Jack’s story: in 1999, Sequoia and I found ourselves in this majestic encircling forest. We knew we had come home and must share this wonderful natural sanctuary with other Seekers.
First we offered our gratitude to the Creator and Earth Mother in ceremony. We built a sweat lodge and began holding prayer circles, and the land blessed us with peace and joy. During the following years, we entered into the Womb of the Earth Mother, learned from the Sacred Fire, listened to the teaching of the Stone People, acknowledged the Four Elements, and honored all Life and the Great Mystery as One.
In time, the Spirit of the Land spoke again to our hearts, asking us to create a larger place for more community gatherings and healing services, to serve more people. We decided to build a yurt in the forest - a round, multi-purpose structure measuring thirty feet across, complete with decks, kitchen and walkways.
On a Saturday afternoon in May 2002, I walked into the dense foliage north of the sweat lodge. Stepping through the prickly berry vines and Manzanita bushes, I saw that two majestic Oak trees inhabited the most level and suitable terrain. Not wanting to destroy them, and not knowing where else to look, I sought help from Spirit. I prayed with tobacco in the Ancient Way, offering the sacred herb to the Creator, to Earth Mother, the Four Directions and the sacred Center. I prayed for guidance about building in the forest, then walked back to the house and told Sequoia what I’d done. We didn’t speak any more of the yurt that evening.
The next morning, before breakfast, I took my tape measure and went out for a fresh look. Coming over a little hill, I saw the two great Oaks lying on the forest floor. One had fallen in the night and shattered the other’s trunk. We were accustomed to the power of prayer in our lives, but nothing prepared me for that wondrous moment. I raced back to tell Sequoia and show her what happened. The Spirit of the Land had graced us by felling two brother Oaks in the night!
After we cleared the two Oaks, we saw that a Eucalyptus tree had heavy branches overhanging the site. With prayers of respect and gratitude, we also felled this brother Eucalyptus tree, and so three trees were sacrificed for the new Peoples’ Center. We honored the three brothers who helped manifest our prayers by naming the center “Three Trees Retreat”, an intimate gathering place where you, too, may come to realize your higher purpose in Life.