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The Isis Oasis pavilion offers a gathering place for guests at the Geyserville spiritual center. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Geyserville’s Isis Oasis home to spiritual temple, unique hotel

The small town of Geyserville is both an unlikely location and a perfect one for the Isis Oasis Temple and Sanctuary.

As High Priestess deTraci Regula points out, “We are very precisely lined up with the top of Geyser Peak, and the church was built to make the most of that alignment, perhaps indicating knowledge of a "ley line" or energetic pathway here.”

The land has been considered sacred ground for well over a century, first by the Pomo, then by the Baha’is and now by followers of the Egyptian goddess Isis.

Isis Oasis was founded in 1978 by the late Loreon Vigné and the Temple of Isis was formally recognized as a church in the state of California in 1996. It is dedicated to the goddess Isis, who, in modern terms, equates with Mother Earth. Followers adhere to the principles of the Fellowship of Isis, which was established during the vernal equinox of 1976 at Huntington Castle in Ireland.

In the center of the 10-acre spiritual retreat stands a majestic fir tree that once caught the eye of renowned arborist Luther Burbank. Estimated to be more than 500 years old, the Great Tree has literally saved both the oasis property and the town of Geyserville.

Recently constructed earthen fairytale houses can be rented by guest of Isis Oasis in Geyserville. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
Recently constructed earthen fairytale houses can be rented by guest of Isis Oasis in Geyserville. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Thanks to its official designation as a heritage tree, protected by Sonoma County Ordinance 3561, it not only spared the oasis from developers; it also prevented the highway from being routed through the center of downtown Geyserville, which had been the original plan.

According to priest and spiritual director Justin Howard, historical letters indicate Pomo women set up birthing huts around this tree. They stored acorn grinding stones on the property until the 1920s and also did basketry there, using sap from the tree to make their baskets watertight.

Today, they hold temple priest and priestess ordination ceremonies under their Great Tree, and it has been the backdrop for many Wine Country weddings. Regula says it is not unusual for couples to return on their future anniversaries to visit.

Recently constructed earthen fairytale houses can be rented by guest of Isis Oasis in Geyserville. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
Recently constructed earthen fairytale houses can be rented by guest of Isis Oasis in Geyserville. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Before moving north, Lady Loreon, whose husband was beat filmmaker Dion Vigné, had been a successful San Francisco artist and business owner for more than 20 years, specializing in enamels and stained glass.

She also kept a collection of exotic ocelots in her home on Isis Street. Once regulations came out against citizens owning exotic animals within the city and county limits, she began looking for a home in the country rather than part with her beloved cats.

When she found the Geyserville property, she learned it had previously been home to the Baha’i School for more than 70 years. Enthralled by the natural beauty, the huge fir trees and the lovely surroundings, she was particularly drawn to the church building, which she saw as a potential temple.

Don Peron, former assistant to the late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and author of the first marijuana legislation, was the actual owner, but the owner of record was naturalist John Muir’s grandniece, Alexis Muir.

As fate would have it, Muir owned a restaurant directly across the street from Lady Loreon’s Victorian home in SOMA, so she literally walked across the street to negotiate the purchase of the soon-to-be Isis Oasis property.

Isis Oasis high priestess deTraci Regula feeds one of the llamas on the Geyserville property on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
Isis Oasis high priestess deTraci Regula feeds one of the llamas on the Geyserville property on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Lady Loreon’s work with the goddess Isis led her to transform the Geyserville property into an Egyptian-themed retreat center dedicated to the divine feminine. Her artistic touch is evident throughout the grounds, from her personally designed and hand-crafted stained-glass windows to the large ankh labyrinth in the garden.

According to Regula, the labyrinth is visible on Google Earth, as well as to airplanes.

Lady Loreon’s beloved ocelots inspired what is now an animal sanctuary, hosting more than 100 animals such as rescued alpacas, goats, emus, servals, parrots and a variety of birds, including two crown head cranes. The sanctuary is a natural extension of Isis in ancient Egypt, who was associated with birds of prey, cows, cats and many other creatures.

Isis Oasis high priestess deTraci Regula walks through the Grand Temple in Geyserville on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
Isis Oasis high priestess deTraci Regula walks through the Grand Temple in Geyserville on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

In addition to the large Egyptian temple, there is a smaller temple, a large theater and hall and separate paneled heritage houses with Egyptian decor. The small temple is always open for private meditation time, while the grand temple can be rented for larger events.

Overnight guests can be accommodated in the main lodge or in one of the small houses or earthen structures. The main lodge has a hot tub, sauna and pool, as well as a wood fired oven and barbecue. Upstairs is a table tennis table, pool table, large tub and an entertainment center.

Following the county’s current COVID-19 guidelines, whimsical signs have been painted on their fence encouraging people to stay more than a full alpaca apart and depicting multi-armed Indian goddesses washing all six or eight of their hands.

Pre-pandemic, the general public was always welcome, whether to visit, participate in the various rites and celebrations, tour the animal sanctuary, host or attend a private event or take advantage of the lodging facilities.

Isis Oasis priest and spiritual director Justin Howard stands inside the small temple in Geyserville on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The temple was decorated with props from a San Francisco theater company that went bankrupt when  Loreon Vigne bought the property in 1978.  (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
Isis Oasis priest and spiritual director Justin Howard stands inside the small temple in Geyserville on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The temple was decorated with props from a San Francisco theater company that went bankrupt when Loreon Vigne bought the property in 1978. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

For now, they are open at limited capacity and the majority of their offerings are virtual. Visitors are currently asked to call ahead and stop in at the office for a temperature check. Masks must be worn until further notice.

As restrictions begin to ease, more inquiries are being received for outdoor weddings under the big tree. They are also receiving many requests for memorial services since so many people had losses during the past year and were not able to mourn fully at the time.

Each week, during the Tuesday noon ceremony, they remember those who have passed, including pets. They mention the deceased’s name, say a sentence or two about them, if they have information, place a picture, if one is provided, and then sing a song of lamentation for all those mentioned that day. There is no donation or other cost involved.

Isis Oasis high priestess deTraci Regula walks down the steps from the Grand Temple in Geyserville on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The temple was decorated with props from a San Francisco theater company that went bankrupt when  Loreon Vigne bought the property in 1978. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
Isis Oasis high priestess deTraci Regula walks down the steps from the Grand Temple in Geyserville on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The temple was decorated with props from a San Francisco theater company that went bankrupt when Loreon Vigne bought the property in 1978. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Temple priests and priestesses are legally recognized clergy and can be called upon to perform marriages, funerals, hospice visits, last rites, baby blessings, and house blessings, as well as provide general spiritual counseling for those in need.

Howard still remembers the instant sense of peace and homecoming that swept over him when he first visited. He now sees his role as a curator host who helps create an atmosphere of “simply being” in a healing temple.

“The unconditional love of the divine mother speaks to my heart. I believe it is that gentle, nurturing love the world truly needs right now.”

The Isis Oasis Temple’s annual Inner Sanctum Symposium, this year focusing on the aspects of the divine mother as “Queen of Heaven” & “She of the Stars,” will take place May 6-10 on Zoom. This fundraising event will feature workshops, rituals, meditations and lectures. Details can be found on their Facebook page at facebook.com/IsisOasisTemple.

A douglass fir treee believed to be over 500 years old rises in the middle of the Isis Oasis property in Geyserville. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
A douglass fir treee believed to be over 500 years old rises in the middle of the Isis Oasis property in Geyserville. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Regula has been a priestess with the Fellowship of Isis since 1983. She started coming to the Isis Oasis Temple in the mid-’80s and served on their board of directors for about 15 years.

Following the death of Lady Loreon in July 2014, Regula became the new presiding priestess. Thanks to generous volunteer and donor support, she has been able to ensure that Lady Loreon’s legacy, memory and vision continue to be honored.

Isis Oasis is located at 20889 Geyserville Ave. Visit them at isisoasissanctuary.org or call 707-857-4747 for more information.

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