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Site last tweaked or updated July 21, 2024

"Stewart Mineral Springs is steeped inside a vanished past,

a convoluted mystery of man's light and dark impulses

wrapped inside nature's dreamlike forces." -- Anon. 

"They took a well balanced spiritual place and ruined it. The managers don't care about their guests or their employees. It was hard to watch the place turn into something less spiritual and free-minded."

      -- former SMS front desk receptionist on indeed.com

 

"This used to be one of the most sacred places in my life and it is beyond heartbreaking what has happened here. Truly a great loss for the west coast community. No more Bathhouse..."

  -- Down T., Nevada City, CA, 4-19-21 Yelp review

“It is quite unfortunate that people of a certain race or color are discriminated against for just being. This place and it's workers not only racially profile hopeful retreat goers, but they are also extremely unprofessional...this place should no longer be patronized.”

           -- Moni C, Cerritos, CA,  5-2-22, Yelp review

 

______________

 
 
 

Current Stewart 'ownership's' plague of

reprehensibly inappropriate intent

See below. Also 11-Part What Happened Series, and New Day Dawning

Quick takes: bathhouse is closed permanently as far as present 'ownership' is concerned. Tubs were torn out to re-purpose building (reportedly sold off by 'caretaker'); lodgings now only open for booked group retreats -- no more individual visits (or spa to entice one.) Conversion to lodging planned to be completed by June 2024. Name of place is officially changed. Stewart Mineral Springs website scrapped years ago. Operation, a separate for-profit legal entity under Pneuma, its nonprofit umbrella, reportedly filed for bankruptcy protection a while back after visitorship plummeted following c/o ban and kicking out sweatlodge (long before pandemic clampdown).

Rumor control: no sale to any new ownership as of late May, 2024; checked county courthouse records office. False rumors of sale of place have been epidemic for decades for some strange reason.

Another, that the place was closed due to arsenic found in the water, was looked into and found to be false. (One could start a "Ten biggest false rumors about Stewart's" list.)

Check out links to select vintage YouTube videos of Stewart Springs at the bottom of this long page. They make the place come alive like nothing else.

For inspiration and a reminder of what a treasure the place has been -- and can be again if enough fans visualize manifesting its resurrection under future, appropriate stewards -- peruse some of the hundreds of re-posted excerpted raves (among the sometimes justified rants) on the three Rants & Raves pages, culled over the decades mostly from Yelp and TripAdvisor. (The most positive reviews are often highlighted in bright-colored text)

 Rants & Raves     More Rants & Raves    Yet More Rants & Raves

 
 
 
 

Here are more select reposted online review downer excerpts that sounded the alert:

 "Broken healing space. This was a place for cleansing and healing. It was my go-to place where I would do heavy healing work and sweat and enjoy nature...I'm saddened to hear it's been ruined...I don't think they truly understand

what they did..."

-- Hands  of F, October 2023 TripAdvisor review

 

"There are years of magical energy, prayers and love that have been steeped into this place; now it feels like it is being erased."

-- Michele Feasby, Instagram post, 2018

 

"The new owners have changed the very fiber and culture of the space

 we have all loved for decades."

-- Anu H., Nevada City, Yelp review 

"Apparently change of ownership can be a killer for sacred places..."

-- Vladimir V, San Bruno, CA Yelp review

 

Here's a 2020 Yelp review re-posted in its entirety (with added editorial comment):

"I'm writing to express deep sadness and profound disappointment at the Pneuma group for dismantling the bathhouse - the bathtubs and rooms have been removed, and the place renovated to be a 'retreat space'.

 

"The springs are a sacred place offering healing waters to people who came from around the world for decades. This is not a place 'owned' by anyone - it is meant to be stewarded by whoever manages the land. Now, the Pneuma group, a non-US organization in a quest for money, has taken out the baths and the bathhouse [Ed. - or at least in a quest to gain total control over the realm to do their own thing, mitigating costs by now and then renting out remaining facilities to tradition-indifferent groups].

 

"There are no more springs for anyone to benefit from. Pneuma has violated a sacred trust and duty to preserve an ancient, unique resource and sacred site. Ironically, they now hold 'chakra and mantra' workshops in the space previously provided for people to explore the inner realms on their own.

 

"They are capitalizing on the destruction of a place they clearly don't understand and should not have been in control of. There are no words for the violation of their responsibility to steward this sacred place.

 

"Shame on you, Pneuma."

      -- Benicia B., S.F., Yelp review 8-11-20 

This review was soon deleted from  the Yelp site, not even left in the "Not currently recommended" bin near the bottom like some of the more controversial or deemed-inappropriate postings. No need to wonder why: speaking truth to power touches the forbidden third rail, shocking to the running of any ethically compromised, nontransparent operation.

 

Excerpt from same poster's 12-12-21 Yelp update:

"This non-US group has completely erased a site long considered a sacred healing site through generations. Now they host silly retreats about faux shamanism and hock their pseudo spirituality. Where before this was a place of refuge, it is now an empty shell. Avoid this place and the indelible grief that permeates it."

 

 

"The love seems missing from the place - 

it has a  more clinical feel to it"

-- Leo H, Los Gatos, CA Yelp review, c. 2018

"We noticed a change in vibe as soon as we opened the door to the office. Gone were all the beautiful pictures of Shasta and crystals as well any ambiance at all."

-- Beth C., Oakland, CA Yelp review, c. 2018

" It is sad the new owners took a good thing and

changed it so drastically ..."

-- Gretchen G., Mt. Shasta, CA Yelp review, c. 2018


 

What the #%!@ happened to

Stewart Springs??!

Click title for 11-part sussing by a former longtime volunteer, including recent history leading to present occupation by public- and spa-indifferent, private minded absentee 'stewards'. See also below, entire page, including op-ed and re-posted sweat lodge ban rants (scroll way down). Over half of the site now addresses the dilemma, what led to it, and reminds every fan how holding its former high energy and visualize its resurrection can lead to manifesting it.  

 See also:

New Day Dawning

    

Furor and heartbreak over Kicking out Sacred Sweat Lodge December 2017

scroll about three fourths down this page for dozens of stunned re-posted online reactions

Rants on Banning Clothing-Optional

 (click above & scroll down about 4/5)

First New "Owners" in 34 Years as of 2016

(click and scroll down about 3/5, past long editorial conclusion)

 

 

Paradise Lost?

Springs's 'remote stewarding':

from bad to worse

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Recent years' momentous changes everywhere

included the Springs...

 

...but even before the pandemic hit, forcing the initial closing of Stewart's bathhouse, the turnover in absentee 'owners' in January 2016 had already radically changed the place once its initial nine month de facto grace period lapsed.

Historic covered walking bridge spanning Parks Creek at Stewart Springs

by Stuart Ward,

former longtime Springs volunteer

During those first few months things stayed pretty much the same, including management, clothing-optional and the weekly public-friendly sweat lodge ceremony. So much so, many people assumed 'ownership' change came much later, once seeing new faces, atmosphere and attitudes at the front desk -- or later still (May 2020), with the shocking announcement of the intention to end a century of spa service in current bathhouse and radically repurpose it to more lodging space.

 

At first the only sign of devastating waves of change to come -- besides an actual one on the sundeck door that, in amazingly tiny print, announced the pending ban of clothing optional -- was a seemingly innocent little stone Inca figurine placed at the base of tree by the cold plunge area. Looking back, it was like a planted seed patiently biding its time.

Daily creek temperature was posted on Springs bathhouse's front deck

The place's once robust revenue stream has been drying up ever since -- needlessly in the eyes of spring devotees -- leaving the operation treading water or sinking for having pursued such unapologetically private-minded designs on the grounds which were effectively stolen outright from the public.

 

Purely to further their own interests, they messed with a nearly century-and-a-half-old, sterling (if fitfully honored) tradition: providing humanity with an affordable purifying, healing and rejuvenating spa and nature retreat...

 

...a tradition that in recent decades embraced clothing-optional and weekly sweat lodge ceremonies, which together enhanced the synergy, making the visiting experience more inclusive and amping up the benefits for every open-minded, holistically aware visitor.

Had it only been minor changes suiting the absentee stewards' lifestyle values and ways, like putting little personal imprints on things and fine-tuning policies, that would've been one thing.

 

But no. They mindlessly destroyed wholesale decades of cultural evolution and down-home dedication to purifying, healing and rejuvenating as a de facto charitable service to the public for ages before profit-mindedness under various later, less altruistic, stewards ever crept in, polluting the purity of former dedication. It was so abiding an energy, its spirit still lingered over 70 years after the land left Stewart family hands, so powerful and focused an energy that every aware visitor to the realm readily felt and resonated with it. 

 

They obliterated the place's casual relaxed air, essential to the effective operation of any spa retreat worth its salt. They soon showed how little interest they had in preserving and furthering the longtime public-friendly operation that had long garnered fans the world over.

 

Shocking re-purposing of venerable bathhouse

Then came the pandemic. A few months later, on May 1, 2020, four years after assuming legal title, came a shocking announcement -- their first general-public online communication ever, beyond promo sizzle -- of the "painful" decision to close the bathhouse permanently.

 

While other regional rural spring resort spa compounds also had to temporarily cease or severely restrict operations over COVID, they were relatively thriving before it and merrily bounced back as that global freak-out faded into memory. (Some re-opened long ago, at first with restrictions, like Harbin, requiring masks even in soaking pools and sauna.
 

With Stewart's already wobbling and bloodied on the ropes due to the fan-base's scornful rejection of the current inappropriate overseers' wonky diversionary plans -- changes, again, made long before the virus ever showed -- there's no telling what now lies in its future.

 

Pessimists, faint hearts and the uninformed naturally assume the worst, assuming the place is gone forever ("Oh, well, nice while it lasted"). Optimists patiently wait for Pneuma's "covetous fever" infection to run its course and then appropriate new stewardship rescue it.

 

Realists say it can go either way, possibly depending on whether or not enough fans collectively visualize the current 'owners' coming to their senses, abandoning their half-baked schemes and 'selling' the place at a fair price to a new, appropriate stewardship. New stewards who would dedicate themselves to reviving the realm's legacy and move forward with a re-energized spirit of once again serving the public. Ones who might, in time, transform the spa and lodging operation into a nonprofit 501(c)(3), thereby wiping out otherwise exorbitant property and profit taxes and erasing any preoccupation with maxing profits or repurposing the place to do one's own thing, making the place affordable...and guaranteeing it will become permanently locked into once again merrily serving the greater good.

Writer's not fully certain if the wonky repurposing plan was announced before or after the pandemic hit...but if before, as strongly suspected, it indicated nothing less than a premeditated murder attempt on the beloved 145 year-old institution...and along with it the abiding (if handicapped) universal spirit of a grounds dedicated to serving the public's well being.

If made after -- as it seemed 'owners' might've wanted to make appear was the case -- then the pandemic provided one convenient, quasi-plausible excuse for taking such drastic action. In the fog of historic global disruption of 'normal', it appeared only to be joining the meltdown of countless other business operations that were biting the dust or forced to take drastic measures to stay afloat.  

image_edited.jpg

Shedding light by understanding place's past

Back to the dismal plight in our own neck of the woods... The mindblowing magnitude of the grievous detour from the place's longtime dedication to serving the public good (if fitfully) flies in the face of the claim reported by former manager Rowena. On purchasing, they supposedly told her that they liked the place 'pretty much just the way it is.' (If true, they were obviously either lying through their teeth or were just referring to the place's amenities, NOT the long-term use by the public.)

 

It might well make one wonder how such an ignominious fate could've ever befallen the realm in the first place.

 
Wildflowers at Stewart Mineral Springs
image_edited_edited.jpg

By examining the history of the Springs, both recent and older, this site hopes, among other things, to shed light on WHY such a thing indeed happened...and ultimately remind springs fans that such a lamentable fate is NOT etched in stone, that the situation is NOT irreversible, that one should not abandon all hope for the place with an 'oh, well, nice while it lasted' shrug.

 

The way the fans choose to collectively view the situation is critical to the chances of saving it.

 

With enough devotees embracing their higher powers and envisioning the realm again serving as a viable community resource and healing center serving the greater good under new, hands-on, progressive stewardship, it CAN and WILL be resurrected in time. 

Bleak events leading

to current dire straits

Bridge over pond below Stewart Springs restaurant

Following a momentous Springs visit by the new 'owners' from Los Angeles, Mexico and South America in mid December 2017, the springs's operation suffered the final deal-breaking sea change in the eyes of myriad fans.

 

Longtime general manager Rowena P. was at last stepping down -- two years AFTER the sale. She'd acted mostly by remote from hundreds of miles away during the last two of a controversial, health-plagued, 12-year profit-driven run, while non-empowered on-site staff rubber-stamped strict marching orders from the new 'owners' relayed through her.

Soon enough, all hell would break loose.

 

Drastic changes -- first banning clothing-optional, then a year later kicking out the sacred sweatlodge, for 45 years open weekly to the public by love offering -- made for sudden, SERIOUS disenchantment among the place's countless fans and supporters. Visitorship tanked overnight. Only a reported sputtering of new visitors beyond the outfit's own affiliated groups, family and friends --  plus the usual straggle of non-discriminating and/or uninformed -- ever seemed to fill the gaping void.

From frying pan to fire

Within a week, the spring gazebo's prayer altar was emptied and the 45-year sacred sweatlodge kicked off the land -- last straw for countless fans, a year after scrapping the popular clothing-optional policy had already shocked people senseless.  The once-magical realm, now radioactive with lost heart, destroyed culture and blinded vision, was instantly shunned by countless devotees who'd cherished and supported the place for decades.

 

Their posted sizzle of coming attractions might then in the long run prove no more than a faded wonky fantasy.

 

One mission statement on the new Pneuma Retreat Center site fairly gave away through careless spelling its less than forthcoming intent: "Our mission is to inspire and support people and communities that are working to create an awakend humanity." Awakend humanity? Sounds scary. Mad scientists spearheading a grand mutation experiment,maybe?

 

In recent decades the place had grown to become wildly popular as a de facto rural community center for the wider region, as well as a favorite rendezvous and destination point for myriad travelers, domestic and international. More than a few fans are convinced that any attempt to willfully and blatantly co-opt such a treasured de facto public institution to pursue private-minded interests is destined to fail.

 

As others have expressed in reviews (see re-posted reactions to the sweatlodge removal a ways below), it's almost certainly a matter of time before the land rejects them -- not-so-fun fundamentalist-leaning 'bourgeois spirituality', convoluted psycho-babble and all (God love 'em).  

 

Why anyone ostensibly in the healing field would ever choose to heap such horrible karma on themselves defies comprehension.

 

Their justification within the material-world 3-D mindset was doubtless that since they'd forked over a small fortune ($2.6 million US) to gain legal title, they'd gained the inviolable right -- private property rights being sacred in our yet-divisionary materialistic world -- to do with it whatever they damn well please. They maybe suspected they'd have a tough row to hoe what with myriad fans' longtime attachment to the realm. If so, maybe they hoped we'd all just quietly fade into the sunset once getting a royal snit fit out of our systems. Defeated, we'd sigh and move on with a wistful, "Oh, well, what can you do?"

 

Initial suspicions

The suspicious cynic in the builder of this part Stewart Springs blog, part history, part review- and article-re-posting site first thought that their 5-1-2020 announcement of the "permanent" closing of bathhouse was maybe only the latest ploy (banning c/o being the first, kicking out the sweatlodge the second) to get the general public so pissed they wouldn't care WHAT they did with the place.

 

Then at some future point they'd quietly re-open the bathhouse spa for their own exclusive use -- at last beyond the radar of outraged public scrutiny that'd been raining on their parade ever since the c/o ban and the sweatlodge eviction, public reaction to both having put a decided crimp into any more fully enjoying their brand-new legally appropriated land.

 

But THEN (obviously rendering writer's suspicions baseless), they shut down the bathhouse and actually tore out the tubs, intent on re-purposing the building and sending already-extreme public outrage clear into the stratosphere. (Briefly wondered if they'd keep the two tiled tub stalls intact that years earlier they took forever fancying up -- replete with over-elaborate, blindingly shiny, expensive plumbing hardware -- for their high muckety-mucks to indulge in a royal soak every now and then.)

 

It turned out they were in dead earnest about their intention to repurpose the bathhouse (based on credible reports of others, that is; writer hasn't set foot on the grounds since December 2017).

 

The dastardly deed was done with an unspeakably callous disregard for the realm's legacy: offering seven generations of humanity affordable natural purification, healing and rejuvenation within its powerful natural environs.

 

One stunned fan called their action nothing less than a crime against humanity, a sentiment no doubt shared by countless aficionados.

 

They'll surely learn in time, if they've an ounce of genuine spiritual integrity, that the fact the sale of the 'property' was a 'legal' transfer doesn't mean diddly-squat beyond the three-dimensional material realm as  seen in the spheres of spiritual law, universal compassion and cherished public sentiment.

 

 

Rise of the control freaks

In the 2020 book Twilight of Democracy, The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism, by Pulitzer prize winner Anne Applebaum, it's argued by a behavioral economist quoted that in any country a third of the population has a authoritarian-leaning disposition (vs. libertarian).  It's a frame of mind that "wants to overthrow, bypass, or undermine existing institutions, to destroy what exists." Interestingly, this third includes both the far right AND the far left lumped together. One in three; a sobering thought if true.

 

Such are discomforted by the unsettled complexity brought about by inclusiveness and diversity  -- qualities the Springs held in at least some measure -- finding escape-from-freedom relief and comfort in uniform sameness and tight regimental order and an all-wise leader telling them what to do and how to think.

 

So what's happening with the Springs is perhaps only a reflection of the recent global polarizing of societal energies in which minority thinking has gotten a tenuous foothold on things for a while, making matters needlessly unpleasant and trying for the two-thirds majority of more freedom-loving earth inhabitants.

 

(Unrelated...a renowned financial analyst, the late Larry Edelson, discovered what appears to be a major 80-year war cycle in both America and beyond:  1780, American Revolution; 1860, Civil War; 1940, World War II. Now we're in the 2020's... Pray for peace.)

THEN a new, on-site management was at last brought on board, long-range plans ratcheted up, and they really went to town.

Evidenced by Pneuma's website (and the complete visitor review re-posted near the top of this page), the absentee stewards -- an oxymoron if ever there was one -- were dead serious about their stated intent to re-purpose the bathhouse into extra retreat and workshop space or some such. The historic spa center is supposedly on track to reincarnate by June 2024 as...Shambala House. (Shamelessly Gutted Bathhouse would be a more appropriate name.)   see New Day Dawning

A new reincarnation... the place rescued by public-spirited investors and supporters, everyone involved appreciating it as the monumentally invaluable rural healing realm and community treasure it is  -- to the degree many would gladly contribute their skills and resources to its resurrection. A place to again be enjoyed by all, especially nature loving, holistic-thinking, free-spirited, growth-minded people from all walks of life. A realm integrated again with an infectious can-do spirit, grounded in community involvement (as is hour-distant Jackson Wellsprings, just north of Ashland, Oregon, off highway 99).

 

IF enough conscious beings visualize the best of all

possible futures for the realm, in due course it CAN and WILL manifest. 

 

January 19, 2021 marked five years of the dubious new stewardship. If they'd plotted some five-year plan, possibly they'd stepped up plans when Covid hit, scrapping spa service ahead of schedule.

 

But, dare one hope, maybe they'd given themselves five years to turn the place around to suit their misguided purposes and make the operation profitable, or at least semi self-supporting, and since have started to see the writing on the wall. Maybe, even as they blindly move forward with converting the bathhouse to lodging, they're realizing they've been in classic denial  for thinking they could ever pursue such a wildly inappropriate diversionary fantasy with the beloved institution, and now the sobering reality is staring them in the face. Maybe even now they're feeling chagrined (or at least dispirited) and are toying with the idea of relocating elsewhere and surrendering the place to an (ideally) willing, appropriate stewardship, should one approach them -- at a fair price -- and thus mend their tattered integrity. Or, if not and they remain clueless about their Mt. Everest of bad karma, something totally unrelated intervenes that causes them to want to move on to greener pastures.

 

Regardless of the actual time frame or collective mindset, if enough friends of Stewart Springs envision a grand redemption of the beloved place, it has a better chance of actually happening. Call it the thousandth monkey effect.

However it all came down exactly, anyone who felt an abiding fondness for the place doubtless viewed their series of drastic changes as mindbogglingly inappropriate, dumbfoundingly nutzoid, and unspeakably shameful...defying as they did the realm's age-old tradition (albeit one wobbling over time due to so many inappropriate actions by past, post-Stewart family 'owners''): offering the public a place to pursue natural purifying, healing, rejuvenation and/or basic rustic lodging in a relaxed, unassuming manner, amid the glad tidings of nature...

 

...and if they ever gain a Big Picture awareness and awakened conscience, it's an attempt they'll live to regret, if they don't already, and want to make amends.

 

Again, writer suspected the conversion plan was dreamed up early, possibly even before the actual sale transfer.

 

In due course, the emerging higher mass awareness and powerful combined focus of former Springs devotees could well evaporate what many deem no less than a sadly misguided, baldfaced, public-be-damned attempt to co-opt the long beloved healing retreat.

Shameless flasher website

A year later, in 2019, coinciding with the third year anniversary of the wa-y-y absentee new 'ownership' on January 19 (in noteworthy and weird synchronicity, the grand re-opening date, three years earlier, of Harbin Hot Springs), they replaced the old creaky tiny-print website with a short-lived, streamlined one. (Soon, all pretense abandoned after freedom-minded public rejected their watered-down, body-oppressive spa change and were enraged over their kicking out the sweatlodge, they simply scrapped the site and one was redirected to their Pneuma site.)

Loaded with eye-catching graphics, slick text bites and shameless flashers, the site confirmed the suspicions of most: when not enjoying their little Shangri-la themselves and running private workshops, the seemingly tone-deaf, hospitality-indifferent 'ownership' (for a while, at least) seemed to be coasting on the place's reputation to attract more upscale, urban, flirting-with-awakening visitors...those less into grokking profound spa purification and rejuvenation than in throwing disposable income at the promise of some vaguely pleasant, nominally healing, tightly packaged country resort escape... or maybe just a bare-bones overnight lodging in the boonies...

 

...plus those maybe wanting to book spiritually-focused well-being events, workshops, weddings, or retreats and who don't seem to mind how the former casual, open-minded atmosphere has been blatantly scrapped and replaced by a wound up one that put such an unapologetic choke-hold on the realm's former quasi bohemian air that it beggared belief to any and all who knew the place before it got shanghaied.

No matter that low-key radical body freedom -- which had allowed one to experience profound, often instantaneous, re-integration of body, mind and spirit and renewed sense of authentic self -- was suddenly verboten. As if, overnight, the place's liberal-minded c/o policy had somehow, suddenly become shocking, distasteful, immoral.

 

Or that the beloved historic bathhouse's seven-generation-long, grand dedicated tradition of offering healing mineral-water purification to a planet's people seeking natural healing had been so matter-of-factly gutted.

 

Or that 45-year sacred Karuk sweatlodge, anchoring countless visitors in down-to-earth communion and celebration of living close to nature and grokking ancient ways of Native American culture and thus providing unique spiritual understanding, was unceremoniously kicked off the land.

 

 

Or that the people's altar of love and gratitude offerings in the spring gazebo above the creek was torn down, initially replaced with a cheery sign reading:

No Trespassing - Violators will be Prosecuted

 

With that sign, from the start they tipped off something of a no-nonsense, hard-ass attitude, in effect saying, "It's our baby now and we'll do whatever we want with it; you can friggin' go jump in a lake (but not our creek) if you don't like it". (The sign was likely prompted by curious visitors who'd climb over the gazebo railing to check out the adjoining, neglected sacred red spring.)

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2020 vision &
coronavirus outbreak

2020 had started out so promising... number the very hallmark of clear vision...then the dread virus struck and things got blurry fast. Almost overnight, 'normal' life on the planet seemed to vanish.  (A  historic curiosity: the first day of 1920, precisely a hundred years earlier, marked the beginning of Prohibition.)

Snow storm at Stewarts, front deck

Pandemic concerns soon seemed to preempt everything. What was or wasn't happening at Stewart's became of little or no interest to most...with the exception of that dumbfounding 'owner' announcement of May 1, 2020, of the decision to permanently cease bathhouse operation. And, soon after, as indicated elsewhere on their site, telling of their plan to re-purpose the building to make more retreat and class space (gutting the tubs, including three or four vintage clawfoots, memorably soaked in by thousands over time, of course wasn't mentioned)...and the heck with continuing any altruistic 145-year-old tradition of offering mineral baths, saunas and cold plunges to a weary and grateful humanity.

 

As mentioned, apparently continuing to offer genuine spa service was never an abiding interest. Their diluted, mandatory cover-up variety, which fans, long used to the modest radical body freedom the place allowed, utterly spurned, was maybe offered just for appearance sake, knowing it would go over like a lead balloon and thus pave the pay to justify scrapping the spa service entirely.  (Either that, or they'd've maybe been fine with a watered-down, mandatory cover-up spa and hoped it would fly; but when it was rejected, they --   being practical and seeing valuable realty going to waste -- simply decided to scrap spa service altogether and re-purpose the hundred-year-old bathhouse building.)

Again, this was made to seem to be the official time-line decision...that it was only AFTER the pandemic that they made the tough call, done ever so regretfully, crocodile tears falling like rain, sacrificial lamb slaughtered -- just to further their own, private-minded intentions for the place.

 

But writer seems to remember their site long ago, pre-Covid, talking up some mysterious Shambala House. It was baffling, as I could not place any such structure on grounds beyond the already mentioned A-frame, restaurant, and conference hall. 

 

Then at some point they added pictures to the text...of the bathhouse!

 

To writer's knowledge, it was the first time the bathhouse had been shuttered since the 1980s, beyond the week for annual maintenance or the long-ago seasonal winter closings which ended in late 1999 when the place went year-round.

Saint figure  long graced the small pond above Steart Springs office

Drastically ending bathhouse operation might, again, ultimately prove that the unwieldy, exclusive-minded intentions of the 'absentee stewards' are just too sketchy and diverting from the place's historic public-healing focus to ever pan out and be supported -- maybe even by their own rank and file...grandiose dream of adapting the legally-seized Springs to exclusive, semi private ends -- with maybe a few handpicked outside-groups okay with the peculiar flavor of Kool-Aid now being dispensed subsidizing costs now and then -- sinking without a trace...aided and abetted by the advent of a growing enlightened populace insisting on a more just, fair, and sustainable world for everyone sharing the ride on our little azure ball whirling through space.

Parks Creek at Stewarts after snowstorm, with coldplunge in the distance

Countless fans hold that "buying" the de facto historically public-serving spa retreat does NOT entitle them to do with it whatever they want.

 

Not without severe and self-defeating consequence, anyhow. The resulting Mt. Everest of bad karma is such that one would think anybody truly conscious and awakened (vs. just awakned) -- mindful of the land and its long-steeped dedication to natural healing and affordable, unassuming hospitality -- would naturally never even THINK of  pursuing such a wonky, misguided course.

But again, possibly in the back of such expedience-friendly thinking in their far-away realms, like Fagin in Oliver! they're reviewing the situation.

 

Maybe even now they are considering divesting of the place...if it appears their diversionary fantasy is going bust and their pockets aren't deep enough to keep pouring cash down a bottomless pit. (Some $77. a day every day of the year is needed just to cover county property taxes.)

 

 

image_edited.jpg

 

 

Place to be revalued

in time. Move check-in to inside front gates?

Places like Stewart's gain critical new importance in these rarefied times...  More than ever, it deserves a new, service-dedicated stewardship, one willing to establish a nonprofit labor of love, that in time would pay for itself -- follow the bliss and the money will follow. Maybe it's years down the road -- or could happen tomorrow. (Who knows anything for sure these days except only love is real?)

 

Such places, nestled in the clean simplicity of nature and offering the simple natural medicine holistic-minded beings increasingly seek, serve as much needed sanctuaries for a massively awakening, if much bent, humanity.

 

Bathhouse operation could resurrect -- with the vital aid of plumbing aces who can suss out and reactivate the intricate mineral water storage, heating and delivery systems now idled, mineral water going unused and unappreciated, except maybe by the fish, into the creek  -- under new, hand-in-glove stewardship that would naturally inspire involvement and support by the countless de facto friends of Stewart Springs --  local, regional and beyond -- all currently bummed to hell and gone over the present lamentable state of things. 

 

Possibly over time there could emerge a brand-new bathing compound, of inspired and practical design, tearing down the current one, now sadly violated anyhow. Historic sentiment aside, it never did have the optimal spa layout for maximizing the easiest and most blissful spa experience. (Unfortunately, the source's welling rate is too modest to support a communal mineral-water pool.) 

 

Critically, it wasn't separated from the distracting hubbub of office and revved-up arrivals fresh off the road or frequent laundry room churn. Among other distractions, it had people excitedly chatting right outside one's tub stall, its 3/4 wall letting sound spill over; head bonking ceiling beams for anyone over 6'3"; plus all the maintenance and employee break-room chatter, massage meet-ups, outdoor employees coming in and marching up to the one refreshment station right by tub the rooms and sauna, as passing vulnerable, sheet-wrapped patrons tried to keep a relaxed purification mindset...

 

Barring tackling any such an ambitious and costly project, the existing bathhouse might at least be reconfigured by moving the laundry and office elsewhere and converting the current office to, say, a long needed steam room. Many love being steam-cleaned as much -- or more -- as getting dry roasted. (For this reason, many more-dedicated spas provide both.) And the current tiny private office to the left of the front door might return to serving again as the historic entrance foyer. It'd make a perfect place to leave shoes in cubbies and thus jump-start getting into the spa zone (taking a page from Oregon's Jackson Wellsprings).

 

One former old-time visitor, Tom, decades ago suggested the practicality of maybe setting up a check-in booth right inside the front gate, similar to Harbin Hot Springs' mustering-in procedure.  Then everyone entering the grounds would be checked in and have paid for day use or overnighting before even entering the realm proper. A printed paper taped to the inside windshield with check-out-time printout would keep everyone's status on track. (Yes, high-tech, but at least something to consider.)

 

Once having paid, maybe first having to wait a few minutes, with time to appreciate the creek's song and inviting trees, the sometimes chaotic road energies would settle down, making for a more relaxed and focused visit. (A new main office could be built elsewhere, maybe on the former parking lot above bathhouse, or on the lot below former sweatlodge.) The sketchy energies of idly curious visitors driving in -- especially  the voyeurs who used to park along the upper road to boldly gawk at all the naked people outside below the bathhouse, some with binoculars -- would be ancient history.

 

Parking space on the grounds has, alas, always been limited, so maybe offering a discount for visitors ride-sharing would ease the problem. Possibly some enterprising souls could run a sanctioned shuttle service at busiest times, given ranches at the road base could get on-board and provide a modest parking area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 < Former love offerings inside the Spring's mineral water gazebo by the creek. One of two, actually; the other, in A-frame parking area, the county Health Dept. put the kibosh on, citing allowing only one source for some obscure reason; the combined second source had enabled many more people to enjoy soaking in the mineral waters in recent years.

In any event, ongoing global crises might well serve as a grand wake-up call to shake humanity out of its outmoded ways (if it doesn't self-destruct first). A radical uplift in mass consciousness would enable Stewart Springs to at last get free of its chronic, often-sketchy, woefully dysfunctional, sometimes mindnumbingly inappropriate, operational mindset, once and for all...returning things to something of the way the place had begun so long ago (in historic, 'civilized' times, that is):  A vital, down-home, nonprofit-in-spirit (if not actual fact) healing and rejuvenation retreat, affordably serving the greater public, with a generous dollop of graciousness and altruistic spirit echoing the Stewart family's singularly dedicated 78-year run.

One of five teepees long rented out for overnight adventures at Stewart's

...a perfect hand-in-glove match according to the lights of the host of genuine rural spa enthusiasts, retreat seekers and nature lovers everywhere.

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Then again, perhaps the essence of their takeover thinking, to cynical thinking anyway, was something along the lines of:

 

 "It's a shame what happened to this lovely place. So neglected, so disrespected...and so under-exploited!

 

"By golly, we'll rescue it, fix it up, do our thing here, while keeping it open to the public -- on an increasingly limited level, of course...and, owner's prerogative, in  a way, ah, more suitable to our own lifestyle and moral values and dedication to furthering our own private shtick.

 

"Heck, any spiritual focus at all will be an improvement after the shocking Sodom and Gomorrah scene the place had so obviously degenerated to.

 

"We'll continue to offer it to a few select outside groups, if only to subsidize our own private gig, giving people a chance to adjust -- not from any love for the great unwashed (gimmeabreak) -- to minimize unpleasant fallout.

 

"Hey, we'll transform it to serve our own exclusive gig so gradually, they'll never know what hit them until it's too late. And years down the road, if we get tired to owning it, we can make a killing re-selling it. (Ain't power grand?)

Having briefly visited as booked groups over the years for workshops and long seeking their own place, Pneuma people and/or their associates one day approached the manager and expressed interest in maybe taking over the place if Foggy wanted to sell and the price was right.

 

Their higher-ups and funders were perhaps at best little more than remotely aware of -- or possibly much concerned about  -- the realm's once sterling public service tradition...one every true-blue spa-culture fan, budding newbie, and aware visitor seemed to naturally intuit and resonate with while doing their best to tune out any bothersome profit- and excessive control-minded energies...some even reportedly tuned into a protective angelic presence said to watch over the grounds. (On a lunch break now, if so, or perhaps letting this all happen just to wake people up to the need to permanently preserve and protect the place once and for all from any who would selfishly exploit it at the expense of the public good.)

 

With the then legal steward and salaries managers failing to appreciate the importance of transferring operations to an appropriate new steward and thus perpetuate the realm's tradition -- perhaps tired of being saddled with the peculiar place for 34 years, especially after his daughter Crystal after a trial run opted out of taking it over -- it was ripe for the plucking for a new 'owner' likewise unappreciative of the place's legacy to do with whatever they wanted.

 

Never mind that countless visitors had life-transforming experiences on the grounds. Writer over the years witnessed several experiencing moments of profound illumination -- some in extraordinary, wide-open crown chakra meditations, others walking around grounds in profoundly blissful states, radiating fifty thousand watt energy fields. Writer, while never reaching such rarefied heights himself, was blessed to experience the enriching experience of a lifetime volunteering in the joy of service while living on the grounds 30 months and continuing cold plunge service for over a decade after.

 

It's said that, metaphysically speaking, the vortex energy of the realm magnifies whatever energies present bring to it.

 

Such an illustrious past, again, might've been invisible to the casual, less aware observer, for the place having been long hidden under less dedicated, profit- and/or focus-diverted operations. So much so, it made it appear that while the spa service was nice enough for any so inclined, it was no great shakes...and would be no real loss if scrapped and the bathhouse repurposed -- just so long as lodging and event space was kept open for the holders and their few select groups to enjoy whatever attractions, natural and man made, still remained.

Intent: after greater wealth? Or just total

control to do their own thing and enjoy the place privately

while select outside groups subsidize costs now and then?

 

The current 'stewards'' intent, at least before the 'plague' hit and the bathhouse closed, seemed to many to be just trying to milk more money out of the place, shifting the customer base in hope of attracting more upscale visitors and groups...those perhaps casually flirting with discovering more mindful ways of living (though, naturally, still embracing numbed-down body alienation)...having the desire and money to sign up for touted quasi-new age, psychotherapy-adjunct training classes and workshops (or rent the grounds for weddings and such)...NOT those already conscious and savvy to the way of genuine, free-spirited rural spa culture, people who were suddenly dismissed as kinky undesirables and dangerous, new-age cults, hell-bent on unraveling the very fabric of decent society.

 

The double whammy of kicking out the sweatlodge and banning simple nudity put such a crimp in the place's former spiritual mojo and quasi liberated air that, for countless, it suddenly became Stewart Springs in name only. And their real intent, with an astonishing disregard for the place's time-honored public-minded healing tradition, soon enough became painfully obvious once dismantling the bathhouse, hundred-year-old clawfoot tubs and all. (And then scrapping their own revised Stewart Springs website, which at first appeared still spa-dedicated, if uber commercialized around the edges.)

 

Sure, for a while you could still get in a decent soak and sauna, maybe even have a pleasant creekside location for special events and functions...but it was hard imagining anyone the least bit mindful actually savoring the spa experience anymore...or any conscious group having anything remotely approaching a full-tilt, bedrock, soul-liberating experience there, as once happened by the bushel-full.
 

To paraphrase an old song lyric, there was a whole lot of disconnectin' goin' on.

Overnight, nude became rude

Designed to entrance, the now-deleted, revamped website had worlds more sizzle than substance. Zero info about the new invisible remote board of directors by name. Little to no sense of community.

 
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Stewart Springs exists only in memory now... for the time being...

...after the once thought inviolable dedication to serving the public by providing a rustic healing spa resort was scrapped with seemingly no more than a passing thought.

 

But, again, if enough Spring enthusiasts, especially those who have treasured Stewart's as it was before late 2016,  grok how and why the place's once dedicated purifying, healing and rejuvenating focus got so out of whack in the first place -- through a motley succession of often expedient-minded, post-Stewart stewards -- it would energize a quantum shift and manifestation of a new operation...

What blueprint?

The original, long ago blueprint of founder Henry Stewart and his wife -- dutifully followed later by their daughter Katy and her husband and a select few other stewards since -- had faded so much over time that, on one level at least, the current absentee stewards perhaps couldn't be blamed too much for trying to make such a shockingly inappropriate detour from the place's longtime dedicated, public-friendly spa operation. 

 

To the casual eye looking at the place on its face, its extraordinary altruistic legacy had faded so much it was difficult for some to realize it ever existed.

 

Concern for children's body-alienating programming,the stray pedophile, and foreign-guest cultural sensibilities aside, some might've said such wording essentially translated to:

Now nudity-free to ease the worried minds of body-alienated everywhere, happy to resist ever re-learning to feel mindfully at ease out of clothes in natural settings, resenting like hell seeing others doing so, being reminded how much they're numbly buying into systemic, age-old body alienation that makes people so uptight, bodies needlessly bound in defensive cloth armor, all because of society's deeply entrenched negative-body-image mindset.

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Whether one availed themselves of clothing-optional or not, it was the linchpin that enhanced the free-spirited healing air of the entire grounds -- the bedrock that enabled a more profound harmonizing with nature -- thus making the place so popular in recent decades ... DESPITE an often-wonky, power-freak, profit-obsessed management of latter days of the old regime.

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In any event...

 

...take clothing-optional away and much of the magic was gone...for legions of desolated fans plus a sea of potential newbies, deprived of ever discovering and enjoying the blessings of nature in the place's uber-relaxed, free-flowing atmosphere...one that the open-minded (vs. clothes-minded), policy naturally fostered.

Elsewhere on the now-gone site, a rehashed, vague mission statement and no-this-and-no-that policy page revealed how the new outfit was definitely NOT into running any public-minded spa service -- especially such a shameless pagan one. It essentially copied the former negative, reactionary, non-transparent operation mode but then, critically, added its own bohemian culture destroying twist...

..and totally disregarded -- unlike the former 'owner', who, to his eternal credit, let the longtime local family management team redeem something of the place's original spirit, if only because it ultimately proved great for business...totally disregarded the sterling legacy of the pioneer founding Stewart family of providing a love-of-service, de facto nonprofit, healing and rejuvenation retreat to serve the greater good.

 

One that made the place phenomenally popular for having a strikingly unassuming blueprint, running a healing refuge in such a forthright, affordable and folksy manner that people around the world found in it a rare gift and rich blessing. Over time thousands of international visitors made Stewart's one of their travel destinations, if not THE central destination.

 

see SMS  history

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Into transpersonal psychology, sometimes referred to as the psychology field's 'spiritual' branch, (its efficacy debated by some within the wider field), the international outfit (with apparent Romanian roots) appears to explore, analyse, and promote peak experiences, altered consciousness, and enhanced awareness in general that transcend the 'smaller self', which, combined with conscious breathwork, is worked into an innovative new tool for formal psychotherapy focusing on achieving a transcendent mind state of one's 'greater self.'

Seeking nirvana

via psychotherapy?

 

It seems that, in case of Pneuma at least, conventional Judaeo-Christian tenets are thrown into the mix just for the heck of it. (Could imagine almost hearing some at the start proclaiming, "We are NOT 'spiritual'...but we ARE religious; abandon your false gods, ye pagans and nonbelievers -- and cover your shame!") Also added in: various new-age disciplines like yoga, mindful breathing, Tai chi and transcendental meditation, making for a peculiar mishmash that, for want of a better term, one might term bourgeois spirituality.

The new 'owners' -- who doubtless love the place too, if in a more controlling, private-minded way -- again, appeared either ignorant of the realm's non-profit-in-spirit, service-minded legacy or -- chilling if the case --  indifferent to it.

 

While busy shifting focus until finally closing and gutting the bathhouse, they seemed to be catering to more conventional-minded visitors. Those wanting to buy some tastefully bland, warm and fuzzy getaway in the boonies, maybe tinker with purifying a bit or get a whiff more enlightened in their new touted workshops and classes...

...happily dropping cash while remaining dutifully shackled in textile chains at the very place that until recently had distinguished itself for being a rare oasis like a handful of sister springs on the West Coast that allowed visitors the option of getting nudely relaxed during (most of) the spa regimen...

 

...thereby potentially enhancing the overall comfort and healing benefit from the realm's special waters and energy-amplifying vortex phenomenon. In the process, visitors often experienced profound, life-changing body acceptance and a sense of exhilarating liberation...if open-minded enough to give c/o a try and come out of the nudist closet, as it were. For, in their heart of hearts, most everybody --  born naked -- was, despite  a lifetime of societal conditioning, a natural-born freebody* waiting to re-emerge.

___________

 

* With the rare exception of, it's said, roughly one percent of the  population classified as gymnophobiac, or one having an abnormal fear of nudity -- their own and/or that of others (vs. just a normal fear?)

_____________________

 

And the laughable statement about how the new strict cover-up policy was for "a more comfortable environment" made one half-expect to read some masochistic reviewer gushing about how "I experienced such delightful wedgies in the sauna and cold-plunge. Thank you!"

The present 'ownership' is part of a peripherally spiritual professional organization called the Pneuma Institute.

From the website: "We are certain that only through peace born in the depths of our hearts can humans inspire and transmit inner peace to their society and to the world."

No argument there. Sounds great. One not knowing any better reading that, but not reading between the lines, might think, 'Well, 'bout time! At last, an aware and conscious Springs stewardship, working to redeem the place, finally save it from decades of unapologetic commercial exploitation, gross mismanagement and shameful neglect...

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...now the realm can finally become a reinvigorated, affordable sanctuary grounds promoting higher awareness and natural organic being...Hallelujah! Turning nature-rich Springs into a thriving, infectiously can-do, community-active oasis that the place's fans have always dreamed of, it will finally join the wider region's other progressive-minded rural spring resorts.

Ojala que; if only...

The peculiar amalgam's purported central aim: to train therapists and everyday students, in part through conscious breath technique, to promote reintegration of body, mind and spirit on "profoundly higher levels" of enhanced awareness, thus ultimately helping raise global consciousness.

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Pit experience

Alas, the current "absentee stewards" of what was for the better part of 147 years an affordable, public-friendly, rejuvenating retreat and simple, down-home resort, instead appeared bound and determined to scrap its sterling age-old tradition...just to suit their own private needs...to the point of ruination, as far as countless long-time supporters of the place were concerned.

 

They went worlds beyond the mere jonesin' for profit focus of the former 34-year absentee legal steward, San Francisco based John Foggy. Did more than just impress their own conservative mindset on the place. Nope, they scrapped the spa outright...in so doing showing their true colors: intent to seize the place just to pursue their own private gig and allow affiliated groups to enjoy it privately, again, maybe renting out the grounds now and then to certain, very select groups (i.e., those unaware of or indifferent to the unfolding travesty) to subsidize costs a smidge (and be able to claim to remaining open to the public on some level)...

 

... AND NEARLY A CENTURY AND HALF OF (MOSTLY) PUBLIC MINDED 

NATURAL HEALING DEDICATION BE DAMNED.

 

It would almost seem they'd been merely suffering the public at first only to help pay the freight a while...and, again, give the once faithful visitors a chance to say goodbye while gradually unfolding their wonky long-term plans to transform the place light years away from serving as the low-key, public-friendly spa retreat it'd been ever since the first-centennial celebration of the United States' founding.

 

This in shocking contrast to what more than a few genuine-spa enthusiasts hold the vision of the place becoming...or rather, returning to: in essence -- if not legal fact -- a nonprofit purifying, healing and rejuvenating refuge dedicated to serving the greater good, embracing the clean simplicity of nature and dedicated to restoring and expanding the founding Stewart family's 78-year-long love-of-service mission... 

 

...an enterprise so well ensconced in nature that, in its 'civilized' variation at least,  echos the timeless First Nations people's deep reverence of the land and waters' healing powers...medicine that likely saved the founder's life as young man and made him a true believer.

   see history

 
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Former everyday visitors of more modest means and bohemian leaning had become merely tolerated (and then only so long as one didn't even THINK about skinnydipping), as the outfit attempted cultivating more affluent -- and more conventional-minded -- visitors to help cover costs.

 

Actually, covering seemed to be the main theme all around: covering costs, covering bodies, covering intentions...

The atrociously misguided plans, as far as the now-estranged fan base was concerned, seemed hellbent on privatizing or semi-privatizing the place to expedite pursuing and enjoying their own peculiar amalgam of psychology shtick, quasi new age applications, and conservative social/religious affiliations...

 

...indifferent to or ignorant of the place's historic service-minded dedication to providing humanity with an affordable people-friendly natural refuge in which to pursue simple yet profound purification, healing and rejuvenation amid the land's rarefied atmosphere.

Signs posted around Stewart Springs bathhouse until 2000, when place went clothing=optional for 17 years

They'd turned their backs on the countless conscious, growth-minded, spa-savvy visitors who deeply valued the place's longtime natural healing culture -- one that any authentic rural mineral spring retreat hopes to cultivate -- plus, again, the teaming sea of others, primed to discover and embrace the public- and nature-friendly retreat like a long-lost friend.

 

They were all thrown out into the cold.

 

The unspoken message heard loud and clear: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Fact: away from Stewart Springs'  now-long-gone official website, the place had all along been referred to as Pneuma Retreat Center.

Cheshire Cat at Work

The realm of Stewart Springs as countless had known it over decades was being systematically erased ... not unlike the guiding trail through dark woods in 'Alice in Wonderland' getting swept away by the big bushy tail of a mischievous Cheshire cat.
 

In the eyes of spring retreat fans everywhere, mediocrity was triumphing ingloriously.

 

Slowly and methodically re-branding and re-purposing the place, if the misguided plan ever succeeds long term, the former universal healing refuge would be permanently subordinated to having the public subsidize the outfit's clinical quasi-new-age shtick as a workshop and event retreat for students, members, employees...plus any event and workshop planners among the public willing to drink the Kool Aid.

Even this, before ending spa service, conceivably might've been at least semi-okay (think California Big Sur's Esalan) IF in the process they hadn't turned the former quasi-bohemian, free-spirited climate upside down and inside out -- which of course they did...in spades.

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Countless bereft fans knew only all too well -- long before they ever gutted the bathhouse -- how they'd banned clothing-optional, kicked out the Karuk sweatlodge and emptied the gazebo's prayer/love offering altar. Also, how they'd upped bath rates -- twice -- took away the free monthly employee bath perk (not even a token discount offered) and increased the house take on gift shop consignments and masseuse services.

Locals day? Formerly, regional residents got nearly half off; afterwards, only a few token dollars were shaved. "We love our visitors!" the neglected old official Springs site still gushed a whole year after abrupt changes clearly spoke otherwise, such sentiment having become a cruel, fossilized vestige of kinder times (albeit always tenuous).

"We respect all religions and spiritual traditions," the outfit claimed on its Pneuma website.

Would it were true. But thoughtless actions belied any such liberal sentiment. Or could it be they simply refused to acknowledge ancient earth religions that predate -- and were ruthlessly co-opted by -- organized Judaeo-Christianity?

 

In any event, Jesus wept. 

 

As things stood, it hardly made for a peak experience for any longtime aficionado unaware of the devastating changes until arriving all psyched...whereupon being shocked senseless.

Such visitors -- before new 'ownership' at last unfurled the dismal colors now snapping in the breeze striking sorrowful disbelief and righteous indignation in the hearts of fans everywhere -- were already having many said transcendent experiences, thank you very much...

More of a pit experience.

Good example of practical radical body freedom (obvious not taken at Stewart's)

...along with altered-consciousness episodes by the truckload...and countless life-liberating, uplifted-awareness, reintegrated body-mind-spirit breakthroughs...all complements of the place's rare earth medicine, more profoundly experienced for the land having a long tradition of public-minded dedication -- and having the freedom to lose unneeded cover if one chose...no constrictive condom of cloth as it were, dulling and crimping one's sensory wellbeing, thus expediting body-mind-spirit re-integration; being in the altogether could easily enable feeling more together. One was free to more fully experience the sauna, coldplunge, and sunning deck's palliative benefits.

Such a formerly experienced positive, even euphoric, mindstate was, of course, something ostensibly valued by the group, at least going by Pneuma's transpersonal psychology mission statement (posted here somewhere).

Lest one get too depressed by the current state of affairs, check out the sea of vintage heartfelt rave reviews and excerpts on the Review Rants & Raves page. Scroll way down, about half way, past opening pans, to cull the countless re-posts, in different-colored text. Along with some positive ones on other linked review pages, they remind any who have ever visited the place back in the day what an absolute treasure the place was...and perhaps spark a vision of what it can be again, with enough fans' collective envisioning: the realm's resurrection under new, appropriate stewardship.

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super structured enlightenment model for indoctrinating therapists in new ways to aid psychotherapy clients with big bucks festering in distant cities.

 

Again, the approach itself might be laudable enough, no doubt potentially doing good for any affluent enough and so inclined to pursue such a formal, long term therapeutic approach, good for what ails you.

 

But, in bitter mind-boggling irony, it's been attempting to do it by overhauling Stewart's: from a long-established refuge for the many to immediately benefit from to a place to perpetuate its psycho-therapeutic approach for the relative few to benefit from over long stretches of time.

 

Result? It worked overwhelmingly against the ability of the former everyday trekker with even a whisper of bohemian leaning towards genuine spas to benefit from their long accustomed beneficial soak-sauna-plunge routine...until recently experienced DIRECTLY, immediately, on the spot.

Stewart Springs bathhouse stairway leading down to creek cold plunge

It was a bizarre situation,too weird to wrap one's mind around -- or  want to even try. For in attempting such focused re-purposing of Stewart's, with the subsequent severe cultural disruption it effectively worked to defeat Pneuma's own purported aim of uplifting human consciousness...

 

...except maybe for the well-deserving bourgeois; affluent spiritual babes in the woods, enrolling in academic classes, yoga workshops and intensives...and "neon-Jesus-glowing-in-the-dark" (Dylan) assemblages of insider group events; plus general-public Stewart newbies, wowed by the inherent magic and charm of the place regardless of set-up...and, over time, the aforementioned therapy patients quietly freaking out in distant neurosis-rich cities, willing to pay big bucks to essentially have someone remind them to breathe deep.

Historic example of radical body freedom

Their very mission statement showed a yawning gap between ostensible goals and the mindset that banned clothing-optional:

 

"We are living a crucial moment in the history of humanity. New schools, institutes and universities are needed to teach an unbiased type of thinking that can generate a radical change. In turn, this can cause a permanent revolution inside the human being through Love [emphasis added]. Only in this way will it be possible to create a harmonious society." 

Again, true enough words. Beautiful, even.

But if the former open-minded clothing-optional policy, implicitly recognizing simple mindful nudity as a profound expression of love and harmony, allowing for a fuller healing experience, wasn't generating positive radical change in the hearts of visitors (so long as group energies held together despite the absence of more mindful management support), then writer doesn't know what could've -- half as well or a tenth as easily.

 

Winter outdoor nudity was often for hardcore spa enthusiasts only, cooling down from a sometimes 200 degree F. sauna by plunging into the  sometimes 30 degree F creek and screaming like a banshee or going deep within, or rolling in the snow, embracing the polarity therapy of hot-sauna-cold-plunge full tilt.

Mindful nudity, as any aware person knows, has an astounding ability to open one to embrace the physical self and feel newly genuine, as when infants and toddlers, fostering the reintegration of body, mind and spirit.

 

No thoughtful person would deny that the rejected option to pursue conscious freebody awareness has staggering potential to help raise planetary consciousness.

Stewart Springs devotees enjoyed staying naked after a cold skinnydip in the creek to cool down after a hot sauna

Easily fostering positive radical uplift in body-mind-spirit when pursued mindfully, the policy was light years cheaper and FASTER than anything as experienced in the Springs's appropriately nature-rich, purifying-intent environment and ratcheted up through the grounds' powerful mineral waters and believed magnifying vortex energies that amplify whatever one is focused on.

 

But in eyes of new absentee stewards, such an option had (obviously) made for TOO radical a change. Too uncontrollable. Too California. (Too REAL, perhaps.)  It made their own shtick look a bit tame, even lame, in comparison to those embracing mindful body freedom and/or otherwise fast-tracking personal and social transformation through a full embrace of the natural elements.

 

Or they'd been so intent on re-purposing the place to expedite doing their own thing that, beyond simply rejecting clothing-optional spa, they perhaps never gave a flying leap about providing spa service, period. That, or, again (here giving some benefit of the doubt), maybe a conventional, cloth-bound one they'd've been okay with, kinda sorta, or at least for a while, but Stewart's ingrained body-liberating, 18-year tradition couldn't be flipped to the old, body-oppressive ways. So simply junking the entire bathhouse operation was the logical solution, recycling the valuable 'realty' -- the word is 'reality' without the all-seeing 'i' -- for other uses more in line with advancing their shtick and getting rid of the rabble who thought of the place as a quasi public institution.

 

One day early on during the years-long sales negotiations, the writer spotted a person he later concluded was one of Pneuma's high muckety mucks, if not the grand master himself. He was cruising the bathhouse hallway completely caught up in his own world, walking purposefully as he matter-of-factly checked out the space, pointedly ignoring everyone around him as if they didn't even exist.

 

It felt like any real appreciation he might've held for genuine healing spas serving the public good would've fit in a thimble with enough room left over to hang out a " Space for Rent" sign.

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In a nutshell: immediate affordable soul enrichment and body-spirit-mind healing -- once had by anyone entering  the realm with a few shekels, an open mind and heart and willingness to embrace nature's wisdom, maybe overcoming lingering exaggerated body self-consciousness (or who didn't get bent out of shape by those who did) -- was being indifferently sacrificed, along with the very bathhouse itself, to a mindset promoting a delayed, pricey kind, led by professionals invested in super-structured, formalized, tell-me-I'm-not-crazy-Doc psychotherapy...

 

...all within a new, buttoned-down environment reflecting the new 'owners'' conservative ways...

 

...and, again, the hell with the place's former time-honored, dedication to serving the greater good through powerful mineral waters and rare vortex energies. Buncha woo-woo nonsense catering to a gullible public.

The new set-up appeared FAR more concerned with perpetuating its Institute first and foremost, the ostensible overarching intent of raising planetary consciousness coming in a distant second.

 

The outfit's therapeutic approach, to any with a cynical turn of mind, almost seemed aimed at those with more dollars than sense, ones who think you must pay and pay dearly to attain any spiritual enlightenment and peace of mind whatsoever in our over-commercialized world.

Not to be a johnny one-note here (okay, too late), but it does bear constant reminding:

 

The current private-minded 'owner' focus and intent thwarts the ability of the multitude of growth-minded, conscious beings from all walks of life to longer enjoy the beloved realm's powerful healing energies and special atmosphere for immediate and profound benefit.

Another clothes-free sauna, not Stewart's

With such open-spiritedness as good as banned and bathhouse spa service scrapped altogether, any continuing event organizer would be (albeit perhaps unwittingly) effectively supporting and reinforcing a rank betrayal of the place's spirit with every cent dropped.

Likewise any choosing to work there. They're either unwittingly or knowingly serving as accomplices to the realm's de facto kidnapping. Concern for making rent is eclipsing certain knowledge of the place's former dedication to public-friendly super-natural healing was tossed off like used tissues, or they're failing to grok the realm's extraordinary charitable legacy now being shredded.

It's so depressing, writer needs a shrink. (Hey, they might be on to something...)

 

One strongly suspects the outfit is only flirting with spiritual awareness as a novel adjunct to their dry psychotherapeutic approach, keeping it wrapped up in frosty clinical mindset (and incongruously linked to conventional religious doctrine to boot)...

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...rather than letting everyman and everywoman -- that is, any would-be therapy patient -- plunge into enhanced well-being full-on, as Stewart Springs enabled in its own low-key, nature-friendly way...affordably, easily, effectively... allowing for often spontaneously gaining profound body-mind-spirit reintegration through the ultra-relaxing clothing-optional spa regimen's powerful purifying waters amid the land's powerful vortex energies -- thus having zero need for any such expensive, drawn-out psychotherapy in the first place!
 

Sunshine...on

my shoulders

Obviously, one of the best arguments for going bare in nature is how (the judicious) exposure of one's entire skin to the healing rays of sunshine produces vitamin D, activating serotonin in the brain which almost magically lifts one's mood through the release of feel-good endorphins. It's worlds better, easier, and faster than taking any anti-depressants and undergoing drawn out, pricey therapy.

Nature, the supreme healer.

Cynics might view the situation as no less than the shrink industry trying to snap up the Springs to sideline its service -- co-opting an effective, super-natural therapy, marginalizing it from being any serious competition in the healing field -- in order to more easily push their own lucrative, intellectually top-heavy, super-structured gig.

It's maybe not too unlike the status quo resisting legalization of medical cannabis as unfair competition to those pushing the often useless, frequently harmful, mad-scientist, laboratory-concocted snake oil remedies euphemistically called pharmaceuticals...

 

...at least until staking out their OWN budding-market lion's share, that is... protected through lobbied and bought-and-paid-for legislators, enacting corporate-friendly policies that in turn squeeze out or force to go outlaw countless small family growers who had hoped to continue earning livelihoods in a natural-healing service field long respected and intimately understood.

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Not to unduly demonize...

Again, it's not that the outfit doesn't undoubtedly do some good. Obviously, there are some problems that spa treatments alone can't even begin to cure.
 

Pneuma's European-origin eclectic teaching model, rooted in the 1960s' humanistic psychology branch, focuses on achieving positive wellbeing and transcendence rather than looking for neuroses under every rock. It might no doubt work just fine -- but elsewhere, perhaps in more consciousness-starved regions time-warped in the old millennium and thriving on such professional specialties of dire necessity, providing a healing tool for those affluent enough to divvy up the big bucks for long-term, slow-cure psychotherapy.
 

Not in the Future State of California, though -- leastwise not in the nature-loving, free-spirited, infinity-minded rural TOP of California, amid the natural spirit lifter of Mount Shasta...and most especially NOT within that ancient mystic healing portal long known as Stewart Mineral Springs.

 

New wine needs new containers.

 

Is the rare healing nectar of Stewart Springs realm now to be watered down and blended for a packaged, wine-in-a-box approach, reflecting other regions' and mindsets' enlightenment and self-empowerment levels, just to accommodate the outfit's private-minded bureaucratic needs, conservative mindset and desire to privately use the place to pursue their own exclusive gig?

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Those who have cherished the special realm's fitfully free, bohemian minded, sometimes holy-stoned, culture for decades -- despite the last 'owner's' off-putting profit focus -- hold that the new absentee stewards' intent is NOT in any alignment with the Creator's loving universe.

 

 

What is wrong with

this picture???

 

Rather than a place devoted to healing and allowing becoming more one with nature in the eternal present, beyond thought -- in the process often experiencing immediate and profound benefit -- it became painfully clear the outfit was dead set on co-opting the realm to further their own gig and enjoy privately.

 

A cynic might view their shtick as trying to put God in a box and under a microscope, dissecting and over-intellectualizing transcendental mindstates in some formalized materialistic effort to roll out a lucrative,

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Livid Outrage Over Evicting the Sacred Sweatlodge

and other new owner deal-breakers

 
Walking Eagle's sacred sweat lodge, above Stewart Springs bathhouse; a 44 year weekly tradition open to the public until 2017

Removal of the 45-year Karuk tribe sacred sweatlodge from Stewart's in mid December 2017 sparked a firestorm of reaction on Yelp, Google Review, and SMS Facebook sites; most or all posts have long since been deleted.

 

The following flurry of excerpted reactions posted online from December 2017 through January 2018 reflects maybe the strongest unified voice ever made of Springs devotees' love of the sweatlodge and the Springs' grounds as a whole...unfortunately coming only after losing the first and now in danger of forever losing the second.

Note: certain passages are emphasized by the editor by italicizing and/or underlining, but any ALL-CAP words are the reviewers' own.

"I am deeply saddened by the new administration...They have chosen to kick out the Native American lodge that has been there for 45 years! This is devastating. I will not come back...I pray for the land and the new owners..."

     -- Carla C., Weed, CA revised Yelp review

"I am so amazed at brazen callous and disrespect of the new 'owners'. To kick first Nation people off of land they have utilized for thousands of years! Shame. I will never be back to the springs under current ownership or practices..."

   -- Jessica Zern, SMS Facebook review


"You are dead in the water. How dare you ask the tribe to leave...this is OUTRAGEOUS and from someone who has been there, and paid, over 100 times, you will NEVER get my business, nor that of ANYONE I can tell. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME."

     -- Nancy Neubauer, SMS Facebook review

"...the new owners of Stewart Mineral Springs have disallowed the Native American sweat lodge from continuing on their property.

The late revered Karuk  medicine man Charlie Thom led sweat lodge at the Springs for decades. His father, then a boy, and grandfather were survivors of the tragic massacre of 1870s at and around tribe's longtime sacred healing land now known as Stewart Springs. They'd been camping further upstream, where it was a bit cooler, during hot summer weather

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"It seems as if all their new changes are geared so that they can have a high 'fallutin' retreat center for rich Bay Area folks. Maybe I am missing something and don't know all the facts, but I have heard that us locals will not be welcome there when their ultimate vision of high-end retreat center comes to pass..."

         -- Alan Cooper, SMS Facebook

"...[V]ery sad to find out that the new management has taken away the sweat lodge, not caring one bit for the native people and what it represents to them and all of us. I feel you're taking something away that not only nourishes the community but also bonds, heals and strengthens the community... i refuse to support such blind and money hungry establishments."

    -- Sigfredo Hernandez, Google review

"This USED TO BE MY MOST FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD.....now I can sadly say I will not return until the current owners sell it to better care takers or have a serious 'come to Jesus ' about their HORRIBLE MANAGEMENT.

"I have been a regular devout client for 15 years... I have rented every building on the property and used to come weekly for a decade, I have hosted weekend workshops and many ceremonies and raised my child bringing him to the native sweat lodges.

"The new owners have changed the very fiber and culture of the space we have all loved for decades.

"They have changed their rules around 'clothing optional areas' to a puritan bathing-suit-only mentality. The clothing optional aspect is something that everyone I know that has frequented this healing springs has LOVED about the place.

"After 40+ years of tradition of honoring the Native Americans and providing a place for their Sweat Lodges they have banned this vital and deeply respected aspect of the community from carrying on their sacred ways on their ancestral lands.

"The employees did not seem happy. Their overall practices are a disgrace to the legacy of healing that these springs hold for many many many people. Their lack of care for the local community is shameful.

"The current owners and management have sucked the beauty, joy, innocence and purity from this sacred place with their attempt to sanitize our sacred waters with their mal-intent. There is a deep sadness in my heart, I am praying for change. I deeply look forward to returning to my favorite place on earth...but not as it is now. I will stay positive that change will come."

     -- Anu H., Nevada City, CA, two Yelp reviews combined

"To Stewart Mineral Springs: Where is the sweat lodge? Where will people go for Healing? ...I am dismayed. There is no honor in this."

    -- Susan Shannon, findaspring.com

"I am deeply saddened as I write this review. This place has been the grounds for indigenous ceremonies providing healing and comfort for thousands of people for the last 45 years. New owners have decided to... change the clothing optional policy to clothing mandatory, and removed the people of this land.

"...This location was once a very sacred and safe space But it looks like all of that is changing now. The new owners of the land are obviously money driven and unaware of the sacredness of the sweat lodge ceremony that was offered here every Saturday of the year for 40-something years...

"Unfortunately the owners of this land will now learn about energy and not in the best way."

      -- Shay W., Campbell, CA, Yelp review

"stewart mineral springs used to be a beautiful, wild and wonderful place. i felt very fortunate to live so close and went weekly.

"new owners took over last year [2016, Ed.] and every change they've made has been awful. from nixing the clothing optional option and disallowing people to stretch in the sauna ["No yoga in sauna" sign slapped on door; no doubt result of one freebody down-dog too many - Ed.]... to removing some of the more blissful offerings from the lobby, the loveliness is gone.

"recently they put an end to the weekly sweat lodges led by local indigenous elders that have happened there for 45 years, on land that has been sacred to indigenous people for centuries. this is a huge blow to our local community.

"i will not return until this place changes ownership again. hopefully these folks won't totally destroy it before that happens. i encourage all...to discontinue any sort of support of this place.

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"please share this far and wide...they remove access to the local indigenous people who have prayed here for eons... Please make sure people know about this. I am sure they have their excuses but I'm sorry, this is not right at all, regardless...

"I am a local and spent a lot of time at the springs over the years until the new owners took over. The surrounding land is gorgeous - the section of the PCT [Pacific Crest Trail] that runs nearby is a regular hiking favorite of mine. In fact, I often loved a morning hike to the Deadfall lakes, followed by a soak and sweat afterwards.

"This will be the third time I have written this review, and while Yelp claims business owners can't pay to have reviews removed, suspiciously this one has been removed twice, though it is a clear and honest review.

"One would suspect, unfortunately, that the new owners wish to privatize the springs entirely - most recently by telling the local Native Americans that they can no longer run the 45-year-long sweat lodges on the land, which were attended by a loving community and tourists alike...

"Many other beloved aspects of the springs are being done away with as well: clothing optional opportunities have been removed entirely (have fun in the cold plunge wrapped in a sheet!), and I find the "remodeling" that's currently happening (removing the wood from the tub rooms and replacing it with tile) to look sterile, like a hospital. Finally, they have raised the locals rate TWICE since taking ownership. This shows, definitely, a lack of concern and regard, for sure. Many people in our local community are seniors with limited income, artists and musicians, who sought out the springs weekly for healing until the rates became unaffordable for us.

"There are other, better options for the time being, at least until this place changes ownership once again - it has had many owners in the past, none of whom have treated the local community so poorly..."

       -- Dori M, Mt. Shasta, CA, Yelp reviews + SMS Facebook, combined

"In solidarity with the land, its natural state, and the local tribes... this business stewards nothing and does not give back. To continue to patronize this self-serving business is a vote against the common and the local indigenous people."

   -- Karen El, SMS Facebook review

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"This place used to be cool before the new and greedy owners took over. Raised rates, took away the native sweat lodge, and ended their clothing optional policy...They don't want you there if you're not rich. They don't care about locals. They raised rates yet don't seem to use any of it to update the place at all... Greed has taken over this great spot. I'm not giving them a penny ever again and I hope other locals choose to follow suit..."

   -- Marty Glassley, SMS Facebook review

12/14/2017

"I was shocked by the exorbitant $35 fee to sauna and soak in a tub of piped-in heated mineral water. I asked how such a unique natural resource came to be privately owned after thousands of years of indigenous usage, where one could imagine tribes laying weapons and differences aside to heal in the therapeutic waters.

"I was told a story of how the local band of Karuk people were massacred on the grounds years after healing the man that would eventually purchase the land from the government. (How the government can sell stolen land, I don't know, but we all know it's nothing new.) The woman told me that as a result of such a bloody past, Karuk and other local indigenous tribe members have held weekly ceremonies there to help heal the land, descendants, and soothe residual spiritual disturbances.

"I found this news hypocritical in light of the gigantic fake monument to colonialism all visitors must pass through in the form of the Army-style stockade gates and parapets reminiscent of the very institution responsible for the attempted genocide of the Native Peoples.

 

"Now, apparently under new ownership, there will be no more First Nations-led sweat lodges on Saturdays, in addition to the new ban on the nude human form and their outrageous regular fees and continual raising of the discounted fee for locals. 

"The people who run this place are clearly happy to ignore the fact that this place is a resource for all people, stolen the [bloodied lands] of indigenous people in order to turn a profit. Their predatory business practices, disrespectful shunning of The Karuk People and homage to colonial military power signal a sad continuation of American history of oppression."

     -- Drew S., Oakland, CA Yelp review

"Once it was a respite for locals and travelers alike. Matsuru Emoto even came to the property to speak about the purity of its water. It was a sacred place. Now, new owners have come in, kicked out the local tribe ... raised the prices and pretty much ruined the whole thing. So sad."

   -- Wendy James, SMS Facebook review

"...this sacred space is one of first places I visited in the Mt Shasta area many years ago and a place I held near and dear to my heart. When I moved to Shasta as a new mom it was a great place to rejuvenate and I visited regularly. Since the new owners have taken over and policies have changed I have only been twice. Now, I am brought to tears as I hear the family that welcomed me with open arms into their Karuk Sacred Sweat lodge and have been asked to leave their sacred land.

"So much disrespect is being shown to this native indigenous tribe, who are honored in our community and deserve much respect, and lands that were here way before these owners came along. I myself and many others have had much healing and growth from those sweats. To the amazing Karuk tribe who have taken my family under your wings, give thanks for all you do and I am sorry for your great loss.

"I will not be going back to Stewart Mineral Springs. There are many amazing mineral springs close by, whose owners honor the sacred land and indigenous tribes, where I will choose to support."

     -- Rosy Ware, SMS Facebook review

"...the new owners...ripped the heart out of this place by kicking the local indigenous sweat lodge..."

     -- Angel Cassidy Burst, SMS Facebook review

"I'm so dissatisfied with the new owners. First they took away clothing optional, then they cut the pay of their massage therapists, then took out the sacred items, and now the worst and most disrespectful action, they removed the Karuk Sweatlodge... This land is not really their land. It's sacred ground of the Karuk people. So much disrespect. Very rude. I will not be bringing any spiritual groups to this place until the sweatlodge has returned..."

     -- Lauren Willow Anderson, SMS Facebook review

"A beautiful place where I have enjoyed going to bathe and do sweat lodges with the Indigenous locals. When I learned that the new owners are making big changes like raising the prices and trying to turn it into a high-end resort, I was devastated. It appears that instead of working with the locals, these new owners have shunned them, instead making them stop doing a decades old ceremony that brings lots of people to pray and sweat at the site as well as to take the baths. If these new owners believe they can make a go of it without working with the local people, including the Indigenous tribe(s) that were there long before they arrived, they are destined to fail.

"It is with great sadness that I hear about the change in ownership at Stewart Springs. Raising the prices, kicking out the sweat lodge and changing its rustic nature and availability for locals to do ceremony will make it a place I will likely no longer choose to visit. So sad; this was a very sacred and special place."

   -- Bonnie F., Castro Valley, CA Yelp review

"It's so sad to see Stewart go down this road. I won't be going back unless the sweats are reinstated..."

     -- Hope I, El Sobrante, CA Yelp review

"Shame on you for breaking a 45 year sweat tradition...I see you losing a lot of local and regional support over this decision!"

     -- Laurie Sweets, SMS Facebook review

"Too bad new owners don't get it."

    -- Patty Speelman-Sherman, SMS Facebook

"What no more sweats?!...unseen energies will not be happy."

    -- Shannon Wedgley, SMS Facebook review

"Really sad...the greed factor is such a turnoff. The spiritual community of Mount Shasta could boycott the place..."

    -- Shananda Ann Kumara, SMS Facebook 

"It never felt right there for me. I was always uncomfortable. The land looks dirty and used up and not taken care of... the energy of the land did not feel right to me..."

     -- Kimberley Ann Montgomery, SMS Facebook

"...[M]y personal experience with the sweatlodge was transformational. It was beautiful that they shared that sacredness in tradition and opened it to whoever wanted to attend...sad and truly disrespectful..."

     -- Kat Mysers, SMS Facebook

"I remember the first time going here and loving the peaceful atmosphere and the most amazing group of people were running a sweat lodge. It was a very profound healing for me and I was brought into a beautiful way to pray and the most amazing group of people who to this day I call family. I am devastated to learn the new owners have asked these amazing people to leave this place where they have been providing this service for 45 years.

"...I refused to go starting last summer. Being on the inside as an employee I saw much I didn't agree with and it's by far much worse now. When I was there, I prayed for a cleansing of the land..."

     -- Sequoia Therese, SMS Facebook

"I always recommended this place to people but no longer can. I hope you know that you have hurt so many peoples' heart by doing this. As our beautiful teacher has taught us we will continue praying for you and the world because that is what we do."

    -- Tina Wood, SMS Facebook review

"And now...the sweat lodges lead by local indigenous elders will be discontinued? Is this fulfillment of Hopi prophecy that at the end of days indigenous American ceremonies will cease? The world is on fire. Will we see the error of your ways with love and understanding? Or will we come to realize this only after economic failure? ..."

    -- Elmer de Jesus Contreras, SMS Facebook

"The new owners...are disrespecting the Karuk & the local people."

      -- Jeanne Baker, SMS Facebook

"Without the sweat lodge this place is not worth it. The sole fact that the Native people were kicked out gives me enough reason not to go. I cannot believe the new owners would ruin the most magical and sacred experience ever. Until the sweat lodge returns, I will not return."

    -- Jenny N., Sacramento, CA

 

________________________________

Things are bad, all right. But know that this too shall pass...sooner or later.

"I love this place with all my heart. I healed so much here and have grown so very much from my experiences here, but since the new owners have come in and instated new policies that inhibit the free expression on one's self... It went from full transparency to having to cover up. (Clothing optional was one of the most potent aspects of SMS healing qualities... also the magical feeling of free expression of beauty of its guests.) Yes these new rules have allowed shy newcomers to enter but at what cost?

"I'm very disappointed and saddened and upset that they have kicked out the Native sweat lodge. I think it is all about the money now. Who cares about the history and soul of this place? ... 45 years the sweat lodge has been here. Why are you ending this? Is it a liability issue excuse to run people out?..."

    -- Carla Charraga, SMS Facebook

All aware beings who have cherished the place over time, despite all, hold fast to the vision of a positive future for the Springs... either with present new 'ownership' hearts miraculously melting or, barring that unlikely miracle, with the inevitable failure of the current privatization scheme, and in due course as 'owners' come to their senses and realize the magnitude of their error (or they remain clueless but vacate for other reasons), transfer the magical realm to a new, fully appropriate stewardship...

...stewards who will gladly reactivate the now abysmally suppressed, giant medicine wheel, resurrecting spa service and reopening the place to the public with an attitude of gratitude, reflecting the innate spirit of the healing spot and fans' collective heartsong.

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It's frustrating to speak your mind only to have one's words deleted, discounted as being inappropriate (i.e. bad for business)...regardless of how sincere, insightful and true the words.

George Orwell perhaps said it best:  "Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act." (People in Belarus are currently getting one-year prison sentences for clicking "like" on controversial Facebook posts.) 

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As mentioned, most of the above re-posted Yelp reviews were soon deleted from the site, ostensibly for "violating terms of service" -- 'owner' furor over earnest visitor push-back being allowed to air at all, perhaps?

 

And SMS Facebook first suspended its review site, then briefly -- and oddly -- added the rants back to the main page before, in September 2018, finally deleting the entire page. Happy to have rescued so many heartfelt writings from oblivion.

Countless fans hold that the realm deserves no less...

if enough Stewart Springs fans simply insist on it.

Writer Stuart Ward served as SMS work-trade assistant manager and grounds keeper from 2000-2002 under Mary Hildebrand while living on grounds. He built and maintained the bathhouse's cold plunge for 14 years and in the early 2000s self-published books on body acceptance and radical body freedom inspired by his own experiences at Stewart's.

 

 

 Links to videos on Stewart Springs

YouTube --  EarthAlive, frozen creek, nice soundtrack

YouTube --  Lorie Solay on sacred red and white springs

YouTube --  (Infomercial for Mount Shasta Sacred Tours)

             - Great explanation of region's vortex energies

YouTube --  Good pan of sundecks

YouTube --  Professional production, by Vlogish with Bailey.

              Great soundtrack, tho not best resolution

YouTube -- Excellent production, by Prolifix (subtle Pneuma commercial)

YouTube -- Bridget Nielsen - high energy rap on Shasta area,

              5:17 on covers Stewart's healing waters

YouTube -- Nice short video and soundtrack; camera's a bit jerky

YouTube -- Chrism Kundalini, creek and coldplunge in winter

YouTube -- Mr. Peace; good pans of place, if jerky camera

The collective vision and concerted efforts by unorganized, de facto Friends of Stewart Mineral Springs could work miracles: resurrecting the realm on a new, higher level as a nonprofit healing retreat again dedicated to serving the public's well being.

Bestir the imagination. Envision a thriving, affordable healing refuge for growth-minded people everywhere, one perhaps under an in-sync, nonprofit stewardship, working hand in hand with the wider Mt. Shasta region community and travelers alike.

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