we find that monasteries were not placed simply where it was
convenient, but they were placed according to the principles
of sacred geometry. The most desirable location for a monastery
or retreat center was against a mountain and if there is a
stream nearby, the stream should flow from left to right.
Also, almost all monasteries and retreat centers are located
near mountains where local deities lived or near caves where
great practitioners, such as Milarepa or Padmasambhava, practiced
and tamed the energies of the area.
is located in the San Luis Valley which is one of the highest
intermountain valleys (almost at 7,000 feet) in North America.
The valley is ringed by the continental divide on one side
(looking across the valley as shown on above photograph) and
the Sangre de Cristo (blood of Christ) mountains on the other
also has its sacred geography. The Native Americans began
coming to the San Luis Valley 10,000 years ago to hunt buffalo
and to pick pinons. At the Sand Dunes, just 20 miles South
of Crestone, is Stewart's Crossing which is the second largest
site in North America containing clovis artifacts. Another
20 miles, along the Sangre de Cristo mountains, is Mount Blanca
a sacred mountain of the Navajo world.
Native American peoples have a long and historic relationship
with the land that is now known as San Luis Valley and the
surrounding San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. For local
tribes of the Pueblo, Apache, Navajo (Dineh), Ute and others,
it was a paradise for gathering food and medicinal plants,
hunting, ceremonies, and other gatherings...Until they were
dispossessed, the Native people maintained the area here as
a place for peaceful contemplation and resolutions.
Mountains are sacred to indigenous people. Pilgrimages are
still made to the Sacred Mountains for medicine bundle renewal,
rain, medicinal herbs, and ceremonies by various tribes. Nearby
Mount Blanka is one such mountain. To the Dineh, it is called
Sismajinii meaning "black sash trailing down." The sash is
the range extending from Blanca northward to include Crestone
community. It is revered eastern mountain of the Dineh cosmos.
Blanca and three other cardinal direction mountains are mentioned
as the pillars holding up the sky-universe in the Navajo spiritual
--Paul Tohlakai, Sacred Mountains Foundation