The ashram is an off-the-grid commune near Touchstone Pass in south-eastern Arizona, about 65 miles east of Tucson. Established in the 1970s, it has been since the mid-1980s the temple headquarters of the Light, a New Age religion founded by Abner.
The Light's most devout followers live at the ashram, farming vegetables, raising chickens and rabbits, and making and selling trinkets in the warehouse. The property is bounded by a chain-link fence, and there are strict rules about when devotees can leave and their responsibilities while living there. Another fence bisects the property with the farmland, residential buildings, and adults living on one side, and the children, teachers, and office buildings on the other.
Devotees from all over the world visit the ashram to attend spiritual courses, leaving their children in the classroom (and attached dormitories) for the duration of the visit (days, weeks, or months). Others live at the ashram permanently, including Althea, Joy, and Wynter (who was born there in 1998).
In the classroom, women are assigned on a rotating basis to be "teachers" - they mind the children and supervise lessons. Teenage boys live on the other side of the fence to work on the farm, while teenage girls look after the younger children.
In 2012 the ashram erected new sandstone buildings off the main road to create an expensive spiritual center called Touchstone Healing and Meditation Retreat. It is one of several international retreats catering to the general public, another one being in Thailand, which Miriam runs.
People who have lived at the ashram include:
Abner (the guru)