During the early months of 2017, I drove many thousands of miles to visit more than 40 sacred sites in northeastern India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia. In more than a dozen previous trips around Asia I had traveled extensively in India but this was my first time exploring Bangladesh. While Bangladesh is now (mostly) an Islamic country its pilgrimage places are primarily Hindu and some of the sacred sites I visited were among the most exotic I have experienced anywhere in the world. My travels were often difficult and sometimes dangerous yet everywhere I went people were amazingly kind and helpful. The 'secret' is to be nice first. Photographs and essays about each of the sacred places I visited are linked at the end of this newsletter. Please take a few moments to look at them.
My next journey
This coming October I will embark on another journey, this time to Iraq, Oman and 10–15 countries in the northern and western regions of Africa. Those of you who have been following my work over the past three decades know that I have been engaged in two grand projects. One has been to visit, study and photograph all of the world's most important sacred sites, and this has so far taken me to nearly 1000 sacred sites in more than 150 countries. The other, which I call my Big View Project, has been to travel extensively in each of the major regions of the world. With this next journey I will finally complete both of these projects. I am extremely excited about this because it will allow me to move onto the next phase of my work, which is to widely share my knowledge, photographs, insights and inspiration with a very large number of people around the world. Beginning in 2019, I will take the Sacred Sites Slide Show to hundreds of cities throughout Europe where it will function as a group shamanic event. I put the Places of Peace and Power web site on the Internet in 1996 and since then it has received more than one hundred million visitors. Keep watching and you will see this number vastly grow in size.
Gaian Age of Pilgrimage
During the past few years I have begun to speak about something I call a Gaian Age of Pilgrimage. It is my belief that during the coming decades there will be an enormous number of people visiting sacred sites around the world. Thus far there have generally been two types of visitors to the sacred sites: traditional religious pilgrims, and tourists visiting places of monumental architecture (Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid, Machu Picchu for example). There has also been a new type of visitor at the sacred sites and this is the non-traditional spiritual pilgrim. While these 'new' pilgrims may have been brought up in a traditional religion (Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, etc.) they have transcended, or risen above, the limited views of particular religions to become part of a global community of highly conscious beings committed to the restoration of the environment and the development of supranational sociopolitical enterprises. The sacred sites in the coming years will function for more and more people as empowerment places, as planetary acupuncture points, as destiny activation sites, and as energy transducers for spiritual illumination. With the incipient transformation of sovereign state political entities blending into a highly creative and peacefully collaborative global civilization, the sacred sites will become sanctuaries and empowerment zones for the awakening and evolution of ecological, social and supranational political consciousness. Have trust in and contribute to this Deeper Meaning.
Numerous friends have asked me to tell the story of how I began my journey to and relationship with the world's sacred sites. This newsletter contains the first small tale of that story. It is a magnificent story filled with adventure and magic, inspiration and hope. Keep reading these newsletters and become a part of the story.
When I was six years old my family moved to an area of forests and farmlands in southern Illinois. We lived on a lake next to deep woods in which there was a giant and ancient oak tree. Made by some unknown person, there were three levels of platforms in the tree. On the uppermost, hardly bigger than a boy of my size, I found a wooden chest filled with comic books of Tarzan. What a glorious gift this was to be in my life. Tarzan would become a mythic being for me, the one that would guide my life in major ways through the rest of my days. For three years I climbed and played and read and slept in that tree. During those naps, Tarzan comic books by my side, I would have dreams of a grown man standing in front of many other people speaking, leading, inspiring. Through the repetition of similar scenes of this man it became clear to me that these were not dreams, but instead were visions of a phase of my life that would happen many decades in the future. I was seeing pictures of who I would become as an elder. I did not understand what this meant at the time, I did not know where these visions came from, how they arrived in my head, but I did know they were not my own thoughts. I was hearing and seeing the mind of another or others, something beyond me.
My parents sometimes had parties at the house and my sister and I would be introduced to the participants before we were taken to bed for the night. We were sometimes asked the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? Filled with the majesty and magic of my visions I replied, a Philosopher and a paintbrush in the hand of God.
This Monday, July 24 from 7pm to 10pm (pacific time), I will be giving an interview on jimmychurchradio.com. Surely, I will be saying some interesting things. You can listen to it later on this channel.
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Sacred sites I recently photographed:
Shakti Pitha goddess temples
Ranakpur Jain Temple, Rajasthan
Surya Pahar, Assam
Hayagriva Madhava, Hajo, Assam
Navagraha Temple, Guwahati, Assam
Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, Assam
Sivadol, Sivasagar, Assam
Tilinga Mandir, Bordubi, Assam
Govindaji Temple, Imphal, Manipur
Unakoti Shiva Temple, Tripura
Willong Khullen menhirs, Manipur
Hazrat Shah Jalal, Sylhet
Bhabanipur Shakti Pitha, Bhanipur
Bayazid Bostami, Chittagong
Adinath Mandir, Maheshkhali Island
Buddha Dhatu Jadi, Bandarban
Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
Gunung Padang, Java
Candi Sukuh Temple, Java
Sulawesi Island megaliths
Martin Gray with megalithic statue,
Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, 2017
Peace to you,