-- Inside a temple in Los Angeles, Andrew Keegan greeted a “circle” of over 80 fellow congregants and began the “activate chant.”
“I’m Andrew,” he told the group, which was made up of stylish young people.
“We love you, Andrew,” the group said back to him.
“I’m here to activate renewal,” Keegan responded. “Clarity in the steps to move forward.”
The circle nodded and, all-together, said, “And so it is.”
This is how Keegan has spent every Sunday for the past year. It's all part of his latest project, “Full Circle.”
“Full Circle is an open source spiritual community,” Keegan said. “We have a creed. We do believe that everything is an expression of the creator and that we coming together create our own destiny, our own path.”
Keegan, who is the group’s chief funder, founded Full Circle with some friends last year. He thinks of himself as a kind of spiritual entrepreneur and Full Circle as a sort of start-up. Some media say Keegan has started “a new religion.”
“It makes me happy,” Keegan said. “I’m passionate about it. I mean, when you’re living a passion-filled life, there’s nothing better. ... I like to see people in that transformational space. And that’s what happens here. ... We’ve touched a lot of people in one year.”
If Keegan’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he was the '90s heartthrob who played Jessica Biel’s boyfriend on “7th Heaven,” the adorable bad boy in the movie “10 Things I Hate About You,” who graced the cover of many teen magazines.
Full Circle’s congregation is filled with many of Keegan’s fans from way back. Some tried to describe what Full Circle was, or did.
“They believe in the authentic story that is life,” said one follower named Torkum.
“Just rad, funky people to do rad, funky things,” said another follower named Ruby.
Keegan has been in the entertainment industry for most of his life. His father was an actor and his mother was a hairdresser.
He started doing commercials at age 4, and his first big role was in the 1994 movie, “Camp Nowhere.” Then came appearances on ‘90s mainstays like “Baywatch,” “Moesha” and “Full House.” In 1997, he had a recurring role on “Party of Five,” followed by “7th Heaven” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” for which he is perhaps best remembered.
There was a time when he could barely go out in public without being swarmed by teen girls.
“It was like total mayhem,” Keegan said. “It was malls, malls and any gathering place where you had a, really what you would call mob mentality.”
After “7th Heaven” ended in 2004, his acting career slowed down. Around the same time, he broke up with girlfriend LeAnn Rimes and moved to Venice Beach, L.A.’s famously freewheeling, artsy community.
“When I moved to Venice, I was out of a relationship and there was a lot of emotional work,” Keegan said. “So I was introduced to something at that time called Human Design, which was the combination of astrology, numerology, I Ching and chakras.”
Keegan invested in real estate, dabbled in new age spirituality and did a lot of surfing. He still does a little acting and still gets recognized. But with age -- he’s now 36 -- spirituality has become his main interest.
Full Circle has an art gallery and offers energy healing, chakras, crystals and a milky drink that is supposed to help fulfill “intentions.” There’s also a lot of meditation and Full Circle throws parties, but through all of it, Keegan appears sincere in what he is doing.
“It’s positivity, it’s doing good. It’s a smile, it’s a hug,” he said. “If you do things with a place of love you will feel good and it’s an energy exchange. It’s being one with the environment, one with each other.”
Keegan said he poured all his savings “and then some” into Full Circle, and relies on “some” loans and donations. In fact, Full Circle leadership meetings often center on the issue of money.
But he wants to make it clear that he is not the boss. He says Full Circle doesn’t have gurus, that the group is a “leader-full movement.”
“Two-thirds of young Americans don’t associate with traditional religion, so ... there’s a great interest in ... [a] community center, or spiritual community center,” he said.
Even though he said he has laid down the most cash to fund it, Keegan denied that Full Circle was his own personal church. He added that criticisms of Full Circle were hurtful, “especially when you know you’re doing something good.”
It’s clear he takes great pride in what he’s doing.
“It’s about something bigger and larger than yourself, and so that’s what this has been,” Keegan said. “And it’s not just for me. It’s for everybody that’s here. So to see us all raise our vibration together is really what it’s about and what we can do from here.”