Practical. Creative. Earthy. With a flare of spice.
Earth Architecture meets Shamanic Art
with Lisa Starr
Since 2004 and during my training as a Holistic Health Practioner, I developed a passion for the Shamanic Healing Arts. I began crafting drums for spiritual growth and practices and eventually integrated into becoming a Drum Medicine Woman.
My practice and reputation flourished yet, it was coming to a time that I needed to build a new foundation. In order to grow and sustain my career I embarked on a quest to create a sustainable life living close to nature. I began to dream the dream awake and in December of 2009 by purchasing the land in Joshua Tree, CA.
Taking steps to follow my dream of building my own home made of Earth while comitted my spiritual path, I found Cal-Earth, The Institute of Earth Art and Architecture. The founder Nader Khalili (1936-2008) is the world-renowned Iranian-American architect, author, humanitarian, teacher. Cal-Earth is committed to providing solutions to the human need for shelter through research, development, and education in earth architecture. I attended a one week intensive workshop on dome building, plaster and finishes.
Although Kahlili passed way on March 2008, his children continue to share his vision and teachings with books, videos and hands on workshops. As I watching the video during the intensive workshop, it was as though Mr. Kahlili was speaking directly to me. Khalili was also a Rumi philosopher and spoke of a following our dreams which went something like this:
“We dream, we vision we take steps in life to follow our goals, passions, desires. Destiny starts to work with us and the guideposts reveal themselves along the way. We are following our call to meet our Dream. Then one day we find ourselves in the very place we were seeking. All the pieces are there and perhaps we were so busy taking those steps that once we reach that place, we forget why we came. This is when the Dream you have been following has met you from the otherside. For the Dream has been following it’s call to meet YOU.”
As Mr. Kahlihi pointed at me through the video screen I became inspired. Building dome structures uses the principles of vesica picis, a perdominant configuration found within the patterns of The Flower of Life. The Flower of Life pattern is found every where in nature and in the cosmos. I learned evertything I could to build my Earth Dome Home.
After the attending the workshop in Spring of 2010, I purchased the blue print packet from Cal Earth and began the process to acquire a building permit. At that time the Blue Print packet was still in compliance to apply for building permits under the 2007 code cycle.
In the Winter of 2010, I submitted my application(on the very last day of the 2007 code cycle) and eventually recieved my building permit. We broke ground and began building in early Spring 2011. I received my final occupancy permit in April of 2014.
My intention was to build a home for me, my children and create a sustainable way of living in order to continue my work as a Drum Medicine Woman. Little did I know that by following my inspired path, a blend of Shamanic Arts and Sacred Architecture has created.
Bonita Domes is a private home studio retreat. It has become a model and icon for the Earth Dome Building enthusiasts and for those seeking a respite from the mundane world.
Bonita Domes, was built using SuperAdobe Earth Bag technology as taught by Cal Earth. Bonita Domes is composed of The Village. Three separate structures; one-12 ft diameter and two-8foot diameter sturctures; and my Dome Home; a 1360 sq. ft. structure (two-15 ft diameter and 1-12 ft diameter). All the structures were built using minimal resources,materials and supplies that are easily accesible. 85% of materials used to buld the structures was from excavated earth here on site! The long continous sandbags were filled with a coffee can at a time!
The walls are 18″ thick (15% cement/85% earth) which provides the thermal mass to keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Principles of dome building = arches, geometry, friction. Elements of building with earth = earth, wind, fire, air. Principles + Elements = Sacred Geometric Earthen Sturctures!