The Temple of the People was founded in 1898 by Dr. William H. Dower and Mrs. Francia LaDue in Syracuse, USA. There are lines of force which encircle the earth in all directions. These lines intersect and at these intersections are centers of power that have been used as places of healing and consecration throughout the ages. Temple menbers were directed to such a place just east of Oceano, USA and the site was dedicated to the Temple work in 1903. Those of the original Temple group in Syracuse who could so arrange their affairs came to join, and the place was named Halcyon.
A large three-story Victorian home was purchased to become the Halcyon Hotel and Sanatorium. With the railroad depot just a convenient, short distance away in Oceano, people came from all corners of the world to be treated for many things including drug addiction, alcoholism, nervous disorders, and tuberculosis.
The Dunes, San Luis Obispo
The magnificent sweep of sand dunes and miles of beach close to the sanatorium were included in the treatments. Time spent in tune with the nature forces in the dunes and at the beach contributed to healing. In addition to the focus on the healing arts, there was an interest in establishing other opportunities for Temple members to earn a living.
Although an intentional community, Halcyon was never a commune. Members have always supported themselves in family groups. Land was purchased by the Ternple Home Association and leased to members. Some raised food crops, some went into poultry production, others tried commercially producing herbs and flower seeds, while others worked in the Art Pottery Studio established in 1909. Pieces of this pottery are now prized possessions in several museums.
A print shop was started to continue the publication of the monthly magazine, the Artisan, begun in 1900 in Syracuse. Pamphlets, study courses, and papers were sent through the mails to members world-wide. A general store and post office were opened in 1908 just in front of the print shop and have been serving the community ever since. The store and post office were moved half a block in 1949 without interrupting service.
The community, which presently covers about 95 acres, grew as land was acquired. Temple members and friends built small cottages and planted small shrubs and trees that grew over the years to transform the community into a woodsy place, protected by tall eucalyptus, Arizona cypress, and Monterey pine trees.
Francia LaDue, also known as Blue Star, was the first head of the Temple, serving as Guardian in Chief. In 1908 the Temple was incorporated in California as “The Guardian in Chief of the Temple of the People, a Corporation Sole”. Upon Francia LaDue’s death in 1922, Dr. Dower became the next Guardian in Chief and supervised the building of the Blue Star Memorial Temple. Like other sacred constructions, the Temple is built on lines of mathematical and geometrical symbolism.
This unique structure, surrounded by white pillars supporting the roof, is triangular in shape, symbolising the heart, the Unity of all Life, as well as the many trinities central to the spiritual core of all the great teachings throughout history. The windows are placed high to symbolise the Divine Light that comes from Above and are glazed with a special opalescent glass to diffuse the sunlight into a golden glow. The seven doors are symbolic of the key number of the Universe.
The Blue Star Memorial Temple
The Temple as a religious society is non-denominational, with members and friends coming from a wide variety of religious backgrounds. A daily Healing Service is held in the Blue Star Memorial Temple, with prayers and meditations directed toward the health and safety of the world. Sunday morning services, open to all, include a monthly communion service, lectures, and a monthly meditation service. The content of all these services are universal in nature. Personal study, service and continued dedication lead to the priesthood if the member so chooses. In the Temple the priests do not intercede, as our teachings clearly state that each person is his/her own priest in the connection to God or All That Is. Marriages, naming services, and funerals are some of the other celebrations held in the Temple. Creeds Disappear, Hearts Remain; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; and Judge not lest yea be judged are three of the most basic tenets of the Temple.
When Dr. Dower passed away in 1937, Mrs. Pearl Dower became the third Guardian in Chief. Under her leadership the guest house, built in 1930 for guests and students, was gradually remodelled into the William Quan Judge Library. This building now also houses the Temple offices and a small apartment used for visitors. By 1949 the Sanatorium was sold and the Temple property was consolidated into the present-day pattem of about 95 acres with the Temple owning 30 of the 52 homes. In this mix of Temple members and friends and neighbours there are currently 116 residents, ranging in age from 1 year old to 88 years young. These represent many professions, many backgrounds, and many skills. Almost all earn a living outside of the community. All appreciate Halcyon’s caring community spirit.
Onandagas by Harold Forgostein
The picture to the left, by Harold Forgostein is one of a series of 22 paintings depicting events in the life of Hiawatha and the contributions of the Indians to our understanding of nature and the necessity of balance between humanity and the earth. The paintings and the central 4 x 8 panel are currently hung in the Halcyon University Centre.Several of them have been exhibited nationally over the years. Harold was a deep student of Theosophy and the Temple teachings and brought his considerable knowledge and skill to the job of Guardian in Chief when Mrs. Dower died in 1968. He continued to be a masterly teacher and an inspiration to all until his death in 1990.
Since its inception, the teachings of the Temple have been circulated around the world. A Temple group began in Germany in the late l920’s, another formed in London in the 1986, and we have a growing number of members in West Africa and Russia. The Temple make no push for members, simply answering all given questions and leaving the choice of a spiritual path up to the individual and to the divine knower that dwells within each one.