Excerpt One

Chapter 1, Page 1-2

Ruth was looking for something far more important than just a location. She wanted a place where a community of homeowners, of friends with similar interests and aspirations could study and grow spiritually in a peaceful atmosphere, free of the noise and commotion of big city life with its industries and heavy traffic, in other words, a haven for retired Theosophists. In the June 1967 Taormina Brochure Ruth said in the section titled “‘Our Ideal’ Taormina will be a Community of friends with similar interests, purposes and aspirations where one may study and work with security and companionship, without fear of dependency or lonely declining years. It is envisioned as a place where active virtues can blossom and where there is a challenge to live and grow, by creating an environment of tolerance and generosity and contentment.”

Excerpt Two

Chapter 5, page 14

The name also served as a tribute to the great philosopher, Pythagoras, whose ideas they followed. Additionally, Taormina was the place on Sicily where Annie Besant, C.W. Leadbeater, C. Jinarajadasa, George Arundale, Krishnamurti and his younger brother, Nityananda, spent weeks to undergo intensive spiritual training. This was particularly important to Ruth Wilson as evidenced by her letters to Joy Mills of March 3, 1965, and again in November 13, 1966.

The name Ojai means moon. It comes from the Chumash word “Awhai” and was considered by the Chumash to be a sacred spot, possibly due to the powerful emanations of the Topa Topas. Ruth speculated that Ojai might even have curative powers because of the numerous mineral springs.

Later, Taormina resident Kathryn L. Dahlstrom said, “also there seems to be another condition which I can only describe as a super-sensitivity that seems to be innate in the very air we breathe—if it were a highly refined Ether that allows the mind to reach greater depths of concentration and investigation into the Metaphysical studies which many of us, as students, are greatly interested in.”

Excerpt Three

Chapter 15, page 93-94

To the West, Taormina is completely bordered by the Oak Grove, and the views are spectacular. One can cut across these oak trees and journey to Oak Grove School or take the easier way through the Meadow Preserve, on the Community’s northern border. Jiddu Krishnamurti founded the Oak Grove School in 1975. Krishnamurti believed that education should prepare individuals to understand and face human problems without prejudice and fear. Through him, Taormina is connected with his friends: Iris Murdoch, feminist and writer, Indria Gandhi, politician, and David Bohm, George Sudarshan, and Rupert Sheldrake, all scientists.

Krishnamurti was also associated with the Besant Hill School founded by Annie Besant. Mentioned earlier, she was a prominent British socialist, Theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer, orator and supporter of Irish and Indian home-rule. Through Annie Besant, we are connected with two other luminaries associated with the school: Dr. Guido Gerrando, a retired philosophy professor from Vassar who believed in the Socratic method of teaching and the famed English novelist and social critic Aldous Huxley who was also associated with Old Krotona in Hollywood.