Bolinas Spirit HousE



A spirit house, a shrine, an altar – each is a manmade object that offers a portal to the unknown. Throughout the world, both in ancient times and now, these structures have allowed peoples and cultures to actively engage in a dialogue between their beliefs and the mysterious natural forces that surround them. In our present-day North American culture, this kind of spiritual communion often is relegated to organized religion rather than to our communities. Bolinas, however, is a notable exception and for many years has gathered as a community to celebrate all kinds of life passages:  births, deaths, marriages, seasonal changes and other meaningful moments, both happy and sad.

After September 11th 2001, a number of community members came together to discuss creating a permanent place of remembrance in downtown Bolinas.  It was envisioned that such a place could serve as a focal point for the community to express its responses to various issues and moments that touch people’s hearts.

This spirit house, entitled “The Emergence of Spirit,” is the result of those discussions. In creating this piece, I wanted to represent Spirit in the physical realm, as a metaphor for the outpourings of feeling that were occurring across the country and the world.  Shape and the play of light and shadow, rather than the presence of body, define the sculpture’s form. Bursting through the ethers, she resonates with a flowing upward movement. The interior of the piece is a mirrored mosaic that creates a dynamic between perception and reflection. It’s my hope that this spirit house will be blessed with community involvement and become a repository for people’s memories, dreams and wishes.