Do you have a place you like to go to feed your soul? A place that makes you feel alive and connected? A place that lets you bask in solitude while never feeling lonely? A place that is romantic, sad, happy, and uplifting all at the same time?
|Dress: eShakti (Available here)
Bracelet: New York & Company (Available here)
For me, that place is Cahokia Mounds. Cahokia Mounds is often regarded as the largest pre-historic Native American settlement north of Mexico and was inhabited by the Mississipian culture. I was lucky enough to grow up walking distance from the remnants of this intriguing civilization. The largest mound is Monk’s Mound, the largest man-made earthen structure in the western hemisphere. It has a staircase that takes you up to the top for a view of the St. Louis cityscape, local farms, and industry.
|View from the bottom – The first level of Monk’s Mound (side view)|
|View from the bottom – Top level of Monk’s Mound (side view)|
|View from the top: St. Louis skyline in the distance|
My grandpa was an honorary Sioux and had a large Native American artifact collection (most of which was found locally) that attracted the occasional archaeology professor to him. He was not a schooled man, but he was the most brilliant man I ever met. He taught me a strong appreciation for ancient cultures and history as well as a love and respect for modern diversity that I attribute to bringing me to the fields of anthropology and then sociology as a college student. I attended several powwows with him as a kid, and I’ve always seen the Mounds as a special place in part because of the connection to him. When he left us a couple of years ago, some of his ashes were spread at the Mounds, making this place infinitely more sacred to me.
As a child, the Mounds was simply a fun place to go on school field trips or on outings with my mom or grandparents. I was fascinated by Woodhenge, wooden posts in circular shapes that served as calendars and observation/ceremonial centers for changing seasons. I imagined what this area would have looked like before so much of the Mississippi river bluffs were cut down for human expansion, and I wondered what it would have been like to live in the urban center of Cahokia.
|One of the circles, re-built in its original location|
As a young adult, the power of nature and the significance of this place was shown to me. I was twenty-five. I was pregnant with my son. I was single, lonely, scared, sad, and confused. Mixed up in a toxic off-again relationship, I thought my world was imploding. I knew that I loved my unborn child more than anything, but I just didn’t have the confidence that I could make it by myself.
I went to the Mounds alone to attend a powwow. I walked around the various booths and took in the sights, smells, and sounds of the event. I couldn’t shake my emotional distress though and fearful thoughts came flooding in. Walking around, I suddenly became acutely aware of the natural energy around me, and I opened myself up to taking it in. I felt the power of nature take over – I felt the sun on my skin and the force of the wind course through me. I felt the connectedness of all life, and it was at that moment that I smiled, tears in my eyes, and I knew that everything would be okay.
|Moccasins: Minnetonka (kids) (Available at Rosa’s Lost Treasure Chest)
Necklaces: LOFT and The Limited
Now, everything wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns after this, of course, but that moment was life changing and soul-affirming. And, it only makes perfect sense that several years later, on the first “date” with my love, that we went to the Mounds, and my then three-year-old son took his hand and called him “daddy.” 🙂
It feels a little weird to have such deep love for a place, but when a space has meant so many things over the years, it is impossible not to feel a soul connection.
|A Portion of the Rebuilt Stockades|
Do you have a sacred space?
For this dress in another look, see here.