I think one goes to the California desert to either to find yourself, or to lose yourself.
Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference between the two.
I love the California desert. So much so, that when I die, I want my remains cremated and scattered to the desert winds. Preferably cast by a loved one from some point in Joshua Tree National Park...atop a large rock formation, or from the lookout point at Key's View.
The desert, and Joshua Tree National Park in particular, makes me feel both a sense of unity with the natural world, and infinitesimally small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I feel comforted, and also a sense of awe in that any of this (life, the universe, everything) ever came to be. How? Why? I do not know.
I love the weirdness, and the wildness of the desert. I love the weird and wild people it attracts.
George Van Tassel, who built the Integratron, was one of those people. A former aeronautical engineer, Van Tassel spent 18 years constructing the Integratron purportedly based on Moses’ Tabernacle, the writings of Nikola Tesla and telepathic directions from extraterrestrials.
According to the website the Integratron is a "one-of-a-kind building... 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, non-metallic structure originally designed... as a rejuvenation and time machine. Today, it is the only all-wood, acoustically perfect sound chamber in the U.S."
We went to receive a Sound Bath there, and it was truly a unique experience. Even if you think Van Tassel and his theories were/are looney -tunes, it's still worth visiting the Integratron just to hear the acoustics of the site. After our session I felt totally relaxed yet happy and energized.
Just a few hundred feet from the Inegratron is a dirt road that you can take out to Giant Rock- a huge, freestanding boulder out in the middle of nowhere. Taking some kind of truck or vehicle with 4 wheel drive is a must. We didn't --and were lucky we didn't get stuck in the sand!
This site was once considered sacred by the ancient indigenous peoples of the area. So sacred, only the shamans of the tribes were allowed to approach the area. Sadly, the site is now a party spot for kids --covered in graffiti, littered with broken glass and beer cans. Even though this was a bit depressing to see, this kind of thing is also a part of the desert experience: abandoned sites and structures, decay and disintegration. I wish we could have spent some time in the Park, but by that point we were ready to hit the road back to L.A.
For more on the Integratron and the Soundbaths offered there check out this beautiful post on the Sphinx and the Milky Way, a new-to -me blog I have been enjoying of late.