A Bit of History

For More Bits of History Please See The Temenos Newsletter: Forest Notes

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A Bit of History: Magic Drum Circle
by Elizabeth M. Witham, photo by Morwen Two Feathers

During the summer of 1993 approximately 30 participants gathered at Temenos for the Magic Drum Circle organized and facilitated by Morwen and Jimi Two Feathers, Jeff McBride and Abbi Spinner. They rented out all four cabins and the lodge for the event. Morwen recalls the weather was perfect and they spent most of the weekend outdoors around the fire circle in front of the Temenos Lodge.

The Magic Drum Circle was about much more than teaching folks how to use drums and understand rhythms. The focus went beyond these basics to include a spiritual and community approach to drumming together. Teaching folks to use rhythms as a way of creating magic. This event took place during the formative years when Morwen and Jimi Two Feathers were experimenting with these practices and concepts, actively exploring how to create a safe environment for deep sharing and interpersonal connections to occur.

Borrowing from native traditions they incorporated a “council” approach using a feather as “listening stick” passed around the circle from person to person. This served to slow everyone down and support time to share and time to listen paying close attention to each another. Taking notes or recording what was shared was not allowed, making the container even safer for deep sharing.

Evenings were spent gathered around the fire circle. Entering through a gateway for smudging (cleansing with sacred smoke) folks entered the circle one by one. Once inside they celebrated all they had learned that day with open dancing and drumming into the night.

Morwen and Jimi went on to offer several more Magic Drum Circles taking place at other locations including Woolman Hill in Deerfield, MA. Over time their work evolved into what is now called the Earth Drum Council. Earth Drum Councils have brought together drum and dance teachers from many traditions including: African, South American, Middle Eastern, Brazilian and Carribian cultures. They have offered more than twenty Earth Drum Councils over the years, including a drum and dance gathering that met once a month.

Today Morwen and Jimi’s design for creating magic and community through drumming has been taught to many others, leading to similar events and groups forming all over the world with very positive results. Even now folks continue contacting them years later to thank them for their work and contribution.

We hope they will consider offering an event at Temenos in the near future! For more information please visit: www.earthdrum.com

A Bit of History: The Mineral Springs of Horse Hill

Mount Mineral for many years was called Horse Hill.  The mythology is that someone lost their horse on the mountain.  The horse survived the winter and was recovered in the spring, perhaps because of the mineral springs on the mountain.

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During the mid-1800’s Mount Mineral was home to a three story hotel and popular health spa famous for its healing mineral-filled springs.  These naturally occurring springs contain high levels of iron, sulfur and manganese.  Today the water from the Temenos well is delicious, and full of these, and other trace minerals.  Retreatants enjoy drinking and bathing in the healing waters.  Hikers and day visitors are welcome to bring containers and take some of the mineral-rich waters home to enjoy.

A Bit of History: Teresina and Joseph Havens

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Temenos Founders, Joe and Terry Havens, lived on the mountain from 1973 to 1989. They were Quakers, with an interest in Buddhist practices.  Their vision was to provide a simpler life-style “devoted to the healing and renewal of persons, groups and the wider society.”

A Bit of History: The Pine Grove

Regina Ress and Charles Evans, students and friends of Temenos Founders, Joe and Teresina Havens, spent a good deal of time at Temenos during the early years.  They were both present during the transition years as Temenos became a retreat center.  Charles had the idea of building cabins for much needed revenue, designing and building both Pine and Knoll Cabins.  Regina was the cook at the Lodge for many summers, and facilitated the all night Long Dance in the Pine Grove, during the Harmonic Convergence.

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The mystery has been, who first discovered or created the Pine Grove?  Regina told me that Charles did.  Charles told me, “No, it was Terry!  She was like a wood nymph and wandered all over the Temenos woodlands.”  She first discovered the perfect circle of tall pine trees and recognized it’s potential.  Charles says, “A circle of pines or hemlocks is magical.  The center of a pine circle is clear and light and protecting for any ceremony or gathering.”

Only a small amount of clearing was needed to create an opening for dance, and a fire circle, at the Pine Grove.  Charles again: “Occasionally there would be a sprouting of young pines and hemlocks in the grove.  We would meditate and talk to the sprouts.  Then pull them up and burn them in the fire circle at the center of the grove.”

“I’ve always found the path down to the Pine Grove from the cabins such a nice walk.” says Charles.  We welcome you to take this walk, recall Teresina’s first discovery, and spread arms wide as you enter one of Temenos’ naturally occurring sacred spaces.

A Bit of History:  Cats and Dogs at Birch Cabin

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There seems to be a tradition for the Resident Director to have an animal companion living with her at Birch Cabin.  Jan Bodendorf had a little dog, and maybe also a cat.  Cheryl and Kavita had two kitties during their tenure.  Now Katniss Evergreen is the feline on the mountain.  She is extremely social and child-safe.  Katniss enjoys meeting folks at the well, and walking along with Elizabeth and retreatants during orientations.  While you are welcome to visit with her on your deck, please do not let her into your Cabin or the Lodge.  We are keeping these buildings animal free out of respect for people’s allergies.  (Photo of Katniss Evergreen by Elizabeth M. Witham.)