|The Dragon and the Ice Castle
Rediscovery of Sacred Space in the Finger Lakes
Part One: Chapter Twenty Four
January 27, 1988 I discovered my first dragon. It resides quietly in the center of New York coiled around the City of Syracuse. In seeking a name for this dragon, I'm impressed it's in Onondaga County, surrounds the Town of Onondaga, dips her tail in Onondaga Lake, her head is on Onondaga Nation Territory in a land whose topography is formed by Onondaga Limestone. So I call her Onondaga Dragon.
A dragon unites Fire and Water, linking together these opposite qualities of power.
Fire, in Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of landscape design, is represented by a mountain, which rises up to gather Heaven's Force, including sunlight, lightning, clouds, and magnetism. So, in looking at the Earth's surface for signs of a dragon, the major mountain in a region is the Fire center. As light and illumination, Fire is associated with Mind. So the mountain is the head of the dragon.
Water streams flow off mountains, running through the low spaces of the landscape. While water seeks the lowest spaces, ridges and promontories are the corresponding high spaces, and also channel streams of energy. Charged waters of these streams gather in "hollow" spaces in the landscape as ponds and lakes. These low lying water pools are “'holy vessels," which collect and store Earth energies. So the principal lake in a region is the opposite pole to the mountain's Fire.
Ridges and rivers link mountain's Fire with lake's Water, and are conduits to allow subtle energies and invisible power in the Earth to circulate. In Feng Shui streams and ridges are "veins of the dragon." The size and relationship of the Fire and Water centers determines the shape and patterns of energy flow in the land. They are the dragon's body.
Onondaga Dragon's Water center is Onondaga Lake. Her tail dips in Onondaga Lake just north of the NYS Fairgrounds. From this tip projecting into Onondaga Lake her lower spine proceeds southwest through Nine Mile Creek Valley to the hamlet of Martisco. From there Onondaga Dragon turns south through a narrow valley to the Town of Marcellus. There the dragon leaves Nine Mile Valley to curl east past Disappearing Lake to Pumpkin Hollow. The upper torso of Onondaga Dragon winds south and east through Cedarvale Valley to intersect Onondaga Valley at Onondaga Nation Territory.
The head of Onondaga Dragon is The Big Hill, which occupies the southeast end of the Onondaga Nation Territory. This modest 1500 foot mountain is the Fire center.
Fire Meets Water
Onondaga County divides into two roughly equal size geologic regions. On the north rolling sandy hills of the Ontario Lake Plain range in elevation from 300-450 feet. In the south rocky ridges of the Alleghany Plateau rise from 400 to 1900 feet near Tully. The dividing line between these two regions is a rise of low, rocky hills and ridges referred to as the Onondaga Escarpment. This marks the first protrusion of Alleghany Plateau bedrock out of the flat, sandy Lake Plain.
Onondaga Escarpment is the edge of a bed of hard sedimentary rock extending hundreds of miles south through New York into Pennsylvania to meet the ancient folds of Appalachian Mountains. The Escarpment marks the break between two regions with distinct geology, hydrology, topography, ecology, and human culture. It's the boundary between Fire and Water, between mountain plateau and lake plain.
WATER: The character and spirit of land north of the Escarpment is Water. North of the Escarpment Ontario Lake Plain consists of deep sandy soils saturated with water. When the last Ice Age ended 10,000 years ago this region was covered by a continental glacier several thousand feet thick. This glacial ice and water deposited thick beds of glacial sand. As this glacier melted its waters flooded the plain to form a huge inland sea called Lake Iroquois. Lake Ontario is a remnant of this Lake which submerged the area in the post-glacial era.
When Europeans first arrived much of this land was low lying swamps broken by clusters of low but dry hills. These wetlands were vastly more extensive than now and inhabited by unbelievably abundant wildlife. In the early 1800s, nearly all these wetlands were drained. Much was converted to muck farms growing vegetables. West of Onondaga County along the NYS Thruway Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge preserves a tiny remnant of the enormous wetlands which only 150 years ago covered the Lake Plain north of the Finger Lakes. In Onondaga County Cicero Swamp and Three Rivers Game Area are all that remain of these once vast wetlands.
FIRE: The character and spirit of land south of Onondaga Escarpment is Fire. South of the Escarpment land rises slowly yet steadily up in steps over a series of hills and ridges. Each rise in the series marks exposure of a layer of harder limestone rock. Onondaga Escarpment is the north edge of Onondaga Limestone capping the first ridges of Alleghany Plateau.
The steady rise of the Alleghany Plateau is cut at intervals by long north-south valleys. Originally these were north flowing stream valleys, but the Ice Ages sent fingers of glacial ice down the valleys to gouge them deeper and wider. As a result the valleys aren't narrowly "V" shaped, but are widely "U" shaped. The glaciers left over 100 feet of sand and gravel in the valleys.
These valleys contain the Finger Lakes. Each is where Water (ice) intruded into the Fire of the highlands. So the border between Fire and Water isn't a smooth line but is deeply serrated like comb's teeth. Cradled in long, deep and wide north-south valleys, the Finger Lakes are a unique geologic and geomantic arrangement of energy and land, Fire and Water.
At Onondaga Valley's south end a second series of ridges is crowned by Tully Limestone of the Tully Escarpment. It's here Onondaga Valley's floor abruptly rises 200 feet to top a massive pile of glacial debris—a terminal moraine deposited at the south margin of the continental glacier's advance in the last Ice Age.
Bones of the Earth
The major geological features of the plateau region of south Onondaga County are shaped by Onondaga Limestone. This bed of hard, durable bedrock is 12-15 feet thick and extends from the Helderbergs near Albany across NYS to Lake Erie near Niagara Falls. It's the thickest, most continuous bed of limestone in NY, and played a major role in New York history.
Onondaga Limestone is the cap of hard rock atop the first ridges which rise from the Ontario Lake Plain at the north end of the Finger Lakes. This rock was laid down on an ancient sea floor in the Devonian Age 450 million years ago. It's not level, but tips downwards towards the south, dropping five to ten feet for each mile traveled south. Limestone outcroppings are common and often dramatic throughout southern Onondaga County.
Limestone is uniquely fascinating rock. It's no mere mineral like quartz, granite, sandstone, or shale. Rather, it's the compressed and fossilized shells of ancient sea life. Earth's oceans were warmer 450 million years ago and sea life blossomed with organisms which formed tiny shells by combining calcium (Ca) with carbon dioxide (CO2) to make insoluble calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This removed CO2 from the atmosphere, reducing the now famous "greenhouse" effect, eventually lowering the warm atmospheric temperatures. In death the skeletal shells rained down on the ocean floor piling into thick beds. Limestone is the fossilized bones of this primitive ocean life. Limestone is a concentration of calcium crystallized out of Earth's early oceans by living organisms.
So limestone is a crystalline rock, but it's a biological crystal skeletons of ancient sea life. In 450 million years these bones became the bones of the Finger Lakes landscape. Calcium is the principal mineral in our own bones. Limestone was a favored building stone in the last century—much of the Erie Canal was built with it. In this century limestone is transformed into cement, the plastic rock that's the bones of civilization.
Limestone is alkaline in chemistry while most other rock, such as granite, shale and coal, is acidic. In agriculture, lime is an important "enrichment" added to soil. Lime sweetens soil and lowers its acidity (pH). In our blood calcium neutralizes acids by forming salts which are excreted by the kidneys.
Soils above the limestone bedrock of this upland region are alkaline. This change in soil pH changes the vegetation which grows and covers the ground, and sweetens the water in streams and lakes. Thus not only is the topography unique, but the trees and plants that blanket this region are distinctive.
Onondaga Limestone is underlain by softer sandstone and shale. These softer layers are worn away by streams. Gradually limestone is undercut and eventually falls away, leaving a deep narrow valley with a hanging waterfall. There's dozens of these beautiful landforms throughout the Finger Lakes. The highest is Taughannock Falls northwest of Ithaca along Cayuga Lake.
Another landscape feature associated with limestone are caverns. Although hard and resistant to weathering and erosion, limestone is dissolved by water running along joints and cracks. Softer rocks beneath the limestone erode away leaving underground passages. Limestone forms the roof of these caverns and contributes calcium salts to the seeping, dripping waters which precipitate and harden into columns. These stalactites and >stalagmites grow about one inch every 100 years.
New York's largest and most famous limestone cave is Howe Cavern in Schoharie County east of Syracuse. The Schoharie countryside is laced with caves due to its underlying limestone formations. Howe Cavern's discovery in 1842 by farmer Lester Howe created a worldwide sensation. It's 2.5 miles long and 200 feet deep. The ancient river which began to carve the cavern 6 million years ago still rushes through it. Inside it's a steady 52 degrees and a well beaten path winds through snaking passageways, lofty chambers, deep black pools and sparkling columns of stalactites and stalagmites. Names like "Witch of the Grotto", "Chinese Pagoda", "Lake Venus", and “Titan's Temple" suggest the myth and fantasy associated with this underground world. Howe Caverns attracts 250,000 visitors each year.
Limestone occurs in remarkable consistency at sacred sites throughout the Earth, often in association with caves and mineral springs. From Pyramids to Jerusalem to Delphi to the Parthenon to great European cathedrals to Mayan and Inca ruins in the New World -limestone is there. Its pale white crowns the Grand Canyon in the Four Comers of America.
Near Onondaga County's center is Onondaga Lake, easternmost in the chain of Finger Lakes. This oval lake is five miles long and one mile wide, and tilts about 40 degrees west of north. Along its west side a peninsula of land projects out into the lake, dividing the lake into two unequal sections. At its north end a large channel, the "State Ditch", drains lake water into the Seneca River, which then meanders north into Lake Ontario at Oswego. Three major streams carry fresh water into the lake: Nine Mile Creek from the west, Onondaga Creek from the south and Ley Creek from the southeast.
The Finger Lakes are a sacred area of North America. The Four Corners in the Southwest is identified as a sacred center of North America. The arid, hot, mile high Colorado Plateau, punctured by volcanoes and cut by the Grand Canyon, is the Fire center of Turtle Island.
At the opposite corner of America, the Great Lakes of the Northeast are the Water center of Turtle Island. This is seen by the Great Lakes, which sweep west to form a vast wetland in the interior of Turtle Island. This area embraces not only the lakes but also swamps inhabited by abundant plant and animal life. Beyond Lake Superior, this waterlogged land then breaks up into thousands of small lakes in Minnesota and Canada.
The Finger Lakes themselves are a special part of this large area of North America which is heavy with water. And the Finger Lakes are the sacred area within this region. They are unique landscape features not only within the physical science of Geology, but also the spiritual science of Geomancy as well.
The Finger Lakes are the eastern gateway into this sacred Water center of North America. Only two channels penetrate the wall of ancient mountains which protect Turtle Island's interior: the St. Lawrence River from the northeast and the Hudson-Mohawk Rivers from the east. Both of these passages converge on Lake Ontario, and the Finger Lakes penetrate the rocky highlands south of the Ontario Lake Plain.
A lake is a hollow vessel filled with water. In Geomancy a lake is like a drum—it resonates the deeper impulses of the Earth's energy fields. Even as waves are driven across a lake's surface by the winds above the Earth, so the lake's water reverberates low frequency energy pulses arising from within the Earth.
The Great Lakes are like giant kettle drums resonating deep bass pulses of North America. In contrast, the smaller, long, deep, and narrow Finger Lakes are like cymbals tuned to higher frequencies. Each Finger Lake resonates special higher frequencies of Earth energy. The entire range of lakes forms a geomantic musical scale along the serrated margin between Fire (Alleghany Plateau) & Water (Ontario Lake Plain).
The geomantic energy of this sweeping chain of Finger Lakes come to its eastern focus at Onondaga Lake. This focal point is the peninsula of land where Nine Mile Creek's mouth juts from the lake's west shoreline. Onondaga Lake itself sits at the edge of Onondaga Escarpment, the first rise of the Alleghany Plateau. A shelf of limestone bedrock at the lake's north end fixes the lake's water level. Thus Onondaga Lake noses onto the flat, sandy Ontario Lake Plain, while its foot is tucked into the ridges of the Plateau.
Onondaga Lake is naturally—but mildly—salty. Salt springs around and under the lake make it as salty as the ocean. There are very few such naturally salty lakes on Earth, and each is special. This gives Onondaga Lake a special status among the Finger Lakes.
In the 1980's Onondaga Lake is nearly dead. The salt industry which took root at its south end used it as a dumping pond. Industrial pollution poisoned the fish and city sewage banned swimming. It's cited in federal studies as America's most polluted lake. Only the top 6 feet of its 60 feet depth has any biological activity; the lower layers are a thick, dark soup of chloride laden water; the bottom is several feet of black ooze.
It's possible a new era of Onondaga Lake history is how dawning. In 1987, Allied—by then owned by Honeywell—closed Solvay Process, and the last salt industry vanished. The county has improved its sewage system and is being forced to make more improvements. Most industrial pollution has been identified and halted. Pyramid Co., with support from Syracuse's Mayor, is leading a strategy to remove Oil City's tank farms and aged industry to build a new community south of the lakeshore. In 1988, for the first time, Onondaga County held a summer "Waterfest" of boat races, concerts, fireworks and special events on the lake. New York's Dept. of Environmental Conservation is developing plans for the lake's cleanup. In 1988, scientists observed unusual amounts of biological activity in the lake, and on three occasions had clear views 18 feet into its normally murky waters.
The Big Hill
Fire Center of this region is a mountain at the south end of Onondaga Nation immediately south of Syracuse. This is the head of the Onondaga Dragon. Just over 1000 feet high (450 to 1500 feet elevation), this mountain is plainly visible on USGS topographic maps as a distinct formation separate from the north-south ridges which line Onondaga Creek Valley. This modest mountain is notable for five reasons:
1) It interrupts the straight line path of Onondaga Valley, forcing it to detour in an arc two miles west, and then return east to its original north-south line;
2) It's covered with older forests which remained relatively undisturbed for decades—one of the largest single stand of older forest in central New York;
3) It has no roads, houses, powerlines, or other man-made structures anywhere on it. This is remarkable, since it's immediately south of New York's 4th largest city;
4) It's flat and level across most of its long, narrow summit which is turned a few degrees west of north; and,
5) Unlike all other high points around, it has no name on official maps, including USGS topographic maps. Even the Onondagas refer to it by an inconspicuous name: The Big Hill.
As you drive south through Syracuse on I-81, The Big Hill is plainly visible on the south horizon for most of the journey until I-81 bends east to pass around it towards Lafayette. It's remarkable how this single feature commands this south horizon, yet remains obscure, unnamed and unsettled.
Several kinds of mineral waters flow out from underneath this mountain. Especially abundant is sulfur water on the north slopes along Hemlock Creek. Sulfur waters also appear south of the Big Hill. There's even a bubbling sulfur mud spring located a little ways down Onondaga Valley south near Cardiff.
Sulfur is also known as brimstone, and is associated with fire, and, of course, with dragons.
Strangely, from here came the Cardiff Giant, dubbed America's Greatest Hoax. In 1868, Binghamton cigar maker George Hull had a ten foot man carved from limestone. This statue was "aged" in sulfuric acid and buried on his cousin's farm in Cardiff. The next year it was "discovered" by workmen sent to dig a well. This limestone creature was claimed to be an Onondaga Giant, a genuine fossilized man, a relic of an ancient age. Hull charged 50 cents a peek as people came by hundreds to see this "prehistoric man." Hull made a fortune. Debate raged among archaeologists whether Onondaga Giant was a petrified man or a statue carved by an ancient race. Months after its discovery Hull confessed to the charade, but the Cardiff Giant continued tour state and county fairs. In 1947, it was bought by the New York State Historical Association and is still exhibited at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown.
The Onondaga Limestone which passes beneath this mountain is laced with networks of water-worn passages and caves. This geological action of the water has formed many famous caverns, including Howe Caverns near Cherry Valley, and the caverns by the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Although there are no records of large caves in central New York, the Onondagas believe caves lead down beneath The Big Hill.
Beside the head of the Onondaga Dragon is a settlement of native Americans that is the capital of the oldest surviving democracy in the New World: Onondaga Nation. This nation is a member of the “Iroquois," or Six Nations Confederacy. Of all the original red race which inhabits Turtle Island, the Iroquois are among the last sovereign nations left. They are a distinct and unique race, culture, government and religion. Onondaga Nation has successfully maintained its political independence as an autonomous country throughout 300 years of invasion by Europeans. In late January, 1988, new signs erected by the New York Highway Dept. on I-81 south of Syracuse announced: Exit 16 Onondaga Nation Territory. These signs mark, for the first time in 200 years, official public recognition of this independent nation within New York and the United States.
Onondagas state firmly that they were put in central NY by the Creator. To them, this lake and mountain country is their navel, their place of emergence on Earth, just as Jerusalem is the Holy City of Jews, Muslims and Christians. However, western archaeologists assert the Iroquois migrated down from the Canadian Shield after 1000 AD, and that all Amerindians migrated across the Bering Straits 35,000 years ago. It may be that neither is entirely wrong or entirely right.
Hiawatha Point on Onondaga Lake is the site of the founding of this original American democracy. At least 1000 years ago a spiritual teacher appeared among residents of the Finger Lakes. Remembered only as The Peacemaker, he taught people to adopt the Mind of the Creator, which is Reason, with which they could create Health, Righteousness and Power.
At Hiawatha Point on Onondaga Lake Peacemaker taught The Great Law of Peace and instructed the Five Nations how to form a free and peaceful society based on democratic ideas. Peacemaker's teaching of The Great Law of Peace is the Iroquois equivalent to Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount; it's the cornerstone of their traditional religious and political beliefs.
The first man to accept Peacemaker's teaching was an Onondaga named Hiawatha. The last man to accept his teaching was an Onondaga called Tadodaho. Peacemaker made Tadodaho head of the Five Nations Confederacy and Onondaga Nation its capital. In Peacemaker's words, Onondaga Nation is The Keeper of the Council Fire.
It can be no coincidence Onondaga Nation sits at the head of Onondaga Dragon. Rather, it precisely depicts their ancient, intuitive relationship to the land and spirit of the region.
On September 12, 1788 a first treaty was drawn up between the Onondaga Nation and New York State of the newly born United States of America. This Salt Treaty, ratified on June 16, 1790 by 28 Onondaga Chiefs, specified the Onondagoes do hereby cede and grant all their lands to the people of the State of New York forever, and that a tract of land of about 90 square miles south of Onondaga Lake (then called the Salt Lake) would be reserved for the Onondagas. The place of beginning to measure this land was the mouth where Onondaga Creek entered Onondaga Lake.
It also specified the Salt Lake and all land one mile round the same would be for the common benefit of the Onondagas and people of the State of New York for the purpose of making salt. The early white settlers were Revolutionary War soldiers who recieved grants of Iroquois land to pay for their military service. They cleared the ridges of forests to create farms.
In 1795, Onondaga Nation ceded the Salt Lake to New York, which created the Salt Springs Reservation. Salt industries obtained leases and extracted millions of barrels of salt (white gold) from land around the lake. Leases and salt tax provided most of early NY's revenue. Until the Civil War, the Salt Lake provided most of America's salt for cooking, preservation and industry.
Within a few decades a flood of Europeans overtook the region and Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse were established. By the early 1800's Onondaga Nation retained autonomy over only eleven square miles of their land. In the 1820's construction of the Erie Canal opened commercial access to the Finger Lakes and North America's interior. At the end of the 1800's railroads opened this first trickle into a mighty flood of humanity moving west, and natural resources moving east.
In 1988 Onondaga County sits at the crossroads at The Heart of New York, the Empire State, marked by the crossing of the New York State Thruway (I-90), Interstate 81, the Barge Canal, and the primary east-west and north-south railroad lines. Syracuse is New York's fourth largest metropolitan region, although the salt industry has shut down and left the region, leaving vast acres covered by huge beds of salt wastes.
Salt and Lime
In ancient myth and legend, dragons guard wealth and power buried in the Earth. Most often these are precious metals, such as gold and silver, and crystalline jewels. However, Onondaga Dragon is associated a different power—two of the most common earth minerals: sodium (Na) and calcium (Ca). Both are powerful alkalyzing agents in industry, biology and nutrition. Without them life couldn't exist and thrive, and would soon drown in acidic by-products of metabolism.
Large salt deposits lie deep under Onondaga Valley all the way south to Tully. Salt bubbles to the surface in natural springs under and around Onondaga Lake, making it one of the few naturally salty inland lakes in the world. Though it's fed by freshwater streams, Onondaga Lake was reported by early explorers to be as salty as the sea. Hence its name SaIt Lake.
The City of Syracuse, encircled by Onondaga Dragon, had its origin in the 1788 Salt Treaty between Onondaga Nation and New York which allowed salt industry to spring up around Onondaga Lake. The Town of Salina (salt) still marks Onondaga Lake's south end, and Syracuse is still remembered as the Salt City. The city's north-south axis—Salina Street—runs from Onondaga Nation to Onondaga Lake's south end. Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation provided most of NY's tax revenues in its first 75 years, and most of early America's salt.
After the Civil War salt industry in Syracuse declined. and nearly vanished. Nonetheless, a major industry in 20th century Syracuse was Solvay Process of Allied Chemical which processed salt brine and limestone into industrial chemicals. In 1987 Allied shut down its Solvay plant and the last of the salt industry left. The industry left huge beds of minerals wastes piled around the lake's south and west shores, and the bottom of Onondaga Lake is a dead, inert ooze of industrial chlorides.
Salt is a tremendous power in life. This is seen plainly in winter when salt is used to "melt" ice on roads and sidewalks, and it then proceeds to "melt" metal on cars and bridges, too. In chemistry, salt provides strong ions to power chemical reactions. Dissolved in water, salt forms an electrolyte, which enables water to conduct electricity. And salt is a preservative.
Calcium is found abundantly in the limestone bedrock which forms the region's major topography. The primary bed of this limestone is the Onondaga Formation, although geologists also identify the Seneca and Tully formations.
In the 1800s Onondaga Limestone was a valuable building material, nearly as prized as marble. Much of the Erie Canal was built from it. So was Syracuse's City Hall. Today south of Syracuse several large quarries still transform Onondaga Limestone into cement to make concrete, the plastic rock that is the bones of modem Syracuse: its roads and buildings.
To make cement, limestone is crushed, then burned to remove water, changing CaCO3 to CaO + CO2. The Onondaga Escarpment is dotted with 19th century lime kilns where early settlers mined and burned limestone. White powdery "burnt" lime is very dry and greedy for water. It's then "slaked" with water to make CaOH, which becomes cement. Add water, and you have mortar. Add sand and gravel, and you have concrete. Thus, the bones of the Earth become the bones of civilization.
It's curious the limestone is interbedded with shale and sandstone, creating alternating layers of alkaline and acidic rock, much like the sandwiched layers of an electric battery. In the case of these geological rock layers, the electrical potential (voltage) of this landscape battery is very small, but the surface area is vast, potentially yielding a tremendous volume (amperage) of current. Perhaps this is one reason why ancients sited their sacred places on limestone bedrock.
Points of Power
Terrestrial energies flow from Fire center to Water center in the land. These telluric currents form a pattern whose configuration will include special focus points for these flows. Places where the energy is intensified, interrupted or collided will become obvious. In esoteric anatomy, they are chakras.
These special areas of intensified energy can be called "power points" in the body of the dragon. This may be a place where energy is slowed and pooled in a large valley. Or it may be a narrow rocky gorge which raises the intensity of the flow. There may be a waterfall, where the energy suddenly drops several measures, pounding the rocky Earth in dull, steady thunder. Or there may be intersections with other streams, mountains or ridges. These points of power may also be associated with certain formations of bedrock.
One power point which can be observed in Onondaga Dragon's body is Pumpkin Hollow. This round valley sits between Onondaga and Otisco Valleys three miles east of Marcellus. It's about one mile in diameter, slightly longer east-to-west, and ringed by high ridges which are lowest on the south horizon. A steep walled valley enters the hollow at the southwest comer. At its east end, the Hollow narrows to another steep walled valley which turns south toward South Onondaga.
Perhaps 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, a huge river of glacial meltwater flowed through Pumpkin Hollow. Excess meltwater from Nine Mile Creek Valley cut a deep channel east to dump into Onondaga Valley at The Big Hill. Where this glacial river emptied into Onondaga Valley are huge alluvial outwash terraces of sand and gravel which were swept along by the rapidly moving water. Along Pumpkin Hollow's south side is a swamp, all that remains of the lake which once formed on this prehistoric postglacial river.
At Pumpkin Hollow's east end Cedarvale Road winds steeply down into the valley through a deep, narrow ravine known as Thirteen Curves, even though there are only eleven in the present road. Geomantically, this auspicious name identifies this as a power point in the energy flow of Onondaga Dragon.
Pumpkin Hollow's north side is essentially flat farmland, except for a 60 feet high evergreen covered mound. This inconspicuous little mound sits at the geomantic center and focal point of this bulge in the dragon's body. Study of this mound's physical composition indicates it's a man-made construction and distinctly not natural. Its shape isn't round, but a rounded triangle with three distinct ridges running from its summit pointing to the highest points on the south, west and north horizons.
The geometry of Pumpkin Hollow suggests that during the postglacial period a giant whirlpool swirled in the Hollow in a counterclockwise direction. My preliminary anatomy of Onondaga Dragon sees this open space as the heart chakra.
The dragon's body couples together two watersheds: Onondaga and Nine Mile Creeks. Both creeks flow into Onondaga Lake. Together with Cedarvale Creek and Pumpkin Hollow, they form a continuous loop circling to the west and south. Onondaga Creek runs a short, nearly straight path between the mountain (head) and lake (tail) of the dragon. Cedarvale and Nine Mile Creeks form a longer arc which sweeps west and north and then east into the lake. Where Cedarvale and Nine Mile watersheds meet is a power point in the dragon's body. Such a place can be understood as a balance point to regulate the flow of energy from the dragon's opposite ends.
These two watersheds intersect just east of Marcellus, which straddles Nine Mile Creek west of Syracuse. At this junction a long narrow channel called Pleasant Valley curves southeast and then east where it opens into Pumpkin Hollow. Pleasant Valley's west end is dominated by a large lake which is sometimes filled with water. But only sometimes, because this is a local geological mystery called Disappearing Lake.
This lake is of substantial size: over one mile long and 300 to 400 feet wide. When full, water will stand 40 to 50 feet deep. The upper east end is always wet from springs and runoff from the ridge to the north. But the lower west end will remain dry for months in succession. When dry, the west basin shows several drainholes where water leaves the lake down into cracks in the limestone bedrock which lies beneath the lake bed.
I've watched Disappearing Lake come and go for three years. Its activity shows no relationship to rainfall or snowmelt. It will fill to capacity in dry weather and remain dry in rainy periods. Attempts to locate and trace the source and destination of Disappearing Lake's water were inconclusive.
Another power point is a three sided junction of valleys at Martisco between Marcellus and Camillus. There may be another man-made earth construction here: a finger of land juts into Nine Mile Creek Valley just north of Martisco, forming a "chamber" in the valley. From here a deep, narrow valley flares to the west like wings on the dragon. This valley ends at the town of Elbridge where an odd-shaped hill named Science Hill sits at the center of a cluster of low hills. Science Hill has a flat summit and linear slopes on its south and east faces, suggesting it was altered by man, if not completely manmade.
Ancient Warriors Path
New World Ley Line?
One feature of special interest is NY 173, the old Seneca Turnpike. This highway follows an ancient trackway which crossed NY along the north end of the Finger Lakes. Its use as an Indian trail predates the earliest European settlement. This trackway ran across the ridges because passage across the Lake Plain was impossible due to the extensive swamps.
In Iroquois history this east-west path was known as The Ambassadors Trail, since it linked together the Five Nations of the Confederacy. It's referred to in the Peacemaker Legend, the Iroquois oral tradition describing the Confederacy's origin.
In the Legend, upon arriving at Onondaga Lake, Peacemaker first visited Jikhonsaseh, the by the Warrior Path Running East and West. This woman who fed the warriors on their journeys was the first to accept Peacemaker's teachings. Because of this, she was named Mother of Nations, and women hold honor, power and title in Iroquois society. It's likely the Warrior Path is the ancient version of the Ambassadors Trail, which today is Seneca Turnpike.
At Marcellus is what seems to be a remnant of this prehistoric route across the head of the Finger Lakes. It crosses Nine Mile Creek in the middle of town north of Disappearing Lake. This is the midpoint in Onondaga Dragon's body.
This section of road is remarkable for the perfectly straight course it follows across the land. It's an arrow straight path down a steep slope into Nine Mile Creek Valley. It passes through Marcellus and then up the other steep side of the valley to the ridgetop west of Marcellus. It passes over the highest point on the west ridge, then drops into a hollow and continues west another few miles. Despite the steep slopes of the valley, this roadway travels perfectly straight a distance of nearly twelve miles.
These ancient straight tracks have been found all over the Earth associated with sacred sites. In Britain they link ancient megalithic sites and are called ley lines. Similar lines are found in South and Central America. Recent satellite photos have revealed a network of straight tracks hundreds of miles long in the Four Corners of the North American Southwest.
The Warriors' Path passes south of Onondaga Lake but north of the other Finger Lakes. This distinct position of Onondaga Lake identifies it as The East Gate into the Finger Lakes. The energy in the land around Onondaga Lake controls access to the Finger Lakes and the continental interior. Onondaga and Salina dragons guard this gateway into the heart of Turtle Island's Water center.
Geomancy suggests this pathway was established along a major North American energy channel that's part of the primary grid of the Earth. This planetary channel travels east across the Atlantic Ocean and first touches North America at the hook of Cape Cod. Its comes ashore at Boston, crosses Massachusetts and the Berkshires to intersect the Hudson River near present day Albany, NY's capital. It then continues west up the Mohawk Valley to enter the Ontario Lake Plain near Utica. Beyond the Finger Lakes this energy channel crosses the Niagara River near Niagara Falls to pass into the heart of the Great Lakes.
Dragon in Chains
New World Ley Line?
Onondaga Dragon was put in chains by the industrial society which controlled Onondaga Lake in the last 200 years. There's a collar on her neck and her tail is pinned to the Earth.
|The Dragon and the Ice Castle
Rediscovery of Sacred Space in the Finger Lakes
144 pages, 8.5 x 11 soft cover
available from Turtle EyeLand
In the early 1900s the US Army Corps of Engineers built a flood control dam across Onondaga Creek where the dragon's neck (Cedarvale Creek) meets her head (The Big Hill). This dam impounds water behind it, creating a swamp extending west along the dragon's neck for over 6 miles. Geomantically this dam and resulting swamp puts a "collar" of water on the neck of the dragon. Alchemically, impounding Water against Fire cools the power concentrated in the dragon's head.
Meanwhile, at her tail, Onondaga Dragon suffers another abuse. The last few miles of Nine Mile Creek have been diverted from its original streambed. The salt industries once concentrated around Onondaga Lake dumped huge beds of wastes on the sides of the last three miles of the creek. A four lane expressway now runs up the valley—the Route 5 bypass to Camillus, Elbridge and Auburn. Worst of all are the huge beds of chloride waste from Allied Chemical's Solvay Process continuing to leach harsh chemicals into Nine Mile Creek and the Lake. In metaphorical imagery the energy streaming down the dragon's tail is now tightly pinned to the Earth in a fixed channel and is no longer free to meander and shift. The dragon cannot twitch her tail.