We all need a break now and then, a time to clear the mind and recharge the soul.
That was our family’s goal when our son was young and we headed east to Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois. While we remember this vacation as “The Lincoln Trip” — we visited both the birthplace and final resting place of President Abraham Lincoln — it also was one of the first times we traveled with intention.
Our journey was guided by author Frank Joseph’s text Sacred Sites: Guidebook to Sacred Centers and Mysterious Places in the Unites States, in which we learned about the ancient Serpent Mound in Ohio and made that one of our intended destinations.
It did not disappoint. Located about an hour east of Cincinnati, The Great Serpent Mound is a National Historic Landmark, a structure built centuries ago by prehistoric indigenous cultures. There’s a lot most of us aren’t taught about civilizations in prehistoric North America, and there is also a lot that can be discerned energetically when you walk these sacred lands.
It’s an experience that does not exist within the mindset of the modern tourist. When you come to such a place, it’s time to empty your mind, connect your energy deep beneath the soles of your feet and walk in the footsteps of the ancients.
It was not unlike an experience my wife and I had when we traveled to Glastonbury, England, and took a day trip to Avebury to experience the largest stone circle in Europe. A place of religious importance to contemporary pagans, Avebury affected me and my wife differently, me feeling at ease and she, at times, feeling sadness.
When one visits ancient landmarks, you never know how the energy will affect you personally. It can be an experience of revelation — or even rediscovery if your soul happens upon a place of deep remembrance.
Another stop on our visit East was the large hedge labyrinth in Harmony, Indiana. Its creators were members of The Harmony Society, a Christian theocracy that established a labyrinth to symbolize paradise in each of the communities it created — in Harmony, Pa., from 1805-1815, Harmony, Ind., from 1815-1825 and Economy, Pa. The society dissolved in 1905.
It was the largest labyrinth I’ve ever walked, and it remains a place that promotes peace of mind. For me, personally, that is the hallmark of retreat.
Remember, such a journey doesn’t have to be anywhere in particular. Meditation serves as the perfect retreat from the chaotic world, wherever you are. All it takes is closing your eyes, taking a breath and knowing that everything in this moment is as should be.