With this summer’s theme being the Summer Solstice, I decided to share some of my research for my two time travel books in the series The Turquoise Legacy being given away in the Paranormal Gift Basket. Book two is set in Chaco Canyon which is a prime example of how the solstice calendar was used in past civilizations. Since the time period for the paranormal basket runs through June 18th, get your comments in TODAY!
It’s fascinating for those of us who write flying by the seat of our pants when ideas and settings fall into our laps. I’d written My Heart Will Find Yours, a time travel romance that involves an antique turquoise locket. It has magical powers and along with some natural phenomena transports Texanna Keith back to 1876 Waco, Texas.
I wanted to write a sequel and knew the story would be set in the present, would include time travel, and revolve around an ancestor of Texanna’s. My research began with turquoise in the Southwest and boy-o-boy, I hit a goldmine—Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. In this setting, my characters Madison Evan and Lonan Stone, meet near the canyon and become involved in an ancient mystery.
Interestingly enough, my husband and I had visited Santa Fe and Madrid, New Mexico and been on part of the Turquoise Trail, though unfortunately we did not visit the Carrillo Mines where the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon obtained most of their turquoise back around 1000 AD. Chaco Canyon was a center of trade and prosperous during their time trading turquoise for items not available to them in the canyon. Remains of parrots, macaws, seashells and other artifacts indicate traders came from far distances to barter with the Anasazi.
The Anasazi occupied Chaco Canyon between 850 AD and 1100 AD. No one knows exactly where they went or what happened to them. There are several theories surrounding the mystery. The one I prefer to believe is they migrated to live with other Pueblo tribes.
Chaco Canyon is a mysterious place and covers a vast amount of space. It includes ten buildings, some of which are believed to have been five stories high. “Pueblo Bonito also the center of an elaborate solar calendar: all of the buildings are either part of the solar calendar that traces the 18.5-year lunar cycle.”
A large rock structure, Fajada Butte, is seen as you enter the canyon.
There archaeologist discovered a sun calendar that has been named “The Anasazi Dagger.” “Concentric circles carved in the rock, with slabs of rock placed in just such a way that would make the light passing through turn into a dagger which, when it hit the circles would reveal the solstices and equinoxes.”
It is now believed that the entire Chaco Canyon, the way that its buildings were placed, the directions of the roads, etc. indicate they were aligned so as to line up with the arc of the sun and moon on important dates of the year.
Though Pueblo Bonito is the most impressive structure, my story revolves around Una Vida as it is nearer the visitor’s center and the setting was perfect for the scenes I created back in 1000 AD.
Cliff drawings behind Una Vida
Me halfway up the cliff behind Una Vida.
If you’ve not visited Chaco Canyon, stop by if you’re in the neighborhood. Be prepared for a rough ride on the way in to the park and if I remember correctly it’s twenty miles of unpaved road. Take a picnic lunch because they do not sell food other than snack items in the visitor’s center. They do have a camp grounds, but the only other lodging is Grants, New Mexico. We stayed at a B&B in Thoreau called Zuni Mountain Lodge. I don’t know if they’re still in operation or not. We were there in 2007. You can read a little about it on my December 7, 2007 post on Linda LaRoque’s Musings.
Here is a teaser for Flames on the Sky, book two of the Turquoise Legacy.
The Anasazi whispered of this evil and of the
woman who could defeat it.
Fire, sky, and stone must unite to fulfill an ancient prophecy.
Madison Evans inherits a turquoise locket, travels to New Mexico, and discovers the stone dates back to the Chacoan Anasazi. When she’s attacked, parks ranger Lonan Stone, of Chacoan ancestry, fears Madison’s turquoise is a missing twin of the revered Fallen Skystone, an egg size piece of turquoise on display in Albuquerque. The mystical stone is missing two slivers – one’s in Madison’s necklace, the others whereabouts unknown, but if united by evil they can destroy.
Madison and Lonan are part of a 1000 year old prophecy to save Chaco Canyon. Thrust back in time, they meet a witch, solve a murder, fall in love, and imprison a 1000 year old evil spirit. Their mission complete, can these two people from different cultures blend their lives as the prophecy predicted?
http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/sundagger.html – photo of sundagger.
http://www.jqjacobs.net/southwest/chaco.html – photo of Fajada Butte, Pueblo Bonito, and photo 2 of sundagger.
Links of interest:
http://www.exploratorium.edu/chaco/HTML/canyon.html – this site has interactive videos showing solstice patterns and lighting changes in the canyon.
Thank you for stopping by today. Hope you’ll leave a comment for an extra entry for the basket.