Spiritual Sites

Religion is a fascinating subject. The rich and varied traditions people have developed throughout history in their search for spiritual truths can be a divisive and contentious matter.

I’m comfortable with my personal faith yet intrigued by what others believe. I’d like to think I’m open-minded to the understanding of other religions or spiritual beliefs and thus enjoy visiting various sacred sites.

Sedona Arizona Spiritual journey
Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park, Sedona, Arizona

“Seek truth and you will find more questions than answers.”

Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona

We’re asked to showcase photographs of churches and spiritual centers for this week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge. I immediately knew which places I wanted to share.

French Gothic Architecture

When our daughter was still living in Colorado, we’d enjoy visiting. One year we were able to spend the summer a mere twenty-minute drive from downtown Denver. Sundays turned into our city hiking days. We discovered so many interesting places by walking up and down various streets.

One of my favorite discoveries was the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The architecture is reminiscent of cathedrals found in Europe, and I was thrilled to explore this one in Denver, Colorado.

Spanish Colonial Architecture

No visit to Tucson, Arizona, would be complete without stopping by Mission San Xavier del Bac. Although my taste tends to lean toward the European cathedral type of architecture, I’m in love with this Spanish Colonial structure.

From an architectural point of view, I’m intrigued by how different Mission San Xavier del Bac is in comparison to the Cathedral Basilica. Both serve Catholic parishioners both are rich in history, but that’s where the similarities appear to end.

Stunning structures that amaze me!

Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona

Spiritual Enlightenment and a Vortex

Sedona, Arizona, is well known for its breathtaking landscape, but that’s not all. Among the beautiful red rock are vortexes. A vortex is thought to be a swirling center of energy that is conducive to healing, meditation, and self-exploration. There are several such sites located throughout the Sedona area, one of which is located at the Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park.

The stupa is one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on earth, dating back to the time of the Buddha, 2600 years ago. A stupa is considered to be the living presence of the Buddha and as such represents the Mind of Enlightenment. Stupas have been built to avert war, end famine, and promote prosperity and well-being. Their sole purpose is to bring benefit to all living beings.

Whenever my daughter and I visit Sedona, we always set aside time to visit the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. We make sure to walk the trails around the property and stop by the ‘vortex’. I’m not sure what it is, but we always walk away feeling a bit more peaceful inside.

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, man cannot live without a spiritual life.” – Buddha

Till next time

32 thoughts on “Spiritual Sites

  1. It sure is nice to see you active here again! As always, I enjoy your posts thanks for sharing. 🙂


  2. Speaking of Spanish churches, Ingrid, have you ever been to the San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church in Taos. It has to be one of my all time favorites and has been capturing artists and photographers for decades ranging from Georgia O’Keeffe to Ansel Adams.


    1. Gosh, I think the last time we were in Taos was 2008 or 10 and don’t remember visiting a mission. Hmm, another reason to return. NM has so many hidden gems.


  3. The Presidio La Bahia in Goliad Texas is an amazing place…You can camp on the Mission grounds and they still have services at the mission. The Presidio itself is a very solemn place and is rich in history of Texas independence. There was a great loss of life there during the war….If you ever get back to Texas, I encourage you kids to go to Goliad State Park…Lots of “channeling history”….


    1. When I was compiling this post, I was torn on how many sites to share. I loved visiting the missions and reading the history while exploring TX. Unfortunately, I never captured the greatest of photos, thus none of the missions made the cut for this post. But I agree, the Presidio La Bahia in Goliad was worth visiting.


  4. I’m enjoying seeing photos from you!
    I also enjoyed the contrast of the architectural varieties.
    And for all the times we have been to Sedona… I have never visited the Stupa. We will need to see that next time.
    Have a great week!


    1. Thanks Nance. The Stupa is an interesting site and you’ll want to explore some of the trails around it. Allowing about an hour to visit is usually enough. Hope you have some desert explorer to do this week before the high temps arrive.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How interesting to contrast those two very different architectural styles in the Catholic places of worship! You’re right that the first looks very European – which may be why I’m more drawn to the Tucson one, especially your opening shot of it with the bare tree 🙂 I also really like your last shot of the Buddha and prayer flags. That’s something I’d expect to see in many Asian countries but it was a surprise to me to learn these photos were taken in the US!


    1. I thought showcasing the diverse structures of the Catholic churches would be interesting to my readers. I know I find it fascinating. The Stupa discovery in Arizona of all places was a great find. I always enjoy my visits there and of course San Xavier in Tucson is indeed a beautiful place and another one of my favorites.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ingrid,
    Between you and Terri, I’m learning that there is more to Sedona than red rocks and shopping. I’ve visited the area twice and knew nothing about the vortex. I’ll have to go back, but I’ll get in touch before I go. Thanks for sharing your awesome photos, and have a great week.


    1. Next time you and Helen are traveling through AZ, let’s arrange a rendezvous in Sedona. Even if we don’t have another rig by then, we have a few other options of where to stay. There’s probably a few hidden gems I could share with you.


  7. A number of years ago, we spent a weekend in Providence, Rhode Island, to attend a WaterFire event. We spent our Sunday morning wandering through the city admiring the amazing architecture. Churches, whether in our largest cities or our smallest towns across the country, always have incredibly intriguing architecture. Lovely photos, Ingrid – it’s such a treat to see you back behind your camera!


    1. That summer in Denver was the first time I discovered how much fun ‘city hiking’ can be. I just went with our local camera club on an architectural photo tour in downtown Phoenix. Is there such a thing as too sunny and too blue a sky 🤣 It wasn’t the best condition for photography but fun nonetheless. I’ve definitely rediscovered my joy of photography.


  8. Both your images of the churches are stunning, Ingrid! Amazing how architecture is developed for the area a building will inhabit. Cathedrals and Missions are always fascinating to see. At one point I had visited several missions in California and Mexico and was collecting ceramic crosses (they must still be packed)! I had heard of the stupas but didn’t realize there was one at a vortex point in Sedona. Great examples of your visits and experiences.


    1. I love the missions and history in Texas but didn’t want to make the post too long. Fascinating how the Spanish spread Catholicism. Next time you’re in Sedona, I highly recommend you visit the Stupa. Beautiful surroundings.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tuscon has some great old churches. It’s a bit strange finding French Gothic in the desert. The Mission San Xavier del Bac is a more suitable style for the desert. Sedona certainly has its vortex vibes. It’s kind of like Taos.


    1. There are a couple of churches in Phx that have a European vibe to them but nothing like the one in Denver. I agree, the Spanish style of architecture seems more fitting for a desert setting.

      Liked by 1 person

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