Some people build fabulous homes for themselves. Others design their living spaces as informal retreats for celebration, healing and inspiration. The Rainbow Temple in Northern NSW is Guy Feldmann’s extraordinary love offering to humanity.
We spend the night in a forest reserve not far from the Rainbow Temple.
As we eat breakfast, the girls enjoy being in Johnny's company again and show him all the pictures and projects we have on board with us.
It's raining ever so slightly when we arrive, but this is enough to bring out the umbrellas and gumboots!
This part of the country is lush and green, and from the carpark, we can hardly see the Rainbow Temple.
The thirteen main poles of the four-storey pagoda were erected on the day of the Jewish Passover (Easter Sunday) in 1981.
A large stage area adjoins the main structure, providing an open-air venue for creative parties and musical collaborations.
"The temple’s devoted to the story of life on Earth, a non-denominational gathering center," says Guy Feldmann, the temple’s owner, who has spent the last thirty years constructing the Rainbow Temple. "I realised in all the religions of the world there was nothing really devoted to the truth of life ... You can’t have one God which serves one people and another God which serves another ... So I built a temple devoted to that one exquisitely beautiful truth: that we are all one."
Signs throughout the premises remind us of the sacred cause.
Built entirely out of timber, the temple is a strict hexagon shape — like the Star of David.
Feeling at home, Aisha picks up some poi and starts twirling while Brioni settles into a hammock.
In the communal kitchen, fabulous paintings brighten the wooden pillars.
A huge butterfly mask from Burkina Faso, West Africa hangs above the kitchen. It was a gift from a events planner who used the Rainbow Temple for a wedding.
A trapeze bar hangs off to the side of the kitchen, waiting for someone to feel energetic enough for a swing.
As people have passed through the Temple, staying from one day to several years, they have added to the artwork.
Still open-air, the lounging corner is heated by a wood stove fashioned from two wheel rims.
Within the Rainbow Temple pagoda, wooden stairs lead to higher levels.
Delaney and I play with the large mirrors situated at each of the points of the floor-plan on the second floor.
The third floor contains simple beds for whoever wants to spend the night. Everything is still open-air, and mosquito nets protect against the bugs.
From the balcony, Delaney watches her sisters playing in the courtyard below.
The guests wake to sights like these in the morning. This level and the one above it are the dedicated bedrooms.
Outside, the girls start collecting the fallen jacaranda blossoms to add to the Rainbow Temple's decorations.
Brioni transfers the fluorescent purple flowers from her upside-down umbrella to the sideboard.
It’s impossible to look around the Rainbow Temple without also meeting the travellers who are staying here. Today we meet guests from Melbourne, the U.S.A., Germany and New Zealand. Visitors can donate $30 for accommodation and food, of $140 a week. Those who contribute labour pay less, and some nothing. Guy’s not running a business, he’s offering his space as a retreat.
Although he can't speak to us today — he's spending the day in silence — Michael shows off his juggling skills for the girls.
Since the Rainbow Temple is almost completed, Guy has started a new project on his land — a labyrinth of tunnels that run deep into the countryside. We peer down into the entrance, but we decide to take the tour another day.
The rain holds off so we can look around the grounds of the Rainbow Temple land.
On a hill, in the sun, a small vegie garden is maintained by guests and augments the kitchen's food supplies.
A carved totem pole sits by itself in the grass. I love the way creativity breeds creativity in places that are open to artistic expression.
The other buildings on the property are decorated in colourful ways.
When we leave, it’s with the certainty that we’ll be coming back. Now that the girls are familiar with the property, we’ll be able to stay for a little while and say hello to whoever is also visiting. The Rainbow Temple is open for guests at any time and welcomes those who want to contribute, create or meditate. I’m thankful that Guy has made this sacred space for us to enjoy, and I hope to come back soon!