Spirituality of Place: Chaco

— the shadow of the past cast into the present; an ancient indigenous culture of the Americas —

Art historian Karl Volkmar is travelling in the American Southwest, visiting ancient sacred sites of the indigenous Anasazi people He writes and photographs his experience of pilgrimage through these sites; the "shadow of the past cast into the present". Poetry and photographs by writer & explorer Karl F. Volkmar / June 2018 - with thanks

At the point where the path turns back back upon itself,

the carefully selected, shaped, and ordered stones,

iterating the dis-integrating geometry of the plan of Peñasco Blanco high on the rim of canyon,

disguise, protect the true substance of the wall,

the mixture of irregular natural stone and mud,

stone formed from the mud at the bottom of the primordial ocean of Pangaia,

mud created from eroded granules of stone mixed with the waters of the primordial ocean,

the apparent chaos that gives the wall its strength,

a symbiosis, a synergy of order and chaos eroding over time....

Is not the remains of the ancient, vanished culture

the shadow of the past cast into the present,

like the selfie shadow of the photographer,

captured in a photograph?


Peñasco Blanco ("White Bluff" in Spanish) is an archaeological site located in Chaco Canyon, of the Chacoan Ancestral Puebloan people... in what is now New Mexico.


See more of Karl's photos from these ancient sites on a previous post "The Pathway to Heaven paved with flowers". All photos by Karl F. Volkmar / June 2018 / via his Facebook page

- thank you, Karl!


Makeshift tables: Voces de Ambos Lados


As the “migrant caravan” through Mexico meets border patrol and control in the United States, its less than a month since the fourth annual “fiesta protesta” that has been marked at the waters of the Rio Grande Between Silver City, New Mexico, and Palomas, Chicuahia. The Voces de Ambos Lados/Voices from Both Sides fiesta is a picnic—with bilingual eucharist—with people on both sides of the river meeting at and in the waters. The presider in communion, Paul Moore, is a presbyter of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Silver City, which partners with the Elim Assembly of God (Pentecostal Church) in Palomas.

Paul presides in vestments, wading waist deep into the water, the vessels of communion on a makeshift table. Communion is shared from the middle of the river, inviting people from both sides.

Report from Episcopal News Service:

Paul Moore’s blog-post and sermon:

(Photo: Episcopal News Service, as above.)


The pathway to heaven paved with flowers

Reflections from an ancient Native American sacred site:

CHACO CANYON / ANASAZI RUINS, New Mexico / June 2018

Art historian and traveler Karl F. Volkmar (USA) contributes these wonderful images from the arid deserts in the Southwestern USA. Through his photos we have a glimpse into the landscape and spirituality of one of the ancient cultures of the Americas...

Mayans believe that the pathway to heaven is paved with flowers. These flowers lined the path to understanding the ambiguous relationship between chaos and order.

Chaco Canyon is a major centre of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250 - it is a UNESCO heritage listed site. These photos by Karl Volkmar / June 2018

The ruins of Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico USA - photos by Karl Volkmar / June 2018

The ruins of Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico USA - photos by Karl Volkmar / June 2018

- thank you, Karl!