short answers to questions heard over the years or anticipated being asked
If you had to describe this project in a few words?
The Mandãla is a visionary piece of sacred architecture, build for a global world at a critical juncture in time. The formal descriptive: "The Mandãla is a visionary shrine in the desert wilderness of the Colorado Plateau where a revolving entity embodying cosmic order dwells in a womb-like chamber."
Is it a type of temple or spiritual center where people might congregate?
No, quite the opposite. It is a remotely located shrine or monument best served by its isolation and lack of human presence.
Is it a private or a public space?
The project is planned to be implemented in a private space leased for this particular purpose.
You keep using words like 'mandala' or 'cathedral'. Is it a Buddhist or a Christian temple?
The project is not affiliated with any particular faith; neither it is an interfaith temple or trans-denomination place of worship. It is simply a monument to universal spirit.
You may ponder the following etymologies: 'mandala' simply means a sacred circle; 'sanctuary' denotes a womb-like chamber; 'temple' indicates a place dedicated to the con-temp-plation of space and time. For this project the word 'cathedral' is re-interpreted as 'seat of a higher authority'. Following that etymological vein the Mandãla is, it is true, very much a 'religious' edifice (from the Latin religare: to bind, to connect; to provide a bond between humans and the gods).
Why do we need yet another monumental artwork? Nobody has been asking for it. Why another temple, when those we already have are ill-equipped to help us solve the many serious problems we face as a modern civilization?
Why do we need sacred architecture at all? The Mandãla is, to my heart and mind, a monument greatly relevant to our times a monument: a powerful statement of interconnectedness between human civilization and the natural world. A true spiritual power-plant.
The ‘rise’ of the symbolic entity sheltered in the sanctuary appears to be tied to the ongoing ecological apocalypse of the last 250 years — the downfall of global human civilization in regards to its relationship with the Web of Life on this planet. The full implications of this multidimensional project however, its exact reasons for being in the first place, reside far beyond my present (and likely future) comprehension.
In the end everyone is left to decide for themselves the ultimate need or not to implement such vision.
How practical of a mission do you have?
The sanctuary serves several purposes, fulfills different functions — all well outlined on this website. Note that a 'practical mission' is neither the concern of art or spirit.
A 'planetary sanctuary'…that sounds expensive! How much do you expect the project to cost?
$10-20 million is a rough estimate for the hoped for full-scale version of a project build in phases over several decades. Is that expensive? When considering the question, we need to ask ourselves if this art is of lasting value. The answer, to me, is a resounding yes.
Where will the money be coming from?
Funding is expected to come from large private donations by a few individuals (rather than small donations from a large number of people), with added logistical support from tech companies.
This shrine is meant to be built in the desert wilderness of the Colorado Plateau. Why so remote a place?
Because the indwelling spiritual entity is based upon the wild and shy Serpent & Jaguar archetypes. Because the sanctuary needs to be sheltered from what has become a rather toxic human world. And because, for the visitor or pilgrim, an authentic personal experience — what is means to be a human being on this planet — can only take place in an isolated, natural environment.
What of the 'one-person only' visit policy?
The sanctuary is conceived as a cosmic womb-tomb, pertaining to some kind of collective gestation. That is its first and foremost purpose. Within that framework it can also permit personal transformative experiences by the visitor or pilgrim — of the sort that can only take place in a one-on-one communion with the indwelling spirit. As the project develops the 'policy' may change. Let us for now view it as a proper guideline by which future visitation will be considered.
What do the local indigenous people think of the project?
The Mandãla project has yet to be presented to the Navajo and Hopi nations, whose land encompass a large section of the Colorado Plateau and within whose territory the project is likely to want to be located. Medicine wo/men and elected officials of those 2 nations will be contacted when the time comes. Their approval and blessing will be in many ways essential.
What of the Mayas, Aztecs, and other Mesoamericans? How do you see yourself in respect to their calendrical tradition?
My role is that of a day-keeper, meaning one who keeps track of the Sacred Calendar. It has been given to students, researchers, and practitioners like myself to interpret and expand traditional calendrical knowledge so that it keeps relevant to modern civilization and a global world.
Still, isn't this project a case of ‘religious appropriation’?
The sanctuary is physically and spiritually anchored in the American landmass. Could a work based on the Serpent-Jaguar totem and the Mesoamerican calendar be built anywhere else? Now why was the work given to a European-born individual (at least in this lifetime) to pursue and develop, i only have astrological clues. And a good question it is.
From the look of it, there is a strong 'snake' presence in the sanctuary. What is that about?
The Serpent archetype has long been denigrated and suppressed in our Western culture — with disastrous results. This ancient and universal symbol embodies a range of fundamental concepts about our living cosmos and our place within it: the union of spirit with matter, the pulsing oscillatory waves of that matter, the dual entwined currents of life and death, spiraling life-force and cyclical renewal, shamanic knowledge and wisdom, and much else.
The presence of the Serpent in a contemporary work like the Mandãla also speaks of an 'Archaic Revival' — one that includes the re-emergence of the Feminine in our collective consciousness. But 'revival' does not mean 'regression' (trans-rational is not pre-rational) and no snake idol is worshiped here.
Serpent-Jaguar...Quetzalcoatl-Tezcatlipoca...what are you referring to when you say that the Mandala is a shrine to this deity or entity?
Known as the ‘Precious Twin’ the enduring archetype of Quetzalcoatl represents and embodies the duality inherent in a physical universe yet, also and at the same time, its inherent oneness. The best analogy i can think of is that of the Yin & Yang symbol: both are the expression of fundamental, eternal and universal truth otherwise impossible to conceptualize.
Likewise the Serpent-Jaguar is the nagual (spiritual co-essence) and physical embodiement (in a single physical form) of this multidimensional dual entity.
Your bio mentions psychedelics…
Indigenous cultures the world over call these sacred plants 'medicine'. In our modern Western world these plant teachers have been made illegal by the ignorant among us (and maybe more insidiously, the not-so-ignorant). To summarize my position on what is otherwise a complex subject i'll just quote ethnobotanist and psychedelic explorer Terence McKenna: "Let us declare Nature to be legitimate. The notion of illegal plants is obnoxious and ridicule in the fist place."
So the Mandãla is a psychedelic vision?
No, it is not. Not directly so. It is nevetheless ‘rooted in rapture’, as Joseph Campbell would put it. Its development has been entwined with my own psychological and spiritual growth, which yes, has included and continue to include extensive psychedelic journeying.
Where does the Mandãla come from, then?
The project exists within multiple multidimensional realities — inner and outer. At a personal level, it began through a lenghty and cathartic healing journey that occured in my late 20's and early 30's — a journey with strong archetypal and mythological overtones. However it has long since metamorphosed into a pure transpersonal vision, unmoored from my personal being. A transpersonal vision which, even as project director, i have ceased to be in control of and have merely become an instrument of.
How long has the project been in the making?
Over 20 years at this point in time.
Is the design of the sanctuary influenced by artistic movements of any kind, such as Art-Deco?
No, the design is an exact representation or translation of the visions received. What was shown to me is what you see it today on this website (minus current graphic skills limitations).
This design looks old-fashioned...
So be it. But it would be more accurate to call it perennial-fashioned (oxymoron as it is).
It looks New Age…
It is a work of the New Age. But a genuine New Age, that is — not afraid to embrace the deep realms of the psychological underworld, the dark-bright ecstasy of transformation, the raw intensity of genuine transcendence.
It's like a big home-theater system…
So did the great Gothic cathedrals who were conceived as illuminated manuscripts of stained glass and stone, complete with large pipe organs.
The most likely thing to happen is that people will stop asking the same ludicrous question. It is time we stop projecting our utopian dreams or eschatological nightmares onto one date or another. It is due time we grow up a bit. With that said we should humbly acknowledge the mystery dwelling at the core of the Maya Long Count Calendar and the derivative 2012 phenomenon. True mysteries cannot be solved, only experienced.