Author, President of the Blue Heron Foundation
presentation: Searching for the White Magician
Stefania Magidson was born in Romania and in 1983 immigrated with her family to the United States. She received a BS in Health Education and a Master’s in Applied Spiritual Psychology. In 2002 she founded Blue Heron Foundation, one of the largest non-profit organizations in the Romanian diaspora, focusing on improving the quality of life of Romanian and Moldovian orphaned youth by providing them greater access to life’s opportunities through merit based college scholarships in Romania. To date, the organization has raised over $2,000,000, has awarded over 300 college scholarships and has touched the lives of over 2,900 kids ( www.blueheronfoundation.org ).
Stefania is a supporter of the UCLA Graduate School of Education, The Everychild Foundation and the Making Waves Romanian Film Festival; she serves on the Board of Advisors of the Wende Museum, is the Chair of the Romanian Film Committee of the South-East European Film Festival, member of the advisory board of the Roma People’s Project at the Hayman Center for Humanities at Columbia University and Co-Chair of the Parents’ Council at Tisch School of the Arts. She is the author of the book “Searching for the White Magician” a series of dialogues where she explores themes ranging from immigration and philanthropy to spiritual psychology and self-realization.
Abstract of the talk:
Searching for the White Magician
Author, President of the Blue Heron Foundation, University of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, USA
In the first part of this presentation, Stefania Magidson will talk about her book „Searching for the White Magician”. She will explain how what she expressed in the book formed the guiding principle at the center of her work at the Blue Heron foundation.
„Searching for the White Magician” is presented as a dialogue and written as a collection of essays which explores myriad themes, from immigration and philanthropy to spiritual psychology and the manifestation of one’s destiny. As varied as the essays are, they do, nevertheless, share a thematic unity. This unity stems from the fact that the material is a product of incorporating what Stefania has studied, as well as what she learned into her everyday experience as a wife and mother and as the head of a large non-profit organization.
For Stefania the study of Spiritual Psychology encompasses what the study of mainstream psychology should really be about; it takes as its object a phenomenon that cannot be approached strictly through a science based on research and empirical observation. This latter method is, at the very least, an incomplete approach, as evinced by its exclusion of the very thing from which it takes its title. “Psyche,” after all, originally denoted the “soul” or “life breath.” Have we all forgotten about Psyche, the mortal princess who became Eros’s wife and the Goddess of the Soul?
Over the years Stefania has come into contact with many professionals who have at some point or another stopped to ask themselves, “Is this what I’m meant to do? Am I honoring my aspirations and talents in the work I’m pursuing? Is the work that I do feeding my soul?” Or, “How am I contributing to the world by doing what I’m doing?”
As they’ve embarked on a spiritual journey through the consideration of these questions, they have often experienced a clash between the two very different and seemingly mutually exclusive worlds they were now trying to inhabit. Many times they felt forced to extract themselves from one of them. Searching for the White Magician is proof that we can integrate the two worlds: the one in which we engage in deep spiritual study and practice and the one in which we successfully engage with our professional world, with our family and with our social life.
Stefania Magidson believes that our soul has yearned to have an experience on this planet, an active participation in a physical life. We are spiritual beings having a human experience (and not the other way around), an experience that offers us an opportunity to learn, to heal, to elevate ourselves, and hopefully our peers, through the act of giving and receiving love. We are part of that universal energy which connects us with divinity.
This has been a guiding principle at the center of Stefania Magidson’s work at the foundation she runs – the Blue Heron Foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life of Romanian and Moldovan youth growing up in the state’s care, by providing them with greater access to opportunities through college scholarships.
Why was Stefania called so strongly to help orphans in particular? Because they are the ones most adrift, most at risk of not connecting with their life purpose. Because the work the foundation does allows them the chance to manifest themselves fully. The orphaned toddlers who were once tied to a crib in some sterile, desolate institution, the same ones who had lines next to their mothers’ and fathers’ names on their birth certificates, the children whom society was once ready to discard, somehow, through some miracle or chance, crossed paths with her organization and are now graduating as medical doctors, as accountants, as lawyers or social workers.
Stefania does not consider herself a social activist. She, along with a talented team and many generous supporters, have simply decided, over a period of fifteen years and with very little fanfare, to carry on the torch for those who, as victims of political or family circumstances, are too young and vulnerable to do it on their own.
Since 2002, the BHF has raised and invested over $2,000,000 to better the lives of 3,000 children, attracted over 900 donors (mostly Angelenos) and almost 450 volunteers, who donated more than 13,000 hours of their time. BHF is one of the very few organizations who gives 100% of the money received directly to the students we help, because the founders cover all administrative expenses. The Foundation has also been able to make small amounts of money go a really long way, thanks to the work of its many mentors and volunteers.
Initially published in Romanian, the English version of “Searching for the White Magician” has been published by New Meridian Arts and launched in the US, in early 2018.
“Searching for the White Magician” is considered „a gift for the readers, made with compassion, awareness, love and empathy to ultimately learn more about ourselves. A pleasant and illuminating treat!” (Cristiana Grigore, researcher at the Center for Justice, Psychology Department at Columbia University).
“This book provides not only keys, but reflects a generosity of spirit that will touch and transform you” (Mary Hulnick, PhD., Author, Chief Creative Officer, University of Santa Monica)
Keywords: Spiritual psychology, spirituality, self discovery and transformation, civil society, philanthropy, mentorship