Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Fall Equinox

I have been in Tucson 21 years, and somehow I had never managed to see the petroglyphs near Picture Rocks Road.
Friday was the Autumn Equinox, and it was a very special day to make my first visit.
Archaeologists believe this spiral was made by Hohokam people about 1,000 years ago.

Only a few years ago, someone noticed that this spiral is a calendar marker. Around noon on the Summer Solstice, sunlight slips through the crack in the rock above the spiral, and a dagger of light points to the spiral. This marker doesn't work for the Equinox, so the Hohokam cleverly chipped away at a ledge to the upper right of the spiral to enable a dagger of light to point to the center of the spiral on the first day of spring and fall.
I got to see this at 11:07 AM on September 22.
Isn't that wonderful?

I also had an opportunity to walk a modern labyrinth at the Picture Rocks Redemptorist Retreat Center.
Do you know the difference between a labyrinth and a maze? Neither did I. A labyrinth has only one route. You can't get lost. A maze has dead ends.

The Tohono O'odham Man in the Maze represents Man's journey through life, from his start at the top of the labyrinth, sometimes getting close to death at the center, but then temporarily moving away from death. This labyrinth has one short dead end, below the center, where Man can look back on his life just before death.

I had a tile made for the foyer of Desert's Edge showing the Woman in the Maze. Notice she is wearing a dress. I was pleased to discover that my labyrinth does have that one dead end for reflection, just before the end.

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