Parrish-Harra, Carol W. (1935– )
Carol W. Parrish-Harra—author, New Age leader, and
founder of the Light of Christ Community Church—emerged
in the 1980s after establishing the Sparrow Hawk Spiritual
Community in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and publishing several
popular New Age books. She was born on January 21, 1935,
and in 1958 had a life-changing experience. A Florida housewife
at the time, she was given a pain killer during the birth of
her sixth child. In an allergic reaction to the drug, her lung collapsed
and she slipped into unconsciousness. She would later
claim that her consciousness left her body, and a new consciousness,
who retained the memories of her previous earthly
years, replaced it. As a result, she emerged as a new person.
Formerly passive, she became assertive and outgoing. No longer
content at home, she got a job and soon worked her way
into an executive position.
In 1969 Parrish-Harra attended a lecture at a Spiritualist
church in St. Petersburg, Florida, and began studying there.
Two years later she was ordained as a minister in the Christian
Metaphysical Church, became an associate minister (medium)
at the church, and through the 1970s gave lectures around the
United States. In 1976 she founded the Villa Serena Spiritual
Community in Sarasota, Florida.
In 1981 she founded a New Age community on 300 acres in
Oklahoma with five families from Florida. Parrish-Harra’s
Light of Christ Community Church ministered to the spiritual
welfare of the residents. Planned to be the home of approximately
150 people, the community is organized into clusters
(tribes) to allow for both intimacy and community and serves
as a prototype for other communities and as a training ground
for future leaders.
Many people first heard of Parrish-Harra in 1983 in Ruth
Montgomery’s Threshold to Tomorrow. In the book Montgomery
describes people who had had experiences similar to the one
Parrish-Harra had in 1958. Montgomery designates such people
as ‘‘walk-ins,’’ and suggests that such changes represent the
actual replacement of the consciousness of one person with the
consciousness of another (rather than a new integration of the
individual’s personality). In any case, Parrish-Harra’s experience
was noted as a heretofore unrecognized type of personal
event.
Sources
Montgomery, Ruth. Threshold to Tomorrow. New York Putnam,
1983.
Parrish-Harra, Carol W. Messengers of Hope. Black Mountain,
N.C. New Age Press, 1983.
———. A New Age Handbook on Death and Dying. Marina del
Rey, Calif. DeVorss, 1982.