What Happened to Stewart Springs? Cont'd
Continuation of 12-part sussing of how the springs came to be in its current sorry condition and how it might be redeemed through the intentional focus of fans.
(Article starts here)
Dead man walking;
Making the Springs unbareable (reprise)
There's another issue that complicated operations in the recent past, one which residual energies no doubt continue affecting the present.
As mentioned, the late co-managing husband, Ted Duncan, had been diagnosed with late-stage liver disease. What many maybe don't realize is that the diagnosis was made around the same exact time the couple secured their 10-year contract back in 2006.
Aside from former profit-maxing mandate and their conventional lifestyle druthers -- both at jarring odds with the cooperative, semi-bohemian, down-home tradition of the place -- with both he and senior-managing wife dealing with critical health issues (she herself underwent an hysterectomy), an already sad situation was hugely exacerbated. It seemed impossible to run the place with the dedicated focus and lighthearted spirit essential to any genuine healing spa worth its salt with death knocking at the door of management.
Certainly facilitating spa-ing nude -- such free-spirited practice epitomizing a full-tilt embrace of life's simple goodness, patrons taking simple delight in a mini-vacation from an overdressed world amid the healing arms of nature, in the process amping up the palliative benefits -- wasn't something anyone freaking out over a looming medical death sentence could ever get too enthused about.
It's a pity that former 'owner' John Foggy didn't realize they perhaps weren't the best managerial fit, given the circumstances. But possibly the dire condition wasn't yet diagnosed at their hiring, or was kept secret after diagnosis, whether made before or after hiring, for fear of losing or not gaining the position if known to him. (Though some might say there are no mistakes; it was all perfect.)
In a way the place became his own semi-private hospice and the couple merely suffered sharing it with the public.
Naturally, one couldn't be on the ball and at ease, helping others relax and keep the staff mellow with such grave calamities going on with one's own health.
In any event, one might've been left wondering why they didn't claim medical hardship at some point and get out of the 10-year contract so he could enjoy his remaining time without needless aggravation of running what at times could be an incredibly demanding operation, even in the best of health, and the legal steward find healthier (and, ideally, more progressive-minded) management. An early Paul Simon lyric came to mind: "...and all your wealth can't buy you health."
Maybe he was hopeful that frequent soaking in the waters would, more than slow the inevitable (as it surely must have), instead effect a full recovery that conventional pill and procedure medicine couldn't. Or at least keep the inevitable at bay. So he clung to the co-manager position like his life depended on it. Perhaps he hoped to die working in the saddle, if only to cover the soaring health insurance premiums and leave his partner better provided for. Again, one can only wonder if he indeed secured the position only after getting the terminal diagnosis and so having 24-hour access to healing waters was far more important than any modest joint salaries and free lodging the position provided.
(see review posted by Ted -- signed T.D. -- for Springs, second one down, wherein he posed as a visitor to enable posting a personal testimony of the healing waters)
Let's Make the place unbareable!
Affecting shock over a supposed deck incident, the former manager, no doubt, if true, then reported to the prospective new 'owners' how the place was becoming some hotbed of moral degradation she was hard-pressed to ever get a handle on, despite her most valiant efforts: "We've got Trouble! I say right here in River City! With a capital 'T', that rhymes with 'B', that stands for Bare!"
It was surely hurting business, repelling droves of more respectable, family-value visitors -- that is, better-heeled, more refined, properly body-alienated, conventional-thinking travelers and vacationers, some international, seeking charming, quaint rural resorts; clothes-minded dabblers of therapeutic mineral springs, various new age disciplines, and undiscriminating, freespending culture vultures in general...
...deeper-pocketed visitors who -- while no doubt loving the grounds and maybe thrilling to the prospect of indulging in the time-honored, royal, decadent delight of "taking the waters" -- had precious little understanding or appreciation of how any real, down-to-earth springs resort worth its salt (or silica) and dedicated to deep cleansing and purification and rejuvenation realized that needless body covering interferes with optimal relaxation, enjoyment and palliative benefit...and so clothing was optional and simple mindful nudity permitted.
Cultural differences of foreign visitors aside, even some state-siders, both local and traveling, were put off by such radical body freedom with its potential power to variously distract, arouse, and/or disgust. Plus confuse kids' false-modesty societal programming, making dutifully conformist parents uncomfortable. Alas, it was often fully understandable, given the way the c/o scene was essentially left in free-fall. No mindful guardrails were in place. The policy, inherited from past managerships under the same 'owner', went unsupported by the largely bohemian-indifferent husband-wife team, leaving the scene wide open for abusive, lower-consciousness behavior to crop up now and then amid the daily visitor mix.
(For an egregious, mind-boggling example, see Famous Last Words - scroll to item heading of "......" in third article)
But how far does one go to accommodate what many were convinced was, in fact, an over-influential minority at the expense of a large, now-alienated fan base that deeply valued the open-minded Euro style option -- or was at least okay with it, given people behaved?
Again, one might've cynically viewed the oppressive change as reflecting the determination of both old and new managements to purge the place of such bohemian-friendly visitors, so offensive to a wrathful God morality mindset and discomforting to those leading dutifully conventional, genuine-self-alienated lives.
Many had been dismissed, stereotyped, even vilified, as low-spending wild hippies, mostly locals at that, hurting business by scaring off more respectable, deeper-pocketed, perma-dressed visitors who were unable or unwilling to cope with seeing the essential human form in everyday life...and being painfully reminded of their own, numbly accepted, lifelong body alienation...visitors who like contented spies were happy staying undercover, thank you very much -- and wished to hell everyone else would be, too.
Fifty years ago that might've indeed been the case. No more. With each passing year alternate culture lifestyle values has been becoming more and more ingrained in the life-affirming segment of the global mainstream culture.
Over time, radical body freedom -- along with yoga, conscious plant-based diet, cannabis and magic mushroom medicine, transcendental meditation, recycling and pre-cycling, clean energy, tiny homes and appropriate lifestyle and livelihood -- has spread FAR past the mere 'lunatic fringe' of mainstream awareness.
Those enthused by such things, or open to learning about them, had come to constitute the predominant patronage of the Springs, the growing numbers allowing the place to become the thriving success it was, treasured as a nominally bohemian, healing and rejuvenating refuge, well-ensconced in nature yet easy to reach for being only a few miles off the interstate highway.
^ Grand freebody anti-war protest statement at San Francisco's Ocean Beach, 2003
...that is, short of having millions more to float it without being dependent on the operation's former
< Ashland, Oregon, 2003, impending Iraq war protest in Lithia Park
reportedly quarter-million/year net -- again, a sum largely garnered from the former loyal repeat visitor base. And the new 'stewardship' apparently not giving a flying leap what a legion a now alienated fans might think...that is, beyond the bad press they might generate. And so obtuse, they can actually enjoy 'owning' their little paradise, convinced they're helping make the world a better place by 'saving' the springs from the heathen rabble so that more respectable, select patrons can enjoy it now and then while at the same time they take the place over to do their own pet fringe psychology shtick there.
Gone with the wind?
Banning simple nudity, along with emptying the altar inside the spring-source gazebo and ending both time-honored sacred sweatlodge and bathhouse spa service, might, again, well prove to be a series of fatal, self-defeating missteps. Ones generating such a sea of ill will and bad karma that they will, given time, doom whatever re-purposing plans have been afoot from succeeding. They have the seeds of their own ultimate self-destruction baked in.
They possibly wondered (or not) why, right after c/o ban took affect, visitor volume fell off the cliff. The place's former thriving locals day became a desolate ghost town overnight. With sweatlodge removal and word of other astonishingly misguided actions like tearing out the tubs circling the globe, visitorship continuing to nosedive, leaving the grounds an empty vestige of its former thriving self.
Obviously, it was no great mystery. For with unfolding their stupendously inappropriate diversionary plans, suddenly disenfranchised were a sea of the place's long-supporting devotees -- open-minded visitors of diverse lifestyles and income levels, a thoroughly varied sub-group making shambles of any stereotype that it was low-spending, wild locals with kinky penchant for running about nekkid ruining the place for the more respectable and deeper-pocketed...the properly body-alienated, or at least those so duly resigned to prisons of cloth that they had no desire to be ever get freed from them save in private, thank you. Not even on a gloriously warm day while beguiled by the charms of a secluded natural setting rich with healing forces encouraging one to become more one with nurturing life forces.
They were, in fact, a rich variety of visitors, ones for whom the option of experiencing the exhilarating freedom and enhanced comfort simple mindful nudity afforded in the course of spa purification played a crucial role in advancing a more integrated, holistic way of living...
...people from all walks of life, some of whom, instead of doing the spa, came together in the nextdoor sacredsweat lodge to cleanse and heal and grok the spiritual essence of America's prehistoric roots, often gaining a profound new spiritual awareness and sense of grounded community.
Obviously, more and more were awakening to an all-inclusive, diverse-lifestyle mingling, as the consciousness of the planet kept rising to dramatic new levels in which people found common ground and came together to enjoy it together, feeling liberated from the repressive ways of the old world.
Meanwhile, those yet awakened and bent on garnering ever greater material riches while flirting with doing a few ostensible good works -- almost as if to try filling the gaping spiritual void in their lives -- seemed intent on making life on earth as miserable as possible for the rest...those refusing to longer be part of a soul-less culture of mass consumption, mindless controlling and a seemingly asleep-at-the-wheel existence.
Can the present 'owners' be so determined -- and deep-pocketed -- to weather the drastic drop in business? And be so indifferent they don't care how they've devastated the once-vibrant global culture of mineral spa fans in the course of unfolding their shocking diversion of the place -- one that for seven generations was, in varying degree according to the current stewards intent and awareness, dedicated to purifying, healing and rejuvenating a greater humanity?
Peace on earth -
what a concept
What such private-minded catering is blind to is the age-old vision many of the realm's fans hold dear:
< Longtime spontaneous spring gazebo altar,
now sterile and forlorn
mankind is intent on learning to live in closer harmony with nature and one another. Such age-old envisioning, now perhaps closer than ever to actually manifesting (perhaps not) naturally holds that providing appropriate rural places
like Stewart's -- at which to purify, heal and experience physical freedom, or discover and honor spiritual medicine of First Nations people -- are CRUCIAL to hastening the global transformation that the current 'absentee stewardship ostensibly claims to be so all for.
As said, neither the former 'owner' nor managers ever seemed to resonate with the time-honored regimen of authentic healing mineral springs resorts...places that allowed people the option of enjoying appropriate simple nudity to better relax, purify and heal...though they finally did permit it during last 16 years (and no doubt weathered tiresome jabs about running some kind of weird hippie nudist camp), if only because it proved great for business.
Many fans might hold that whether one has bucks or not or is or isn't into any organized thing isn't important. That spirit is a free gift from a loving Universal Father. Trying to commodify it has inevitably always led to things like Jesus driving the money lenders from the temple.
What's important is nurturing any place having a full-tilt dedication to healing, that foster an awakening of body-mind-spirit -- like Stewart's was (again, the last time full throttle was in the 1970's, under the Goodpasture family) -- never obsessing over the bottom line or even thinking of repurposing the place, to the detriment of the greater good by abandoning its simple but forthright public-service mission.
Both spiritual and material prosperity naturally thrive when doing the right thing:
putting the horse in FRONT of the cart.
And because the last managers were seriously side-tracked by personal life-threatening health issues on top of the ceaseless pressure to maximize profits, Stewart's c/o scene, six years in at their start, seldom achieved -- short of times when the place spilled over with conscious energies (often on the wings of some big event like Burning Man) -- more than the faintest semblance of integrity and relaxed and safe atmosphere so mindfully, low-keyly nurtured at every other popular, long-established rural c/o springs in the wider region.
Instead, former managers coasted, gritting their teeth, suffering the place's modest body freedom so shockingly distasteful... (Along with, eventually, the sweatlodge. Writer remembers around 2001 the old manager, Mary H., saying Foggy had told her he sometimes would've liked to have seen it gone.)
So they let the c/o scene erode through lackluster, reactionary ("No yoga in sauna" door sign), at times outright asleep-at-the-wheel operation.
Such a quaint
Since lodging bookings could sometimes bring in more money than the spa's limited water supply and bathhouse hours allowed, the place was touted more as charming resort nestled in nature than the unassuming sacred healing spa retreat it was...beyond paying hollow lip service in blurbs, that is, like "Indulge your Soul." As a result, increasingly attracted were overnight visitors with little or no appreciation of the place's deeper historic and prehistoric focus on purifying and healing the self -- eventually including, so obvious now, the latest 'ownership'. Any such appreciation took a back seat to their intent -- 'owner's' prerogative -- to pursue decidedly un-public-minded use of the grounds.
Let's commodify everything!
A healthful spa experience, the original reason for the operation launching ages ago, was in time relegated to being more of a mere extra feature, a quaint novelty, a purely optional, decadent indulgence. With visitors no better attuned to the purification process, soaking all too easily became little more than a superficial flirtation with purifying and healing. Sometimes soakers on Instagram paused to tell envious friends stuck at home how they'd ventured into the wilds and were at that very moment "taking the waters" ala European royalty of olde.
Former management no doubt fumed overtime for hands being tied to scrap the clothing-optional policy...before the surviving one finally did, on leaving, knowing the new 'owners' were dead set against it. Again, it had long been part and parcel of earlier ambitious progressive management changes under late Mary H. (assisted by writer), which at the turn of millennium doubtless helped spur visitor volume through the roof.
This was the bottom line for 'owner' John Foggy, who, redeeming virtue, was from liberal-minded San Francisco and became okay with simple nudity on realizing it was good for business (and possibly sensing he was earning serious points among many patrons for being alternative-culture friendly).
One didn't mess with success if wanting to keep in good graces with the boss. So the indifferent-to-hostile management endured the c/o situation even while dreaming of one day ending the scourge ruining the enjoyment of the place for more respectable, perma-dressed people.
Though only achieved on the way out by her working with incoming new 'owners', the policy change must've provided some measure of satisfaction. "Thought you'd be able to go naked there forever, did you? Think again, my pretties...hee-hee-hee-hee!"
Trying to co-opt sacred
land for gain or private use
will always end badly
If the new, nowhere to be seen stewards wanted the place to evolve and thrive as an exceptional, all-inclusive, culturally diverse, spiritually-focused healing resort, it behooved them to become sensitive to the place's visitor base and appreciate how deeply much of it had embraced the progressive c/o policy and the bathhouse soaks, the old gazebo's love-offering altar and the venerable weekly sweat lodge ceremonies.
They ignored this at their peril...and are now reaping a thorn-choked harvest.
Big duh elephant
in the room
Mountains of business goodwill built over generations was destroyed wholesale, along with the place's much valued, relaxed bohemian atmosphere.
All because they didn't get the Big Duh. Or, more likely, found it a big yawn, being so preoccupied with their own private-minded re-purposing schemes all along that nothing else mattered.
Such thinking was indifferent (or outright hostile) to an obvious fact: those into alternative-culture and open-minded, bohemian-friendly ways are always attracted to natural mineral springs retreats dedicated to natural alternative healing.
Again, the former, aware visitorship was so large and longstanding that disenfranchising them all but guaranteed their misguided, inappropriate efforts will fail in the long run, from lack of support and condemnation by global spring aficionados and fallout within the ranks (not to mention the increased stress on Gaia causing them to be rejected from the revered land).
Meanwhile, the former, dreary, unbridled focus of the money-hungry, power-jonesin', fly-by-seat-of-pants ownership/management seems to be continuing in a lame new variation under the banner of an ostensibly benevolent, nonprofit organization, locked into a new twist on clinical psychotherapy.
Though maybe not meaning to or, more likely, accepting the consequences of their actions as doable, it oppresses what clamors to be a positive light-healing realm, unfettered by ANY profit motivation or private-minded concerns that puts a specialized agenda ahead of serving the greater good...
...at the tragic cost of the place losing its ability to heal humanity by working intimately with nature in a relaxed, unassuming manner.
By the new 'ownership' imposing its conservative values and repurposing intent on the place, it loses sight of Stewart's historic dedication to serve all.
Universal spirituality outshines dogma-cluttered religion any day of the week -- especially the kind serving to rationalize and mask perhaps more uncharitable, private-minded goals.
The Springs founders' daughter, Katy Stewart Lloyd, in the late 1940s refused to sell the place to old moneybags Vanderbilt; she knew he'd promptly shut place to public (in his case without even a veneer of benevolent intent, but wanting to turn the place into an exclusive playground for the rich and famous of his circle). see history
Again, as time invariably proves, trying to co-opt a sacred land to make a buck and/or co-opt for diversionary private use, in the process shutting out everyday people seeking purification, healing, and rejuvenation, always ends badly.
As said, the now-abandoned hope of the writer was that they'd become aware of mindful nudity's easy and effective ability to amp the place's healing power and visitor volume -- a win-win situation...
...that they would then naturally give the green light again and re-activate clothing-optional on a new, well thought-out and maintained level once trading notes with region's successful c/o rural resort managements...establishing a healing climate any open-minded visitor could appreciate and respect management could be comfortable with.
Dream on, McDuff.
Tragically, years of what countless, now -estranged fans of place felt was an inappropriate profit preoccupation by the former 'owner', having set a rigid focus, with management doing his bidding, has continued in an even more depressing variation. The nonprofit parent group essentially turned the place upside down and inside out to try to serve as its own retreat and bureaucratic world headquarters and teaching workshop for its own private gig in the lucrative shrink field, while hoping to keep luring (now) lodging-only, group retreat/event traffic to subsidize at least some of the ongoing operational and ownership costs
Stature of flood-damaged, one-winged angel long on the creek isle below the bathhouse could not fly. It reflected all too well the state of the place's earlier. profit-driven management.
Meanwhile, though having lost serious momentum, the place straggles on, still coasting on historic reputation and knowing it's an 'owners market'. Now it's shut down and dismantled the bathhouse, subverting 145 years of tradition, having zero interest in longer offering affordable, quality retreat for spa-savvy, growth-minded beings, on life-affirming paths...those who automatically gravitate to nature's special healing realms, like flowers to sunshine, whose patronage made the place the thriving success it was.
Past as Present
Again, former late co-manager Ted D.'s slowly dying over a ten year period greatly exacerbated the situation, derailing any chance to evolve into a more gracious, clear-thinking, free-flowing operation -- even had the absent 'owner' and the rest of management been open to it, which they weren't -- weakening the place's longtime altruistic dedication to the point outside parties -- either sensing it or oblivious to it -- became interested in snapping it up for their own inappropriate devices.
As mentioned elsewhere, the former inertia of the place continues to affect the present operation as long as the new operation coasts on the old worn pattern of opaque, control-freak, shallow-courtesy management approach, rather than break out in the can-do cooperative, nonprofit spirit of healing, working hand-in-hand with visitors, on a joy-of-service basis. One that honors nature's sacred realm. (Writer gives million to one odds the present, absentee stewards could ever make such a dramatic transformation, their hearts miraculously melting, but would love to be proven wrong.)
Making what grounds improvements past managers did, while laudable, could never make up for the lack of heart and a sharing spirit. Instead, ceaseless pressure to increase profits, plus the ongoing medical freak-out and resulting intolerant authoritarian stances to cope with both pressures, made visitors feel like they were somehow imposing on them even as they forked over their hard-earned money.
After having heard such wonderful things about the place and anticipating a relaxing, healing visit in the tranquil solitude of nature under kind stewardship, their wistful hopes were often dashed to hell and gone at arrival. Alas, countless such fond dreams were so rudely shattered over time that many held nothing but blindly hostile feelings for the place (or at least its management and 'ownership', as various heated bad reviews showed).
What obviously escaped the former's notice -- while preoccupied upgrading the material side of the place, hoping to attract a more upscale, often mineral-springs-culture indifferent mindset -- is how an on-the-ball, genuinely gracious, can-do management energy or lack thereof would always make or break every even remotely spiritually conscious visitor's experience -- regardless of the state of amenities beyond basic creature comforts like clean bedding, adequate room heat and plumbing.
Back to the Future
or Hooray for the Riff-raff
Current and would-be supporters of Pneuma will at some point realize the self-defeating karma foundation members have created for themselves. "Operation Refine and Homogenize Culture to Support Our Shtick" will never gain the critical traction needed for the place to even begin to pay for itself. Maybe they have accepted this and have pockets deep enough to keep a money pit going. Maybe not.
But, more importantly, global condemnation for stealing the place from the people will forever eat away at any positive force they ever hope to build up there.
It will never be privately enjoyed by 'owners' and their networks with anything even remotely approaching an abiding peace of mind...
...especially if in fact they ARE depending on high visitor volume and booked group retreats/events/workshops to make an appreciable dent in the place's ongoing costs. (As mentioned elsewhere, operation must clear some $77. every day of the year just to cover the county property taxes levied as a for-profit operation.)
'Owners', finally tiring of hemorrhaging investment capital and/or any possible tax write-off exceeding the point of being worthwhile, will then throw in towel. At some point they'll concede they were clueless how to steward the beloved healing spa operation and realize the folly for thinking they could possibly get away with detouring seven generations of healing service tradition just to suit their own private designs.
They'll realize they were fatally misled by the example of past absentee 'owners' and management's profit-jonesin' preoccupation...and in fantasyland for thinking that merely shoveling a pile of cash ever entitled them to steal the place away from the public...its operation now drastically at odds with the former budding, universal, open-circuit energies of the public-spirited realm that had fitfully labored to re-activate the founder's original public-service mission and spirit of earlier, prehistoric native use.
Seeing the light, they'll relocate to more suitable headquarters, selling the Springs land -- at a reasonable price -- to new, appropriate stewards who get it in their sleep...thereby redeeming themselves by enabling the restoration of the once and future cornucopia of purifying, healing and rejuvenating that is Stewart Mineral Springs.
With a management that realizes the crucial importance of making the place a legal nonprofit to provide the crucially needed affordable, relaxed healing atmosphere, they'd promptly re-instate clothing-optional policy on a new, more mindful level...
...and invite the Karuk sweat lodge to return, if they're by then still so inclined...
...steward(s) who -- after in-depth research, with the help of any so-inclined legal-minded friends of the Springs at large -- would in time, after hammering out a detailed vision for the place's future operation, file legal paperwork and set up the place in perpetuity as a nonprofit organization. One dedicated to public well-being and enlightenment. (As reportedly Oregon's Jackson Wellsprings did 100 years ago as of 2023; happy anniversary.)
Envision such a good-karma future stewardship. Thousands of empowered creator beings who we are, or are on the road to becoming -- focusing on such a special common goal with laser intensity CAN manifest such a seeming miracle.
Envision a perfect, thriving Springs under enlightened new nonprofit ownership, even now hovering over the current tragic scene, ready to descend and hit the ground running.
Place in the sun,
mon, to sun me buns
To hammer out a new viable c/o policy, future managers and/or staff of future stewards need only go on a fact-finding tour to various regional c/o spring resorts, experiencing and witnessing firsthand their integrated c/o scenes and spa layouts to get inspired to come up with doable brainstorms for Stewart's...
...picking the brains of management to discover how they work to keep the high-octane energies public nudity can release on the more chill, respectable side; how they balance the c/o policy with concerns of visiting families. (Southern Oregon's Jackson Hot Springs, for instance, allows c/o only after nightfall, for adults only, the rest of the time requiring minimal cover-up, thus accommodating both families, everyday mineral spring goers and freebody enthusiasts who in daytime visits have resigned selves to the restriction and getting tan lines.)
In time, Stewart then might at long last join the sisterhood of the wider region's progressive mineral spring resorts.*
* During the Foggy sisters' management days, around 2006, the management of historic Wilbur Hot Springs, some 200 miles away, reached out to Stewart's with an invitation to join the existing reciprocal free-pass trade arrangement between the management staffs of Wilbur, Orr and Harbin Springs when visiting each other's places. Stewart's, forever feeling like an orphan, couldn't appreciate the significance of an offer to join the sisterhood of regional spring resorts. As far as the writer knew, management never even responded.
Future stewardship will intuitively appreciate how the human body can be seen either as either sacred or profane, depending on one's awareness level. Mindfulness of management, following the lead of a new stewardship, makes all the difference: between the sometimes tawdry scene that the Springs at its worst became and one that's respectable, genuinely healing and life-transforming.
Becoming yet one more simple mindful c/o sanctuary might go a long way towards normalizing the sight of the essential human body and free humanity from itself.
Of free spirit
or Old dreams die hard
As disastrous actions mounted, shattering hopes of all who wished only good things for the place with the change in stewardship, banning simple nudity in appropriate areas shocked countless on an unspeakably deep level -- as did kicking out the sweatlodge. Both were almost akin to a death in the family.
The new mandatory cover-up policy, in place until shutting scrapping spa service entirely soon after, had left this suggestible writer's first view of new, dutifully wrapped bathhouse visitors in late 2016 with the surreally bleak impression that patrons were wearing mourning apparel, in bereavement over accustomed body freedom tragically meeting a sudden demise. The mind boggled at the paradox.
The cherished, bohemian-friendly healing realm had, obviously, suddenly become imprisoned in outdated, oppressive, guilt-based morality.
It felt like bourgeois mediocrity was at long last getting a bit of sweet revenge.
The place was now held hostage by forces obviously not caring how mandatory clothing, and removal of the sacred sweatlodge, defeated the deepest purpose and gift of the realm, severely crimping its use as a genuine healing retreat center for ALL people.
It might as well have been mourning clothes indeed for the way the simple-nudity ban mandated body shame...spelling death to fostering enlightened body acceptance so crucial to the place's deeper ability to purify, transform and rejuvenate while fostering a profound sense of authentic self.
Can the genie be put back in the bottle?
Not with conscious body freedom in appropriate places being accepted and embraced by more and more all the time. (Everyone, after all, is born a natural-born freebody, before social conditioning takes its toll).
Only in some impossible alternate universe could the genie ever be put back in bottle without the Springs losing an incalculable measure of its transformative healing power.
Writer, after long holding out hopes of new stewards eventually coming around, was radicalized at last and joined the groundswell of former Stewart Springs devotees shunning the place, stunned, infuriated and brokenhearted over rejection of the long-venerated realm's healing tradition.
Droves of people now refuse to aid and abet the self-interested forces, trusting they will in time see the light...meanwhile failing in misguided effort to wrest the sacred healing realm from the public -- but hopefully being aware and conscious enough that, once finally duly chagrined, they'll come to their senses and work to find an appropriate stewardship to take over and thus redeem their now-tattered honor...ultimately gaining some offhand positive legacy in the realm's ongoing history.
Recap on possible intents
Writer is now far out of loop and as much in the dark as most everyone else as to the current property holders exact intention (assuming they actually have one and aren't just playing it by ear, as in "Let's try this awhile and see how it flies..."). I can only analyze the situation and report on things as filtered through Pneuma's website, my own intimate knowledge of place's operation in the past and, for what it's worth, intuition.
Again, the two main contenders of absentee steward's long-range intent are:
1. Privatize the place for own Pneuma group's exclusive use, general public no longer welcome. Gates slam shut and new signs growl Keep Out.
If true, lotsa luck finding one shred of peace of mind for having enacted such community-insensitive cultural destruction, believing the end justifies the means, creating a veritable Mount Everest of bad karma for alienating legions of place's former supporters around the world.
2. Keeping it open to the public on group basis only, to subsidize costs while shifting focus of place to primarily serve as Pneuma retreat center, classroom and world headquarters, pushing their own shtick with workshops advancing academic/training agenda, leaving little to no room for public enjoyment of what facilities remain after scrapping spa service; yet dependent, in symbiotic union, on select, legacy-indifferent group bookings to help defray substantial 'ownership' and operational costs.
If the latter's the case, casting a laser on how the de facto hostile takeover disenfranchised and disrupted the growth-oriented lifestyle of the place's myriad longtime supporters (and prevented a sea of would-be newcomers from ever turning on to it for optimal, affordable healing experiences, as it had tens of thousands over decades past) might put a crimp in place's ever taking off in whatever misguided direction it hopes to go.
viva la causa
The second possibility, though depressing enough, maybe holds a bit more encouragement. Operation, again barring an amazing change of heart by the 'owners', is bound to fail in due course.
Eventually they'll give up, realizing they'd be worlds happier and productive somewhere else, no sea of people painting them as villains for stealing the public's treasured retreat and handicapping their efforts to do good according to their own lights.
They'll take a deep collective sigh, chalk it up to experience and move on, the land (and operation) put back on the market for an (ideally) hand-in-glove benefactor to redeem, along with the re-activated volunteer, hired, and work-trade help of community at large, helping to take the place over the top again, inspired more than ever by the long held popular vision of making it a nonprofit healing community center and spa retreat.
Assuming this is case, every devotee of place can work on manifesting new appropriate stewardship through meditative visualization of a positive future for Stewart's.
Given enough Springs devotees, it would be a matter of concentrating group-focused energy in concert, bending time to manifest the desired change. Seeing it as already here, in fine-tuned detail, hovering overhead, ready to descend and activate at the perfect moment.
The place could then at long last join Breitenbush, Orr, Wilbur, Sierra, Jackson Wellsprings and Harbin as yet another of the few thriving West Coast mineral spring resort sanctuaries, existing light-years away from Babylon's lingering darkness.
Stewart Mineral Springs might then, four decades after the last relatively mellow, down-home owner operation by the Goodpastures in the 1970's (see History), shake off its terminally dysfunctional past.
It would make a truly bold new start... one with free-flowing, supergrounded, can-do spirit the place can so naturally inspire with conscious management. One making the realm paradise both for locals and the legion of growth-minded, free-thinking travelers worldwide.
The first step, again, is imagining a future legal stewardship: management, staff and visitors in harmony with the realm, with simple body freedom returning on a mindful level along with the venerable Karuk sweat lodge (again, if members are open to it) -- once again honoring and celebrating the universal spirit of the place to help affordably purify, heal, and rejuvenate todo el mundo.
Imagine the combined energies of the place's far-flung fans causing the current misguided stewards to receive and accept the giant reality check and thus ultimately save Stewart Mineral Springs, liberating it for the world's countless rural mineral spring resort aficionados and natural healing proponents.
Envision a 'miracle'
Writer's no mover and shaker. Just a recluse living in the woodlands with a dream of rescuing a place he dedicated 20 years of his life to...a vision of the founding couple's lost dream being resurrected...and, as much as modern times allow, the spirit of the super-natural healing ground of native cultures before them.
Alas, I have zero networking skills to speak of, including Facebook. Only this one dedicated site, kind encouragement of others to tell it like it is -- and a long-abiding conviction shared by many that Stewart Springs is meant to continue playing an important role in now-unfolding world transformation -- IF only enough conscious beings who love and treasure such places focus energies and INSIST on it.
If the current errant stewards wake up to the realization that letting go is the best thing they could do for a place they too love in their own way and transfer it into appropriate hands, then the great medicine wheel of Stewart Mineral Springs might once again turn in majestic motion.
Waiting for Godot? Ghost dancing? Dreaming the impossible dream? Maybe, maybe not...
...it's whatever enough conscious beings want and focus on manifesting.
Nothing more, nothing less.
is our friend
Even though the last 'owner' had held the place for 34 years, two of the six previous post-Stewart family stewardships only lasted a short while. This one might well appear on track to becoming the third. see history
Why? The property legally changed hands during a Mercury retrograde period. According to time-proven astrological influences, on the subtle plane this bodes for potential chaos, confusion, and uncertainty for any new 'owner' of an existing operation if at the time of legal change energies are un-centered and not in their fullest integrity -- which, according to an insider eyewitness report, they weren't.
Not by a long shot.
When they got together at the grounds restaurant to celebrate sealing the steal -- er, deal -- the vibe reportedly was one of mad scrambling discord, according to the person serving them. Perhaps not too unlike corporate raiders after pulling a bold hostile takeover and drunk on the audacity of the act and enormity of the haul, left squabbling over how to divvy up the spoils, oblivious or indifferent to how misguided privatizing schemes would trigger devastating heartbreak and lifestyle disruption for thousands of longtime Stewart Springs fans.
This periodic apparent backward-motion influence in the heavens could serve us well indeed here.
Coupled with the fact that intent vibration at the start of any new enterprise stays with it throughout, the seeds of its ultimate self-destruction were planted at the current 'stewards' very start.
Most unfortunate for them; most fortunate for us.
Again, envision the PERFECT future stewardship manifesting at the perfect moment.
Remember that contained within the Chinese character for 'crisis' is the word 'opportunity'. The current long pause gives fans time to re-evaluate what the Springs has meant in their lives and re-dedicate efforts to restoring its DNA to once again serve the greater public.
A just universe will in time show the absentee stewards the folly and unconscionable selfishness of thinking they could ever shut such a priceless treasure beloved by countless...that nothing truly meaningful or honorable can ever come from the current diversionary efforts.
Unless they melt their hearts, gaining the realization they hold a sacred trust to safeguard the Springs for the sake of ALL humanity -- rich and poor, sick and well, young and old, gay and straight, bohemian and convention-locked, locals and world travelers -- and return the realm to serving as an open-circuit, progressive-minded, affordable healing retreat...
,,,then they owe it to all - -not least of all themselves -- to redeem now-frayed integrity and transfer the legal stewardship to parties that WILL, and relocate to a more appropriate headquarters -- a happier place, blissfully free of all the bad karma currently plaguing efforts to do actual good through their ostensible aim to facilitate actualizing the Greater Self.
Bestir the imagination, Envision a thriving, affordable healing refuge for growth-minded people everywhere. One under a future, in-sync, nonprofit stewardship working hand in hand with Mt. Shasta's conscious community and in tandem with growth-minded people everywhere.
Fans feel the place deserves no less.
see New Day Dawning
also new intro to Rants & Raves
Writer served as SMS work-trade assistant manager and grounds keeper 2000-2002 under Mary H while living on grounds, and built and maintained the bathhouse cold plunge for 14 years. He has self-published books on body acceptance and body freedom, inspired by his own experiences at Stewart's.
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