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For $7, take a walk on the spiritual side of Whidbey Island

It’s like a 72-acre theme park the place the rides are religious. 

And if you’d like, you’ll be able to keep eternally at Earth Sanctuary.

What’s up with that?

Chuck Pettis made a bundle within the inventory market round 2000 and used it to create a vacation spot to uplift folks’s consciousness. Or to permit them to RIP.

Likelihood is you’ve by no means heard of Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island, WA, a mere 15-minute drive from the Clinton ferry terminal and a half-mile off Freeway 525, someplace between Langley and Freeland.

About 6,000 folks a 12 months go to. Admission is $7 for a self-guided tour of 14 secluded websites in a nature protect.

“We aren’t Disneyland,” Pettis says. “There’s a sure form of particular person eager about these sorts of sculptures and sacred areas.”

As a substitute of a funhouse mirror, the “Veils of Actuality” sculpture lets guests see themselves in an introspective gentle.

The grounds have two miles of wooded trails with environmental artwork and reflective ponds. And birds, so many birds.

Circle the labyrinth to meditate and cogitate.

Discover calm and really feel centred contained in the 20-ton dolmen, a megalith of upright stones with horizontal slab prime.

A 40-foot stone circle with an outer ring of 12 stones standing 11 toes excessive will make you surprise how on the planet Pettis bought these gigantic pillars right here.

The stones have been trucked from a rock warehouse in Issaquah. Heavy tools introduced it from the highway, the place sounds of distant visitors may be heard at factors within the thick woods.

Largely, although, what you hear are warblers, wrens, owls, hawks and waterfowl. And the occasional bullfrog.

Gentle filters via the forest cover of sequoia, redwood, pine, maple, fir, aspen, cottonwood and different bushes.

“It’s contemplative, peaceable and magical,” Pettis says.

It’s a spot to relax, even if you happen to aren’t religious. On a go to final week I noticed a lady mendacity within the tall grass in a meadow studying a e book.

Pettis confirmed me round whereas greeting the occasional visitor alongside the trail.

He’s 73, with ball cap atop hair previous his shoulders and the gait of a person half his age. He may simply move because the groundskeeper, which he’s.

Pettis comes every day to stroll the paths. He lives together with his spouse, Claudie, a painter, in a waterfront residence a number of miles away.

The property was an overgrown mess when he purchased it.

“You wanted a machete to go anyplace,” he says.

His two sons helped construct the dolmen construction in 2002, the identical 12 months because the labyrinth and a small stone circle.

Pettis, a longtime Tibetan Buddhist, added the dome-shaped stupa with a row of prayer wheels in 2011. Ensure to spin every wheel. “In the event you’re into the ability of prayer, that is actually factor to do,” he says.

Each website has a which means for Pettis, even these cracks within the circle of small stones (weighing solely 600 to 1,000 kilos) shipped from a quarry in his hometown of Ithaca, New York.

“A few the items had damaged and have been glued and pinned again collectively once more,” he says. “That jogs my memory of a pair instances in my life the place I goofed up and needed to glue myself again collectively once more, hopefully stronger than earlier than, and wiser.”

He has levels in psychology from Carnegie-Mellon College in Pittsburgh and in design from Southern Illinois College, the place he studied in Buckminster Fuller’s design division. Pettis was impressed by the well-known visionary.

Positive messages can be found throughout the property Thursday, May 5, 2022, at Earth Sanctuary in Clinton, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Right here, he was capable of make his personal visions come true.

“Within the late ’90s, I did some branding work for some web firms and I bought paid partially in inventory. The investments popped and made me modestly rich,” he mentioned. “My spouse mentioned, ‘Do one thing good along with your cash.’ I’m not into boats or something like that.”

Pettis says he has plunked effectively over $1 million into Earth Sanctuary, which additionally homes a religious retreat middle.

There’s much more to come back.

Earth Sanctuary is 22 years within the making, with about 480 to go.

“It’s a part of a 500-year masterplan,” Pettis says.

He hopes to be there spiritually via the centuries. He envisions Earth Sanctuary to be an old-growth forest and has planted greater than 3,000 bushes.

A memorial tree program was began by request in 2020. Greater than 60 folks have since paid $500 to $1,500 for a tree with a small customized marker. Ash burial is $250.

“Folks come right here and stroll round and discover a tree that speaks to them,” Pettis says. “They discover a tree with a connection to a cherished one. A girl discovered a tree for her and her pet.”

Artworks he designed embody the “Infinite Tower,” a 24-foot column of interlocking triangles, a driftwood “Ley Line,” and the newest, in 2021, a vibrant pink metallic 12-foot “Compressed Dice Tensegrity” sculpture.

It takes no less than an hour for a fast tour.

“I used to be fascinated by the whale skeleton,” says Ava Ferguson, a customer from Bellingham.

The cranium of a child grey within the genuine “Grey Whale Medication Wheel” is a shrine for all water beings. It was added and blessed in 2012.

The labyrinth is greater than going round in circles.

“In case you are cogitating on an issue, you’ll be able to pose that drawback going into the middle after which popping out once more,” Pettis says. “It’s like going to your increased self and possibly you’ll get perception you wouldn’t get in any other case.”

I didn’t have an issue helpful to cogitate on. My cares have been lengthy gone.

In the event you go:

Earth Sanctuary is open every day till darkish on Whidbey Island, WA.

Entrances are at 2059 Newman Rd. and 5536 Emil Rd.

Cost, $7, is on the respect system, by money, examine, Venmo or PayPal.

Plan your go to at earthsanctuary.org

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