Canyon de Chelly is located in the heart of the Diné(Navajo) reservation near Chinle, in northern Arizona. The canyon is where the soul of the Diné lives.

in   SACRED CANYON de CHELLY,  Arizona

From this place we will write poems and speak them, share silence and walk in beauty, cook together and join around the evening campfire, listening to the earth and our hearts with care. Throughout the retreat, we will savor poems and find ways to enter the sacred space of what unfolds from within us.

We will camp, hike and write for six days, deep in the canyon on the land of Lupita and Jon McClanahan, Diné teachers living and sharing in a variety of ways the traditional Diné way of life

Lupita's family has lived on this land for more than 300 years and she offers a timeless connection to it while you are there.  Both Jon and Lupita reveal through their every day actions the essence of the "Beautyway."

We are dedicated to bring you close to this sacred place and we ask our participants to bring with them an intention to join in a cohesive community and a commitment that supports spiritual growth. It is a privilege for non-native people to stay for such a long period of time on this sacred ground.

As it is in beauty...

In beauty I walk

With beauty above me I walk

With beauty before me I walk

With beauty behind me I walk

Everything around me, in beauty I walk

In beauty I walk

It has become beauty again

It has become beauty again

It has become beauty again

—Diné Prayer


Indian Gifts

Raccoon Clan speaking about their first baby

Crickets singing their loves songs

Male wind calling for female rain

When received, they are gifts to be treasured.


Fire gods dancing for their food

Sister Stars crying with grandfather darkness

Neighborly dogs chanting with their distant relatives coyote

When received, they are gifts to be treasured.


Sparrows flying with their enemies, the bats

Hiding behind their grandmother clouds.

Five finger people sharing their hearts

Cottonwood leaf whispering about their life

With their spirits,

When received they are gifts to be treasured.


Anasazi listening for prayers

Diné people humming

Human Beings writing poems

When received they are gifts to be treasured.

—Lupita and Jon McClanahan


© 2006-2017 | The Institute for Poetic Medicine and John Fox