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Inside Look FREE


Sacred Places

Hsi Lai Temple The Pantheon Machu Picchu Dead Sea Journey

Vortexes A Hidden Reality

Publishers’ Note







As the world’s population grows and technology advances, our minds are getting cluttered with noise pollution, television and radio waves, and all sorts of peace invading activities. It is more important than ever to visit the places that have remained sacred throughout the ages and honor the new ones that are springing forth. Honoring the sacred comes from the desire to be connected to our inner selves, to a higher power, and to the world around us. It is essential that we take the time to tap into these inspirational energy sources and uncover the parts of ourselves that remain buried beneath the chaos of our daily lives. In our quest for bringing you inspiration, we found that there are an endless number of places that could be deemed sacred, from local temples and monasteries, to vortexes, to ancient cities in foreign lands. The best part about putting this issue together was that we were reminded that getting reconnected with your innermost self doesn’t require extensive travel and extravagant plans. You don’t have to go anywhere. The most sacred space you can find is right within yourself. For more sacred places, go to, where we’ve featured a number of other locations for you to discover. You can also add your own, as we continue to provide the most exciting social networking site dedicated to conscious living.




Publishers Jennifer Smith Michael Williams Editor in Chief: Jennifer Smith Editor at Large: Cheryl Snyder Editor at Large: Paula Williams Contributing Writers Dr. Fred Bell, Judy Hevenly, Elizabeth Lombardo, Cherish Lytle, Katherine Tomlinson, Marcie Fried Weibgen Design: Scott Gregory Advertising: 310-909-6773

Inside Look Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 3, is published six times a year - January/ February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December - by Creative Media Arts, PO BOX 1306, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. Inside Look Magazine is $24.99 for six issues, or free at select locations throughout Southern California. Š 2009 Creative Media Arts (CMA). All rights reserved. No part of Inside Look Magazine may be reproduced without specific written permission. Inside Look magazine, as a publication of CMA, assumes no responsibility for the opinions of our contributors and is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photos, which must be accompanied by return postage. Publication of the name or photo of any person or organization in Inside Look Magazine should not be construed as an indication of that person’s expressed opinion. Advertisers and their agencies assume responsibility and liability for the content of their advertisement in Inside Look Magazine. Photographers whose work is published in any advertising or editorial content within Inside Look Magazine agrees to indemnify and save harmless the publishers from all liability, loss, and expense due to a photographer’s failure to gain a model release. Title pending at U.S. Patent Office, Washington D.C.

INSIDE LOOK May/June Sacred Places 2009 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 3


Contents 4 Marcie Fried Weibgen

Online Visit for these and more articles on Sacred Places:

Doorway to Heaven

5 Cherish Lytle

Deborah Dupre Ayers Rock

The Mysterious, Abandoned City of Teotihuacán

6 Dr. Joyce Star

Dead Sea Journey Message From Lot’s Wife

Lynn Beaudoin Rameswaram

8 Dr. Fred Bell

Vortex Do Alternate Realities Exist?

Roberta K. Young Kukaniloko Heiau

10 Elizabeth Lombardo

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple

12 Katherine Tomlinson

Machu Picchu: Emerald City of the Cloud Forest

Eduardo Vier 10 Ways to Experience a Sacred Place © L. Mapuana Beauregard Axelson

14 Judy Hevenly Horoscope

Inside Look Magazine May/June Sacred Places

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By Marcie Fried Weibgen

hen you live in an ancient city, you get used to a constant barrage of historical points of interest vying for your attention. The streets you walk on were laid hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago. Your apartment’s plumbing was installed during the Renaissance, and acts like it. Here a second-century ruin, there a Medieval ‘do not litter’ engraving. It was into this atmosphere I landed, two weeks after September 11, following a husband who had taken a new position with the United Nations.

Rome, chaotic and dignified, battered and beautiful, is about as far away as you can get from New Jersey, shopping malls, and views of skyscrapers across the Hudson River. I had no expectations of what I would find there – or of the person I’d become – beyond some general plans to meet a lot of glamorous expatriates, learn Italian, immerse myself in history, and have the time of my life. And on that score, my years there did not disappoint. As an eager newcomer, I dove into the culture as if it were a five-course meal, reveling in all things Roman. I joined clubs, took classes, and went on walking tours – the very first of which brought me to the Pantheon.


Cleopatra in 25 BC. Once a place for pagan ritual, it has endured multiple disasters, including a fire caused from a massive thunderbolt, and still stands today as an architectural gem and spiritual haven. The Catholic Church consecrated it in 609 AD as the church of Santa Maria ad Martyres, dedicating it to the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs, continuing the tradition of it being a place to worship all. It is still used today for Masses and weddings. The first time I visited, it was November, and the light from the oculus above was angled up high on the dome. The circle shone on the gray concrete, which was once covered in bronze, but was no less spectacular for its absence. The entire building functions as a sundial, with the circle of light making a lateral journey around the inside of the building every twenty-four hours. It functions as a calendar as well. By the time of the summer solstice, the light reaches straight down to the floor. For reasons I didn’t understand at the time, I was advised to go and stand in it the first chance I got.

But I did notice something. It was – indescribable, really, a soft, visceral knowing. A physical feeling, but one that struck at a level too microscopic to be translated into any actual sensation. I didn’t try to evaluate it, or draw any kind of meaning-of-life explanation from it. It would have been impossible, anyway.

Whenever I returned, I would try to see whether I got the same sensation. I did, and it grew stronger too, as if that light and I were developing a kind of friendship. Even during the winter months, when it was just a small, weak dot near the top of the dome, I would gaze at it for a few moments until that same feeling would overtake me, sometimes so intensely I’d be moved My visits to the building were frequent at first, to tears. since it was close to home, and on my way to just about everything. During the day I angled All this time my personal life was in a state for space among camera-wielding tourists. At of major upheaval, and with both my time in night, when the crowds thinned out, I would Rome and my marriage coming to an end, my stand under the portico, run my hands over the visits became more frequent. I don’t know what immense granite columns trying to feel their I was looking for, really. I didn’t expect any kind age through my fingertips, and gaze up at the of revelation, and didn’t get one. I just needed soaring height of the wood beams they sup- to feel connected to something, at a time when ported, so darkened by age they were nearly my family, my home, and my career were all dissolving at once, when the tethers that held black. me to my life were being cut one by one, and By the time of the first summer solstice, I didn’t in terra incognita to boot. That light, whatever take walking tours anymore; rather, I gave im- it contained – ghosts of the departed souls of promptu ones to visiting friends. Beyond that, I Rome, the gods who were concentrated there, wrapped myself up in an endless stream of par- the God who took their place, the spiritual enties, worked on my Italian, and took occasional ergy of the universe, or something even more trips to neighboring countries, all in an effort unknowable – centered me, energized me, and to escape the reality of my by then disintegrat- gave me to understand that I was not as alone ing marriage. Convening with ancient gods felt as I felt. somehow superfluous in a city that lived and breathed history, which carried on its shoulders the countless souls and life stories of all the people who had preceded me. I still loved passing by the Pantheon, still loved its symmetrical beauty, the way it wore its age with dignity and grace, and bore its scars with such good humor. But I didn’t bother going inside much anymore. It was enough to know it was there.

In a city crammed with awe-inspiring structures, the Pantheon is arguably the most magnificent. It was built nearly two millennia ago as a temple to all deities of ancient Rome, in a bowl-shaped part of the city believed to have been their meeting place. Leaving aside any spiritual contribution, it is difficult to imagine much of Western architecture without it. And truly, it is an amazing piece of work, perfectly proportioned, virtually indestructible, and Until…it was late in the summer; June was technologically awesome. long past. In fact, several Junes had passed. The One of the greatest spiritual temples in the ring of light had indeed made its way down to world, the Pantheon is also the most complete the floor and was starting its journey back up ancient Roman building. Dedicated to pan again, along the base of the circular wall. But theos, “all the gods,” when rebuilt in 125 AD, it was still low enough to stand in. People ofThe Pantheon was originally built to commem- ten ask whether there isn’t glass or something orate the victory of Actium over Antony and covering the oculus. There isn’t. It was meant 4

to be open, a doorway to and for the gods, the gateway to the eternal. Yes, rain comes in, and the occasional leaf, even snow sometimes. That day it was sunny, brilliant yellow. I walked over and let it envelop me, expecting nothing. Why would I? I’ve never been a particularly spiritual person. No religion, yoga just for exercise. I’m a scientist’s daughter and not for nothing, that.

A native New Yorker who spent several years living in Rome and Paris, Marcie Fried Weibgen has held communications positions in fields as diverse as publishing, marketing, real estate, and design. While living abroad, she served on the boards of several international organizations. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she is a freelance writer and editor. A graduate of Rutgers University, Marcie speaks fluent Italian and pathetic French.

The Mysterious, Abandoned City of Teotihuacán By Cherish Lytle


he mysterious tale of Teotihuacán is as much a mystery today as it was when the Aztecs discovered the amazingly structured, abandoned site thousands of years ago. It was first inhabited around 500 B.C. Little is known about who built this magnificent and sacred place, what religious beliefs they had, what language they spoke, or even the original name of the city. The Aztecs gave it the name Teotihuacán, meaning “place where gods are born,” long after the city had been deserted. The name was based on the Aztec legend that the universe, the moon, and the sun were all created here. In the eyes of the Aztecs, Teotihuacán was one of the most respected and sacred spots on earth. Though the Aztecs reigned some 500 years after the creation of Teotihuacán, they adopted its signs and symbols into their own cosmology. The site was so highly regarded that many Aztec royalties made pilgrimages to the area. The city of Teotihuacán was the epicenter of culture and commerce for ancient Mesoamerica, even overtaking that of Rome, but was suddenly abandoned for reasons that still remain unknown to this day. Many believe it could have been due to the large population, reaching over 200,000, the depletion of resources, and the inability to produce plentiful food. This reasoning still does not give any logical support as to why the city was set on fire and its most important temples were desecrated. Murals on the walls of the pyramids show

that the Teotihuacáns were fearsome warriors. Their goal wasn’t to gain territory, but to capture prisoners who were sacrificed by the thousands to prevent the end of the world. It is also believed that sacrifices were made to dedicate each new addition of structures. Skeletons of children were found on each corner of the steps of the Pyramid of the Sun, and below the Temple of Quetzalcoatl three burial pits were discovered filled with skeletons. The ruins of Teotihuacán are some of the most amazing in Mexico and among the most important ruins in the world. Teotihuacán is located 25 miles northeast of Mexico City, Mexico, and consists of many monumental structures, the most famous being the Pyramid of the Sun (below).

With a breathtaking 248 steps leading to the top, climbing the Pyramid of the Sun is definitely a long physical challenge, but its amazing view is said to be well worth the workout. Built on top of a sacred cave which was in the shape of a four leaf clover, the first inhabitants began construction of the Pyramid of the Sun around 100 B.C. The temple which crowned it was finished about 400 years later. The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest

Inside Look Magazine May/June Sacred Places

pyramid in Mexico and the third largest in the world. It measures 738 ft on each side and is about 246 ft tall. Amazingly, it once was even larger. When the pyramid was reconstructed around the turn of the century as much as ten meters were removed from the exterior. Dozens of other pyramids are positioned on both sides of the “Avenue of the Dead,” which, along with two other roads, splits Teotihuacán into four sections. The “Avenue of the Dead” acquired its name because the pyramids aligning it were mistaken as tombs. It has since been found that Teotihuacán actually buried their dead inside their own homes. There are also many crumbling structures which can be found scattered throughout the ruins. In 400 B.C., Teotihuacán was only a small settlement but grew to a large civilization by 750 A.D., where its population grew to over 200,000 people. Teotihuacán was so revered that people would come from all over Mexico to visit, but only the priests were allowed to climb the pyramid steps for rituals and ceremonies. Today, even centuries later, people travel from all over the world to pray to the Aztec Warriors at the pyramid steps, still believing in the sacredness of the land. With the belief that the city is still protected by the Sun and the Gods, worshipers claim a cleansing experience, as would a Catholic in confession. If you get the chance to visit this holy site, Teotihuacán is definitely worth experiencing. Cherish Lytle is an entrepreneur and owner of which provides content writing, E-Book creation, research services, and admin support. 5

Dead Sea Journey Message From Lot’s Wife By Dr. Joyce Starr

When Abraham’s nephew Lot first set eyes on the plain surrounding today’s Dead Sea, the region was so lush and well watered that it was likened to the Garden of Eden. “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere ... like the garden of the LORD.” (Genesis 13:10)


zekiel prophesied that water flowing from the threshold of the restored Temple - the focal point of cosmic salvation and the source of waters that heal - would one day flow down into the wilderness of Judah and make the desert bloom. The Dead Sea would again be a paradise (47:1-12). Instead, Lot’s Wife presides today over a wasteland of industrial mining that drains the mineral life force from these biblical waters. Transformed into a pillar of salt for looking back upon cities of sin, she now holds court over the future of the end of the Dead Sea. Statuesque but shriveled, poised at the edge of a tower of rock, it appears as if she could topple at any moment. There are no birds, no trees, not even a whisper of the wind in her small enclave of silence. The rocks supporting Lot’s Wife are tinged by gray and black, discordant with the copper colored majesty of the Dead Sea Mountains. A small earthquake caused the base of the mountain to fracture more than a decade ago, blanketing a slice of an ancient caravan road that was still in service. A new road was quickly constructed only a few feet away, leaving the rocks undisturbed in their fallen state.


A small truck comes to a sudden stop in the middle of the road, without regard to oncoming cars. A woman jumps from the passenger seat, while the driver descends more cautiously. Lot’s Wife, the woman with no given name, has visitors on this hot summer day. This author traveled from Tel Aviv to see Lot’s Wife, high-spirited with anticipation. Shimaya Ben David, a member of the Israel Parks Service, agreed to take me to the site. Amused by the rather eccentric request, he viewed the journey as a pleasant courtesy, but no more. Yet standing before her, we were both overtaken by an inexplicable sadness. “Perhaps she is trying to warn us,” said Shimaya. Had the rocks collapsed from her vain efforts to cry out, to gain our attention? “No one tried to help her,” he continued. “Rather than touch the remnants of her pillar, they preferred to build a new road instead. Now she looks sorrowfully east at the future, just as she once did at the past.” The annihilated cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, according to legend, once stood in the midst of today’s Dead Sea waters. Fed solely by the River Jordan, salty Dead Sea waters are stolen daily by the unrelenting sun stationed high above and by mankind acting under the guise of progress. Its level has plummeted by thirty-five feet in the twentieth century, largely due to excessive use of the Jordan River. The sea had two legs

for tens of thousands of years. Today it has only one. The southern end was drained of its waters in 1981 by secret agreement between Jordan and Israel. The northern seascape - well known for its healing salty waters and rejuvenating mud is painted in vast swatches of turquoise. By contrast, the southern area has been transformed into a ghostly matrix of ponds used for the mining of salt and other minerals. Israeli and Jordanian factories based along the sea harvest the salts used in the production of nearly ten percent of the world’s fertilizers and a third of its pesticides. A towering grid of technology gulps up the bounty, leaving rusted machinery parts along the parched shoreline. A 1994 law, passed during Israel’s Year of the Environment, allows the Dead Sea Works to develop the southern waters and adjacent land relatively free of environmental control policies that are mirrored on the Jordanian side. Flocks of birds hover over the northern reaches of the sea, where shittah trees line the coast, but the winged creatures instinctively avoid the depleted southern waters. “When you see birds, you see life,” said Shimaya. I stood in the middle of the road looking up at Lot’s Wife, then eastward to the deadened Dead Sea, and upward again. Waiting. A car appeared on the horizon, but I had

difficulty moving. It was 4:48 as we turned back up the road toward Jerusalem. The air was sandy and sweet, replete with Jordanian flies traveling westward to Israel, without flag or diplomatic passport. Red sandstone mountains on the Israeli coastline suddenly turned to gray and white, then just as quickly to pink and purple, and within seconds to gold. The Edom Mountains of Jordan, red as their name in the morning and at dusk, merged with the sea like a purple mirror. Reflecting both the world above and the world below, the salty sea was instantly decorated with slips of sea green. Mists of salty air drifted upward in a delicate bouquet, settling on thirsty skin with the sweet caress of ancient oil. Shimaya, who was rarely without a congenial phrase or comment, drove in silence. I reflected on the words of a former Israeli policewoman named Eren, who took a dramatic life detour towards ancient forms of healing. A colleague suggested, indeed insisted, that I meet Eren, but with no clear indication as to the purpose or gain. We met in a busy coffee shop in a large shopping center in the heart of Tel Aviv. Eren’s face was youthful. Traces of gray laced through auburn hair pulled back in a simple ponytail. The conversation slowly meandered from Eren’s career as a policewoman to her present life as a natural healer, and then suddenly catapulted to the Dead Sea.

nance Analysis technologies, first initiated experiments in the mid-1990s demonstrating that water has memory. Dr. Emoto’s research, now world-famous, suggests that water “imprints” feelings of love, hate, joy, conflict and prayer, as well as complex historical data. He discovered that water’s true nature is revealed through a water crystal. If water carries memory, imagine the healing power of salt-water crystals from the Dead Sea. Could the crystallized Dead Sea be carrying the memory of Abraham, Lot, and the period in which they lived? Might the Dead Sea waters transmit a form of intelligence unfathomable to us through our limited language? I was once told that my personal quest to understand the deeper meaning of water would come full circle at the southernmost tip of the Dead Sea. But what was the specific question awaiting an answer? Shimaya increased his speed to overtake the darkness. I feared that we were driving away from the question I could not yet grasp. I stopped by to see Lot’s Wife less than a year after our first meeting. A team of archaeologists was engaged in animated debate in a nearby cave over the future of the salt mountain on which she stood. As I entered the cave, I felt an integral part of that passage of time. Intending to hurry, I lingered instead, mentally replaying my earlier visit. Hoping for a sign - a rock that would fall, a whisper that

would lead me to understanding - I felt, at the time, that Lot’s Wife had somehow disappointed me. But as I looked up at this monument once again, I realized that the very act of traveling back to the past to meet her had been the dawn of my understanding. A tranquil feeling supplanted my foreboding from the prior year’s visit. Perhaps Lot’s Wife is a signpost, a memorial, programmed by God as an alarm to awaken us from our slumber thousands of years later. Cast as our silent siren, she was turned into salt to remind us of the lessons of Sodom and Gomorrah - cities of penultimate greed and the rape of spirit. The woman who looked backward suffered a sad and lonely fate. We on the other hand, must look forward in harmony with one another. Lot’s Wife guided this traveler toward the wisdom of the sages, and the echo was heard. Dr. Joyce Starr is a sought-after rights advocate, empowerment coach, radio talk show host, author, and rights publisher. Author of Covenant over Middle Eastern Waters (Henry Holt), her groundbreaking efforts on Middle East Water peace helped set the stage for Middle East water sharing talks. Dr. Joyce Starr Publishing includes:,, and She’s also an innovator in developing downloadable content for the iPhone. Her inaugural iPhone App, Bible Scriptures Inscribed on Water: Source Code for Life, will be available in June, 2009. Visit for further information.

“Think of it this way,” said Eren, “The blood that flows through our veins is the body’s water. Blood is salty. Most of the water of the planet is salty. Salt is the purest form of water, and the crystallized Dead Sea is the purest water on earth. “If human history is in the DNA of our bloods, so the history of the planet is written in water,” Eren continued. “The global water system is the blood of the planet, with the purest of information crystallized as salt. “Water has the power, and the Dead Sea is the most powerful of all,” she said. “As Lot’s Wife can attest, it is here that our connection to life, to the force of light, and to God, is crystallized. The Dead Sea is the repository of crystallized answers to questions we either no longer remember or that we fear to ask.” Dr. Masaru Emoto, a doctor of Alternative Medicine and specialist in Magnetic ResoInside Look Magazine May/June Sacred Places

Lot’s Wife, pilar of salt formation - Ariel Kirtchuk


Do Alternate Realities Exist? By Dr. Fred Bell


vortex is defined as something that resembles a whirlpool or mass of fluid with whirling or circular motion that tends to form a cavity or vacuum in the center, drawing up bodies subject to its action. To simplify, let’s just say that a vortex is an energy field that draws us into it. Vortexes are often found within the confines of a Ley Line. Wikipedia defines Ley lines as “hypothetical alignments of a number of places of geographical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths.” When places are connected by these unseen energy lines, they are thought to generate other possible realities. Archaeologist Alfred Watkins first introduced the existence of Ley Lines in 1921 in his book The Old Straight Track. Ley Lines were originally thought to be old pathways or prehistoric trade routes. Usually, when people hear the word vortex, they immediately think of Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona. Some people say that the Sedona vortexes are a result of intersecting Ley Lines, some say that they are a result of magnetic energy, yet others point out that the energy flow of vortexes simply exist. I would say that all of the above is true.

I visited one very interesting vortex in Detmold, Germany, called Externsteine, a distinctive rock formation consisting of five sandstone pillars, the tallest of which is 123 feet high. There is an inscription upon one of the walls, and directly below it is a small cave with a hollowed out area that you can lie down in. It is a very powerful vortex, and 8

able to develop products that would enhance the vortex experience tremendously. Once we had learned the general science pertaining to these energies, we developed a mini vortex device called the “Nuclear Receptor.” This eventually led to a quantum device based on the popular string theory of many dimensions, which led us to the “Projector Series.” The next step was to add lasers to the vortex. When looking at the transmission of photons from the fourth dimension, through the expansion of electrons in phase, we were able to create a doorway within the vortex itself. This later on became known as a “Stargate.”

On a stellar level, a “Black Hole” is also considered a vortex, wherein if you survived and passed through to the other side you would be in a parallel universe. On this level, the vortexes become a “Stargate,” an imaginary gateway that permits rapid travel between One of the first people to experience the Stargate was the wife of a well-known New Age two remote locations. author. Many others claimed to have boarded The vortex I had the most experience with spaceships while being in the Stargate area. exists in Laguna Beach, California, about Not all of the experiences have been pleas30 feet above the ground, in a home that I ant. One woman found that she was unable lived in for over 30 years. We discovered it to fully return, went into a coma-like state, years ago when a large eucalyptus tree fell and had to be medically revived. A popular over in the backyard. What we found in its TV and internet show host decided to try the roots were solid gold nuggets! We traced the “Vortex Stargate” and was out for about 15 to gold vein across the street, and when another 20 minutes. When he returned to his body house was being built, similar nuggets were he said he had had an extraterrestrial experifound during the excavation of the basement. ence. The vein, however, began under our house. The city of Laguna Beach had the nuggets Not everyone should undertake an experianalyzed by the University of California in ence such as this, so I advise anyone who is a Irvine, and found the gold content was three heavy smoker or is even slightly overweight, not to. One thing that the “Stargate” has a ounces per ton. tendency to do is elevate and then drop a perGeologists later determined that our house son’s blood pressure. This can be unhealthy was directly at the peak of an extinct volcano for certain individuals. formed millions of years ago. This pretty well verified that we had a real vortex. Over the Over the years we have shared our vortex exyears, thousands of people have visited our perience with many people often during the famous living room in the hopes of having seminars we conduct in Laguna Beach. I’m a moving experience. This included a large sure it would be very interesting to move the cross-section of famous yogis including Sai equipment that we have to one of these vortexes in Sedona Arizona, for example. I have Baba. witnessed the inter-dimensional doorways We’ve visited several vortexes around the that most vortexes seem to possess. I feel that world but found the one in Laguna Beach to in time more people will become aware of be the most powerful. Using scientific infor- vortexes and their power. mation gathered from classic physics, quanFor more information feel free to tum mechanics, Plieadian science and some contact me at good old-fashioned experimenting, we were

Photo: Externsteine in Detmold, Germany, by Daniel Schwen

The most popular Sedona vortex sites are Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, and the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook. All of these are considered to have an “Up-Flow,” with the exception of the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook, which has both “Up-Flow” and “Lateral Flow.” The Red Rock Crossing is considered to have a strong “Inflow” plus a “Lateral Water” cleansing. Other vortex sites are Cathedral Rock, Boynton Canyon, and Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS during World War II, used it to plan several German battles. He also used it for the commemoration of the ancestors and as a meditation point for his Ahnenerbe (Nazi German think tank). Most of the battles that Germany initiated were fought on Ley lines. Capturing the spiritual energy flow of vortexes goes back in history as far as we can study. This particular site dates back before 1093 A.D.

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Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple By Elizabeth Lombardo


stablished in 1988, this 15-acre monastery remained true to both the structural and artistic archetype of ancient Chinese tradition. Located in Hacienda Heights, California, about 40 minutes from Los Angeles, this spiritual haven is a god-sent escape from the hectic toils of daily routine. Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Hsi Lai Temple (pronounced She Lye) encourages individuals to visit the monastery for a self-guided audio tour or just a relaxing day of reflection. The sentiment of Hsi Lai Temple, literally meaning “Coming West,” is an unfettered dedication in spreading the teachings of Humanistic Buddhism. Hsi Lai monks are continuously active in promoting inter-religious communication and cultivating a respectful discourse amongst all spiritual traditions. They have reached out to others throughout the nation most recently performing peace offerings and communal meditations at ground zero in New York City. Upon entering the Traditional Chinese grounds, one is instantaneously taken aback by the serenity and glistening decadence of the gold emblazoned archways. Passing beneath the iron gateway the Bodhisattva Hall sits atop the infinite hill of steps leading from the parking lot. Bodhisattvas in the Buddhist Tradition are enlightened individuals who have acknowledged a sense of ‘non-self ’ and thus have made vows to unselfishly serve the greater community with love, compassion, and kindness. In a sense they are “Buddhas in training.” Each of these five larger than life statues represents various aspects inherent within the enlightenment process. The first

of the hand-carved Bodhisattvas represent practices followed by vows, benevolence, compassion and love, and wisdom. The engraved Chinese characters along the walls of the Bodhisattva Hall are from the text of the Diamond Sutra, highly valued in Chant tradition. The Avalokitesvara Garden sits on the lower right hand side of the main temple. Avalokitesvara, a customarily revered Bodhisattva, rests upon an enormous granite rock with both of her spiritual attendants beside her. The serenity of flowing water is an intrinsically surreal experience invoking relaxation and self-reflection. The main courtyard, utilized for prayer services and ceremonial celebrations, is in the center of the grounds. Large squares of ivory stone embroidered by meticulously manicured grass further enhance the aura of balance and harmony. A white lion, symbolizing bravery, courage, and strength within the Buddhist faith, guard each of the four corners. It is also named the “Way to Buddhahood,” as it is located directly beneath the main shrine and utilized for spiritual retreats and workshops. To the left of the central courtyard, sits the Arhats Garden. Literally meaning “The Worthy One,” Arhats are believed to have successfully thwarted off greed, hatred, anger, and ignorance thus attaining the four stages of enlightenment. Eighteen golden Arhats rest within the plush garden of arbors, pines, and limestone fountains. A metal bell hangs above the fountains from a lilac archway, in hopes of being rung by a visitor. Tossing coins towards the bell and invoking the musical vibrations yields an individual blessing of strength, courage, and hope.

Hsi Lai’s Main Shrine also deemed “Precious Hall of the Great Hero,” is of upmost importance within the monastery grounds. Aged wooden doors towering over fifteen feet secure the temple’s main entrance. The vast high-rise ceilings and ornate chandeliers suspended from above illuminate the central altar. Decadent details carved onto the golden walls are comprised of over ten thousand Buddha statues. Red velvet kneelers in neatly placed rows fill the floor. However, this undeniable sense of grandeur within the Main Shrine does not detract from the sacred statues of Buddha known as the “Manifestations of Enlightenment.” Each of the three Buddhas holds a lotus flower symbolizing purity and faithfulness. Typically seeded within the depths of murky water, the lotus springs up pure and untainted, revealing both beauty and light. The growth of the legendary lotus flower parallels the individual strife in achieving “Nibbana” or enlightenment. The Arts & Cultural Auditorium provides an extensive look into the past, present, and future of Buddhist art forms. The museum features various exhibitions of ancient artifacts, writings, carvings, jewelry, and sculptures. The snuff glass bottles hand-painted with vibrant strokes and a seemingly effortless fluidity, depict the delicacy and precision inherent in Chinese expression. Walnutcarved reciting beads and tree-root inscribed papers reflect the importance of nature and interconnectedness of all living entities. A phenomenal artifact is the micro-inscribed prayer wheel solely visible with the aid of a magnifying glass. Chinese characters are fragilely carved into miniscule perfection,

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presumably taking months to perfect! The contemporary paintings by Fo Guang Yuan have an incredible range, from abstract pixilated acrylic to classic Chinese calligraphy. Her natural prowess in capturing botanical landscapes with vivid vitality is truly breathtaking! Perhaps the most breathtaking exhibit is the eight-foot “thangka,” or painted cloth, depicting a pastoral landscape emanating an enlightened energy. On July 5th in 1989 the fourteenth Dalai Lama personally presented this thangka as a gift to the newly constructed Hsi Lai Western Temple. Typically thangka paintings depict the various stages of Sailyamuni or Buddha’s life-altering stages. This gift in particular encompasses Buddhist beliefs in a conglomeration of lotus flowers, botanical gardens, and pastoral purity. Sedated

hues of yellow, rose, and ivory offset the dramatic illustrations of the golden Bodhisattvas. This museum with its dollar donation entrance fee is a humbling look into the ancient lives and aesthetics of Chinese tradition. Whether coming to the monastery in search of reflection and relaxation or simply to explore the Buddhist Faith the Hsi Lai Temple is absolutely a worthwhile experience. Chinese Cultural and educational enhancement opportunities are at one’s fingertips as they can further explore the teachings of Buddhism through an array of courses. English & Chinese meditation, chanting, and repentance workshops are a few of the cultural immersion programs open to the public. In conjunction with the Monastery is the Buddha’s Light Hsi Lai School, providing a basic curriculum and Chinese language course for grades K-6. The Hsi Lai Temple truly offers a thorough introduction to the spirituality of Humanistic Buddhism and Chinese Cultural Tradition. Visiting the temple’s sacred grounds is definitely a holistic experience satiating the mind, body, spirit, and soul! Elizabeth Lombardo graduated from UC Davis in 2008 with a double major in English and Sociology and is currently a freelance writer. Her ultimate dream is to become a travel writer and explore various social, cultural, and entertainment capitals throughout the world. Inside Look Magazine May/June Sacred Places


Machu Picchu Emerald City

of the Cloud Forest By Katherine Tomlinson


t is midnight on December 31, 1999, and although everyone insists that the date marks nothing more than an ordinary turn of the year, that the 21st century will not begin for another 12 months, that the millennium cannot be officially celebrated until the last day of the last month of the year 2000, I have come to Machu Picchu in Peru to celebrate the arrival of a January like no other in my lifetime. It is midnight on December 31, 1999, and I am standing in a plaza 8000 feet above the Urubamba River in a stone city built at the beginning of the 15th century and abandoned to the jungle and dismissed as a legend only 100 years later. Scholars quibble over who really discovered the skeleton of Machu Picchu beneath its camouflage of vegetation, but they all agree that no Spaniard ever set foot there despite its nearness to the city of Cusco, which the Spanish made their own. Although some artifacts were removed by the explorer Hiram Bingham, the man who laid claim to the discovery of the city, the treasures of the site—140 buildings, temples, and sacred stones—remained intact. As many as 1200 people would have lived in Machu Picchu in its heyday and there are at least as many here tonight.


The only light comes from a waning moon obscured by shredded clouds. The rainy season in Peru lasts from December to March, and during the day it has drizzled off and on, a silver mist of a rain that has blended with the clouds that cradle the city until it looks insubstantial, made of smoke and not timeless gray stone. The rain has made footing treacherous on the ancient stairways that criss-cross the city. There are more than 100 such stairways, some with more than 100 steps. There are no railings on these stairways, no accommodation for a clumsy tourist. If you lose your footing, you’re going to take a bad fall. There is real danger here but that’s as it should be in a sacred place. One should approach such places with caution and awe and respect. It is traditional, when visiting Machu Picchu to leave an offering within its walls. The Inca were brilliant masons and built walls without mortar, so closely fitted it was said you could not thread a blade of grass through the cracks. Over the centuries, seismic movement has opened up some of these cracks, though, just wide enough to accommodate some talisman or charm left by a visitor. I have left an earring in the opening of a wall near the Temple of the Sun. The earring is a drop of burgundy glass, clad with gold wire.

I have traveled lightly to this place; I have nothing else of worth to leave here. One of my traveling companions, a man with a fierce questing spirit, cuts his hand with a shard of glass and pours his blood on the ancient stone. It is a theatrical gesture but done quietly and without show. Afterwards, he seems almost bashful about it. It is midnight and I cannot see the stars but if I could, I would see the Southern Cross, a diamond-shaped constellation that never appears in the night sky over my home in Los Angeles. It is a strange sensation to look up and see alien stars; it’s a taste of what it might be like if you stood on another planet and looked toward a strange horizon. Tonight there will be no stars; no moon; but as midnight approaches, the sky splits open with lightning, the timing so perfect that it’s almost as if some divine stagehand is at work. The first time it happens, everyone in the plaza takes a collective breath. There are hundreds of us here, but the thunder that follows the lightning is the only sound on the mountain. I think there has never been a hush as profound as the silence of this crowd. And all of us have come here for a reason that is hard to express—a need to be present in this beautiful, sacred place at this particular moment in time. It isn’t all that easy to get to Machu Picchu. I took the train from Cusco that hugged the

banks of the Urubamba River all the way to Aguas Calientes at the foot of the mountain. Hardier souls can hike in via the Inca Trail, entering Machu Picchu at the Sun Gate, just as the ancient Incans did. Walking into the area creates the least stress on the environment, but erosion of the trail has become so intense that there are now limits on how many people can enter the trail each day. More stringent limits to tourist and commercial access to the city are being considered, especially in the wake of an accident in 2000 when a company filming a beer commercial damaged the Intihuatana, a ceremonial astronomical clock by dropping a crane on it.

Photos by Shay Y. Roberts

We are ten days past the most recent equinox and I am standing at Machu Picchu at midnight holding the hand of a woman named Day. I have only just met her but I like her tremendously. She is older than I, perhaps by two decades, but she has a youthful spirit and an adventurous heart. She has come to Peru from her home in Mexico just to spend this night in this place. We are not alone on the plaza and those who have welcomed us here have made speeches and offered prayers. And finally, there is the thunder and then there is the silence. It is midnight and Day squeezes my hand. She has been fighting a cold all week and I briefly

wonder if she’s giving her cold to me in the spirit of connection. And then I close my eyes. The silence is so complete that I can hear my beating heart. The wind picks up. It is a warm wind and within it, I can hear something… like the note plucked from a harp. It’s just on the edge of my hearing and it vibrates within me as if tuning my whole body to some universal key. And then the wind rises and it takes me with it. The wind is pushing me from all around and though I am still holding Day’s hand, anchored to reality, I am rising with the wind. I’m not flying. I’m not floating either. I am … suspended … held in stasis by the wind. And then I am back in myself and I squeeze Day’s hand in return and I am crying for no reason I can name. And no one else felt the wind.

for a long moment and then admits, “I saw my mother.” He tells me he cried too and we toast the moment with coca tea. It is January 1, 2000. A new year has begun. Katherine Tomlinson’s motto is “Have passport, will travel.” She lives and works in Los Angeles.

The next morning at breakfast, I mention my experience to the people sharing my table. “Did anyone else feel something like that?” I ask, feeling vulnerable. Because I have never done drugs, never meditated, never had anything remotely resembling a transcendental experience. Until the night before. The man across from me, an older man whose name I no longer recall, looks at me

Stop Searching, Start Living!


w w w. h i d d e n l aws . co m Inside Look Magazine May/June Sacred Places



b y U l l a Jaco b s



April 20 – May 20 Happy Birthday, Taurus. Your lesson for May is patience. Sit back and allow things to happen. At month’s end this pays off, after Mercury turns direct and action oriented Mars arrives in your sign. This fuels your drive in June as you sense, at last, that your life is moving forward.




Now is the time to dare to live your dreams. Start with workshops and coaching to rise above your present conditions. Hard work brings progress. People you encounter in June hold the key to prosperous new ideas. Unusual opportunities present themselves.

With good fortune in your relationship sign, listen well. Allow others to express themselves fully before you reply. Now is the time to nurture friendships, so avoid being defensive. A change at work in June brings about a win-win situation. Meditation and quiet times refresh the mind.

August 23 – September 22


September 23 – October 22


This is a great time to focus on securing your financial future. You are urged to take bold steps towards your goals seeing that you can make real progress now. June sees you with an open mind and your self confidence high. Work wise, you implement a new plan and in romance you’re headed for a love fest!

In May, Mercury in retrograde misdirects communications. Postpone major decisions until next month. Memorial weekend sees you celebrating with family and friends. Social life goes into high gear in June. A major cash windfall is headed your way.

May 21 – June 20

February 19 – March 20


October 23 – November 21

You’re feeling brave and are willing to face any challenge this May. Energy is high and the planets see more money in your pocket. June is all about you. Set ambitious personal goals for the next 12 months and revisit these wishes in September to check your progress.

Your intuition will serve you well until the last three weeks of May while Mercury goes into retrograde. Don’t dismiss information that comes your way. Act on it. June sweeps you up in its cosmic flow in which things you only dreamed about now come to pass. Say a ‘prayer’; it will be answered.



You have made it an art of getting other people’s attention. Persuasion is your passion and you’re good at it. You thrive on compliments as middle May sees your love life shifting into high gear. June is all about friendships and keeping in shape. Career wise, it’s about sharing the spotlight with others!

Summer is almost here and you want to have fun. The idea of taking a vacation brightens your mood and does wonders for your soul. A rare flash brings an unexpected cash flow this May. In June, romance reaches an all time high on the 22nd, the new moon. Make a wish, it will be granted!

July 23 – August 22


November 22 – December 21

Pack your bags and do a little travelling this May, even if it’s only for a long weekend. On May 7, Mercury in retrograde could produce a few bumps on the road. If you lose something during this time it could magically appear next month. Life perks up in June. Use your attention getting power to accomplish great things.


March 21 - April 19 Check e-mails in May; Mercury in retrograde may make you miss an important message. You’re bursting with creativity and your imagination is on overdrive in June. If looking for a new relationship, a friend of a friend could be your link to love. June draws people magnetically into your orbit and at least one of them will bring you luck. Judy Hevenly, Psychic-Astrologer Web-site: E-Mail: Tel: (310) 820-7280

Photo: NASA- Mosaic pavement of a 6th century synagogue at Beit Alpha, Jezreel Valley, northern Israel

June 21 - July 22

January 20 – February 18


Emotionally you’re feeling great and feeling very positive about the future. Love heats up and May sees you in the spotlight to attract new people to promote yourself and your goals. Share your clever notions for, in June, the public is very receptive to your ideas.


December 22 – January 19

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