NEW MEXICO - The Land of Enchantment

The Sacred Earth at Chimayo

Supported by crutches or on the arms of loved ones, they come to kneel on, to touch, and sometimes to eat the sacred earth of Chimayo. Drawn to this place by the miraculous, curative powers of the magic soil, one can only imagine the rich stories associated with such a powerful site. The origins go back to the creation myths of the Tewa Indians. As the Twin War Brothers slew the evil giant, Yeitso, great changes took place in the earth underneath their feet,causing fire, smoke and boiling water to burst out in many places. When that great turbulencesubsided, the spouting geysers became New Mexico's muddy, steaming hot springs which theewa people called, "Tsimajopokwi".

Many came to bathe in the mineral rich hot waters, enjoying the soothing pleasures. Eventuallythe pool dried up and it's name, "Tsimajopokwi", meaning water, was changed to Chimayo. The Spanish then began colonizing the area, and a devout group of catholic Franciscans settled in the area known as the Brotherhood of the Penitentes.

The sacred power of the Earth called again as Bernado Abeyta sat performing his penance on a hillside above Rio Santa Cruz. His attention was drawn to a bright shining light from the ground not far from the river. He ran to the spot and began digging with his hands until he unearthed a beautiful cross. He hurried to the priest with his treasure, and straight away the cross was placed right next to the altar. The next day, it was gone. The anxiety was relieved the next day when the cross was found back in its original hole. Again it was brought to the chapel, and again it disappeared to be found again at the hole. As Abeyta made his way back to the hole, even though he had become gravely ill, he stumbled up the path only to be met by the figure on the cross, Our Lord of Esquipulas. He fell on his knees and was healed on the spot.

A hole has since been dug in the center of the chapel exposing the sacred earth, the walls are lined with canes and crutches, and miraculously the earth continues to replenish the scoops of soil removed by the faithful.

A second miracle occurred in the nearby fields as a little girl played. She heard a beautiful church bell ringing from beneath the ground! Her father heard it too. They began digging and again unearthed a treasure, a church bell and wooden statue. Again, the earth gave up another symbol of sacred power.

Location: Chimayo can easily be reached from Hwy 76 east of Espanola.

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