In 1986, Vijali traveled to 12 sites around the world creating earth sculptures and performance ceremonies with the local communities. Below is a description of one of the 12 sites from the first World Wheel circle. For more information about the first World Wheel project, see About World Wheel page.
Earth Wheel — Beginning At Home
Malibu, California, USA
The first spoke of the World Wheel was in Malibu, California, not far from where I lived in retreat for five years in the Santa Monica Mountains. I needed to begin this work in my region before I felt comfortable to involve other communities and cultures.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s family generously offered their land on a precipice overlooking the Pacific Ocean as a site for the sculpture and performance ritual. I came down every day to gather red, black, white, and gold stones on the beach with a friend, which we carried up the steep hillside in burlap bags.
Using dirt, sand, and colored ocean pebbles, twelve friends helped me create an earth wheel, twenty-five feet in diameter, with a large upright lava stone in the center, which stood five and one half feet high. A circular fire pit surrounded the base of the center stone – symbolic of the harmony of male and female forces in our society. This creation was an act of prayer that we may find this harmony within our world.
The performance piece representing our origins began in response to my first question, “Where do we come from?” Androgynous beings emerged from a lake onto a sandy shoal at the site. As they peeled out of wet membrane skin suits, they became a black man and a white woman. People with animal masks stood nearby, their visceral sounds puncturing the silence.
The next performance piece addressed my second question: “What is it that ails us, personally and communally, and how does this effect the planet?” Our sickness was depicted as the national arrogance of the United States, our misguided belief that we always know what is right for other countries. This “holier-than-thou” attitude has brought death and destruction to people and cultures around the world.
In response to the third question, “What is it that heals? What is the solution?” I appeared as Gaia, the earth silhouetted against the sky with my hair woven in a tumbleweed, and my body and clothes covered with mud. I looked directly into the eyes of each person, entreating them to come up the hill to the Earth Wheel and reconnect with the ancient wisdom that we are one living organism rather than separate, isolated beings. Then everyone danced well into the evening, a joyous affirmation of the unity of animals, plants, stones, and people — all creations as one earth family.
“Western Gateway” is the first sacred site of the World Wheel and is known as succeeding and expanding the boundaries of what we ordinarily think of as art and sculpture. Encompassing the environment as a whole erases the distinction between performer and audience and merges with life itself. This Earth Wheel in Malibu remains a potent touchstone for ceremony and celebration.
Photo by Sacha Burger — Spirit Within Matter II in Santa Monica Mountains
Photo by Vijali Hamiton — Woman of Space (detail) in China
Photo by Eric Lawton — Earth Wheel by Vijali Hamilton – World Wheel site 1