Photography, Jeremy Bishop, Unsplash
Sacred sites at home and abroad offer spiritual refreshment and a renewed sense of self.
Iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, the Sistine Chapel and Angkor Wat have attracted an endless stream of visitors and pilgrims for religious, spiritual and touristic reasons since their discovery hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago.
Some have no idea why they are attracted to these mysterious marvels around the world. They just know they have to go and experience it themselves.
Many of these structures appeared millennia ago, yet we still don’t know why or how they were created, although speculations abound. Whatever the reason, they were clearly built to last generations and impress all who come across their path.
‘Sacred sites’ refer to land that is marked by famous ancient structures or sites revered for their natural energy, such as Uluru in Australia, Sedona in the USA and the Himalayas of India and Tibet. UNESCO defines the terms ‘sacred site’ and ‘sacred natural site’ as embracing areas “of special spiritual significance to peoples and communities” – the latter specific to land or water.
However, one does not need to be religious or spiritual to feel a connection to these sites and experience a certain earth energy. Ever-growing interest in the power of nature to ground, heal and balance our bodies and minds continues, with recent trends including forest bathing and Wim Hof Method cold therapy. Returning to nature is helping us reconnect with and empower ourselves.
Some theorise that these ancient power sites link up around the world via ‘ley lines’, which denote the flow of earth energies. The Chinese call these lines ‘dragon lines’, the Aborigines refer to them as ‘song lines’ and those in South America talk of ‘spirit lines’ – what’s common to all is the idea that these are energy lines or veins running across the planet, similar to the meridian lines which pass energy through major acupressure points in the body.
The points where these lines intersect can be potent vortexes or energy centres, some of which are referred to as ‘chakras’, both in our bodies and on the Earth. The crown chakra, for example, is at the top of our head, and correspondingly, Mt Kailash in the Himalayas is reportedly the Earth’s crown chakra.
Science is yet to provide us with the technology to corroborate what dowsers, mystics, indigenous peoples, psychics and healers have been saying for years – that sacred sites are powerful sources of earth energies. Similarly, western science was slow to accept the existence of the body’s meridian lines, used effectively as the basis of oriental medicine for 3,000 years, yet only proven to exist during a cross section of CT scans carried out in 2013.
Interestingly, in 2008, NASA discovered that a magnetic portal opens between the Sun and the Earth every eight minutes in a variety of places across the world. Space Physicist David Sibeck, of the Goddard Space Center at NASA, said, “Ten years ago I was pretty sure they didn’t exist, but now the evidence is incontrovertible.” It seems we’re getting closer to understanding the energy of the Earth on a scientific level, as technology evolves.
Author and leading researcher Freddy Silva has spent decades investigating megalithic sites, temples, pyramids, ancient churches and cathedrals, and believes they are the ultimate self-help centres.
“They act as intermediaries between the material and the spiritual, sacred sites act as portals,” he says. “In addition to tracking the sun, moon and stars, they have been used for healing, divination and teaching of ancient wisdom and mysteries – to awaken consciousness and get to know ourselves and the purpose of our soul. So, you are able to live your life with a certain self-empowerment”.
The interesting thing about sacred sites is that they respond to your consciousness, intention and energy field. You gain access to different aspects of the site through your state of being. On my own lifelong journey of evolution, I have been endlessly fascinated by and attracted to a multitude of sacred sites all over the globe. Not only are these often (not always!) stunning and exotic places to visit, I am also lured by the possibility of tapping into new levels of intuition, latent superconscious abilities and activating dormant parts of myself that hold the keys to my personal power and purpose.
A profound experience
I have visited hundreds of sacred sites, from the ancient pilgrim path of the Camino de Santiago to the pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, mythical Delphi, Stonehenge, Mt Shasta and, more locally, Uluru in Australia. Each time I ventured somewhere new, I waited with bated breath for a life-changing, otherworldly experience to rock my socks off. In most places, I can say this definitely did not happen, but over the years my sensitivity and understanding of subtle energies on a conscious level has grown.
When I opened my mind and entered these places pure of heart, with respect, acknowledgement and presence rather than judgement and expectation, I gained a very different kind of energetic access. This delivered physical healing, new wisdom, shifts of consciousness and clear ‘aha’ moments.
A profound example of this took place during a private session in the world’s largest amethyst crystal cave in Byron Bay. My partner and I were guided through a formal ceremony to connect with the cave, introduce ourselves and our intentions and then lie in the cave for meditation. The energy from the cave was palpable and it was clearly activated and interacting with us, which I could feel in my emotional, physical and energy bodies.
I spent the entire hour blubbing endless floods of tears in response to what one could only describe as feeling overcome with a pure, divine, unconditionally loving energy that was emanating from the cave. This energy was flowing into every part of my being as I lay there: body, mind and spirit. I could have sworn I was levitating, I felt so high on the energy.
Feeling so viscerally impacted by the session, we went to say a final thanks and goodbye to the crystal cave as we departed, only to be shocked that it was utterly devoid of the aliveness and energy we had felt only an hour before. I realised that the crystal cave, like many sacred sites, will only interact and share its energy with you if you are energetically prepared and engaged in a level of consciousness that is a vibrational match to the experience. Access isn’t a given, and internal alignment, intention and protocol is of vital importance to be invited in.
Sacred sites at home
I was amazed to discover a plethora of impressive sacred sites right on my doorstep here in New Zealand, which had far more impact on me than any of the famous, older sites in the other hemisphere. I’ve spent the last five years exploring what is on offer locally, investigating Māori heritage and devouring any information I could find online and in print by local experts such as Gary Cook, Barry Brailsford and Soluntra King.
These days I tend to just follow my gut, which has led me to discover unknown places that don’t appear online or in print. I just follow the energy, and the sites I discover seem to be the most powerful of all, suited as they are for my exact needs at that time in my personal journey.
After decades of exploration and experimentation, I can say that there is always a deeper reason we are drawn to particular places in nature and sacred sites around the planet. This might be for healing, connecting with your own higher wisdom, accessing the ‘zero point’ of stillness within, expanding your mind with creative ideas and inspiration, elevating your consciousness or communing with the universal energies, to name just a few.
Whether we know what the reason is or not, if you’re drawn somewhere, listen to your inner voice and go. You never know what wonderment and wisdom are waiting for you when you open yourself up to the secrets of nature and the sacred energies of the Earth.
5 local sacred sites
- Lake Waikareiti, Te Urewera National Park: Located not far from Lake Waikaremoana, at an altitude of 892 metres above sea level. Within the lake, on the tiny islet of Rahui, lies another lake, Te Tamaiti-o-Waikaremoana, the waters of which are reported by tangata whenua to have sacred healing properties. This lake within a lake is very rare in New Zealand. Although it’s no longer accessible due to environmental protections, you can still walk around the beautiful Lake Waikareiti.
- Kura Tāwhiti, Castle Hill, South Island: Just off State Highway 73, about an hour’s drive from Christchurch, rock climbers, nature enthusiasts and spiritual seekers gather on any given day amongst spectacular limestone boulders from the Oligocene age (30-40 million years ago). Castle Hill was named the ‘Spiritual Centre of the Universe’ by the Dalai Lama in 2002 and was also declared a tōpuni, an area of high mana and prestige, by Māori in 1998.
- Lake Rotopounamu, Tongariro National Park: Earth chakra expert Robert Coon has pinpointed Lake Rotopounamu as an elemental vortex of the water element for the planet. This powerful sacred site is located about five minutes’ drive south of Lake Taupō, on the way into Tongariro National Park. The energy apparently flows from this vortex in an anti-clockwise direction, so it’s best to walk around the lake (a 90-minute trail) in that direction.
- Aotea, Great Barrier Island: Aotea has citrine, obsidian and quartz crystal hidden in various beaches around the island, denoting particular healing and cleansing energies. The nature and birdlife is spectacular. Don’t miss Hirakimata (Mount Hobson), which is a sacred maunga to the local iwi.
- Cape Reinga & Spirits Bay, Northland: This area of the far north is said to be the most spiritually significant place in New Zealand for Māori. It is said that the spirits descend into the underworld (reinga) via the root of a special pōhutukawa tree into the sea as they travel back to Hawaiiki-A-Nui, the land of the ancestors. It’s wild, rugged and enlivens the senses with spiritual awe.
10 overseas sacred sites worth visiting
- The Crystal Castle & Shambala Gardens, Byron Bay, Australia: These 120-million-year-old geodes were first discovered in Uruguay, then shipped to Australia.
- Avebury Stone Circle, England: This site holds the largest megalithic stone circles in the world and is a site of pagan worship to this day.
- Uluru, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia: This Australian monolith is believed to be 600 million years old and is sacred to the Aborigines.
- Temple of Artemis, Corfu, Greece: Healing, intense dreams and consciousness transformation have all been reported near this temple on the Michael Apollo ley line axis.
- Machu Picchu, Peru: The ancient Inca citadel in the Andes Mountains is a UNESCO world heritage site strewn with remnants of temples honouring the Earth.
- Sainte-Baume, Rock of Mercy, Marseilles, France: One of the world’s most ancient Christian pilgrimage sites, where Saint Mary Magdalene lived for 30 years.
- Camino de Santiago, Spain: An ancient Catholic pilgrim path, also known as the ‘route of the stars’.
- Sedona, Arizona USA: The red rocks of Sedona are famous for their vortexes of natural energy.
- Giza Pyramids & Sphinx, Egypt: Possibly the most famous sacred sites in the world, the Pyramids and Sphinx are symbolic of technology and philosophy.
- Ciudad Perdida, The Lost City, Colombia: Rediscovered in the 1970s, this site predates Machu Picchu. The hike through the jungle to get there makes it all the more mysterious.