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Sacred Sites
November 30, 2004 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Sacred Sites. Martin Gray is an anthropologist and photographer specializing in the study of sacred sites and pilgrimage traditions around the world. Traveling as a pilgrim, Martin spent twenty years, visiting and photographing over 1000 sacred sites in eighty countries. 1000s of photos, Atlas of Sacred Sites, travel journal, etc..
posted by stbalbach (19 comments total)

 
For those who see Martin's new-age spirituality as another aging hippy left behind in an increasingly cynical and polarized world (and you may not be far off) I suggest rather he follows in that grand tradition of the likes of Francis of Assisi, a wandering preacher. Plus, how cool is that to travel the world on the donations of others on a true pilgrimage and not another "notch in the stick" site seeing tour.
posted by stbalbach at 7:37 PM on November 30, 2004


thank you for the reminder... there's so much yet to see in this life.
posted by moonbird at 8:43 PM on November 30, 2004


Awesome.
posted by euphorb at 9:36 PM on November 30, 2004


Great find! A+.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:45 PM on November 30, 2004


Very cool. It's too bad that the maps in the atlas of sacred places aren't clickable. It would be very cool if you could navigate to all of the photographs in this way.
posted by rdub at 11:05 PM on November 30, 2004


I like the pictures.
posted by rushmc at 11:27 PM on November 30, 2004


Nice pictures, boring text, but I have a question (maybe this is better left to AskMe):

Does anyone know of the sacred gathering held in (I believe) India where thousands -- maybe millions -- of people gather and watch the sun rise? I remember reading something about this a while back and there was this one *awesome* panorama of all the millions of people just as the sun was rising. I'm not thinking of the Ganges bathers.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:58 PM on November 30, 2004


Whether or not you're refering to the Kumba Mela it's still pretty damn cool anyway.
posted by euphorb at 12:24 AM on December 1, 2004


I think I read about that, C_D, in Vikram Seth's book A Suitable Boy (it's in storage or I'd look it up). Many years people are trampled... but it's amazing.

Also, nice site. I clicked on the lovely photo of Chichen Itza and thought about how WalMart is building their first superstore there and it can be seen from the top of this place of peace. :(
posted by faux ami at 12:24 AM on December 1, 2004


Oops not Chichen Itza, sorry. (I meant the pyramids in Mex. City)
posted by faux ami at 12:26 AM on December 1, 2004


Also, nice site. I clicked on the lovely photo of Chichen Itza and thought about how WalMart is building their first superstore there and it can be seen from the top of this place of peace. :(

faux ami - There's already urbanization, even if not big box style, to be seen from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun (or moon for that matter, both at Teotihuacan). While I'm as opposed to Walmart's introduction there as anyone, it's not as if the pyramids exist in some pristine state isolated from modern civilization. There's a two story visitor center and restaurant right at the entrance :(
posted by rdub at 12:41 AM on December 1, 2004


A nice glimpse of home before I go back in two weeks. The volcanoes' interior always looked like Mars to me. Great hikes and incredible sunrises in Haleakala on Maui (picture is Mauna Kea on the Big Island...very similar in appearence though).

On preview: That's saddening to see rdub. Whenever you see pictures of that place it looks like it's in the middle of nowhere, isolated from civilization. Next stop suburbia, the Pyramids! (oh...wait. Damn.)
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:59 AM on December 1, 2004


I greatly regret missing The Edge of Enchantment, an exhibit two years ago at the NYC branch of the National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibit dealt with the material culture and lore of encantos--enchanted places--along Mexico's Pacific coast. As the link says: "Their presence makes the entire area, with its dwindling fishing villages and burgeoning resorts, a kind of spiritual minefield. You have to be careful where you step." These fused spiritual and day-to-day concerns are what make Mexico so interesting to me: pre-Columbian Quetzalcoatl is manifesting himself, Catholic stone saints' wings are being clipped to keep them flying out of chapels, even as north-bound immigrants are mindfully picking their way across the borderlands.

Right here in Tucson, in the scarcifying Barrio Viejo part of town, is our own small, sooty shrine, El Tiradito (trans.:"The Castaway"). The only shrine in the United States dedicated to the soul of a sinner buried in unconsecrated ground, so the Historical Society says. There in the 1870s a railroad worker trysted with his mother-in-law, was discovered and disemboweled by his father-in-law. Prayer candles are burning there any time of day or night.

Marginally related but a little more sanctified, shadowplay at Flickr presently has a hyperreal photoset on the proceedings of the Semana Santa in the Mexican state of Michoacan. {courtesy vacapinta at banubula}
posted by Tufa at 1:21 AM on December 1, 2004


rdub: I'm going to come off as effete and challenge-able, but I do think some places preserve their heritage better than others (often to their own detriment, like Paris), despite urbanization,.

There's a McDo in this piazza, but it's hidden. Yikes, I've derailed this thread, sorry!
posted by faux ami at 1:31 AM on December 1, 2004


faux ami: no worries. Having been to both Teotihuacan and Venice this year, I have to agree that Italy's urbanization is much more graceful than Mexico's. I'm not at all happy about Walmart going in there, I'm just saying that it doesn't surprise me.
posted by rdub at 4:06 AM on December 1, 2004


Whether or not you're refering to the Kumba Mela it's still pretty damn cool anyway.

I think that's it. Just a quick Googling revealed this panorama, which isn't exactly what I remember, but it close enough. Thanks!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:13 AM on December 1, 2004


And on even further Googling: Holy crap.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:15 AM on December 1, 2004


You consistently dish up damn good link, stb. You're one of my favorite post-ers.
posted by Shane at 7:00 AM on December 1, 2004


although its quite different in a way-- the remarkable film "Baraka" visits some of the same turf in an epic 2 hour film shot in 70mm without plot, charcters or dialogue-- just images of places like these and music. An amazing film-- something to check out if you like this post
posted by buddhanarchist at 10:31 AM on December 1, 2004


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