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January 2009

Hope Peace Wigwam?

Saturday I ran into my neighbor Lisa at the Hope General Store. She is a creative high school English teacher.  She want to build a Wamanaug wetu with her students, and asked me what I know about the structure.  I don't know anything, but after our sweat lodge on New Year's Day, a new vision dawned.

What if we built a first, temporary Peace Chamber in the style of the Abenaki wigwams? The structure is sapling frame and bark shingles. I went to the Google Goddess and did my first research.

The Wampanaug in coastal Massachusetts built domed structures. The Abenaki in Maine more often made conical teepee shaped structures. Either would work, but the dome feels more suitable for the Peace Chamber. Ash or birch bark was often used. I have mostly ash in my woods, some birch, but I don't like to cut the mature birch unless it has died.

It feels like a good solution to create a physical place to chant while we continue fund raising and gathering the energy for a more permanent building. Lisa and I can share resources and energy on our two wigwam projects.

Here is a picture from the  Plimouth Plantation website, of modern day Wampanaug men building a wetu following the ways of their ancestors:


Artist's concept

I have always envisioned the Hope Peace Chamber as made of native Maine materials: Rock foundation, wood structure. A lot of it could come right off this land, perhaps. Though it may in the long run be cheaper and easier to order dimension lumber from the lumber yard. We also need to be mindful of our seasons: the need for warmth, and shedding the snow load, and the movement of runoff in the spring and during nor'easters.

While puzzling over these decisions, and pondering ways to raise money, I made a watercolor sketch of how the Peace Chamber may look, in its simple form.

Peace Chamber watercolor Sept 21

What is a Peace Sound Chamber?

A Peace Sound Chamber is an oval structure, usually domed, partially underground partially above ground. It is a mystical place, vibrationally connected to and expressing the land it is built upon. Peace Chambers are used for chanting, ceremony, sound healing.

The Peace Chamber is the Vision of Joseph Rael, Beautiful Painted Arrow. In his book, Being and Vibration, he describes his vision of receiving the Peace Chamber:

“I asked for a vision which might show me how best to serve the earth and honor all of life. Then, in the summer of 1983, I received a vision… The cosmic Mother /Father came in a flash of light, a point of illumination, which lasted only two or three seconds. I cannot begin to explain this vision, it was so beautiful… In the vision I was shown people praying… and singing… together in a Sacred Sound Chamber resonating with light. The chamber was an oval structure of mud …and straw….partly underground and partly above ground. It was a house of the sound of presentness, a structure built to reverberate sound. The melodious chanting of men… and women… was a reflection of people whose spirits and voices resonated in absolute harmony to balance the present, the future, and the memory of how the cosmos is oriented through the use of sound . . .

In the vision I was given my task -- to build sound chambers around the world.”

©Joseph Rael, Being and Vibration,1993

At Hope Peace Ceremonies, we've known the site of the Peace Chamber for a few years. Someday I'll write the story of that vision. For now here is picture of the site, where I have been moving a big rock. As you can see with the sloping ledge, we have some powerful energy here, and some interesting construction challenges.