The business of spirituality
Ashland has a rich history of attracting individuals who feel free to practice their esoteric philosophical and religious beliefs there among kindred spirits. Inevitably, many have become part of the town’s commercial life. In addition to the myriad authors, artists and musicians who have long been part of the Ashland landscape, hundreds of individuals have hung out shingles as healers, wellness counselors, midwives, life coaches, yoga and related practitioner instructors, communications specialists and so on. Among them:
- Jumana King-Harris, a co-founder of the Goddess Temple of Ashland at Jackson Wellsprings, teaches water healing and writes a column for the DailyOM, a national publication based in Ashland. Her husband, Alex King-Harris, is a co-founder of Yogi Tunes who also earns money as a studio musician and live performer.
- Graell Corsini, co-founder of the Goddess Temple, is a midwife and teaches ecstatic dance and yoga at the Wellsprings when she isn’t supervising the operation of the temple with Jumana King-Harris. Husband Tony is a stonemason.
- Will Wilkinson, who founded a time-bartering service known as TimeBank, offers various life consulting services and also ghost- writes books. He is the fitness director at the Hidden Springs Wellness Center, which he says is solidly in the black 10 years after its founding.
- Alex Polinsky, a Hollywood actor who co-starred in the 1980s sit-com Charles in Charge, now splits his time between L.A. and Ashland. He does voice-overs for Warner Brothers in L.A., works on films with Sacred Mysteries Productions’ Jay Weidner and Sharron Rose in Ashland, and develops his own films from script to final edits in both locations.
- Peter DeJong is the owner of Sentient Construction. His work is based upon the principles he learned from EcoNest. Originally from New Mexico, he has permanently relocated to Ashland where he lives with wife Cara, a midwife who also serves at the Goddess Temple at Jackson Wellsprings.
These partnerships appear to be the most commonly occurring new businesses based upon the spiritual model. Included are several of the spiritually based bookstores and restaurants in town. Others include:
- Sacred Mysteries Productions. Jay Weidner and Sharron Rose moved to Ashland from Port Townsend, Wash., in search of a more meaningful existence. They are currently filming in and around Ashland. Rose is forming an artistic dance troupe, using local performers, some of whom also work in Shakespeare Festival productions.
- Yogi Tunes, the partnership founded by three musicians who create play lists for yoga instructors, projects revenue of $8 million to $10 million by its third year.
- EcoNest, a dwelling design and construction company, is another wife-and-husband founded firm that builds spiritually aligned homes using ancient building methods that lead to dwellings with all natural materials, natural heating and cooling and overall “healthy” construction methods.
- Omah Foundation was founded by three entrepreneurs who relocated from various places to Ashland to be part of what friend and mentor Asha Deliverance refers to as the “save-the-world” movement that merges science and spirituality. Their high-definition video-streaming product is based upon a military technology one of the founders co-developed while in the Marine Corps.
- Pacific Domes, founded in 1980, has weathered many spiritual and economic storms over the years and seems positioned for new growth.
- Jean Houston’s empire employs many people globally in the many businesses that Houston’s dynamic partnership with the late Robert Masters birthed.
- The Ashland Food Co-op is the hub of much of Ashland’s spiritual as well as culinary activity.