I last visited Cahokia Mounds National Monument in September, 2011, when it was dusk. This time, July 25, 2013, it was a bright afternoon. The difference was palpable. At dusk, there is a sense of the spiritual, the ephemeral. In bright sunshine, tour groups and easily-spooked people, jumping when I walked by them, were all over the park.
No matter, this area is home to intense spiritual energy, which not everyone can handle. It was built by an ancient nation of traders, and appears to be an array of tumuli, burial mounds. Overlooking the scene is Monks Mound, across the highway from the main park area.
I spent about 40 minutes in the Visitor Center.
A clockwise jaunt around the main park revealed several mounds.
It was soon time to mount the stairs to Monks Mound. Here, priests conducted observations of the sky and presided over ceremonies, relative to the solstices, equinoxes and phases of the moon.
There are some fine views of the surrounding countryside, including the city of St. Louis.
To the east, there is a fence, built by the U.S. Army, during the Trail of Tears, in the 1830’s.
Finally, I visited Woodhenge, a mile west of Cahokia Mounds, and largely viewed as another place where the indigenous people could observe and measure celestial events.
With this important site being offered tribute in both light and darkness, I crossed the Father of Waters, to St. Louis, and the Gateway Arch.