Isis Oasis Temple and Retreat
California's pleasant climate and skew towards open-mindedness makes it fertile for spiritual concepts off the mainstream. It bristles with shuttered utopias and burned out cults, but also alternative belief communities which remain active. The Temple of Isis is one of those communities, a legally recognized church in California (since 1996) that loves the Egyptian goddess Isis ("Earth's Longest Worshipped Deity!").
Followers aspire to the "The 42 Ideals of Maat," positive virtues and practices espousing peace and New Age-y goodness. While the church's philosophies are fascinating, we're primarily drawn by what they've built on their property, available for tour to the public.
An obelisk and upright sarcophagus mark the entrance off the road. Visitors will immediately spot a a small Egyptian-style temple or chapel, made of wood, plaster, brick, and painted plywood panels. The walls are decorated with hieroglyphics and the interior is lit by the sun filtering through stained glass.
The temple is used for private meditation; it's been unoccupied whenever we've popped by (hard to resist that beckoning obelisk mummy). There's a larger Grand Temple up the hill, near the retreat residences, which opens for special events. The property includes a private zoo, with white peacocks and exotic cats. Gardens and sculptures are spread around its 9 acres, and a 400+ year old fir tree is often the nexus of ceremonial gatherings.
The Isis Oasis residents you encounter are welcoming and happy to answer questions. Out-of-area followers of the goddess schedule stays and partake in festivities, workshops, gardens, pool and hot tub.
A restaurant on premises, the Mummy's Kitchen, served fusion cuisine -- "Yummy for the Tummy" -- according to the entrance sarcophagus. Restaurant may reopen in 2016.