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Sacred places.

There is no separation between earth and body: Life is what we are, Earth is where we live. Sacred places are where Spirit has touched earth in ways that manifest changes forever. Even though many of these places have been covered over, disturbed, or even destroyed, Spirit still lingers, teaching lessons to all who visit, whether in body or dream. Sometimes the lessons are painful, sometimes gentle. However, all lessons are necessary to follow one's path.

What does sacred mean to you? Deified? Hallowed? Set apart? Mystical? To me, sacred is everything that lives, every person who is alive, has been alive, or will be alive. Because all are part of the whole. The whole being existence.

Ceremony. Think about this word. What does it mean to you? Observance? Ritual? To me, ceremony means Creativity, gratefulness, and necessity.

Sacred land. What is sacred land? Are battlefields sacred lands? Weren't ceremonies performed there? Ceremonies of murder, suicide, death in all its many guises? Are battlefields sacred lands even though they are sanctified by the action of people? How are they different from the shrines of ancient peoples? Places like Tenochtitlan, holy city of the Aztecs where Mexico City now sits. Some actual stones from the Aztec holy temples were used to build Catholic churches. Many religious sites in Mexico, as well as all over the world, have been torn down and resurrected in the form of another culture's beliefs. Does that mean the ancient sites no longer exist? Or, does the residue of ceremonial rites, gatherings of people, sacrifices, honoring, bribing of the gods, still emanate from these sites even though they are covered over with concrete, asphalt, Christianity?

I believe every site where any action that has taken place involving the spirits of people still has the power those happenings embedded there. The blood of those who died, the songs and prayers of those who worshiped there, the movement of the dances performed, the essence of sage, cedar, any herbs used, all these combine to make what I refer to as Spiritual DNA. I do not believe a place can behold a spiritual happening and not have memories of this happening. When we visit these places, if we are lucky, if we are paying attention with our spirits, we can feel, imagine, even see what went on there. If more people trusted their intuition, there would be no need for archeological digs. No need to disturb resting grounds of any kind.

Some of the most sacred places I have visited are Stonehenge in England, the Lake District in Northern England, Isle of Sky in Scotland, the rustic male energy of the mountains in New Mexico and Arizona, the Black Hills in South Dakota, and of course, the sweet flowing energy of ancestral mountains in which I reside in western North Carolina.

But not all locations I have visited have been friendly. There is a site in South Dakota, just outside Vermillion, called Spirit Mound. Although I tried repeatedly, I could not go onto this mound. Every time I attempted to climb, I felt a strange sort of evil enveloping there. Later, some local Indians told me they also felt uneasy about this mound. It was one of Lewis and Clarks' camping places and some unpleasant happenings occurred there. The spiritual residues of numerous murders still fill the air.

I realize now that I needed this experience in my path. Not all things spiritual are pleasant. Not all sacred places offer sanctuary. Not all lessons are gentle. Reminded once again, I should trust my inner feelings on matters such as this, I acknowledged that just because I am told a place is sacred doesn't necessarily mean it will be for me.

There is one place I am drawn to and hope to visit sometime in the future. I do not know if this place holds good or bad memories for me. Possibly both, or maybe new memories I am to cherish. Although I have visited this island thus far only in dreams, the poem below has evolved to help me prepare for my eventual journey.

We cannot separate ourselves from the land. And we cannot help but be drawn or led, as it were, to the places our spirits need to travel in order to evolve, to grow, to ripen.

"Disturbed Journeys" is from Spirit Voices of Bones [c] 1996 by MariJo Moore.

"Easter Island" is from the forthcoming book of poetry, Confessions of a Madwoman by MariJo Moore.
DISTURBED JOURNEYS

 The walls of the museum listened
 nightly they heard the moans.
 We don't like it here, we are unsettled!
 It was the spirit voices of bones.

 The walls knew the voices' dilemma
 and understood the bones to a T.
 They wanted to return to their Mother
 and resume disturbed journeys.

 Soon the people of your tribe will come,
 said the walls, this we can guarantee
 and take you to your burial grounds
 to continue spiritual duties.

 Not until the others have broken and related us,
 poked, pierced, and carbon-dated us, wailed
 the spirit voices of bones. If others want
 to help they should just leave us alone!

 Those who continue to disturb us, scratch,
 dig, poke and unearth us, we consider uncouth.
 Our beliefs continually elude them
 of this, there is much proof.

 But they believe you have so much to tell
 so much they need to know.
 The walls tried to sound convincing
 but the bones, it was mostly show.

 The walls then built their dissidence
 trying to persuade a truth.
 But your times on earth are important,
 said they, and especially to the youth.

 The bones begged to differ
 they knew the walls were incorrect.
 Knowing we rest in our Mother,
 they determined, should be the main object.

EASTER ISLAND

 I want to travel to that silence,
 that insular silence Neruda knew so well.
 Place my soft body against the hard stones:
 heads with eyes glancing into eternity,
 immovable yet moving all the while.

 I want my divided soul to erupt,
 dance naked around these stones.
 Then come to settle in that vacant place
 somewhere in my madness
 floating near the ocean floor.

 I want to visit with the strange birds.
 The strange, beautiful, uncelebrated birds. Tell them
 I have felt their flights inside;
 I have seen into their dreams.
 Always.

 I want to experience a part of me long thought forgotten.
 A part that became lost as I drowned,
 pulled into an oceanic deception,
 somewhere in the darkest of nights as I fell into this life.

 Lost, as I constructed (unknowingly) stone faces of my own,
 setting them atop invisible fires singing in a helpless soul.
 Fires that have become necessary to rekindle
 now that my longing surfaces and exceeds my desires.

 I want to travel to that silence, that insular silence
 resting on the edge of a dangling
 yet firmly planted precipice.
 Where inner lives are standing, floating, soaring and
 becoming.

 I want to travel to that silence,
 that insular silence moral with the possibilities
 of sanctioning a part of my soul long thought forgotten.
 My creativity craves completion.


MariJo Moore, author/poet/artist, is of Cherokee/Irish/Dutch ancestry. Her books include Red Woman With Backward Eyes and Other Stories, Crow Quotes, Tree Quotes, Desert Quotes, Spirit Voices of Bones, and the novel The Diamond Doorknob. For other books and artwork, visit marijomoore.com.
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Article Details
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Author:Moore, MariJo
Publication:New Life Journal
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Words:1229
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