Earth & Sky Temple

     In 2000, with the help of many dear friends, I designed and built the Earth & Sky Temple near my studio.  Earth & Sky Circle is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization I formed over thirty years ago.  It teaches sacred art to apprentices and hosts ceremonies in the Native American traditions.

     I consider the temple to be one of my finest creations and I thought you would enjoy seeing some photos of it.  It is also featured in my documentary film, “Sundancing with the Muse,” which includes some temple ceremonies of the Children’s Circle and the Elders’ Circle, as well as the Sundance Ceremony at the Crow Reservation.

    Over the past 35 years, I’ve taught over 100 apprentices how to create sacred art and the ceremonies that empower it.  Earth & Sky Circle doesn’t charge for my apprenticeships so donations are very helpful to the continuing of the teaching and ceremonial programs.

Good Medicine, Heyoka




TempleEarth & Sky Temple

About 33 years ago I formed the nonprofit Earth & Sky Circle to help support my apprentice program, and also to create a sacred space for my community to do ceremony together in a teepee.  Over the years, I have mentored over 100 apprentices on the path of the sacred artist.

In the year 2000, I started construction of a temple where we could gather for ceremony and it may have become my greatest art piece.  I am still working on this temple in which I do ceremony every morning and continue to host many sacred gatherings.  The sacred archetypes honored inside the 3-story high pyramid are from Ancient Egypt, Native America, South America, Asia, and Europe.

I incorporated sacred geometry into the making of the Earth & Sky Temple and labored to have the same energetic feeling in it that I experienced in the painted Paleolithic caves, the great cathedrals and other ancient temples around the world.  Joining me in ceremony over the years have been many small children who now still participate in our circle when they are home from college.  The Temple has been a wonderful help to me in my continued growth toward being a spiritual elder and it has lovingly embraced many visitors with its sacred touch.

Cernunnos Buddha

Cernunnos Buddha

In the north side of the Temple is a grotto I created to hold the Temple Isis statue.  She almost seemed too small and lost when placed in it.  In my home, I had a wooden statue of the Buddha carved in Indonesia that I blessed often with sweet grass when I meditated near it.  I tried setting him in the grotto and he loved it so much he has been there ever since.

The first image of a male deity in Northern Europe was the Celtic god Cernunnos.  He is a forest god with deer antlers and is shown sitting in a yogic lotus posture.  I have a set of antlers shed by a deer that I found when I lived on the Columbia River near Canada.  At the Spring Equinox, I went to a spot where I could see the Northern Mountains to do ceremony and at my feet were the two antlers.

I felt an affinity with this Celtic archetype since I spend as much time as possible in the forest so I decided to give the antlers I’d found to the Buddha.  He felt very pleased with my gift so my male archetype became Cernunnos Buddha, the awakened forest deity.

There are several synchronicities that occurred unplanned when the Temple was built.  One of my favorites is that the Winter Solstice sunrise comes through the temple’s east facing door and illuminates the grotto.



The ancient Egyptians chose the Scarab Beetle as the symbol of rebirth and resurrection.  The male beetle attracts a female by pushing a ball of dung along the desert floor.  The female lays her eggs inside the ball then buries it in the ground.  The newborn scarabs come out of the ball as beautiful green iridescent adult scarabs.  The Egyptians saw this as a metaphor for the birth into the world of spirit after our bodies return to the earth.

The old name for Egypt was Land of the Black Soil.  Every year the monsoon rains in the central rain forests of Africa would cause a great flood.  The flood would bring moist rich fertile black soil down to the dry desert lands to fertilize and water the Egyptians’ crops.  They knew where to plant their seeds because the scarabs would bury their eggs where the edge of the flood would reach each year.  Thus, scarabs were also sacred to the rebirth of the earth.  This stained glass scarab window is in the East of the Temple facing the morning sunrise.



Coatl is the sacred snake whose movements mirror the way that Kundalini energy moves up the spinal column awakening the wheels of light that surround each of the major body energy centers, or “chakras.”  When this serpentine energy reaches the crown chakra at the top of the head, we are one with the Universal, or “All That Is.”  Quetzal is the sacred bird that connects Earthly power with the Heavenly realms of the universe.  Together, the Quetzal and the Coatl are the creatures that are closest to the earth and heaven as well as representing the sacred balance of female and male.

This is the teaching within the name Quetzalcoatl, the teacher/savior deity to the Mayan and other Mexican peoples.  According to Mayan tradition, this deity returns at specific times to instruct humanity again.  According to the Mayan calendar, we are now in the time when Quetzalcoatl is returning, and many people are expecting a savior to rescue us from all our problems.

For me, Quetzalcoatl is a power that is awakening within every human.  If we look inward instead of outward for a savior, we all have the potential to become the winged serpent that is Quetzalcoatl.

Next to Quetzalcoatl is Divine Grandmother, or Lady of the Serpent Skirts, Great Goddess of the Aztecs and Mayans.

Totem Pole Shrine


Tribal people everywhere celebrate animal spirit helpers and many feel that there is one primary animal power that guides and protects each one of us in our life’s journey.     Many believe this to be a superstition of primitive people, yet most of us have a particular attraction to an animal.  If we look at our favorite animal, we may see parts of ourselves that resemble that animal and the way it relates to the world.

As I learned about animal powers, I began to notice that my encounters with them often held a sacred teaching.  Some of the animals in my most amazing meetings also became my family of helpers.  In one such meeting, I was building my booth for an art show in a beautiful forest and gathering a tall stick from a bush.  I was feeling relaxed and blissful coming out of the city into a natural environment.

An overzealous security guard at the show shouted at me “you’re out of bounds!”  Seized with a rush of anger, which was fast becoming a profanity to yell back, the anger materialized out of the bush as a rattlesnake flying toward my knee with it’s fanged mouth open.  Somehow, I managed a 6-foot backwards broad jump, as the jaws snapped shut where my knee had been. This taught me that the wild animals in my environment could sense my emotional feelings.

Having had many similar encounters like this one with the rattler, I honor animals as my teachers and as my helpers.  Like the northwest coastal tribes have done for a long time, I designed and had a friend carve a totem pole to be placed in front of the Earth & Sky Temple that shows my primary animal powers.