How can a small group of people with less than average income establish a spiritual centre 3.000 km from their own homes and afford expenses of more than EUR 700,000 over seven years? Here is a short version of our story, narrated by Asger Lorentsen, from the Golden Circle in Denmark (1994 - january 2012):
The Idea is Conceived
In 1988, my wife Yvonne Wassini and I took part in an international tour of light workers, who visited Israel, Egypt and Greece. At the Idi Mountains in Crete we experienced an overwhelming feeling of a spiritual home and an uplifting idea of creating a spiritual school at the presence of Master Hilarion and the Brother-Sisterhood of Truth, which is aligned with the central Island of Crete.
In 1995 and 1996 we were leading groups of Scandinavians to the Idi Mountains, and many experiences of the radiation of the etheric Temple of Truth and the spiritual history of the sacred valley in the Idi Mountains followed. Amongst the inspirations we got the message that “you will return to Crete and establish a spiritual centre here”.
In January 2001, a great female being addressed us again encouraging us to buy a place in Crete and found a temple as soon as possible.
Buying The Site
During a stay of seven days in June 2001 we found the site on the fourth day, made a decision on the sixth day, negotiated the price and signed on the seventh day. The price was EUR 82,000 Euros + EUR 12,000 Euros to taxes and lawyer – three times more than we had expected when we arrived. At that time it was just a field without house, water, electricity or sewerage system. Part of the money came from selling a cottage, and the rest was borrowed.
It took two years to find the money and to get all the legal papers and stamps including dozens of meetings with two lawyers and in a number of legal offices.
2004–05: Widening The Circle
During 2004-2005 new groups participated in seminars, many visited the site, and gradually the circle of people widened, who were attracted to the site and the vision of establishing a temple for uplifting the vibrations of the island and bringing light to the Middle East and this corner of Europe.
About EUR 30,000 were attracted to the site by selling 8 – 20 weeks of accommodation at a time. In this way a group of 20 people became a pioneering group who felt so dedicated to the project, that they chose to spend EUR 1,500 or more in return for an annual visit to the site for one or two weeks. For that amount we got a number of white stone-walls, a small house with kitchen and toilets and a 100 meters deep well. As we also got connected to the public electrical power-lines, we suddenly had plenty of water, electricity and possibilities of heating. What a revolution from primitive conditions to a modern western standard!
Furthermore, 2005 became the year of building the 100 meters of white walls made of nature-stones, which are so uplifting to see. They were built by a team of people from Albania over a period of 2 – 3 months at a total cost of EUR 30,000.
2006: The Great Building Year
Until mid 2005 we had just managed to pay the expenses by the slow building process and a lot of voluntary work. But the great project of building a temple was still in waiting.
In the autumn 2004 we were a group of 40 people who started to donate money for the construction of the temple. In spring 2005 we reached the sum of EUR 50,000, of which half was donated by a single man and 1/3 by ten other persons. This sum was the signal that the building process could begin, and soon the group of donators expanded to 150 people from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The construction began in July 2005 and during the building process in the following ten months the donations continued to be received as many small amounts. To finish the temple to the inauguration and celebration in June 2006, a few people lend us money, which we now are returning over 5-7 years. In 2009 the total sum of donations is only about EUR 10-15,000 short of the total costs of EUR 130,000 Euros for the temple.
When some of us arrived 12 days before the celebration with 50 people from seven countries over five days in June 2006, the temple was so far from finished, that it seemed impossible, but with six groups of Scandinavians who painted, cleaned, made terraces and did carpentry work and six groups of Greek workers who evened the ground with big bulldozers, and who made bathing facilities, tiles, doors and windows at a number of places, we succeeded in finishing the temple to the level that we could teach, meditate and perform our initiatory light work with 50 people, of which 25 were accommodated at the site. At the final celebration Yvonne, on behalf of all of us, said the now historic words: “We did it!” Yes certainly it was remarkable to finish a temple + many other facilities within such a short time. Remarkable in terms of the voluntary work and enthusiasm of the participants, and remarkable in terms of the large number and sums of donations.
The temple was not the only building which was constructed that year
Together with the building of the temple we finished the little house with kitchen and two toilets, and Yvonne’s and my house expanded with a bedroom and a larger terrace, under which – during the following years – we made two more accommodations with own bathrooms and cooking facilities.
Also we decided to construct the main structure of the building with three apartments in concrete. Any building constructed according to Greek law is heavily secured against earthquakes. The main safety precautions are make a construction of concrete and iron 0–100 cm below ground level. If we calculate the amount of concrete under ground level at the Golden Site under walls and buildings we get a total of 250 m3 or 750 tons, which equals 500 cars packed together and buried under ground level!
For such a sub-earth construction the builders need to remove lots of earth and later move some of it back, so small mountains of earth were piled, red dust flowed everywhere during the following year and no plants could survive in a large area around the new construction. Therefore we built the concrete construction of the three apartments at the same time as the temple, and finishing the great building year, we had a debt of EUR 100,000, of which we borrowed EUR 80,000 in a real estate credit society to be returned back over 20 years.
The Voluntary Work
In order to construct and make terraces and gardens so intensively over five years with as little costs as possible much of the work was made by people from Scandinavia who spent 1-12 weeks a year of their leisure time to paint, make concrete pavings, make terraces, plant trees and bushes, extend electricity and make all kinds of carpentry. The financial and social value of this part of our contribution to the site is so great, that it can hardly be sufficiently praised.
The Finishing of The Three Apartments
In November 2006 we started the project of finishing the three apartments. By the end of the following year the walls and the basic lines of water and electricity were finished. From this stage we took over with our own hands and extended the building by 12 m2 with a wooden construction and ceramics on the roof, insulation and wooden ceilings, tiles on the floors, finishing the bathrooms and making the kitchens. The price for finishing an apartment was EUR 16,000, nearly half of which was for aluminium doors and windows.
During 2008 the first apartment was finished with a 5-star quality and beauty. And by the end of 2010 we hope that all three apartments are finished – and of the same quality.
As soon as we got our own water supply, our gardens began to take shape. They started at Yvonne’s and my house at top-level. The next big garden project was the grass and plantations at the lower level of our house. Then followed the plantation of 100 trees and bushes towards the valley and the lower “social house”, and in 2007 we started to change a desert in the temple-yard to a beautiful garden with walkways, flowers, bushes and trees.
Reducing Water for The Gardens to 5–25 %
By the beginning of 2009 we have planted 4-500 flowers, bushes and trees, and made 200 m2 of grass. The gardens are so extensive that it takes up to 4 hours to water every plant on a hot summer day. In 2008 such a day could consume 2,500 litres of water, so in 2009 we started a project of diminishing the need for water from the ground from 300 m3 to 20 m3 a year! How is such a drastic reduction to only 5-10% possible? By a variety of changes such as:
- Each plant will have its own tube which leads the water 20 cm below the surface in order to minimise evaporation in the heat and to force the plants to grow down
- The lawns are changed to a sort of grass which can survive several weeks without water, and 10 cm of topsoil + sand + goat shit is mixed with the top 20 cm of clayish earth, so that the water can sink into the ground.
- An irrigation system of pipelines has been created, leading water directly to each plant, and which can be changed into an automatic watering system.
- 50-80 m3 of water is gathered in water tanks from the rain of the winter and from kitchens and bathrooms.
By the end of 2009, nearly all the rain that falls on the houses and terraces will be drained away from the houses by an invisible pipe-system. Some of it goes into tanks, and if we choose to pay EUR 1,200 per each 10 m3 of the water tanks we can store up to 200 m3 from each winter’s rain! Already by half of this capacity we have all the water that we need for the present gardens, when the new system with watering 20 cm below top-level is finished. During the summer we pump from the water tanks back to the plants.
So the year 2009 is the great year for reducing the use of water from the ground to ¼, and if we invest EUR 5,000 more than the basic EUR 1,000 Euros, the gardens need no water from the ground! Thus the Golden Site can be an example of how to cope with the climate changes in a positive way. Due to these changes we will experience more hot summers and more heavy rain during winter time in Southern Europe.
Total Facilities For Accommodation
When the three apartments are finished, the Golden Site has in total:
- Three apartments of a 5-star quality
- Three apartments of a 3-4 star quality
- Yvonne’s and Asger’s top-floor (not for rent)
- A house with seven beds of a 1-star quality
- A possibility of extra beds in the lower floor of the temple.
The Finances of The Golden Foundation
At the end of the construction process we have built on the Golden Site a total of 550 m2 of buildings. The buildings plus the costs of the site, the walls, the gardens and the water systems have exceeded EUR 700,000; pretty much considering that we started from scratch.
At an annual basis we need an income of EUR 40-50,000 of which EUR 25,000 are used to return loans, EUR 6-10,000 to basic expenses and the remaining amount for continued investments in the construction process. The income comes from a number of sources such as:
- Activities in Finland
- Turnover from lightworker tours (e.g. Egypt and China)
- Accommodation at the site
- Retreats at the site
- Rentals of eight weeks per year
- Renting the temple part time to the sister group called The Order of the Golden Grail