Exploring ancestral sites has been a fascination of mine for many decades. Yesterday I enjoyed an insightful class about Verde Valley prehistoric archeoastronomy sites taught by Kenneth J. Zoll, Director of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center, and author of this excellent illustrated book:Heart of the Sky, Ancient Skywatchers of Central Arizona. (The book is available at the VVAC in Camp Verde or contact them via VVAC website to order a copy.)
Summer solstice light and shadow pattern, V Bar V heritage site, Red Rock Ranger District.
Ken has documented many ancestral sites in the Verde Valley/central Arizona region that reveal prehistoric astronomical practices that are part of their social, religious and agricultural relationship to the landscape.
“The celestial ideas and beliefs of these societies become materialized in the location of rock art, isolated monuments and architecture.These sites become part of the ceremonial landscape of the people.” (David Bruno and Julian Thomas, Landscape Archaeology)
Cathedral Rock Solstice Marker. I was particularly interested in observations Ken reported by geologist Paul Lindberg that a 7-room ancestor site on top of the steep-sided west Twin Butte (the formation behind the Chapel of the Holy Cross in photo to right) may have been a sun watching observation point.
The summer solstice sunrise makes a wedge-shaped shadow pointed toward toward a notch on top of Cathedral Rock (one of Sedona’s named “vortex” sites in today’s mythology).
To left is view of Cathedral Rock taken at sunrise on June 21, 2009 (summer solstice) from the top of West Twin Butte. “It shows the shadow cast by the summit of East Twin Butte directly in line with the saddle of Cathedral Rock. This sundial effect must have been known to prehistoric people living in the area as a significant archaeological event. “(Photo by Paul Lindberg.)
I remember over the past 3 decades, several Hopi people have made me aware of an eagle head carved on the side of this west Twin Butte long ago by their ancestors to identify this area as a sacred site. That fits well with it also being a Sunwatcher site. Plus it overlooks to the south a stunning circle of cliffs including Bell Rock (another “vortex” site that also has significance to ancestral people) directly to the south.
Water is very much on our minds here in this unusually warm and dry Arizona winter.
Water is life, carries consciousness. “When you pray into the water, it intensifies your prayer…your intention can travel though the clouds and time as the water recycles.” Pat McCabe speaks eloquently of experiences having an alliance, joyful and respectful dialogue with water in this short video Speaking to Water.
Hopi Declaration of Water “As children of water, we raise our voices in solidarity to speak for all waters. Water, the breath of all life, water the sustainer of life, water the voice of our ancestors water pristine and powerful”….. see full text here in Crossing Worlds Hopi Project article
World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. The theme for 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face. “We need to do so much more with ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible. Planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods.” more here
Some Upcoming Programs
Monthly full moon mystic insights & ceremony circles–these are lovely both the night before and the night of the full moon. See full Calendar here (includes celestial timings)
Feb. 17-20: 2C. Aligning with the Greater Self: Shaman-Seer Skills Development, Nature, Ceremony Retreat
March 17 – 20 Spring Equinox Emerging Vision Retreat
March 24 and 25, 6 pm to 8:30 pm
special Sedona Spring Spirit experiential program with Hopi wise person and artist Roanna Kagenveama:
Saturday: Ancestor Wisdom, Spring Blessings and Seeding New Life Ceremony
Sunday: Create your Spirit Staff with Hopi artist, talking circle, Hopi songs and dance steps, Heart Speaks Ceremony
photo above of Roanna Kagenveama at Montezuma Well by Jackie Klieger
March 27 – April 2 1. Full Moon Be Your Own Shaman-Seer Mystic Insight Retreat
March 30-April 1 2B. Mystic Vision Core Skills + Solo Circle Full Moon Retreat
April 13 – 15: Spring, New Moon Conscious Re-Creation
April 22: Earth Day special program: Honoring Mother Earth–nature connection, earth-spirit practices and ceremony
April 28-29: 2A. Earth-Spirit Connections + Solo Circle Full Moon Spring Retreat
Sedona Full Moon by Rusty Albertson
May 5 – 7: 2B. Mystic Vision Core Skills + Solo Circle Mid-Spring Retreat
May 12 – 19: 3. Summer SolsticeSedona Vision Quest Retreat
May 26-30: 1. Memorial Day Full Moon Be Your Own Shaman-Seer Mystic Insight Retreat (can full full program or mini retreat over the weekend)
May 31 – June 3: Navajo-Hopi Vision Circles in Nature: Sedona mystic vision & ceremony outdoor seminar followed by 3-day Full Moon Navajo and Hopi Spirit Journey inspirational circles with solo vision time on the rim of Canyon de Chelly
That Which Awaits Dawn (Milky Way) by Melvin Brainbridge
“The complex cycle of interrelated responsibilities and concepts that is the Hopi religious system is all the more complicated because each of the twelve Hopi villages possesses the autonomy to carry out Hopi religious practices independently. The timing of ceremonies, the underlying concepts may vary among the Hopi villages. Nevertheless, throughout the land of the Hopi, the religious mission is the same: to promote and achieve a “unity” of everything in the universe.” Alph H. Secakuku Following the Sun and Moon, The Hopi Kachina Tradition
Mountain Sheep Dance by Raymond Naha
July 27: 2B. Mystic Vision Core Skills + Solo Circle Full Moon Retreat
Aug. 8-12 1. Be Your Own Shaman-Seer Insight New Moon Retreat and Mid-Summer Celebration-Ceremony
Oct. 20-21: Hopi Spirit Journeycelebrating the feminine harvest cycle of the year
Hopi Basket Dance painting by Fred Kabotie
I am aware of the intense energy Hopi people put into series of ceremonies from Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox. They remind me of the potency of fertilizing our seeds of life in preparation for new emergence and flowering.
May this be a potent time for you as well, Sandra Cosentino