Mullumbimby is a sleepy little town at the back of Byron Bay – just south of the Queensland / New South Wales border.
I remember Mullumbimby in the early 70s, when I used to go surfing up and down that part of the coast. It was a major hippy joint, largely full of dope heads and stoners, everyone wearing tie-dyed cheesecloth and loose elephant print daks from India.
The dread-locked hippies burned incense in their clapped-out rusty Kombis and stole mangoes from trees by the side of the road and for breakfast they ate magic mushrooms, which pretty much set up the rest of the day for them…
Mullumbimby was regularly raided by the cops, and the locals never failed to disappoint.
I drove into Mullumbimby yesterday, after not having visited the place for something like forty years. It’s still a hippy joint, although the hippies have now gone establishment, and run restaurants like The Magic Pot Eatery, or operate Wellness Clinics where you can have your chakras punctured or your bowels cleansed.
I didn’t drive nearly 1000kms though to have my chakras punctured. Nor to have my bowels cleansed, although they probably needed it… especially after that curry the other night…
No, I came for The Crystal Castle.
Jennifer and I have two Camino mates – Greg & Donna – who did the Portuguese Camino tour with us a couple of years back. We’ve remained good friends. and for some time now they’ve been telling us we should come up and visit The Crystal Castle.
Greg & Donna live in Brisbane, and for them it’s a drive of only an hour and a half, so they’ve been to the Crystal Castle many times. They kept raving about the place, so finally we said we’d drive up and make a weekend of it.
What is the Crystal Castle? It’s a magnificent private Botanical Garden full of Tibetan Buddhist stupas, and statues of Hindu gods and goddesses, and…
Big mothers pulsing energy like a stadium rock band…
I wouldn’t say I’m a crystal guy.
I don’t put crystals by my bedside before I go to sleep, like my wife does.
I don’t “recharge” my crystals in the backyard on a full moon, like my wife does.
I don’t use crystals to divine whether I should wash my hair tomorrow or next week, like my wife does.
I don’t place a rose crystal over my heart chakra when I think about Syrian refugees, like my wife does.
For me, crystals fall into the same category as Hobbits.
Except they’re not as hairy.
Crystals and Hobbits, whilst you wouldn’t immediately see a direct correlation, do come from the same gene pool. Gandalf for instance would have been a crystal guy. (Yes, I know, Gandalf was a wizard, not a Hobbit, but he hung around with Hobbits. And wizards are definitely crystal guys.)
I have strayed.
The Crystal Castle is a really cool place.
It was established thirty years ago by a bloke named Naren King, who had a business importing crystals. He went to a New Years Eve party on a 25 hectare property at the back of Mullumbimby – and immediately wanted to buy the unique building that was on the site.
He found a bank manager willing to stake him in a venture that would have him establishing magnificent gardens, and building huge statues of religious iconic figures, in amongst grounds studded with gigantic crystals.
Thirty years on it’s a thriving business, with hundreds of people from around the world visiting each day, paying an entrance fee of $22 to wander around these tranquil gardens.
There’s a spiral with a large crystal chair in the middle, there’s a labyrinth based on an ancient design, there’s a beautiful bamboo grove at the end of which is a statue of Vishnu and Garuda – and there is a massive Buddha in a lotus pond.
I’ve gotta say, I’m not a crystal guy – did I mention that before? – but I liked this place. There was a very powerful energy there.
And I thought it was wonderful that such a New Age hippy enterprise would attract so many people from all walks of life, from all over the world.
They hold yoga and meditation classes, and workshops where you can use crystals to clean your subtle body, and you can have a photo taken of your auras which sets you back $45. There’s also a fabulous bookstore and cafe, and of course a shop where you can buy all sorts of crystals ranging in price from a couple of bucks to $30,000.
The $30,000 crystal was tempting, I have to say, but I’m not a crystal guy…. And it wouldn’t have fitted in the back of the car. That’s what I told the lady in the store, anyway.
I thought about buying a smaller and somewhat cheaper crystal, which would have been more easily transportable, but then I figured that if I did, I would have to put it out in the backyard on a full moon to recharge it. And I have a hard enough time motivating myself to put out the garbage on a Wednesday night.
We did spend some money at the store though. Jennifer had a photo taken of her auras. She was told that her auras showed she was creative.
When I heard that, I decided not to invest $45 and have my auras photographed. I was concerned that they might show that I was un-creative.
And that would have shattered me.