“When the light returns to its source, it takes nothing of what it has illuminated” ~Rumi
Recently the northern hemisphere celebrated the return of the sun, the return to the Light.
It was really hard to concentrate or celebrate on that day because of the Corona Virus pandemic. Many of us were staying in place to help stop the spread of this virus. Nevertheless, I still missed my usual community ceremonies to welcome back the sun. The Spring Equinox is the perfect balance between light and dark. There are 12 hours of “day” and 12 hours of “night.”
Two years ago my daughter and I each invited 3 friends to come and experience a most incredible Spring Equinox,: the moment in time when the sun rises on the equinox spring day and forms a perfect solar alignment with doorways in ancient ruins.
No, we weren’t in Egypt, Europe, or any foreign tour, we were in the US; in the American Southwest under the most amazing skies,….both day and night.
We were on an immersive curated glamping tour of Chaco Canyon, Colorado. This place sings to my soul as few places do. In a 10-month period, I had been there 3 times. It totally mesmerizes me.
Chaco Canyon is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park which sits at the southern portion of the Colorado Plateau in New Mexico. These ancient ruins housed a thriving culture from 850 AD to 1250 AD. This was the sacred heart of the Chacoan people, holy places of the ancestral Pueblo people. Today 20 Pueblo groups in New Mexico, as well as the Hopi in Arizona, hold Chaco Canyon as their ancestral homeland.
For the Pueblo people, this is the cradle of civilization and the burial place of their ancestors. Built astronomically, many of the houses and kivas have direct alignments to either the equinoxes or the solstices. By aligning their great houses with the sun, they incorporated the sun and sky movements to their ceremonies and culture here on earth.
Our visit to Chaco Canyon was 1000 years in the making.
Though there are many architectural ruin sites within Chaco Canyon including Pueblo Bonito which had over 500 rooms. For our ceremony of the equinox, we went to Casa Rinconada. There we tracked the sun rising and aligning with the east and west doors. This is a large round kiva complex that is thought to represent the Ancestral Puebloan cosmos.
We woke up at 5:30 in the morning to be in place for the sunrise. We were greeted by the park service, many people from the Dinetah nation (Navajo), and 70 visitors just like us. Navajo women stood in the front line with their rattles and whistles. As the sky turned bright colors of pink, purple, and orange, the whistled loudly to call to and welcome the sun of Spring.
We could see the sky getting brighter and brighter and then in that split second the sun exploded over the horizon. The rattles and whistled continued enthusiastically while the Navajo men standing behind began to drum loudly. As the sun continued to rise it came into alignment with the doorways casting the sun and shadows through two doorways. This can only be seen on the equinoxes.
I will always remember this Spring equinox and powerful moment of celebration and change in my life. As we embraced the awe-inspiring moment of being in the dance between sky, sun, and earth I started to question and think about the alignments in my own life and my eternal connection to the planet and the sky.
Once again the procession of the equinoxes has come but this time it has many of us reflecting on what and who is important in our lives. Change is one of the things we can always be sure will happen. As we take this difficult pause caused by a global virus outbreak we reflect on what is really serving us? What’s important? What do we need to let go of? One thing is certain that during this most difficult time on the planet, none of us will walk out of our homes and live the way we once were. In little bits and pieces, we are being asked to give up parts of what we once were and courageously step into the person that we came here to be in this most challenging time but more importantly who will be after. As we hold our loved ones near and dear there are other connections to consider, the connection to this magnificent living planet, Mother Earth.
What does connecting with nature and the sky look like? How do we stay healthy? How do we protect the ones we love from the current state of the world? What knowledge and wisdom can we glean from our ancestors about the changing of the seasons and the connection to the planet and ultimately each other?
“Roads to the Soul Aren’t Paved” ~Angelisa Murray
Each time I’ve been to Chaco Canyon I’ve gone with my friend and soulful guide Angelisa Murray. Angelisa has created amazing experiences for travelers in the American Southwest with her tour company Heritage Inspirations. They are insightful, experiential, and life aligning. Angelisa and I get into amazing adventures. Oftentimes you can find her literally talking me off a cliff. I always make it down in one piece and unscathed. More importantly, I always go back for more. 🙂
Let us welcome back the light from a place of timelessness. We are always in the dance with the earth and sky, of being and becoming.