Taos is home for world spiritual faithways

By David Fernandez de Taos
For The Taos News
Posted 1/31/19

The Spirit is always old, and yet it is ever new.Somewhere in our northern country an ancient ritual spirit fire continues to burn in a hidden sacred location as a ceaseless ardent prayer covenant …

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Taos is home for world spiritual faithways

Posted

The Spirit is always old, and yet it is ever new.

Somewhere in our northern country an ancient ritual spirit fire continues to burn in a hidden sacred location as a ceaseless ardent prayer covenant between the people and the one known as the Most High - since time immemorial.

That prayer fire is said to be part of a faithway that goes back many thousands of years here and in the Western Hemisphere of the world as part of the religion of the original peoples and predating the coming of the European peoples from the Eastern Hemisphere centuries ago.

Spanish Europeans arrived here in the 15th and 16th centuries AD, bringing the faith of Christian Catholicism; and after turbulent and contentious initial relations, the two religions accommodated a parallel coexistence. Many of the original peoples also became adherents of Catholicism, while the Christians gained an appreciation and respect for the native religion here.

Now, about 500 years later, we look back over the course of many mighty events in the political affairs and upheavals of nations that have transpired including the transitions from Spanish royal sovereignty to Mexican independence, from Spain in the 19th century to the American United States annexation of this region in 1847. Finally, there was the transition of the New Mexico and Taos territory to American statehood in 1912, and even more sweeping changes for the region including social, economic and religious upheaval.

While the ancient indigenous pueblos and peoples kept the old ways, the Spanish-speaking peoples here experienced huge political changes more directly, being subsumed into the American system and demands: a new type of economy, the need to adapt to other ways including the English language and more.

Spiritual changes also became inevitable. The new State of New Mexico was viewed as an opportunity for other denominations, including the powerful Board of Home Missions that included Baptist, Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran, Methodist Episcopal; Reformed Church of America, United Presbyterian and others. This Board of Home Missions was joined with the Interdenominational Council of Women for Home Missions.

The Board's goal was to missionize the new territory and State of New Mexico. While that grand goal was not quite achieved, the Women's Missionary Movement did establish a network of schools and boarding homes for students, many still operating today in Northern New Mexico.

While predominantly Catholic, the Taos region hosts the world's religious diversity. It is a long list that includes Roman Catholic, Ancient Eastern Orthodox Church, Southern Baptist Convention, Church of Latter Day Saints, Presbyterian USA, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal; Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Four Square Gospel, Seventh Day Adventist, Quakers, United Methodist, Baha'i, Lutheran, Calvary Fellowship, First Indian Baptist Church, Spanish Baptist Church, Taos Jewish Center, B'nai Shalom Havurah, and Chabad of Taos; Tibetan Buddhist, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist, Hanuman Temple, Taos Mosque, Unitarian Congregation of Taos and many more.

But the ancient silent prayer fire always rises from the sacred place in our special land, mysterious and ever new as a constant blessing for the world.

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