Our History: The Early Years

The roots from which we have sprung; we honor all the founders who were guiding lights in word and deed, practical genuine theosophists.

It was an experiment in living, with reverence for life; they gathered in nature to study and practice, to share and to serve.

John Sellon, a co-founder, also remained a steady supporter and strong gentle presence as the Hollow evolved. One New Years, John offered clear direction and teaching in his new year's wish for us at Pumpkin Hollow. Let us contemplate his wishes:

An intelligent use of the life force flowing through us.
We have to maKe the effort to gain Wisdom.
Do something useful; be a center of peace.
Demonstrate Brotherhood as a way of life.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day these hearty souls came to Pumpkin Hollow Farm enthusiastically devoting themselves to hard work: building cabins, scything fields, sawing wood, sowing a garden. Then all would gather on the front lawn to listen to Fritz Kunz, a co-founder, inspiring teacher who integrated ancient wisdom and modern science.

Along the 75 year path, Pumpkin Hollow has been lovingly cared for and has been allowed to flourish into the wonderful retreat center it is today. Many who were instrumental in cultivating the Hollow through the years have moved on, but we salute every one of them, past and present, for their dedication and hard work.

A Historical Perspective of Theosophy at Pumpkin Hollow Farm - by Michael Sellon, March 1998

The founding families of Pumpkin Hollow Farm were at the epicenter of theosophical activities throughout the Northeast region. Most were devoted workers and leaders in lodges and study centers. There was a real sense that a regional theosophical community was being formed with key members from Boston, Springfield, Hartford and New York City.

These inspired workers gathered in 1936 to create a regional center for the Theosophical Society, and the newly formed Northeast Federation. Those good ol' timers often recalled how the Society was in those years, flourishing in the face of the Great Depression as it merged with WWII. Many socially and spiritually minded organizations flourished in the 30's and 40's galvanized into creating new alternatives to old structure. There was an urgency behind the creation of Pumpkin Hollow, spawned by the failings of the social climate, and inpired by a theosophical world view they felt had much to offer amidst the humanitarian crisis that surrounded them.

For some of us- as children of those times- it was impressive to experience the stamina of the PH founders, enduring many limitations of a primitive farm. Their physical efforts to make the Hollow livable were equally matched by a sustained study and practice of Theosophy. Early on, Fritz Kunz was designated to be our 'scholar-in-residence'. There would be no 'all work and no play'; it was agreed from the start that it shall be work, study/practice and play!

Fritz Kunz prepared explorations into cosmology, metaphysics, modern science, modern thought in philosophy and religion- ever peppered with geometric models, diagrams and images to make it 'more experiential'. When it was time to study, the Pumpkin Hollow bell would ring seven times and the pick-axes and hammers, pots and pans were laid aside to make way for Theosophy; from hammering nails to the resounding of concepts like Parabrahm, Akasha and Mulaprakriti. Fritz sought after a dynamic integration of the best of main currents in modern thought and the best of Theosophical principles. All gathered outside under the trees of the farmhouse front lawn. The outcome for most who communed with Fritz was 'pure magic.

The spirit and principles underlying the founding of Pumpkin Hollow are alive and flourishing today!