John & Anne Wiley

2015/07/13

Esalen

The famous Esalen Institute has grown for many decades into a thriving Big Sur community.

5794 Esalen

5794 Esalen

It’s not just thriving economically, and as a center for consciousness workshops but also as an experiment in “intentional living.” The first known residents were a Native American tribe known as the Esselen traced back to about 4,600 years ago here. In the 1870s, Thomas Slate used the natural hot springs there and even in this drought the springs are still running and still bear his name.

5788 Slate Hot Springs

5788 Slates Hot Springs

In the 1960s Michael Murphy and Dick Price referenced the ancient name to plant the seed of what it is today. Now there are a few homes, many cottages there for people attending workshops, and some rooms available for private retreats.

5786 Cottages

5786 Cottages

Nestled among the cottages there’s a magnificent swimming pool and grand old lodge (here’s a map) with new construction behind it.

5781 Lodge

5781 Lodge

Point House and more cottages bracket the main garden where organic produce is lovingly tended.

5779 Garden Of Delights

5779 Garden Of Delights

Next to a ravine is a Meditation Building and then we see the Big House and a yurt.

5776 Big House

5776 Big House

Next are the Farm House and other buildings of various creative forms spread among the sheltering trees.

5771 Farm House

5771 Farm House

Nearly hidden behind trees at bottom-right is the Art Barn and standing proudly near the middle is the Dance Dome.

5767 Dance Dome

5767 Dance Dome

Completing this fly-by of Esalen proper is the Farm with a few small huts but the community permeates this region of Big Sur and far beyond, influencing people and communities around the world. That influence is felt strongly here in Santa Barbara, in a way joining the two communities closely.

5766 The Farm

5766 The Farm

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