April 28, 2020

The Itch

Have you got the itch?  No, I don’t mean from some mysterious rash on your skin!  I mean the itch to get going, working, traveling, exercising, interacting, or (you fill in the blank).  I am lucky here that plenty of various hiking opportunities are available, even though Utah’s national parks are still closed.  This is not the case for a lot of you out there, where your movements are pretty restricted.  How many times can you clean your house?  Even some regular phone or Skype conversations are getting pretty boring, as the same topics are coming up over and over.  I even mowed the lawn in my small backyard today.  A first for me, as I had never mowed a lawn before.  Now, if I get antsy, I can do that every several days.  Now that’s pretty sad. 

So, for your entertainment pleasure, I will describe the hike I took yesterday.  It’s starting to get warm here, so the hiking south towards St George that I had been doing is probably finished until the fall since it is much warmer down there than it is here.  I tried out a new trail that is only about 13 miles south of my house.  It is named the Spring Creek Canyon Trail.   One of my interests during this time of the year is photographing the local wildflowers, and I did quite a bit of that yesterday in addition to photographing the mind blowing surroundings of this canyon.

The path from the trailhead first went through a notch in the volcanic tuff that had been carved out by the water action of the creek over untold number of years.  The terrain then opened up into a broad valley surrounded by steep and pointy sandstone formations.  After about 1.5 miles of this, the magic started to happen.  The trail entered a narrow slit in the sandstone wall that had also been carved by Spring Creek.  This section is advertised as a slot canyon, although probably too wide in most places to be called that in a technical sense.  Here we had steep, colorful and oddly textured sandstone walls, lots of cool shade, and the meandering creek for most of the way ahead.  Because of this cool and shady environment, the wildflowers here were quite different than those in the first part of the trail.  I was thrilled to find such a magnificent place so close to home.  Of course, I plan to go back soon, and hike further into the slot to see what I can discover.  








I send blessings to all of you for good health and prosperity.  My fondest wish is that, wherever you may be, you find a way to scratch that itch and get yourself moving in a positive way, no matter how small.  Remember that all of this will eventually pass.


April 18, 2020

More.....

Yesterday I hiked on the trail where I found the Male and Female boulders a week ago.  It was a delightful day, partly cloudy and warm.  I was taking my time as I had been photographing spring wildflowers that were just popping out.  I took the same route that I did before, but today my experience was quite a bit different. 

As I moved along, I was keeping track of the huge petroglyph panel that was on the opposite ridge.  At about the point where I was approaching the opposite position, I came upon this rock arrangement. 
It is hard to tell if this is an ancient site, or if some hikers had piled these rocks up on a boulder.  It also looks like there is an outline of rocks on the ground creating a semi circle.

Once back on the trail, as I got to the opposite position and looked to my right, it appeared that the  shrubs had been removed and an open path like area was left, leaving the petroglyph panel location clearly visible.  Note the squarish outcropping on the opposite ridge. 
I walked over to near the edge of the ridge that I was on, and discovered a pretty impressive rock outcropping. 
It looked like a perfect spot to sit and contemplate the energy of the rock art panel that was opposite.  I can just imagine what kind of ceremonies may have taken place there.   Since this was a direct east/west positioning, it could be an Equinox alignment. There was a very nice Engleman's hedgehog cactus growing out of a crack in the outcropping.
Working my way back to the hiking path, I saw something fantastic that had eluded me last week.  Here was a boulder that had obviously been unearthed and stood on its side.  What was this???  I had never seen anything like this before.  Here are photos from several angles. 

 If you look carefully at the photo below, you can see the petroglyph panel location in the distance.


Apparently, the more uniform brown side had been lying in the dirt face down, and the darker and more eroded side with the lichens had been facing up and exposed to the elements.  The fantastic part was the ring of caliche that had formed where the top soil abutted against the boulder as it was lying flat on the ground.  This is a calcium carbonate accumulation that forms as water evaporates.  It mainly occurs in arid and sandy areas. 

So I took some time to tune in, and definitely felt that magical ceremonies were done here.  I was looking at the light and the dark, the conscious and the unconscious, the known physical world and the unknown world of spirit.  Perhaps alchemy had been done here to bring the spiritual into the physical world.  The Ancestral Puebloans all the way up to the current Native American tribes did ceremonies for fertility, rain and abundant crops. It also looked like this boulder had been standing upright in this position for a very long time.  There was no evidence of scrape marks or disturbed soil on it or around it. 

My next stop was the flat circular rock outcropping that was outlined in smaller rocks.  I did not have time to tune into the energy here the other day, so I took the time to do this now. 
Fantastic.  As I stood in the center facing the petroglyph panel, everything got quiet.  This was mostly internally, as I found that coming to a still center point within to be very easy here.  As I listened to the silence, I began to hear a very high pitched and almost inaudible sound.  It reminded me of those silent dog whistles that only they can hear.  I do not know if the sound was internal or external to my body, either.  I also do not know if it was always there and I was just noticing it now, or if it was a brand new phenomenon.  It felt otherworldly.  Clearly, more to explore here! 
 

Lastly, I visited the Male and Female stones and communed with them for a bit. 
This kind of site can be used to balance the male and female energies within.  To do this, I stood between them and put my right hand on the Male stone and my left hand on the Female stone.  Of course, giving and feeling gratitude and appreciation while doing this facilitates the process.  We all need to be balanced within our own male and female inner aspects, and I could feel that happening as I connected with these archetypal energies.  I then left an offering in the scoop on the top of the Female stone, and headed back down to the trailhead.  Wow!   Maybe I should say that I floated back to the trailhead! 

One might say that hikers created some of what I have described, and certainly the piles of medium sized rocks are probably contemporary.  But why here?  It is clear that there was a long standing presence by the Ancestral Puebloans in this area because of the year round water that is still available, in addition to the excavated ancient ruins that are not far away.  I do believe that I stumbled upon an ancient sacred site, one that made use of the already existing natural features of the land, as most of them usually do.  I will have to keep a look out for any local archaeologist that can give me more information. 

In the mean time, I am still enjoying the residue of the energy from my experiences of yesterday.  Perhaps I can do more wandering the next time I am on that trail! 

April 11, 2020

Connecting to the Ancients

Yesterday, I hiked a trail that I had been on a few times before.  The greater area where I was is called the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, and the area I hiked from is the White Reef Trailhead.  There are quite a few trails that branch off from there, and I have been trying to explore all of them, especially since the spring wildflowers are in bloom, and I am having a great time trying to identify all of the ones that I can.  You have already seen many of my photos of this area, with the white sandstone reef, the red cliffs and the snow covered mountains behind. 
Each time I go there, I almost expect that the trailhead and parking lot will be closed off, since Washington County, the next one south of here, has asked that their state parks be off limits to all non-county residents.  But this is not a state park, and I routinely run into people riding bikes or horses, or walking their dogs.  In fact there has been a sign at the entrance that says that this is a very busy time of year, and to please park in the designated areas and not on the side of the road.  Ha!  The last few times I have gone there, there has been only one other car in the parking lot!  I guess people are taking the stay at home suggestion seriously. 

This area has obviously been inhabited in the past, as there are several places that I have hiked through where there are lithics scattered on the ground, meaning that the ancient inhabitants were chipping local stone to make spear points and arrow heads.  There is a ruin that one can hike to, and also that extensive petroglyph panel that I had written about in a prior post.  These all have previously been labeled Anasazi, but the current trend is to label these sites as belonging to the Ancestral Puebloans.  The modern descendants of these people are the Hopi, Zuni, and all of the Puebloan tribes along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico.  There are 2 year round creeks here also, which makes it a prime habitation location. 

As regular readers know, I have written extensively about the sacred sites I have visited just across the border into Utah from where I used to live.  These include archeoastronomy alignments, rock art, standing stones, villages, kivas, and stone circles.  There is so much like that in the 4 Corners area that quite a few people retire there just to enjoy archaeological field trips.  In light of that, I didn’t expect a lot of that in my new area. 

So yesterday, I repeated most of a trail that I had hiked before, and then added an extra extension that I will explore further next time.  On the way back, I was on a trail on top of a sandstone ridge called Leeds Reef that I had used maybe 3 times before, so I was not really looking for anything new and exciting.  Just hauling it back to my car.  Suddenly, off to my left just off of the trail, I saw a stone circle outlining a round sandstone outcropping.  That stopped me in my tracks.  Had this always been there and I didn’t notice it, or was this something that some hikers had just created?  Nevertheless, it had the energy of a sacred site.  It would be a perfect place to just sit and meditate or tune into nature.  
On top of that, it was within sight of the big petroglyph panel that was on top of the next ridge to the west.  Hmmm!  Here is a link to my post on that.
I decided to wander and explore, because if this were a sacred site of some sort, there might be other indications here.  We all have a guidance system that can lead us to our intended target, no matter what that may be.  (That is how I ended up here in Cedar City!)  Sure enough, I didn’t have to go very far.  This is what I found. 
First of all, there were very few big rocks exposed like this in this area, so it would be a perfect place for something special to be created.  I headed over to the first big rock, and looked behind it to find the second smaller rock.   I was kind of shocked, as I was looking at the classic male and female archetypes of the natural kingdom that were revered in shamanic ceremonies.  The female is always wider and rotund, and the male is generally skinnier and pointed, although this male rock was more like a phallus in shape.
What clinched the deal was the bowl shaped scoop on the top of the female rock. 
The feminine has always been revered more than the masculine in most native traditions, and this is where offerings were made.  I was thrilled.  Here is a place that was easy to get to and where I can do my own ceremonies.  After tuning in and giving my gratitude and appreciation to this pair of sacred rocks, I left a small offering in the bowl.

It is also worth noting that there might be some sort of alignment between this site, the petroglyph panel on the next ridge, and perhaps the Summer Solstice sunset behind the mountains beyond. 
This is not the first time I have discovered a pair of masculine and feminine boulders in a ceremonial location.  Here is a link to my post on that, with a photo below. In that case, the feminine stone was short and squat, and the masculine stone was taller and pointier.  There was also a scoop on the top back side of the feminine rock where I left offerings each time I visited, as other people had been doing, too! 
As there are no coincidences, John Gray of Mars and Venus fame gave a free meditation that very afternoon after I got home.  Perhaps some of you participated.  Part of his theme was the balancing of the Masculine and Feminine energies within each of us.
 
Interesting that as I am writing this, a sublime and sacred energy is surrounding me.  That feels really good.  Perhaps you can tune into one of the photos and get a similar sensation.  I hope to get back there some time in the next week, and may have more to report. 

April 5, 2020

Something Strange

Was I time tripping last night?  It was around 9 PM when my phone rang.  I saw from the caller ID that it was my sister calling from her cell phone.  I picked up, but there was no one there.  After I hung up, I noticed that I had a message on my machine (That’s right, I still have an answering machine!)  I listened to the message, and it was from 10:30 that morning!  I had been out hiking, and always check messages when I get home, and there were none at that time. 

So I called her back, and indeed she had called that morning and left the message.  As you know, when something like this happens, it throws you off of your center a bit.  I had a brief visit to the land beyond.  She did have an explanation, however.  Apparently with all of the people staying at home, many more are talking on the phone, and things are getting jammed up.  So her call and message were delayed by about 10 hours.  My phone service is with TDS, and maybe the holdup was there.  Who knows?  I have also heard that Zoom is having some issues because of the multitudes using it now.

As I am writing this, I have a vague memory that this may have happened recently here before, where I do not hear the phone ring, and a bit later, I see that I have a message, so I will be paying closer attention from now on.  Ah the magic of technology!