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ABOUT SPIRIT HAVEN

Our Mission

Spirit Haven, Inc. is a Pagan, 501(c)3 multicultural organization that is committed to fostering spirituality. We provide a haven for community and celebration to support and promote the well-being of a diverse membership, as well as the local and greater community.

Our prinicples

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I recognize that each individual comes into the divine in their own way. I will be inclusive of every member of Spirit Haven and honor their person and their background, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin (ancestry), religious affiliation, spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, relationship status, military status, age, immigration status, or serious disease or disability.

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I accept that there are many ways one can integrate religious and spiritual practices into their daily lives and beliefs, and I will practice and promote acceptance at all times. I understand that Spirit Haven as a corporation accepts that its membership is diverse and does not advocate one path over another, nor disparage others for their beliefs. I will also accept others and their paths and will not disparage others for their beliefs.

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I acknowledge the right of each individual to maintain their own privacy as they see fit. I will, within the limits of the law, protect the confidentiality of others at all times. I will not reveal, share, or discuss the identity or personal information of others without the express advance consent of all persons involved.

Specifically, I will not photograph or take video of any part of anyone, even in the background, without their express advance consent. I will move to a location with a backdrop if needed. I will also not post any photo or video on any social media platform without the express advance consent of all persons in that photograph or video.

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I will support each individual’s inherent freedoms, including religious or spiritual belief, thought, and action, provided that they do not infringe upon, threaten, harm, or violate those of others. I will support a minimally restrictive yet safe environment to foster and protect each person’s liberties, consistent with their safety, privacy, and general well-being.

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I will be a conscientious steward of its resources, and I will protect, defend, and use them responsibly. I will practice good stewardship, keeping Spirit Haven Ranch clean and leaving it better than I found it.

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I will hold myself accountable at all times. I accept personal responsibility for my words, actions, and intentions. I understand this is the best way to promote a healthy environment of growth in which all members and guests of Spirit Haven can thrive, and I will act in accordance at all times.

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I will conduct myself with integrity at all times. I will act with empathy, respect, and in good faith toward the organization and the members and guests of the organization. I will not encourage nor participate in physical, mental, emotional, psychological, or spiritual abuse or violence. I will not encourage nor engage in theft, slander, or libel of any sort.

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I will protect the safety and welfare of the minor children (under 18 years of age) of the membership and guests at all times. I will neither encourage nor commit physical, mental, emotional, psychological, or spiritual harm or trauma, through action or inaction at any time.

As a member or guest of Spirit Haven, I will protect the sanctity of other members and guests. I understand that each person’s privacy, bodily autonomy, consent, and personhood are their own. I understand and will honor that consent must be freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific. I will protect and respect my own boundaries and those of others at all times.

Our History

The intent of this page is to honor our long history and our members and leaders past who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get Spirit Haven to where we are now.

Soon, we will have a more complete record of our history, including Campfire Stories from our members and honored elders.

This page lives and breathes just as Spirit Haven does – it will be ever changing and growing alongside our community. That being said, this page is FAR from finished!

If you’d like to help, consider emailing internetadmin@spirit-haven.org with your own stories and recollections of milestones and events in our community’s past.

Samhain 1980
Council of the Mystic Arts Founded

"In the Spring of 1980, I made contact outside of my coven with several people prominent in the Craft whom I had been hearing about, putting together faces and names. We saw the need for a working network/council through which anyone who needed special help could send an SOS.

We got together at Samhain 1980 for a meeting and ritual to form the council. It was named 'The Council of the Mystic Arts' in order to assure our friends and connections with Christian and Buddhist leanings that they were welcome to be a part of the network."

- Bertie Estes, CMA's first Director
Written in 1997

Beltane & Samhain 1981
New Name: Council of Magickal Arts

At the May 5, 1981 Beltane meeting there were representatives from nine covens present. At the end of the first year, Bertie Estes from San Antonio, who was the first Director/Editor [of the Accord], passed on the job to me. When I took over the responsibility of Director/Editor, there was $28.90 in the Treasury and probably 20-25 members.

We changed the name from the Council of the Mystic Arts to the Council of the Magickal Arts at Samhain 1981 because the membership at that time felt "Magickal" more adequately described what we were all about. By October 1983, we had 18 individual and/or group memberships with over $200 in the Treasury.

- Judy Carusone, Director 1981-83, Editor 1981-1990
Written in 1992

Beltane 1987
Early Gatherings

A tentative schedule lists a “Craft Fair,” three workshops and the Maypole Dance for Saturday activities, plus opening, closing, and main rituals.

Beltane 1991
Early Gatherings

The first Festival is held at the Recreation Plantation in Dripping Springs.

Winter 1991
The Accord

The newsletter, previously physically printed, gets named the Accord and begins to be produced with a desktop publishing software as a magazine.

November 18, 1993
The Council of Magickal Arts, INCORPORATED!

The Council of Magickal arts officially becomes a corporation and gets a new birthday. CMA is a Scorpio Sun, Aquarius Moon, and Aries Rising.

Samhain 1995
Festivals Expand

Festival begins starting on Thursday due to a packed schedule. The program becomes a 12 page guide, with a schedule of workshops and rituals covering two pages.

Samhain 1997
The Push for our Own Land

The Land Fund - initiated by Tiny's speech at Great Works - kicks off, raising funds through auctions, T-shirt and mug sales, as well as through member-driven outreach.

Campfire Stories

The First Gathering

“It was at Robert’s and Gloria’s place in Von Ormy, and it was warm in the day time and cold for the circle. It was so cold that the dry ice hardly fogged. During the circle the torches sang, an event we never explained, but did enjoy. In the first meeting there was most debate about the name, because the group was so varied in their styles. ... It was good energy, like a family picnic. We tried to set up a pattern that was clear and positive, with plenty of room for diversity.”

- Author Unknown

Faerie Mound

Located off the main road, across from Carol’s Corner, the area within the white posts/inside fencing has playground equipment and child-size picnic tables. There is no fire ring, no electricity, and no adults on-site. There are concrete tables outside near the space for adults to rest while watching their littles.  (NOTE: Spirit Haven is not responsible for providing childcare or supervision.)

Magical Meadow

Where fire comes to play and the may pole dances. One of the primary locations our community gathers to share traditions, practices and revel in our community. This also includes the concert pavilion and the Revel fire ring. There is open camping available in the back against the tree line but no electricity, limited shade, and no seating for concerts. Magical Meadow is the first thing you see as you come over the bridge, it’s a large open field with the Revel Ring in the middle.

The Ve

The Ve is a dedicated to Universalist Heathen practice, honoring the Elder Kin (Æsir and Vanir) and the Ancestors (Disir and Alfar). The Ve is an inclusive space, open to all whom the Gods have called. Within the Ve are the Thor-tree, the ancestor cairn, the sacred fire, and the altar space itself. The Thor-tree, severed in half by a lightning strike, stands at the entrance to the space. The ancestor cairn is an ever-growing monument to those who have gone before us. Rocks available in the space are able to be marked in remembrance and honor of loved ones and added to the cairn. The sacred fire is kept going with all-natural chunk charcoal, and resins are placed nearby that can be burned in the fire along with other offerings. The altar space itself is marked off from the main portion of the Ve by a stone circle. Within the space are two altars, one dedicated to the Aesir and one to the Vanir. There are alfa bowls on each altar where libations can be poured out in offering.

“With half a loaf, and cup half filled,
A friend full fast I made.” 

Temple Ganesha

Temple Ganesh is the first Hindu sacred space at Spirit Haven. Dedicated to the elephant-headed remover of obstacles, the temple celebrates Ganesha, the ruler of the Muladhara (Root) Chakra. The Temple is a sacred realm in dappled sunlight within a beautiful ring of trees. Anyone can offer puja (worship) to Ganesh with devotions, offerings, praise, chanting or song. Whether you’re there to break a coconut, offer sweetly-scented flowers or incense, ring a bell, chant or just meditate, Temple Ganesh will offer you a comfortable, warm place to worship the God of all Wisdom. Jai Ganesha! 

Self Blessing Station

This is the transitioning area from our Mundane lives to Magical lives at Spirit Haven Ranch. It is located past the Front Gate, past the bridge, on the left as you come up the hill and across from Magical Meadow. There is a sign, a table and a place to sit. You can stop after CheckIn. – if your trip was stressful, leave it at the Altar! You can stop after unloading/parking – gives you a little time. You can visit anytime you need to re-center or rid yourself of destructive or negative thoughts.

In order to have a peaceful, loving and fun festival, we need to leave our bad energies behind and invite the awesome, positive and tingly vibes into our time together. Doing it is the easy part.

  • Water – spritz yourself with spring water (no essential oils added).
  • Fire – light a candle – the winds are strong across the fields, so good luck, have a friend help.
  • Air – light some incense and place in the bucket of blue pebbles or light some sage and have someone help smoke cleanse you.
  • Earth – touch the directional stones, feel the coolness (but really HOT in direct sun), plant your feet, and breathe deep, ground yourself.

* You can leave offerings, if that has meaning for you (flowers, stones, seeds, nuts, or LIGHTERS) 

Ravenswood

The entrance to Ravenswood is past the entrance to Lothlorien, back through the woods. There is an altar, a gathering of three trees for the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and space to sit and reflect. Bring a chair, blanket, or commune with nature in this Morrigan-centric space.

Naos Templum

Located near the Labyrinth and centered around the fire ring on Phoenix Meadow, this space is being created for those who are called to work with Greek and Roman deities. A space to make devotions and offerings to those theoi who weave their blessings through our lives. Naos Templum is “temple” in both Greek and Latin,  respectively.

This is a long term transformation and we think that good things are worth the wait! Future plans include a rebuilt and maintained fire ring, individual devotional altars , drainage, and shade.

As of Beltane 2023, we have the posts installed where the future columns will be,  the locations and designs of the individual altars laid out, and the main altar has been set up for devotionals and offerings to all the Greco-Roman deities. We have also added temporary alter markers with a devotional for each theoi.

The main altar is stocked with offerings as libations each festival. During festival,  there will be a short overview of Greek Reconstructionist practice and some simple devotional guides. This guide also includes a list of people you can reach out to if you have further questions about Greco-Roman deities, devotionals, or making offerings.

We try to host one public event per festival. Our temple tenders do their own personal devotionals and rites in the temple and folks are welcome to observe and ask questions after they are finished.

Memorial Grove

Memorial Grove is located in a small inlet along the main road, across from Phoenix Meadow. It features an altar, with stone benches scattered around the space. We also feature the Memorial Web dedicated to those who have helped grow and shape this land.

The Grove is created as a meeting place for those who have gone beyond the Veil and those who have been left behind. It is a space for all the dark gods and goddesses but the space will forever remain undedicated to any one god or goddess. The heartsick living can find some respite in this place, and for those who have transitioned – this place is a sacred space for them and to commune with them.

Memorial Grove is an ideal choice for any sort of memorial, particularly at Samhain, but can also be used for rituals dedicated for the deities of death and the afterlife. As a meeting place, it has also been successfully used for communication between worlds, and workshops focusing on ancestors or history. It can easily fit workshops or classes of 20 people or less.

Labyrinth

The Labyrinth is a meditative experience, journeying inward to the soul. Stay and play, pray, or reflect in the center before journeying back out into the world. In addition to being a powerful meditation tool, our Labyrinth is dedicated to the Fae and is a wonderful place to commune with them and leave them offerings. It is also an ideal space for initiations, rites of passage, handfastings, and rituals focused on manifesting within or on letting go. Come walk the Labyrinth and experience its magic for yourself!

Herne's Hollow

Herne’s Hollow has been a sacred space since 2004. It is located across the road from the Labyrinth, down a shady path that leads you into a beautiful hollow, rich in serenity and magical presence. The ancient tribes of Britain worshiped Herne the Hunter. He is associated with the Wild Hunt, protection, warrior energy, valor and honor. At Herne’s altar all are welcome and none can say nay. Bring your offerings and commune with the Horned One in this sacred space. Keep your eyes out for the Fae, in the Hollow they are often seen at play.

Haven Grove

Haven Grove is a neutral space with no particular affiliation with any god, goddess, or tradition. A sacred space for those who don’t have one. Welcome to Any and All. Will feature natural tree altars,  plenty of open area for meditation and small rituals. Also has a dedicated area for Handfasting rituals. Lots of shade, no power, no seating. 

Grounding & Centering Temple

The Grounding and Centering Temple was created at our first Beltane on the Land, based on the need for a quiet place in which to heal and seek counsel. It is open to anyone who needs a time out, a place for reflection, grounding and centering, and meditation. As you spend time here, please honor the energy and intention of the place. Help yourself to the blessing oil on the altar, and light some incense (if the wind allows) to help you in your meditations. If you are in need of spiritual counseling at the Temple, contact a Guardian, or come to Lair Bastet camp, just down from Carol’s Corner, where there are priestesses ready to help. You are never alone. 

Grandmother's Grove

Over the river (well, creek) and through the (Meditation) Woods, to Grandmother‘s Grove we go: Grandmother’s Grove has always been a part of Spirit Haven’s festivals, even before we moved to Spirit Haven Ranch. It served as a gathering and community space, a place for children’s story time, and various workshops and rituals. Now, Grandmother is waiting with open arms for any who wish to commune with her.

Here, you will find the giant Grandmother tree, a stone altar, a standing stone, a fire ring, and a large, open space perfect for stargazing, workshops, or rituals. Come sit under her tree, light a fire and stay a while, watch the stars, or read The Story of CMA from the Grandmother’s Storybook. The feeling here is warm, welcoming, and loving, and Grandmother‘s Grove is not dedicated to any particular energy. 

Dragon's Nest

The Dragon’s Nest is a secluded, calming space which is ideal for quiet meditation and contemplation. The purpose of the Nest is communion with Land and  Cosmos as living entities, Dragon, the undertow of reality, the vast, complex consciousnesses of the world around us, adjacent to human tradition, maybe even inclusive of it, but far greater than it. The space is guarded by a trellised archway, nestled in the wood across from Grandmother’s Grove. Once inside, offerings to Land and Cosmos may be made to the decomposing stump in the center of the clearing. Beneath our feet, Above, Around, and Within, the Dragon lives and so do We. 

Council Oak

Our blessed Council Oak has transitioned from her former self into a beautiful memorial altar, adorned with a beautiful altar top handmade from pieces of her trunk. A wooden footbridge and a lovely arbor lead into the space, and a cedar-post fence surrounds the entire site. 

Brighid's Temple Complex

Brighid’s Crossing: Brighid’s Crossing has existed with our organization since before Spirit Haven Ranch was purchased. It has always been a special location for crafts, chanting, music, and gathering. As the Temple Complex has come together, Brighid’s Crossing has become a more public and social part of the Complex, in contrast to the quieter, more meditative Altar area.

Brighid’s Altar: Brighid’s Altar consists of a slab of oak cut from the sacred tree known as Council Oak. At each festival, Brighid’s Temple Coordinator oversees the gathering of temporary items and gifts to place on the altar. This consists of things such as: whiskey, candles, incense, woven Brighid’s crosses, prayers/blessings/invocations written on paper, and much more.

The Standing Stone: The Standing Stone was dedicated in approximately 2008 and was livingly carved by hand to be placed at Spirit Haven Ranch. Stones have long been used as a marker of a sacred site or in honor of sacred beings. This stone was erected in Brighid’s honor.

The Prayer Tree: There are traditions of marking requests of the Gods or saints at sacred trees all over the world. Strips of cloth or other items are brought and imbued with the bringer’s wish for aid, thanks for aid given, or request for blessing in general, and then tied to the tree. These objects are believed to be a conduit of physical manifestation of the prayer or request they are sending. Many trees can be found in Ireland and across the world that hold the physical manifestations of countless prayers. The prayer tree in Brigid’s Temple Complex is just such a tree. Members have adorned the tree with pieces of cloth in representation of their wishes or prayers. This practice has been active here since at least 2008 and it is hoped that future members will learn of it and participate in its sacredness.