Sacred Spaces

Eureka Springs: Wanna Know a Secret?

We found Sacred Space in something that seems to be a little bit of a secret.

 

What is the secret?

 

Eureka Springs has real springs and those real springs are believed to be part of Vortexes much like those found in Sedona.

 

In addition to or maybe because of those vortexes, it is considered one of our countries most haunted towns. The SyFy channel aired a full report on Eureka Springs' Crescent Hotel and granted it the title of Most Haunted Hotel in America...

The Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

 

Eureka Springs, Arkansas is known for its beautiful Ozark Mountains, cute little grandma houses, Victorian architecture, a famous passion play and a seven story Jesus. The history of the town validates that originally the 67 springs were considered sacred ground that was known to heal in a physical and spiritual way. It began with the indigenous people of The Ozark Mountains. During the 1800’s people came from all over the world to bathe in and drink from the springs.  The existence of the city was created around the rumored magic of its healing water.

So what’s there now? It’s still a sweet little town full of gingerbread houses enclosed in picket fences. There are still beautiful mountains and antebellum mansions. So what about the springs? The springs seem to have been forgotten by the thousands of tourist that pass through each year.  The locals claim they drank the spring water their entire lives. However, 10 years ago authorities came to tell them that the water wasn’t safe.  They capped the springs and started piping water in from somewhere else.

 

Now there are only a dozen springs that the public has access to. They are capped off in shaded grotto’s with what would appear to be little altars built around them.  One of them is called Magnetic Springs because the water was at one time magnetic.  We so wish we had used the little magnet in the camera case to see if it still is.

Much like a small garden fountain, water drips into little basins.  We put our hands in the 3 inches of water so we could feel the energy. Conspiracists would say the water is magic and the government is saying it is bad to keep the public from using its’ healing powers.  Our mothers would say, “Wash those hands before you eat. You don’t know where that water has been!”

 

Crescent Springs, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Magnetic Springs, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Grotto Springs, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The town is built like a wedding cake or a spiral cork.  There are four story homes that you enter the bottom floor from one street and the top floor from another.  If you are on one street and want to get to a parallel street, just walk up the stairs between the buildings and you are now on the next street.

 

There are stores and stores and more stores with most of them being boutiques, New Age shops and fun-funky art galleries. It’s a great place to pick up crystals or something unique and colorful.  Imagine the TV show Gun Smoke with lots of retail and you have Eureka Springs.  However, one would be surprised to know that in this little tourist town, everything is priced more than reasonable.  Everything about Eureka Springs is like going back in time by a century.

 

Is this a great vacation spot?  We think so.  Would it be a great place to shop to fill your house up with art? Definitely. Are the springs contaminated?  Who knows? Are the springs full of healing waters? Possibly. Are there really vortexes of energy in these mountains? We are pretty sure there are.  There is something about Eureka Springs that has a hint of magic and a feel of mysticism. It’s like going back in time and definitely feels like sacred space to us.

Paddling to Sacred Spaces

We are always on the look out for places of Sacred Space. We also love anything that is fun and expansive. Time by the water usually feels like all three. We love kayaking!!

When we tell other women that, we have to laugh. They get this impressed look on their face or say things like, “Oh I could never do that”. We have finally figured out that they are picturing us on the roaring Colorado River.  They envision white water rapids on one side and crushing boulders on the other.  Surely, we would have our life vest and helmets on, paddling in a frenzy of adrenaline and survival instincts.

“Hah!  Yak-Yak! and Giggle” is our response to that.  It’s a cool picture but NOT our experience of kayaking. You would find our version as nothing short of Sacred Space. Imagine smooth, serene water, with lovely sunsets, birds flying overhead and the reflection of the trees in the ripples.  Then at some point we stop in the middle of the bay. We have a Corona with lime, some bagel chips and discuss the meaning of life as we see it. You should have seen us when while in the middle of the lake. we realized we had no bottle opener.  Natalie felt so “survivor” when she opened it with a vegetable skewer from the grill.

 

We often bring a cooler and a hibachi to grill on the bank.  When we’re really ambitious, we get up at 4:00 a.m., put the kayaks in the water at dawn and paddle into the sunrise.  It’s an adventure doing this without giggling and waking up the sleeping folks who are camping.  We’re sure their first waking thought would be, “What the hell are they doing?”

 

Because kayaks make no noise and can float in 4 inches of water, you can get right up against the shore to watch the animals up close and personal.  The grazing deer barely acknowledge you because they have no fear of anything that comes from the water.  We’ve seen little raccoon families scurrying across logs. We’ve also seen bald eagles, turtles, and a fox. They all look at you like you are just… part of the party.

 

Here’s the deal.  Kayaks are everything we love about boating and nothing we don’t.  Memories of boating are making payments and insuring the boat, packing the boat, buying incredible expensive special gas for the boat, maintaining the boat, unpacking the boat and finding somewhere to keep the boat. We believe in keeping what you love and getting rid of what you don’t.  We love the lake so instead of going the boat route we throw the kayaks in the back of the truck.  We back the truck up to the water and in they go.  Ten minutes later in we go too.  Look at us…WE’RE KAYAKING!

 

Kayaks are reasonable inexpensive and there is a minimal amount of skill needed.  Instead of rowing you paddle…gently down the stream.  We encourage our sisters to try this happy, calming way to find their own little piece of Sacred Space.

Bicentennial Park: Nashville. A sacred star portal hidden in plain sight

Do you like to explore interesting and meaningful places?  If so, check out our latest fun find! We have been to Nashville several times and can always find something to get into.  Knowing that we like high energy places…what we call Sacred Spaces…other sisters had asked if we had been to Bicentennial Park.  It’s located at 600 James Robertson Parkway in downtown Nashville Tennessee (easy to find with GPS).  After several stories of this serene yet energizing place, we knew we had to check it out.
 

So what did we find? Well, first off there are 95 bell towers (one for each county in Tennessee) arranged in a large granite circle with three large engraved stars in the middle.  These are the largest Carillion bells in the world.  Yeah, we had to look that word up too.  Carillions are a set of bells in a tower, played using a keyboard or by an automatic mechanism similar to a piano roll.  Every hour on the hour the bells play songs about Tennessee.  It’s like sitting in the middle of a giant music box.

Of course it sounds wonderful but for the Sisters it’s all about how it “feels”.  It definitely FEELS like sacred space.  We sat in the middle, back to back, breathing in the good mojo.  Yeah, there is definitely a sacred feeling here. William Henry, author and Nashville local has all sorts of theories about why the park feels so good. His thoughts include that it is the reproduction of the world axis at Mt. Meru and that it’s a star portal. His research also explains that it has been a ceremonial center since 900 AD starting with the Mississippian tribe. He believes the mound over looking the park, that the capital building sets on, is actually one of their sacred mounds.  His take on this park is interesting and way cool. 

Whether you buy it or not, his research is fun to think about like a great hidden mystery.  http://www.williamhenry.net/cityofsecrets.html

Whether Bicentennial park is a star portal or not, it is a beautiful place to hang out and definitely worth a visit. There are several things to see in the park and the bells add a great backdrop.  There are also 95 time capsules located along the park walk.  They will be opened in 2096.  There is a multimillion-dollar granite wall telling the history of Tennessee and we mean history all the way back to the beginning of the earth. You’ll also find a 1800 lb black granite globe spinning on 1/8 of an inch of water in the WWII memorial.

There is a giant 200-foot granite map at the end of the park. Next door there is a flea market, vegetable stand and ethnic food court. We bought cupcake popcorn there.  Only a magical place would have cupcake popcorn, right?

We also found the Stonehenge of Nashville in Bicentennial Park.  The story goes that these pillars were once part of the Tennessee Capital building.  Nashville is known as the Athens of the South due to all its Greek architecture.  These pillars began to crumble and had to be replaced.  They put these in the park to be pretty and interesting, but we sat in the center of them.  We did it just to be silly and we are all about fun, but once we sat down we had a feeling of reverence.  Maybe it was the granite, maybe it was the age, maybe William Henry is on to something.

Oh well, doesn’t matter.  Bicentennial Park is a pleasant, unique and interesting place to go for a romantic walk, do a quiet meditation or take the family for a picnic.  We definitely would call it sacred space.

Magical Cave, Healing Rocks, a Sparkling Ceiling... oh yeah

Imagine a healing, quiet space with colorful soft light, fresh salt air and the sound of soothing water.  Sign you up, right?  When we heard about the salt cave in Asheville North Carolina, our first thought was “Awesome!” When we found out that is wasn’t really a cave, but a storefront downtown, our next thought was “Tourist Trap.” It was a good thing we got the skinny from the locals because this place is beyond cool.

 

The cave’s wooden frame and the 20 tons of Himalayan salt was assembled in Poland.  Then it was dismantled and brought to Asheville. This is the only salt cave in the United States that is made of only natural materials (salt, wood, water).  The chunks of salt range from a 6-ounce rock to a 300 lb boulder.

So besides being cool looking, what’s the big deal? Well, it IS a big deal.  Himalayan salt creates negative ions. Negative ions are what make the ocean, the mountains or a summer rain feel so good.  They create a feeling of well-being and balance in our bodies.

This would be the opposite of the positive ions that we get from cellphones, computers and microwaves (and you already know how they make you feel). Sessions last 45 minutes and help build your immune system, alleviate cold symptoms and bronchitis.  It also helps with skin problems, arthritis, depression and a list of other ailments.  The grounding essence of the salt air and the relaxing quiet of the space just feel………..ahhhhhhhhhh.

So how do you do it? Make an appointment with the Asheville Salt Cave  www.ashevillesaltcave.com. Be sure to check out the video. All appointments start on the hour and you are asked to be there 15 minutes early. If you are late, you will not be allowed to enter the cave. The address is 10 Eagle Street in Asheville. There are two streets named Eagle.  One street runs in front of the strip of stores and one runs behind.  Go to what looks like the back.  This is the main entrance.

All sessions cost $25.00.  Once you are checked in, you will be given a locker for your valuables.  Supposedly, the salt air is not good for cellphones. We suggest using the locker. You then take off your shoes and are given booties so that the granulated salt on the floor will not stick to your socks or your bare feet.  Once you are inside you can lay on a blanket on the fine salt floor (our recommendation since it feels very much like lying on a sandy beach). If the floor is not a good place for you, they have zero gravity chase lounges to rest in.

If you are wondering what you do in there for 45 minutes, you just breathe and relax and…be.  Believe it or not the time goes by quickly.  We know that if we lived in the area, this would be a weekly visit for us.

Finding Sacred Space in New Harmony

We love to find places that are unique, inspirational and fun.  We found a small town that you can walk all the way across without breaking a sweat but it’s a full two days to experience it all.

New Harmony, Indiana is a small Mayberry-ish spot that is full of beauty, art, inspiration and….harmony.  Located just 27 miles northwest of Evansville Indiana. New Harmony is easy to find and a great place for a private retreat, a romantic getaway or a girl’s weekend. At first glance it’s just another burg but at closer inspection, everywhere you look is interesting, magical and fun.

Established in 1814 by a spiritual group known as the “Haromonites”, this town is brimming with historic stories, beauty and funky inspiration. 

In 1825 a group of scientists, educators, writers and artists led by Robert Owen bought the entire town.  They arrived from the river on what became known as “the boat load of knowledge” with the intention to create a Utopian community of happiness, enlightenment, new thought and prosperity through education.  Their plan was short lived, but as soon as you arrive, you can tell someone has sprinkled pixie dust on New Harmony.  We swear the ground vibrates.

The town only has a population of about 800 but has plenty of “sacred spaces”.  Generations of spiritual and artistic seekers have traveled these streets.  In 1960 people came from all over the world to dedicate The Roofless Church which is sort of like a park with sculptures and a large lotus centerpiece. It was established by Jane Blaffer Owen in a belief that, “The sky was the only roof that could embrace all worshipping humanity.”

Carol’s garden is a meditation space in memorial of Mrs. Owen’s daughter.  What an incredible place to just sit and be.  The center of the garden holds The Fountain of Life and is one of the most serene places we have ever been.

The town only has a population of about 800 but has plenty of “sacred spaces”.  Generations of spiritual and artistic seekers have traveled these streets.  In 1960 people came from all over the world to dedicate The Roofless Church which is sort of like a park with sculptures and a large lotus centerpiece. It was established by Jane Blaffer Owen in a belief that, “The sky was the only roof that could embrace all worshipping humanity.”

Carol’s garden is a meditation space in memorial of Mrs. Owen’s daughter.  What an incredible place to just sit and be.  The center of the garden holds The Fountain of Life and is one of the most serene places we have ever been.

There are two Labyrinths in New Harmony.  One is in another beautiful garden that duplicates the one at Chartres Cathedral built in 12th century Paris.  The other is a hedge labyrinth just south of town built in 1939 to commemorate an original one built by the Harmonites.  If you aren’t familiar with labyrinths they are prayer walks often confused with a maze.  You can get lost in a maze, but a labyrinth will always graciously lead you in and back out, often with an answer to a heartfelt question.
 

The New Harmony Inn is the only hotel in town but it is a great choice.  It’s built in the middle of a serene park with a lake, miniature of the Church of St Francis of Assisi, a water fall, swans, a nature walk and an awesome turquoise bridge.  Some of the rooms are very simple to accommodate wedding parties and corporate retreats, but the best rooms have French doors facing the lake  and a fireplace in your room. The inn furnishes free bicycle use or you can rent a golf cart.  The town is so small that you can easily navigate it with either.  Just be sure to keep the carts off Main Street since it has a highway number.  You can  use either on the walking trail behind the inn.  It will take you through lovely woods to the river with a great photo opt of the bridge overlooking the water.

The Red Geranium is part of the hotel and the most popular restaurant (one of few) in town.  It is a beautiful, charming, white tablecloth and great food restaurant.  For a romantic evening reserve a table and request the Paul Tillich room.  It faces the lake and the sunset is wonderful.  Be sure to save room for the Crème Brulee.  It’s absolutely decadent.

Behind the Red Geranium is the Paul Tillich Garden, named after the famous theorist and author. We recommend checking this out after dinner as it is beautiful at night.  Along the walk are quotes in granite stones from many of the famous people who have visited New Harmony.

There is a crisscross of streets but the two main drags are Church Street and Main Street.  You’ll find fun, whimsical stores and antique shops for your shopping pleasure. A great place for lunch is the Yellow Tavern.  Like everything else in New Harmony it is in an eclectic old building and a great place to get bar food.  There are a few other quaint little places but this is the only one we got to try first hand.

At the end of town is a big modern looking building that doesn’t quite fit in with all the historic buildings. It is the visitor’s center, built in modern award-winning architecture.   You can take a walking tour of all the historic buildings that range from log cabins to antebellum houses, to late 19th century storefronts.

While at the Visitors Center we asked our guide if she realized that the ground vibrates here.  She said that she didn’t know about that personally but was often asked about it.  We asked if she knew why there was an interesting……buzz in this town.  She asked if we were aware of the famous artists and great minds that had been here.  We told her we had read the history.  She went on to say that she didn’t know if these people came to New Harmony because of the great energy or if there was a great energy because of the incredible people who had been here.  Regardless, we highly recommend a quick visit to this little spot for a quiet and inexpensive getaway.  We could write so much more about New Harmony but we’ll give you some good sites to check it out for yourself.   Go to www.newharmony.biz and www.newharmonyinn.com to get the lowdown on this sweet little town.

Finding Sacred Space at Rim Rock

The Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois is filled with Sacred Spaces.  We just keep finding fairy lands of beautiful trails and deep history. Our latest find is Rim Rock National Recreation Trail near Golconda, Illinois and Karber’s Ridge. (how cute is that?)  How to describe Rim Rock? 

 

You literally walk along the rim of something that early settlers called, “The Pounds” which is an old European term meaning “some sort of closure” I think my Grandmother would call it “a holler” which is kind of a void between two mountains.   You just have to see it and then take a deep breath and feel it.  For directions and some cool info check out http://alltrails.com/trail/us/illinois/rim-rock-recreational-trail.

The trail is only 7/8 of a mile long. Once you get about 2/3 of the way, you come to steps that lead you down into crevices and moss covered walls that lead down to the forest floor.  There is a wonderful little stone ledge that we are sure has had centuries of feet walking along it.  We ate our picnic lunch on this ledge and realized that from our vantage point we could see nothing but trees and ferns and rocks and the steep sandstone bluffs.

Looking down into the lush greenery and breathing in the soft breeze, it was easy to believe we were many miles from civilization when we were less than a mile from the parking lot.  After lots of leisurely discussion we decided this was a great opportunity to tune in to this magical place. We were the hippy girls meditating on a rock but up on the ledge, we weren’t even noticed by other hikers.  It was easy to blend with this Sacred Space when we were feeling like fairy imps ourselves.  Breathe, tune-in, check-in-feel the breeze, breathe again…..yeah, that’s what we’re talking about.

When you mention Illinois most would think of the flat plains of the Midwest or the big city of Chicago. We found a SACRED SPACE in Illinois that is neither. Actually, it’s a sacred space inside of a sacred space.

 

Garden of the Gods is an area with beautiful scenery, magnificent bluffs with 100 foot drops and---not a guard rail in sight.  You are free to dance on the edge, sit on a boulder on a cliff or stand way back and just enjoy the view.

 

It is located in The Shawnee National Forest in the most Southern tip of Southern Illinois. If nature is what pulls it all together for you, you will find a complete playground here. We loved the fact that it was none of the not so favorite things about hiking, (hot, sweaty, dirty, tired) and everything that we love about hiking (back to nature, connected to the Universe and really cool things to look at).

Exploring Garden of the Gods

In day to day life we can get disconnected from who we are and where we came  from. Garden of the Gods is an amazing place to hook up with both.

 

The panoramic views are breathtaking plus you feel as if you are high enough for the angels to hear you a little bit better.

 

There are all sorts of hiking trails, horse trails, waterfalls, picnic areas and camping in The Shawnee National Forest. Garden of the Gods is one of it’s several offerings. It’s perfect for hard core hikers or those who just like to walk a little and see pretty stuff. There are a few different rather rough trails at Garden of the Gods but believe it or not the most popular and most scenic trail is the easiest.

 

If you can walk ¼ mile round trip on a fairly flat trail that is even paved with flagstone rock, you can hike to what feels like the top of the world. The most popular trail is The Observation Trail (look for the signs-easy to find). The hike winds through sandstone cliffs and "hoodoos” (a new word we just learned. It is what you call the tall thin spires of rock). You can easily walk out to the edge of the bluffs. We went to the top of Camel Rock carrying a picnic lunch with little effort. We spent a couple of hours soaking up the sun and feeling inspired by the beauty of it all. It was a good place for girl talk but it could be an awesome place to be alone and hear your own thoughts. If you aren’t an “up in the sky” kind of chic, there is plenty to see standing back from the edge too.

 

It's mind stretching to think about the fact that these rocks are over 320 billion years old and once part of a vast sea. It’s easy to imagine what it must have felt like to be a native hunter walking through the 3000 acres forest. There are no vending machines or public restrooms. We saw clean port-a-potties at the Observation Trail and only one small Mom and Pop gas station-grocery in our journey there. Be sure to fill the car up with gas, pack a lunch and plenty of water. This is by no means “roughing it” but don’t expect convenience stores and a McDonalds.

Garden of the God’s is open year round from dawn to dusk. How to get there? It’s not hard to find but there are too many ways to list. We tried Google Maps and the bliss bubble mobile’s GPS. Google Maps got us there in the most direct route. Once you are in the forest there are signs to head you in the right direction.

Garden of the Gods feels like you are doing some really big girl hiking without hardly breaking a sweat. However, due to the incredible reward at the end, even the most serious hikers and nature lovers are impressed. There were people there in flip flops and pushing strollers so this is pretty easy peasy with a great “ta-dah” for your effort.

We would love to work with you!