Sacred Places

Nossa Sra da Paz 1 -5W4A6661.jpg

Sacred Places

Passionate about traveling, I have the soul of a wanderluster. Wanderlust not as a form of escapism, rather as an answer to my curiosity and calling to meet other people, other cultures, environments and landscapes.

This passion meets my goals as a photographer, and I’ve specialized in portraits and street photography, shooting stories of different peoples, cultures and lifestyles.
This planet is full of wonders and, although we can find beauty all over the world, some places have a special glow and energy. This energy is not palpable, but can easily be felt. Holy people, saints, gurus, avatars and enlightened beings knew it and have left their mark on these special places. Time, testimonies, folklore and stories passed on generation after generation brought these places to public knowledge.

My girlfriend Raquel – a wanderluster herself – is a holistic therapist and teacher. For some time that she wanted to visit a Crystals museum she had been told about but wasn’t sure of the location.
We were visiting the north of Portugal. My brother had recently visited a dazzling waterfall and lakes in Gerês and texted me the gps coordinates with a note: don’t miss it! We loved it!

Sometimes we feel an urge to do something or go somewhere. I call these urges “callings”. Something very deep and strong that pulsates inside of us. And sooner or later we have to answer this calling, even if we’re not 100% aware of it when we first start the trip towards that somewhere… That’s how we ended up in Santuário Nossa Senhora da Paz and its Crystals museum. Along the way towards Gerês and the waterfalls I made a “wrong” turn. Through hard mountain winding narrow roads and steep turns we found a sign to the Sanctuary and the Crystals museum. “Synchronicities”, we both said. I have no sense of direction and, “wrong turn after wrong turn” I end up finding new places. “I am never lost – I told her, I just go where the Universe wants to take me”.

About the Sanctuary Nossa Senhora da Paz: the Sanctuary is located in Barral, Parish of Vila Chã (Saint John Baptist), county of Ponte da Barca.
On the 11th May 1917, Virgin Mary appeared to a young shepherd, Severino Alves, and told him to tell the other shepherds and mothers whose sons were abroad to pray the Rosary. (Two days later Virgin Mary appeared to Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta in Fátima) This tiny beautiful Sanctuary consists of a humble chapel, a beautiful crypt lined with quartz crystal, a small church and a museum with the biggest collection of quartz crystals in the country. The altars, both the church’s and the crypt’s, are made of a single raw crystal, weight each one of them over a ton!

This was not the crystals museum Raquel had been told about so the surprise was even bigger! We had never seen anything like that. This place is definitely a must see. Some places change your life, and this one may well be one of them.

Raquel’s note:
“Spiritual places have a special vibration that make you connect more deeply with your heart and with the Divine Presence in everything. They help you connect with God, One Life or Energy Source, with invisible worlds, creating an energetic field that induces deeper states of consciousness… They take you on an inner journey towards your Essence and the purpose of Life”.

And so it was. We spent a few hours visiting the Sanctuary, meditating immersed in the energy of the place, highly enhanced by the power of the crystals. And the quarts crystals were not just on the altars, on the walls of the church, crypt, museum and statues around the church, but were also tons of smaller crystals on the paths of the small hill where Virgin Mary appeared to the young shepherd!

There are many scientific studies about crystals, namely quartz crystals. They have been used since ancient times both as powerful healing objects and meditation tools. We can find references to the use of crystals both in the Old and New Testament and many other sacred teachings.

Crystals have been used from as far back as human history goes and anybody can learn to use crystals as healing tools and to help take us to higher states of meditation. Quartz crystals have a particular vibration that can be measured and attuned to human vibration.

We often visit places because a friend told us about its beauties and his experience there or because we read something about that place that triggered our curiosity.
The experience that I had was breathtaking and, happy to say, indescribable! I would encourage even the more skeptical to visit the Sanctuary Nossa Senhora da Paz. The energy is so strong that you feel shivers all over your body! And the place is very quiet, which allows you to enjoy the silence. As for the surroundings and landscape, well, check the images!

P.S. – Please follow the blog, more sacred places to be posted in the near future! The posts Sacred Places start with sacred places in Portugal. Let’s see where and how far this plan will take me!

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