The Legend Of Shangri-La
There is an ancient Tibetan legend which says that somewhere, high in the far away mountains, there is a lost valley, cut off from the world. There the wisdom of the ages is conserved during turbulent times of planetary change that mark the end of one age and the beginning of the next. This paradise they call Shamballa is a heart-centered Sanctuary of peace and harmony whose residents live in accord with the original teachings of dwelling in balance with the Earth, one another and the Creator.
Shamballa serves as a model for Rainbow Valley. Hidden deep in a secluded mountain cove in the Pisgah National Forest, 35 minutes north of Asheville, North Carolina, USA. Rainbow Valley is a mini Shangri-La nestled in the world of nature. Bordered by two cascading creeks and ringed by the highest mountains in the eastern USA, it is a place ruled – not by dogma or gurus – but by our collective endeavor to live together in heart centered resonance and compassion.
This is only a fantasy representation of the feeling you might experience at Rainbow Valley.
Note: The following ‘tour’ is a combination of what already exists in the 3D and what we are holding as a vision but yet to manifest in the physical. The vision is indicated in the blue print. In Part two we will show you how you can help bring the rest of the vision into reality.
Welcome To Rainbow Valley
Rainbow Valley is a small, heart-centered community of residents living in four villages, each with a different focus. Katuah Cove is our wisdom elders village, Mountain Light Abbey is our village of contemplatives who live a monastic lifestyle, the Elfindale village is where our residents live who manage the Mountain Light Retreat Center, and Hearthaven village is for our residents who maintain our sustainable agricultural, artisan and creative endeavors.
We have a simple lifestyle that is very low on rules and high on personal responsibility, integrity and respect. Visitors are welcomed to interact as much or as little as they wish with residents. We always try to respect the privacy of our visitors, especially if they are here on personal retreat for solitude. At the same time, we welcome visitors to be a part of our community life, if only for a few days.
We see ourselves as a “Light Hearted” community, not only because we have an elfin love of laughter and good humor, but also because, above all things, we strive to be heart-centered in our community life together. If we were to define our common spiritual path, it would simply be the path of the heart.
We are often asked how one becomes a part of our community. We don’t really have a formal process. All of our current residents started out as short term work exchange volunteers and over time became seasonal or long term residents. It is just a matter of our getting to know one another over a period of months and then allowing things to evolve organically.
Our Mission Our mission, simply stated, is soul growth and service.
Soul Growth Soul growth takes many forms. While we are each informed by different spiritual traditions, as a community we do not adhere to a specific dogma, spiritual discipline or devotional format. We honor the diversity of all heart-centered spiritual paths; those which honor life and are based on the ideas of respect, brotherhood, equality, justice, compassion and love. Each of us are at different places on our spiritual journey and we do not insist that what works for us must work for everyone. For this reason, we welcome all people who are peaceful & respectful of others, regardless of religion, race, national origin, politics, sexual orientation or whatever.
Community residents meet on a regular basis to share in a ‘heart circle’ with one another as well as to discuss ideas that we are encountering in the books that we have chosen to read and study together. Our intent is to move beyond the day to day dramas of community life and reflect with one another on the deeper spiritual questions of life.
Service: We are here on the Earth, not only for our personal growth but to serve others according to our talents and abilities. While each of us may be involved in personal endeavors, we share our common service in the following ways:
Retreat Center Mountain Light Sanctuary is the retreat center that we maintain for those who are needing a few days apart from their normal lives; time to consider where they have been, where they are and where they are going. We offer a safe place and time for those in transition who just need to step away for a few days.
Wisdom Elders Katuah Cove is our wisdom elders village. Our resident wisdom keepers are available both for individual guidance sessions as well as sharing in small groups.
Volunteers We offer both short and long term work/trade volunteer opportunities. In exchange for lodging and participation in community life, volunteers give a few hours each day toward maintaining the grounds and buildings.
Frequency Management There are those few who are called to a life of quiet of contemplation, meditation & prayer. We offer short and long term residence at Mountain Light Abbey for those who are drawn to such a life and are willing to devote time each day to upgrading and managing the frequency of Rainbow Valley and the Earth as a whole. Also maintaining a positive frequency is the tolling of our large Abbey bell four times a day – at 6 am, 12 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm. The bell is an invitation to guests and residents to pause for just a moment in deep gratitude for all the gifts of life. Regardless of how challenging life can sometimes be, there is always something to be grateful for. Pausing several times a day in collective gratitude is one of the most powerful things we can do to increase the frequency of the valley.
Modeling. Last of all, we endeavor to be a model of heart-centered fifth dimensional living on the New Earth, demonstrating this in how we live together and how we live with the Earth itself. Making use of leading edge technology that provides us with free electricity and building our shelters, growing our food and handling our waste are all based on the idea of simplicity, sustainability, mindfulness and compassion.
We understand that we are living in two worlds; the old and the new paradigm. We are those who have chosen to be here at this transition time as planetary midwives; serving as a bridge in ways, large and small, according to our abilities, even as we continue to work on our own soul growth.
We speak of our community life as an experiment – something that is ever evolving as we individually evolve and grow. While we do not maintain dogma, we do pose questions.
The Mountain Light Experiment Can a community of people live together harmoniously without laws or rules?
Can we live simply by agreements that we collective create together based on the ideals of Love, Respect, Mindfulness & Compassion?
Can we be self-governing and not look to others or to rules to tell us what to do or how to respond or be responsible?
Can we break free from our individual and collective past & habits and create a new way of being – right where we live?
What Are The Implications…….
Of Love & Compassion? To live with an open heart; To really care about the wellbeing of those we live with and the Earth we live upon: To go out of our way to make each others lives easier and more pleasant. To view the situations and individuals in our lives through the eyes of compassion.
Of Respect? To treat others the way we would like to be treated; with fairness, gentleness, and an acknowledgment of their Divinity.
Of Mindfulness? To realize that each of our actions have implications for those with whom we live and for the Earth.
Of living a life of Outrageous Gratitude In Light-Hearted” community of friends committed to soul growth, service and compassionate caring of for one another.
Join Us For A Tour
Part One The first part of the tour includes what already exists. Part two is the rest of the vision we are holding for manifestation.
Mountain Light Map
Mountain Light Sanctuary
The Sanctuary was the original anchor for what was to eventually become Rainbow Valley. Mountain Light is a spiritual retreat center which welcomes all people regardless of spiritual affiliation or tradition. The cornerstone of our perspective is that of honoring the Divine in every person. As we delight in the beautiful variety of flowers and animal life here at the Sanctuary, we also delight in the beauty of diversity in the human family and the human experience. This diversity lends a rich depth of experience to our common journey. For this reason, we welcome all people who are peaceful and respectful of others, regardless of religion, race, national origin, politics, sexual orientation or whatever. Whether you are seeking a quiet place for personal retreat; for reading, writing, art, prayer, meditation or simply time alone in nature – or a place to spend a few days apart with special friends, we are here for you.
The end of the gravel road through the national forest brings you to “Merlin’s Bridge” which, as you can see from the photo, takes a bit of magic to cross. This is the boundary that separates us from consensus reality.
Immediately beyond the bridge, you come to the gate that leads into the Sanctuary. As you enter the gate, you step into another world.
Passing through the bamboo gate and along the stone path you first come to the Balihouse on your right; a simple three sided shelter with bamboo walls, a full size bed and a large deck overlooking the cascading creek.
Continuing on the path you come next to the stone steps that lead down to Frodo’s, our underground stone cottage built into the hillside next to the creek. Featuring a full size bed, a fireplace and stained glass windows, stepping into this small one room cottage is like stepping back a thousand years in time.
Adjacent to and just below Frodo’s is Oconaluftee – Cherokee for ‘beside the waters’ – an appropriate name for this sleeping alcove built into this hillside with a small deck, just above the creek.
Back up on the path, you come next to the Treehouse: perhaps the only treehouse you will ever visit with stained glass windows. The full size bed is surrounded by three bamboo walls with the fourth side open to the deck, built around the trees and overlooking the cascading creek thirty feet below. Because it is built on a hillside, it is only six steps above ground level and easily accessible.
Just beyond the Treehouse, through a heavy wooden gate and along a twenty foot boardwalk brings you to the Hermitage; a one room cabin with electricity, a porch, a hammock and two comfortable rocking chairs for enjoying the cascading creek below. The downstairs room features a full size bed and another full size bed and one twin in the loft.
Moving away from the creek, you come next to the ZenTao, a small two story shelter tucked away in a small bamboo grove. Each level features a twin size bed, a chair and three bamboo walls with the fourth size open to the flower garden.
Moving to the other side of the property brings you to the five Banana Patch beds. Each of these are simply full size beds built with steep tropical style roofs reminiscent of and named after the islands of the south pacific: Bora Bora, Morea, Kauai, Rarotonga & Samoa. With only one wall, the other three sides are enclosed with curtains made from old coffee sacks from Africa, Central America & Brazil.
Merlinwood is simply a full size bed with a flat sod roof and is half hidden in a small wooded area next to the St. Francis garden.
Located next to the river, Narnia is a 14 x 16 ft, two level shelter with three walls, the fourth open to the cascading mountain stream and the national forest. It features a queen size bed on both levels with an additional twin bed on the second level. It is the most accessible of the shelters for loading and unloading your car.
Are you prepared to be enchanted? That’s the name we have given to the creek-side shelter just down from Narnia. It is a 12×14 shelter built along side the river with an exquisite view of the national forest. With three bamboo walls and the fourth side open to the river and forest, it is truly enchanting. It features a full size bed, a folding cot and comfortable chairs for the ultimate getaway.
Rivendell is named after the Elfin Village in the Lord Of The Rings & Hobbit movies. It is 12 x 16 feet and features three walls with two gothic stain glass windows and the fourth side open to the creek. It has a full size bed and a folding cot available for a third person. It also features a small covered platform overlooking the river which is perfect for meditation, writing or your morning coffee.
Our Gypsy Wagon features a 3/4 bed and a small pull out trundle bed. Being small, it is ideal for two people madly in love or one adult and a child. This is the first of three wagons for our planned ‘Gypsy Camp.’ It is one of the more private locations.
The central focus of the Sanctuary is Elfhaven Lodge. The lodge features five bedrooms: Snapdragon (twin), Goldenrod (queen), Hummingbird (full), Meadowlark (full) and Wisteria (queen). It is also the location of our library, common kitchen and bathrooms shared by all guests. Our wraparound porch offers a large sun deck, an adjacent wisteria covered gazebo, a front porch with rocking chairs and our Haiku Café, overlooking the Japanese Garden. Just around the corner from the café is our Haiku Terrace, a comfortable place to sit for reading, visiting or working on your laptop.
GardenView, built above the Terrace, is one of our larger accommodations at 12 x 24 feet. It overlooks the Japanese garden and features a queen size and twin size bed. It offers the best of both worlds in being outdoors, overlooking the garden, electricity, and convenience to the lodge.
Just around the corner from the Terrace is Amitaba. Built on the style of a a Japanese Teahouse it is glassed in on two sides with great forest views and the forth size is open to a small cascading stream and the forest beyond.
And speaking of gardens, the Sanctuary features several gardens. The largest is our English Cottage Garden which is home to many varieties of flowers, butterflies, humming birds and numerous fairies and gnomes;
Our Garden of the Divine Feminine is a small ivy covered rock wall grotto for meditation.
Our St. Francis garden, honoring the Christian saint of compassion;
Our magical Japanese Garden featuring a small fountain, a variety of ferns, mosses, hostas and indigenous flora as well as a moss covered Buddha, reminding us that attachment is the source of all suffering.
Sitting in the middle of our bamboo grove is Jade Mountain, our multi-purpose pavilion used for gatherings a individual practices such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc.
Our stone circle was built in 1997. In the center of the circle we maintain a perpetual fire, a common practice found among the Cherokee, Celtic, Hebrew and many other peoples, both ancient and modern. It is a reminder of both the light within and the greater Light Of Divine Presence. In the autumn of 2012 one of our volunteers carved runes into each of the stones as well as an intricate Celtic cross, an ankh, a merkaba and a flower of life.
Brigids Well is the source of our water which is gravity fed into the Lodge. It was built as a replica of an Irish Holy Well and dedicated to Bridgit, a well loved Irish goddess who evolved into St. Brigid, an equally well loved Irish saint. It is our way of honoring our Earth Mother and specifically the source of our water. It is a constant reminder of our ultimate and utter dependence on Mother Earth.
The tour continues with the rest of our viion, yet to be manifested as of December 31st, 2017. If you would like to participate energetically in the manifestation of the rest of Rainbow Valley either financially, as a vision keeper or in some other creative way, send an email to Michael at Lightweave@aol.com
Katuah is a Cherokee name which we have chosen for our village of “Wisdom Keeper Elders.” It is a collection of log cabins that were once plentiful in these mountains. Each cabin is named after one of the original historic Cherokee villages of Echota, Etowah, Qualla & Tanasi. The village harkens back to an earlier era and is a reflection of our commitment to simplicity and sustainable living. We consider each of the Wisdom Elders who reside here as true treasures. Each of them are dedicated to their own soul growth and sharing their years of experience with those who are seeking a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.
In the center of the Wisdom Village is our library which we call Akasha, in reference to the celestial library of all knowledge. Our library houses several thousand books, many of which have been donated by guests and friends. We have a fine selection of wisdom literature, new paradigm books, personal development, travel, simple living and spiritual studies from various traditions.
Our Ewok Village is a collection of simple shelters built among the trees on a hillside overlooking the Japanese Garden. The shelters are connected by boardwalks and to Elfhaven Lodge by a rope bridge. The village serves as the residence for our long term seasonal guests.
Quan Yin Pavilion
Named after the Chinese goddess of compassion, Quan Yin Pavilion is built in the Japanese Tea House style and is available for massage, reki and other healing modalities as well as meetings amd meditation. Located adjacent to the cascading mountain creek, it is the perfect natural environment for healing activities.
Mountain Light Abbey
The Abbey, built on the small plateau overlooking the Sanctuary, features five small A-frame chalets which serve as residence for our long and short term ‘contemplatives.” These are individuals who have committed themselves to spending from one month to several years, living a solitary life devoted to study, soul growth, and a commitment to elevating the frequency both of the Sanctuary and the planet. Each of them has taken the traditional monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience – reinterpreted for this new era as “simple living” “purity of purpose” and “following inner guidance”.
Saint Francis Guest House
The Guest is operated by the Abbey brothers and sisters. In addition to serving as the kitchen and common room for residents, it is also a guest house for those who wish to spend time in solitude and silent retreat.
Responding to the many requests we have had for long term, winterized and self-contained housing, we created a tiny house village we call Elfindale. Not only does it provide much needed housing but, as with all aspects of Rainbow Valley, we use it as a model of simple sustainable living.
The spiritual focal point of the Rainbow Valley community is our Stargate, perched on a hillside overlooking the valley. Built as a seven sided pagoda, It is 40 feet in diameter and features all glass walls which allow visitors to stay closely connected to nature and the rhythm of the seasons. The center of the building features a large quartz crystal set in the floor with a spotlight directly below which causes it glow. The conical roof is topped by a second conical roof and separated by a six foot high glass wall with seven sections. Each glass section features one of the seven colors of the rainbow. We have chosen the name Stargate because a stargate is considered to be a portal into other dimensions – a place to visit and communicate with that which is beyond our third dimensional reality. In essence this is the true nature of churches, chapels, temples, mosques and other holy sites. However, unlike these terms, Stargate does not carry any connotation related to a specific religion. It is simply a place to meet Divine Presence, however understood and in whatever form that may take for the seeker, be it prayer, meditation, contemplation, silence, music or movement. In essence we see it as a Stargate that allows one to step into other dimensions for communication, guidance and wisdom.
Next to the Stargate is the six foot tall temple bell which rings four times a day at 6 am, 12 noon, 6 pm and 9 pm. This as an invitation for residents and guests to pause for a few moments in gratitude for all of the blessings of life. This continuous stream of gratitude and appreciation creates an energetic field which modulates and maintains a positive frequency dome for Rainbow Valley and the surrounding area.
We feel that a community without the laughter of children and the joys and challenges of animals is sterile indeed. Hearthaven is our village which welcomes both. It is composed of two sections. “Hearthaven-On-The-Hill” is a collection of stone, half timber & strawbale cottages based on the design of the “Lilliput Lane” miniatures. Each cottage is separated by a flower and vegetable garden. In addition to being asthetically pleasing, Hearthaven serves as a model eco-village of sustainable living.
Hearthaven Under The Hill
Three Pigs-In-A-Poke Pub
The village community building is our Pub / Tea Room. Being built of stone, wood and straw bale, it is appropriately named after the Three Pigs. So the story goes, a sly farmer might go to market and try to sell a piglet in a sack or ‘poke’ as the term was then. Without investigating the buyer might end up with a dog or a cat. Thus, a ‘pig-in-a-poke’ is an old English term that refers to something that is not really what it seems. Since we do not serve alcohol, the term pub is something of a misnomer. It is really a tea room with a big fireplace and all of the trappings of village pub, plus high speed wi-fi.
Mountain Light Institute For Conscious Creation
In addition to being a retreat center and community, Mountain Light is also a learning center. The Mountain Light Institute For Conscious Creation offers a step-by-step program for learning how to live by design rather than default.
The Rainbow Treehouse Academy
This is our residential school, which is designed to prepare students for a life of fulfilled human potential, rather than meeting the needs of a corporate society. It combines aspects of many proven alternative educational models including the forest schools of Germany, the Tekos school in Russia, the Montessori method, Summerhill and Sudbury schools in the USA, the Rudolf Seiner educational principles of the Waldorf schools and the international Forest school movement.
The basic principles are
- Exploration: To focus on supporting the students’ curiosity in exploring those areas of interest which are most appealing and relevant to the students life while integrating basic skills such as reading, writing and math into the exploratory process.
- Reality based: To provide an experience-based approached that is not artificially separated from the real world of the students day-to-day life experience at home and in the community.
- Cooperative: To encourage meaningful interaction between and among those in the learning environment including collaboration, inquiry and creative problem-solving.
- Holistic: To honor the need to equally develop the body, mind, emotions and spirit, so that there is an equal emphasis on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual development.
- Integrative: To provide opportunities for students to learn their relationship to, and to work in harmony with: the natural world, their family, the people they connect with, and the global and galactic community.
Learning is constant from the moment of birth until the moment of death. Too often, it is also very painful; 12+ years in a classroom “prison” of subjects that feel irrelevant, compounded by a life outside the classroom filled with unpleasant experiences which provide lessons one often doesn’t get and therefore keeps repeating.
We believe that education should
- Be relevant to one’s day-to-day experience. The current dominant educational system of x number of hours in a classroom each day studying subjects totally irrelevant to a students day-to-day reality often creates boredom, restlessness and daydreaming at best, and high dropout rates among some of the most creative students at worst.
- Prepare one for a life of fulfillment and happiness. The current dominant educational system is designed to prepare students to meet the needs of corporate society and ‘get a good job.’ It does not teach communication, relationship and social skills, healthful living, spiritual serenity or similar subjects that promote personal fulfillment and happiness. Nor does it teach one to find one’s own passion in life and how to pursue it successfully.
- Be fun and light hearted. Learning should be a delightful endeavor; fun and lighthearted; something one enjoys and eagerly looks forward to. This, along with our emphasis on the spiritual element of nature, is one of the reasons it is built on the treehouse style,
Mountain Light Community Prayer
Divine Presence Whose Nature Is Love Let me be an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me bring love;
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith; Where there is sadness, let me bring joy; Where there is fear, let me bring courage; Where there is despair, let me bring hope; Where there is illness, let me bring health; Where there is darkness, let me bring light; Where there is lack, let me bring abundance Where there is bondage, let me bring freedom; Where there is discord, let me bring harmony; Where there is ignorance, let me bring wisdom; Where there is injury, let me bring forgiveness; Where there is weakness, let me bring strength; Where there is poverty, let me bring prosperity Where the is suffering, let me bring compassion
May I always remember to treat others A s I myself wish to be treated To understand others more than to be understood; To love more than to be loved; For I know that it is in giving that we receive, It is by forgiving that we are forgiven And it is in rising above duality That we are awakened into Oneness Amen
Adapted From the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
If you would like to participate energetically in the manifestation of the Rainbow Valley Vision, either financially, as a vision keeper, a volunteer or in some other creative way, send an email to Michael at Lightweave@aol.com.