The Full Circle Temple in Portland
While buying a patchwork dress in the colors of my hair and my aura at the Oregon Country Fair, I told the artist who made the dress about my tour. She immediately invited me to stay at the women's temple in Portland, and said she would invite the women to have breakfast with me the next day. This was my introduction to Terri Treat, a visionary of immense generosity and personal playfulness. Realizing a common need for emotional/social support in times of crisis and a place to come together with others of like mind to celebrate, Terri gathered her entire network to brainstorm and birth the Temple, the official launching reckoned as November 11, 1995. Six hundred women form the extended mailing list of the temple, and sixty participate actively by contributing to the rent and utility bills, cleaning, decorating, conducting activities, donating supplies, publishing the newsletter, managing the temple recycling center, and running the Mystic Moon magic shop in front of the temple. "It's a working anarchy," she explained, "no one's in charge." Decisions are made by concensus in a Temple Council, consisting of women who attend at least three open meetings, participate in discussion, take consensus training, declare their intentions, and commit to being a member for at least three months.
Terri started, owns and runs, a twenty-year-old futon business, Cotton Cloud, which originally operated out of the ninety-year-old house that currently houses the Temple, while Terri lived in the rooms upstairs. Both Terri and Cotton Cloud moved out, and, for some years, housekeeping preistesses lived upstairs and the basement became the Temple office and guest quarters. Recently, Terri renovated and moved into the basement apartment with the help of goddess work parties; the upstairs rooms house the office, the guest room, and several interesting worship and healing spaces. Regular activities listed in the newsletter include a Friday night knitting circle ("where we rant and sew our handi-craft"), a sound healing circle, a self-help women's health group called Yoni First, a chanting circle to the Tibetan Buddhist goddess Tara, a women's Sacred Sexuality Dance ("wild attire encouraged"), Temple Bones (temple financial circle), a Sunday night raw foods dinner, new moon and full moon rituals, and a spiritual discussion group called Goddess 101. Terri says the younger women's sewing circle for making menstrual cloths of organic cotton is called Stitch and Bitch. Lovers of the earth and her children, many of the women participate with local environmental activist organizations as well.
The cob goddess on the front porch of
the temple, and the women who gathered
Back view of the cob goddess, with a
votive candle to
When a community gathers to make a complex collage, the art process itself unifies the people, much as dancing and making music do. I can hardly wait to show you more of what these women have created together.
The front door
Another door to the left of the front
door, which says
The living room, polished of hardwood
and devoid of furniture to make a wonderful dance space.
An announcement for the next organized
use of the living room.
The Drum Altar is not far from the
The dining room, where we gathered for our breakfast
A marvelously painted corner of the
Magnets on the refrigerator door.
Terri by a Chagall-esque painting in the upstairs hallway.
The bed in the guest room looks like Ayala and Richard's garden gate!
Door to the upstairs bathroom
Photograph of women at a fudo over the
bathtub, floor candleabra, flowing murals,
The Healing Room, painted green and
facing out into the treetops, where classes
An airy, open room almost without
Georgia O'Keefe print on one altar in
the Elemental Openings
Herbalist and Wiccan teacher Cynthia De
Faye shares her story with me
One of the shelves in the altar-building
The Blood Room, a favorite place for
anger-release and hormonal swings.
One of a string of prayer flags in the
After a bout of kitchen cleaning, Plum enjoys the hammock in the Temple garden.
A tea house with a sunken bath nestles under the branches of a tree not from the hammock.
New visitors to the Temple: L'Aura,
baby Autumn Faye,
Entrance to the Mystic Moon magic shop
Jenny tends the store. Notice the tree
goddess above and behind her.