On my way home from Oakwood Retreat Center last weekend, I decided to visit Mounds State Park, on the edge of Anderson, Indiana. My friend Laurel had told me about these mounds two years ago, and luckily, she just happened to be at Oakwood last Sunday as well. With only a little bit of arm twisting, she agreed to lead me there.
I ask myself, why didn’t I include this part of my sojourn to East Central Indiana last weekend in the PHOTO ESSAY I put up on it? Was it just because I had already put up so many photos and detailed several different kinds of experiences, so why would I add another one? But no. The real reason that I skipped talking about this experience entirely is that the Anderson Mound Complex, I discovered, while standing silent in the rain with Laurel in the very middle of the Great Mound there, is so magisterially mysterious that not only words cannot describe it but I wasn’t even tempted to take photos.
Indeed, this Mound complex, for me, rivals, and perhaps even surpasses, Serpent Mound in Ohio, so strong and deep is the energy I encountered there.
On the way home after our astonishing hour absorbing that hallowed place, I thought about all the other sacred sites in this state and all the other states that are only barely noticed, if at all, as “features” in the landscape. Who the people were that built them we really don’t, and can’t understand. They are simply too unfamiliar to our digital selves, too deeply interwoven with the land that they sculpted into these great sites that have “stood the test of time” — over millennia — for us to comprehend what they were doing, and being, here.
Here are some photos that I picked up on the internet, as well as an excerpt from a story in the Lima Daily News (Lima, Ohio) from July 27, 1892, when the idea for making the Anderson Mounds into a state park was being contemplated.
Lima Daily News, (Lima Ohio) July 27, 1892
May Buy The Mounds
Congress To Purchase Prehistoric Works
(Anderson, Ind., Letter) The five great mounds lie just east of the city. The outer circle of the greatest of the five is but ten feet in height, but broad enough to allow teams to pass over its crest. It is 180 feet in diameter, and measured from any point it is identically the same distance from the center of the mound. The precision of these outer ridges is so nice they at once attract attention. With a graceful curve the ridge slopes on an angle of about 120 degrees to a great ditch fifteen feet wide and about fifteen feet deep. Like the ridge, it is perfect circle. From the ditch rises the inner, the great mound. The rise is rounded and evened off as prettily as though it had just been completed. In the very center of this mound, which is fully 100 feet across, is a prominence and this is five feet above the outer circle ridge and twenty feet higher than the inner ditch. From this a path wide enough for teams to pass runs to the outer ridge, where there is an opening. It bridges the ditch. All mounds large and small are built identically this pattern, all of the openings being to the north and on a direct line from the center mound to the North Star. These openings have been much studied, but significance of their direction has not been determined. The recent discoveries, given later, all tend to the belief that all of these mounds are buried deep under the present surface and were built on the strata of shale probably before the alluvial deposits were made.
The Great Mound doesn’t actually look like much when you approach it.
But once you cross over the fence, go to the middle, and stand inside it, zoweee! An astonishing feeling, which I can only describe as “being centered and anchored within, on Earth, as it spreads into the Cosmos.” A portal, perhaps?
Notice that there are two earthen rings, one inside the other.
This fact reminds me of some of the Greek temple sites, specifically one of the ruins at the old Goddess temple complex at Delphi, the “tholos,” similarly constructed of two rings, one inside the other, though in that case, of stone.
Here’s a map of the Anderson Mounds.
Here’s the same map, correlated to the solstices.
And here’s an archeologist, discussing the astronomical alignments of the Great Mound.
“In essence, we have the sunset for the whole solar year bracketed right here.”
Want to take a sacred tour of Indiana? I sure do. I could go alone, but why? More fun with others. Make it an educational tour, with, hopefully, an archeologist.
Who’s out there who wants to step up to the plate and get this idea of Indiana Sacred Tours going? It’s about time we moved into deep time in our sacred place. As Chief Seattle put it, so eloquently:
Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
How do we transform this kind of full-speed ahead engineered future? Others are wondering, too.