I love new experiences and my birthday this year was chock full of them : ) On the way home from my
meditation weekend celebration (My Birthday Celebration Part I: Miracle on the Mountain), my husband and I stopped by at the historic Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in downtown Riverside for brunch – delicious food while surrounded by a lusciously beautiful atmosphere. Throughout the month, there were other special meals to be enjoyed with our son and friends and a surprise celebration with some relatives – my husband outdid himself as usual. My advice is to marry a man as mushy as you are : )
My last celebration bringing in the new decade would be with a few of my close girlfriends. Our final destination was a special overnight stay in Palm Springs. Knowing that I love to meditate, they had planned a new experience to enjoy – sound meditation. We even had an unexpected adventure along the way…
As we were driving, we were making great time, so we decided to stop for lunch. One of our friends, known amongst us as the Google Queen, quickly managed to find an intriguing sounding restaurant called Pappy and Harriet’s. As we drove toward the restaurant somewhere in Yucca Valley, five middle-aged women on a dusty, bumpy dirt road in the middle of nowhere, we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into – our courage and growling stomachs clinging to the fact that it had a 4.5+ star rating : ) At long last, as we approached, we saw dozens of motorcycles. It looked like a Western-themed biker bar – not our everyday café : )
Welcome to the wild West – apparently we were now in Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace – it resembled a saloon. The food is all proudly cooked on their grill with mesquite wood. It tasted delicious and authentic right down to the drinks served in mason jars. They have quite an eclectic choice of bands, 98% of which are free with two shows “every night they are open” – an experience for another time. After lunch, we decided to check out the rest of Pioneertown – complete with scrappy old wood shops, a cowboy on his horse, and a woman spinning string from the wool of her bench climbing, tree chewing, pregnant goat, named Irene Daisy.
It was such a fun discovery and we looked forward to our next stop, the Integratron. What is the Integratron? It is an historical, geodesic 38-foot high by 55-foot diameter wood domed, two-story building said to be sited on a geomagnetic vortex. It is constructed to be a “resonant tabernacle and energy machine,” located in a town called Landers in the Mojave Desert.
“Its creator, George Van Tassel (1920-1978) was described as an aviation engineer, author, visionary, and interplanetary contactee. (Admittedly, I had to reread this part to be sure I was seeing correctly : ) He claimed that the structure is based on the design of Moses’ Tabernacle, the writings of Nikola Tesla and telepathic directions from extraterrestrials. He said it was designed to be an electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel.” Geomagnetic vortices and their magnetic pull and effects on brain waves is a phenomenon that has been studied for years. Combine that with the local belief of extraterrestrials and we had found ourselves in a very strange place. We had broken out of suburbia and weren’t sure where we had landed – but all of us were curious and amused : )
According to their website: “The location of the Integratron is an essential part of its functioning. It was built on an intersection of powerful geomagnetic forces that, when focused by the unique geometry of the building, concentrate and amplify the earth’s magnetic field. Magnetometers read a significant spike in the earth’s magnetic field in the center of the Integratron.”
Upon arriving, you check in based on your reservation time and hang out until they call you. You wait in what seems like some kind of comfortable, outdoor, new age relaxation area. There is a roughly-tiled, artistic, round circle on the ground where people have left multicolored rocks and geodes of varying sizes from several feet to inches, in purposely stacked piles. I later learned that the purpose for these rock piles was to provide signposts for alien space ships to land – oey vey! (Jewish – OMG!). There are seven hammocks connected together at one point like spokes on a star wheel, rough wood couches strewn with pillows and blankets, a padded swing for three, a tree and cactus garden, wood-burning fire pit and art throughout the property.
Looking around against the walls of the dome are several tables with impromptu altars erected by people that wanted to leave a memento to commemorate their experience at the Integratron.
On the floor are thickly stuffed multicolored, striped mats with built-in head rests where we will lay to do our meditation. You choose a spot that seems right for you. In the many windows throughout the room are hanging various objects such as Native American Indian dream catchers and stainless glass representations of Om.
The ceiling looks like it has a circular hole in the center with wooden spokes coming out from it to support the wooden ceiling. If you stand under it and say something, your voice is returned to you in an echo. When you stand at one end of a “spoke” and someone stands at the opposing end, and whispers, you can hear what they said. I knew from a visit to our nation’s Capitol Dome in Washington
D. C., that this capability was caused by the structure of the dome and not from any extraterrestrial mystery : )
On the floor are a number of frosted, white, round crystal quartz bowls – each played as a musical note. A small round ring is used to hold them steady, as the base is rounded – however, they are located underneath, and not visible. These bowls we are advised were originally used to grow quartz crystals to be made into silicon computer chips but have been salvaged to make the music that we are about to enjoy for our meditation. There is a round stick with what looks like rubber on the end which will create the “songs”. The bowls will be played for about 25 minutes and then a recording will be substituted to complete the hour-long sound meditation bath experience.
The man who plays the bowls, tells us that during our experience we may find that we feel like we have “taken off” somewhere. When we “return” we may not remember anything of where we have gone, just that we seemed to no longer be in the room and then back again. I feel like I’ve just entered the Twilight Zone.
He starts playing the bowls and it’s undulating and soothing and if you are lying next to the bowls – loud. When he taps the side of the bowl the chime resounds throughout the room and he can activate the various notes of the musical scale. When he moves the stick along the top of the rim, it sounds similar to when you were a kid and would wet your finger and trace around the top of a glass. The allusion of communicating with space aliens seems perfectly fitting. In my mind I am very present and curious and begin to practice various meditations I have learned along the way.
One that I use is taking a deep breath in, imagining starting at the base of my spine and slowly moving up each vertebrae while counting to six slowly and stopping at the top of my head. Once there, I hold my breath for an additional, slow count of six and then figuratively slowly move back down my spine for a count of six. It makes me very Peaceful and calm. After the 25 minutes are over, he switches to a recording of calming, meditative music. I successfully tried not to laugh, but I can hear snoring – apparently this is too restful for some people : ) I continue Peacefully with my meditation and after an hour, it ends.
We gather our things and slowly go down the ladder, one person at a time. I felt very relaxed and I was in a dreamy state. We step outside and our eyes readjust. “Well”, I ask my friends – “Did you go anywhere?” Surprisingly, one felt that she had somehow risen above – somewhat of a floating sensation. Another friend felt like she had definitely gone somewhere, like had been alluded to, and then returned!” I felt very relaxed. Admittedly, I was disappointed that I somehow missed the spaceship this time and wondered if I needed a remedial space alien communication class to catch up to some of the others : ( We all agreed that it was very relaxing and we hung out for a while chatting about our experiences.
While we were there, we had seen newspaper notices about Giant Rock another Van Tassel enigma, located in the vicinity. It seems to me that calling it a rock is a misnomer since it is seven stories tall. While building the Integratron, he had used it as a focal point to hold UFO Space Conventions since 1954 attracting as many as 11,000 attendees. Until now, my association with space aliens had been a continuous showing of Star Trek reruns in our household, thoroughly loved by my husband and son. According to Hopi legend and surprisingly fulfilling their prophecy, Giant Rock had actually split open and one day about 1/3 of it sheared off.
We headed off to see what we could find. Our adventure was getting weirder by the second. We kept driving on this very bumpy, ditch-laden dirt road. Luckily our friend who was driving wasn’t concerned, since her minivan was due for new shocks, anyway.
Finally, we saw huge boulders in the distance. There were a couple cars and a dad with his kids playing with remote-controlled toy cars. When we reach Giant Rock, we are struck by it’s enormity. Unfortunately, someone has decided it’s a perfect surface to deface with graffiti. We get out of the car, take some pictures and then we are headed back toward our final destination of Palm Springs. I had to laugh, as we approached the highway toward more civilization, we had to make a turn on Old Woman Springs Road.
When we reached the Marriott’s Shadow Ridge Resort, we had just enough time to quickly freshen up and head off to our dinner reservations at Lulu California Bistro. We had an enjoyable dinner and spent some time walking around looking at the shops that were open on the bustling Saturday night. When we got back to the room, we were still not in the mood to go to bed, so we changed and relaxed outside in the Jacuzzi – what fun!
So that was my final birthday celebration : ) I am so very grateful for my life and my family and friends – new and old: ) My husband deserves special acknowledgement. He put so much thought into so many special moments – not least of which was his willingness to try meditation, which he is happily continuing to enjoy. Of course, I am also very appreciative to have the opportunity to celebrate with my son, and other family and friends who made our festivities so much fun.
I’m so excited as I enter this new venture into my next decade. What will happen with my blog, my book, my Peace efforts? I’d love for you to Join Me On My Journey…