When sacred, spiritual, and mystical places are discussed in Wicca and Paganism, the focus tends to be on sites in Europe. Stonehenge, Greek temples, and other historical sites are often brought up as places Wiccans and Pagans should make pilgrimages to. Though the United States is young, the land is old, and spiritual places in the United States exist just as in other, older countries. Some are naturally occurring spaces with strong mystical and spiritual energies, while others are human-made and of great significance to the cultures that built them. For the created sites, even if you don’t share the religion of the builders, you can recognize and respect the power of the place, and a visit to pay respects is a balm for your spirit.
So, what are some places to visit in the US to connect with the sacred, spiritual, mystical, and magickal energies of the world and universe?
America’s Stonehenge, Salem, NH
America’s Stonehenge isn’t as large as the more famous version in Wiltshire, England. Thought to have been made by 18th-century farmers (though purported to be much older), the site nevertheless has spiritual significance and offers a stone circle for meditation.
Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Lovell, WY
Located in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming at an elevation of 9,642 feet, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel isn’t the easiest of sacred places to get to. But it is a site sacred to multiple Native American tribes, whose members visit the wheel to this day to leave offerings. Walk the path around it to connect to the wheel and surrounding nature. Pay respects to the native peoples of America who built the wheel.
Land’s End Labyrinth, San Francisco, CA
The labyrinth at the edge of the continent, this installation has been destroyed multiple times since it was first created in 2004. So yes, it is a newer creation, but that doesn’t make it any less magickal. Just outside San Francisco and overlooking the crashing waves of the Pacific, don’t miss this spiritual location and work of art.
Serpent Mound, Peebles, OH
Nearby to three burial mounds (two of the Adena culture and one of the Fort Ancient culture), the Serpent Mound in Peebles, Ohio, is an effigy mound in the shape of an uncoiling snake. It is not a burial mound itself. The reason it was made is unknown, but it was likely to honor a serpent deity. Nearly a quarter-mile in length, you can feel the energy winding through the effigy.
Sedona isn’t just steeped in natural beauty. Long thought to be at the center of a convergence of ley lines, Sedona is filled with mystical energy as well. The spiraling vortices found in Sedona are centers of energy that help with healing, self-exploration, and other meditation. Visit a vortex to connect with yourself and the universe.
Mt. Shasta, CA
Located in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, Mount Shasta is a volcano (of uncertain activity status) in Northern California that has long attracted people of multiple faiths. The strong spiritual energy has drawn people to it for centuries. Though many Native American tribes lived near Mount Shasta, the oral history from some of the Klamath Tribes has become one of the more well-known narratives of the mountain. For them, Mount Shasta is home to the Spirit of the Above-World, Skell, and its volcanic activity is Skell fighting with Lloa, the Spirit of the Below-World.
Ringing Rocks State Park, Upper Black Eddy, PA
The allure of this park is right in its name. Visit Ringing Rocks State Park with a hammer or mallet and strike the rocks to get them to emit a ringing sound. Though only about 1/3 of the rocks will emit a sound when struck, finding some that will is not difficult. Meditate with the vibrating, ringing of the rocks to connect to the metaphysical and mystical.
Mt. Kīlauea, Hawai’i Island (Big Island), HI
An active religious site for Hawai’ian people, Mount Kīlauea is the home of the goddess Pele. You can experience the spirituality and sacredness of the site yourself but be respectful of those who still worship Pele and use the site for their own religion. Acknowledge the sacredness and offer respect to the Hawai’ian people before using the space for your own meditation.
Mt. Denali, AK
The highest peak in North America, Mount Denali, is believed to be the home of many spirits. Strange and unusual sightings have been reported by many visitors to Mount Denali. Again, it is a site in use by current residents as a sacred place, so show the proper respect when visiting and connecting with its energies.
Devils Tower, WY
Known as Devils Tower in English, there are many names for the protruding geological feature in Wyoming given by the Native American tribes that lived and hunted nearby. The sacred narratives of the tribes explain the name and the creation of the Tower. The Arapahoe name for the Tower means “Bear’s Tipi.” The Cheyenne and Lakota names both mean “Bear Lodge.” The Crow name means “Bear’s House.” The Kiowa people call it “Tso-aa” meaning “tree rock.” Several tribes see the Tower as a holy place.
Tȟuŋkášila Šákpe (Six Grandfathers Mountain) & Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Before it was destroyed by what is now called Mount Rushmore, the granite formation in the Black Hills of South Dakota was known to the Lakota as Tȟuŋkášila Šákpe or “Six Grandfathers Mountain.” The Six Grandfathers represented the six sacred directions: north, south, east, west, above, below. After visiting this area and connecting with its past, consider donating to the Crazy Horse Memorial that is still under construction and would honor the Native American history of the area.
Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, WY
Looking for a natural feature that gives you a sense of organization, balance, and reliability? Look no further than the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. With regular eruptions, you are sure to see one on a visit. Use the time between to meditate and connect with the surrounding area.
Meditation at Sacred Places
Visiting sacred places that have higher spiritual, mystical, metaphysical, and magickal energy can be an amazing experience in and of itself. But if you really want to connect to the energy and power of the place, performing a meditation ritual or spell there is an unintrusive way to do so. Certain areas are still in use by those actively practicing their religion, some are popular tourist spots that draw large crowds, and others are in the middle of nowhere with few resources around. So, doing a meditation ritual instead of intricate spell work allows you to connect to the magick of the space without intruding on any other visitors or risking harm to the site.
That isn’t to say you can’t bring any supplies! If you have a portable altar kit made (Wicca Magazine has a how-to article on creating one), you can definitely use that. Or bring crystals or other objects that have meaning to you or share energies with the site you are visiting. For example, if the site is strong in the Fire element, you might bring a crystal or object to imbue with that power or that has Fire as a correspondence.
The most important thing to do before visiting a site and doing a meditation ritual is to research the history and current use of the site. You need to know if the site is sacred to a culture or religion outside your own, actively in use for religious purposes, or if there are restrictions on activities and items you can bring in. You may also wish to research the best time of day to visit, both for crowd sizes and energy surges. Is the site’s energy strongest at sunrise? Does night hold stronger mystical powers? You want to visit when you can best connect with the energies of the site.
Next, plan your meditation. If the site is sacred to another culture (either current or past), make sure the beginning of your meditation offers acknowledgment and respect to that culture and religion. Have a plan for bringing and using any crystals or other tools. If visiting alone or at risky times, have a safety plan in place.
For the meditation itself, begin with any acknowledgments and respect for the culture whose site you are at. Then, move into an acknowledgment of the site itself and its energies. The meditation path is yours from there. Are you on a journey, seeking assistance from the energies of the space? Are you just looking to connect with and express gratitude to the world at large through a sacred space? Do you need some healing or closure that might only be found through the assistance of powerful energies in a sacred space? Whatever your reasons for meditating, feel your body, mind, and spirit connect with the site you are at and visualize the energies around you. And don’t discount the benefits of a walking meditation for larger sites.
This article is from our Mabon issue of Wicca Magazine. Click Here To View What’s Inside our current issue.