Shrines in a Holy Place


   To many of us Grand Canyon is among the most sacred places on earth. It is a nondenominational chapel where we can commune with the deities of our choice.

   However, there has been a disturbing trend recently toward the construction (without subsequent removal) of shrines, stone rings, power circles, etc. along the river and in side canyons. They are often strewn with candles, wax, personal effects and so on. The Park patrol has recently disassembled over a dozen such structures, and now there is a rumor of a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Christmas Tree Cave.

   Yes, there are few places more holy or more appropriate for spiritual communion—however, when one persuasion’s activities interfere with another’s, when their detritus blasphemes and desecrates a holy place in the eyes of others, perhaps its time to stop and re-evaluate one’s rituals. To believe altering a natural setting is improving it is profound arrogance.

   If you are creating these structures or know who is, fine. Go for it. But please see that they are disassembled and the area restored before you leave. It’s our church too.

Brad Dimock