Taos, New Mexico and the Counterculture

19672642Here’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: info@earthwalks.org

Native American sustainability and healing traditions

5646616268_61806362ac_zNative 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: info@earthwalks.org

Archaeoastronomy, Chaco Canyon, NM

Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon located in New Mexico and the American Southwest was a major center of culture for the ancient Pueblo peoples.   Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.

ichacocanyonMany Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction. Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a fifty-year drought commencing in casarinconadaatdarkjpeg    WarriorsFremontMoab1130. In future blogs, I will discuss how we as modern civilization can learn sustainability principles from ancient cultures in dealing with major climate change.

I have taken many EarthWalks journeys to Chaco, and some were to observe the amazing phenomena on Summer Solstice when the first light of dawn strikes an interior niche in the large kiva of Casa Rinconada (see photo of this and aerial overview)

At a large butte in the canyon there is a petroglyph with two spirals. At spring and fall equinoxes, a spear of light bisects the one of the spirals. There is some evidence that lunar events are marked here as well.

What is the purpose for these incredible alignments?  There are many thoughts and ideas, but I suggest you journey to the sacred landscape of Chaco yourself and experience the Canyon in its silent conversation.

Perhaps you will discover an “inner alignment” that will assist in your own personal questions and search.  If you have your own thoughts, please add them to this conversation.  And if I can assist you or your group create a special journey to Chaco, let me know. More: info@earthwalks.org