Nevada’s Sekhmet Temple with its surrounding camp is a must-see for anyone who might describe themself as a witchy occultist, a crunchy hippie, a feminist, and/or an appreciator of desert gardening, arts and crafts. As a designated drug and alcohol free zone, it’s also a great place to be or become sober—whether forever or just for the day—if you’re staying in Vegas.
The temple was founded by the late Genevieve Vaughan, epitaphic inscriptions to whom can be found on the immaculately landscaped temple grounds. Vaugh, a witch and goddess worshipper, made good on her promise to the lion goddess Sekhmet to build her a beautiful temple on the land she purchased between the Mercury nuclear test site and Creech Air Force Base. The temple’s location is intentional, as it is meant to serve as an outpost of peace on Shoshone land between two areas symbolic of war.
It makes sense, then, that the Goddess Temple’s keepers align themselves with peace activism and host overnight group stays for groups of climate activists, picketers, and the like, and if you visit (especially if you stay overnight) you have a strong chance of running into friendly packs of older hippies more than happy to share vegetarian group meals, song and dance, and lots of interesting stories around the evening bonfire.
If the “New Age spiritual hub on Native land” bit had you worried about the ethical considerations of such a place, in October of 1992, Vaughan gave the land back to the Shoshone Nation, marking 500 years of Indigenous survival despite colonialism. She formed a long-term agreement with the Shoshone to continue using this part of their land as temple grounds, and the area is surrounded by a Shoshone community.
Built entirely by women in 1993, the temple itself seeks to model matricentric non-hierarchical leadership, sustainable stewardship, and a return to maternal values—but men can visit too. It is a nonprofit that operates on a gift economy.
The temple is open from sunrise to sunset to visitors, and if you make prior arrangements with its caretakers you can even stay overnight on the temple grounds in a tent, a decent-sized guest house, or even a wooden stargazing platform called the Sky Bed! Men are welcome to stay over, as are cats and dogs occasionally, and despite the “no pets” signage the hosts and overnight visitors have nice dogs to pet if you don’t have any of your own. The stay is free - the place operates on a gift economy, so donations of food, money, art, and offerings to the Goddesses are appreciated.
Know Before You Go
The Temple is a drug and alcohol-free zone. Overnight stays are not permitted unless discussed with the hosts, who can be reached via the landline and email on their website.
Men are allowed to stay too, as are groups and events, and they host rituals and allow outside religious and spiritual practitioners and groups to have rituals there.
They have some permanent and semi-permanent residents there with friendly dogs, and pets are allowed.
The stay was free and the place operates on a gift economy! Donations to the temple are appreciated, like statues and whatnot of various goddesses, art, etc.
There is an outdoor kitchen where group meals are sometimes held.