Jani Lauzon, an award-winning actor, songwriter and puppeteer, is the creator of Prophecy Fog, a new show based on her voyage to the sacred space of Giant Rock, located in California’s Mojave Desert.
Once home to sacred ceremonies, UFO conventions, an airport, and Howard Hughes’ favourite restaurant, Giant Rock now stands covered in graffiti and surrounded by broken bottles. The history and spiritual significance of Giant Rock is intertwined with Jani’s personal journey to determine what her mother meant when she wrote the words “We come from the stars, we are star people” inside an old book.
We asked her about the play this week.
SDTC: Can you explain the significance behind Giant Rock?
JL: Giant Rock has an incredible history with a revolving door of caretakers. It was a sacred meeting place for Indigenous nations, a squatting hangout for a desert prospector, and a home for a family of five that welcomed guests from all over the world interested in Ufology. Rumour has it there was also an alien, named Solgonda, who made a special visit to the Rock. Today it’s covered in graffiti and is surrounded by gun casings and broken beer bottles. There was something I couldn’t put my finger on; I just knew I had to go there.
I wasn’t aware of it growing up. I became aware of Giant Rock about twenty years ago when I was researching the desecration of sacred sites. I was looking at a site in Blackfoot territory. Someone drove their truck up to the site in the middle of the night, poured acid and took a hammer jack to the pictographs. Why would someone do that? What drives people with hatred so much that they would go to all that trouble?
How has your view of this sacred site changed since you saw it?
Being at the Rock is very special to me. I am always profoundly moved by the energy of the stone. I feel a great sense of peace. There is nothing more beautiful than sitting on the stone, closing your eyes and feeling the sun on your face as it rises over the horizon. What has deepened is my dissolution with mankind. The desecration of the Rock and the area around it is indicative of how we treat our elders and the sacredness of nature.
What did your daughter think?
She wrote, “What a beautiful and enlightening experience. I have always loved being able to follow my mom around on these adventures, but this trip was by far my favourite. Seeing how huge the Rock actually is was a shock. You don’t think a lone rock could be that big. And then hearing the stories of the Rock was so interesting. I feel I spent the entire trip with my jaw on the ground. My favourite moment was arriving in the desert because it started raining. I remember holding the camera, my mom pressed on behind me, holding plastic over me so the camera wouldn’t get wet. I remember feeling so blessed and happy in that moment in time.”
What is lost when we desecrate the sacred spaces in our lives?
The earth doesn’t need us, but we need the earth. If we desecrate the earth, we destroy ourselves. As for sacred sites, these are the places that help remind us of who we are, why we are here and what should be important to us. If we destroy those sites, we loose our connection to who we really are.
What did this journey teach you?
I believe in the power of the land. You have to put your feet on it to be able to connect. You have to touch. Looking at pictures is not enough. Envisioning is not enough. You need to experience it. And that the stars are our celestial map to our future.
What do you hope audiences take away from this play?
I love this quote:
“My sense is that we are missing a huge part of the human story. I think it’s possible, indeed probable, that we are a species with amnesia, that we’ve lost the record of our story going back thousands of years before so called history began. And I think if we could go back into that dark epoch we would discover many astounding things about ourselves”.
Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods.
I am hoping that the audience leaves contemplating what they have forgotten and that perhaps, just perhaps, there is more to the doctrines that we have come to follow.
Prophecy Fog runs May 14-26 at the Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St W). Get tickets here.