By Valerie Brown, JD, MA, PCC
Have you heard the term a ‘thin place’?
A thin place describes the distance between heaven and earth, a place where the space between the sacred and the secular is ‘thin’. The term comes from Celtic spirituality and the Celtic people, who feel deeply connected to the natural world and consider every aspect of life to be infused with the presence of the ‘thinness’, and especially the ordinary aspects of daily life.
While historically the ancient Celts viewed thin places to be locations or days of the year where the veil between the material world and the spiritual realm diminished, today thin places are more commonly considered places in which there is an undeniable connection to the sacred.
Some thin places have been well-known to seekers for centuries and have become popular places of pilgrimage, such as Amritsar, India, the Santiago de Compostela in Spain, or the Kii Peninsula of Japan, and many more. This blog post focuses on Ghost Ranch, a 21,000 acre wilderness ranch in northern New Mexico, USA as ‘this place’.
Sacred, spiritual, deeply inspirational places have voice. They say: ‘Pause, notice, breathe.’ They pull us out of mundane preoccupations and into timelessness, awe, and wonder. Sometimes they are stripped down, elemental landscapes, where you feel an immediate connection with the land and with Spirit. From time immemorial people have journeyed to these places to pray, to be, to be transformed from the inside out.
Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico, USA, A ‘Thin Place’
I came to Ghost Ranch, 21,000 acres of wilderness in northern New Mexico, in the United States, in the summer of 1978. I tooled around Albuquerque on the back of my boyfriend’s motorcycle, exploring Santa Fe, Taos, and surroundings and came upon the red rocks and the painted desert of Ghost Ranch made famous by the iconic American painter, Georgia O’Keeffe. The ranch touched a spark, something inexpressible within me. I remember feeling an internal shift and stripping away of everything except the land, an intimacy with nature—down to bare essentials.
Since then, I’ve returned to the ranch as a place of renewal, beauty, and healing. I’ve worked at Ghost Ranch as a farm hand, planting garlic, studying herbs with a local curandero, and leading spiritual retreats for hundreds of people, sharing the enchantment of this 21,000 acre wilderness ranch.
Ghost Ranch is a place that gives voice to ‘your whole self’, to ponder the big questions of life purpose, meaning, and direction. Ghost Ranch is a place of attunement to the land, the people, the mesas, deserts, arroyos, and canyons, offering the promise of prayer, paradox, and possibility.
Join Us at Ghost Ranch, A ‘Thin Place’
Join me and Carol Kortsch this Fall at Ghost Ranch for Journey Toward Wholeness: A Courage & Renewal® Retreat, based on the work of American educator Parker J. Palmer, November 10-15, 2019.
Listen to this podcast on why Ghost Ranch is a ‘thin place’ and what you can expect when you join us at the ranch for this very special retreat.
View this short 2-minute video on the power and beauty of Ghost Ranch. 2019 Ghost Ranch – Long.mp4
Register here. Space is limited: https://www.sdijourneys.org/2019-new-mexico-usa