Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Attraction of Power Sites

Throughout time, people believed in and worshiped the power and energy of the earth. The ancient Greeks believed an energy poured from Mount Parnassus, the Chinese believe in chi, the life force; Sufis have baraka, and Hindus have prana. If this invisible energy is just lost on you, don't forget that microwaves were not commonly known 50 years ago, either.

Since the beginning of time, travelers have spent time visiting power places. From stone circles and pyramids, to gothic cathedrals and mountaintop shrines, sacred places draw us in with their mysterious power.

In Tibet, Mount Kailash has been a holy destination for 15,000 years. A 32-mile trail circles Kailash, and takes about three days to walk. Buddhists believe that the ritual circumambulation erases the sins of one lifetime. 108 times around the mountain allows you to reach Nirvana.

Machu Picchu, an ancient mountaintop city northwest of Cusco, Peru, includes several hundred buildings, like the Temple of Three Windows, made from enormous stone blocks weighing up to thirty tons. Many believe this site pre-dates the Incans by thousands of years.

People visit sacred sites for healing, inspiration, and guidance. Western cultures have long scoffed at the idea that holy water cures illnesses, or that ancient megaliths deliver messages from the spirit world, but the concept of power places has been known for thousands of years.

Today you don't have to travel far to find power places. In ChimayĆ³, New Mexico there’s an adobe chapel that draws 300,000 pilgrims annually. In the back of the chapel there’s a small room, the "Room of Miracles," with a hole in the floor. Visitors take sand, said to have curative powers, from this hole and line the walls with letters and pictures telling of their healing.

Sedona, Arizona is also been a pilgrimage destination, and has been for hundreds of years. Not only have the local Hopi and Navajo worshipped in Sedona, but natives from Canada and Central America journeyed there for healing and learning long before Europeans arrived in North America. The native red sandstone is thought to emit a powerful energy because of their high concentration of magnetic iron.

Where do you go when you need to recharge? What sites call to your soul and how do you indulge your callings?