Chimney Rock in Pagosa Springs is of great spiritual significance. There are ruins of ancient tribal kivas and dwellings that were used to observe great astrological events. The site was a residence of the Pueblo Indians ancestors (Zuni, Jemez, Hopi, Acoma, Taos, Picuris and several other tribes). The spirituality of these tribes is deeply rooted in maintaining harmony with the natural world. They held ceremonies and rituals intended to benefit the the community as a whole. What a great place to hold our gathering, and group meditation ceremony to honor Love!
The ancient tribes gathered throughout the year in celebration, ritual and festivals celebrating events such as the solstices. They were very focused on observation of the movement of the heavens... as their movement is essential for seasonal planning. Chimney Rock was created for the purpose of observing the stars, moon, sun and planets.... and it is amazing to learn about all of the incredible architecture.
Among the ruins seeds of the hallucinogenic Datura plant as well as pottery shaped like Datura seeds were recovered, which indicates that the ancient tribes may have turned to shamans for spiritual guidance. Pueblo priests were usually thought to have an inherited power rather than require halucinogens to create entry into a higher plane. They were also said to have a connection with the spirits realm. Spirit beings called Kachinas (or Katsinas) are important within all modern Pueblo villages. Kachinas are ancestor spirits who bring rain.
The high mesa at Chimney Rock contains evidence of ancient astronomy practices by its inhabitants. There are multiple structures that were obviously designed and erected with astrological viewing purposes in mind. The orientation of the mesa is in alignment with the sunrise on summer solstice. Researchers found that at certain points throughout time the sun appears in a precise gap for viewing from the Sun Tower of the high mesa. The solstice sun also rises exactly along the north wall of the Great House. Chimney Rock Great House was designed to celebrate both the sun and moon.
The majestic natural stone pillars of Chimney Rock are a viewing point for rituals in relation to the major standstill of the Moon. The major standstill of the moon ocurrs every 18.6 years. Seen from the Chacoan Great House Pueblo, Chimney Rocks pillars frame a narrow window of the sky. When the sun sets on the days nearest to the wnter solstice during a major standstill the full moon rises exactly between the pillars and is centered in the 'window'. There was a lunar standstill moonrise in 1988 and another in December of 2004.
Although they did not have the written word, Chacoans left clues to this amazing experience in the architecture of their Great House Pueblo. The longer walls are not parallel and the northerly east-west walls line up with a small basin carved in solid bedrock 2000 feet southwest of and below the Great House. When one stands at the stone basin and looks at the northerly wall of the Great House at the time of summer solstice, one will see the Sun rises centered on this wall. If one Views the southerly point on the Great House from this same stone basin, one will see the Great House wall lines up to a spot in the sky where the Crab Nebula Supernova appeared for over 3 weeks around July 4 in the year AD 1054.
What a special gathering place this was this Great House! It is the one place, the only place which the rising moon can be seen at the peak of the 18.61 year cycle, the lunar stand still, was in alignment with the Crab Nebula Supernova, and marks the rising sun of the summer solstice. Incredible. There are also several other incredible architectural markings of celestial events in the area!