Let us create together, holy places in our hearts that spill over toward a united Land of Enchantment!
‘I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to.’ ~ Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
I visited the Land of Enchantment, as New Mexico is called, just south of the border of my home state, Colorado. The area around Taos and Santa Fe is deeply rooted in a culture of spirituality, from a rich cultural heritage from the Native Americans and the deep Catholicism of the Spaniard Conquistadors. It makes for a very interesting blend. Santa Fe and Taos are the capitols of alternative lifestyles, spirituality and artistry. It is truly a Land of Enchantment.
Deep in the heart of the northern New Mexico Mountains is a small town called Chimayo. It is only a few miles north of Santa Fe. This small, seemingly obscure town is the home of a Christian holy site, called the Santuario de Chimayo. This sacred site is considered to be a place of great miracles.
This Christian holy site has become famous through legends passed down by oral traditions. It is known that the site where the humble chapel of the Santuario de Chimayo now stands had originally been a holy place for the Tewa Indians. As the story goes, when a Spanish friar was doing his penances in the hills, a light burst forth from the hillside. The curious friar went to the spot where the light shone on the ground. Because the light was shinning on the ground, he started digging in the sand with his bare hands. As he dug, he uncovered a crucifix.
This same crucifix was taken in a procession to the village. The next day the crucifix mysteriously disappeared and was found back in the hole in the sand where it was discovered! This happened three times. Soon it was believed that the site itself was holy and the dirt was holy too. Penitents began flocking to the holy place for healing. They would mix a paste of the “holy dirt” and place it on their afflicted body parts or they would eat it or dissolve some in water and drink it. Great miracles were happening in this sacred site.
By 1816, the chapel in these pictures was built. It was built over the very spot where the crucifix was found; over the sacred earth. It is a humble little adobe church, but the spirituality of the place is palpable.
As I visited this sacred site, there were rosaries and crosses hanging everywhere, in the bushes and trees, on the statuary and grottoes and along the fence surrounding the site. There were large stone crosses inside arches to usher you on your journey into the holy place. As I walked around the Santuario de Chimayo, I sensed the heightened level of spirituality. The energy of thousands of souls over the years seeking spiritual and physical healing was present.
The little chapel itself is not very impressive inside. It IS old. But soon, you follow the pilgrims, stooping down to keep from bumping your head on the low archway, into a small back room, where a small “pocito” or hole is in the floor of the church. Here is where you receive the sacred earth. You can scoop up a small amount of Blessed Earth and take it home with you. Of course, I took some! It is now sitting on my meditation altar. I also sent some on to a few chosen family members.
In the room adjoining the pocito, crutches and walkers abound as a testament to the folks who were healed, and who had discarded their assistive devices!
If you wish to read more about this sacred site, see the official website at http://www.holychimayo.us/Santuario/index.html.
In my website, I have often spoken about the power of the mind to influence your destiny. I have spoken about the importance of positive affirmations. Saying them is believing them. Or my favorite way of stating this is “thought creates matter.”
When I first heard of the phenomenon of the “holy dirt” I had to laugh. I thought I had heard of everything, but this one took me off guard. Most people to whom I talked about this had similar reactions.
At a closer look, however the phenomenon at the Santuario de Chimayo really isn’t about the holy dirt is it? It is about the power of belief, the power of faith. There are many, many similar holy places throughout the world. So I would have to ask myself - which is better ~ to have faith in something that may or may not be scientifically true or to have no faith at all?? Hmm … gives me pause. I want to choose the path of faith! The lines between faith and reality, between blind belief and what can be tested are quite gray, aren’t they?
During the winter holiday season, it is difficult to remember the reason why we are celebrating. We forget how the holiday was created. Whether you honor Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, the Buddhist Day of Enlightenment, the Hindu Festival of Lights or the Winter Solstice, really doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all create holy places in our hearts to unite us as one world, one people.
Holy places for Peace! Holy places for Awe and Wonder! Holy places for Love! Holy places for Joy!
Let us create a Land of Enchantment, together …
"Only those who truly love and who are truly strong can sustain their lives as a dream. You dwell in your own enchantment. Life throws stones at you, but your love and your dream change those stones into the flowers of discovery. Even if you lose, or are defeated by things, your triumph will always be exemplary. And if no one knows it, then there are places that do. People like you enrich the dreams of the worlds, and it is dreams that create history. People like you are unknowing transformers of things, protected by your own fairy-tale, by love." ~ Ben Okri