Actually, our timeshare is not particularly sharing w/the wi-fi & I didn't want to spend my vacation sitting in the owner's lounge, the lobby or the Starbucks down the street.
Vegas is always full of surprises. We have been scraping away at the seedy underbelly of that beast for years with the goal of uncovering the rich, juicy entrails that make our visits worthwhile. This means staying as far away from the tourist magnets as humanly possible & seeking out the local businesses, thrift stores, small museums, kick-ass off-strip restaurants. Someday, we'll have it down to a science.
This round, we made it to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, a stop long overdue. I'm not sure why we never made it there before, but hooray for us! Hooray for them! The museum is relatively small, but they are working their tails off to build something that gives back to the community. We had a great time & will visit again. Of course, plugging the museum is not the purpose of this post (nor is gushing about the vast ungulate display that made my head explode -- I'll save that for another post). So, onward to the surprises, goddess-worship & suchlike.
|Scandinavian Yule Goat.|
There in the front-centre of the left wall (not hidden in the corner, mindyou) was a case dedicated to Yule. Not "Yule" as part of the Christmas season, not "Yule" as Pagan holiday-past, but Yule as in the here-&-now, Winter Solstice-style, Pagan-observance. Silly me, I neglected to take a photo of it (luckily, I found one) -- probably because I was busy being obsessed with the Yule Goat with whom I instantaneously fell in love. In fact, in my goat-y delirium, I nearly missed the most surprising aspect of the Yule display.
|Winter Solstice Exhibit, photo from sekhmettemple.com|
After wandering off through the Egyptian exhibit, something made me think I needed to revisit the Yule case. There I found it. Around to the right side of the centre pedestal was an informational poster:
|How did a Temple to an Egyptian Goddess end up in the Nevada desert?|
"Forty mile north of Las Vegas, to the left of US Highway 95, a modest straw-bale and stucco building stands in the Nevada desert. Its cream colored exterior contrasts sharply against the blue sky.Now that's dedication.
It is the Temple of Goddess Spirituality, dedicated to Sekhmet.
The top of the structure features an open dome, made of six interlocking metal rings forming a lotus. The four undoored arches designate the directions: north, south, east and west. creating an unobstructed entrance for the elements and weather extremes of the area. Inside is a fire pit, surrounded by a guard of dancing women, linked by the phases of the moon. Along the walls are a life-size statue of Sekhmet, the lion headed goddess of ten thousand names, Madre del Mundo, the Virgin of Guadalupe and numerous other female deities.
Philanthropist/writer/activist Genevieve Vaughan, bought 20 acres of land and funded construction of the Temple in 1992, fulfilling a promise she had made 30 years earlier in Luxor, Egypt. Having trouble conceiving, Genevieve had asked Sekhmet to bless her with children, promising to build her a Temple in return. Genevieve was pregnant with her first daughter before leaving Egypt, followed by two others in the following years.
The core values of the temple are: Goddess Spirituality, Peace and the Gift Economy. The focus of the Temple is to bring balance to planet Earth by embracing the feminine aspects of divinity, and returning power to women.
Men are welcomed and honored here, but women are the ones to prepare and lead ritual, build and tend the temple fire.
Rituals are open to everyone, men women and children, except New Moons, and an occasional "women only" event.
All are welcome to come experience the peace and quite beauty of this unique building and the surrounding grounds, which include a labyrinth, Guest house, cactus and rose gardens.
The Temple is open to the public from 8am to 6pm daily. Night visits are by appointment only. Alcohol, firearms and pets are not permitted on the grounds.
Private tours and rituals, overnight stays or conversation and a cup of tea with the priestess may be arranged by contacting the Temple prior to your arrival. www.sekhmettemple.com"
I could ramble on & on about all we found exploring the Temple website this morning; the Temple Herstory, the Goddess Temple Virtual Tour, the Temple's commitment to a Gift-Economy, the Temple blog & projects ranging from beekeeping to sacred art, but I will leave the discovery to you. If, my goddess-loving friends, you finish reading up on the Temple & find yourself with an overpowering urge for a pilgrimage, we just might have a timeshare you can borrow for a few days. That is, if you can live sans internet for awhile.