Reopening is Within Sight: Stories of Renewal and Reawakening, pt. 1

 

New prayer flags for the Condor Feather. November 2019.

After two years of cleanup and recovery from the Thomas Fire, our reopening is finally within sight. This would not have been possible without the support of friends like you. Thank you!

We plan to open the gates this spring with the launch of the Foundations in Resilience Education (FIRE) Fellowship for young leaders and more legacy programming.

Much is needed to make this possible, including:

• retaining our small but mighty staff and “keeping the lights on”

• continuing to tend to the structures, trails and gardens for safety and beauty

• creating a new “camp kitchen” and dining area with tables, shade and hearth

Will you please help us in this final push to reopen by contributing to our annual operating fund?

Donate Now

All gifts, large or small, make a difference.
 
We thank you for staying with us throughout this journey of recovery, and we look forward to seeing you on the land very soon.

With gratitude,

 

The Executive Stewardship Circle
Brendan Clarke & Sharon Shay Sloan, Co-Directors
David Bryan & Laura Whitney, Board Co-Chairs



Stories of Renewal and Reawakening


 

As we can now see our opening date on the horizon, we have begun the process of ceremonially reawakening the shrines and other spaces on the land. Below is the story of the Condor Feather and the recent process of reawakening this special place on the land.
 

RENEWAL & RE-UNION AT THE CONDOR FEATHER
In 1989, Gigi Coyle led a monthlong journey at The Ojai Foundation for “Relationship with Ancestors, Self, ‘Others’ and the Earth.” Throughout this retreat was the co-creation with earth artist Daniel Dancer (Art for the Sky) of a prayer stick, mainly visible to the sky beings high above the ground, asking for the return of the endangered California Condor. Initially, at the east end of the feather stood a tall pole adorned with prayer flags inspired by the tradition of the Tibetans. When a neighbor complained—during this week of Aikido practice, learning to be with conflict—we replaced this pole with a living tree gifted by TOF friends. For almost thirty years, this pine grew tall and strong until the heat of the Thomas Fire compromised its health, eventually killing it. Since its death, we have been waiting, asking what to do.
 
Last month, during a gathering of extended community and staff—a pre-opening and renewal for The Ojai Foundation—Gigi returned to share the story of the feather, the return of the California Condor, guiding the community in revitalizing a prayer for our times. This prayer is part of a prophecy that the eagle and the condor will fly together again as relations between North and South America are further awakened in protection and love of this Earth, all endangered beings, and our shared future. 
 
TOF staff member and professional arborist Ben Reader climbed the dead pine, removing all the limbs and cutting the trunk to an appropriate height. Our community gathered to sew prayer flags in silence, imbuing each with dreams and wishes for TOF and the world. The colorful cloths, a gift from the people who attended, were attached to long cords and now adorn the new “pole.” The Condor Feather became once again a prayer stick for our world, bringing with it renewal and celebration, on the land and in the sky, as part of the re-emergence of TOF.