galore treatment products connected show astatine nan yearly three-day Conscious Life Expo.

Over nan years, nan normal has go crushed zero for galore of nan wellness trends that person made their measurement into high-end boutiques, gyms and market stores. The aforesaid achromatic ail dispersed offered astatine an expo booth whitethorn extremity up connected nan shelves of Erewhon. Earlier iterations of nan arena hosted immoderate of nan first panels connected nan usage of crystals for treatment and helped popularize ancient Eastern practices specified arsenic acupuncture and tai chi successful nan West.

But successful caller years, nan expo has encountered caller challenges. The occasional conspiracy theorist speaker has drawn negative coverage of nan convention. And Quicksilver precocious began enforcing caller standards for who tin beryllium featured astatine nan event. He values free reside but draws nan statement astatine promoting QAnon-like rhetoric.

Weighing much heavy connected his mind is nan early of nan expo itself. Most of nan convention’s tried-and-true regulars came of property successful nan 1960s and ’70s. As they participate their twilight years, immoderate person grown excessively infirm to make nan yearly trip, while others person died. Now, he and his partners are grappling pinch really to update nan convention to guarantee that it attracts a caller and younger audience, including bringing successful speakers little apt to beryllium accused of taste appropriation and much apt to person hundreds of thousands of followers connected TikTok.

“It’s truthful important for nan expo to transcend generations,” said Quicksilver’s boy Michael Satva, 41, who took connected much organizing and booking responsibilities this year. “As nan boomers discontinue and move on, location are truthful galore astonishing younger group successful this abstraction pushing nan civilization forward.”

Two group recline successful chairs to effort reddish ray therapy.

Irena Kurland of Woodland Hills, left, and Francis Ortiz of Houston acquisition reddish ray therapy while attending nan Conscious Life Expo astatine nan LAX Hilton Hotel successful Los Angeles.

Rooted successful California

The first seeds for nan Conscious Life Expo were planted successful nan early 1980s, astatine a abstracted gathering inspired by nan New Age and human-potential belief movements. The Whole Life Expo was founded successful San Francisco successful 1982 and soon began walking to cities for illustration New York, Albuquerque, Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas and Ashland, Ore. It reliably drew its largest assemblage — up to 20,000 seekers, according to some reports — each twelvemonth successful Los Angeles, wherever it yet moved to nan aforesaid LAX Hilton that hosts nan Conscious Life Expo now.

Quicksilver ran a concatenation of cosmic gift shops called Star Magic successful nan 1990s and was a regular astatine nan Whole Life Expo. When it ended abruptly successful 2001 — nan Sept. 11 attacks frightened group distant from gathering successful ample groups — he created nan Conscious Life Expo.

“It conscionable showed up successful nan section for maine to do this,” he said. “I had each nan accomplishment sets and I knew each nan people.”

Today, nan Conscious Life Expo is nan largest of its benignant successful nan United States, drafting betwixt 8,000 and 10,000 attendees per year. Past speakers see belief leader and statesmanlike also-ran Marianne Williamson and disgraced comedian turned self-help guru Russell Brand.

Quicksilver has experimented complete nan years pinch bringing nan expo to different locations, including San Francisco and London, but it ne'er caught connected extracurricular Southern California, wherever caller belief movements person agelong recovered a dependable watercourse of consenting believers.

Bastian Trachte of Glendale wears a caput pyramid utilized for meditation and healing.

Bastian Trachte of Glendale wears a caput pyramid utilized for meditation and healing.

A female soaks her feet successful murky brownish liquid.

A female soaks her feet while doing a “gencel ion compartment cleanse.”

Eric Villhauer holds a elephantine tuning fork utilized arsenic a sound therapy instrumentality connected nan forehead of Denise Visco.

Eric Villhauer holds a elephantine tuning fork utilized arsenic a sound therapy instrumentality connected nan forehead of Denise Visco. The forks waste for $1,111, $2,222 and $3,333, based connected size and “sound treatment modalities.”

An ideological drawback bag

Organizers opportunity nan expo was ever designed arsenic a clearinghouse for far-out ideas, but location person been times erstwhile its open-minded, anything-goes cognition has gone excessively far. Last year, successful a basement area of nan edifice dubbed “the Rabbit Hole” devoted to “alternative realities and censored world views,” filmmaker Mikki Willis gave a baseless talk connected really nan COVID business analyzable was utilized to beforehand a century-old schedule to overtake America. This year, Quicksilver had to trim a speaker from nan roster aft uncovering retired he had links connected his website to a conspiracy theorist who cited a Nazi sympathizer.

“It’s getting excessively negative, excessively right-wing, excessively go-get-your-gun benignant of s— that doesn’t activity astatine all,” Quicksilver said. “I’m not doing it again.”

Conspiracy was ever a sideline astatine nan normal anyway, he added. More typical of its cosmic carnival ethos are nan vendors advertizing dolphin and whale contented retreats, feline psychic services and crystals carved successful nan style of praying mantis heads (designed to thief group link pinch their “galactic guides”). At Booth 400 successful nan International Ballroom, Joshua Reff demonstrated his super-size tuning forks that waste for $1,111, $2,222 and $3,333, based connected size, and “sound treatment modalities.”

Taking it each successful tin consciousness for illustration you’re wandering on nan far-flung fringes of nan belief landscape. But Amanda Lucia, a belief professor astatine UC Riverside who has attended respective Conscious Life Expos, doesn’t spot it that way.

Instead, she sees similarities betwixt nan 250 exhibitors and 200 speakers that travel to waste their wares each twelvemonth and much mainstream belief systems. If you’ve ever bought a supplement to thief you slumber amended astatine night, talked pinch your friends astir manifesting your goals aliases worn a bracelet pinch nan connection “gratitude” engraved connected it, past you are engaging pinch nan aforesaid themes that thrive astatine nan Expo.

“People who judge they tin create their ain destiny, group who judge they tin interaction divine presences — that’s very communal crossed belief traditions,” Lucia said. “California and Los Angeles are nan epicenters of it, but it’s a communal belief among nan wide populace.”

An aged mates stands adjacent to a personification zipped into a portable infrared sauna.

Corey Halls of Minneapolis tries retired a portable infrared sauna, advertised arsenic a balm for aches and pains, connected show astatine nan Conscious Life Expo.

Facing nan future

Dannion Brinkley, bestselling writer of “Saved by nan Light” and a subsister of 3 near-death experiences (including being struck by lightning), has been speaking astatine nan Conscious Life Expo since its inception. He besides was a regular astatine nan Whole Life Expo.

Now successful his mid-70s, he said these yearly gatherings introduced him to a number of devices that he brought to Veterans Affairs arsenic portion of his decades-long activity providing hospice attraction for veterans.

“The VA has tai chi and yoga — aromatherapy is now portion of nan modular exemplary of care, and they sewage it from nan Conscious Life Expo,” Brinkley said. “How do I know? I drove it there.”

With trim achromatic hairsbreadth and a achromatic mustache, Brinkley looks and sounds for illustration a Southern gentleman. Like galore expo old-timers, he made his sanction pinch a New York Times bestselling book. (In his case, it describes a individual brushwood pinch 13 angels and nan profound revelations they shared pinch him while he was clinically dead.)

In caller years, however, nan normal has seen an influx of digital-first belief influencers who gain their clout from their monolithic societal media presence.

“It’s a existent generational divide,” Satva said. “For nan boomers, it’s each astir prestige; for nan millennials, it’s each astir reach.”

Elizabeth April, 31, is 1 of nan convention’s caller young stars. She alternately describes herself arsenic a YouTuber, life coach, author, channeler aliases past-life regression specialist, depending connected who’s asking. Her first book, “You’re Not Dying, You’re Just Waking Up,” was published successful March 2021, but nan legion of fans who stood successful statement for her shop astatine nan normal cognize her from nan videos she posts regularly to Instagram (200,000 followers) and YouTube (216,000 subscribers).

Like Brinkley, April’s individual communicative whitethorn beryllium difficult for skeptics to swallow. Dressed successful ripped achromatic jeans and a T-shirt, she elaborate her belief travel successful an question and reply connected nan normal floor.

She claimed to person been clairvoyant arsenic a child, that she was introduced to past-life regressions successful her teens and that she was abducted by aliens connected a meditation retreat successful her early 20s.

Mantis crystal skulls for waste astatine nan expo.

Mantis crystal skulls for waste astatine nan expo.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A circle of group sitting cross-legged connected nan level successful a room pinch glowing purple light

People participate successful a “Tesla biocharged meditation” — said to harvester nan powerfulness of Tesla tech, heart-based meditation and nan quantum section to amplify synergy, vibration and intentions — astatine nan expo.

Feeling isolated, she began publically sharing her acquisition connected societal media and astatine conferences to assistance nan fearfulness astir aliens and link pinch different abductees. Now, she sees it arsenic portion of her ngo to thief chap starseeds aftermath up and find their mission.

“We’re each present to make nan satellite better,” she said. “We’re each needed.”

It’s a cosmopolitan connection of affirmation that has travel successful galore different packages astatine nan expo since its inception, and 1 that galore still request to perceive today.

Back astatine nan opening ceremony, nan robe-clad Moore, an astrologer who has helped tally nan expo since its beginning, described nan normal arsenic a portal that would thief attendees measurement into a full caller acquisition of their lives.

“This is our family, this is our tribe, these are our kindred spirits,” she said. “You can’t get this power anyplace else.”

Source latimes