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Entries in civilization (7)


Chaco Canyon

A kid in the tribe said, Tell us a place story.

Down washed out rocky New Mexico roads is another magic place sixty miles from Aztec.

Chaco Canyon is twelve miles long and one mile wide. It is a complex Anasazi Pueblo culture community nation from the mid-800’s A.D. until a fundamental shift left it abandoned around 1115 A.D. due to overused land, a lack of trees, drought, and failing crops according to anthropologists. 

It was the social and economic center of life, an American Cradle of Civilization in the San Juan Basin. A huge wheel of life reflecting the pueblo world view.

They were master builders constructing stone villages and six large pueblos of multiple stories with rooms larger than previously known. They began with simple walls one stone thick using mud, mortar, rubble, and the veneer of facing stones. Later they used large blocks of tabular sandstone chinked with smaller stones set in mortar and later covered with plaster.

The largest of the big houses is Pueblo Bonito (800–1200 A.D.) which is four stories high with 600 rooms and forty kivas. A kiva is a sacred religious area. A kiva is a circular room without windows with a smoke hole at the top where the men of the village would climb down a ladder to sit, smoke, and talk about history and legends.

There was a raised stone bench and reserved for the “Speakers.” Once a year to prepare for the Earth Renewing Ceremony, the Masked God society would whitewash the interior walls of the kiva and repaint the sacred symbols on the interior stone pillars.

Chetro Ketl, 1020 A.D., had 500 rooms and sixteen kivas with a large plaza. Ketl is of great interest because of its great kiva and remnants of carved birds, prayer sticks, arrows, and discs.

Pueblo del Arroyo had 280 rooms and twenty kivas. The Kin Kletso Pueblo, built in two stages around 1125 had one hundred rooms with five enclosed kivas.

Chaco was an advanced social and trading hub. Raw turquoise was imported from distant mines. People made beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and pendants. Seashells, copper bells, and the remains of macaws and parrots suggest they traded with Mexican cultures, perhaps the Toltecs.

Chaco Canyon was a spiritual center for ritual and ceremony as journeys became pilgrimages. They were in direct contact with the elemental life of the cosmos; mountains, cloud, thunder, air, earth, sun. This immediacy allowed them to feel, connect, contact power and mysterious joy.

At one time 10,000 people lived in 400 surrounding settlements. They developed 400 miles of engineered and planned prehistoric roads connecting their communities.


Egyptian Art


These images are from a mural at an Indonesian school where I had 100 ten-year old teachers a year ago. They graduated to Grade 5 and I graduated back to Vietnam and the University of the Street. The kids said, "there's book learning and there's street learning."





Beng Mealea


The mysterious and magical temple at Beng Mealea is wonderful. Dating from the 12th C., it was built to the same floor plan as Angkor Wat. At one time it was connected by 10 bridges through the jungle to Angkor Thom and Preah Khan. Nature owns it.

You climb over huge piles of stones between hanging vines, exploring a well preserved library, impressive carvings, destroyed central tower and deep dark passageways. Perfect for exploring. An elevated wooden walk way allows for a higher perspective. 


Beng Mealea images...


Ta Som & Preah Khan



Ta Som is a compact temple, with a laterite enclosed wall, well preserved gopuras or entrance buildings. The feeling is intimate. I wander quiet and peaceful. I evaporate into deep meditative silence. Birds sing through shadowed light. Pure magic.


Preah Khan, constructed in 1191 is wonderful. Inscriptions refer to a lake of blood; a story about a battle when the Khmer people killed the Cham king and expelled them. It became a religious university with 1,000 Buddhist monks.

It is one of the largest and most lightly visited temples at Angkor. It is a fusion temple - Mahayana Buddhism features equal sized doors and cardinal directions. The Hindu deities, Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are present and it feature successfully smaller doors emphasizing unequal nature. It has four main long corridors, a central shrine, ancient columns, libraries, numerous hidden treasures, delight light play, and apsara dancer carvings.

I am a dust collector. I wander quiet and peaceful inside ancient stone stories. Where people made their life, using their energies. Sacrifice. Prayer. Celebration. Ceremony. These carved dancers, dancing images transported by inner visions. Perceiving beauty, celestial serene wisdom. The nature of the process.

Integrate the unconscious into your life.

See more...Ta Som and Preah Khan...enjoy.




Banteay Srei, Kbal Spean & Roluos Group


Banteay Srei


Angkor Wat is huge. It is the largest spiritual building on Earth. It is a peaceful mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism. This makes it unique among other reasons. It dates from the 9th-13th Century.

Most tourists dash in, around and through spending four days of their very short existence. They get to Angkor Wat to see the sunrise along with hoards. It's a zoo. They visit the high points: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, the interior of Bayon and, depending on their time and planning, other temples and areas of interest. 

A day pass runs $20, 3-day pass, $40 and a seven-day pass $60. The week long pass allows visitors the luxury of time (a great wealth) to enjoy the diversity of Angkor during a month. Seven visits in 30 days. I selected this option after visiting The National Museum and various galleries around town to learn about Angkor.

I wanted to go far away. For $25 I hired Pat, a tuk-tuk driver with three kids to feed and we left before dawn. A tuk-tuk is a motorized bike pulling a simple carriage. The air was chilly and refreshing. We reached the main entrance. It resembled a well designed airport immigration section with windows and attendants for the 1-3-7 day tickets. I paid for seven, they took my picture and a girl punched my ticket. Buy a ticket and take the ride. The meter began running.

It ran through deep forests, along empty roads, past forgotten shadows and figures of villagers stoking small red fires for cooking and heat beneath or beside their bamboo or wooden stilt homes. It skirted a long deep reflecting pool at Sras Srang. We stopped for coffee. A brilliant orange ball of flaming gas rose over expansive fields. 

We headed for Banteay Srei, 37 km from town. Objective: get there for early light before multiple buses of tourists.

As I'd witnessed earlier at The Silk Worm Farm, according to my guide there, "The Chinese, Japanese and Korean groups are the worst. They totally destroy the ambiance." Obnoxious Japanese camera idiots posed with a woman and her small boy sitting on the floor chopping kindling. Tourists hid behind dyed silks for funny pictures. They were rude and inconsiderate.

In brief: Srei was built in 987 AD and never a royal temple. Small and intimate, rumored to have been built by women with their fine hands. The carvings of pink sandstone cover much of the temple and the reliefs are deep and beautiful, the most incredible at Angkor. Discovered by the French in 1914, covered by forest and earth.

After Seri we continued north to Kbal Spean. We climbed through forests for 1.5km. This is the source of waters for Angkor and the Siem Reap river. Water flows over 100m of carved sacred lingas and Hindu deities; Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. The Sanskrit name is Sahasralinga, or "river of a thousand lingas."

Kbal Spean

In the afternoon we headed south and then east of Siem Reap to the Roluos Group, a series of three temples, Bakong, Preah Ko and Lolei, dating from the 8-9th century. Roluos is the pre-Angkor original site. 

Bakong was consecrated in 881AD. The layout follows Mount Meru, five ascending levels, moats, and ten surrounding temples. It was reconstructed from 1936-1942 under the direction of Maurice Glaize, the conservator of Angkor.

Preah Ko, or Paramesvara, "The Supreme God," or Shiva was built in 880 AD. It contains a steele in Sanskrit with an inscription about war, fearsome in battle, flashing swords, and invincibility; a eulogy to Indravarman I.

Lolei, 893 AD. Four brick buildings in poor condition sit on an island above a former reservoir. The lintels, door jambs and inscriptions explaining the construction and divisions of tasks are well preserved.

Srei, Spean and Roluos galleries. Visually articulate.