Spirituality is abundant in New Mexico from small churches and road side shrines to milagros and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe that adorn the exteriors of many homes. Here are some of my favorite images of spirit in northern New Mexico.
The Loretto Chapel (Santa Fe)
The Loretto Chapel is a beautiful little chapel and is known for its “miracle” staircase. Legend has it that the chapel was built without access to the choir loft. The sisters made a nine day novena to St. Joseph and on the ninth day a stranger appeared who offered to build a staircase to the choir loft. When his work was done the stranger would not accept payment and he “disappeared.” The stunning aspect of this staircase is that it has two 360 degree turns and was constructed without nails (only wooden pegs) and has no visible supports.
The other part of the legend is that one of the architects who constructed the chapel was having an affair with the wife of a local politician and on the day the chapel was dedicated the politician shot the architect dead outside of the chapel. This allegedly explains why there was no staircase; the architect had not completed it before his untimely death.
All I know is when I walked inside this chapel I thought my heart was going to burst from the energy I received. The energy brought tears to my eyes and started to take my breath away. It was an amazing experience.
To read more about the chapel and to see the staircase click here.
Santuario de Chimayo (Village of Chimayo on the way to Taos)
Known as the “Lourdes of the Southwest” this 19th century chapel draws thousands of pilgrims each year. The chapel is built on a site that is sacred to many Pueblo Indians and descendants of Spanish settlers. It is believed to hold the power to heal the mind and the body. There are dozens of handmade crosses lining the property.
In one room of the chapel those who have been healed of their ailments leave behind crutches, canes, and other devices. Another room in the chapel has a hole in the floor from which visitors and pilgrims may take a small scoop of what is believed to be “miraculous dirt” or dirt that can heal. (The dirt is periodically replenished and blessed from the banks of the Rio Santa Cruz.)
I know this may sound unreal to some but I believe there are many things we do not know about healing ourselves through faith, affirmations, visualization, prayer, and so forth. I do know that I took some of that dirt and rubbed it on my right hip the day we visited. I felt an immediate tingling sensation down the length of my right leg and within a couple of days the pain from my sciatic nerve was notably diminished.
Bandelier Monument (Los Alamos)
The Ancestral Pueblo people settled in Frijoles Canyon. Cliff dwellings, a pueblo village, kivas, petroglyphs, and pictographs are still visible in Bandelier. Walking the self-guided trail you gain a sense of the community and the people who once lived here. There is a quiet, peaceful spirit in Bandelier. It feels like sacred ground.
Remnants of the Tyuonyi Pueblo Village
And most amazing was this double rainbow that appeared at the end of a day filled with showers and thunderstorms.