I stand on the beach at Boca Chica, Texas listening to gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico. The Rio Bravo/Rio Grande is nearby, after making it’s nearly 2,000 mile journey from the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. This is my first time here. I am from Colorado where I’ve camped near the origins of the Rio. And I’ve lived near the Rio Grande most of my life in Texas and New Mexico. It is a special moment to be here for the first time–a convergence of both the Rio and my own.
The river serves as a natural border between the US and Mexico – but Mexican friends tell me that over the years immigrants have not crossed the “border.” Rather, the artificial border crossed their homeland. Since the mid–20th century, heavy water consumption of farms and cities along with many large dams on the river has left only 20% of its natural discharge to flow to the Gulf. Near the river’s mouth is an important agricultural region. The Rio Grande is one of 19 Great Waters recognized by America’s Great Waters Coalition. The Rio Grande’s watershed covers 182,200 square miles (472,000 km2).
For me, this is a moment of prayer and thanksgiving to All that brings waters of life to the Rio Grande and around the world. I offer some of the water I have gathered from oceans, holy springs and other rivers. Then I fill my empty bottle with this water. The prayers will continue wherever I go, a wonderful circle and cycle.
If you would like to create a special EarthWalks journey for yourself, family, friends or business groups, contact us in Santa Fe, NM at email@example.com.
Not your average tour in the American Southwest, EarthWalks has taken a turn in the road to be at Canyon de Chelley, Arizona for this full moon. Yesterday I was perched high on a sandstone ledge, sun setting in the west and moon rising in the east and playing flute softly to the Spirit of the land. I have had the pleasure of meeting perhaps the youngest National Parks and Monument ranger who is from the Canyon area and well grounded in his traditions and history. He will lead a hike into the Canyon tomorrow. November is Native American Heritage month…what a great place to celebrate the culture and contributions of the First Peoples of the nation.
To create your own special journey and pilgrimage in the American Southwest, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Picture yourself above!
Spider Rock at Canyon de Chelley, Arizona…an awesome sight at any time of the year, day or night. EarthWalks will be traveling to this spectacular red rock canyon on Full Moon, November 6 2014. We will journey through this part of the Southwest not on a typical “tour” but as pilgrims on sacred travel. From Santa Fe, New Mexico we take a spectacular route around the Jemez Mountain Range, cross the Chama River near Abiqui (the home of the late artist Georgia O’Keefe) and Ghost Ranch. We will be under the gaze of Tsi Ping mountain (known to the Spanish as Pedernal), a site sacred to Native Americans in the area. Here is a photo:
It is said that some Dine or Navajo people believe this is the home of Changing Woman, the mythical figure who was responsible for many transitions in life, including the seasons:
On past Chaco Canyon, then driving close to the mythical Shiprock, a volcanic feature that resembles not a ship but rather a huge bird with outstretched wings…relating to the Dine/Navajo legend about this spectacular feature. Below is a photo of this great winged messenger:
Then it’s on to Canyon de Chelley for walks and talk with Dine Parks and Monument Rangers. Stay tuned for a “broadcast” from the Canyon on Full Moon! In the meantime, contact EarthWalks if you would like to create a journey in the American Southwest for you, friends, family or business group. email@example.com
Craig Childs, author of “The Secret Knowledge of Water,” has written another book called “Soul of Nowhere.” It is worth a read. Here in the Southwest US we come face to face with the bare Soul. The wind, sun, bare beautiful bones of the earth. Here is a passage from Craig’s book:
“This is the place (Native American desert location) where every disparate thread of life is gathered to a single point….This is a thing that humankind has always quietly wished for, a way of living that does not obstruct the path of nature, or even more, is not at all different from it. We want an enduring relationship with our surrounding world….What is here is a necessity that comes before food and shelter: the barest need of life, to be awakened.”
Earth Walks, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico can help you create this kind of experience in the American Southwest. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore where your inner journey can take you.
There is a book definitely worth reading. It’s called “The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of Grand Canyon” by Keviin Fedarko.
The first portion of “The Emerald Mile” focuses on the Spanish conquistadores’ discovery and history of the Colorado River, starting in Utah and highlighting the Grand Canyon portion. He outlines the efforts to protect and preserve the Canyon against forces of dam development. Fedarko finishes with telling the legend of the illegal “speed run” by the Emerald Mile river raft that still holds the all-time speed record on the 277-mile stretch of river from Glen Canyon to the Grand Wash Cliffs during the historic 1983 flood. It’s fast and engaging reading, much like the speed run, also giving a vivid picture of history, environmental conflict and the monumental building of the Glen Canyon dam. The Grand Canyon is our “national cathedral” and deserves all the protection from tourist overflights to other threats we can give it.
Here’s a book review http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865583693/Book-review-The-Emerald-Mile-is-captivating-ride-on-the-Colorado-River.html?pg=all
Contact EarthWalks to create your own special journey in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Southwest. Whether one person or a group of family, friends or business colleagues, EarthWalks will help design an eco-tour experience that will be memorable and inspiring. email@example.com
Come join a special two day Spirit of Place: an Earth Walks gathering at Ghost Ranch Wednesday and Thursday, September 17-18, 2014. Participants have the option of staying on the Ranch or another location of their choosing. The experience will be woven together with humor, quiet time on the land, active learning and the inner sacred dimension.
On Wednesday we will be joined by a group of Tesuque Pueblo elders who will share their earth-centered traditions and values through conversation and “talking with the clay” as we create pottery. On Thursday we travel to a little known but highly significant ancient pueblo site high atop a mesa with commanding views of the area. The area is off limits to the general public but our group has special access by permission. (This involves a short hike down a switch back trail. Please be aware of this if you have any serious physical limitations.)
The gathering includes dawn ceremonies and several optional evening videos…and the best darn popcorn on either side of the Rio Grande!
If you are interested, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a recent Earth Walks visit to the Post Classic Mayan site of Maypan, a most amazing occurrence: I was prompted to walk up to the top of the largest pyramid from the west side. Stopping to quiet myself, I asked from which side should I begin my diagonal ascent. Diagonal, because years ago I learned from the writings of a Mexican anthropologist that the ancient priests ascended in a diagonal fashion going up one side, then descending the opposite side in the opposite diagonal. When these two patterns are then placed together, they form a diamond, the symbol on the back of the rattlesnake, one of the main cosmological symbols of the Mayan culture. It has been said this forms a DNA pattern as well.
So, up slowly and prayerfully I go. About halfway up, a bright flash of light in my eyes. Looking down, I find a tiny silver fish that had come off someone’s bracelet or necklace. The fish symbol was highlighted in an exhibit in the Mayapan entrance as being another of the main cosmological symbols. I just “happened” to be there at that time of day, with the sun at exactly the right angle and at exactly the right step along the way for the reflection to meet my eye. I consider it a great blessing, as well as the meditation that came to me on top. In the meditation I recalled a talk given some time ago: “It is said that the continuation of the human race is largely due to the quality of forgiveness.” From the top of the pyramid to my heart and from my heart to the heart of all. May we live in compassion, peace and harmony.
Contact Earth Walks: email@example.com, if you would like to create your own special journey in the American Southwest or some areas of Mexico.
This may be of interest to you. I have been to Mesa Verde numerous times, once leading the Institute of Noetic Sciences on an EarthWalks tour of the Southwest area. This research makes some inner sense to me. If you or a group you know would like to create an EarthWalks journey, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Journal of Archaeological Science, April 2014 | Abstract
The structure at Mesa Verde National Park known historically as Mummy Lake and more recently as Far View Reservoir is not part of a water collection, impoundment, or redistribution system. We offer an alternative explanation for the function of Mummy Lake. We suggest that it is an unroofed ceremonial structure, and that it serves as an essential component of a Chacoan ritual landscape. A wide constructed avenue articulates Mummy Lake with Far View House and Pipe Shrine House. The avenue continues southward for approximately 6 km where it apparently divides connecting with Spruce Tree House and Sun Temple/Cliff Palace. The avenue has previously been interpreted as an irrigation ditch fed by water impounded at Mummy Lake; however, it conforms in every respect to alignments described as Chacoan roads. Tree-ring dates indicate that the construction of Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace began about A.D. 1225, roughly coincident with the abandonment of the Far View community. This pattern of periodically relocating the focus of an Anasazi community by retiring existing ritual structures and linking them to newly constructed facilities by means of broad avenues was first documented by Fowler and Stein (1992) in Manuelito Canyon, New Mexico. Periods of intense drought appear to have contributed to the relocation of prehistoric Native Americans from the Far View group to Cliff Palace/Spruce Tree House in the mid-13th century and eventually to the abandonment of all Anasazi communities in southwestern Colorado in the late-13th century.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/artic/pii/S0305440314000296#bcor1 Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 303 4495529. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Here’s a new book that may be of interest to you:
Hippies, Indians and the Fight for Red Power.
David Farber of Temple University has this to say about the book: “Sherry Smith’s book is titled Hippies, Indians, and the Fight for Red Power. In fact, the book doesn’t focus on “hippies.” Only one chapter is about hippies and Indians. The rest of the chapters, as Smith carefully explains, detail how Native American people in the 1960s and 1970s allied with “a disparate collection of liberal, progressive, and radical organizations, churches, and individuals of various races and ethnicities” to fight for greater economic and political power (p. 215). Judging by the endnotes, I think Smith started this project by researching how and why a set of cultural rebels in the sixties become enamored of Native Americans and where that set of feelings and relationships led.” The chapter Mr. Farber mentions deals specifically with the influx of Anglo counterculture people into New Mexico, primarily Taos. If you are interested in this historical focus, I think it is worth a read.
Author John Nichols, whose book “Milagro Beanfield War” inspired the Robert Redford-directed movie of the same name, and who now lives in Taos has good advice to offer to any newcomer to the area in his book “If Mountains Die.” In it, he urges visitors and new residents to approach being in New Mexico as a pilgrimage. I would certainly extend that thought to anywhere we travel or live on our Mother Earth.
If you would like to design a special journey for yourself, family or organization here in the American Southwest or Mexico, get in touch. Contact me at: email@example.com
Native American traditions in the desert Southwest speak directly to our contemporary concerns about climate change and sustainability. Without the benefit of irrigation canals, huge water reservoirs and other technology desert urban dwellers have come to depend on, Native American desert dwellers lived in harsh yet spectacularly beautiful environments for thousands of years.
Their artifacts, pictographs and petroglyps left behind tell us there is a way to live here. Swimming pools in every backyard, “misting” of grocery store parking lots and other practices completely ignore the environment where we live.
There is a way to experience the Spirit of Place that can help us be in tune with the environment and understand how to co-exist with this land. If we take the time, everything we touch in the environment has a message for us. This requires quieting our minds, listening and observing–realizing we are not separate from this world, but a part of it.
The EarthWalks journeys we have taken in the U.S. Southwest and Oaxaca, Mexico have helped us on the “inner earth walk”–accessing our intuition and personal knowing. Let me know if you, your family or organization would like to develop an EarthWalks experience. This does not mean difficult hikes or strenuous physical endurance tests. It does mean traveling on the land and visiting with local cultures not as a tourist, but rather as a fellow traveler and pilgrim.
Contact me through EarthWalks: firstname.lastname@example.org