ForeverMissed
In memory and honor of Tav Sparks (Augustus Octavius Bacon Sparks III):

“The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught.”
“One who loves God finds the object of his love everywhere.”
“Trust the divine power, and she will free the godlike elements in you and shape all into an expression of divine nature.”
All quotes from Sri Aurobindo, Tav’s most read and loved teacher
Dear friends, family, loved ones,

On Sunday, August 9, my beloved – our beloved - Tav left us to head into the great mystery.  As many of you know - because, like so much else in his life, he was open about what he was experiencing - Tav had been dealing with memory loss and cognitive decline for the past eight or so years.

At first, we attributed this to tiny strokes that showed up on his first MRI, and were optimistic about his healing. In early 2020, after new scans, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In between, over the past several years, Tav and I devoted ourselves to a wide range of healing methods - medical, alternative, and spiritual. He was willing to work hard at anything that had a chance, even a remote one, of helping him. Sadly, they made little or no difference. As time went on, his loss progressed at an increasing rate. 

He could no longer do the work he loved: teaching and being with others on their journeys of spirituality and personal healing. We knew he was facing the possibility of a long, slow decline full of pain and indignity that would have been terribly hard on Tav and those closest to him. Instead, he started on a path that led to a dignified, honorable, incredibly courageous death at the time of his choosing. It seems way too soon, and yet in terms of the window of opportunity, it would have been too late had he waited much longer. 

I know this loss will hit many of you hard. Tav was a huge light in this world for so many people. All of his life, he was a seeker of truth and the deeper mysteries of life and beyond.  And his devotion to this quest spoke to others. Beginning from his earliest years in Macon, Georgia; through his “hippie days” (as he called them); then coming out of addiction as he embraced the Twelve-Step program and community; and all throughout his years as a devoted and gifted teacher, writer, and breathwork practitioner, Tav always emerged as a guide to others on their own inner journeys. 

He didn’t do this on purpose, it just happened. People saw who he was, they saw what his being was all about, and this spoke to many of them. Rather than cultivate this attention, he did the opposite. He regularly went inward in deep and ongoing practice – with breathwork, meditation and other work on himself. He constantly read the most profound spiritual texts from all traditions. And he lived what he learned, what both of those paths had to teach. He was, first and foremost, about being in service.

Tav walked his talk. When something wasn’t working in his life, when there was conflict, at some point he would always, always go within, look at himself, and then apologize, even when he had nothing to apologize for. He relied on the support of the Great Mother, who he referred to as Big Mama. He connected with many deep spiritual traditions and teachers, especially in Ireland and Australia. He hugged trees; gently patted moss, rocks, and whatever horse I had in my life; was constantly awed by clouds and fog; loved swans and hawks, ravens and vultures. He adored Layla, our calico kitty, who doesn’t like to be petted but would lay across Tav’s legs every night as we watched TV.

Tav’s love of his close family was deep and he often wished he could get back East more often to see his son Ason, daughter-in-law April, their sons Dallin, Kellen and Lochlan, and Ason’s mother Joyce. He was incredibly proud of the men Ason and our son Bryn have become and shared with them the family passion for Georgia football, and the eternal quest for a national championship.

When we did get back to Georgia, it delighted him to visit his sisters Tricia and Jackie and brother-in-law John. Tav’s brother Bill was also often part of the crew until his own passing in 2016. We’d laugh, listen to music, have ridiculously good meals, and of course watch football, often joined by John’s brothers and many old friends, all with wild, funny stories about their escapades. Tav counted the time he spent with the Allman Brothers in Macon during his early twenties as among the most meaningful of his life. 

Tav was one of the first long-haired hippies in Macon, an enthusiastic early proponent of LSD, which led to his first major spiritual awakening, and belonged to more than one commune.  He had more adventures than I could count, and I always wished he would write them all down for a book, which he started in recent years but didn’t finish.

Tav was incredibly generous of himself, his time, anything he had to give. He’d want the best of whatever was available to go to others. He would stay with a breather for countless hours. He loved to prepare food for people; to share the movies and music he loved; to see the best in each person he encountered; and to keep telling and showing them what he saw until they saw it too. 

He was a brilliant teacher with an incredible mind. He wove magic into his work with self-deprecating humor, extravagantly elegant mannerisms, quirky southern expressions, and a knowledge of spiritual systems and understanding of holotropic principles that went both deep and wide.  He would always worry about messing up, but somehow when he started to speak, it flowed through him in a way that was both inspired and inspiring.

Tav wrote and had published three deep and wide-ranging books on spirituality and healing relating to addiction recovery, movie-watching and the holotropic paradigm, plus a book of poetry and a training manual, and five professionally recorded CDs that give listeners a feel for his teaching. Even before he lost his memory, whenever he’d pick up one of his books and look at it, he’d be surprised and say, “I wrote that?” as if it was too good to have come from him.  You might not know that he also wrote seven screenplays, with the same talent and flair that he brought to everything else he did. 

I believe Tav’s greatest lasting contributions – in addition to our memories of him, his books, and recordings of his teaching - are the Awareness Positioning System (APS) and his fierce devotion to what he termed “Radical Personal Empowerment.”  This last takes the concept of the inner healing impulse and extends it as far as it’s possible to go.  In healing work, there is nothing more essential to a person’s well-being than that which comes from within – and anything that doesn’t support, or leads away from, that emergence is doing the person a disservice and taking power from where it belongs, which is with the individual.  

Toward the end, when his brain wasn’t working too well any longer, Tav became almost pure love.  The crackling fire he’d always been had become a glowing ember, but that ember was unadulterated, bright and strong.  The idea of radical personal empowerment became two simple words, and he wanted everyone he had contact with during those last days to hear them and believe them: “Trust yourself.”

Writing this is one of the most painful yet profound things I’ve ever done. I wish he could read it and take it in, but of course he’d never believe it.  I wish he could be here to edit it, as we’ve always done with each other’s writing, both professional and personal. I’m sure he’d find every last misplaced comma or not-quite-right word. And I’d sigh, and be a little annoyed, and know he was right, and change it. 

Someday, I might tell the entire story of our time together, the journey we were on with each other, with breathwork, with incredible friendships and nature and music, with the gifts of the world in so many physical and spiritual manifestations. One of the last things we said to each other was, “We had a good run.” I think we all had a good run with Tav. It just wasn’t long enough.

Even though the Tav who left us on Sunday wasn’t the Tav I’d met 34 years ago, he was somehow more of himself than ever, and I will miss him every day. Right now, I don’t know if I will ever stop crying. I know many of you will cry too. I visualize our collective sadness as Tav’s way of bringing people and communities together once more, to be real and to feel deeply, in spirit as he did in life. 

To honor Tav’s memory, I think he would love for you to watch movies, listen to music, visit with trees, TRUST YOURSELF, and find the object of God/Goddess’s love everywhere.

To say something for or about Tav, what he meant to you, or (best of all) tell a story, we’ve established this memorial page. 

Celebration of Life gatherings for Tav will be held as soon as it is safe to do so, probably in California, in Macon, and perhaps in Europe so his many friends there can gather too.   

In lieu of flowers, if you feel like making a donation in Tav’s memory, we are suggesting either 
Final Exit Network or MusiCares (general donation/in memory of).

With love and deep gratitude always,
Cary Sparks

By Neil Young, one of Tav’s absolute favorite musicians, from the songs Look Out for My Love (1978) and Harvest Moon (1992):

I'm home again to you babe
You know it makes me wonder
Sittin' in the quiet slipstream
In the thunder.

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away

But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night

Posted by Norman Rizk on January 9, 2021
Tav was my roommate in prep school in Virginia. Neither he nor I really fit in but we were best of friends. So sorry to lose him but he was a sweet person , even when I knew him and he was 16.
Posted by Michael Stone on October 24, 2020
I first met Tav in 2006 at a training module and was immediately blown away by his presence, his caring, his kindness, and his dedication to and passion for Holotropic Breathwork and to making the world a better place to live in. He was the best teacher that I have ever met whether it was at a Holotropic Breathwork module, at a Movie Yoga module, at my Certification Module or anywhere else. He was one of the inspirational figures in my life and the person who inspired me to become a Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator. To me, he represented compassion, presence and a deep commitment to doing his own inner work and I feel remarkably lucky and honored to have had Tav be my teacher. He was remarkably giving of his time and energy and up until the day he passed away, I always knew that if I had a question about HB Facilitation or about a contraindication or anything else, he would always make himself available to answer it.

In HB Workshops, his ability to work with and stay present with breathers over an extended period of time was remarkable. When a breather needed support and Tav came over, the breather knew that time no longer existed for Tav and that he would stay there as long as necessary to allow the breather to complete his or her process. He was the quintessential model of how a facilitator should be with a breather and he brought that understanding and also his deep understanding and trust of the "Inner Healer" to me and into the entire HB facilitator training program.

His book, "The Power Within", which he published last year, is one of the most profound books that I have ever read and is a testament to personal empowerment and transformation and his deep commitment to his own inner work. He writes:

"Engaging in any systematic deep work over a period of time will almost certainly reveal to us a way to find a true lasting freedom, independent of outside circumstances..within us all along has been a force more powerful than any the outside world can offer...this unlimited power is none other than the Inner Healer, or what we also call, in our inquiry, the power within."

This is a deep and profound loss for me. The world has lost a beautiful soul.

Posted by Lynda Close on October 13, 2020
One thing I loved about Tav that he really embraced all there was in being human. He really helped me to understand and embody what wholeness was really all about. When I was in a particular challenging place he would speak to me in a language I loved – Myth. In True Lord of the Rings style he said:

“Like Samwise Gamgee told Frodo, when they were in Mordor, and they were looking down on an army of 10,000 orcs between them and mount doom, "There's nothing for it..." like, we got no choice but to go down this hill and keep on doing it...and that's what they did, and they got there, and after frodo came flying out of mt doom, and it was all crashing down around them, you know, his face was all lit up again, and he said, "It's gone -- it's done -- I can see the shire..."so, when i'm in my own version of your place, i think of this, and truth be told, it will shift -- it always does. all i can do is tell you what i see: i feel i know your heart and soul -- and when i see you, or think of you, i see the depth of you, who you really are, and i have no worries about you at all from that place.”

These words still resonate with me often. What a gift among many other gifts. I honestly feel like one of the lucky ones having known him. So I can’t really say enough but this will do for now. From your swan tattoo, your wild shirts, southern accent and Gieger skull ring, I love you. Rest well in the Beloved. You will be missed greatly.
Posted by Than Healy on October 11, 2020
Wild Rice casserole. He brought wild rice casserole to Thanksgiving and then regaled me with the care and ingredients that were in it - many deriving from home in Macon and some from the hippy-dippy farmer's market. But in that way that dish was all Tav. And he was curious - always wanting to know more about things he knew and things he didn't and I love that about him. And his hugs. It's rare that people who are not my immediate family will hug me the way he did because of my size but he hugged completely and unabashedly...like he lived the rest of his life. That wild rice casserole was the best I've ever had, before or since because it was all him. That's what I will remember fondly is the way he brought all of himself to every interaction and every moment...I am sad we don't have him on this planet anymore but sure do like imagining he and my mom laughing and cooking together. May you find peace in the sorrow.
Posted by Luzia Domesle on September 3, 2020
Dear Tav,
I am grateful that you came into my life at the GTT module "the power within" in Csech Republic. It was my first module ever a few weeks after my first double breathwork at peace castle in Austria. It had saved me from a deep crisis after my mother's passing. I remember this inspiring practise of Movie yoga, your teachings of the yoga of the cross, your loving and strong presence in the breathwork sessions, your humorous and honest telling of your life story, how you struggled with addiction and overcame it. I remember your bright and encouraging look when I asked for admission to the GGT as you said "welcome, go for it". I remember the following hug holding your tender body, so fragile and though so strong. I remember your basic teaching: support, support, support. I remember your closing: completion within the incompletion. I had expected to do the certification closure with you. this is not possible anymore in physical reality. your spirit is still here in my heart and always will be. but I miss you as a whole human being so that makes me feel sad. 
Posted by Julie Meehan on August 31, 2020
Dear Tav,
I had the privilege and joy to meet you once in Kildare, Ireland in November 2012 in the enchanted Shell Cottage, where you shared with us the magic, wisdom and ingenious teaching of Movie Yoga, and yourself. I hold this weekend, hosted by Geoff Fitzpatrick, deep in my heart, and continue to keep the Movie Yoga teachings alive in my life and work. It was only the day before Cary sent out the email about your passing that your teaching on Will and Grace popped into Consciousness as I walked down a path, and I smiled, outwardly and inwardly. a profound teaching I walk with everyday.

I smile now, as I look at all the photos shared, and the abundance of a life fully lived - the greatest gift we can give.

I recall you saying that weekend how you loved Swans, and how blessed you had felt to see one that morning. Your love of swans brings forth a beautiful quote from a lesser known John O'Donoghue poem, that in many ways, speaks of BPM II, and the pointing back to the mystery of the Who that we really are.
In deep love, le gra an domhain.
Julie

Exiled Clay  

I am not sure you
live here anymore, no cord
of clay holds
you moored.

The air is brittle
and cannot settle
near your attention.

Your call has
no cloister , for
abandon anoints you.

To what place
belongs the red bush
of your blood?

Who could travel
your mountains of dream,
glimpse gazelles
limp towards dawn,

see flowers
thirst through earth
for dew,

and hear at last
the sound
of swan's wings
bless the dark?

John O'Donoghue, Echoes of Memory
Posted by Peg Pipchick on August 30, 2020
My first encounters with Tav were early on in Omega and Kripaulu. He was with Stan and Christina and seemed to be someone up there, almost untouchable. Many years later, I decided to try to understand more about Holotropic Breathwork so I signed up for the Holotropic Paradigm and Tav was the teacher of that module. I really learned about the INNER HEALER from Tav theoretically and experientially as he helped me with a breather. His presence with me was that of one who witnessed and recognized the power of the inner healer. He knew this breather and let her INNER HEALER do the work. I continue to trust my Inner healer. Some time after Tav said ‘You are a natural for this work. Have you considered the training”. I took this message seriously after feeling his presence during that experience. 
There were a few other encounters with Tav but the two that are a part of how Tav conveyed a oneness with life was at certification process in July of 2019 when his illness was obvious but his was still so present when my music was being played.  His tuning in to the room was so exquisite. He indicated at what level the volume should be played with such detail.  He was so attuned and so present to the energy in the room. He sat in the back and raised his hands each time he felt a change in volume was necessary. 
The third experience with Tav was at my certification meeting. When He asked what I was going to do after the module. I told him that I would be helping to facilitate with Tim O’Connell and Oliver Williams. He said “those guys need you. They need your feminine presence.” He affirmed the need for the feminine. Tav frequently talked about the divine feminine. To me this recognition on his part came from deep within his own unity with his feminine soul that made him the WHOLE PERSON he takes into this next phase of his life.
Tav, I had so few encounters with you but you have entered my heart and I do hope that you will continue to be with me. Love you. Peg
Posted by Carol Ann Schaffner on August 29, 2020
Tav made me feel safe when what I was feeling was in no way safe. His kind eyes and deep, gentle smile made it easier to progress in my breathwork sessions. He allowed me to learn to save my own life and to move well beyond that in my journey. He was my tipping point into joy and wholeness. I could never thank him adequately.

I've just learned of Tav's death two weeks after the fact. I'm grateful for the time without his loss.

Cary, your letter is gorgeous and inspired. He was blessed to have you as his partner in crime and love all these years. Just as we were to have him as a teacher. Thank you for sharing him with us so generously.

Gentle as you go.

Carol Ann
Posted by Warren Burrows on August 27, 2020
My first time I met Tav was in San Francisco at my first introduction to Stan Grof and Holotropic Breathwork. Friday evening, I wondered into the room where Tav was setting up his presentation on Movie yoga. When I walked into the room, feeling a bit out of sorts, Tav came up to me and greeted me with a warm smile. The next day, towards the end of my breathwork session, I was struggling with falling asleep after an energetic session. Tav had bad knees and had announced at the start that he may not be able to get down and do body work. In spite of his knees, he came by my space, lay down beside me and asked how I was doing. I said I was struggling with falling asleep. And in his cheerful and supportive way he said, "Go ahead, fall asleep!" That is the loving Tav that I came to know over the next several years.
I will miss him.
Posted by Jacqueline Sparks on August 26, 2020
Ocmulgee National Monument

We eager children
came to know spirits on sacred ground—
mound builders and before—
ancient in ways of seeing and being—
We carried gifted secrets into a profane world
and to our forever lives—
We are children of the mounds and the woods—
Voices of those before us join—
Now in spirit we are one.
Posted by Jacqueline Sparks on August 26, 2020
Dear Tav, Dear Brother,

I give thanks for our time on this earth together.
For our play and laughter
For our talk and soul searching
For your wisdom
For what you have taught me about being strong
For your gentle spirit
For your loving spirit
For sharing together so deeply ourselves, our lives
You will be with me always.

Love,
Jackie
Posted by Jacqueline Panikova on August 24, 2020
Tav, what a blessing I had a chance to meet you. Thank you for being you and thank you for passing down so much love. It stays forever present and alive as we will keep passing it further. ❤️
Posted by Luigi Clementini on August 24, 2020
A very sad time.
In the last few days the memories have come flooding back.
Meeting Tav was a real privilege. The occasions were sometimes far between, but each was a special one, filled with a sense of connection and support. Unforgettable moments in my holotropic journey.
His lectures, his passion, his humor, the music and dance and the movies. His presence.
I am deeply touched, more than words can say.
With much love.

Posted by Loriel Starr on August 23, 2020
I have a cherished memory of Tav from when I was going through the GTT training and the first Lord of the Rings movie was just released. It was in the more casual time at the end of our opening circle that someone in the group asked him what he thought about the movie and he shared that he was thrilled with it. Tav spoke about several different scenes and at one point he paused to choke back tears as he recalled a particular scene that deeply moved him.

It was the chase scene in which Arwen on horseback carries wounded Frodo to safety as she swiftly and courageously outrides the Black Riders across a river. Although the Black Riders are thwarted, Frodo is near to death from his wound and struggling for his life. Arwen, with intensity and deep compassion prays; “What grace has given me, let it pass to him …. let him be spared …. save him!”.

As Arwen was to Frodo … Tav was to those of us in his charge …he protected us as we explored the vast terrain of our inner psyches during our breathwork sessions; he held us with his prayer of grace as we wrestled with the pain of our own wounds and darkness. He inspired us toward the light of life through his care and genuine goodness. He was a dedicated and true warrior of healing. I am forever grateful to have known him.

Swift passage to the undying lands of Valinor dear Tav …. A Elbereth Gilthoniel!
Posted by Vera Rodenhoff on August 23, 2020
I am immensely grateful to have known Tav as a person, facilitator and teacher. His heartfelt wisdom, love, teachings, humour and story telling are what stays with me.

Wishing you love, light and peace for this journey, captain!

“All that you touch you Change.
All that you Change changes you.
The only lasting truth is Change.”
― Octavia E. Butler
Posted by Ruth Klein on August 21, 2020
It's been so many decades since I met Tav, yet I clearly recall an extraordinary quality of light that he not only radiated, but in fact was. His boundless enthusiasm and energy, he greeted each moment as a miracle, with wonder. It's now decades ago, since I was with either of you, my heart is touched by the openness and depth of your sharing, Cary. I have no doubt that Tav is flying with the angels. I wish you, Cary, love and support during this time in your journey.
Posted by Marianne Murray on August 20, 2020
"... this ephemeral episode of human experience - this momentary candle, lit from the eternal flame, and blown out by the Mystery when its time is done."
The words you wrote at the end of your book, Tav - 'The Power Within.' When I read your words the first time, they landed in my heart, and re-reading them they bring ease to the loss of your presence in our midst.
So many good memories, and I'm grateful for the many opportunities to work with you over the years - you always offered a surprising and significant gem that has made me a better facilitator, and person.
My love, Cary, and a bow to you for the huge and loving walk that you have taken over these years alongside your beloved.
Posted by Eric Brandt on August 20, 2020

I was so sad to hear Tav had passed on - I wasn't expecting it and would have loved to spend more time with him. I really appreciated his authenticity, gentle, kind and comical spirit. And, how in touch he was with himself and each of us. I felt I was with a trusted brother the first time I met him. He's an inspiration to me on how to be - "comfortable in my own skin"

Cary and the Holotropic family - I wish you and yours all the best in adjusting to his passing.

Much Aloha
Posted by Rick Kahler on August 20, 2020
I met Tav at my very first GTT training in the Czech Republic. The module was “The Power Within”. I really didn’t know exactly what I had signed up for, nor did I know much about Holotropic Breathwork. I was absolutely blown away by the integrity Tav exuded. He embodied the teachings from which I came and then wove them so beautifully into the Holotropic experience. “Follow the breather”, so simple and yet so deeply profound.

“The clearer we can see who we are the better we can help others see who they are. The best thing you can do for a breather is to continue to work on yourself and not fall prey to guru status.” This was repeated by Tav over and over. The last bit of wisdom he gave me was, “Our job is to keep this process as pure as we can. I don’t see a model that is better.”

Thank you Tav for touching my heart and planting a little bit of your wisdom within.
Posted by Ariadne Patsiopoulos on August 20, 2020
I am deeply grateful to have experienced Tav’s huge-hearted, authentic presence during a couple of modules - and especially, as part of the certification community last summer. I hold dear numerous poignant moments of connection with him, in consultation and on the floor, when I felt completely seen, heard, encouraged, empowered. What a teacher. What a spirit. I bow to Tav and Cary for their commitment to offer such high-calibre training. The Holotropic Breathwork journey has been profound for me so far, a life-changer.
Posted by Zoe Robinson on August 20, 2020
With deepest gratitude to you dear Tav for all the love you brought through and shared taking us deep within to 'trust.' Out on my balcony, your spirit in the form of a seagull soared overhead when we bid each other farewell. As I breathe you are 'home' now in Spirit, always to be treasured in my heart. May you rest in Peace dear Forever Friend.

And dear Cary and all HB folks who supported Tav in 'the work,' may we each find peace in our hearts over time. Mahalo Nui Loa with Aloha Blessings.
Posted by Josef Koch on August 19, 2020
Bless you Tav. It's been real. What a ride, eh?
Posted by Thomas Cooper on August 19, 2020
I was so fortunate to do breathwork with Tav a few years ago and spend heart-opening individual time with him. During those encounters we shared some startling synchronicities that led Tav to tell me some things I shall not forget, including that we will meet again. He truly 'saw' me. Only a handful of experiences in life have been like that. Cary, I hold a sacred opening for you in your sadness but also the joy you have had with Tav.
Posted by Sharon Graham on August 19, 2020
You will live on, in the music, in the brilliant sets that you created, that have accompanied so many of us on our largest journeys. Thank you for every   song and every note.
Posted by Allyn Rose on August 19, 2020
Sending warm virtual hugs to Cary and Bryn. I know Tav will be sorely missed.

Much Love,

Allyn & Larry
Posted by Laura Prescott on August 19, 2020
TRIBUTE TO A WARRIOR OF LIGHT

    “Bearing witness is an aggressive act. It is born out of a refusal to bow 
     down to outside pressure to revise or to repress experience, a decision
     to embrace conflict rather than conformity, to endure a lifetime of anger
     and pain rather than submit to the seductive pull of revision and
     repression. Its goal is change.”  -Kali Tal-

I have tried to write something that could capture my feelings for at least a week and have been left with the utter inadequacy of words, the boots of time frozen in place, sadness rolling into me when I least expect it, catching the edges of my breath folding me sharp as origami tucked in at the corners.

Tav Sparks (Sargent Sparks, the "Skinny Man”) was one of the most powerful teachers in my life. I had faced tanks while trooping through post-war counties, thinking all the while that I was brave. But sometimes courage is more subtle. It can reside in the still moments waiting for witness. I’m so grateful that Tav was a fierce warrior of light, holding space for all the torrents emerging... the width and breadth of the anger, depth of terror and grief, eruptions of joy. He trusted that healing would come even when I couldn’t imagine it and didn’t understand. And yet through all that, the first lesson was born...”Healing is possible.”

What a great privilege to have known him. My favorite memory was during a workshop in Phoenicia, New York, while sitting for someone and staring out the windows and into the trees cradling our space with shocks of green buried at the root. All of sudden my body shuddered with a knowing that I couldn’t avoid...every cell thundering, “In the end, there is only love.” I couldn’t stop shaking and crying. Tav came over, leaning in, wide-eyed, smiling, waiting while the music pulsed the floor. I told him what I felt, the inside truth turning out. “YES, YES!” he yelled, like a little kid who had discovered where all the treasures where buried. A facilitator put an index finger to her lips but Tav was excited now and in that charming southern drawl he whispered, “you got this, girl...that’s exactly right...stay with that” as I continued to sob at the incredible beauty. The second lesson.....”in the end there is only love.”

And so now the world is a little less bright for his absence. And yet I know his radiance and courage lives in the thousands of people believed and witnessed around the world. For me, that’s where the sacred lies. Not in reverence for the abstract divine, existing way out there somewhere but in the messy business of being deeply human. Tav showed up time after time, without promise, without guarantees, trusting in the mystery of the inner healer, despite the lessons of loss and challenges cautioning him to be wary. Despite these things, he showed up anyway, ready, expectant, deeply committed to the possibility of transformation when it is wasn’t always visible or obvious. Thank you Sargent Sparks, for all your incredible bravery, for your steadfast belief in the best of human beings, and for your commitment to love without promise of return. I will remember you always and am forever changed for your abiding kindness. May you be free from all constraints if this life. When I visit old oak trees, sturdy in the storms I will know you are near or see the aspen leaves waving their golden leaves in concert, I’ll feel you close. Sleep well and gently in the arms of all that is sacred and in the great mystery of the divine, forever.
Posted by Martin Boroson on August 19, 2020
What comes to mind most, when I think of Tav, is vast generosity--generosity of teaching, care, and service. I learned so much about facilitation from him, including the most valuable (and hardest) lesson: doing not-doing. The way he embodied both trust and grace has guided me through many challenging situations, and I am deeply grateful to have met him and been trained by him. I am sure his teaching and spirit will continue to heal and inspire so many.
Posted by Leslie Marchiando on August 18, 2020
I have only yet attended one holotropic breathwork long weekend. I was fortunate enough to meet Tav Sparks then. It did not feel as if we were strangers. His manner-spirit was so welcoming, it felt to me as water to growing things in parched earth. Such a comfort to meet a kindred spirit and to thereby feel at home! Tensions are difficult to release, but a relaxed, ease can overcome. With ease, becoming is more fluid, and I felt all this is our few brief interactions.  Great appreciation, respect and affection to him and to Cary.
Posted by Jack Silver on August 18, 2020
Kate and I knew Tav for nearly 20 years as a teacher, mentor and friend. Among other characteristics, Tav was a southern gentleman. He was gracious, respectful and very private. I have lots of Tav stories. We all do - since he was such a unique individual those experiences tend to stand out, they wake us up. Tav woke me every time we hung out. The last time Kate and I saw Tav and Cary was the Sunday before he past. He was in a state of samadhi - the peaches were the best he’d ever tasted. The cheese was unbelievable. The flowers were beyond beautiful. The day was amazing, best ever . . . He was right - the peaches were the best, the cheese unbelievably, the flowers . . . Tav had an amazing life and left on his own terms. Kate and I will dearly miss him.
Posted by Diana Medina on August 17, 2020

Only Love....
Shared by Diana Medina on August 17, 2020
It has been one of the great blessings of my adult life to call Tav my teacher, soul brother, friend, colleague, and playmate. One of the things I loved most about Tav was his HUMANITY. He was a PARADOX! He was this Leo man with an ego; that, he never denied. And yet he was this humble teacher...humble before the enormity of the Inner Healer. There were times when he would teach and the information wasn't just coming from his head, but mostly from his heart and that information was coming from somewhere beyond that... connected to his heart. I always told him that he made Stan and Christina's teachings tangible, ALIVE! You could feel it in your body, smell it, and taste it. One of the last adventures we had together was a walk at Point Reyes. The vultures were flying overhead. By this time, the essence of Tav was quite diminished as his memory ebbed and flowed ...yet his true nature would peak out on occasion. I knew he loved me like he loved so many others. He was a fierce "Samurai" when it came to the breathwork training and encouraged me to hold the same fierceness. Since the time I was in training, there was one song that always came to me when I experienced Tav...So Tav, I sing this to you now as I know your next adventure in the mystery evolves. My honoring of your memory is to be conscious of my HUMANITY, MY PARADOXICAL NATURE, MY EGO, MY SAMURAI NATURE, AND IN THE END.....IT'S ABOUT LOVE AND SHOWING UP FOR ONE ANOTHER.
Cary and Bryn, you are not alone. We hold you close ....

ONLY LOVE BY WYNONNA JUDD
I have sailed a boat or two
Out on the wild blue
Yonder to dreams that rarely come true
As far as I can see
From the island of green
I can put my trust in just one thing

And only love sails straight from the harbor
And only love will lead us to the other shore
Out of all the flags I've flown
One flies high and stands alone
Only love

Peaceful waters, raging sea
It's all the same to me
I can close my eyes and still be free
When the waves come crashing down
And the thunder rolls around
I can feel my feet on solid ground

And only love sails straight from the harbor
And only love will lead us to the other shore
Out of all the flags I've flown
One flies high and stands alone
Only love
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd1E6ZlhNhI
Posted by Nat Harris on August 17, 2020
There are not enough words, pictures or time so I will simply say bro, you had a profound impact on many more than you know. Missed by all. Loved by all. Brotherman, Nat Harris
Posted by Mireya Alejo Marcet on August 17, 2020
Thank you Cary for these very touching love to Tav that so reflect the potency of your relationship. I am so very sorry for your loss and send you and Bryn so much love during this time.

I’ve needed some time to feel this loss in silence, to sit with death. 

Tav, with all my heart I thank you dear friend, teacher, mentor, colleague and fellow soul traveler. I am so very grateful for these almost 30 years of memories of many textures and kinds. 

Here are some of the ones that have been visiting me… From when we met during my first module at White Sulphur Springs, to the consultation meetings in the little casitas, to all the hours you and Stan worked supporting me on the floor with my birth process and helping me understand how to navigate it, to the invitation to facilitate in my own country Mexico, to supporting me in trusting my own style of teaching, to sharing of good food in different settings, to airport chats on our flights back to California after facilitating, to our shared devotion to the Mother, to last night debriefings at the modules with the team and our laughs of exhaustion and release, to shopping trips in Ajijic supporting us women to shop and you searching for gifts for Cary, to deep conversations about the work and the journey of life, to “big brother” advice when I needed a shake up!, to deepening and expanding into the work, to how your face would brighten up every time you heard a new piece of music on the floor, to how your very unique way of showing your humanity helped a lot of us feel at home in their own humanity and "in the journey right along with you", to the way in which you could translate teachings into practice that makes them enticing and inviting into the depths of psyche, and much more. 

As you said to me last year in Taos, "with its ins and outs it’s been a long journey of friendship"...Yes it has! and you will live in my heart and prayers always" GRACIAS por el viaje y que tengas un buen viaje!

Bless your big soul of love as it journeys into eternity my friend. May the light of the Mother embrace you so very intimately along with all this love from everyone that is pouring towards you in your transition. AHO
Posted by Mark Ryan on August 17, 2020
I received the news of Tav’s death just before entering into a GTT workshop on alchemy, for which the central symbol, we were told, is fire. That night I dreamt of being in a circle of seekers, around a campfire, with Tav’s presence shining bright. In Breathwork workshops since the late 1990s, it was Tav who, with Stan, was my principal teacher—in Spain, in Mexico, in Arizona and New Mexico. Like so many others, I felt a particular rapport with Tav, something that he was kind enough to acknowledge on his part, as I’m sure he genuinely did with many. For us, a touch of that might be traced to our both being Southern boys out in a wider world. In any case, Tav was generously supportive of me and my process as I went through the certification training and continued with workshops afterwards.

From the perspective of today, I feel immensely grateful for that; it figured not only in my personal growth, but in my professional development as well, as I took my academic training in American intellectual history down a transpersonal path. Today, almost thirty years after my first workshop with Stan, I enjoy a rich retirement from mainstream academic life, facilitating Breathwork workshops, teaching themes related to transpersonal psychology at centers of adult education, and having written articles and a book on transpersonal thought. That’s only one example of the infinite range of ways that Tav beautiful spirit has Sparked, we might say, other flames in the world.
Posted by Agnès Moral on August 17, 2020
Palabras para Tav,

Estos días siento una profunda sorpresa, las emociones me envuelven y me acompaña una profunda gratitud hacia ti.

Agradezco que durante todos estos años te hayas dedicado a la Respiración Holotrópica, permitiendo que llegue a distintos lugares del mundo. Agradezco tus enseñanzas y el acompañar a distintos facilitadores, que ahora me enseñan y me acompañan. Agradezco haberte conocido en Marzo del 2018 en Sant Feliu de Guixols, me enseñaste que la comunicación va más allá de los sonidos que se emiten y que los silencios acompañados con una mirada pueden decir todo. Que no es necesario hablar el mismo idioma para hablar, y que a través de los ojos podemos ver y ser vistos, estar presentes.

Gracias por todo y por abrazarme con una mirada. Te deseo el mejor camino en este nuevo viaje.

Un cálido abrazo para Cary y familia.
Posted by Veronique GUERIN-RACINE on August 17, 2020
Dear Tav,
I will always remember your teaching full of Humanity, Freedom and unconditional Love. What a gift to know you ✨✨✨
Infinite Respect for the Man and the Master who always shows the way of the Inner Healer in each one of us.
The Transpersonal movie of Spirit and Soul continues beyond space and time✨✨✨
Infinite Love to Cary and your family
Posted by Jessica Rochester on August 17, 2020
Dear Tav, thank you for the wonderful memories of the years when you shared your wisdom and humour so generously. May the pure Light within you guide your way home. Jessica
Posted by Dave Misso on August 17, 2020
Tav, you were our mentor, fellow journeyer and dear, dear friend. We feel so blessed to have shared some of the most amazing and precious moments in our lives with you. We grieve for the loss of your physical presence but celebrate your gifts to those whose lives and hearts you have touched. No matter what, we know our friendship will continue wherever you decide to spread your wings in this big old universe of ours. Much love Donna and Dave
Posted by Alejandra Delarue on August 17, 2020
Tav was my teacher and my guide at very tough times. I am so grateful that I got to know such an amazing person.
Still to this day I talk about him all the time as he stayed deep inside my heart.

The best teacher I have ever had
With lots of love
Posted by Tami Cartwright on August 16, 2020
Sweet Tav, hearing of your passing was a shock. You were my first experience of a world I had NO IDEA existed. You carefully and kindly unwound and introduced the magic to me at just the right pace! - a little too fast, but not too fast, but in retrospect as slow as you possibly could. Thank you my teacher. I've said to many people since being introduced to the incredible people I've met through Holotropic Breathwork since 2015 that I feel like I've met the leaders of a new world. And this is true. You have been a deliberate and faithful guide. Welcome home. Rest up before the next run. Love, love, love.
Posted by Marina Smirnova on August 16, 2020
For decades to come, I will remember Tav as one of my greatest teachers. My formal Holotropic Breathwork training began with his two international modules in March 2010, in Spain; continued with his workshops in the U.S., in Menla; and culminated in August 2012, in Spain, with the international certification module that Tav so richly contributed to.

I will continue to remember Tav's profound--fierce and kindhearted--mentoring that he offered in the individual music set sessions that many of the 70+ certifying Holotropic Breathwork facilitators had with him in August 2012, in Spain. I will continue to share with my students about the power of the field of consciousness, of the breath, of the embodied psyche, of music, of movies, of opportunities to heal, and of willing inner journeys that Tav taught me about. I will continue to remember Tav with gratitude, appreciation, and joy...
Posted by Stephanie Burns on August 16, 2020
This is such sad news. Although it's been quite a few years since I've seen Tav, I will never forget his deep compassion and dedication to the healing process -- he was there for all of us, no matter what it took. "I will never judge you," he said to me when I shared my addiction struggles with him one night. That night proved to be a stepping stone toward my own recovery. Thank you, Tav. I feel so blessed to have known you. And thank you, Cary, for sharing your heartfelt words and thoughts with us about this very special man and his final journey. My heart goes out to you and the rest of the family.
Posted by Christine Calvert on August 16, 2020
This one stings. Tav, may your sweet spirit behold the wonder and awe of the Great Mystery as your being did so reverently here on this earth. Thank you for your heart of Pure Gold. <3 You will live on forever in the hearts of so so many. So many. Your presence was an ineffable Grace, an ancient river of wisdom - reminding me that I, too, am loved. You’re one for the books, my friend. A salute back to you, a deep and never-ending bow of gratitude from the depths of this broken open heart.

I keep thinking of these words...
Sleeping in the Forest by Mary Oliver-

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
Posted by George Ochsenfeld on August 16, 2020
Tav, to my great delight, I met you at a Grof training in 1989. You and I were almost exactly the same age, both had been heavily involved in the sixties counterculture, had life-changing mystical experiences with psychedelics, and entered Twelve Step recovery.

Your enthusiasm for healing, self-exploration, and experiential spirituality was infectious. Your loving presence in support of people on their inner journey inspired awe. As Cary said, you walked your talk.

Your work lives on. You guided countless people through their Inner Door, many of whom have since done the same for others, who in turn do so for still others, creating a ripple effect beyond measurement. You were an archetypal peaceful warrior in the spiritual revolution needed to save this troubled planet. 

A brief story. In the early nineties, you facilitated a fantastic breathwork weekend at my farm in Monee, Illinois, which would have been even better if all the no-show had shown up. I believe we did cover your airfare. However, when you thought that the boxelder bugs in the building were cockroaches, I began to question your history of poverty! (Lol) 

Tav, you told people to trust themselves. You did indeed trust your Higher Self. You lived up to the old adage, To Thine Own Self Be True. You were brave, Tav, although I doubt if you would have described yourself as such. You had the courage to follow a non-traditional career path, to love life in spite of ups and downs, to self-disclose at an incredibly deep level, and to leave this world when the time was right. 
Happy trails, brother Tav!
Love and Peace
Posted by Pamela Stockton on August 16, 2020
Tav Sparks was one of a kind, and just as I was privileged to know him, the sadness of his loss cuts deep. The memories have been flooding back, the moments of his bright light, his unshakable trust in the Mother and in the Inner Healer, his insistence on absolute impeccability when it came to the Holotropic model. His wisdom was as deep as his mode of expressing it was authentic and straight from the heart. Most personally, for me, Tav’s expressions of love and confidence in the journey, and specifically my journey, increased my confidence in myself. At the module where I first met him, in Taos in 2007, when I shared part of my process, my incredulity at the trajectory that seemed to be appearing, he said, “it can be teleological.” Those words were just right for me in that moment, and I have been trying to keep my feet on the path toward that destination of wholeness, clarity, and freedom ever since. Thank you, Tav. You live on in my heart.
Posted by Mary Pearson on August 16, 2020
Sad to hear of his passing so early. I have many fond memories of Tav's kindness and wisdom over the times we met in California with Paul and Stan. I particularly recall his magical presentation of a "Hero's Journey" on one of his movie curation nights at the Transpersonal Conference in Palm Springs. Heartfelt condolences to Cary and family.
Posted by Emilie Collins on August 16, 2020
Dear Cary,  It's taken me days now to process your and our loss of Tav in this realm.  I hope that your heart has felt my heart, speaking in messages too deep for words.  I know that I have been relatively new to the Breathwork community, but feel like I arrived just in time to be able to know and savor the presence and teachings of Tav.  I feel so fortunate now to have experienced his essence and to have had you both be such an integral part of my certification last summer.  You will both forever influence the way I carry the teachings I have learned from you.  As I opened my computer to write this message, a screen saver of Joshua Tree National Park came up, the last place I spent time with you.  I could picture Tav "Dancing in the Light" and I suspect we will all see him and dance with him when we stay open to the realms in which he taught us to dance.  I am filled with so much gratitude and am surrounding you with Love. Emilie
Posted by Sintia Mazon on August 16, 2020
The world has witnessed the departure of a great being, heart and soul. Tav, you have given me one of the greatest gift back when I was lucky to work with you in Spain. Thank you dear teacher, mentor and friend. You, gently and with great heart space, allowed me to empower myself and have been in my prayers and gratitude eversince. 

And Cary, thank you for sharing Tav’s journey with us. It gave me a new depth to being here now.

May your forward journey be as heartful and light as you were walking this Earth.
Posted by Márcia Araújo on August 16, 2020
Tav, minha imensa GRATIDÃO a Deus pelo privilégio de ter conhecido você durante a Formação do GTT no Brasil e na Argentina.
Com você não somente aprendi a trabalhar com a Respiração Holotròpica.
Com você eu tive coragem de viver experiências profundas da minha alma, confiando que você estaria me dando o suporte necessário que eu precisava para atravessar situações de tanta dor emocional.
Você foi uma das pessoas mais lindas, verdadeiras, profundas e repleta de LUZ que eu tive a sorte de conhecer.
Descanse na Paz, na Luz e no Amor da Grande Mãe.
GRATIDÃO por tudo.
Posted by Alia Moore on August 16, 2020
I knew Tav only indirectly through his writings and my friendship with Kylea and Jim, and I always felt him as a man full of life, inspiring, devoted, and a light in this world who served and cared for so many people. As I read these tributes and stories his bright essence shines through and he lives on. Cary's remembrance is so beautiful and poignant and overflowing with love. At the end, Tav's courageous choice and gift to his loved ones says it all.

Eckhart Tolle once said it was a blessing to know when one is going to die since everybody dies but only some know when, and to know is to prepare and be transformed in that process. I thought of this when Cary wrote "Toward the end, when his brain wasn’t working too well any longer, Tav became almost pure love.... The idea of radical personal empowerment became two simple words, and he wanted everyone he had contact with during those last days to hear them and believe them: “Trust yourself.” Surrendered, carried by love, into the Great Mystery.
Posted by Doug Chancey on August 16, 2020
Tav,
Your handling of your decline and body's end is inspirational just as you have been inspirational in your life. I know you are an inspiration in mine. You were tough on me during my HB training but I realized the necessity and changed my ways, thanks to you. I will always have you in my life, thank you for all the time you spent with me on the floor. I look forward to my next HB workshop knowing you'll be there making sure all is well. You'll always have a spot on my alter! May I strive to be as bright a light, but you're a hard act to follow! I remember when I played "Ripple" at my certification, you said it was your favorite song which pleased me to tears, happy tears which you had a way of bringing out in people.

In your beloved Southern way, I can hear you saying, "so long y'all, love y'all"

PS- Thank you Cary for sharing Tav's final journey. We are all better people having been touched by you and Tav. May you carry on with the support of your loved ones and the HB community. Deepest regards for your loss as we all move forward (somehow) without his physical presence.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Norman Rizk on January 9, 2021
Tav was my roommate in prep school in Virginia. Neither he nor I really fit in but we were best of friends. So sorry to lose him but he was a sweet person , even when I knew him and he was 16.
Posted by Michael Stone on October 24, 2020
I first met Tav in 2006 at a training module and was immediately blown away by his presence, his caring, his kindness, and his dedication to and passion for Holotropic Breathwork and to making the world a better place to live in. He was the best teacher that I have ever met whether it was at a Holotropic Breathwork module, at a Movie Yoga module, at my Certification Module or anywhere else. He was one of the inspirational figures in my life and the person who inspired me to become a Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator. To me, he represented compassion, presence and a deep commitment to doing his own inner work and I feel remarkably lucky and honored to have had Tav be my teacher. He was remarkably giving of his time and energy and up until the day he passed away, I always knew that if I had a question about HB Facilitation or about a contraindication or anything else, he would always make himself available to answer it.

In HB Workshops, his ability to work with and stay present with breathers over an extended period of time was remarkable. When a breather needed support and Tav came over, the breather knew that time no longer existed for Tav and that he would stay there as long as necessary to allow the breather to complete his or her process. He was the quintessential model of how a facilitator should be with a breather and he brought that understanding and also his deep understanding and trust of the "Inner Healer" to me and into the entire HB facilitator training program.

His book, "The Power Within", which he published last year, is one of the most profound books that I have ever read and is a testament to personal empowerment and transformation and his deep commitment to his own inner work. He writes:

"Engaging in any systematic deep work over a period of time will almost certainly reveal to us a way to find a true lasting freedom, independent of outside circumstances..within us all along has been a force more powerful than any the outside world can offer...this unlimited power is none other than the Inner Healer, or what we also call, in our inquiry, the power within."

This is a deep and profound loss for me. The world has lost a beautiful soul.

Posted by Lynda Close on October 13, 2020
One thing I loved about Tav that he really embraced all there was in being human. He really helped me to understand and embody what wholeness was really all about. When I was in a particular challenging place he would speak to me in a language I loved – Myth. In True Lord of the Rings style he said:

“Like Samwise Gamgee told Frodo, when they were in Mordor, and they were looking down on an army of 10,000 orcs between them and mount doom, "There's nothing for it..." like, we got no choice but to go down this hill and keep on doing it...and that's what they did, and they got there, and after frodo came flying out of mt doom, and it was all crashing down around them, you know, his face was all lit up again, and he said, "It's gone -- it's done -- I can see the shire..."so, when i'm in my own version of your place, i think of this, and truth be told, it will shift -- it always does. all i can do is tell you what i see: i feel i know your heart and soul -- and when i see you, or think of you, i see the depth of you, who you really are, and i have no worries about you at all from that place.”

These words still resonate with me often. What a gift among many other gifts. I honestly feel like one of the lucky ones having known him. So I can’t really say enough but this will do for now. From your swan tattoo, your wild shirts, southern accent and Gieger skull ring, I love you. Rest well in the Beloved. You will be missed greatly.
Recent stories
Shared by Vicky Nicholson on August 22, 2020
With love and gratitude

Huge love, gratitude and thanks

Shared by Vicky Nicholson on August 22, 2020


Dear Tavvie, my most treasured teacher, friend, mentor and fellow journeyer. My heart is filled with the deepest love, gratitude and wonder for you and our connection that was/is so deep. My heart grieves the loss of you in this dimension. I miss you dear friend.

Your unbelievable generosity of spirit and your tireless willingness to teach and model trust, surrender, and what it is to have direct experience of our inner healers has changed the world. You have held space for me and for so many, and in so doing you have facilitated deep and lasting change and healing for the people you have touched, and the world that is within, beyond and around us. You have opened your heart and your being to the deepest dimensions of our collective soul.

We have shared journeys through many continents, and it is with such gratitude that I have been part of a group who have explored Australia’s heartland with you, the land of your heart, the land of the Elders who knew you, who know you now, who know that you are LOVE.

Shared by Ware Cornell on August 21, 2020
Tav’s yearbook profile, 1968