I happen to be in Portland Oregon for a training in Somatic Experiencing, a
trauma healing modality. Having arrived here about two weeks before the
start of the training I decided to go for a trip down memory lane....
Started out from Portland at about 9:00 am and found my way quite easily to
route 26 in the direction of Madras , via Mt Hood. This was a beautiful drive
with fresh snow on the mountain. I arrived in Madras at about mid-day, did
some shopping at Safeway and had lunch before traveling on to Antelope.
Before lunch I was 'cool as a cucumber' about my visit to The Ranch. After
lunch, as I made the turn off Highway 97 onto the road to Antelope my mo
changed, I felt quite emotional. Like I was on a pilgrimage and not feeling
comfortable because I expected not to be welcome where I was going.
In Antelope itself I felt definitely quite self conscious, going into the
Antelope store and café and seeing a booklet for sale about the good bad old
days of when the Rajneeshies were in town, cost: $20.-. I didn't buy it but
did have a flick through, just a reprint of stuff that is available on the
net, all negative.
After Antelope down to the business end of my journey, onto county road 218
direction Fossil, then a right turn into Cold Camp Rd. So far it all looked
familiar, at the bottom of Cold Camp Rd a left turn into Muddy Rd and on to
The Ranch. Then there was a big surprise: at the entrance to the property
the road went from a dirt road, the way it used to be, to a paved road!
Still, I went down gingerly, both to take in the view (and many photos) and
because I was still a little worried about what kind of people I would meet.
My last visit in 1993 had been very unpleasant in that regard....
I stopped at Krishna Murti Lake and admired the view and reminisced about
the time I spent there in 1993 camping under the Pine trees with a perfect
view of the lake. My next stop was at the first building of the Ranch I
encountered as I entered what used the be the city of Rajneesh , or
Rajneeshpuram: The fire station and peace force head quarters. I was a good
place to stop, as I was taking some pictures a van pulled up with a man in
it, dressed in camouflage clothing and a riffle on the passenger seat.
Needless to say I was a little nervous as he called me over.... He asked me
who I was and what I was doing here. I told him my name is Bruno and I am
having a visit because I used to live here 25 years ago. The man was very
friendly, introduced himself as Jay, and told me that the building I was
looking at used to be the fire station. I told him that I knew that because
I had been on the fire fighting team at the time. The he lit up because Jay
happens to be the fire chief of the nearby town of Madras and he consults
for the new owners of The Ranch.
Jay took me in his van to see first the new fire station, located in our bus
repair garage. Then as he warmed up more and more he took me all over the
place, into RBG (Rajneesh Buddhafield Garage) where I used to work. There I
met Terry who is now the sole occupant of that huge place that used have at
least 20 mechanics and spare parts people working in it! Still, the place
was packed with tools and works in progress, from car and truck repair jobs
to the manufacturing of three and four wheel dirt buggies. Terry looked like
a very happy 50 something year old kid in a huge sand box. Both Jay and
Terry expressed their appreciation of how well everything on the Ranch had
been built, specially the infra structure and the more industrial buildings.
After RBG we went to the more central part of the Ranch, which is now being
used as a holiday and education centre for teenagers. It is owned by the
' Washington Family Ranch', a Christian Foundation . I must say I was
extremely impressed and happy to feel how beautiful the place is becoming;
they have been there for nine years now and are running these weekend and
also week long camps for kids.
The vibe is relaxed and happy. The kids I saw looked great! They have
complete renovated the original Ranch house and what used to be Jesus Grove,
as well as the Hotel. The Ranch house and Jesus grove are used in much the
same way we used to and the Hotel houses up to 650 kids in dorm style.
Next stop a new complex built between the Hotel and our Rajneesh Mandir:
Multi Media entertainment centre, cafeteria and swimming pool, all
surrounded by beautiful lawns and gardens. Then on to the Mandir, which is
now a huge indoor sports complex consisting of: rock climbing wails, table
tennis, pool tables, basket ball courts, tennis courts, skating ramps and
more I can't remember. It was truly amazing... both because of the sheer
size of the hall (I had forgotten how big it was) as well as the feeling of
joy the place exuded.
After our visit to the sports complex Jay brought me back to my car as he
had to get back to work. I drove slowly along the county road through the
Ranch, taking some more pictures along the way and went right to the 'end'
of the area we used inhabit: Pythagoras grove. I managed to find the
location where the trailer used to be that I had lived in, the steps to the
front door were still there but not much else (a skeleton of a cow, that's
all...). Just before Pythagoras there was also the road Osho used to drive,
' Mevlana Bhagwan Drive ', it was closed off and I could not go there.
Now I had a choice to make: turn around and go back the way I came or
continue on the county road to Mitchell. I chose the latter and I am very happy
I did. What a beautiful drive.... I am amazed I had never done it yet.
Please have a look at the photos and you will see what I mean. Just before
getting to Mitchell I stumbled across the 'Painted Hills Unit' of the 'John
Day Fossil Beds National Monument '. Again, have a look at the pictures to
see the amazing natural beauty of this landscape. Many times on my drive I
had the sentence 'This is Gods country' running through my mind. (I am not
talking of the Christian God here of course, it just was so beautiful that I
felt full of gratitude for being there).
At the Painted Hills I met a guy who was there as a member of a photography
club and I asked him where I might find a hotel to spend the night as it was
nearing sunset. He directed me to a town about 30 miles past Mitchell. As I
came close to Mitchell I was amazed to see that Mitchell is actually quite a
cute and active little town, although it only has a 160 inhabitants
(according the owner of the hotel, who knows them all); it has a hotel,
general store, restaurant, petrol station and farm supply store. I had
dinner at the restaurant and listened in amusement to the conversations going
on around me (there were at least ten other diners). Most were to do with
hunting and one conversation I followed in particular which was a youngish
woman telling her story of shooting a deer that morning and dragging it back
to her horse, 'carving it up in four pieces, bagging it, and hanging it on
the horse to ride home...'. Oh yeah! They got some real women left out
After dinner back to my hotel next door, a cute little place with about six
or eight rooms, half upstairs and half downstairs just off the lounge
room. Writing my travel report and now to bed, resting for the next
Photos: www.picasaweb. google.com/ NitenCoral/ RanchoRajneesh
I have made one more link to the photo's
that shows where exactly they were taken:
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