Who is this Ashtar character anyway?

    In my mid-life two of the consistent characters in my metaphysical life has been Ashtar and Athena. I suppose he's been around longer than I may realize. The first recognizable contact was near the close of my marriage when I was investigating a group for the New Age Alliance. The Alliance was made up of about 25 or so member groups, various new age business, study groups, churches, and organizations. The Alliance's mission was to present a consistent message about what the 'new age' was really about in terms of accountability and responsibility of self toward others and the planet. I was a Director of the Church of New Age Spiritual Revolution of America at the time. The Church is now defunct, although I have fond memories of our meetings.

    I volunteered to be an 'investigator' of organizations that were applying for membership to the Alliance. We were also preparing a large event to be held at the Biltmore Resort, which was a huge step for the metaphysical community in Phoenix at the time (1988). My oldest daughter, then 9, showed early signs of metaphysical understanding and taking her with me to explore various groups gave us some time together and helped to sharpen her discernment. One evening we visited a group that had formed around a channel named Lauren Schmidt, who channeled an entity named Jabar. My background with channels was a bit skewed as I'd found most of them to be skilled manipulators that were more about power than perfection. So I had some pretty hard and fast biases toward these folks already. I was soon to be proven otherwise with Lauren.

    I had introduced myself and my daughter upon arrival, acknowledging that I was there on Alliance business. He was a pleasant man to converse with, showing no signs of being interested in his own profit. There were about 30 or so people there as well and we all sat around the living room of the townhouse. He had changed into an emerald green shiny floor-length robe, appearing very regal if I might add. My daughter and I sat on the floor in the back of three rows of people, leaning on the wall next to the arcadia door. I thought this would be a good vantage point to view the show. Lauren sat down and explained what was about to happen, invited us to have a short meditation, and went into his 'channeling' mode. He was a bit different than most I'd witnessed in that he stood and walked around with his eyes wide open. He addressed several people with questions and answers and then turned his eyes on me.

    At first I thought, okay... here it comes. Then he said, 'You are still looking for your parents, aren't you?' I had said nothing of my adoption or quest for finding my biological parents or celestial parents. Immediately I knew something was up. So I answered, 'I'm not so interested in the terrestrial lineage as much as I am the celestial lineage now.' 'That's good,' he replied, 'but you'd still like to know who they are wouldn't you?' I replied that I would. 'Would you like to know their first names?' he asked. I said, 'Yes.' I blocked out his next words to the point that all I heard was, 'They are A.... and A....' Since I did not hear the names I had no knowledge of who they were yet. I sat there for a moment, turned and asked my daughter what he'd said, to which she replied, 'Ashtar and Athena.' I was unfamiliar with who they were and said to Jabar, 'Thank you.' I had know idea what I had just been told.

    Now a few months earlier I was given the name 'Zendor' and was still reeling with the implications of who or what I was from a variety of psychics I'd met around the state while delivering the Arizona Light newspaper. Apparently Zendor is a commander of a mothership according to every psychic that I asked about the name. I continued my method of making sure that my questions were not associated with any prior information shared, so I kept my mouth shut regarding the name having anything to do with me. In conversation I would engage them by talking about all the names I hear people taking on and simply wait until an appropriate moment and ask, 'Hey, what do you get from the name Zendor?' At that point they all did their little 'check-in' routine and then answer, 'Oh, he's the commander of a mothership.' I kept thinking, 'this is useless information,' until a couple of months went by and one told me she knew which one. I'll keep that quiet for now. I still don't know what the heck it all means.

    About a month later I published an article in another newspaper that had just started up. I picked up a copy and noticed a display advertisement right below my article. It said that two people, Steven and April White, were going to be at the Metrocenter Roadway Inn the following week, channeling Ashtar and Athena. I thought this was too close for comfort so I went beyond my reluctance to inquire further and showed up at the meeting. Again, I said nothing and sat over next to the wall of the small meeting room they rented, which had about 150 people in it at the time. I was surprised that so many people were there. I had done some minor research and only knew that these two, Ashtar and Athena, were supposed to be the local representatives of something called the Galactic Federation. I knew nothing of the so-called Ashtar Command then. Steve and April were absolutely gorgeous people, both over 6 feet with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. We did manage to meet eyes and nod before their presentation, although there was no verbal exchange. I was rather taken aback by what happened next.

    Steve and April asked everyone to please be seated and they were going to begin. They explained a little about what they were doing, who Ashtar and Athena are, and what their purpose is at this time. It was interesting to say the least. When Steve went into his channeling mode, his eyes were closed and he remained seated on a stool, gradually standing up and addressing the group. After going on for a bit about the Galactic Federation and its purpose, he began talking about the administration of the Federation and what his [Ashtar] role was in it. At this point Steve, still with eyes closed, appeared to be looking straight at me. To remove any doubt, he opened his eyes at that point and continued to look at me without moving his gaze for several minutes. I was beginning to feel a bit 'on the spot' as there were a large number of people in the small room. He would address the group for a few minutes and then come back to me as though his message was important for me to hear. I have to say that I understood his explanations of the administration to a great degree. The protocols and processes sounded very familiar for some reason. He brought his talk to a close and April began to speak.

    Athena appeared to have just as much interest in me, although she did look around the room a bit more than Ashtar had. She explained what the feminine aspect of their co-commandry was in relation to the care-giving toward humanity and especially those who were part of the Galactic Federation that had incarnated into physical bodies at this time. There was never any direct mention of me specifically, although she did speak of some 'experiments' that would seem very difficult for people of earth to understand just yet. I wasn't sure what that was about, even though part of me felt that I understood what she meant. I have to say that I was more interested in the explanations of the inner workings of the administration, yet it felt that her explanations were also just as important although they were more intuitive in nature. I was very much in my head at the time so I was a voracious investigator and curious intellect.

    After the channeling came to a close I waited until everyone had done their thing with the two of them, like hugs or brief discussions and what not. I asked them if they were aware of staring at me quite often during their channeling. They looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders in unison. They were not aware of what they did during the channeling as they are 'off somewhere else' when Ashtar and Athena were present in their bodies. Hmmm... rats. I told them of the experience I had during the Harmonic Convergence and the plan I was working on for a model community. I wanted to talk to them further. I was not comfortable with exposing myself that deeply just yet. Over the next few years I got more into the production of a television show and exploring how others worked through personal and professional fears in relationships and speaking their truth. I also met Mary-Margareht and Royal, who worked with the etheric implant removals, which led to the experience with Hurley, et al.

    I had a few instances over the next decade where Ashtar and Athena came up, although I'd largely disassociated myself with the metaphysical community in the mid-90s. I'd gone back to school and acquired a Master of Business Administration while working for a health club management group and then an Arizona Secondary Teaching Certification, going on to teach high school for several years. I had become active on the internet to some degree as I was using a computer quite a lot for business, school, and research into what experiences others were having in the world of esotericism and UFOs. In 1997, I was hired to manage the Prophets Conference that came to Phoenix. I did events as a sideline so I was pleased to be involved with such a large group of notable people. Being the event manager, I was able to have private conversations with the likes of Jose Arguelles, Steven Greer, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Travis Walton, David Icke, Drunvalo Melchizedek, and Zecharia Sitchin to name just a few. To them I was just a guy doing a job, although several mentioned that I had great questions and some wonderful postulations. I did have quite an enjoyable evening at our event headquarters with Jose and Lloydine.

    A few years later I got an email from a guy by the name of Bill Spuhler, who got my name from some list that I was on regarding extraterrestrials and new age phenomena. I didn't know where he got my email from initially as I did not inquire until later. What he sent was a notice of an upcoming event called the 'Gathering of Souls' which was going to be in Camp Verde. I thought I might be able to help with the organization or set up since events were part of my professional repertoire. So I wrote the promoters at Ashtar's Trinity (the name caught my eye) wondering if they would say anything about their 'feeling' of a connection with Ashtar and Athena. I used Zen Benefiel as my name because 'Zen' caught on during the stint with the TV show. I asked them if they needed any assistance with the event and attached my resume.  They said that they may need some help, but thought they had things pretty much under control at the time. They did inquire about the name, so I told them how I got it, not mentioning anything about Ashtar just yet. Sure enough, they asked what my connection to Ashtar was in the next post. I wasn't aware that they were also 'in touch' with both Ashtar and Athena as well.

    Next thing I knew they asked if I would be available to speak. They had an opening because a speaker had cancelled. I had developed a presentation that I thought was pretty neat so I agreed, not knowing what was about to happen. We didn't communicate a lot via email at that point. They had asked me if I would be available to visit with them in Sedona and I had the opportunity to play golf in Prescott one weekend so I called them to see if they were available later that day. As it turned out it was Debbie's birthday and I joined a wonderful celebration in process. It seemed like I'd found some family members that I didn't know I had, which felt both exciting and strange. She and Janisel invited me to spend the night rather than make the trip back to Phoenix. Later, after the crowd had left, we had an in depth conversation about their awareness of me and the connection with Ashtar and Athena. Apparently Ashtar and Athena had both told them about me and that I needed to be part of their conference as a speaker. It wasn't until the conference got underway that I became aware that there was much more afoot.

    I met a young woman from Chile shortly after arriving. I felt so connected to her that it was overwhelming, yet she seemed so familiar that I could not deny it. Apparently it felt the same to her and although her English was not great, she was able to speak effectively. During the event she had confided in me that she was taken to Ashtar in a dream-vision, just a week before coming to America for the conference. She was taken by him to introduce her to his son, which she knew me to be the moment we met. At the close of the conference I was asked to join Debbie and Janisel on the 'stage' in the front of the room. There were about 150 or so there at the time, from all over the world. I was told that Ashtar and Athena had requested that I be offered the leadership role for the mission of unity within the so-called 'ground crew.' I felt like a bit confused, overwhelmed, and honored at the same time. I agreed and was baptized in a cool pool shortly thereafter. By that time I wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into and the cold water made me shiver like crazy. Ashtar and Athena were channeled by Debbie and Janisel as they went through the baptism ceremony. About a dozen or so people stood by and watched the event.

    Over the next few years we grew apart as our ideas of what was important in the efforts of the mission became divergent. I honor what they did and how they both opened their hearts and lives to me at that time. I took the 'mission' very seriously and continued developing the model community concept, thinking it was one of the keys to success. The following summer I went to Chile to visit Diana.