New Observations is delighted to have photographer and filmmaker Phil Borges to our podcast this week.  Mia Feroleto first watched his TED Talk, several years ago and has watched it five or six times since.  Phil’s work rang a bell with her as it paralleled her own experience during her kundalini activation.  Fortunately, her experience included her experience working in the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center in the late 1970s and early 80s.  Her friendship with psychiatrist and opthamologist Lee Sannella, MD, kundalini master and author of the classic book, “The Kundalini Experience:  Psychosis or Transcendence,” provided a foundation and understanding that many people who go through this process do not have access to, such as the young man Phil follows in his film “Crazy Wise.”

You can learn more about Phil Borges and his work

For over twenty-five years Phil Borges has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures, striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and his award winning books, which have been published in four languages, include Tibetan Portrait, Enduring Spirit, Women Empowered and Tibet: Culture on the Edge. He has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic channels. Phil also lectures and teaches internationally.

Phil’s recent project, CRAZYWISE, explores the relevance of Shamanic traditional practices and beliefs to those of us living in the modern world. CRAZYWISE centers around a young man struggling with his sanity, world renowned mental health professionals, and a gutsy survivor-led movement…all challenging a mental health system in crisis.

Phil’s program Stirring the Fire has produced several short documentaries, a book and an exhibition highlighting some of the extraordinary women worldwide who are breaking through gender barriers and conventions in order to enhance the well being of their communities.

In 2000 Phil founded Bridges to Understanding, an online classroom program that connects youth worldwide through digital storytelling in order to enhance cross-cultural understanding and help build a sense of global citizenship in youth. He also co-founded Blue Earth Alliance, a 501c3 that sponsors photographic projects focusing on endangered cultures and threatened environments.

Phil graduated from University of California as a Regents Scholar in 1969 and was honored with their prestigious University of California Medal in 2004. He lives with his family in Seattle.

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  1. Mia, thank you for doing this interview with Phil. The gentle way that Phil wove his stories and the easy manner in which you interacted with him made it so easy to listen to.

    I have had several Kundalini experiences many years ago when under the guidance of a gifted mystic. Later when trying the same exercises on my own I was able to enter a state where the Kundalini was awaken, but to such an extent that it came on so quickly and powerfully that it overwhelmed me, filled me with an intense fear and so I backed away from it. I never tried again after that. I think I recognized that I needed a guide or mentor before trying again. Unfortunately my mentor moved away. Maybe sometime in the right place and time and with the right guide I will try again.

    I have a family member struggling with mental “distress”, as Phil called it, a term I much prefer to mental illness. I believe that person became overwhelmed when someone, unbeknownst to them, spiked their desert with marijuana. Four deserts and some wine caused them to enter a psychotic state and spend time in a psychiatric ward. They were totally unprepared for what was unleashed and to this day struggle with the consequences. It gives me pause to think about how I could more effectively be a part of the life of that very sensitive person who has what I believe to have an unrecognized gift. I plan on looking further into Phil’s CrazyWise project. I’m just not sure how best to broach the subject matter. I’ll definitely need pray for assistance.
    Take care
    Rickety Man

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment Rickety Man or is it Rick?

      Sounds like spirituality runs in your family. Perhaps you can be of help to each other. Have you ever had a conversation with them about your experience?

      Our culture does not support kundalini experiences except in small communities of shared interest. I was very fortunate to work at New York University Medical center in the department of Psychiatry so I had many close friends in the field and people to talk to about my experiences but knew early on that I could use my gifts in a positive way for humanity. That became my focus. Carving out enough time to be in meditation and contemplation is an essential part of staying grounded.

      At this moment in time, the world is splitting in two in terms of reality. Those who choose to ascend will move to 5D and instant manifestation. Those who choose to remain attached to chaos will remain there. People are finding the members of their “tribe” of like-minded souls which is a huge help in communicating that we are not alone. Please feel free to reach out again if you want. My email is

  2. Dear Mia,
    I just listened to your interview with Phil Borges and I found many points of connection with points that both of you were making.

    First, like you I too at two have memory of knowing I was connected directly with god. My grandparents taught me to pray each night before sleep and it’s a habit I keep to this day.

    After my father remarried when I was 6, my mother having left us when I was 15 months old, my stepmother played esp games with me to impress her friends but I found a place inside myself where I could know things and sometimes see things that would transpire.

    My stepmother also brought certain severe trauma into my life both directly from her actions and by neglect of leaving me with people who abused me quite seriously, including her own father who had molested her and a baby sitter’s son who attacked me at 7 and a 16-year-old girl who stayed with us for a summer who held knives to my neck and locked me in closets and forced sexually depraved experiences on me.
    I never considered myself a victim however.
    Somehow I felt protected and with each experience I was able to tell my grandmother and my father would correct the situation.

    Many years later, having been a health care professional and majoring in journalism and psychology at Syracuse University, I married and created a loving, stable home life for myself and my son from a first marriage, with a kind and generous man and had twins with IVF bc of secondary infertility.

    At that time I began having a series of experiences with extraterrestrials that began on our honeymoon in Maui. It haunts me to this day and I’m thinking of following Steve Greer’s CE-5 protocol to make contact. Even though I’m not sure what answers I may find. I feel compelled.

    However there is another point of contact which concerns my oldest son, he’s 35 now and has always had otherworldly experiences. He is a working psychologist (PsyD).
    While he was in Philadelphia earning his master’s degree, my son started having some experiences that he wished to not have while having so much work to do, that he sought professional help. The psychiatrist recommended anti-psychotics because he disclosed these experiences to her but he declined taking them and suffered through it all and came out the other side stronger. He’s not psychotic, he’s sensitive and spiritual.
    He is recently following the path of shaman in the American Indian tradition which feels like home to him. Which leads me to…

    We’d like to attend your upcoming event in South Dakota and if you could direct me to a link for that I’d be grateful.
    I’d very much like to meet you and talk about the interior realms that both he and I inhabit. Perhaps there will be information that can lead us to the next steps on our paths. I’m different from him in that I went the way of Wicca then Buddhism from being raised Presbyterian and converting to Judaism in my early 20s, both my husbands are Jewish though I did not convert for marriage but for myself as it felt like my spiritual home at that time.

    I hope this rambling note finds you well, you seem like a person I’d enjoy meeting.
    Blessings and all good things to you.
    Thank you for this interview.

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