Just outside Pima’s town limits, spiritual adventure-seekers celebrate a convergence of spirit and nature on a semi-annual basis, while most residents of the neighboring communities remain wholly unaware. The past 13 years have seen over a dozen retreats, facilitated in recent years by Tucson resident Rebecca Astara.
“You can feel the energy of that place just walking on the land,” Astara said. “We leave each time feeling a new level of peace.”
The hot springs at Eden have a long history of popularity for their curative and restorative powers, dating back to long before Arizona achieved statehood. Indigenous families told stories of visiting the steaming waters for their healing purposes, though since Native Americans were confined to reservations in the 1870s, the property has been open to commercial development. Ben Gardner was the first to take advantage of the property’s potential around 1876, following the military’s establishment of Fort Thomas six miles to the west. In the decades to follow, the property was sold to a new commercial developer every few years, each making minor improvements before passing it along.
Around the turn of the century, the Indian Hot Springs was becoming increasingly popular, and communities had sprung up in nearby areas and the Northern Railway provided easy transport. Construction of a three-story hotel was completed in 1903, and it was described as a “feudal castle lost in the desert.” In 1905, a swimming pool measuring 255 feet by 70 feet was added, the largest in the state. Even then, the Springs were recognized as a therapeutic and recreational site for anyone able to pay the admission fee.
The hotel has since burned down, and ownership of the property has changed hands several times, but the ever-flowing spring waters are still recognized for their relaxing and rejuvenating abilities. Much like it was a century ago, the springs are available to those willing to pay the admission fee. To ask any past attendees of the epic retreats, the money is well spent.
The next Epic Eden Hot Springs retreat is set for Oct. 18 to 21, and promises to be a weekend of healing and peace through communion with nature in what has been hailed as a vortex of energy. Aside from the privilege of camping on the land and bathing in the mineral-rich water, those in attendance will have the option of services provided by various renowned practitioners of healing arts, as well as “fun” shops provided by acclaimed lecturers, exclusive musical performances and cuisine prepared by a raw foods expert. Most services require payment in addition to the registration fee and include sound healing, healing massage, hand readings, private photography sessions, Quantum Reflex Analysis and Interference field clearing. The names and credentials of providers are available on the Web site epicedenhotsprings.com.
Though anyone can attend, newcomers to this type of event are warned that free thinking reigns, so those who judge and cast blame are cautioned against appearing. Children are welcome, though child care is not permitted and parents should bring their food for children who are not accustomed to raw, vegetarian cuisine. No drugs or alcohol are permitted either, and the Web site proclaims participants will find them selves naturally elevated by the place, the people and the performances.
According to Astara, each event typically hosts around 50 people, and she said that nearly that many have already registered. Space is limited, so those interested should inquire immediately by visiting epicedenhotsprings.com.