My Earthly Ashram

I spent every birthday for about five years camping for a week in a spiritual place I called "Mother's Navel" inside a volcano called Red Mountain just off the highway between the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. Red Mountain was unique in that the side of the volcano had blown out allowing you to just walk in rather than over the top of the cone. Most people do not realize there over 600 volcanoes within an 80-mile circle of Flagstaff, the most recent activity 1200 years ago. Initially stumbled into Mother's Navel spending a week hiking around visiting as many of those volcanoes as I could.

From study and seeing an old videotape of a Hopi elder, I believe Mother's Navel (my name) was a sacred Hopi spiritual ground. I was introduced to it by a manzanita tree after hiking up into the crater of Red Mountain. I was physically exhausted from hiking all day and visiting other volcanos, so literally ran out of gas hiking up and reached out to a manzanita tree to help me get my backpack off and sit down. No sooner sat down, and the tree says "You're not done yet; go back down about 100 feet and then to your left but don't fall in." Following instructions I ended up looking down about 300 feet in what became for me Mother's Navel, witnessing 13 hoodoos (scientific name), looked like elders standing guard at its entrance. I did not have a rope (and wouldn't have tried it if I did, so walked out and tried to find a way in on ground level. I did notice that a lot of runoff from the volcano channeled down into Mother's Navel.

So back out of the volcano proper began walking around the outside and noticed a trail of red sand across the desert sand. Followed the red sand up into a water-carved channel with 30-foot walls on both sides that, after having to take my backpack off, turn sideways, and side-stepping while dragging my pack, I came around a corner under the 13 hoodoos into Mother's Navel. My whole body exclaimed, "We are home". Not knowing where my physicality will end up though I imagine as shark food, I am sure my soul will reside here in Pachamama's ashram.

Pictures: Top Left: View Down into Mother's Navel, hoodoo's guarding the entrance. Top Right: Some years my altar cloth was behind a frozen waterfall. Bottom: Overwhelming entrance to the Red Mountain Volcano.