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THE HISTORY OF THE EARTHSONG FOUNDATION

In Hawai‘i, as in all indigenous cultures, there is a strong relationship between the people and the ʻāina (the land). For some Hawaiians land symbolizes life and in pre-Christian times land symbolized mana (power). Gratitude for the ʻāina is expressed by showing respect and reciprocity, tending, protecting, honoring, beautifying and keeping it well nourished.

So, in the spirit of aloha we want to give a brief history of who has been a part of the blessing, cultivating, and caring for Earthsong. We believe it’s also important to learn about the history of a place because if one is sensitive that energy can be felt presently. Fortunately, the intention put into this land has long been centered around healing with the earth and with each other.

While we do not know the details of the ancient history on this particular parcel of land, we do know that Ka Lae, where this land sits, holds significant meaning to the Hawaiian people. It is believed this area is where the original Polynesian settlers arrived on the islands. Ruins of an ancient Hawaiian temple, called a Heiau, several petroglyphs and a fishing shrine can be found nearby.

The Earthsong retreat was founded in 1990 as a healing eco-sanctuary by earth-steward, architect/builder, artist, eco-activist, musician and writer Rashani Réa. When Rashani first saw the land, in 1988, it was somewhat overgrown and had several bee hives and 2 modest dwellings on it, which had been built by a Sufi teacher, Mark Anderson, the previous steward. One was a small cottage reconstructed from an old plantation house on the Hamakua coast and the other was a small octagon built from a redwood water tank.

Earthsong remained a wahine (women) only retreat for many years before kane (men) were also invited in and so one may feel the land as being held by a strong feminine energy. “It was a unique multi-generational, psycho-spiritual laboratory for the Deep Feminine”, Rashani shared, “We questioned everything, discovered who we were beneath the many false labels and mis-identities and collectively redefined ‘power’ and the sacred.” Women came from many parts of the world to participate in women’s councils and to help build the simple off-grid structures. Countless of these councils plus many kirtans, participatory concerts, and intensives have taken place here.

The original name given to this land by a Maori elder was “Tangi Whenua.” As with all ancient languages, there is not a literal translation but many meanings embedded within it, including “cry of the earth”. Translated into Hawaiian it became “Na Mele O Ka ‘Aina,” which holds the meaning of “Songs of the land.” From this, the name morphed into “Earthsong.”

With the help of hundreds of volunteers over many years, the retreat center took birth, including other sacred structures such as the Makala, otherwise known as the “healing temple” where much healing has taken place. All of the structures were built in harmony with the earth, utilizing natural and recycled materials whenever possible. Countless women and men contributed their time, skills, and devotion into the land and vision to support its growth.

Reading through the hundreds of testimonials from people’s experiences in guest books dating between 1990 and 2006 expresses the power of this land, the impact it’s made on so many, and the love, tears, and laughter sewn into the seeds planted here. Here are just a few excerpts from these handwritten love notes to Earthsong:

“Back to Switzerland after spending 2 ½ weeks at EarthSong. Remembering EarthSong I am in touch with my heart and with the song of my life ”
“Back to Switzerland after spending 2 ½ weeks at EarthSong. Remembering EarthSong I am in touch with my heart and with the song of my life”
“We are all emerging from the moon scar to live in the upper oceans, realizing our intercellular connectedness. We are learning new ways to live on the rock of mama earth. The depths of compassion are endless and that is immortality. I realized all this at EarthSong .”
“We are all emerging from the moon scar to live in the upper oceans, realizing our intercellular connectedness. We are learning new ways to live on the rock of mama earth. The depths of compassion are endless and that is immortality. I realized all this at EarthSong.”
“This is the biggest 3 acres I have ever seen .”
“This is the biggest 3 acres I have ever seen.”
“A sacred spiral twirls from beneath the mother breaking ground at EarthSong. Taking flight it spreads joy and freedom to the indigenous life within. Making our pain become medicine and our compassion awakens to greet a new dawn .”
“A sacred spiral twirls from beneath the mother breaking ground at EarthSong. Taking flight it spreads joy and freedom to the indigenous life within. Making our pain become medicine and our compassion awakens to greet a new dawn.”
“I started out for this place of healing and peace in the dark dawn, into the dark, safe womb of this earth, to later stagger up into the light of a beautiful day to meet a new and wonderful person .”
“I started out for this place of healing and peace in the dark dawn, into the dark, safe womb of this earth, to later stagger up into the light of a beautiful day to meet a new and wonderful person.”
“I sing within my body the sweetness of this sacred space. The cycles of growing and decay that I dance are nurtured here. I feel blessed by connections that brought me here and privileged that I might live here with all that is both seen and unseen for these thousands of precious moments .”
“I sing within my body the sweetness of this sacred space. The cycles of growing and decay that I dance are nurtured here. I feel blessed by connections that brought me here and privileged that I might live here with all that is both seen and unseen for these thousands of precious moments.”
“Another day in the life of EarthSong : magic, healing, drama, dreaming, loving, being, reeling, seeing, seething, now -ing, knowing. Thank you dear wahine. Thank you dear aina .”
“Another day in the life of EarthSong: magic, healing, drama, dreaming, loving, being, reeling, seeing, seething, now-ing, knowing. Thank you dear wahine. Thank you dear aina.”
“I visited EarthSong initially in the spring, and when I went home my heart stayed here. I visited EarthSong again in the fall, and when I went home my heart came with me, as did the spirit of this land. I am whole with this land, and it ’s spirit is whole with me. For those of us who have walked and nurtured this land, we will walk it again many times even if from afar .”
“I visited EarthSong initially in the spring, and when I went home my heart stayed here. I visited EarthSong again in the fall, and when I went home my heart came with me, as did the spirit of this land. I am whole with this land, and it’s spirit is whole with me. For those of us who have walked and nurtured this land, we will walk it again many times even if from afar.”
“What I have harvested here these weeks is indeed a harvest. In the garden, planting seedlings, watching them grow – ruthlessly, or gently, rooting out the invasive weeds. The weeds of stories, these roots deeply wrapped around the stem of my being. Some released so easily it was almost a joke to watch them flow away – like petals in a river. Others were more stubborn, but with gentle work they released .”
“What I have harvested here these weeks is indeed a harvest. In the garden, planting seedlings, watching them grow – ruthlessly, or gently, rooting out the invasive weeds. The weeds of stories, these roots deeply wrapped around the stem of my being. Some released so easily it was almost a joke to watch them flow away – like petals in a river. Others were more stubborn, but with gentle work they released.”
“It has been nothing short of amazing being here and having the opportunity to be a part of this place. EarthSong …South Point and it ’s exquisite peridot sand. Naalehu, her theater and fruit stand. I have been blessed by my experience here along my earthly and spirited path .”
“It has been nothing short of amazing being here and having the opportunity to be a part of this place. EarthSong…South Point and it’s exquisite peridot sand. Naalehu, her theater and fruit stand. I have been blessed by my experience here along my earthly and spirited path.”
“Coming to visit EarthSong has been a homecoming to simplicity, beauty, and the power of the feminine. I ’ve loved my time here .”
“Coming to visit EarthSong has been a homecoming to simplicity, beauty, and the power of the feminine. I’ve loved my time here.”
“EarthSong – true to it ’s name. It is so easy to hear and feel the song of the earth in this magical place created by and with the love of so many .”
“EarthSong – true to it’s name. It is so easy to hear and feel the song of the earth in this magical place created by and with the love of so many.”
“EarthSong to one. Chaos settled into quiet. Opening with a warm orange glow. Lady papaya and princess hibiscus feeding souls. Leading all who came and stayed to more peacefulness. Mahalo for the warm embrace .”
“EarthSong to one. Chaos settled into quiet. Opening with a warm orange glow. Lady papaya and princess hibiscus feeding souls. Leading all who came and stayed to more peacefulness. Mahalo for the warm embrace.”
“Thank you for this lovely, peaceful sanctuary in which I have had an awakening and re -remembering of who I am. I will take this experience with me wherever I may be. May sweetness, power, beauty, and grace be part of all who come here ”
“Thank you for this lovely, peaceful sanctuary in which I have had an awakening and re-remembering of who I am. I will take this experience with me wherever I may be. May sweetness, power, beauty, and grace be part of all who come here”
“EarthSong – a beautiful place. You feel the love given into it and also the hard work that is to be done. Walking around you may experience every spot in a different shape than the day before. You may discover things and feelings never seen and felt before. I enjoyed looking around and also looking into my heart, soul, and body .”
“EarthSong – a beautiful place. You feel the love given into it and also the hard work that is to be done. Walking around you may experience every spot in a different shape than the day before. You may discover things and feelings never seen and felt before. I enjoyed looking around and also looking into my heart, soul, and body.”
“Thank you for the beauty of this place. I came to find a deeper connection to Earth Mother and was guided to this place. With all the difficulties, I am so thankful for the time I could stay here .”
“Thank you for the beauty of this place. I came to find a deeper connection to Earth Mother and was guided to this place. With all the difficulties, I am so thankful for the time I could stay here.”
“It has been such an incredible blessing to be part of this nurturing land, to feel the blessings of Pele reach to the hearts of family, to feel the aina between my fingers and watch the plants grow from seeds I have sewn. Feeling the incredible flowering of a new life – transformation .”
“It has been such an incredible blessing to be part of this nurturing land, to feel the blessings of Pele reach to the hearts of family, to feel the aina between my fingers and watch the plants grow from seeds I have sewn. Feeling the incredible flowering of a new life – transformation.”
“Indeed, EarthSong is a place where one finds oneself in the company of solitude. The love of these lands is here at EarthSong .”
“Indeed, EarthSong is a place where one finds oneself in the company of solitude. The love of these lands is here at EarthSong.”
“Blessed be the goddess spirit guiding us. The sanctuary of EarthSong ’s resonance gives gladly and I receive the gift of this place, and of the womyn -hearts who have opened here .”
“Blessed be the goddess spirit guiding us. The sanctuary of EarthSong’s resonance gives gladly and I receive the gift of this place, and of the womyn-hearts who have opened here.”
“Thankyou for the vacation at EarthSong. Sharing the space with butterflies, geckos, goats, sheep, and birdsong. We loved the gardens and hobbit paths. The lush gardens are an oasis on this black lava island. We appreciated the treats from the garden, especially the yellow cherry tomatoes – little globes of sunshine even on the wet days. Waking to the butterflies lends to a feeling of enchantment. Thank you to all the women who have been here before for the fullness of the energy in the temple .”
“Thankyou for the vacation at EarthSong. Sharing the space with butterflies, geckos, goats, sheep, and birdsong. We loved the gardens and hobbit paths. The lush gardens are an oasis on this black lava island. We appreciated the treats from the garden, especially the yellow cherry tomatoes – little globes of sunshine even on the wet days. Waking to the butterflies lends to a feeling of enchantment. Thank you to all the women who have been here before for the fullness of the energy in the temple.”
“EarthSong is a wonderful world of magic. A space of acceptance. All was there that I needed .”
“EarthSong is a wonderful world of magic. A space of acceptance. All was there that I needed.”
“Rarely have I felt so at home, so included and so much part of a place, so soon. The land welcomed and held me .”
“Rarely have I felt so at home, so included and so much part of a place, so soon. The land welcomed and held me.”
“EarthSong has been a miracle of grace, healing, and empowerment. We were privileged to join her dance ”
“EarthSong has been a miracle of grace, healing, and empowerment. We were privileged to join her dance”

In addition to the dwellings and buildings many fruit trees were planted that today stand tall and bare fruit. From its inception the garden was treated organically and when Rashani passed the land onto husband and wife, Michael and Jillian Packman in 2013 they continued incorporating biodynamic and korean natural farming methods to nurture the soil organically producing more and more fruit trees, vegetables, and medicinal plants. Healers themselves, the Packmans continued holding retreats and healing sessions here, often working with plant medicines and tinctures they cultivated from the land. In 2017 they formed the 501(c)(3) organization, Earthsong Foundation, aiming to provide permaculture and sustainability education and to provide support for the local community in need. Michael and Jillian had their first child at Earthsong, and became pregnant with their second child in 2020 when they decided it was time to pass the stewardship of the land and foundation onward.

PRESENT DAY

The land’s song called us and we listened – Aloha, we are Earthsong’s current caretakers and stewards Elena and Ryan. We are both healers, teachers, creators, and world explorers.

Earthsong Hawai’i was in need of love and restoration by the time it found us/we found it. We are currently pouring our energy into repairs to various structures, building and replanting dozens of gardens, pruning and clearing for fruit trees to flourish, and breathing new life into the retreat center.

How we came to find Earthsong, or better yet, how it found us is a tale filled with many synchronicities that we can’t possibly list here. Perhaps if you come for a visit we will share the full story in a gathering around the fire. To summarize, It is a direct result of 2020 – all of it’s endings and subsequent new beginnings and through our union in love that we are here today. In February of 2020 we met in the republic of Panama, land of Elena’s ancestry and Ryan’s self-built homestead. We all know what happened globally in March of 2020, and because of this Elena was mandated to close her beloved wellness center Peace of Mind Massage after 11 years serving the Denver community. This ending gave way to a new beginning for Ryan and Elena co-stewarding Earthsong Hawai’i and co-directing the Earthsong Foundation.

Earthsong is a 501c3 organization focused on sustainability, food sovereignty, and service. Which is why In January of 2022 we opened Earthsong as a community hub for donation based holistic healing classes and gatherings for the local community and visitors. We also built a roadside farm stand where we offer surplus fruit and produce made available by donation. Our intention is to continue expanding our reach and capacity to serve the land and community while also practicing living simply and walking gently on the earth.

Elena & Ryan - EarthSong Founders

With Ryan’s knowledge and experience in permaculture and Elena’s background in community facilitation, plus our shared love of holistic health, Earthsong has called to it two passionate stewards. We are now writing the on-going story of Earthsong with input and support from our global network, evolving the vision while honoring its rich history and legacy. It is our reverence for the Earth and the Ocean that has led us here and guides us forward.

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