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     Awen Environments

                                                inspirational living arts

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Snowflake's Story: a Look at Aconite

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 8:14 AM Comments comments (3)
Sometimes animals cross your path and you truly wonder whether their visit was just to help them recover or there's a more profound message in it for you. This story is one such experience. The first week after the 2014 New Year started out with a polar vortex that not only hit this region of WNY very hard, but many areas throughout the country. It's times like those with such extreme frigid temperatures that make you wonder how wild creatures even survive at all, but somehow they seem to manage. Sometimes though, a helping human hand makes all the difference.

The second day of our blizzard had me letting our dogs out and filling bird feeders amidst -6 degrees Fahrenheit and intense winds.  The birds were anxiously waiting for anything that would help them make it through the extreme temperature.  It was the coldest weather I'd experienced in this region in years. We Western New Yorkers are typically pretty tough, being used to this kind of weather and somehow we always seem to make the best out of the situation, but this was intense weather. 

That morning as I moved toward a feeder hung near one of our honey locust trees, I saw a bluejay covered with snow and seemingly lifeless.  His eyes were closed and the only thing that seemed to indicate some life force was the fact one of his feet was tightly clenched into a fist.  Somehow I sensed there might be hope as I scooped him up in my gloved hand and brought him inside. My son was home from school and I told him to warm the bird against his chest in the event he might still be alive.  I went back outside to continue with my morning activities.

When I came back in, my son told me the bluejay was still alive and breathing.  I told him to keep the bird warm until he noticed more life and I gave him a flannel pillowcase to wrap the bird in.  Ordinarily a heating pad is used in wildlife rehabilitation, but I knew in this instance, it was the connection with a living being that this bird needed, even if that being was human and perhaps maybe because he was human.  As I had hoped, my son's warmth and heart intention to bring this bird back from the brink of death, was exactly what this bluejay needed.

After some time, I thought the bird might be ready for some medicine, so I tried giving the homeopathic remedy Aconite in a syringe with some water, but his mouth was tightly clenched shut. Instead I rubbed some Rescue Remedy on his head as the vibration on the skin is often enough to calm an injured animal.  After about a half hour, my son called me from the other room saying the bluejay had put its beak around his finger.  

I knew it was time to give the bird the Aconite it needed to help recover fully from the shock of nearly dying. I'd seen various songbirds and mammals recover quickly from the shock of being hit by a car, after being given Aconite, which is the vibrational imprint of the flower Monkshood.  Aconite is the remedy for shock and works well in extreme cases with wildlife and people. For some reason the medicine of this plant works with the trauma of shock held within the body and acts like a key opening a lock. It can even be used for injuries in the past.

I checked the bluejay and decided he was warm and alert enough to be given some Aconite since his eyes were now open. Because his beak was wrapped around my son's finger, it wasn't difficult to get a syringe in his mouth.  The bluejay swallowed and I knew we just had to wait now.  Again, this is one of those moments when you see the power of homeopathy in full force because you know wild animals don't respond to placebos.  It is unfortunate that those who do not understand homeopathy criticize it as having a placebo effect, because I've seen it work in a variety of situations with wildlife and my son when he was a toddler.  This time, within minutes, the bluejay seemed more vital and looked like he was ready to be transferred to a recovery cage.  It was obvious that continuing to hold him would only invite more stress.

So I transferred the bluejay to his cage and put some sunflower seeds and peanuts in a dish for him, with another dish of water and Rescue Remedy. Several hours later he was already eating and looking like he was ready to continue living the life of an energetic bluejay once again. His recovery had been nothing short of miraculous for us.

Much to our surprise, he even managed to temporarily escape from his cage while putting in more food.  The flight however, quickly tired and stressed him, and at that point it wasn't yet clear whether this was due to a low overall energy or just the stress of our trying to catch him.  It was probably a little of both, but it was obvious he wasn't yet ready for release and the weather was still brutally cold, so release wasn't even an option yet.  My son decided to name the bluejay "Snowflake" although I thought "Blizzard" might have been more appropriate. I gave Snowflake another dose of Aconite and waited another day.

There's a fine line in wildlife rehabilitation between releasing a wild animal too soon before they are ready to be on their own and keeping a wild animal in captivity too long which can also kill them due to stress.  It's always a tough choice for me and many others who help wildlife.  This was no exception, but I waited a few days and I decided to release him exactly 48 hours after I had brought him in from the cold.  Although it was still a cold day, the temperature had increased somewhat and the sun was shining brilliantly.  Snowflake immediately flew to the top of our old maple tree and obviously enjoyed his new found freedom.  I had no doubt in my mind, we had chosen the perfect day for his release.

I know that my son will always remember the day we saved a bluejay from the bitter cold during the Blizzard of 2014 and I know I will too.  My son learned that sometimes things aren't always what they appear to be and sometimes, even when things seem hopeless, you might just save someone's life if you try.  I also know that it's not always the outcome that matters, but the intention and the care that we give to someone in need that counts in the overall scheme of things.  Although I know that wild animals die everyday out in Nature, I think it's worth the effort to help a creature in need when they cross your path.

The same day we released the bluejay, I found a tiny Chickadee frozen in the snow not far from our beehive and another bird feeder.  It saddened me that I didn't find this tiny songbird at the right time. Chickadees are one of my favorite songbirds because I love to watch them and admire their high energy, strength and resilience during the coldest of winters. I know I was not meant to find this little one. It was his time to meet the Creator. Two wild birds and one blizzard with two completely different outcomes. Divine timing in life is everything and sometimes... so is seizing the moment.

Blessings of Gratitude!

2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.


I Love the House but...

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM Comments comments (6)
"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). 
 
Holiday Blessings!
 
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.
 
 
 
 

Bee Feng Shui: the Energy of Space

Posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM Comments comments (4)
I've been thinking lately about how my interests and my work through out the years went from working inside the home with regard for the energy of space to where my focus is presently, which is outside with the land.  This has been an ongoing process for quite some time, but yesterday when someone from Myanmar found my site using the key words "bee feng shui," I just had to explore this idea and write about it.  I've written on feng shui and I've written about bees, but I've never written about how they relate to one another.  I doubt that many people have made a connection between the two, but there is one and the principles are at what I believe to be the very foundation of our survival here on this planet.  It has been said that humans will not survive on this planet more than four years, if the honeybee should disappear.  That's a scary thought given the honeybee is in tremendous peril at this particular moment in our planet's history.  Whether or not it would be that quick remains to be seen and I hope we never find out, but there's no doubt the loss of our pollinators would change our food supply as we know it, as well as the energy of our natural world.
 
So how does the honey bee relate to the energy of our homes and spaces?  Although I've loved seeing bees in action for quite some time now, it's been over a year since I began working with them intimately and observing their activities and behaviors as a caretaker of two beehives.  The insect kingdom in general has taught me a great deal about my own personal energy field and now the high energy honeybee has brought me to an even greater understanding of the dynamics of this planet and our own personal spaces.  I truly believe that it is our relationship to all insects that is the key to our survival as a human species.  In actuality, the insects do not need us, we need them and it's time we all changed our attitudes and stopped treating them as insignificant. 
 
Honeybees and insects in general are all finely tuned to the invisible strands of energetic grids that run through this planet.  You may not be familiar with them or you may choose to deny their existence, but ancient cultures knew about them and managed their societies accordingly.  The Earth has natural and man-made electromagnetic fields that run through the planet and we also have this energy flowing through our bodies.  Rudolph Steiner has discussed the significance of formic acid in his numerous essays on Nature.  Formic acid is the building block of life which connects us to the cosmos, revitalizes the soil and it is something that the insects bring to this planet and maintain.  Ants, wasps and honeybees are among those insects that revitalize an area by creating formic acid, without which we apparently would not be able to exist and it also has a spiritual essence to it according to Steiner. 
 
So, by their very nature, these insects are injecting a form of acupuncture or feng shui treatment of the land to enliven it.  They are opening up channels of dead or stagnant energies and allowing the energy to flow on this planet, revitalizing the area with high vibrational frequencies.  Subsequently, this energy will also then flow into the adjacent land and your home.  Those who have been bothered by bees, wasps or ants building colonies inside the structures of their homes, have no doubt experienced other problems related to energy stagnation within their lives, though it's easy to find fault with the insects.  Unfortunately, though their efforts might be noble and instinctive, the insects usually suffer the fate of their own demise when pesticide contractors are brought in who only exacerbate the underlying issue of imbalance of the land and energetic frequency of the home structure.  The owners of these homes never really understand what's going on at a core, energetic level.
 
Feng shui (wind and water) is about the flow of energy through our homes and through the land.  If this energy becomes stagnant or blocked, disease and disharmony results.  You cannot have a chaotic, stagnant or disease ridden property and not be affected mentally, emotionally and physically.  The two go hand in hand.  Obviously, those people who are drawn to living in cities with high energy frequencies and loads of activity and people, are more subject to a wide variety of influences some of which can be quite chaotic or destructive and yet if the inherent energies of the cities are positive and life enhancing, it can also generate a very positive influence to those who dwell there.  Too high of a vibration is not good and too low of a vibration is not good.  Just being in the country does not necessarily imply a better energy, if the inherent energies of the surrounding land are unbalanced or toxic with negative histories.  In truth, all of the Earth is sacred and even those seemingly negative environments have the potential to be transformed by human thought and behavior with the help of Nature.
 
The honeybees in particular, because of their work as a community, show us how everything is related.  Their work and very being corresponds to the sacred geometric pattern of the hexagon, a six-sided figure where there is no wasted space.  All is equal.  And so it is on this planet.  In truth, no life form or existence (including rocks, inanimate object or human creation) is insignificant, as it all came from the same source and works as a collective on this planet.  The links cannot be broken because they all work together and even something that seemingly does not have consciousness, originates from some form of energetic force at it's very basic level.  That is why the energy of space is so important because all things affect us at an energetic level-- human interaction, the natural world and the spaces we inhabit. 
 
The honeybees teach us how to work toward a common goal and to take something of one form and to transform it into something more beautiful and life enhancing.  The honeybee brings more beauty and nourishment into the world and creates a healing nectar for all life forms, while transforming toxic patterns and behaviors into something positive through their very vibration and activities.  When you work to transform your personal space, you do the same affecting the environment around you.  It's time to restore the sacred to everyday life because truly our own spaces and spheres of influence are the only ones we can control or be responsible for.  The rest is subject to the choices and influences of others, the outcome of which has yet to be determined.
 
Bee the Blessings You Seek!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bee Swarming: a Message of Rebirth

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (10)
This morning I went out to check my original beehive and found that half of the bees had swarmed with the old queen.  The steady streams of workers were no longer there, though I could still see bees inside the hive.  Although I never witnessed the swarm, I knew something had changed and I felt like a piece of me had gone with the bees.  It had been over a year since they had arrived and interestingly, today is a new moon in my sun sign of Leo.  Somehow I cannot see this as a coincidence, as my birthday is also next week. 
 
This original hive was my initiation into the realm of bees.  They taught me how to overcome my fears through working with the hive, they taught me about the mistakes I made along the way (and there were many) and they taught my son and me how to develop a love and respect for beekeeping, though it is not an easy art as it requires time, patience and dedication to get it right.  It truly is about being a steward and developing a relationship with the bees and not about 'having' or exploiting them.  Had I known how much it entailed, I probably would never have gotten involved.  It's like that with many things in life, but in your heart you know that what you're doing is what you're supposed to be doing and you continue because a love gradually ensues and it envelopes you as each day your relationship grows and you look forward to it's existence and you can no longer imagine life without this passion.
 
The bees have become my allies in so many ways.  They have taught me my priorities, how to conquer my fears and how to be prepared during these tumultuous times.  Each step along the way has been like a milestone toward a better awareness of the beehive and how it functions in unison as one being comprised of many collaborators each fulfilling an important role.  Though I'm saddened by the loss of half of my bees from my original hive, I am also happy and concerned for their welfare as they venture out into the unknown searching for a new home. I'm told they have three days to find one, otherwise they perish.
 
Gunther Hauk explains this process so well in his book "Toward Saving the Honeybee."  Contrary to what has been done in the last century and the ways of modern beekeeping practices that often seek to exploit the honeybee, swarming is a natural process that is necessary to maintain the well being and vitality of the hive.  Ironically, just when everything is fine at home, the food is stocked and the bees might be able to rest on their laurels, a new queen is created and half of the colony leaves with the old queen in search of a new home. 
 
This is in sharp contrast to what we as humans strive for and live out during our existence on this planet.  And yet, perhaps the bees' message is even more relevant during these times of upheaval and change-- searching out into the unknown, into territory that is at times both exhilarating and terrifying not knowing what you will find.  Simply knowing that this is how it needs to be.  Gunther Hauk and Rudolf Steiner talk about the swarming of bees as a rebirth of the hive.  In essence it truly is when you understand the complexities and perfection that exist within a honeybee colony.
 
Interestingly, the swarming of my bees was part of a series of experiences I had involving both my original hive and a second hive that I acquired as a result of a swarm that we captured one evening hanging from one of our pine trees.  At the time, I thought this swarm was my own, but later I came to see that it had probably been from a nearby property that also had bees, as I could tell that my original hive was still intact and the bees in the second hive were much more docile. 
 
So, this past weekend I had to correct a mistake that I had made with my second hive-- that of not being prepared.  I did not have additional beekeeping supplies ready in the event of a swarm and so when it happened, I was scrambling to put things together having to borrow supplies from a mentor friend and buy new ones.  Because the main hive box was not my own, I would eventually have to switch this out with my own and that's what I did this weekend with trepidation because it meant taking everything apart and reorganizing the bees by myself.  I had to do it alone because my son was away on a trip and my mentor was also unavailable.
 
What ensued was rather complex and unexpected.  Amidst opening the hive and seeing the queen for the first time since I had begun beekeeping, I was so intensely focused on what I was doing and keeping the queen and workers safe, that I completely lost track of time.  I became one with the beehive.  They were part of me and I was part of them.  It was as though I had gone on a shamanic journey, though I did not set out with this intention.  Yes, I was functioning as a normal human being going through the activities of beekeeping, but at some point which I think was upon encountering the queen, I went into an altered state of consciousness and remember little from what happened thereafter.  I just know that when I had everything rearranged and reassembled, I had no recollection of many of the things that I had done.  As I spent time in my gardens, for several hours thereafter, I could not remember what exactly had happened to me.
 
Simon Buxton talks about altered states of consciousness achieved while working with bees in his book "The Shamanic Way of the Bee: Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices of the Bee Masters."  It is a profound book and one that at times is difficult to conceptualize and understand, if you have not experienced anything similar.  It is nevertheless, a delving into the mystical and complex world of bees that we as humans have yet to understand fully.  Though I do believe that ancient cultures once understood the honeybee much better than we do today.  The honeybee has long been revered for its ability to work in such complex unison and produce such a 'nectar of the Gods' from within it's own body via the perfection of Nature and the beauty, complexities and high vibration of flowers. 
 
I have spent a great deal of time observing the bees in my gardens and I can say that the relationship that exists between bee and flower is truly a love affair as I have ever seen.  The fervor with which the bees gather pollen and nectar is really quite interesting to observe as they both depend on one another for their very existence-- the bee to create honey to feed its queen and colony, and the flower to perpetuate it's life cycle.  What can we as humans create, if our very survival depends on it?
 
And so, my experiences with the bees have come full circle.  I have experienced the joy of capturing a new swarm to create yet another hive to pollinate our gardens and offer us the rich golden rewards of honey--  gifts of which I have given to family, friends and neighbors.  And I have also experienced the sudden anguish and sadness over losing part of a hive due to my inability to attend to the needs of the hive in a timely manner by not providing them with adequate space for their colony. 
 
Did I error greatly by not putting on another hive box in a timely manner or was the rebirth of the original hive meant to be to serve as a signpost for a new life that is beginning for all of us-- the bees on their journey with their beloved queen and I having completed a year of honeybee stewardship and many, many years of healing the lands where I have lived, ready to face what new surprises lie before me in this ever changing world.
 
Blessings on Your Journey!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 

Dreams: Follow Your Own Path and Intuition

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM Comments comments (2)
Recently something happened to really make me think about how quickly we tend to follow others often without thinking clearly whether it's the right or appropriate thing to do.  It can become a type of mindless behavior that in the wrong circumstances could lead to serious consequences.  Though my experience was minimal in this situation, the message behind it was not.  It also tied together some previous insights that I had experienced, but had not allowed myself to heed.
 
All week long I had been one day ahead of myself thinking it was later in the week than it actually was.  I have no idea why except that I've been noticing that the concept of time for me has been changing and when I'm in the flow, I don't seem to notice it at all and when I'm not, I'm so aware of it.  One day I noticed that my neighbor had ripped out many of his still very alive shrubs and thrown them out curbside.  I was angered and disappointed to see what this man had been doing bit by bit over the last year since he'd moved in.  The previous owners had built their house 20 plus years ago and painstakingly landscaped and created gardens everywhere.   He had told them he loved gardening.  As time went on, it was obvious he was not an experienced gardener and really didn't have any connection to the land at all.  He just wanted everything to look meticulous and neat and his way. 
 
It really bothers me when people buy homes and then systematically proceed to destroy everything that the previous owner created.  I've seen it too many times and once even turned down a large landscaping project for that reason because I refused to participate.  This particular day, I had been focusing on what this man had done and wishing the other neighbors were still there   Meanwhile I proceeded to place my garbage cans at the road for the following day's pick up.  The next day when my garbage and recycling had not been picked up, it took me a very long time to realize why.  I kept looking all around the neighborhood and suddenly noticed no one else had put their garbage out except my neighbor and me.  Questioning whether it had been a holiday earlier in the week, because then they always came a day later, I began to run possibilities through my mind.  After a very long time, it suddenly dawned on me that it was a day early and they hadn't come because it wasn't the right day.
 
What I realized in all of this was how much I had been in a space of anger and I had simply gone through the motions without really thinking what day it actually was.  I had followed my neighbor's actions blindly without questioning his actions.  I hardly felt in resonance with him, but my actions surprised me.  Had this been a life or death situation, such as in the event of a natural disaster or an unusual public situation requiring quick reaction and clarity of thinking, I might have followed someone to my demise, or at the very least, into a difficult situation that would not lead me to safety or wellbeing.
 
In retrospect, there have been so many messages for me in this situation including a dream I had shortly after this man moved in which was very incongruent with his actions toward me after I came to know him.  In my dream I saw this man totally destroying the gardens and landscaping that my former neighbors had created.  I wondered why I had this dream, since up until that point, I hadn't even met the guy-- only seen him and visitors walking about the property.  Thereafter, I introduced myself and we shared stories of experiences we'd had in the same town we had seemingly both lived in previously.  He later became very generous offering freshly grown vegetables planted by the previous owner, baked treats his family had made and at Christmas he made a point of personally delivering gift cards to us.  I thought-- wow, was I wrong about this person.
 
Then, the following spring I began noticing that he had been throwing what appeared to be his gardening debris onto the wooded section of my property and it really took me by surprise.  In fact, his actions really annoyed me because he never asked my permission and I had no interest in having my land become a dumping ground for his stuff even if it does looks wilder than the average property in my neighborhood.  It happened several times until I made a point of dragging everything out across his lawn to my fire pile so he could see I knew what he was up to.  We never spoke again until yesterday when I found more tree cuttings and found out they were my own and the guy hadn't even told me my tree was bothering him.  He also threatened to cut more up to the sky because he didn't like the shade on his lawn.
 
This summer I came to see that my dream really had been prophetic, but I had allowed myself to discount it initially because of my conversations and all the gifts I had received.  I have often had initial impressions of people or situations that surprised me and then later were very accurate.  We all need to be in the moment each day of our lives to access our environment accurately and make the appropriate decisions because things are changing rapidly and on a constant basis.  Dreams can be a huge source of information, if we allow ourselves to be guided by them, and are able to discern useful information with regard to how it applies to our present situation. 
 
Following others blindly who may not know what they are doing or may just be following the person in front of them (who has always done things that way), will not lead you out of harm's way or take you on the road that will lead to new opportunities.  We are creatures of habit and often we don't even think about the activities we are involved in.   Be aware of your environment and your choices, as well as how a situation makes you feel.  When everything flows, it is then that the universe is guiding you.
 
Blessings of Clarity!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 

A Look Back: Taking Inventory of Your Landscape

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 6:36 PM Comments comments (0)
Sometimes it's hard to see the progress we've made when we're constantly putting out fires or simply trying to get through our daily routine of responsibilities.  As humans, we seem to always focus on what still needs to be accomplished, rather than what is.  I think it's vital, however, to reflect periodically on what you've accomplished and take the time to truly see the progress that's been made from several years back, a year ago or even a few months ago.
 
I know I have to do this on occasion to remind myself of how the energy of my landscape has shifted and how much I've changed in my awareness. Despite the heavy rains we've been experiencing in our area this year and the accompanying flooding and frustration it can create, I'm constantly reminded of how when we first moved to our home just over  three years ago, there was barely a flower in sight, 
 
Now we have gardens everywhere and many new trees and plants are starting to anchor a new life force on this land.  They are also transmuting the toxins that existed in the soil that once smelled rancid.  All the white pine and fir trees that had existed when we arrived, were either dead or dying due to excessively wet land and an imbalance of energies.  Now when I walk through our backyard, I feel like I'm in a wildlife sanctuary or tiny park.  As a gardener, I'm constantly thinking about what still needs to be done or re-arranged, although so much has healed.  I'm also proud of what I've accomplished in so little time.  We've also just installed our second bee hive, after catching a swarm the other day.  The vibrancy that these little beings bring to the landscape is visually apparent in the difference from last year to now.  I also love seeing them busy in our gardens, knowing how they are enlivening the land and our lives.
 
My gardens have been such a metaphor for my life in so many ways. They have grown with me, struggled with me and portions have died at times, just as I have died to my former self and sought new ways of being, discarding what was no longer useful or part of my awareness.  I have also had to make choices as to what I chose to keep in my garden and where my boundaries are.  Weeding has become a way of eliminating all that which I no longer need in my environment.  While I don't believe in the noun weed as they are only plants that are unfamiliar or unwanted to most people (a very individual concept), I do believe in the verb of weeding and I realize how it becomes symbolic for caring for yourself and what you've created.  This year has been all about maintenance and creating balance, whereas in previous years, I was totally focused on creation.
 
The first half of this year has already been filled with challenges which, while I was going through them, exhausted me sometimes to the point of overwhelm. Nevertheless, as time passed I came to see the value of those experiences and how they taught me to express my boundaries, see things in a new way or persevere despite the physical and emotional exhaustion I was feeling. These moments can be priceless sources of inspiration and transmutation, if you allow them to be.  My gardens have been my source of solace when I felt filled with anger, despair or sheer overwhelm.  Just the sounds of the birds and seeing the grasses swaying in the breeze, has often brought me back to a point of stillness and knowing that all is well and exactly the way it should be in this moment. 
 
And just as sometimes you have to allow a garden to do it's own thing and trust that Nature knows the direction she's taking, you also have to believe that the direction you're being lead in and the challenges you face are preparing you for better things.  Moments spent appreciating your landscape also build a solid foundation for the energy of your land, as it is a co-creative process requiring our individual efforts and the collaboration of Nature.  We cannot always see the results of our actions, but it is our intention that matters.  Our mistakes will be overlooked or reflected back to us so that we can learn what we need to in order to make different choices next time.  Gardening is such a great way to see and experience what works and what doesn't-- what feels right and what is uncomfortable and no longer in resonance.  This is a continual process of shedding layers like peeling an onion and it is part of the changes this planet is going through.
 
Despite what at times may seem like an endless battle in this changing world, it's so important to spend time viewing your accomplishments from a point of reverence. The world is moving so fast now that it's easy to overlook what stands before you, but take the time to truly feel and know how your environment has changed.  Feel the vibrancy of that which has healed and that which is in transition.  Know that despite the fact there may still be challenges for the future and things to overcome, so much has transitioned and healed throughout this planet and continues to do so. 
 
Our efforts do not go unseen and despite their seeming futility at times, it is the intention and the process that matters in the overall scheme of things. To me, nothing is more gratifying than to see a landscape transform, whether an indoor or outdoor environment or that which is our own sense of being. Cherish your accomplishments and your efforts for they do matter.
 
Blessings of Inspiration!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Dandelions: a Source of Inspiration

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)
After a long cold winter with loads of rain toward the end, we've had a series of beautiful, warm days.  The dandelions seem to be flourishing as a result.  My lawn is aglow with a proliferation of yellow.  Today I came home to find a brochure from a rep for a commercial lawn and herbicide company offering a free consultation to help "Start attacking weeds today!" 
 
This just put me into an agitated state as I read further about how this company could help rid my lawn of "unsightly dandelions."  It's very possible that I was being singled out for my yellow lawn, as were others on my street who choose to go natural or it was just a general attempt to get business.  I've had a barage of solicitations from chemical lawn care companies since spring began.  Being in a seemingly non-progressive suburb, it appears to be the norm to treat your lawn and sadly I wonder how many homes on my street are pursuing these offers.
 
I won't go into the virtues of dandelions here because I did that in a previous post "Gardening with Nature: in Defense of Dandelions."  Nevertheless, I realized how despite all the progress we've made on this planet in terms of environmentalism, there is still such a profound attack on unwanted vegetation and insects and anything else that gets in man's way.  The lack of awareness continues out there in terms of what is healthy for this planet and what is contributing to the  continued decline of honey bee populations and other beneficial pollinating insects, not to mention wildlife, as well as the increase in human diseases.
 
So I decided to give this guy a call and tell him my thoughts.  I felt his excitement as I responded to his flyer, only to hear him go into the defensive mode when I asked that he not make trips to my house nor send me further literature.  I told him right out that the product he was representing was contributing to the environmental degradation of this planet and perhaps he should find another form of employment. 
 
I've simply reached the point that I no longer feel like putting things mildly to people or ignoring their attempts to continue the status quo.  I feel the lines of demarcation becoming stronger and stronger as the old world is falling and the new world is manifesting on this planet.  The continuous natural disasters and acts of violence are a sure sign of changes that will continue and perhaps even escalate.
 
To me the dandelions are a source of inspiration in their beauty, their courage to keep coming back despite their persecution and their ability to bring healing to this planet both in the unseen realms beneath the Earth and to those who will allow them to be their allies. 
 
I know that this plot of land I live on is healing and I welcome those beautiful bursts of yellow energy in my gardens despite what those who don't know better think.  Perhaps it's time we all continue to shine regardless of what we encounter out in the world.  I know the dandelion is truly a wonderful role model of endurance and strength.  If only we would take more cues from Nature...
 
Blessings of Sunshine to All!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Restoring the Sacred to Western New York: a Story of Spiritual/Material Conflict (Part 3)

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM Comments comments (5)
 
This story is part of a series. It is recommended that you refer to Part 1 and Part 2 of this trilogy before reading the following (photo of Chautauqua Lake, NY by Matt Roginski Photography above).
 
Consciousness and human intention are things that are greatly influenced by the geography of an area, but an area is also simultaneously influenced by the intentions of its inhabitants.  We only know that which we are taught, unless we choose to move outside that realm into the unknown and learn to trust our intuition and inner guidance.  Human intention is a powerful thing and it is the guiding force behind many a success and failure, whether at an individual or community level. 
 
As mentioned in prior posts, the knowledge of geomancy and sacred Earth energies was known by many ancient scholars who at some level passed on their knowledge and traditions to the Europeans, particularly the Freemasons who came to this country.   There is increasing evidence now that the Freemasons built and also influenced many sacred structures around the US, leaving behind various signs of their beliefs and knowledge of the cosmic influence on architecture called archaeoastronomy, which has been practiced for thousands of years throughout various cultures and civilizations.  Scott Wolter, a forensic geologist from the History Channel's documentary program "America Unearthed"  has been presenting much of this information on the influence of the Freemasons in the US, providing evidence to support the idea that much of history is not as we've been told.
 
I think that evidence of an underlying knowledge about Earth energies and ley lines is evident throughout much of WNY.  The Chautauqua Institute located on the lands surrounding Chautauqua Lake in WNY, was created in 1874 by Lewis Miller, an Akron, Ohio inventor who was father-in-law to Thomas Edison.   Miller sought to create a utopian community "devoted to the highest ideals of the spirit and the intellect."  Some would think his choice of land for such a utopian society a mere coincidence, however, I do not.  Throughout history there has always been this connection that people have made between architecture and a link to the cosmos, or spiritual energies from the heavens connecting to the Earth and an understanding of the need to locate structures and communities in certain areas (photo of Chautauqua Institute above)
 
The Chautauqua Institute has still maintained its original intention which was that of a pursuit of higher learning and spiritual awakening and the radiance of the healing land energies there is still evident when walking through this community with its carefully created structures and well cared for gardens.  Though it does seem to be more of an elitist community of homes as it was originally intended, it is also open to the public and still draws people from all over the world even today with its cultural and educational programs.  A wide range of scholars and progressive thinkers have visited these grounds and there is even a miniature replica of the city of Jerusalem created on the property.  I'm confident this is not a random placement, but symbolic of sacred Earth energies existing in the area.
 
A second location in the Chautaqua area that is significant is Lilly Dale, one of the first spiritual communities that was created in the WNY region of Cassadaga Lake.  This community was originally created by two women in the late 1800's and is today still devoted to metaphysical topics, spiritual studies,  as well as developing psychic abilities.  This community was created during a time of tremendous spiritual activity within the WNY region, with various religous and spiritual groups seeking a place to practice their individual beliefs throughout the area.
 
Although many may criticize a gathering of psychics and question their validity, a tremendous amount of progressive and inspirational teachers from around the globe have gathered and taught at Lilly Dale throughout the years and continue to do so every year.  The underlying concept there is the connection to the realm of spirit and a belief in something greater than the material world.  The old growth forest which is part of this community is inherently sacred and powerful, and I believe the message of spirituality from this location once again is not an accident.  There is undoubtedly a history of strong spiritual patterns existing within WNY.
 
Chautauqua Lake, unfortunately, has succumbed to tremendous problems with contamination from pesticide, fertilizer and sewage runoff, resulting in excessive algae. The surrounding region is also relatively poor relying mostly on the tourism industry which has been affected by these contamination problems.
 
What do most of the areas within WNY mentioned in this story (see previous posts) have in common?   They are all areas of powerful and sacred Earth energies, however, some through heavy development and their misuse, desecration and/or subsequent blockage of natural harmonious Earth energies, have become areas of economic decline, crime, poverty, disease and/or various forms of hardship.  Others, because of their spiritual intentions continue to carry on today with their work and bring light and awareness to this region.
 
I believe that the more powerful an area in terms of it’s natural existing Earth energies, the darker and more negative the experience of living there can be if the integrity and right use of these energies is not upheld by it's inhabitants and those in control of the natural resources.  The land becomes increasingly more negative when toxic chemical and nuclear waste has been buried in these areas, or water has been built upon and/or redirected, as the Earth struggles to breathe and restore balance.  Also, some areas should never have been developed with mundane activities, but rather imbued with a continuous spiritual reverence because they are too powerful for daily life and are easily contaminated by human thought and actions.
 
If you happen to live in one of the areas whose natural Earth energies have been distorted by human intervention and lack of awareness, despite your best efforts, your life will most likely be impacted negatively by the underlying energy of your community and city depending on the toxicity and imbalance of the land.  Each person's experience will vary depending on what your soul resonates with and your particular need to resolve patterns within your ancestral DNA.   Sometimes the more you try to improve your situation, the more you may struggle and seemingly lose the battle, but in truth it is all a path toward self awareness and your body's need to restore balance.  I've seen incredible challenges that clients have had to overcome while living on various properties around WNY, some which were once part of large estates which represented a history of misuse of power within WNY.
 
In terms of exposure to geopathic stress (toxic Earth energies), the more your body is compromised vibrationally on a continual basis, the more you will seek out unhealthy patterns and locations that will continue your negative experiences, so it becomes a negative spiral of events unless you recognize these patterns and learn to overcome them.  A healthy, vibrationally balanced individual will generally not be attracted to unhealthy situations or geopathically stressed areas unless they are conscious of what needs to be done and willing to work to restore the area to balance as part of their path in life.  Dr. Ernst Hartmann, who spent 30 years studying the affects that land energies have on the immune system, has been quoted as saying "individuals placed above an area of geopathic disturbance soon lost the ability to defend themselves against harmful bacteria that previously they were able to withstand."

If you put the pieces of the puzzle together, after a while you stop believing in coincidences and start recognizing that dire economic, disease and societal patterns existing within a city or region have a root cause.   In the case of WNY, I believe it is a history of land desecration in it's many forms, both unethical business practices and also physical destruction of the environment, that contributes to the problems that many people experience while living in WNY.  Though we may consciously have had nothing to do with decisions that were made throughout the history of a city, we are still affected by their consequences at an energetic level.  I believe it is our destiny, as well as our karma, to work through and resolve these societal patterns within our area, by recognizing them within our own lives (photo of Darwin Martin House, Buffalo, NY by Matt Roginski Photography above). 
 
I've heard countless numbers of stories from clients, friends, acquaintances, and even random people I've met who experienced tremendous challenges and often even tragedies while living in this region.  Some had left and later returned to the Buffalo area in their later years.  Often times their misfortune directly coincided with their return to this region, many encountering all forms of challenges, as though this cloud of darkness hovered over the region of Buffalo and the feeling was palpable as soon as your plane descended upon the airport or your car approached the region. 
 
I've also known of several geomancy teachers who came from other parts of the world and immediately became overwhelmed and exhausted from the energy of the Buffalo-Niagara region, due to their heightened sensibilitiess and often times they even experienced their own challenges during their stay.  Some locals, who have been born and raised here and never left, have experienced nothing but hardship and illness.  Eventually you believe it's the norm and that life is meant to be a struggle because that's what you've grown up with and all you've ever known.  Once you're in the negative spiral, it takes a tremendous amount of effort and awareness to break it.  That is often where faith comes in and a recognition of the meaning behind life lessons.  Recognizing that life is meant to be so much more is part of the road back from being a victim to creator of your own destiny and thriving in a changing, challenging world.  These challenges are increasing on a daily basis around the globe as the Earth works to restore balance.
 
I can write about this all now because I have recognized the patterns, as I reflect on my own life since moving back to WNY and especially my experiences while living in one particular town several years ago.  For me, my most profound heartwarming, creative and spiritual experiences have occurred right here in WNY.  It's very possible that my creative abilities and level of environmental and spiritual awareness would never have developed to the same degree, had I remained in a fast paced, high energy city like Washington, DC for the remainder of my life and continued in a career that did not fulfill me.   I will never know for certain, but I believe in my heart I know the answer. 
 
Although my life became challenging shortly upon my return to WNY,  I also started moving in the direction of who I always was and not the person I thought I should be, as I began pursuing my passions.  Though it often happened in profound and unusual ways, it wasn't until I moved to the town of Alden that I was met with all forms of challenge and frustration that included health, career, personal and financial issues that kept me constantly on my feet and often overwhelmed me to the point of exhaustion.  I even had a close call with death in the first home when I went into anaphylactic shock while gardening and was rushed to the emergency room.  Given what I knew about how our environment affects our wellbeing, I worked hard to transform the energies of both homes during those years and restore balance to my life. 
 
In the first home, I felt the energy was a time bomb waiting to explode because the land had so much debris that had been buried there and the historical patterns had not been positive.  One of the previous owners had prematurely died suddenly, another had suffered from cancer, and another had lain collapsed in the house for days before someone had found him.  One bad thing after another happened while we were living in that house, and yet I felt a strong heartfelt connection to the land and a desire to heal it.  I learned a great deal while living there, but it was a tremendous challenge. 
 
In the second house in Alden, I knew more about how to work with Earth energies, but still I moved to a new level of understanding because the situation was very different.  Despite what I knew, my worked seemed all to no avail, as anything that could have gone wrong did, as soon as we moved in to this house.  I continued to work intimately with the land and gradually things improved, but it would seem that there was always something that would crop up to challenge my faith and resolve (photo of Aldinger Farm Sunflowers, Alden, NY below).
 
After several years, I eventually made the decision to move when we discovered our neighbor had been killing our pets and other animals in the area out of rage and lack of respect for animals.   I realized I had to speak up about what was going on when others were afraid to or chose to look the other way.  I later learned that I was not alone in my struggles in Alden, as I would eventually come to find out by talking to other people who were living or had lived there.   This eventually led me to conclude that there was something inherent in the energies of the land that attracted such misfortune and ill will from neighbors (see Earth Energies: What is Your Home Telling You?).   There was something that appeared beyond the scope of my immediate control over my home environment and the principals of feng shui or geomancy as I had come to know them.
 
Interestingly, Alden is also home to the Wende Correctional Facility which is a maximum security prison housing over 1,000 inmates.   It was also very close to the neighborhood where I was living at the time.  The land where this facility was built was originally donated by the Otto Wende family to Erie County to be designated as a public park.   While the land initially became a farm to feed correctional inmates in the Buffalo area, it eventually was decided to build a housing facilty for prison inmates in the 1920s.   Although the facility does have a productive horticulture program which contributes to beautifying public spaces, there is no doubt that the energy and consciousness of such a facility has affected the overall energy of the area of Alden.  People who think they are not consciously affected by working in such a facility are mistaken. There is also the fact that the original intention of the Wende family for the donation of this land was eventually completely disregarded and contrary to the original desires of the owners.
 
Nevertheless, I have never seen more passionate people, as during the town of Alden's attempt and eventual success in preventing a Walmart from being built on natural wetlands adjacent to my neighborhood during those years.   It was a definite step in the right direction toward maintaining the integrity of the land of Alden and preventing further contamination of it's natural existing water source, by preserving the integrity of one of five aquifers in WNY that lies beneath the town of Alden. I became seriously involved with preventing this development when a neighbor who initiated the campaign, approached me in 2006 to help him with his efforts. Sadly this man died suddenly of a heart attack shortly after the developer pulled out of the project and our mission had been accomplished.
 
I'm confident that much of the hardship, disease and malaise that exists within the WNY region is related to the contamination and redirection of natural water sources. When you understand what Dr. Emoto's experiments have shown about the energy matrix of water, it's not hard to conclude that chemical and nuclear contamination of the surrounding land, and not allowing the water to purify itself through natural land elements and methods, has had a profound effect on this landscape and the consciousness of its inhabitants.
 
Even the flow of water coming from the Niagara River into the Falls has been artificially manipulated for many years now, changing a natural flow of energy to the area, thereby decreasing its life enhancing power.  Christopher Bird, author of  The Divining Hand discusses the Chinese belief that the Earth is like a human being and water's significance is expressed in his statement "Passing to and fro out of sight, the hidden veins of water served, like the bloodstream of animals, to remove impurities from the body of the Earth...and to deposit curative minerals within it.  The Earth's circulatory system was matched by an ever-undulating network of currents in the atmosphere."  This understanding is integral to the true foundations of feng shui.  The aim is to seek healthy sheng chi (energy) and avoid unhealthy sha chi. If you are surrounded by ill will and mal intentions by neighboring properties, your own life will be tremendously affected because of the constant flow of water energy through the land and into your home.  These black streams of sha chi can course through a property and can wreak havoc in your life. 
 
The Russians and Austrians have also done a great deal of research on this concept of water carrying information and holding negative vibrations, and I believe it's relevant and was substantiated by the experiences I had.  I could just not dismiss them as coincidental, after what I'd gone through and what I knew.  Water can have tremendously healing qualities if it is vibrationally clear, but it can also have the opposite effect if it comes into contact with negative intentions and toxins.  It is also a life giving force which cannot be denied and can no longer be taken for granted (see movie on global water crisis.

Though at the time it was extremely challenging living in both houses, I am now grateful for all that I experienced and overcame there.   These experiences enabled me to view life from a much different perspective and I learned to fight for what I believed in and develop an inner strength, faith and resiliency that deepened my spirituality and connection to Nature.   I also gained an understanding of the nature of Earth energies  and water to such a greater degree, as I began to recognize the profound physical and energetic contamination that is rampant throughout WNY.   Since we are surrounded by water in its many forms, this is highly significant in terms of the vibrations held in the land energies here.  There are patterns here in WNY and within all of our lives.  It is up to each of us to discover and understand their meanings.
 
Cities carry their own unique energy and depending on where you’re living and what you’re experiencing, I'm confident that if you're being challenged, this is what you have chosen at a soul level to move past your trauma in this lifetime and any ancestral issues (see Patterns: Overcoming Ancestral Trauma) held within your DNA.   Your home can either provide you with a safe and life enhancing source of security and inspiration or it can seemingly be your worst enemy draining the very life force out of you by creating all forms of mental, emotional and physical stresses on your well being.   This is becoming increasingly more prevalent as the Earth goes through changes.  Understanding the energies of the land you have chosen to live upon, is the beginning of changing your circumstances and living a harmonious, healthy, joyful life.  Knowing the history of the town or city you live in, is an important part of changing the future both individually and collectively (photo of Guaranty Building, Buffalo, NY by Matt Roginski Photography above).
 
We are all linked to a huge web of energy that covers this planet. Learning how to recognize the history and the patterns such as those present in WNY is the first step toward healing this planet and your own life.  A home and its occupants can only be as well as the land that exists beneath their dwelling.  Restoring and enhancing the energies in your own environment is key to creating balance in your life.  Buffalo is not alone in it's challenges, as there are many similar former manufacturing cities around the world which are currently suffering from a similar predicament and those in areas such as Chernobyl or Fukishima that have been facing a far more severe challenge.  I think the answers lie at an individual level for all of us.  Though the circumstances appear daunting at times, focus on one's individual self and environment can ultimately have far reaching effects for all of us.
 
It is my sincerest hope that other countries follow the initiative of Ecuador who has now given constitutional Rights to Nature (Pachamama) to prevent further environmental degradation of their country.  Ecuador's courageous movement led by it's own indigenous President and people serves as a symbol for other countries to follow in the forthcoming years.  The Rainforests of this world are desperately needed to anchor healing energies for this planet on a global scale.  Without them, this planet will surely die and humankind with it.  For those living in areas where the land has already been desecrated, it's important to know that all can be healed.  The plants, technology, and awareness required to restore balance, heal the soil and water, as well as ourselves exists, but it requires a combination of spiritual and physical work on everyone's part-- right relationship with the land and an understanding that this planet is a living being and we need her.
 
How do we integrate our need to create economic development and prosperity while maintaining respect for cultural and architectural achievements, and the right use of natural resources?   I believe the answer lies in working alongside Nature by understanding it's inherent characteristics and perfection, as well as developing technologies that harness these natural existing energies while utilizing sustainable, ecological methods.   No one benefits in the long term when land is desecrated, least of all our children or descendants.
 
Healing and restoring the sacredness of all life to the area that we live in through our actions and intentions is paramount in these changing and tumultuous times on Earth.   We simply cannot continue the same patterns and expect different results.   You also cannot simply run away from what challenges you because these patterns will follow you wherever you go.   Unknowingly you will be drawn at a soul level to similar patterns of dis-ease in your next choice of home regardless of it's geographic location, unless you resolve these energetic patterns right where you are and then you can move on.  Recognition and understanding are the keys to opening the door and initiating healing.  Holding a higher intention for restoring the sacred energies of WNY or wherever you may live, is the key to transforming the well being of this planet. 
 
The answer lies within each and every one of us to restore the sacredness to the land that we occupy, and in so doing, create joy and wellness within our lives and communities, as well as for our descendants.   Piece by piece these parcels of land will connect both physically and energetically, eventually restoring health and well being to this planet we call HOME.   We cannot wait for institutions and organizations to take the initiative to clean up the mess made by industrializaton and development, we need to clean up the mess within our own domain.  Take care of yourself and your space, however large, small or insignificant your home may seem and wherever it may be, and imbue it with your intentions and love, and make it  SACRED ONCE AGAIN.
 
 

Blessings of Earth Wisdom!

 
 
For a different prospective of the Earth view the movie "Overview."
 
 
References and Further Information:
 
 
 
 
 
 




Copyright 2013 Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

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
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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