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|Posted on October 17, 2015 at 1:40 PM||comments ()|
My recent pilgrimage to Peru will always remain in my heart for the wide range of experiences I had and the way it touched my emotions in so many ways. I know that every country that I have traveled to has in some way retrieved a piece of my soul, some long lost memory of another lifetime. Peru was no exception.
It was an arduous journey both physically and emotionally. It was also an overly ambitious trip with too many places planned in too short a time. I do not travel well due to motion sickness and sensitivity, so the altitude, winding mountain roads and extremes of climate also wreaked havoc on my body.
In looking back, however, I realize that my pilgrimage was perfect for me at this time and despite the physical challenges, it had a profound impact on my life though it took me weeks to integrate my experiences into my present life. Part of the journey was about going back into the past-- overcoming old patterns and fears, old ways of being and most likely other memories and lifetimes in this country that I needed to heal.
Another part was about focusing my intention, embarking on the unknown and planning my future. It was about opening new doors to new opportunities to create a life of balance and focusing on that which is most important in my life right now. My trip to Peru was about embracing the beauty and joy of new experiences and living in the moment without knowing what tomorrow would bring. The vibrant and rich colors touched me in a deep way.
While I visited many well known sacred sites that most tourists frequent like Machu Picchu and Sascayhuaman to name a few, I was also drawn to the energy of the city architecture, marketplaces and street vendors, as well as little known destinations that mostly only the locals knew about such as the healing waters of La Banda and the sacred site of Orcona both near Nasca.
In truth I found the Divine in everyday moments not only in the remote landscapes of Nature, but also in the cities of Lima, Cusco and Nasca as I connected to the richness of these places and their underlying energetic blueprints in time. Those special moments were found in a meal that I shared, an unexpected conversation I had, a massage that revitalized me, as well as tumbled cathedral ruins I visited and rummaged through feeling the sense of loss of faith and connection within the local community.
The numerous private moments at sacred sites touched my heart. The breathtaking experiences of viewing such incredible natural landscapes as the energetic portal of Aramu Muro near lake Titicaca invigorated me and heightened my spiritual awareness combined with moments of reflection in the most unexpected of places. The local people, guides and animals often touched my heart for a wide variety of reasons.
In truth, my journey was very unlike what I had anticipated. My intention had been to find more answers to questions I had been asking myself for quite some time, however, I came back to the US with more questions and a profound sense of wondering what in fact was I supposed to be doing now in my life? How could I create more meaning? How could I live more in alignment with my life's purpose and this planet? These were all things I continued to reflect upon and still hadn't found the answers to in Peru despite my intense efforts on this journey.
It was my shamanic work that enabled me to answer many of these questions upon my return or at least move me in the direction of greater clarity in the following days and weeks. It gave me the discipline to continue when all I wanted to do was return to Peru to immerse myself further in the richness of these sacred landscapes and find the answers to many of life's puzzling questions. I knew that greater meaning in my life was somehow linked to my experiences in Peru, but I just didn't know how to integrate them completely yet.
It would take me many weeks before I received answers and a greater clarity began to unfold. My shamanic work enabled me to find the inspiration to continue on my path despite not having all the answers and at times taking leaps of faith into the unknown. It would seem that facing some of my greatest fears would continue to be on my agenda, but my shamanic practices would provide me with the tools that I needed in order to work through them.
There is something quite interesting about the energy of Peru and it's rich culture and history. While in some ways the poverty and way of life can be shocking and provide you with a new found sense of gratitude for what you do have in your life and the things you often take for granted, the landscape somehow also draws you in and instills a greater love and appreciation of the mystery of the Divine and this planet. It fills you with the overriding energy of the culture and the richness of its sacred traditions and the tremendous attention to detail that can be found everywhere throughout Peru in the architecture, as well as the artesanship and colors.
The colors and beauty of the local textiles, handcrafted items and works of art will never cease to astound you and touch your body and soul. The marketplace filled with such a variety of offerings and aromas will always stay etched in your mind and the experiences will touch your heart in countless ways. The magnificent architecture of cities like Cusco, Lima and Arequipa remind you of the splendor of the history and traditions of Spanish culture blended with the Peruvian's unique connection to this sacred land and the traditions of the Incan civilizations and their mysterious ways. There is an underlying energy to this land that can only be experienced, not written about. I know that I will be going back eventually to delve into this further, as my soul still needs answers.
Interestingly, the new book "Simply Color for Everyday Living" was released shortly after my return from Peru. This book by Diantha Harris features collaborations from 25 writers including myself in a beautiful compilation of stories and photographs discussing the healing and energizing attributes of color in our everyday life. For me the publication of this book is a welcome tribute to my recent pilgrimage and my life's journey with the energy of color.
My chapter entitled "An Ally in Transformation: the Color Yellow" discuses the difficult moments of my mother's last months of life, as well as a spiritual journey to the island of Cozumel, Mexico with my son and how working with yellow was woven into these experiences. This book beautifully expresses many of the rich colors I experienced both in Mexico and while in Peru-- a timely coincidence? I think not-- more likely a Divine synchronicity...
Blessings of Color in your life!
Copyright 2015 Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
|Posted on April 11, 2015 at 3:33 PM||comments ()|
I've been using the Russian mineral Shungite for almost a year now and felt it was time to share my experiences. I am reluctant to write about anything until I've had personal experience so I felt now was a good time to do so after many months of seeing how it has affected me and everyone in my home including my pets. I have continued to order more pieces in a variety of forms to help harmonize and balance the challenging energies in my home and also to improve my health and energy level.
Given that I am extremely sensitive to all things in my environment, having this stone around me has greatly increased my energy level and eliminated many problems I was having with fatigue and constant migraines due to stress from varying sources. Despite the fact I live a pretty healthy lifestyle and know alot about earth energies and alternative healing modalities, I could not seem to determine what was causing my exhaustion and contributing to the health issues of my son and our animals until I began reading more about Shungite and realizing what the cause might be and that a solution did exist.
I originally purchased three pieces of this stone last summer knowing very little about its properties and I instinctively felt it necessary to carry it with me everywhere I went. Gradually I began doing more research on Shungite. What I found out intrigued me and I eventually purchased different forms of Shungite and larger pieces for my home in order to begin working with it from a geomancy perspective, as well as to purify my water and food. I wanted to see if my experiences were similar to what had been written and seemed to be well documented and researched.
Though relatively little is known about this stone in the US, the Russians have known about the healing properties of Shungite for centuries in the town of Karelia, the only place on earth where this healing mineral is found. Peter the Great of Russia was said to have ordered his soldiers to each carry a piece of Shungite with them into battle in order to purify their water. This mineral, which was formed billions of years ago is formed from varying amounts of organic compounds. What's unusual about this stone is that it contains fullerenes which were named after Buckminster Fuller who designed the geodesic dome which is a spherical geometric structure of circles. These fullerenes which may have originated in the cosmos, have bioenergetic properties capable of healing and protecting the human body and all life forms.
Written records of Shungite go back centuries from various rulers and nobles of Russia who knew of the healing powers of this powerful stone often referring to the pure spring water that sprang forth from the the natural Shungite stone found in the landscape of Karelia. The Russians have since spent many years doing research on the powerful healing and protective influence of Shungite in the areas of water purification, illness and protection against harmful rays such as cell phone radiation and harmful energies such as geopathic stress emanating from the earth. They have found the fullerenes in Shungite work both at a cellular and whole human body level to restore balance and well being. Shungite has repeatedly been proven to protect human life as well as restore health to those with a wide range of illnesses, many which now stem from our modern day life.
Since learning of this stone, I have used Shungite in a wide variety of ways. I now have a small disk for my cell phone to neutralize the harmful rays and I've noticed that my phone no longer heats up or gives me headaches when I talk too long. I also have a large pyramid placed in strategic points in my home to neutralize the entrance of electricity into my home, as well as areas of geopathic stress which I am aware of. Because constant exposure to electricity can not only interfere with our sleep patterns, but also create damage to our immune systems over long term exposure, Shungite helps to neutralize these harmful rays and enable you to sleep better and allow your body a healthy environment to recover from stress. I have also been wearing a Shungite pendant which helps my own energetic field to remain balanced despite whatever toxic energies I may encounter in my daily activities. I now use Shungite pieces to purify my water on a daily basis and a plate to neutralize and restore the natural, healthy qualities of food including neutralizing GMOs.
The change in my energy level and the restoration of health of my son and my animals has been very noticeable. I no longer have the constant migraines which plagued me and I believe were caused by all the unwanted emanations traveling through my home resulting from living in a highly populated suburban area. If you live in a highly populated urban or suburban area you are constantly being bombarded on a daily basis from electricity and WIFI reception all around you, not to mention toxic chemicals emanating from neighboring properties which also affect the well being of the land that you live upon. The pyramids are best to neutralize geopathic stress areas and electricity entrance points into your home and the round orbs are best used for sleeping or meditation areas.
Imbalances of land energies due to redirected water, fault lines or toxins held in the earth can also be a leading cause of illness, depression, fatigue and unhealthy vegetation on the land. When the land is not well, animals will be susceptible to a wide range of health problems including cancer, thyroid imbalances and many other illnesses, as well as being plagued by insect infestations such as fleas. A normal, healthy animal is capable of fending off fleas and other parasites because its immune system naturally repels these pests but when the land is unbalanced or bombarded by toxic rays, they cannot. By drinking Shungite infused water and having this stone in your home, the natural strength of your animals' immune systems will be restored over time by combining this with a healthy diet and other life supporting habits.
If you would like to restore health and well being to your life, Shungite can be ordered directly from the mine in Karelia, Russia at very reasonable prices and delivery only take a few weeks depending on your location. Please contact Anastasia at www.store.shungite.com and if you mention "Clarissa" in the coupon code, you will receive a free circle pendant with your order. A wide range of products are available and their customer service is great.
Blessings of Health and Vitality!
2015 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
Martino, Regina, Shungite: Protection, Healing, and Detoxification, Healing Arts Press, 2014.
|Posted on December 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM||comments ()|
"I love the house, but I don't feel love from it" were my son's words. He made this comment to me after we visited two very different homes that came from opposite ends of the spectrum. The first house was in an older, more transitional neighborhood that had a history of European immigrants that had once lived there and some who still remained. The house was tiny and modestly furnished, but warm and inviting. The people were extremely friendly and gracious, and immediately made us feel welcome. We left feeling pleasantly surprised.
The second home was expensively crafted and located in a newly built upscale neighborhood. It was furnished with many collectibles and quality furnishings. The home, though aesthetically pleasing, felt stark, uninviting and soul less as though no one spent much time there. Though I recognized the quality furnishings and admired their beauty as well as the overall décor of each room, the energy was more of a museum-like quality than a home of happy memories. The current owners had only been there a few years and two previous owners had only lived there for two years at a time consecutively. Needless to say, my son and I did not feel at ease during our brief visit there despite the engaging conversation. His insightful comment came a few days later as we discussed the differences between the two homes and how they made him feel.
While anyone would chose the second home for its luxury and obvious material worth, the truth is that aesthetics do not make a home a sacred space nor make it feel welcoming. You have to feel the spirit of a house and that is a direct reflection of it's caretaker, and I believe, to a lesser degree it's architect or builder who sets the blueprint. Even the humblest of homes can be turned into a sacred space when the intention of the owner or caretaker is one of love or affection for the home and respect for balance and peace within the space. I was so thrilled that at my son's young age, he could already feel and recognize this difference in the spaces we had visited.
More recently, we were invited to a dinner party at the home of a couple originally from India. These owners had blended a combination of quality, modern aesthetics with ancient, traditional customs. It was a very luxurious home that was carefully planned out from the gracefully winding driveway that meandered up a gentle slope, to a sense of the sacred from the moment you stepped into the house. We were warmly greeted from the onset and made to feel welcome.
There were carefully thought out altars and vignettes of collectibles in various locations, intimate seating areas, as well as bowls of candles and flowers throughout. I could detect the subtle smell of Plumeria (or champa) in the air, which is often associated with Hindu or Buddhist temples. This aroma combined with the enticing smells of the delicious meal we were about to eat. Outside the large windows were two living Christmas trees decorated with lights and below we were later shown the elaborate garden patio with extensive waterfalls that had been created. The entire property seemed to be a visual and sensual delight for the soul and weary mind. It was obvious it had been painstakingly thought out.
During dinner the subject of architecture and feng shui came up and our host mentioned that he did not believe in the Indian version of feng shui which is Vastu Shastra. Vastu is a carefully thought out system based on a mandala or grid of mathematical proportions combined with spiritual foundations that are believed to bring about harmony and balance in one's environment. The premise for this architectural philosophy is that the home is a temple to be aligned with natural forces of the cosmos and the earth to bring about well being of the inhabitants. Interestingly, the same principles apply when building either a temple or a home.
When our host made his comment regarding Vastu, I replied that contrary to what he was saying, I sensed that although he may not believe in the formal or technical applications of this ancient art, my impression of his home was that he and his wife had an innate sense of creating sacred space which surpassed any formal application which might be used in the form of Vastu. It occurred to me later that perhaps if carefully analyzed, many of the aspects of their home might in fact reflect these principles though not intentionally. His reply that evening was that he agreed with me and admitted that what bothered him about this concept was that he had seen many people attempt to apply these principles in the strictest of manners by going to great lengths to achieve this concept and yet they did not have a sense of sacred space in the most fundamental of ways. As with many ancient techniques and customs, it had become too commercialized and perhaps lost much of its original wisdom throughout the years.
One of the other guests who lived next door added that within their neighborhood, someone had required that the architect travel to India to be trained in the principles of Vastu and incorporate this approach into the building of their home. This home owner went to great lengths to create a seeming temple of a home, which the neighbors jokingly called the "Taj Mahal", however, within a short time after being built, a fire ensued and the home was internally destroyed despite it's seemingly impressive stature. I found this interesting as fire is seen as the great purifier in many traditions.
So, what went wrong? Though I can only make assumptions about what occurred since I never actually visited this home they spoke of, I believe that when someone tries to use sacred principles of creating harmony and balance without a clear understanding or a heart-based connection to the concepts and tools which he/she uses, these principles can actually backfire on you and create more problems similar to opening a Pandora's box. The history of the land could also have played a large part in the devastation that ensued. What I find most interesting about the principles behind Vastu is the undeniable foundation of spirituality associated with the home and the need to create boundaries between mundane daily life and soulful life practices such as prayer and meditation. Within Vastu, the integration of the material world of the earth with the spiritual aspects of the cosmos is part of achieving a balanced life.
Most often people chose a plot of land that resonates with their inner being and/or they seek to control an area of land that they deem to be powerful or advantageous to them from a material perspective. It could be that the history of this land had been one of malevolent intent or misery or perhaps sacred land that had been abused, and so this energy would emanate through the new structure and create misfortune for those who dwell there. A belief that the history of one's land can affect the predecessors is found in many cultures whether it is Chinese feng shui, Indian Vastu or various ancient customs of indigenous people throughout the world.
When choosing a new home, pay attention to the subtle messages that play upon you as you enter the space. If something doesn't feel right, then perhaps it's not. Ignoring your intuition or thinking that you can always fix whatever's wrong might not be the right approach because it could bring more headaches and problems than you imagined. Spend time in your potential environment, get a feel for the natural surroundings and if you can't seem to find clarity in the situation or make a decision, get assistance from someone trained in the art of creating sacred space and get an unbiased, professional opinion.
True sacred space comes from a heart connection to the home which is based on respect and reverence for one's environment. Intention is formally created by the inhabitants of the structure, however grand or humble it may be. The history of the home and it's land is a blueprint for it's future and while this can be changed, sometimes only the strongest of intentions and wisdom can correct this pattern. While I have had the privilege to experience a wide range of homes that were aesthetically pleasing, I often did not feel love or a sense of the sacred from these homes. Simply collecting objects, furnishings and choosing the right colors and décor do not make a house a home.
It is the love and intention that we put into our space both indoor and outdoor that determine the well being of the inhabitants and the energy of the land. That is not to say that well intentioned people cannot suffer misfortune in a given home, because they most definitely can. Usually this is related to karmic and/or unresolved ancestral issues that need to be addressed and resolved so that the patterns do not continue into a new home. The messages are all there in your home, but it's up to you to determine and interpret what they are. I believe that sacred space and music (see below) can truly be made wherever you go when you align with the natural world (even sometimes under extreme circumstances).
Here's a musical video from the Siberian Lake Baikal , which is one of the deepest lakes on Earth. Performed by Siberian musicians in the most unlikely of places, you can feel a sense of the beauty of Nature within this music and the sacredness of this pristine frozen water which generates healing sound frequencies (please make sure you scroll down to view and enjoy!)
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
|Posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM||comments ()|
|Posted on March 6, 2013 at 10:13 AM||comments ()|
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
|Posted on February 10, 2013 at 3:43 PM||comments ()|
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