At the end of our stay in Vilnius, my aunt Ona’s husband arrived to drive us to our next destination, the spa town of Druskininkai in southern Lithuania. Ona and Kostas don’t even live in Vilnius, but they insisted on chauffeuring us so we wouldn’t have to rent a car.
How generous are the Lithuanians? Very generous.
We were hoping to stop and pick some mushrooms on the way (there is very good ‘shrooming in the area around Druskininkai) but the weather had been dry and there was no fungi in sight. Instead, Kostas asked if we’d like to make a short side trip to a place called “Merkin?s Piramid?” (the Pyramid of Merkin?), which was very close to our final destination.
“A pyramid? There’s a pyramid in Lithuania?” My attention was immediately piqued.
“Not big pyramid, like Egypt. Smoll pyramid,” Kostas explained. “Is spiritual place.”
“Like a church?” I asked.
“Not church, but spiritual energija, yes? Is guy, Paulius, very good guy, he built own two hands this pyramid. God told. Very special energy, people come all over Lithuania for healing.”
“You mean, it’s like a SPIRITUAL VORTEX?”
I have always wanted to visit a spiritual vortex.
“We stop, you see,” Kostas said.
So we turned off the main road and drove down a little towpath through a pine forest to the homestead of a man named Paulius. (A sidenote concerning Lithuanian towpaths: you think there is no way under God’s blue sky that your Audi sedan and the oncoming truck could both make it out of the towpath alive. But, nine times out of ten, you’d be wrong!)
So this guy, Paulius, received a message from heaven as a child telling him that a particular spot on his parents’ property was exceptional, and that he should build a pyramid over it where the special healing energy could be harnessed. It took him years, but he finally built the structure and the dome around it was completed just a few years ago.
I especially love the juxtaposition of the traditional wooden homestead with the futuristic glass dome. It’s a good metaphor for the state of Lithuania today – a country clinging to its ancient roots while striving to be as modern a contender as possible.
There is no charge to get in (the structure was built with the help of private donations) and the holy well water available inside the dome is free, too.
Which is a good thing, because it was hotter than blazes inside that pyramid.
So did I feel the energy, you ask?
Well, yes and no. Because it was easily one hundred degrees inside the dome, I found it hard to differentiate between feelings of unity with all of creation and plain old climate induced light-headedness. But there was very peaceful, new age type of music playing and the acoustics inside the dome are phenomenal, which definitely added to the ambiance. I sent up some prayers for all the people who come here to be healed.
Maybe that’s how it works?
Afterwards, I walked a bit around the grounds, which are beautiful, while the children played on one of the wooden play structures ubiquitous to the country of Lithuania (playgrounds are everywhere – it’s great.) I saw Paulius himself working in a field and began to make my way over. After reading the history of the pyramid that’s posted on the grounds, I was still unclear as to how, exactly, he received his mandate and what, exactly, God told him.
I really wanted to know.
I patiently waited to talk to him while a couple of other tourists monopolized his time, but after awhile I got bored just standing there waiting, plus there were a lot of bees who liked my scent in that field. So I left without getting the answer to the meaning of life, which I regret.
These crosses near the pyramid are another example of the mingling of old and new in Lithuania. (Paulius is Catholic, but for some reason the Church has not sanctioned his activities with regards to the Pyramid.)
Whether there’s something going on here or not, it’s definitely a beautiful, serene place to visit.
*******************************************************************************This is the seventh (but far from last) post in my series “Tessmans do the Fatherland,” about my family’s recent trip to Lithuania. Here, in chronological order, are the links to the first six posts:
- Lithuania, Day One
- City Building 101: The Founding of Vilnius (Gediminas Castle)
- Lithuanian Vacation: What We Ate
- Artists Sleep on Mondays (Užupis)
- Blood and Sunshine (The Vilnius TV Tower Memorial Site)
- Zip Line Trumps Castle (Trakai Castle and Tony Resort Park)