She died after a courageous battle with cancer, but her work will live on
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, USA (ANS – December 27, 2016) – India-born Christian author, film-maker and former model, Caryl Matrisciana, passed away on the evening of Friday, December 2, 2016, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was accompanied at her bedside by family and friends.
A memorial service to celebrate her extraordinary life will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2017, at Calvary Chapel Cypress, 5202 Lincoln Ave. Cypress, CA 90630, commencing at 12 noon PST.
“We at Caryl Productions feel a great sense of loss for someone who served as a huge inspiration in our lives and in the lives of many others. We will miss her dearly,” said a statement on her website.
“In her absence, it was Caryl’s desire for Caryl Productions (http://caryl.tv/) to continue. The store remains open for product purchases.”
I first met Caryl in London in the mid-1980s when she was working at the Deo Gloria Trust for a Christian businessman called Kenneth Frampton. Frampton, who had funded UK tours for Christian rock bands, had been approached to help start a Christian Arts and Music Festival, and while discussing a name for it, Caryl came up with Greenbelt, which is still being used today. Then, when I was Chairman of Grenville Films with Tony Tew, we made a documentary film for the BBC called “Greenbelt Live!” which featured among many musical artists including Cliff Richard and Larry Norman.
Caryl went on to become a well-known authority on ancient and modern world religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She was a best-selling author, journalist, researcher and commercial artist, and had been a frequent guest on numerous national and international radio and TV programs, including two of mine.
After living in “Swinging London” for several years, Caryl moved to the United States and was co-founder and co-producer (with Pat Matrisciana) of Jeremiah Films for 23 years, serving as the Creative and Marketing Director and contributing to over 60 documentaries. She was instrumental in the research of many films on many subjects, and narrated several of them.
Some time back I interviewed Caryl about her autobiography, “Out of India: A True Story about the New Age Movement,” and she gave me an outline of her fascinating life.
“When I was twenty years old,” she began, “my family returned from India, where I was born and lived for most of my life, to England, our homeland. It was during the turbulent sixties, and I was introduced to a movement that didn’t even have a name at that time.
“Only now, with the benefit of hindsight can I see that the strange and mystical religion that I had been surrounded by in India is now at the heart of a form of spirituality that influences millions around the world including the Christian Church.
“Most people have no idea what they’re doing when they practice the rituals of Yoga and think that they’re only basic physical exercises. They have no clue that all the ‘asanas’ (postures) are designed to prepare the Hindu practitioner for his belief in the ‘cycle of death’ known as reincarnation.”
In “Out of India,” which has been described as a “fascinating and compelling apologetic biography,” Caryl explained what she believed to be the spirituality that lies behind the New Age movement, its dangers, and its deception. The book also explains how much New Age spirituality has entered the Christian Church as a new “ancient strand” of Christianity and teaches philosophies rooted in eastern mysticism which were adapted by so-called Christian mystics also known as the Desert Fathers.
“I was privileged to live in a changing India, a nation coming out of the Imperial Raj adjusting to Independence from a former colony of the Crown,” Caryl said.
“A few years had passed since WW2 in which my father had spent active military duty in Africa and France with the British Army. He returned to the land of his birth, India, with his pregnant new English War Bride and there I was born in Calcutta. My mother told me I was the last British baby born in British India and for almost two decades I considered India my home although I was of British parents and attended half my early years in boarding school in England.
Became a Model
“My parents loved their life in India and poured themselves into much community work. Together they initiated many theatre productions donating the proceeds to various charities,” she said.
“When I was about 16 I was one of the ‘cute Program sellers’ for one of my parents’ theatrical productions which was well attended by the press. Without my knowing it, that was to become my media debut. Later, I walked a few ‘fashion catwalks’ between luncheon tables modeling designers new ‘Seasonals.’ During that time, a local photographer who owned his own Studio taught me how to be a ‘Still Photography Model.’
“At the time that I attended Art College in Calcutta and apprenticed with various well known Marketing Agencies. One, The Times of India, landed the advertising campaign for Remington Rand typewriters. The Art Director chose me as the ‘efficient secretary’ to promote the modern typewriter of an era! I’d never typed a day in my life but centre newspaper spreads and billboards across the nation showed otherwise. People came up to me in the street recognizing me as The Remington Rand girl! Without my planning it, that was the start of what was to become a sporadic modeling career although my first love was always Design and Commercial Art.
“Some years later, after returning to England, I was chosen for small parts in a few movies again without really planning to be a movie star! The first film was for French Actress Brigitte Bardot who was promoting her new fashion line in her Paris Boutique. My last was ‘Clockwork Orange’ but my ‘bit’ part in a night-club scene never made it into the finished product.
“My modeling days, again unplanned, were at their best when I was in America where I met many of the stimulating “beautiful people” and was introduced to a pot-pourri of alternative philosophies. But the changing point of my life came in the 70’s in Chicago when a Christian model challenged me to a whole new outlook on life which became a lifestyle dedicated to follow Jesus Christ and His plan for my life.
“Moving from a self-absorbed life, with self-centered ambitions to a worldview that put the souls of others first was indeed liberating. Instead of promoting products and ideas centered in a world economy and degenerating moral system I was challenged to invest in eternal goals and guide spiritually lost people, as I’d been, into a relationship with the Living and Resurrected God.
“My talents in theatre, artistic creativity, promotional advertising and film making have been used for the past three decades to further the Christian Gospel of salvation. I’ve continued to work in what I love best and God has given me a different motivation – His! I’ve produced over 50 documentaries to inform about Biblical Truths and help Christians become educated about the sub-culture and spiritual deception.”
Matrisciana admits that returning from India to England in the sixties was emotionally and physically dislocating.
“The lifestyle I’d been used to India was completely turned different to life in England, on top of which the sixties was an era of great change for my generation who were breaking away from traditional values that used to be held dear in the past,” she continued.
“New forms of music, quite distinct from the music loved by my parents’ generation, was becoming mainstream fanned by the famous Liverpool music group, The Beatles. Fashions were changing from below-the-knee skirts to the short “mini-skirt” introduced by English designer Mary Quant. London’s West End Theatre aired new philosophical messages through stage shows like ‘Hair — The Musical,’ and the name ‘Swinging London’ was coined for the world to admire.”
Caryl said she attempted to adjust to the bombardment of so much new found “freedom” but mixed social messages collided with her upbringing and traditional boarding school environment. Spiritual confusion led to mixing the Roman Catholicism she grew up with in her Convent education with prevailing eastern mysticism. Over the years, she was to develop an “inter-spirituality” which embraced “ancient faith” practices with a “new”, “evolving” faith which taught the possibility of “achieving” a “higher consciousness” which left behind “the old.”
“I soon got embroiled over my head in the developing counter-culture. Slowly but surely through partying with a ‘progressive’ crowd I started experimentation in drugs and, at first tentatively, moved into experimentation with the supernatural world,” she continued. “I developed an interest in astrology, psychic manipulation (started with a Ouija board), and sought spiritual ‘treasures’ from a Mystical India which was unrecognizable from the Hindu religion I’d grown up surrounded by in India.
“I got drawn into Yoga, believing it to be spiritually benign, when I’d known from childhood that it was intrinsically a part of Hindu spirituality. Drug-use seemed to ‘expand my consciousness’ to embracing a different ‘truth’ which, while ‘third’ eye-opening, was also confusing. Yoga meditation and ‘stillness’ contemplation played a large part in ‘mind altering’ and in ‘shifting awareness.’”
Matrisciana says that her change of heart from “new age” mysticism to Christianity was the outcome of a momentous development birthed in America in the late sixties called ‘The Jesus People Movement.’
She says, “It was a move of God’s Grace when He poured out His Holy Spirit over a generation lost in massive spiritual upheaval, deception and confusion. For the first time in history, an entire generation, innovatively called ‘the hippie generation’ was manipulated into a cruel ‘consciousness revolution’ seductively labeled ‘flower-power.’ It was unleashed across almost the whole of western society, promoted in part through The Beatles and other entertainment celebrities, fanned by the press and poisoned by the acceptance of drug use.
“A Pandora’s Box was opened with exponential drug exploitation combined with the introduction of occult spirituality. Gurus, so-called ‘godmen’ from India became the new ‘spiritual masters’ of so-called new ‘science’ of religion. Hundreds upon hundreds of innocents turned to the profusion of cults available while others became seduced by manipulative psychological techniques through ‘mind science’ alternatives. Thousands dumped the traditional values of Judeo-Christianity and their parents’ values which had supported national patriotism, conservative politics and belief in the Bible.
“But, alongside this societal shift: the cross fire of spiritual warfare, when eastern thought was battling for the west – where the likes of me got caught in the cross-hair of spirit entities bent on destroying – concerned and astute Christians were daring to approach the lost, and spiritual seekers, with Biblical truth. A sound and True Gospel, preached by the faithful, brought thousands to Jesus Christ Who called Himself ‘The Way, The Truth and The Life.’
“In hindsight, I’m grateful that a Christian male model had the courage to talk to me that day during a print-shoot in Chicago. At the time his comments about Jesus made me very angry because I thought he was narrow minded and a religious bigot. I didn’t know anything about spiritual warfare and that my activities with the occult allowed spiritual principalities to possess my thinking. I didn’t know they jealously guarded my mind from freedom offered through knowledge found in the Gospel. I didn’t know they didn’t want the Holy Spirit to change me through a belief in the work of Jesus on the Cross for my sins. I didn’t know I could be set free from guilt by repentance. I thought my religious ‘tolerance’ was broad-minded never suspecting Jesus Words that the ‘broad gate’ led to destruction and the ‘narrow’ Way (Jesus) to eternal life.
“My reality had been distorted by ‘altered states’ through drugs and pseudo psychology. Doors had been opened and deluding spirits persuaded me that ‘all paths’ led to God, and, the narrow salvation of the Bible’s Savior was too confining, sin was only subjective and truth, relative.”
“Soon after my born-again new-spirit birth in America, I returned to England to work with Christians who were fired up, like myself, to spread the Gospel of discipleship according to Jesus’ last command to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven with the promise He’d return again.
“I pray ‘Out of India’ will help Christians understand the merging of the mystery faiths and see that ‘a different gospel’ has entered from ‘those amongst us’ who come dressed as sheep but are really wolves in sheep clothing.”
Like her many friends, I will deeply miss Caryl, who right up until the end, continued to serve her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ through her many talents.
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
Photo captions: 1) Caryl Matrisciana. 2) Greenbelt logo. Caryl came up with the name for the festival. 3) Swinging London, where Caryl lived for some years. 4) Indian prisoners practicing Yoga. (The Hindu). 5) “Out of India” cover. 6) In 1975, Dan Wooding made a trip to Calcutta, where Caryl was born, where he interviewed Mother Teresa.
Further note: We at ANS pledge to continue to bring you stories like this. If you value our journalism, would you consider a generous end-of-the year donation so that we can continue our work for the Kingdom? Your gift will make a tremendous difference in what we are able to do through out media ministry.
It’s very simple, yet your gift will make such a difference. Just go to www.assistnews.net and scroll down to where it says DONATE TO ASSIST NEWS and there put in your amount. If you prefer a check, just make it out to ASSIST and mail it to: PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA. (All gifts in the US are tax-deductible). If you are sending a check, would you mind sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, so I can let Norma, our volunteer administrator, know the good news. (All US envelopes dated December 31, or before, will receive a tax receipt for 2016).
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder of the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts a weekly radio show and two TV shows, all based in in Southern California. Dan also is the author of some 45 books.
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends that they can receive a free subscription to our news service by going to the above website and signing up there.