Although we may think we have complete control over our lives, our well being is greatly influenced by our environment— both immediate in terms of our home and workplace, as well as the community, town or city and region where we live. These locations all hold their own special Earth energies and energetic history due to the actions and intentions of their inhabitants (photo of Blessed Trinity Church, Buffalo, NY).
Geographic locations exert an energetic influence over our daily lives, whether positive or negative, depending on how long we live in a particular area, and eventually attracting health and good fortune or misfortune and disease to our lives. Among some of the locations within Western New York with powerful energetic and historical significance are the city of Buffalo, the area of Niagara Falls, the town of Alden, the Chautauqua Lake area, and the town of Lackawanna.
Each of these locations have in some way significantly contributed to either economic, cultural, educational and/or healing and spiritual development in this region. I believe they also hold inherently powerful Earth energies, though much of these energies have long since been covered by layers of wrong intention and misuse. There are other towns which I feel significant and relevant to this story and I will be mentioning them in later posts. Some locations within WNY, though significant, I will not mention largely because I don't have much personal experience with them and including them here would make this story much longer than it already is.
Sacred geometry is based on mathematical proportions found throughout Nature which create balance, particularly when applied to architecture via human intention. Architecture itself, when created as a balanced, harmonic structure according to certain geometric principles, can greatly influence the well being of its inhabitants and that of a population. The energies that these structures emanate both through human intention, as well as the harnessing of Earth energies beneath the land where they are built, can greatly influence the mindset of an area. By harnessing these Earth energies via architecture, their powers are directed and intensified (photo of Lake Erie, NY below).
Ancient and native cultures have traditionally known about this influence of harmonious Earth energies and sacred structures for thousands of years, carefully selecting their places of worship and/or living sites and creating their structures using ancient principles of sacred geometry. Europeans once utililized this knowledge and applied it's techniques, and often brought these principles with them as they began building cities in the New World. Areas such as Indonesia and Asia still use these principals of feng shui and sacred geometry even today.
Only if we understand the history of the location we live in, its inherent natural energies, as well what has been done to the land, can we change our future, as we heal the past through what we have learned. You cannot simply demolish a structure or bury a toxic substance and expect, harmonious, life enhancing energies to follow. The energy must be dealt with from the ground up and at a sacred level giving respect to Nature, as the ancient cultures once did. Unfortunately, as a largely materialistic society, this has rarely been done in the US, after the desecration of land by industries that sought only profit and did not think about future generations, as they ravaged the natural life enhancing energies of the land where they built their manufacturing facilities.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to experience living in a variety of different cities and countries, many of which had very powerful Earth energies which had examples of architecture which were created intending to harness the Earth energies existing there. Most challenging within my own life, has been my experience returning to the region of WNY where I grew up. This area is comprised of twelve counties and home to one of the natural wonders of the world— Niagara Falls. It is also home to many forms of architecture which I believe were constructed using information passed on by the master builders of Europe who employed sacred geometry and were aware of the importance of chosing certain locations to enhance the energy and integrity of their structures (photo of McKinley Monument, Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY).
Four lion sculptures surrounding an obelisk at Niagara Square face the cross quarter directions (southeast and west, northeast and west) which symbolize guardianship of Earth energies and power within the city of Buffalo. Interestingly these directions also represent wealth, partnerships, benefactors and wisdom in terms of the compass directions of the ancient art of feng shui. I don't think this is to be overlooked because Buffalo's power was once based on economic wealth, but it is also the city of helpful people and community, where people always come together to help their neighbors in need. I believe it is also a place where people use their experiences of hardship to gain wisdom and offer greater compassion to their communities and to the world.
Niagara Falls is a tremendous powerhouse of energy consisting of three separate waterfalls, which are the highest in the world and it has been a popular tourist destination in this region for many years. The Falls border both USA and Canada. There are also many different creeks in WNY which conjoin with the Niagara River which eventually empties water from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. Both fresh water lakes are part of the five Great Lakes of North America which comprise the largest body of fresh water on Earth. These natural water sources contributed to the rising power and reputation of the city of Buffalo, NY and the eventual affluence of the surrounding region in the 1800s. They are also an extremely important source of fresh water for the region.
Water has long been held sacred by ancient cultures because of it's life giving force and also it's means to generate wealth to those who control it. Six (originally five) tribes of the Iroquois Conferacy lived in the WNY region prior to the arrival of the Europeans. The Seneca, one of these original tribes, are known as "The Keepers of the Western Door," which is symbolic in many ways, not least of which I believe is the association with the divine feminine energies of water in this area. The Door can be seen as the entrance into the womb of Gaia (the spirit of the Earth) and the sacredness of the surrounding landscape given it's powerful water energies and life giving force (photo of the Rose Garden in Delaware Park, Buffalo).
The Senecas and other Iroquois tribes knew that whoever controlled this area would yield power, but I believe they also knew it was something to be held sacred and not abused. A door is also a threshold or opening to be respected, and in this case, it was the door to the new frontier and the rest of Northern America, a place for new ideals and freedom from oppressive systems. I don't think the responsibility of this Western Door should have been taken lightly, and least of all desecrated by industry. It is even possible that perhaps, some areas should never have been built upon because they were too sacred, but we will never know for sure. We can only learn from the mistakes that have been made.
In some Native American traditions, the West symbolizes our ancestors and the past, perseverance when challenged, as well as self knowledge and our understanding of life's meaning. The Seneca, a nation whose very principles were based on peace and the Iroquois Constitution known as the Sacred Tree of Peace, were warned by one of their prophets, a wise man named Handsome Lake, to maintain their ways of ceremony and spirituality after the arrival of the Europeans to this area, in order to ensure the survival of the Iroquois people. It is unfortunate that the Senecas were eventually pushed further and further off their lands within WNY by the Holland Land Company who eventually sold most of the former Seneca lands to wealthy businessmen and developers. Nevertheless, I believe that the spirit of the Wisdomkeepers or Guardians of this region continue to hold a sacred space within WNY and that this natural healing power will one day rise again to restore it's rightful place in the new paradigm of sustainability for this Earth.
Buffalo was once a wealthy, prosperous city built up by it’s proximity to the Erie Canal, Niagara Falls and the Great Lakes. It was originally called “The City of Light” because it was the first urban area in the US to experience electricity due to the work of Nikola Tesla and the natural hydro power of the Falls. My understanding is that this name was also given to Buffalo because it was considered a mecca of spiritual awareness during the 19th century, drawing people from all over the world including famous avante garde and revivalist architects and craftsmen, as well as many esoteric thinkers (photo of Gates Circle, Buffalo).
The plan for the city of Buffalo, NY was designed in a radial pattern symbolizing the sun, said to be built in accordance with sacred geometry by the land surveyor Joseph Ellicott, who assimilated many of the ideas of his brother Andrew Ellicott who planned the city of Washington, DC. Downtown Buffalo contains a phenomenal park system designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed Central Park in New York City. Interestingly the four lions of Niagara Square also symbolize the energy of Leo ruled by the Sun in astrological terms, representing the life giving forces of the sun and fire combining with the surrounding water inherent within the Buffalo landscape. Fire energy is also reflected in fault lines which represent fire or dragon lines within the Earth in terms of geomancy. Though conflicting energies, they can work harmoniously together when properly utilized and integrated.
Buffalo was also the site for the Pan American Exposition in 1901 and is home to some of the most incredible displays of architecture including the Blessed Trinity Church, St. Paul's Cathedral and Darwin Martin House built by Frank Lloyd Wright, among a long list of other beautiful buildings. The Blessed Trinity Church is an example of Romanesque architecture at its finest created by skilled and passionate craftsmen and it is imbued with rich symbolism including the Ten Commandments and signs of the Zodiac inside its walls, a wonderful representation of the Divine influence not only of the Creator, but also of the Cosmos in man's life. A work of art such as this cathedral would be difficult, if not impossible to recreate today due to the specialized abilities and intentions of its builders, expertise which possibly no longer exists in this day and age. St. Paul's Cathedral built in 1851, another amazing feat of architecture reflecting the interest in Gothic Revival at that time, can still can be experienced today as it sits on its triangular lot in downtown Buffalo (photo of St. Paul's Cathedral below).
Later with the advent of the steel, auto and other industries, this magnificent city with its beautiful architecture, began to decline as the land was desecrated and any attempts at infrastructure failed miserably. A once powerful and sacred area to the Native Americans, Buffalo and its surrounding region became an area of failed industry, urban sprawl, poverty, disease and crime.
Niagara Falls which is fueled by the rich energy of the mighty Niagara River became one of those areas desecrated by the chemical industries and dumping of nuclear waste after WWII giving way to pollution, economic failure, poverty and tragic stories such as Love Canal. Tremendous amounts of toxic waste were buried in the land during the height of manufacturing eventually seeping into the water and air causing disease and birth defects for its residents during the 1970s and still continuing today.* Toxic wastes don't just miraculously disappear even if people stop focusing their attention on them. People just seemingly learn to cope with their results.
Western New York has extremely high rates of unemployment, with minimal opportunities so many eventually chose to leave this area in search of work and a better life. As people loose their livelihood and/or succumb to disease and struggle, either they turn to God and their faith and often channel this into creative expression or compassion for others, or ancestral patterns begin to emerge and people turn to substance abuse and other forms of self-abuse when they no longer respect themselves. Often times this anger and despair gets channelled in a variety of negative ways. If you do not respect yourself, how can you possibly respect the Earth, which is part of yourself, as well as all life within your environment? So it becomes a vicious circle of patterns held within the Earth and within a city.
The county of Erie within WNY has some of the highest rates of cancer in New York State (with the exception of NYC), as well as high incidences of depression, thyroid disease, and muscular dystrophy in this area. Cancer and thyroid imbalances are often linked to geopathic stress, which is land that is generally stressed by improper use by humans, though it can exist naturally due to fault lines which may generate noxious energies from beneath the Earth's crust that are harmful to human and animal health. I don't think it's a coincidence that we have a leading cancer treatment and research center such as Roswell Park in this region (photo of the Buffalo Psych Center).
As mentioned, Buffalo does lie on a fault line and has experienced minor earthquakes in the past. Fault lines are fire energy and not only can they generate noxious energies, but also their negative aspects are symbolic of a division or rift in Earth energies and also in ideology of the people inhabiting the area, often contributing to differences of opinion and argumental energies. I'm sure this has contributed to the conflicting views on infrastructure in this area and it's lack of cohesive development. I also see this as a sign of the spiritual/material conflict which I believes lies at the heart of the rise and fall of Buffalo, as well as this surrounding region. Without respect for Nature and its lands, a society is doomed to fail economically at some point and I believe this is what eventually happened here and continues to impede the restoration of vibrancy to this area.
I also believe that when patterns of land abuse exist, Mother Nature cries out and these patterns manifest themselves in many different forms including domestic violence, animal and child abuse, all which are highly prevalent in this area. The key energetic pattern being abuse. Erie County alone has the 2nd highest rate of child abuse in New York State. Domestic violence is also often linked to animal abuse which is also very common here. A recent report by a local news station highlighted the increasing rise of domestic violence seen in the Western New York area(photo of Green Woman Statue at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo).
Are all these things a coincidence? I think not when you have an understanding of Nature and geomancy (the study of Earth energies) as I do. All humans and the cities they inhabit have a shadow self, and in order to heal that side, you must look at it. That is why I have included some not so pretty statistics and topics in this article, things which many people would rather not talk about, but they need to be recognized in order to be understood and healed. Sometimes life, including understanding and wisdom, is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. You have to put all the pieces together before you can see the whole picture accurately and then it starts to make sense.
Patterns can be changed by human intention and action, by working co-creatively with Nature to restore what once was. The purpose of this three part story is to reflect on the magnificence of what this area once was and inherently still is. By recognizing both WNY's strengths and what contributed to what I believe was this region's downfall and subsequent disruption of life enhancing energies of this region, I hope to provide a reference for other cities around the world, in terms of helping to understand the energies of their locations, as well as to prevent similar outcomes for those in developing nations where indigenous peoples are currently fighting to prevent the desecration of their lands.
Read Part 2.
With Blessings of Nature's Wisdom!
All photos are compliments of Matt Roginski Photography and are reprinted here with permission.
*A Special Note: On the date of this posting, an article entitled "Has Love Canal's Demon Returned?" was printed on the front page of The Buffalo News. The majority of this article originally published under a different name can be viewed here.
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
References and Further Reading:
Bopp, J, Bopp, M, Brown, L, & Lane Jr, P. The Sacred Tree: Reflections on Native American Spirituality, Twin Lakes, WI, Lotus Light Publications, 1989.
New York State, Department of Health
New York State, Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence