Martin Explains His Motivation and Purpose
The morning after climbing Mt. Fuji in a snowstorm,
ready for the long ride to Tokyo, November, 1985
There have been three primary motivations for my research and travels to the world's sacred sites. One motivation has been to gather evidence showing that pre-industrial cultures throughout the world recognized the Earth to be a sacred being worthy of deep respect and gentle treatment. Studying the development of sanctity at sacred sites, it is clear that many ancient peoples had a reverential relationship with the living earth. If such a relationship can be reawakened and encouraged in our own culture, we will be better able to address the crisis of worldwide ecological degradation. Many people, after viewing this website, report a deepening of their connection to and concern for the Earth. From such deepening arises a commitment to personal behaviors and larger social actions which make positive contributions to life. This website is therefore a powerful tool for assisting the emergence of global ecological consciousness.
With llama at Machu Picchu, Peru, November, 1983
A second motivation has been to photographically document the world's great sacred architecture before it is forever lost to the ravages of modernization and industrial pollution. Sacred architecture represents the greatest concentration and the most sublime examples of humanity's artistic expression. Due to their outdoor locations, however, these great art pieces do not receive the protection which paintings and sculpture receive in environmentally-controlled museums. It is my hope, through this website and my writings, to stimulate an increased public awareness of both the value and fragility of these wondrous works of art.
With Olmec stone sculpture, Villahermosa, Mexico, February, 1988
A third motivation has been to study the miraculous phenomena frequently reported at sacred sites. A growing body of evidence indicates that there is indeed a density of holiness that saturates the locality of the pilgrimage places and that this holiness, or field of energy, contributes to a wide variety of beneficial human experiences. The living earth has much to teach us human beings and the ancient sacred sites are classrooms where this instruction is abundantly given.
Cycling through Europe; at Lanyon Quoit, Cornwall, October 1986
Riding stone elephant, Angkor, Cambodia, February, 1994
At Ganja shop, Kerala, India, December, 1988
With sacred tree, Mt. Parasanath, India, January, 1989
Age 12 with first Rolleicord camera, New Delhi, India, 1966
In Magic Bus before year-long drive from Arizona to Argentina, 1998
Getting ready for another long journey in South America, 2014
With megalithic statue, Bada Valley, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, March, 2017
Martin in Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona, 2017
Martin in Serbia, 2018
Hungry dogs at bus stop in Ladakh, India, 2019
Martin with close friend and great scholar of Hinduism Rana Singh, Varanasi, India, 2019
Martin at the shrine of Ezekiel, Al Kifl, Iraq, September 2021
Martin with Graham and Santha Hancock, Bath, England, May 2022