Sweetwood Temenos

The Land

SweetWood is located in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin (also called the Paleozoic Plateau). Around 85% of the Driftless Area lies within Wisconsin, with some parts in Iowa and Minnesota. The area is an elevated region of Paleozoic sedimentary rock, with limestone & sandstone outcrops, and deeply carved river valleys. ‘Drift’ is a generic term for any sediment or stones left by glaciation. 

The Vision

The idea for SweetWood Temenos sprang from its early members’ experience of Neo-Paganism in the late twentieth century. There was a feeling that dedicated pieces of land set aside for Neo-Pagans were needed to celebrate their beliefs & values, and also to express the freedom and beauty inherent in this sacred way of life.

The People

We are a community of seekers brought together by a set of common values and the civility of deep friendship. We aspire to pass down a spirtual and cultural legacy that will be as authentic for our future generations as it is for us.

The Five Values of Sweetwood Temenos

Some of the early members of SweetWood Temenos (SWT) were Midwest Scions of the Church of All Worlds (CAW). The group called themselves the ‘Upper Mississippi Valley & Great Lakes Scion Council’. These Scions met together in the mid 1990s and explored the meaning of being in a ‘church of all worlds’ … (?) 

Eventually, they came to understand that a ‘church of all worlds’ is a diverse vision of religions, that can be rooted in some common quintessential VALUES. A church based on Values (instead of on just traditional or religious doctrine and practices) was a novel idea to them at the time. These Scions came to an agreement on 5 essential Values. These values have been variously described as: .

Coming events

Do you want to know what coming up? Click below for our current schedule of events.

Frequently Asked Questions

​Members and none members taking pictures on SweetWood Temenos land and its events that include people must get explicit permission from these same said people. Explicit permission from the parents or acting guardians of non-adults, i.e. children, must be obtained before pictures of children can be taken.

Nonmembers of SweetWood Temenos may take no pictures of nakedness on SweetWood Temenos land or at its events. All members of SweetWood Temenos may take pictures of nakedness on SweetWood Temenos land or at its events solely for their own private album and never for public use or display.

Taking pictures of children being naked are strictly prohibited.

The wearing of a red armband on SweetWood Temenos land and its events signifies that person wishes not to be photographed. 

All members of SweetWood will be informed of this policy. 

 SweetWood Temenos encourages its members to inform guests to SweetWood Temenos and its events of this policy.

This policy will be part of the information packet include in the registration for the Freedom Festival and all other events that require registration.

Consequences for violation of this policy range from just a warning to permanent banishment from SweetWood Temenos.

SweetWood Pet Policy

SweetWood Temenos, as a community, values and nurtures healthy relationships between humans and the rest of the natural world. We recognize the positive influence pets can have in our lives, both individually and collectively. Pets are welcome at SweetWood within these limitations:

Permission must be obtained, *in advance*, to bring pets of any kind to SweetWood. A small fee ($3 for SweetWood members/$5 for non-members) will be assessed for all paid events. For all other events at SweetWood a pet donation is requested.

 Permission will be given solely at the discretion of the caretaker (Jack or Kim Ingersoll), who may take into account the nature of the event, ritual, festival and/or the number and nature of any other animals that will be present. Please check with the caretaker *each time* you wish to bring your pet. Pets who are not gentle and friendly to strangers and children should be left at home.

Pet owners are expected to promptly clean up their animal’s waste, and at SweetWood events dogs must be with their owner or on a leash at all times.

If, at a SweetWood event, a complaint is received concerning an animal, the caretaker or another SweetWood representative will bring the complaint to the attention of the animal’s owner and discuss with them an appropriate response to remedy the situation. If the problem is not satisfactorily resolved, the owner may be asked to remove their pet from SweetWood.

On Being Naked at SweetWood Temenos

SweetWood Temenos believes that human beings have evolved from groups where being naked was part of the social intimacy. While clothing was a way to protect the body from the elements, enhance gender differentiation and mark status, kinship or membership, social nudity was part of the inherent intimacy, affiliation and trust of belonging to a given social or kinship group. There was a sense that being naked, either alone in Nature or socially, fostered a feeling of peace. This peace results from being in harmony with ones nature, and reminds us of an earlier paradisiacal time where all were naked and life was easy. Social nudity within kinship groups was a way of maintaining a connection to this paradisiacal time & being in harmony with humanity’s ancient gregarious nature.

SweetWood Temenos is a land consecrated to the mystery of Divinity as symbolized by the marriage of the Younger Deities. SweetWood Temenos holds that the act of being naked on its land is an act of wholeness or holiness. It holds that nakedness on this consecrated land is an essential freedom. This freedom is necessary to achieving human wholeness, and to communion with the mystery of Divinity, as symbolized by the marriage of the Younger Deities. This freedom is part of the spirit of the Younger Deities’ marriage and so is vouchsafed by this marriage. For SweetWood Temenos, being naked on its land and participation in its rituals & celebrations, is a symbolic act that reflects an individual’s affirmation of self worth, the beauty of sexuality, basic trust in others, & a peaceful heart. Being naked in this way is an expression of values and beliefs inherent in the marriage of the Younger Deities. These values and beliefs were in concord with those of the Church of All Worlds, when SweetWood Temenos was a subsidiary organization of this Church. Now as an independent church, Sweetwood Temenos continues this tradition of values and beliefs on being naked as a Church of All Worlds.

SweetWood Temenos believes in the immanency of Divinity in the evolution of the Universe, and so believes that nakedness and social nudity in human evolution are a part of Divine design. Further, SweetWood Temenos believes that this Divine design requires conscious and free choice when engaging in social nudity as an essential religious practice. Therefore SweetWood Temenos believes that the freedom to choose and to practice social nudity, as one’s conscience dictates, is essential to the religious and psychological wholeness of humanity. SweetWood Temenos is a religious center where the freedom to be naked in nature, or socially in celebration, leisure or ritual, is essential to its consecration. The members and friends of SweetWood Temenos uphold this freedom. For SweetWood Temenos, the freedom and the practice to be naked and engage in social nudity on its land is both a cultural expression of the value of positive sexuality, and a religious rite that connects its members and friends with an ancient paradisiacal time. We strive to invoke a future paradisiacal world of peace and love, now, at the beginning of the Age of Aquarius.

SweetWood Temenos encourages nudity where the landscape or darkness offers the privacy necessary so not to offend those whom cultural or religious sensibilities is contrary to nudity as a healthy and sacred practice. Those members, friends or guests of SweetWood Temenos who violate this privacy policy may receive a warning, and for repeated violations, denied access to SweetWood Temenos. The practice of engaging in social nudity and clothing is optional, is part of the freedom of SweetWood Temenos.

Sweetwood Temenos does not allow the possession of illegal substances on the grounds of Sweetwood Temenos.  At the discretion of the SweetWood Caretakers, violators of this policy may be asked to leave the grounds with no refund of any event fees that may have been paid.

​Plant Harvesting Policy for SweetWood Temenos 

1. All plant life (including mushrooms) shall be harvested in an ecologically sustainable manner.

1a. Trees may be cut if dead or dying. Live trees may be harvested according to the principles of sustainable woodland practices [see more information on this at the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative, PO Box 71, La Farge, WI 54639, domehome@mwt.net]. No clear-cutting of the woods is allowed, except for small areas in the pines needed for camping sites.

1b Small amounts of plants, such as flowers, berries & herbs, may be used or consumed on site by members.

1c. Small amounts of the most common woodland plants may be transplanted for use by members. More tan this will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the BOD.

1d. Seeds may be gathered for use by members.

1e. Small amounts of morels or other mushrooms can be harvested & consumed by members. Morels or other mushrooms may be harvested and sold as a fundraiser for SweetWood Temenos. Kim and Jack Ingersoll may keep money from their sale of such mushrooms.  

2. Any monies obtained by timber harvesting will go to the owners of the woodland (Kim & Jack Ingersoll).

3. Ginseng shall not be harvested under any circumstances by the public or SweetWood Temenos members unless explicit permission has been to them given by Kim and Jack Ingersoll.  Kim and Jack are seeding and encouraging the wild growth of ginseng as a supplement to retirement monies.

4. Poison Ivy & Poison Oak can be freely eradicated.

​Special Events Camping Rates

A) Day fee will be $10/day for members, $20.00/day for non-members.

(B) Guests, non member folks who are invited for a rite of passage during a paid event, may pay $5 extra and stay overnight. In another words, people who would not normally have come to a SweetWood Temenos paid event if it were not for a specific rite of passage held during that event. 

Permission for Guests to stay overnight would be at the discretion of the caretaker and space permitting. Advance notification /request for permission are encouraged for planning sake.

(C) All other people, non-members or members pay the full fee for the given paid event if they stay overnight. And, having done so, they would be welcome to stay as long as they like.

If the person has first paid just the day fee, and later received permission from the caretaker to stay, then they would pay the appropriate fee for the paid event minus day fee already paid.

(D) Guest, Visitor and paid event fees can be adjusted up or down annually and approved at the SweetWood Temenos BoD Imbolc meeting. This is so fee change can go out in the Schedule of Events announcement in February of each year.

Freedom Festival

The Freedom Festival is a summer gathering of the Good Folk of Sweetwood Temenos—members, friends, and guests. It is a time when we celebrate and relax on our beautiful land—an opportunity to renew relationships with those dear to us and to make new friends.

At the Freedom Festival there is a sharing of smiles, good friendship, food, drink, tasks, skills, knowledge, and love. There are workshops, meditative activities, a silent auction, a symposium, walks in the woods and field, starry nights, rituals, fests, bonfires, dancing, music, chanting, singing, poetry reading, and the Sweetwood Temenos Thing (the annual general assembly). 

Freedom Festival is our main gathering of the year and an occasion where all can practice excellence to each other in common. SweetWood Temenos and its gatherings, including Freedom Festival, has a clothing optional policy, meaning people in attendance are free to wear clothing or not, as they wish. SweetWood values nakedness as an expression of freedom and self-acceptance. It is a very human way of being with kin that fosters intimacy, gentleness, and fealty.

Drop us a line

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