Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Chapel of the Holy Cross - Sedona, Arizona

One of the "you can't miss this" parts of the tours I took was a visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.

This history of this chapel is bounds up with a rich Sedona resident, Marguerite Brunswig Staude, who saw a vision of the cross in the building of the Empire State Building and wanted to build a church as a result.  Initially, she was helped by Frank Lloyd Write, but WWII intervened.  After the war had ended - and with the help of a local senator - this church was built.  I may have misheard what the guide was saying - I stopped listening when he was talking about vortexes and crystals - but the chapel itself was not designed by FLR.


It clear that people were very impressed by the chapel - and I overheard a number of comments about how a place like this would bring people closer to God.  I am in no position to say if this is true or not - but the building was a rather splendid piece of architecture.  As is my way, I found a part of the building that I liked that other people seemed not to be concerned with - the wonderful sinuous walkway the moved from the chapels car park up to the main building.



The central structural aspect of the chapel is a large cross - the vertical portion of which is driven between two of the (smaller than most) red-rock domes for which Sedona is famous.  This is most obvious from the road below the chapel.


In am unsure if there was an symbolic intent in planting a cross into the rock in this fashion - but it made my mind swim with possibilities of meaning.

Another thing that caught my eye, was that people were throwing money (small change only!) on to the rocks that formed one side of the curving walkway.  This was, apparently, meant to bring good luck. Maybe I think too much about these things - but it struck me that in a country where the presence of Fundamental Christianity is probably more marked than anywhere else in the world, the act of sacrificing money in order to bring you good luck seems strangely pagan.  In fact I could not help but make a link between the thrown money and the votive throwing of swords into lakes, wells and springs that seems to have had important ritual connotations in the Bronze age and later.  Both seem acts intended to please the Gods through the sacrifice of valuable goods - although a Bronze Age sword may have been worth a bit more than the nickels and dimes being thrown.



As is almost is always the case, I was brought back to Earth by the presence of something natural.  This wonderful (possibly, old) little tree was growing out of the rocks about half way from the car park to the chapel - and as is often the way with the things I stop to look at, very few other people seemed in the least bit interested in it.  Behind me stood a human artefact, in front of me grew the product of all that is natural and wonderful in the world - and people seemed to be ignoring it!



Oh well.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.


28 comments:

LindyLou Mac said...

What an amazing place!

Sylvia K said...

Sedona is one of my favorite places! Great shots for the day as always, Stewart!! Hope you have a good week ahead!

Fun60 said...

Not too sure about the thinking behind the building of a church here. Don't suppose it would attract many worshippers just tourists. I do like the pathway though.

Small City Scenes said...

I would never ignore nature but then again most people never knew what was going through my mind anyway.
I do think it is tragic that a lot of people do not see what is around them everyday. We have to embrace it. LOOK I say but nobody sees. Oh I think you struck a chord with me there. I'll step off my soapbox now. And of course you will never see me throw away good money. LOL
MB

TexWisGirl said...

the money in the rocks is rather odd. i like that crooked tree.

eileeninmd said...

I love the red rocks of Sedona. I may be just me but I find this a weird place for a chapel. The tourist should probably drop off their money inside the chapel. Cool shot of the tree. Thanks for sharing your visit. Have a happy week!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

We are indeed a strange and interesting people over here. We don't do guided tours of natural places any more because of these sorts of strange guides. Even in national parks. I almost came unglued at Mammoth Caves NP in Ky when the guide managed to bring his religion into the spiel. At least Sedona is private and people are entitled to whatever they wish to believe. But not on my tax dollars.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

OH yes and off my soapbox, your pictures are absolutely beautiful.

Gail Dixon said...

What a wonderful set of photos. I really like the windy road in the first shot.

Karen said...

I love the walkway snaking through the rock!

cobie en bas van Es said...

Prachtig om daar te zijn,wat is het daar mooi.

Terri @ Backward B Ranch said...

Sedona is on my bucket list! Throwing money in the rocks sounds like the same idea as throwing pennies in a fountain...making a wish? Who knows...to each his own.

Brian King said...

That is just gorgeous scenery! I'm glad you had the opportunity to visit. The shot of the little tree is very nice! It might be small, but it stands out.

Jill Harrison said...

I have a couple of Flickr "friends" who lives near this part of the country, so I have seen this amazing chapel before, but it was good to see some more. Amazing isn't it how trees can grow up through rocks. I have seen this in Karijini and the Kimberley.

Cynthia said...

What a determined and persistent little tree. I couldn't help but noticing that the chapel cross and the tree both grew out between rock formations.

Arija said...

A tree, however little, is a wonder in that barren landscape. To me the straight lines of the chapel seem out of place. I much prefer nature unsullied.

Montanagirl said...

That is such a beautiful place! I really like that Cross.

Irma said...

Hi Stewart,
What a beautiful landscape.
Very beautiful as the tree grows among the rocks.
Greetings Irma

thewovenspoke said...

Nice shot of the Cedar tree, they grow slowly and live for hundreds of years so that one has a long way to go. I haven't visited in many years since all the houses have been buildt, it used to be a favorite when no one lived close.

R. Mac Wheeler said...

I'm with you. I'll go for a hundred year old tree any day.

chai-and-chardonnay.blogspot.com said...

It is obvious that you enjoyed your trip! Great pictures ..especially of the old tree.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I am not religious per se but I love seeing beautiful chapels and churches. These pics are really amazing.

thewovenspoke said...

I meant to say that is a Juniper tree, silly me it was 3a.m. or so

dinascitywildlife.com said...

Beautiful shots! After spending a week there last June, it's now my favorite place to visit. It's interesting to hear a non-USA resident's view of the church and coins. I never really thought about it that way. I guess it's like throwing coins in the fountain in Paris.

Pat Tillett said...

I took the shame photo of the serpentine walkway!

I remember two things about this place.
1. There are no restrooms for all the tourists. A "port-a-potty" by the road is all they provide.

2. Although the architecture is interesting, I think it looks more like a scar on that beautiful setting. That area's building codes would NEVER allow anything to infringe upon the natural setting like that today.

Nice photos Stewart!

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Stewart What an interesting psot and photographs. I especially love the shots with the winding walkway leading to the red rocks.

Shey Wicklund said...

What an interesting place to visit. It's the first time I've seen people throwing change/money on the rock crevice since I'm more familiar with a wishing (water) well. Nice composition of the last photo with the tree.

NatureFootstep said...

I love the red rocks of Arizona. Been there once and would love to go back.