Magic Healing Dirt at El Sanctuario de Chimayo

El Sanctuario de Chimayo Santa FeYou can’t go anywhere in New Mexico without running into another miraculous historical building or energy vortex. It’s a challenge to pick which ones to visit, but checking out this church was a must for me (the last one for a while, I swear!). Because this church isn’t just any old church, it’s a church built on miraculous dirt.

I first heard about Chimayo through a family friend, who made a pilgrimage there in the 1980s, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She headed there like so many others, in search of the holy spirit that would receive her prayers and aid in her recovery. The magic worked. She beat the cancer, and swears that the reason she’s made it into her 80s is because of her pilgrimage and the miraculous dirt she took home from Chimayo.

Last week, my friend took a bad fall and is now in a rehab hospital. When I heard this news, I decided to make my own pilgrimage to Chimayo, just north of Santa Fe, to get some more of that magic dirt to send to her.

Sanctuario de Chimayo exterior grounds

Chimayo is indeed a sanctuary. The grounds were idyllic, and the church interior is a work of art. It’s not glitzy like a typical old Catholic church; it’s rough around the edges, and embodies the spirit of Latino culture, with an adobe structure and humble yet stunning hand painted, wood carved artwork. Even me, the heathen, felt an overwhelming sense of peace once I stepped inside.

Once we were done admiring the interior, and Jim (the former altar boy) got scolded by a nun for wearing his baseball hat inside, we headed for the dirt, which is located in a little room off the main altar. The room is so small that even I, at 5′ 2″, had to duck when I went inside. I looked down, and there it was. Down on the ground was a small hole filled with sand, and spades for visitors to take some magic home.

“Gee, do you think the dirt just miraculously replaces itself?” Jim later said to me. “They probably just go to Home Depot and buy it.” That’s him, always the skeptic.

I say whatever works, especially for my old friend. I hope the dirt helps her.

16 thoughts on “Magic Healing Dirt at El Sanctuario de Chimayo”

  1. I am so sorry to read the above comments. I am sad so few people believe in miracles. I have had more than one miracle in my life, though nothing as dramatic as being able to leave a wheelchair or a cure for cancer. I think the worst result of the flower generation is that we failed to bring our children up in a good Christian environment, and now we are paying. There are not many politicians or big business men who can claim they follow the Ten Commandments. America, what do you expect.

  2. I am a student of psychology conducting research on miraculous experiences here at El Santuario de Chimayo. If you have had such an experience and willing to commit about an hour for an interview, please send me an email and I can tell you more about the study.

    sacredportals [at]

    Thank you so much!
    Many blessings!

    • We personally experienced no miracle other than the magic of this majestic place. Thanks for the comment and good luck with your study. Perhaps others commenting on this post may be able to help.

  3. I used to be an RN in the Chimayo area. A sweet little old man revealed to me late one night at the hospital that he was the man that went out and got dirt to fill the hole each day! (Doesn’t matter where it came from after it is blessed by the priest :-))
    Another friend from the area took home a whole plastic bag of the dirt, but it in a shallow box and put it under his bed. It cleared his depression after only one night of sleeping over it 🙂 His friend who had not heard from his daughter in months gave my friend her photo. He placed it in the dirt under his bed and then took it out, brushed it off and mailed it to her. Even before she got it, she called him. The room that contains the pozo filled with the dirt is filled with little braces meant to gradually straighten little legs for eventual weight bearing and walking. What a pity.

    • Good question, not sure … Spread it, smoke it, snort it? Make a mud pie and eat it? We say do whatever feels best for you. Make some sort of talisman or offering with the dirt. Create a ritual with prayer under your own god to address the ailment. And most of all, believe. Thanks for asking. Best wishes to you.

  4. is there an address or directions that I could get from you. Have a group visiting there wed Sept 24th, I am a tour bus driver trying to plan ahead, thanks, Doug Palmer

  5. Mmmmmm….Rancho de Chimayo enchiladas verdes!!! And the soft flour tortillas! Oh, yeah, and the dirt at the church. Groovy place. Ain’t the placebo effect a miracle?!

  6. They keep the dirt inside?
    Guess they don’t want folks taking it when they are closed. But then where do they get it? If not from Home Depot it must be outside the church somewhere 😉

  7. I hope you guys got a chance to eat at Rancho de Chimayo just down the road from there. It’s well known around northern New Mexico, some of the best New Mexican food I’ve had.


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