Intentional Community Living at Adawehi

by Roberta Bolduc

Nestled on 125 acres of woodlands in the lush mountains of North Carolina, just a stone’s throw from the Upstate, is an intentional community called Adawehi.

As defined by Wikipedia, “An intentional community is a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle.” According to the Fellowship for Intentional Community (www.ic.org) there are 160 intentional communities in the United States that have been “built from the ground up”. That is an apt description of Adawehi.

Jackie Woods, Adawehi’s founder, tells the story of how a vision came to her—not of an intentional community but rather of land to build a healing center. The vision of a livable community would come later. For many years Woods lived in Atlanta, Georgia, working as a spiritual counselor: teaching classes, conducting workshops, making personal growth recordings, and raising a family with her husband Rodney.

“I had intuitive gifts from an early age,” reflects Woods, who grew up in Southern Missouri, and as a youth, worked as a clerk in her family’s grocery store. “People would come to me for advice and help.” Later she graduated from the University of Missouri, where she studied psychology and then switched to business. After leaving an administrative position at an insurance company in Atlanta, and with the encouragement of friends, Woods began a spiritual counseling business.

She says that the initial vision of a healing center took shape slowly with no knowledge of where and how that would happen. Finally after a long search for the right location, she found land in Columbus, North Carolina, and knew that this was the place for the healing center to take root. She then began to receive a vision of a community where people who came for healing and to foster their own personal growth would reside.

Jackie Woods at Adawehi

Today, the healing center houses ten holistic health practitioners. Available to the public are services that include deep tissue and relaxing massage therapy, chiropractic care, reflexology, acupressure with color and sound, music imagery, colon hydrotherapy and astrology readings.

The community Woods envisioned is Adawehi Wellness Village, founded in 1998, by Woods and a small group of like-minded followers. This is where 50 residents live, each contributing their own unique gifts and helping one another achieve their full personal growth potential. The village contains 10 single family homes, and nine community homes that are leased to residents. The community homes are shared properties with four to nine occupants. Each resident enjoys a private bedroom and office space, and share a living room, kitchen and bathroom space. Those who aspire to live at Adawehi may—depending upon availability—lease space over a period of six months to ensure Adawehi is the right fit for them.

The grounds of Adawehi are breathtaking, with a balance of natural and manicured gardens. A haven for common and rare plant species, Stewardship Forest is a native plant preserve that includes walking trails lined with ferns, azaleas, hazelnuts, birches and a variety of wildflowers and bees.

Woods is the spiritual heart of the community and continues to provide individual spiritual and personal growth tutoring. She is the author of numerous books and CDs on the many aspects of spiritual development. Woods and her son Russell, a licensed massage therapist who practices at Adawehi, regularly record discussions devoted to helping people discover their spiritual qualities. Her individual website, JackieWoods.org is a treasure trove of personal growth articles, archived radio shows, CDs available for purchase and is the place to subscribe to her motivational newsletter.

Beginning with the vision of a healing center, Adawehi has grown into a unique residential community that includes an organic health food store, a conference center, three shops, greenhouses, gardens, an exercise facility, and a bed and breakfast.

Adawehi is open to the public as a spiritual retreat center and hosts weekly meditations, monthly dinners, consignment sale days, pancake breakfasts, celebration dances, game nights and community work weekends. Adawehi is the Cherokee word for “healing”, which is embodied in every facet of this community.

Adawehi is located at 93 Adawehi Lane, Columbus, NC. For more information, call 828-894-5260. To schedule an appointment with a health practitioner or to view events, activities, and to take a virtual tour, go to Adawehi.com. For more information on Jackie Woods, her CDs and books, and to access her articles and archived radio shows, go to JackieWoods.org.