On June 22, 2019, the Syracuse Transpersonal Psychology Association celebrated 40 years in existence with a drum circle, good conversation, food and poetry. | Photo by Brenda Muhammad

Syracuse Transpersonal Psychology Association Celebrates 40 Years

Little-known group hopes to spread positive transformations

Forty years ago Dale and Nancy Gallagher had a vision of building a trusting community. They wondered: “What would it be like if we were more trusting? Could we talk to one another and not see a strangeness about us? Could we be enriched by the differences?” The Gallaghers went on a journey to answer these questions, and along the way, the vision of the Syracuse Transpersonal Psychology Association (STPA) was born.  

It all began in 1979 in the Gallagher home on the corner of Candee Avenue and Salt Springs Road. Four decades later, on June 22, 2019, the STPA — “The Association” — held its Annual Community Gala to celebrate the occasion. The four-hour program offered live music, great conversation, good food, poetry and decades of photos. 

Nancy lights a candle in remembrance of members who have passed away.| Photo by Brenda Muhammad

Nancy welcomed the guests and began the program by having members light candles in remembrance off those who have passed on. “I like to bring people who are no longer here to the meditation,” she said. “We light a candle for peace all over the world because we are one; we love one another.” Dale, her husband, chimed in adding, “The people that you think are gone, aren’t really gone.”

Tom Gallagher, Dale and Nancy’s son, presented a gift to his father from The Association. “As a child I could feel the connection of those around me. My father helped me to understand the duality of me, of you, of us and them,” he said. “My father had a vision of community. His vision has allowed so many over the years to experience this.”

Tom Gallagher recognizes his father Dale.| Photo by Brenda Muhammad

By “this,” he meant the spirit of love, trust and connectedness that filled the events’ atmosphere.   

Just what is transpersonal psychology? you might ask. Wikipedia defines it as “a sub-field that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology.”

In layman’s terms, it is a sort of “spiritual psychology” that helps people reach their highest potential and spiritual development by letting go of the worries of life. 

Dale and Nancy shared a story about the time the family was at a conference in Colorado in 1979 to learn about humanistic psychology, the fore-runner to transpersonal psychology. “We were sitting in the ski lift and my son was in a different lift with another gentleman. The lift stopped mid-air. I was worried about my son,” Dale said. “They wanted us to come down another way,” exclaimed Nancy. “It was scary!” Dale continued. “I didn’t know what to do. I was worried about my son.” Then Dale realized that there was nothing he could do so he went with the “flow.” He let go of the worry, and everything turned out OK. In short, transpersonal psychology provides the tools to let go of the things that are holding one back from being their true self and allows for one to enjoy life.

According to Wikipedia, in 1968 Abraham Maslow was one of the psychologist who labeled transpersonal psychology as the “fourth force” to distinguish it from the “other three forces: psychoanalysis, behaviorism and humanistic psychology.”  Dale and Nancy tapped into the ideas of Maslow and his colleagues, adding their own personal experiences, to create the Syracuse Transpersonal Association.

STPA member Ed Thibault speaks about “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” during the celebration. | Photo by Brenda Muhammad

The Association has about 50 members who meet once per month, usually on Saturday night. A typical meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a potluck dinner followed by speakers presenting on a variety of transpersonal topics. Members and guests contribute $5, which helps pay for printing the newsletter, postage and the rental space. However, lack of $5 is not a barrier to entry, as no one will be turned away. Meetings are often infused with meditation, poetry and literature. Some of the programs offered include: a healing group outreach program, storytelling, massage therapy, yoga, light treatment, color and light therapies, healing modality and a library. 

Although over a thousand people from more than 20 countries have passed through its doors, The Association, its people and programs, its mission and vision have remained a well-kept secret, hidden from the larger community for 40 years. The members of The Association would like to change this. They are opening their doors to the community and asking others to join.

Visit The Association’s website to learn more or follow the Facebook page for information on upcoming events and to read the “Transcender,” the organization’s monthly newsletter. The newsletter produced by STPA member Sue Savion is filled with further information on topics of interest to the group.  

To view more images from the anniversary celebration, click here.

Syracuse Transpersonal Association Upcoming Events
The Association does not meet in July or August. The following events have been scheduled for the remainder of 2019. All begin at 6 p.m., and the community is invited to participate. 

SEPT. 21 – Joan Cerio “Living in the Shift of Ages: Geomagnetic Pole Shift, Consciousness Shift, and the New World.” Location:  Synergy Center, 4500 Pewter Lane in buildings 8 & 9 in Manlius

• OCT. 19 – Dr. Sami Bati and Caterina Ranieri “Ho’oponopono Process and HUNA Healing.” Location: Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 400 W. Yates St. in East Syracuse

NOV. 16 – Rosemary Thompson “A Glimpse of India” with slideshow, interactive activities and a drink and snack that are India based (Chai Masala and Chai infused banana bread). Location:  Synergy Center, 4500 Pewter Lane in buildings 8 & 9 in Manlius

DEC. 14. – Annual Holiday Party to be held at member Sue Savion’s home

If you have further questions, contact Nancy Gallagher at nandale1@ix.netcom.com

By Keith Muhammad, The Stand Community Contributor

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