by Patrice Brewer
I have heard Marilyn Harper talk about Crestone, her experiences there, and have seen some of her photos. For me, there was an immediate draw to this area but I always had a scheduling conflict when Marilyn was conducting her Next Step retreats in Crestone. However, the Crestone tug eventually had me take the next step on my own. I rented a garage apartment for three weeks outside of the small town of Crestone, population about 100. A few weeks later, I loaded up my car and drove over a thousand miles to what I soon discovered was the second highest desert in the world, second to Tibet. The elevation is around 8,000 feet and it is dusty.
Crestone sits in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range overlooking the San Luis Valley (approx. 5,000 square miles) and if you look west, you see the San Juan mountain range. The site is breathtaking morning, noon, and at night. With the county population being roughly 2 people per square mile, your view can easily take you back hundreds of years when this was neutral Indian Territory. This was home to the Ute and Comanche Indians, but legend has it that almost all North American indigenous tribes came to this area for trading, healing, meditation and to experience the portals to higher levels of consciousness. Each tribe would enter this area reverently and in the spirit of peace. You can feel this peace when you look upon the great valley. You can sense the Indians of long ago when you look beyond the cedar and pinon trees that cover this alpine desert landscape.
When Marilyn takes you to the Stone Huts that are hidden among these trees, you might witness and experience some of the ancient Indian rites of passages or the current day portals into the Great Mysteries of the old and the new. While these experiences are unique to each that visits these sacred sites, many of the stories will have a common thread. For me, each hut provided a different encounter and a glimpse into the Indian way of life, their beliefs, ceremonies and rituals.
The first hut was described as Stone Hut Number One, but as I crawled in and meditated, it became much more. I could sense my partner sitting across from me with our knees touching and holding each other’s hands. Looking over my right shoulder out the small doorway, I could see people from our village looking into the hut with joy and celebration. Soon I realized that in this hut, I was experiencing part of a marriage ritual. Shyly and quietly I stared into my partner’s eyes, and eventually we leaned forward until our foreheads touched. Together we prayed and united ourselves as one in mind and spirit as we tightly held each other’s hand.
Three of the four huts in this area face west but Stone Hut Number Two faces north and is hidden a bit by the trees. This hut is smaller than the first and so is its opening. It took more courage for me to crawl inside this hut. There was something about the energy in this portal and I don’t really like small spaces. As I settled inside Hut Number Two, there was very strong guidance for me to sit facing west with my right shoulder pointed to the passage way out. After a short meditation, I went on this unbelievable cosmic trip. The visions were similar to the Hubble telescope photographs of outer space. A dimensional traveler came, sat beside me and shared some information. I didn’t stay long in this hut for it was dusty and the smell from some animal marking its territory was unpleasant but the visions were breathtakingly beautiful.
Stone Hut Number Three, I named the Bison Hut because to me the entrance looked like a bison. I did not crawl inside this hut but instead sat on its threshold and looked out facing West. For me, this hut represented the rite of passage of a young boy into manhood. The whole village participated in a celebration before this boy went into the hut for the night, where he entered his transformation into manhood. Throughout the night if he wished, he could look outside his hut and see the men holding vigilance, sitting in a circle around a fire, telling stories, smoking the celebration pipe and performing various rituals. Then I witnessed the events that occurred the next morning when this boy crawled out of the hut as a brave and entered the circle of manhood. Within this circle there were three large stones located near the dying fire. This new brave now proudly took his place and sat on the green stone. His proud father and grandfather sat of the other two. It made me wonder about the rituals and the location of the hut for a girl entering womanhood.
The last hut I called the Turtle Hut because, you guessed it, to me the entrance looked like a turtle. The entrance to this hut is the smallest of all, so I did not crawl inside. Once again, I sat of the threshold looking out to the West. For me, the Turtle Hut became the rite of passage of the young girls and boys, who would have been about the age we enter kindergarten. One or two would enter this hut that was tall enough of them to stand inside. Eventually, they would settle down and receive the message from the turtle. The story is pretty similar to the “Tortoise and the Hare”. When you think about it, the message of patience, slow and steady work, completing your task and acceptance no matter who you are would have been very important for the survival and happiness of each Indian girl and boy, as well as the village.
Now that I have been to Crestone, the desire to return is stronger than the initial tug and this time I will be able to attend Marilyn Harper’s Next Step retreat in October 2011. I want to experience again these portals into the past, the present and the future but this time with Adirronda’s help and guidance. I hope to learn more about these huts and the stories that Mother Earth has to tell.
I hope to see you there, too.
If you enjoyed this article, or have been to Crestone – please leave your comments below.