“Sierra Grande” was written in 2012 when I led a weekend retreat on grief at The Mandala Center in Des Moines, New Mexico. Des Moines is a tiny place—not much more than a wide spot in the road—about 35 miles due east of Raton, in high desert grasslands that are replete with antelope who graze in sight of the Capulin Volcano. (Visit The Mandala Center website to see more beautiful photos.)
The center itself is built on the side of Sierra Grande Mountain, which is actually a “shield” volcano. Shield volcanos grow from underneath, creating a cone but never spouting. Their shape has long called forth the Divine Mother in the imagination of native peoples, and my experience of being there holds that vision to be true.
The Mandala Center is a powerful focus of the Divine Feminine, with round towers and a gorgeous circular meditation room with 360* views of the landscape. It is truly a magical place.
I had been there for a visit in 2011 to check out the facility, but when I returned to conduct the retreat, the presence of Sierra Grande’s sublime feminine energy enfolded me and only grew stronger as the weekend progressed. It was the experience of a lifetime.
Coming home to a place
I have held in my heart for a year,
And that has held me as a mother
Cradles her young.
I am nestled in the lap of the Divine Mother,
Sierra Grande, who spreads her skirts
Across the grasslands,
Brooding, magnificent, grounded being
Mirroring back to me myself—
The new Self I have birthed,
An eleven-month gestation.
I am the mother I have always wanted.
And this mountain greets me as
One of her own.
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