Our Story

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Our Story

In addition to IONS’ pioneering work in the area of human consciousness research, its campus offers facilities for workshops and retreats. EarthRise is a beautiful, semi-rural retreat center for multi-day group retreats providing sleeping accommodations for up to one hundred and twenty people in a mix of single, double, and couple rooming options. IONS purchased the Petaluma property in 2000, which included lodging and dining facilities. EarthRise at IONS is a conscious living center that provides a gathering place to explore ancient wisdom traditions, supports experiential learning, and engages in modern scientific inquiry. EarthRise at IONS has become a place where psychologists, educators, leaders, philosophers, frontier scientists, and spiritual masters conduct their work. We support intrapersonal and interpersonal consciousness work in a gorgeous natural setting.

At EarthRise guests can commune with the land and experience ecological awareness and transformational programs and practices that foster self-reflection and personal growth. The campus is a place where we integrate theory and practice, science and spirituality, as well as renewal and retreat.

EarthRise at IONS is located just 30 miles north of San Francisco. It is easily accessible from the East Bay and North Bay, as well as from San Francisco, making it one of Northern California’s premier retreat sites.

Our Programs

EarthRise has built a strong and growing clientele of educators and leaders, many of whom offer several programs each year. You can find their retreat information in the Find a Workshop section of our website.


Connection with the land is fostered through hiking trails on our 194 acres of rolling hills, a beautiful natural oak glade used for outdoor meeting space and group ceremony, a small permaculture garden and multiple sitting areas for quiet contemplation. A beautiful meditative labyrinth made of river stones lies high on the hill overlooking the valley below.

The Land and History of EarthRise

Retreat Center Grounds

There is abundant archaeological evidence that the powerful Miwok tribe lived in the area for generations in peace and ecological harmony on the land that is now home to the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The sacred, spiritual energy of their long stewardship can be felt as you gaze out over rolling hills and soaring vistas, or while strolling along paths winding through glens and valleys. It is palpable as you pause to listen to the mating songs of wild turkeys; observe foraging deer; or meditate in one of several fragrant, natural cathedrals canopied by live oaks, buckeye, and bay trees on this ancient coast.

More recently, the campus was part of the Spanish land grants that transformed once-wild California into vineyards and picturesque cattle and sheep.

Since 2000, this sacred land has been the home of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a worthy heir to the legacy of the land. In recent years, EarthRise has hosted thousands of mind-body explorers who come to study with internationally acclaimed educators, scientists, philosophers, health practitioners, life and business coaches, artists, and spiritual masters.

EarthRise is also an essential site nationally and internationally for events in science, spirituality, art, social activism, transformation, environmentalism, health, and business. Its desirable location, just thirty-five minutes north of San Francisco, makes it one of Northern California’s premier retreat sites.

Why the Retreat Center is Named EarthRise

The vision for creating the Institute of Noetic Sciences came in 1971 when IONS’ founder Dr. Edgar Mitchell landed on the moon as one of the Apollo 14 astronauts. Space exploration symbolized for Dr. Mitchell what it did for his nation as a whole—technological triumph of historical proportions, unprecedented mastery of the world in which we live, and extraordinary potentials for new discoveries.

On the trip home Dr. Mitchell sat in the window seat of the cramped cabin of the space capsule; and as he saw Earth floating freely in the vastness of space, Dr. Mitchell was engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness. He stated, “On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious. My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity. We went to the Moon as technicians; we returned as humanitarians.”

In honor of IONS’ founder Edgar Mitchell, his historic trip to the moon, his viewing rising Earth from the moon, and his epiphany about the interconnectedness of the universe while returning to Earth, the Retreat Center is named EarthRise.