The Rowan Tree has held an Annual Retreat since 1985. If you are interested in participating in a future retreat, we invite you to follow our Rowan Tree & Hermits Grove community page on Facebook. This is where you will find the retreat listed in the events section. Retreats are generally held in the summer, either near the solstice or Lammas (early August). For many years, we gathered at Yellowstone National Park every 3 summers. Our last Yellowstone retreat was in August 2018. As of Spring 2022, we do not have any annual retreats scheduled and are focused upon succession in the wake of Rev. Paul’s passing in December 2021. Future retreats will be announced here and on our Facebook community page.
The Church’s first Annual Retreat was held in 1985 in Whitewater State Park in southeastern Minnesota where we rented a primitive campground. Our location for many years, it was a lovely site, nestled among the tall limestone bluffs with clear springs providing cool swimming. Nearby nested thousands of herons who flew the short distance to the Mississippi River for their migratory flyway and additional feeding. The custom evolved of gathering many rocks for a stone circle. Each year we would look through river beds and bring more, setting them up in a large circle. At the closing of the Retreat we would clean up the grounds and place each of the rocks in a pile next to several trees. The following year that location was completely overgrown with nettles, the rocks protected and awaiting their ritual use. Whomever has claimed those rocks has, we trust, felt their blessings.
Our purpose was to spend time removed from the busy activities of daily life where we could work ritual together and strengthen the bonds we share within Lothloriën. The Annual Retreat was last held in Whitewater State Park in 1993.
In 1994 the Retreat was held in the San Fernando Valley of the greater Los Angeles, CA.
In 1995 the Annual Retreat moved to Redmond, Washington where the Rowan Tree’s home was 1.3 acres, gradually developed into a 45,000 square foot botanical garden with several venues for outdoor ritual. The Annual Retreat was last held in Redmond in 2017.
In July, 1997 ce, during the annual meeting of the Board of Directors (which coincides with the Annual Retreat), at a Rowan Tree Church Annual Retreat, one of our Members asked if we might not consider having an occasional Retreat at a location more convenient for those who might drive from other areas of North America. Although not geographically in the center, there was unanimous enthusiasm for Yellowstone National Park. A motion was passed. And thus, we planned an historic gathering to celebrate the year 2000 by holding our Annual Retreat in Yellowstone National Park.
In 2000 ce we held our first Yellowstone Retreat. Having spent previous week-long adventures in Yellowstone National Park, Rev. Paul, the coordinator, contracted cabins in the Old Faithful Village. Everyone was completely pleased with the results. We were convenient to numerous amenities, the village was easy to find and navigate, the location was superb – adjacent to Old Faithful geyser, itself! – and we found a wonderful, convenient site for our ritual work where we were nearly within sight of Old Faithful and the throngs of tourists and yet amazingly undisturbed.
The decision was made that we would hold our Annual Retreat at the Old Faithful Village every third year. We have had Members and guests attend from Canada to southern California, Nebraska to Indiana, all agreeing that this is an ideal location.
In 2019 ce the Annual Retreat was held for the first time at our new, permanent location west of Houston, Minnesota, where we have 11 acres of land.