You never know who you are going to meet at a hand built, acoustically perfect, alien-inspired dome built atop a geomagnetic field deep in the desert....
Though I don't meet Brad Pitt, I do meet a White Witch, a Dahn Yogi expert, a Tai Chi instructor, a Magician, a Harry Potter enthusiast, a Pescatarian, an Alien Communicator, and a Visionary....
AND THEY ARE (HE IS) ALL THE SAME PERSON.
He approaches me as I wait to be led inside The Integratron, along with 30 other people, to experience an hour long sonically healing sound-bath.
"Is this your first time here?"
He wears a pair of thick round Harry Potter eye-glasses topped with a pair of rectangular sunglasses. I count about 18 different crystal necklaces hanging from his neck. Evil eye bracelets cover both his wrists, and he punctuates each of his sentences by pounding on his stomach. It's like a Tarzan-esque chest-pound-- but not at all like that.
This is his 22nd visit to the Integraton, and when I ask him to describe the experience in one word, he doesn't hesitate at all, and answers "ZEN".
While he massages the many crystals and charms that dangle from his neck, I point to the biggest one that looks like an amethyst and ask what significance it has for him.
Again, without hesitation he says:
I wonder whether he needs protection from his alien friends, or from possible black magic, or maybe from the many visions of people he has... and then he finishes his explanation:
"It's Protection from being drunk"
I tell him I need protection from protection of being drunk, and slowly (quickly) make my way to the rest of the group that make their way inside the dome.
The dome is fascinating. There are two levels. The first level has exhibitions and shrines detailing the Dome's history and founder, George Von Tassel, and the second level is where the magic happens.
We are told to take our shoes off, and to walk up a ladder one at a time to the upper level of the dome. There are soft mats and blankets lined up around the room.
Smack in the center of the room is a wooden box. We each stand on it and say or whisper or sing a word. We can hear the vibration of our voices, but more than that- we can feel it. Like we are inside a giant womb and we are cats and our voices are purrs. It's a sound and a feeling that actually seems other-worldly- because....maybe it is?
One of the owners explains the history of the dome and settles in to play us some singing crystal bowls. There are about twenty bowls, all different shapes and sounds. The sound-chime of the bowls penetrate us all deep on a cellular level- basically, the music bathes our chakras in sound. The owner instructs us to lay back, close our eyes, and be open to whatever we experience- whether it's sonic healing, rejuvenation, relaxation, weightlessness, euphoria, or in some cases... time travel.
The sound of the bowls is intense. The notes overlap and sing to and against each other and it's beautiful and emotional and communal yet extremely internal and solo and unpredictable. Most people are on their backs, but some sit straight up, their palms facing the ceiling ready to receive. I witness pleasure and sadness and child-like curiosity on even the oldest members of our group.
Both the sound and the individual responses to the sound is just, in a word: pure.
At some point during the hour, most of us experience sleep, even deep sleep. And we also experience some lady snoring so loudly that we all involuntarily experience laughter.
So, next time you're in the Palm Springs area, or visiting Joshua Tree National Park, the Integratron is for sure worth a visit. Make a reservation in advance, and be sure to tell the White Witch that I say hello...
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