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Restoring the Sacred to Western New York: a Story of Spiritual/Material Conflict (Part 2)

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 10:13 AM Comments comments (8)
Note:  This story is part of a series.   Please refer to  Part 1, for the beginning of this trilogy on WNY.
 
 History and modern geomancy have shown that the master builders of Europe built churches and other sacred buildings and municipal structures on natural sources of power including ley lines (natural Earth grids) and natural water sources contained beneath the Earth.  Most, if not all, were once sacred places of worship by ancient civilizations before the construction of these magnificent structures.  This also occurred all around the globe.  Due to the innate sensibilities of ancient peoples and their surprising awareness of cosmic energies, they lived more in alignment with the natural forces of Nature and honored their life enhancing qualities (photo of Abbey of St. Pierre, Beaulieu sur Dordogne, France above).
 
The more sacred a place from the standpoint of Earth energies, as well as human intention, the more powerful it’s energy to transform. The desire to harness these energies by those who sought to increase their wealth and power by controlling these sites, has been the subject of wars for millenia and the rise and fall of many nations.  Building over sacred water sources can invoke the healing and inspirational powers of the land, but this power can be enhanced or abused depending on one's intentions.  Prayer and meditation over these areas, particularly in the case of cathedrals and sacred temples, has wide reaching effects. Spending time near these powerful Earth energies has the ability to induce altered states of consciousness, as well as to influence the consciousness of people within a region over time. 
 
The consciousness of a region is also greatly influenced by the type of land that a city is built upon because different types of rocks have different frequencies due to their mineral content and history.  The bedrock beneath WNY is primarily limestone, shale and sandstone.  Limestone has been greatly quarried here, disturbing Earth energies and contributiung to land imbalance.  It also has a history of once being submerged in water and is composed of millions of tiny, dead sea creatures.  Limestone is more porous and therefore permeated by water more readily than a stronger stone such as granite would be.  It is also a conductor, so the flow of water through limestone can replicate electricity like current from a battery, which can be harmful to health over long periods of exposure.  Geomancy, which true feng shui is based upon, recognizes the geological features of an area in terms of mountains, streams, rivers and underground water and other features of an area because they have an effect on human behavior and development.  To be born in limestone country is to excerpt from Limestone, 2009
It is believed that towns built on soils containing silica have the highest rate of spiritual development.  Quartz contains silica and its natural frequency is one of balance.  Limestone, sandstone and shale are composed of varying degrees of silica.   Silica is necessary within the human body to support the bones, blood and connective tissues of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.  It is also required for healthy land to regulate naturally existing energetic pathways in the Earth and allow for healthy vegetation.  Granite boulders or structures which contain quartz are often used to restore the feng shui of an area when doing Earth acupuncture because it is a conductor of energy and drawns in cosmic forces, in essence re-informing water in the surrounding area.  Silica is basically the glue of all life on this planet.  Horsetail (comprised of silica) revitalizes the soil and is often found growing when land is allowed to heal from man made stress.
 
Western New York is a perfect example of lands that are imbued with the sacred energies of the most life giving force on this planet, fresh water which supplied sustenance, hydroelectric power and also a means for transportation and trading of goods.  Underground water also provided a medium for spiritual development because water is a carrier of information and can be affected by thought and prayer.  This region is home to five different aquifirs that exist under various towns.  The power of water, which was eventually harnessed and sometimes redirected, originally contributed to a variety of developments in this area including economic and material, as well as idealistic and spiritual. One town in particular also utilized water to heal.
 
Towns such as East Aurora became significant in terms of the  Roycroft Movement   led by Elbert Hubbard, who was instrumental in reviving a sense of pride and artisanship within one's work and creations.  This human intention and focus lies at the heart of imbuing objects with sacredness and their corresponding power to attract good or bad fortune.  The clearer and more loving the intention of an artisan and the higher the quality of materials used, the more powerful the object, furnishing or architectural structure, in terms of energy and feng shui.  Objects made with integrity have a much higher vibration than those carelessly created by a machine or an unrespected and mistreated laborer.  
 
The Roycroft campus, which was part of the American Arts and Crafts period in the US, is still maintained in the town of East Aurora, NY today.  It reflects an interest in restoring and maintaining these high standards amidst an era fraught with mass production of imported products of often lower quality that have no doubt contributed to the destruction of the American economy and made planned obsolescence a norm within our materialistic society.  There are also powerful Earth energies located in the vicinity of the campus which have affected the spiritual development of the surrounding region and contributed to this awareness and focus on quality and artisanship.

Another area of interest in East Aurora is the Hawkcreek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center whose innovative environmental education and outreach programs have touched the lives of people and animals around the globe, as well as fostered a new sense of awareness of our need to take responsibility for the stewardship of this region, as well as our planet. 
 
My years of volunteering with this organization served to change my life in terms of increasing my awareness of environmental issues, as well as giving me the opportunity to have amazing intimate experiences with birds of prey and other wildlife.  My need to support their environmental message has stayed with me on a long term basis, even after leaving so many years ago.  I'm certain that other volunteers and interns have felt the same way.  Organizations like this are not coincidental, they arise from levels of awareness that are stimulated by a cooperation of man with Nature. When we connect to the Earth and Nature at an intimate level, we simulaneously seek to protect that which we learn to love and respect.

The town of Lancaster is part of this story because it lies on a direct meridian of energy (Broadway Ave.) which runs into the city of Buffalo and also lies on two of five aquifirs existing within WNY.  The area also consists of Como Lake Park which was originally designed after  the tourist resort Lake Como in Italy.   Natural water sources in the area have made the creation of this body of water possible.  Como Lake Park is one of the first multi-purpose parks in the WNY where the energy of Cayuga Creek, the historic stone structures and shelters once built with integrity and artisanship, and surrounding wild areas offer serenity and peace when not inundated with partygoers who often lack awareness and respect for the sacredness of the land. 
 
Although I enjoy the quietness and beauty of the park during winter, I find walking through the woodland trails of Como Park during summer months, similar to finding myself in an exotic rainforest with much lush vegetation and wildlife along the Cayuga Creek Nature Trail. Unfortunately, there has also been much indiscriminate wetland development in the lands surrounding the park and throughout much of Lancaster, contributing to imbalances of land energies in this area which I personally have experienced living in a suburb nearby.
 
When you indiscriminately develop wetland, you destroy the surrounding protection of a landscape and its water source.  This creates disturbances in the natural life enforcing energies of an environment.  When natural water streams and underground water sources are redirected and/or contaminated, it creates stagnancy in the landscape which results in the land not being able to breathe properly and the residents of these neighborhoods often experience a wide range of problems including the premature dying of trees, excessive wetness in unwanted areas, and also an increased susceptibility to disease and parasites because the land has gone into a destructive/deterioration (not life enhancing) phase.
 
Wetlands filter toxins and wastes because the natural plants, trees and other inhabitants of these areas work together in unison to purify the water and form balanced ecosystems.  The purification process which underground streams go through is subsequently destroyed when these areas are eliminated and built upon, creating water stagnation and imbalance in the surrounding environment.  Building over these areas ultimately leads to structural problems for residents as well as a host of other problems which inevitably surface as time goes on.

The town which once utilized the healing gifts of water and lies on the same energy meridian as Lancaster is Alden, NY.  Alden was once a bustling spa town that began offering it's healing gift in the late 1800's via “healing black waters."  It also lies on one of five aquifirs within WNY. The black mineral rich waters existing in this town are one of only two known locations in the entire United States.   The other black water baths were found near Detroit, Michigan and are partially active today in an attempt to revitalize interest in their curative powers.  
 
The healing black water baths were once world renown, drawing people who sought to be cured of rheumatism and other ailments due to the many minerals contained within the water. Minerals offer different frequencies which the body absorbs when exposed to them.  By immersing themselves in a mineral bath to release toxins that the body had accumulated, it's not surprising that people's energy and health was restored to equilibrium.
 
Unfortunately, people eventually stopped believing in the healing powers of the mineral baths due to the advent of conventional medicine, which led to a decline in business.   Sadly, many bath houses in the town were also destroyed by fire and the last spa finally closed.  A historical marker was placed at the St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in 1971, where a labyrinth now exists.  It is the location of the last black water healing bath house in Alden.   Although the healing black waters are no longer utilized, the sacredness of the town of Alden can still be felt in areas like Joe Panza's Nature Trail and are reflected in the nearby old growth trees in the neighboring park, which anchor much of this sacred land energy where a bath house once stood.
 
Another significant town within WNY is Lackawanna, home to the magnificent Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church which is one of the grandest in the area. I'm confident that the choice of it’s placement was no accident as its creation drew famous architects and artisans from all over Europe to fulfill the dream of one man, Father Nelson Baker.  Father Baker had no idea how he would obtain funding for such an ambitious project and yet somehow he managed to produce a miracle which still exists today.  
 
Sometimes during my most challenging of moments, I have found myself drawn to the Basilica to light a candle and focus my prayers and intentions, feeling the need to access the Divine energies anchored there.  They can be found amidst the beautiful angel sculptures and incredible artwork and iconography that is reflective of the great cathedrals of Europe.  The columns of Earth energies generated by water that are prevalent beneath the Basilica were still very palpable when I last visited and offer a continued source of energetic support.  Unfortunately, the town itself is filled with a general malaise which is evident just walking the streets and viewing the many struggling businesses and dilapitated structures that surround the Basilica. 
 
Lackawanna is also home to the once vibrant Botanical Gardens which still envelope you with a feeling of peace as you step through the doors. Upon a recent visit though, I noticed there is also a feeling of exhaustion and lacklusterness amidst the many tropical plants and trees found there. This structure was incorporated into plans made by Frederick Law Olmsted, whom I mentioned in my previous post.  He designed a park system which connected land throughout the area of Buffalo and included the construction of this building.

This green world created by human intention, no doubt offers tremendous healing powers to the public by it's very nature.  However, there is also a feeling of exhaustion amidst the vegetation, as it continues to give energetically to the public that seeks upliftment within these manmade walls, particularly during challenging times, and yet there is no source of land energy to revitalize the plants and trees within the structure.  I could feel that the energy within this building is one of a struggle to maintain vitality.  I know it is due to the contamination of the region and the natural land energies which are now blocked. Plants and trees are a huge indicator of the wellness of an area.
 
Though many sycamore trees still anchor healing energies near the building, when a landscape cannot naturally revitalize itself, due to what I believe in this case is largely industrial contamination, it inevitably suffers.  Regardless of whether operations have ceased and contaminants are seemingly contained by man's technical methods for a period of time, the negative vibration of such toxins physically and/or subconsciously affect all those around it and eventually the toxins seep into the surrounding landscape to affect the groundwater. Water, just by it's proximity to a toxic substance, is energically affected and it's healing matrix is distorted. 
 
Unfortunately, these special places are in close proximity to the former Lackawanna Steel Company built in 1902 and later called the Bethelehem Steel manufacturing plant, once the world's largest steel mill in the world.   This site contributed to building a nuclear arsenal during the Cold War Period which exposed many employees to radiation  causing tremendous health problems and it was known for dumping of much of its waste materials  into the surrounding area during its many years of operation.   In 1982 it closed it's doors for good and left a desolated wasteland alongside Lake Erie. The site was later designated as a "significant potential threat to human health and the environment."   These manufacturing activities certainly contributed to the contamination of underground waters and the overall decline of the powerful energies of this area where the Basilica and Botanical Gardens are still located.
 
What's also interesting to note about the history and acquisition of this land for the Lackawanna Steel Company is that it was purchased by John J. Albright, a wealthy Buffalo businessman who was frequently accompanied by the president of the Pan American Exposition at that time, John Milburn.  Because of the extensive plans for the Exposition in 1901, the land required to begin construction of the steel mill was often acquired from landowners at a very low price because the sellers assumed that their land would be used in a positive way to support the Exposition.  Ultimately, the land was easily obtained and the construction (destruction of the region) began. 
 
 
(photo of Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY by Matt Roginski Photography)
 
 
Eventually cholera, typhoid and influenza outbreaks were rampant in the early years amongst the many immigrant workers employed at the steel mill, due to extremely poor working conditions.  Profit and power were the main focus and obviously not the well being of its workers, as with most large corporations during the industrial era.   Many employees also died due to the introduction of electricity and the inability to understand it's consequences for the many foreign workers at the steel plant who were challenged by the English language. 
 
Wealth was concentrated amongst the select few in Buffalo during the height of its booming era and acquired through the back breaking labor of foreign immigrants looking to make a new life for themselves and their families in the New World.   It's interesting to note that cholera is also associated with the tubercular miasm (societal pattern of disease) that I have found to be related to the land's inability to breathe, such as when there is a disruption of naturally occuring land energies and the waters become contaminated and/or stagnant.  I believe that availability of fresh water is at the heart of all wellness and the subsequent manipulaton and desecration of the surrounding land and waters contributed to the rampant spread of disease during this time period. Unfortunately, we haven't ventured that far from this pattern within WNY, we just have a new host of diseases to deal with and far more methods to cope.
 
Albright prided himself in being a shrewd businessman.  Not surprisingly, he lost most of his fortune during the Great Depression and his incredible palatial estate in downtown Buffalo was demolished well before its time in 1935.  The estate was sold in parcels for homes of the wealthy. Although Albright left a legacy of culture including Albright Knox Art Gallery, which houses works of art from around the world, and lands donated to the Unitarian Church, perhaps his donations were not just out of generosity, but also to ease his conscience at a soul level for the true legacy that he left behind. 
 
I believe that Albright was familiar with the importance of feng shui because a Historian at the Unitarian Church  has been quoted as saying "Albright knew how important it was to have properties near his estate exist in harmony with his own."  I wouldn't be surprised if his knowledge of geomancy went farther than an interest in aesthetics.  The Freemasons knew much of this knowledge of geomancy during this era and I'm certain influenced the decisions of many wealthy landowners and businessmen at that time.
 
It's interesting to see how philantropists often donate their funds after having gained tremendous material wealth at the cost of environmental degradation to an area and in this case leaving a legacy of disease and hardship to its surviving population.  What good are works of art and gifts of culture to an area that has been destroyed physically and energetically as well as plagued by cancer and other forms of disease as a result?  I think we can all answer that question for ourselves.  Unfortunately when you abuse the powers of the Earth, it comes back to haunt you at many levels, as has been seen by the rise and fall of so many empires and individuals throughout history.
 
Did Father Baker know at a soul level about the impending economic doom and cancer that would eventually descend upon the town of Lackawanna and it's surrounding areas of Buffalo? Is that why he felt the need to anchor light and worship in this area in the 1920s after the building of the steel mill? We will probably never know his complete motivations and perhaps he didn't truly know himself.  He just knew that he had to accomplish his mission and he did.
 
What is for sure is that the Basilica and other sacred structures in this area have offered hope to countless numbers of people whose lives have been destroyed by the greed and the destruction of this WNY region by the hands of powerful, sometimes ruthless people who sought only their monetary gains, apparently giving little consideration for the effects it would have on future generations of inhabitants in this area.  Incredible works of architecture were also destroyed in the city of Buffalo in an effort to outdo another person or gain more power and social standing.  It is unfortunate that many beautiful architectural landmarks no longer exist because of the incredible affluence that once existed in this region and the need to obtain more material power. 
 
The ravages of industrialism are still seen today in many of the Buffalo-Niagara region's desolate landscapes. Despite this legacy of contamination and environmental destruction and their accompanying energetic patterns held within the Earth, there continues to be hope in a struggling area because there is always life and renewal at a cellular, environmental and spiritual level.   There is a growing interest in sustainable building processes and alternative methods of healing that are slowly bringing WNY out of stagnation and imbalance toward an increasing sense of renewal and revitalization.  But it is a very challenging process  and it requires everyone's participation on both an individual and collective basis.
 
The Earth will always heal herself as can be seen by the tremendous amount of natural disasters and erratic weather patterns being experienced throughout the globe, but ultimately she requires the cooperation and intention of mankind to work in unison with her and to love and honor  this planet once again.  WNY is an area surrounded by water and its underlying power is not to be taken lightly (photo of sunset over Niagara River, Buffalo, NY by Mateusz Pitak).    
 
Green spaces in Nature, as well as cathedrals and temples of worship and other sacred manmade structures, offer hope, healing powers and inspiration to many during times of change.  It doesn't matter how or where you choose to find your connection.  All of the Earth is sacred and where there is a spark of light and hope, there is a potential for so much more.  When we focus our  intentions and act in positive, loving ways toward our environment, there is also change and renewal at the most basic of levels, inside this planet Earth and within ourselves.
 
Read Part 3.
 

Blessings of Earth Wisdom!
 
 

2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
References and Further Reading:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Emoto, Masaru, The Hidden Messages in Water, Atria Books, 2005.
 
Alden Historical Society
 
 
 
 




Restoring the Sacred to Western New York: a Story of Spiritual/Material Conflict (Part 1)

Posted on February 10, 2013 at 3:43 PM Comments comments (3)
Although we may think we have complete control over our lives, our well being is greatly influenced by our environment— both immediate in terms of our home and workplace, as well as the community, town or city and region where we live.  These locations all hold their own special Earth energies and energetic history due to the actions and intentions of their inhabitants  (photo of Blessed Trinity Church, Buffalo, NY).  
 
Geographic locations exert an energetic influence over our daily lives, whether positive or negative, depending on how long we live in a particular area, and eventually attracting health and good fortune or misfortune and disease to our lives.  Among some of the locations within Western New York with powerful energetic and historical significance are the city of Buffalo, the area of Niagara Falls, the town of Alden, the Chautauqua Lake area, and the town of Lackawanna.
 
Each of these locations have in some way significantly contributed to either economic, cultural, educational and/or healing and spiritual development in this region.  I believe they also hold inherently powerful Earth energies, though much of these energies have long since been covered by layers of wrong intention and misuse.  There are other towns which I feel significant and relevant to this story and I will be mentioning them in later posts.  Some locations within WNY, though significant, I will not mention largely because I don't have much personal experience with them and including them here would make this story much longer than it already is.
 
Sacred geometry is based on mathematical proportions found throughout Nature which create balance, particularly when applied to architecture via human intention.  Architecture itself, when created as a balanced, harmonic structure according to certain geometric principles, can greatly influence the well being of its inhabitants and that of a population.  The energies that these structures emanate both through human intention, as well as the harnessing of Earth energies beneath the land where they are built, can greatly influence the mindset of an area.  By harnessing these Earth energies via architecture, their powers are directed and intensified (photo of Lake Erie, NY below)
 
Ancient and native cultures have traditionally known about this influence of harmonious Earth energies and sacred structures for thousands of years, carefully selecting their places of worship and/or living sites and creating their structures using ancient principles of sacred geometry.  Europeans once utililized this knowledge and applied it's techniques, and often brought these principles with them as they began building cities in the New World.   Areas such as Indonesia and Asia still use these principals of feng shui and sacred geometry even today.
 
Only if we understand the history of the location we live in, its inherent natural energies, as well what has been done to the land, can we change our future, as we heal the past through what we have learned.  You cannot simply demolish a structure or bury a toxic substance and expect, harmonious, life enhancing energies to follow.  The energy must be dealt with from the ground up and at a sacred level giving respect to Nature, as the ancient cultures once did.  Unfortunately, as a largely materialistic society, this has rarely been done in the US, after the desecration of land by industries that sought only profit and did not think about future generations, as they ravaged the natural life enhancing energies of the land where they built their manufacturing facilities.  
 
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to experience living in a variety of different cities and countries, many of which had very powerful Earth energies which had examples of architecture which were created intending to harness the Earth energies existing there.  Most challenging within my own life, has been my experience returning to the region of WNY where I grew up.  This area is comprised of twelve counties and home to one of the natural wonders of the world— Niagara Falls.  It is also home to many forms of architecture which I believe were constructed using information passed on by the master builders of Europe who employed sacred geometry and were aware of the importance of chosing certain locations to enhance the energy and integrity of their structures (photo of McKinley Monument, Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY).   
 
Four lion sculptures surrounding an obelisk at Niagara Square face the cross quarter directions (southeast and west, northeast and west) which symbolize guardianship of Earth energies and power within the city of Buffalo.  Interestingly these directions also represent wealth, partnerships, benefactors and wisdom in terms of the compass directions of the ancient art of feng shui.  I don't think this is to be overlooked because Buffalo's power was once based on economic wealth, but it is also the city of helpful people and community, where people always come together to help their neighbors in need.  I believe it is also a place where people use their experiences of hardship to gain wisdom and offer greater compassion to their communities and to the world.
 
Niagara Falls is a tremendous powerhouse of energy consisting of three separate waterfalls, which are the highest in the world and it has been a popular tourist destination in this region for many years.  The Falls border both USA and Canada.  There are also many different creeks in WNY which conjoin with the Niagara River which eventually empties water from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.  Both fresh water lakes are part of the five Great Lakes of North America which comprise the largest body of fresh water on Earth.  These natural water sources contributed to the rising power and reputation of the city of Buffalo, NY and the eventual affluence of the surrounding region in the 1800s.  They are also an extremely important source of fresh water for the region. 
 
Water has long been held sacred by ancient cultures because of it's life giving force and also it's means to generate wealth to those who control it.  Six (originally five) tribes of the Iroquois Conferacy lived in the WNY region prior to the arrival of the Europeans.   The Seneca, one of these original tribes, are known as "The Keepers of the Western Door," which is symbolic in many ways, not least of which I believe is the association with the divine feminine energies of water in this area.  The Door can be seen as the entrance into the womb of Gaia (the spirit of the Earth) and the sacredness of the surrounding landscape given it's powerful water energies and life giving force (photo of the Rose Garden in Delaware Park, Buffalo)
 
The Senecas and other Iroquois tribes knew that whoever controlled this area would yield power, but I believe they also knew it was something to be held sacred and not abused. A door is also a threshold or opening to be respected, and in this case, it was the door to the new frontier and the rest of Northern America, a place for new ideals and freedom from oppressive systems. I don't think the responsibility of this Western Door should have been taken lightly, and least of all desecrated by industry. It is even possible that perhaps, some areas should never have been built upon because they were too sacred, but we will never know for sure. We can only learn from the mistakes that have been made.
 
In some Native American traditions, the West symbolizes our ancestors and the past, perseverance when challenged, as well as  self knowledge and our understanding of life's meaning.  The Seneca, a nation whose very principles were based on peace and the Iroquois Constitution known as the Sacred Tree of Peace, were warned by one of their prophets, a wise man named Handsome Lake, to maintain their ways of ceremony and spirituality after the arrival of the Europeans to this area, in order to ensure the survival of the Iroquois people.  It is unfortunate that the Senecas were eventually pushed further and further off their lands within WNY by the Holland Land Company who eventually sold most of the former Seneca lands to wealthy businessmen and developers.  Nevertheless, I believe that the spirit of the Wisdomkeepers or Guardians of this region continue to hold a sacred space within WNY and that this natural healing power will one day rise again to restore it's rightful place in the new paradigm of sustainability for this Earth.
 
Buffalo was once a wealthy, prosperous city built up by it’s proximity to the Erie Canal, Niagara Falls and the Great Lakes.  It was originally called “The City of Light” because it was the first urban area in the US to experience electricity due to the work of Nikola Tesla and the natural hydro power of the Falls.  My understanding is that this name was also given to Buffalo because it was considered a mecca of spiritual awareness during the 19th century, drawing people from all over the world including famous avante garde and revivalist architects and craftsmen, as well as many esoteric thinkers (photo of Gates Circle, Buffalo). 
 
The plan for the city of Buffalo, NY was designed in a radial pattern symbolizing the sun, said to be built in accordance with sacred geometry by the land surveyor  Joseph Ellicott,  who assimilated many of the ideas of his brother Andrew Ellicott who planned the city of Washington, DC.   Downtown Buffalo contains a phenomenal park system designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed Central Park in New York City.  Interestingly the four lions of Niagara Square also symbolize the energy of Leo ruled by the Sun in astrological terms, representing the life giving forces of  the sun and fire combining with the surrounding water inherent within the Buffalo landscape.  Fire energy is also reflected in fault lines which represent fire or dragon lines within the Earth in terms of geomancy.  Though conflicting energies, they can work harmoniously together when properly utilized and integrated.
 
Buffalo was also the site for the Pan American Exposition in 1901 and is home to some of the most incredible displays of architecture including the Blessed Trinity Church, St. Paul's Cathedral and Darwin Martin House built by Frank Lloyd Wright, among a long list of other beautiful buildings.  The Blessed Trinity Church is an example of Romanesque architecture at its finest created by skilled and passionate craftsmen and it is imbued with rich symbolism including the Ten Commandments and signs of the Zodiac inside its walls, a wonderful representation of the Divine influence not only of the Creator, but also of the Cosmos in man's life.  A work of art such as this cathedral would be difficult, if not impossible to recreate today due to the specialized abilities and intentions of its builders, expertise which possibly no longer exists in this day and age.  St. Paul's Cathedral built in 1851, another amazing feat of architecture reflecting the interest in Gothic Revival at that time, can still can be experienced today as it sits on its triangular lot in downtown Buffalo (photo of St. Paul's Cathedral below). 
 
Later with the advent of the steel, auto and other industries, this magnificent city with its beautiful architecture, began to decline as the land was desecrated and any attempts at infrastructure failed miserably.  A once powerful and sacred area to the Native Americans, Buffalo and its surrounding region became an area of failed industry, urban sprawl, poverty, disease and crime.  
 
Niagara Falls which is fueled by the rich energy of the mighty Niagara River became one of those areas desecrated by the chemical industries and dumping of nuclear waste after WWII giving way to pollution, economic failure, poverty and tragic stories such as  Love Canal.  Tremendous amounts of toxic waste were buried in the land during the height of manufacturing eventually seeping into the water and air causing disease and birth defects for its residents during the 1970s and still continuing today.*  Toxic wastes don't just miraculously disappear even if people stop focusing their attention on them.  People just seemingly learn to cope with their results.
 
Western New York has extremely high rates of unemployment, with minimal opportunities so many eventually chose to leave this area in search of work and a better life.  As people loose their livelihood and/or succumb to disease and struggle, either they turn to God and their faith and often channel this into creative expression or compassion for others, or ancestral patterns begin to emerge and people turn to substance abuse and other forms of self-abuse when they no longer respect themselves. Often times this anger and despair gets channelled in a variety of negative ways.  If you do not respect yourself, how can you possibly respect the Earth, which is part of yourself, as well as all life within your environment? So it becomes a vicious circle of patterns held within the Earth and within a city.
 
The county of Erie within WNY has some of the highest rates of cancer  in New York State (with the exception of NYC), as well as high incidences of depression, thyroid disease, and muscular dystrophy in this area. Cancer and thyroid imbalances are often linked to geopathic stress, which is land that is generally stressed by improper use by humans, though it can exist naturally due to fault lines which may generate noxious energies from beneath the Earth's crust that are harmful to human and animal health.   I don't think it's a coincidence that we have a leading cancer treatment and research center such as Roswell Park in this region (photo of the Buffalo Psych Center). 
 
As mentioned, Buffalo does lie on a fault line and has experienced minor earthquakes in the past. Fault lines are fire energy and not only can they generate noxious energies, but also their negative aspects are symbolic of a division or rift in Earth energies and also in ideology of the people inhabiting the area, often contributing to differences of opinion and argumental energies.  I'm sure this has contributed to the conflicting views on infrastructure in this area and it's lack of cohesive development.  I also see this as a sign of the spiritual/material conflict which I believes lies at the heart of the rise and fall of Buffalo, as well as this surrounding region.  Without respect for Nature and its lands, a society is doomed to fail economically at some point and I believe this is what eventually happened here and continues to impede the restoration of vibrancy to this area.
 
I also believe that when patterns of land abuse exist, Mother Nature cries out and these patterns manifest themselves in many different forms including domestic violence, animal and child abuse, all which are highly prevalent in this area.  The key energetic pattern being abuse. Erie County alone has the 2nd highest rate of child abuse in New York State. Domestic violence is also often linked to animal abuse which is also very common here.  A recent report by a local news station highlighted the increasing rise of domestic violence seen in the Western New York area(photo of Green Woman Statue at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo).  
 
Are all these things a coincidence?  I think not when you have an understanding of Nature and geomancy (the study of Earth energies) as I do.  All  humans and the cities they inhabit have a shadow self, and in order to heal that side, you must look at it.  That is why I have included some not so pretty statistics and topics in this article, things which many people would rather not talk about, but they need to be recognized in order to be understood and healed. Sometimes life, including understanding and wisdom, is like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  You have to put all the pieces together before you can see the whole picture accurately and then it starts to make sense. 
 
Patterns can be changed by human intention and action, by working co-creatively with Nature to restore what once was.  The purpose of this three part story is to reflect on the magnificence of what this area once was and inherently still is.  By recognizing both WNY's strengths and what contributed to what I believe was this region's downfall and subsequent disruption of life enhancing energies of this region, I hope to provide a reference for other cities around the world, in terms of helping to understand the energies of their locations, as well as to prevent similar outcomes for those in developing nations where indigenous peoples are currently fighting to prevent the desecration of their lands.
 
Read Part 2.
 
 
With Blessings of Nature's Wisdom!
 
 
All photos are compliments of Matt Roginski Photography and are reprinted here with permission.
 
*A Special Note:  On the date of this posting, an article entitled "Has Love Canal's Demon Returned?" was printed on the front page of  The Buffalo News.  The majority of this article originally published under a different name can be viewed here.
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
References and Further Reading:
 
 
Bopp, J, Bopp, M, Brown, L, & Lane Jr, P. The Sacred Tree: Reflections on Native American Spirituality,  Twin Lakes, WI, Lotus Light Publications, 1989.
 
 
 
 
New York State, Department of Health
 
New York State, Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Patterns: Overcoming Ancestral Trauma

Posted on January 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM Comments comments (10)
Recently I began recognizing some patterns in my son that made me reflect on where they may have originated from.  Although my son is still very young and like most kids attracted to material things, I really began to ponder where this need to constantly shop, buy things and fill his room with stuff came from.  He also has an obsession with all things pertaining to war and combat.  These are not patterns that I admire nor wish him to continue.  A typical boy perhaps, but perhaps not
 
I grew up with parents who valued quality things and waited until they could afford them.  Once they had something, they took care of it and kept their belongings for a long time.  The throw away society that we live in today was not part of my upbringing.  While I greatly dislike clutter, I also have very little tolerance for waste and excessive consumerism.  As I think back to my family history, I believe there's more to my son's behavior and it may go back to his ancestors, something deeply ingrained within his genetic patterns.
 
Both my mother and father's parents lost everything during the war.  My grandparents on my mother's side suffered the loss of their twin sons during a bombing raid, not to mention their home and all belongings due to fire while living in Germany during WWII.  My grandparents on my father's side also lost everything; my grandmother her freedom and my grandfather his own life due to the policies of the Stalinist regime in the former Soviet Union. 
 
It's hard to forget that kind of loss and what it does to subsequent generations.  This world is filled with descendants of those who survived wars, famine, political atrocities and the Depression, something which I believe contributes to the excessive consumer and other negative patterns inherent in many cultures at this time.  More and more information is surfacing now about how previous memories of ancestors do in fact affect those descendants who have never experienced the trauma itself.  It may manifest itself in a variety of ways from health to emotional issues to the need to surround one's self with things.
 
Lately I've been focusing a great deal on familial patterns and discussed this subject in Planet Whispers: Wisdom from Soul Travelers from Around the World.  Not coincidentally, I recently finished reading some powerful information in Olga Kharitidi's book "The Master of Lucid Dreams"  which supported some of my conclusions.  In her latest book, this Russian psychiatrist discusses her shamanic experiences in the ancient city of Samarkand, the capital of Uzbekistan.  Dr. Kharitidi's shamanic teacher tells her that in order to properly heal her patients, she must begin to resolve her own pain.  He discusses the trauma that gets passed on to successive generations if it is not resolved and goes on to say "this force lives inside you and generates painful circumstances again and again."  These "spirits of trauma" are caused by "memory spaces" and created by personal experiences in childhood, as well as ancestral memories which interfere with our happiness and ability to live healthy, balanced lives. 
 
There was a time in my life when I had an insatiable need to buy things-- clothes, furnishings and other objects, and just fill my time with shopping whether it was at the mall or at garage sales.  It made me feel better for a while, but it never really filled the emptiness I was feeling within my life. 
 
It wasn't until my son was born and I was gardening intensively and had spent years working with clients to release patterns from their land, that this need went away and I began to feel more complete.  I eventually came to learn that the more patterns that I released from the homes that I lived in and worked with, the more patterns I released from my own body and DNA, essentially the memories of my soul.  I was subconsciously chosing the clients and homes that I had for a reason.
 
I'll never forget the time I went into a client's home to do an energetic space clearing and the entire home was filled with things up to the ceiling with very little space to walk.  It was an image similar to those episodes of the television series Hoarders.  I remember wondering what could have possibly happened to this woman to make her buy so many things and be afraid to throw anything out?  Obviously there was some major trauma this woman had experienced to reach this point, which no amount of energetic clearing could address. Years later when I revisited her home with my geomancy teacher, I came to learn that the energies inherent in the land were a large part of the problem. 
 
I also worked with a man whose basement was filled with loads of furnishings and objects he would never use.  When I asked why he needed to keep all these things, he admitted that he had once been extremely poor and these objects represented a kind of security blanket for him.  Both cases represent examples of memories held within the Earth which form the foundation for the properties which the homes were built upon.  The memories held within our body and more specifically within our DNA, go hand in hand with that of the land.  You cannot resolve only one situation because the two are intertwined and people will continue to seek out properties, usually subconsciously, that will manifest the patterns of trauma which are familiar to them, unless the patterns are resolved.  If the home has experienced patterns of marital problems and divorce or financial hardship, more than likely you will also experience the same while living there unless the patterns have been cleared.
 
Interestingly, I had read Dr. Kharitidi's  first book "Entering the Circle" almost 15 years ago in which she discussed her initiation into the realms of Siberian shamanic wisdom.  The book had a profound effect on me, although I didn't understand anything about shamanism at that time of my life nor the path I would eventually follow. The word shaman originates from the Tungusic tribe of Siberia and means "one who knows" or someone who is an intermediary between the human and spirit world.
 
Over the years I've worked with a variety of clients, as well as my own homes where I've witnessed reoccurring patterns both held in the landscape, as well as in peoples' lives.  I had to smile when I came across these words in Dr. Kharitidi's second book in reference to the city of Samarkand, but also having a much farther reaching message:
 
"This land wants to tell these stories for the people in other lands so they can obtain knowledge from them.  The psyches of ancient people need to come back to life to activate memory changes in the people living now....The traumas of people from the past continue to live in their modern-day descendants even though most of them don't have an awareness of it.  Telling their stories will help heal these ancient traumas and change something critically important in the lives of many modern people."  Excerpts from "The Master of Lucid Dreams" by Olga Kharitidi, M.D.
 
Memory imprints can have a powerful impact on our well-being.  If we aren't aware of and don't try to resolve these patterns, we will continue to repeat them in our lives drawing those people, those homes and those circumstances that will repeatedly remind us and reactivate those patterns of trauma within ourselves. One method of releasing these patterns is explained during Dr. Kharitidi's training, as she journeys into some of the memories of her own traumas and changes their outcome.  By doing so, she releases the guilt associated with these patterns.  The brain apparently does not know the difference between the past and more positive thoughts created in the now. In order to heal these past traumas, she works with the perception of these memories.
 
Being aware of and recognizing these patterns is the first step in resolving them.  There are a variety of activities such as shamanic journeying, acupuncture, visualizations and meditation which can help resolve these traumas and change our patterns.  Avoiding or ignoring these ancestral memories will only result in further frustration as the energies of the Earth continue to shift within the coming years.  The Earth is healing herself and by doing so she will also heal us, whether we're aware of it or not.  Look at your patterns, learn to understand them and find a method to release them because if you don't, they will follow you wherever you go.
 
"There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart."  --Author Unknown.
 
Blessings of Awareness!
 
---------------
References:  Kharitidi MD, Olga, The Master of Lucid Dreams, Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc. 2001.
 
Cloud, John, Why Your DNA Isn't Your Destiny, Time Magazine, January 6, 2010.
 
2012 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Water, Our Greatest Ally

Posted on February 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM Comments comments (6)
"Be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
No less than the trees
And the stars.
In the confusion of life,
Keep peace in your soul."
     --- Max Ehrmann
          (excerpts from Desiderata)
 
Water is an element of our life that most people give little thought to, if you live in the Western world.  Nevertheless, if you live in a developing nation or are ever stranded without it, suddenly its intrinsic value and power remind you of its life giving force.  In ancient times, civilizations held rituals to honor the sacredness of water as they knew that without it, they would perish. Goddesses of the springs were called upon to bestow their blessings to ensure the waters would be kept clear and abundant.  The healing benefits of these natural, mineral rich, spring waters have long been known and used to cure a wide variety of illnesses.  It is unfortunate that we have lost much of this appreciation and understanding of the fact that water is one of our greatest allies in this life journey.
 
Recently, I viewed a documentary program  which discussed the concerns that several leading authorities from a variety of fields including economics, agriculture, technology, and the environment had, concerning the future of this planet.  They all agreed that the single most area of concern and need for focus, was having enough fresh, clean water to consume.  The world would, after all, cease to exist without this supply, as our bodies are comprised of more than 70% water and we can only go for a few days without it.  All life depends on this unique and often highly misunderstood element in Nature.  While most of the natural bodies of water on this Earth have been polluted to a great degree and the outlook is seemingly dire, there is a great deal that can be done to restore the integrity of these waters that surround our lives, specifically in the areas of technology, as well as actions that we as individuals can take.
 
Victor Schauberger was an Austrian environmentalist and visionary who developed technology in the early to mid 1900's that revolutionized what we know about water today.   His lengthy, solitary excursions into the woodlands and observations in Nature caused him to understand the very foundations for the energy and life giving force of water.  What he realized was that all of Nature works together within a complex set of relationships that we can only begin to fathom.  Water by it's very nature implies movement and only when water is allowed to stagnate and/or is exposed to negativity and contamination, does it lose its power to transform.  It is the spiraling activity, the constant pounding against and between bedrock that gives water much of its energy and life giving qualities.  When we redirect water and destroy its natural ability to travel, water becomes less potent, losing much of its vitality and resulting imbalances of Earth energies are created.
 
Whenever the natural energies of water have been subdued or redirected by builders, it is usually inevitable that the occupants of these homes will experience a wide range of problems.  Whether it's building on an aquifer, on wetland or filling in a stream, the owner's decision to live in such a location is a subconscious one, ultimately providing many of life's lessons as a result.  There are, however, ways to work with and mitigate the problematic energies that can ensue, if you understand Earth energies and the power of water.  In the old world where dowsing (finding Earth energies with diving rods, particularly water) and observation were common, a house would never be placed haphazardly.  In the US and other areas, regardless of the existing characteristics of a piece of land, homes have been built on innapropriate or inauspicious grounds much to the detriment of man. 
 
Recently I learned that in the Klamath-Siskiyuo region in Oregon which contains some of the nation's oldest trees and pristine forests, environmentalists have been instrumental in the removal of several dams that were destroying salmon spawning grounds, as well as interfering with the balance of Nature.  By allowing the free flowing power of water to do its job, this region has initiated a huge step forward in restoring the natural balance on this Earth.  Hopefully, other regions will follow.  As I heard an engineer once mention, thinking that man can control something so powerful, is a definite sign of hubris.
 
Just as the body has channels or meridians of energy such as the circulation of blood to and from the heart and other organs, so too the Earth has energetic grids and channels to create the smooth flow of balance within Nature.  Water is for the Earth, as blood is for the human body.  When it is clogged, as through chemical contamination or redirected such as damming of rivers and/or filling in of streams, it becomes stagnant and cannot fulfill its purpose.  Natural wetlands serve a purpose in filtering toxins and cannot be filled in without eventual dire consequences unless the land is worked with on many levels.  Disease, accidents, financial ruin, even disasters such as the Johnstown dam break can occur.  A myriad of other things can result from man's lack of respect for water.  Only the Earth knows the reasons for her many avenues of water flowing upon her body and when we interfere with these activities, problems manifest for mankind.
 
All that being said, there are many ways to work with the water around you to help transform and/or enhance it's life giving properties.  Some of you may be familiar with the Japanese researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto who is best known for his work with water crystals.  By exposing water to various influences such as negative thoughts and emotions, as well as positive words and music, and then freezing and viewing these water crystals, he was able to demonstrate how much water is influenced by our intentions.  The results of prayer and other positive activities directed at water were truly amazing.  Given this groundbreaking research, our ability to change polluted and stagnant water is limitless.  Water is a carrier of information-- good or bad.  It reflects whatever it comes into contact with.  Its natural crystalline matrix and ability to reflect light are made much more obvious in the form of snow, as I have always felt the healing power of snow after it has freshly fallen.  Imagine all those many fractal geometry patterns at work.
 
Once we acknowledge the powerful abilities of water to enhance life, we can restore our proper relationship with this amazing element, and begin to reverse much of the degradation and destruction that's been done to our environment.  It's up to us and a choice that each of us can make.  Healing the waters of the Earth is directly correlated with healing ourselves, for by its very nature, water maintains a relationship with itself within every form.  That includes your own body.  Think about it.  It's powerful.
 
Bountiful Blessings!
 
Note:  This article is dedicated to the more than 100 pilot whales that died on the beaches of New Zealand February 20-21, 2011 prior to the earthquake in Christchurch.  Although not yet published, this article was written prior to any knowledge of these tragic events.  The message is clear to me.  May they not have died in vain....
 
For a 2013 update on the importance of water and the current global crisis see "Flow: For Love of Water."
 
Copyright 2011 Awen Environments.