Since 1980, Uma Silbey has been known as a spokesperson and spiritual leader for an emerging new consciousness, popularly known as the “New Age.” Known for introducing quartz crystals in the late seventies and eighties, having the first quartz crystal jewelry manufacturing company, and being the author of one of the first crystal books, the international best seller, The Complete Crystal Guidebook, Uma draws from years of spiritual and psychological training as well as her everyday life experiences of being a mother and wife, a business owner, recording artist, and writer.
Over forty years of focused spiritual practice underlie her four published books, jewelry designs, and music recordings. Raised Christian with a long background in art and music, she has since studied, meditated, and taken initiation with Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist masters as well as with Native American shamans and medicine men and women. After meeting her Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, in 1976 and receiving the name “Uma” (the name of a Hindu Goddess married to Shiva and representing “divine feminine creative energy”), she began her continuing practices of Vipassana and other forms of meditation, bhakti yoga (the yoga of love, service, and devotion), and kirtan (devotional singing). Shortly thereafter, taking the Bodhisattva Vow and initiated in “Karma Sange Drolma” (Buddha Tara) by Venerable Kalu Rimpoche, she also received initiation into the Buddhist Kalachakra, Tara, and Mahamudra practices.
The next year she gave up all her possessions and moved into a Los Angeles ashram where she received the Sikh name “Prathna Kaur” (Princess of Constant Prayer) and studied mantra and sound current meditations, pranayam (breathing practices), and was trained by Yogi Bhajan to be a teacher of kundalini yoga. Eventually she was in effortless, deep meditation for most of the day and night, barely needing to sleep, and left her ashram room only to teach yoga and do work for Yogi Bhajan. It was during that time that she learned how to remain in a state of continuing meditation while working in the world, something that she continues to this day and now teaches others to do.
After receiving Yogi Bhajan’s permission she left Los Angeles for the San Francisco area and began what turned out to be her life’s work producing jewelry healing tools and teaching about quartz crystals, meditating while being in the “real world,” and subtle energy healing. To do that she also recorded guided visualizations and meditation (new age) music and wrote several books about enlightenment and the use of crystals and stones. It was then that she started her quartz crystal jewelry company as a way to introduce the metaphysical uses of gems and stones, using jewelry as tools as well as for beauty. Her purpose was to bring this knowledge that was previously limited to a very few spiritual practitioners to a more mainstream audience, bridging East and West in order to help raise consciousness to more loving and expanded awareness.
While in the San Francisco area, Uma renewed her Bodhisattva Vow with his holiness, the Dalai Lama, and was initiated by him into the Blue Medicine Buddha practices which she uses in her healing work today. She also worked for twelve years with the Native American healer, Native American Church Roadman and spiritual leader, Marcellus Bearheart Williams and, after completing four vision quests, she received the name “Lum-He-Ho-Lot-Ti” (Blue Eagle), was authorized to be a pipe holder and and to pour water or be in charge of the Inippi or sweat lodge ceremony. Augmenting her working knowledge of subtle energy healing work, she spent the next several years being trained in many Native American and other indigenous healing ways by several medicine men and women. She is also a certified minister.
Believing that the way to wisdom is not to remain secluded but to balance spirituality with everyday living, Uma has done just that. After a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and an American Psychological Association Certification as a Professional Counselor, she is today a successful writer, designer, and composer. Between 1980 and 2010 she headed what turned out to be her phenomenally successful company designing and manufacturing creative tools for consciousness, specializing in “transformational jewelry” and hand-held “Pocket Totems.” After downsizing her business in 2011 for a more simple life, she currently lives as a Maui artist, selling her jewelry and stone creations, books, and music on her own and other websites, and in many local craft and art shows where she enjoys meeting people from around the world. She sees people for personal and spiritual counseling and energy healing on a limited basis. She has since recorded and composed 18 albums for her own music label as well as Kitaro’s label, DOMO Records, joining the grammy award winning Kitaro on several musical compilations. Her books have been published by both Simon & Shuster and Bantam Books as well as her own company. Termed by the press as “one of America’s Renaissance Women,” over the years her articles and interviews have appeared in countless publications worldwide, her appearances have been broadcast nationally on both TV and radio, including The Today Show, CNN, People Magazine, the Smithsonian Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times. Since Uma’s two sons are now grown, she has moved to Maui where she has a studio and lives on the edge of the jungle and manages her “New Age personal retreat” condominium directly on Maui’s famed south shore turquoise ocean.