posted on May, 7 2015 @ 12:27 PM
While many ancient religions have largely been forgotten by the Western World, there are still small areas dedicated to the practices. One of the
greatest I've ever encountered has been Four Quarters Farm Interfaith Sanctuary. It recently made the news but my family and I have been members for
quite some time now.
This fantastic writeup
The author did their homework and stayed on site for a long enough period of time to really get an idea of what it's like there. It's really
important to note that there is nothing extraordinarily idealistic or utopian about this. It's just folks who want to live their lives unimpeded by
many modern trappings. Not to mention it's hard work. The few staff members who live and work there do a solid 12 hours of hard farm work, but
tending to this beautiful space that so many different folks use for worship is a privilege.
Hidden in the state’s southern foothills, the sanctuary bills itself as a “safe and sacred ceremonial space for the modern practice of ancient
religion.” An eclectic, 250-acre oasis, it includes a Native American Sweat Lodge, drum and dance circle, hilltop labyrinth, dozens of altars for
worship and hundreds of campsites. And at its spiritual center, the Allegheny’s answer to Stonehenge — 47 multi-ton stones semi-circling an
open-air altar. The stones were all raised by hand and are still growing by two stones a year thanks to a three-day, sweat-filled, community-wide tug
of war called “Stones Rising.”
There are a half-dozen or so full-time residents of the sanctuary who live under monastic vows of poverty and service, but their community of
support swells into the hundreds for their many Earth-religious ceremonies, such as Beltaine, Samhain and Yule. Though the variety of faiths on
display at Four Quarters can appear disparate — members’ religious roots range from Afro-Caribbean and Neopagan, to Gaian and Druidic — they are
nearly all nature-based, putting these forested foothills at the center of their spirituality.
This was taken during the maypole dance for Beltane this year. For those unfamiliar it's to celebrate spring and it's mostly a fertility ritual. I
suppose this is where I'll note that there's a hugely diverse membership and a large LGBT population.
Stone's Rising. This is every bit as labor intensive as it looks and everyone who helps is a volunteer (as with all work done on the farm).
But, the camping's great, there's music and dancing and drum circles and fire spinners and ancient religious ceremonies of all types. Artists and
acrobats and gun enthusiasts (yes, we have a gun festival), you name it, we've got it. The place is largely self policing, but anyone who comes in
and disrespects the land or any of it's people is unceremoniously removed from the property in all due haste. Other than that, it's a great retreat
from the more stressful aspects of life, and a true sanctuary for folks of all stripes to live openly for a while. Just figured I'd share since I
know of no other place like it.