What is it about Santa Fe that has attracted generations of artists, body workers, shamans, psychics, poets, and yogis? Most say that there isn’t one singular aspect that beckons them, but rather a combination of many. Here, mystical objects and devotions compel seekers to draw energy from our ancient pueblos and sacred ruins, vast starry skies, restorative hot springs, and awe-inspiring nature.
The pathway of spiritual exploration can come softly, take unexpected turns, and surprise even the most skeptical. Go ahead, give yourself permission to embark on a spiritual journey while you take in Santa Fe.
A Well of Faith at Santuario de Chimayo
One of the best ways to recharge when your spirit is depleted is to make a 30-minute drive out to El Santuario de Chimayo. Near the end of the 17th Century, Spanish settlers founded Chimayo in the foothills of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Its magic lives on. The santuario (Spanish for “shrine”) and its surrounding land are believed by many to be the site of a miracle where centuries ago a penitent friar unearthed a 6-foot wooden crucifix. To this day, the site is a destination for thousands of pilgrims and travelers seeking physical and spiritual healing. Hundreds of primitive crosses trace a fence – a poignant homage to their dearly departed. Photographs left behind by loved ones line a wall. Many of the photos are scrawled with prayers for health, gratitude for life, or requests for divine intervention.
Inside the church, votive candles glow, folk depictions of Christ adorn the walls and pulpit, and visitors sit on simple wooden pews facing the famous crucifix. In an adjoining room is the spot of earth where the crucifix was found. “El Pocito,” or the well, is replenished with the “holy dirt” and is available for visitors to take as a souvenir. The sight of crutches, prosthetics, braces, inhalers, and eyeglasses left behind by those healed at Chimayo, never fails to send chills down my spine. And though the sanctuary offers a powerful reminder of the circle of life, it also embodies faith in something bigger than us.
Officially a Catholic Church, Chimayo’s message transcends all religions. Each time you leave, you feel uplifted and connected to all of those who have passed through this special place.
Take a Mental Break at Upaya Zen Center
If you are looking for a different type of quiet contemplation, check out the Upaya Zen Center. This lovely spot, only a few miles from town, serves to educate and embody the spirit of Buddhism and welcomes all to the daily free meditations and weekly dharma talks in the sanctuary. These meditations are a fantastic way to quiet the mind and truly engage in silence; a rare experience that we so often forget to do in our busy lives. Upaya is also a residential training facility where students participate in immersion of Buddhist teachings and community service. Their philosophy, various programs, and meditation times can be found on their website. Be sure to stay after the noon session for an amazing vegetarian lunch prepared by the residents. Your soul will be nourished, all the way down to your belly.
Stretch into the Great Outdoors with Yogihiker
I love the New Mexico landscape and the awesome feelings of connection I feel when I take the time to unplug and observe the majesty that nature provides. Yogihiker provides two of the best ways to reconnect with yourself — yoga AND the great outdoors. The 2.5-hour trek will stretch your mind and your muscles and I love the mission statement:
The underlying principal of hiking and yoga is simply being … Yes, there’s movement, but the physical actions are simple, repetitive, even meditative. Yoga asks that you devote yourself fully to the moment … Being present means continuing down the trail, enjoying the journey as much as, if not more than, the promise of the destination.
See their site for scheduling and to reserve a spot for this uniquely Santa Fe experience.
Clean Body, Clear Mind at Milagro Herbs
If you are looking to take a piece of Santa Fe with you, what better way than to literally wear it home? The moment I walked into Milagro Herbs, I wanted one of every organic salve, lotion, tincture, and soap. Each product, from lavender lotion to custom flower essences, is hand crafted from locally sourced plants and herbs. This adorable space is a mecca of dreamy smells and soulful elixirs. The owner is also the herbalist, and his staff is wonderful in helping choose from the array of products and in answering questions about the ingredients. They will even customize a tonic for you.
Continue Your Life’s Spiritual Quest in Santa Fe
The course we choose in our quest for spiritual fulfillment is wholly individual, and each outcome is unique. Santa Fe is teeming with opportunities to go a little deeper within yourself, explore new ways of seeing the world, and to leave feeling more connected to yourself, to others, and to Santa Fe.