I must be honest. I did not get to see the wolf moon from Panther Park in person. I looked at it with the memories of the late afternoon visit last November. I used the emotions I remember from being there and a photo image of the moon from this morning outside my bedroom window to write this post as well as to create a drawing of the image in my mind.
But this article is about the sacred land in Sheboygan, Wisconsin known as Panther Park. It is a sacred place containing the 16 remaining effigy mounds of 34 that were discovered in the early part of the 20th century. They contained the remains of the Native Americans who lived in the area over 1000 years ago.
I do not yet know enough of the history of the area to write about what happened to the people who built these panther, deer and effigy mounds, but from my time there I can surmise why they chose the spot to worship the lives of their tribe.
Panther Park is located in the south end of Sheboygan very near Lake Michigan. From the north, take hwy 43 south exiting on hwy 28 which becomes Washington Ave. Drive east to S. 12th street, turn right and drive south again turn left on Panther avenue. You’ll see signs directing you to the park, but if you miss them, S. 9th street is only a short stop in from 12th street where you’ll see the parking lot on the right.
Coming from the south, exit on hwy V. Drive east to S. 12th street then turn left driving north to Panther avenue. If you know where Kohler Andrae park is, formerly Terry Andrae park, you’ll find your way easily. Although not connected, they are on the north side of the state park and since the effigy grounds are small, you may find yourself wanting to stop on the way out for a walk in the dunes. Even a winter trek through Kohler Andrae is a treat!
After you park in the lot at Panther park, give yourself a moment of quiet reflection before you get out of your car. Take a moment to turn off your phone, or at least silence the volume. Think about where you are about to enter and what the land meant to the people who built the mounds and why they built them. Please remain on the paths to help preserve not only the mounds but the dignity of the lives lived in this land.
As you enter the effigy area you will find signs telling you where to walk and what to look for as you walk. There may be a pamphlet with a map and historical information. I recommend taking one if you want to find more information. There is a brief timeline of the preservation as well as links to find more information. I found that the link to a website included in the pamphlet is no longer active, but there is other information included to give you some research topics.
If it helps you to see the mound formations, try a search on google maps and view the grounds from a satellite image in 3D. The forest growth has filled in somewhat around them, but when you spend a few minutes you can see the intentions of the build.
After your walk through the mounds, turn down the hill toward the stream and try your luck on the nature trail. On my visit I found much of it in disrepair but it was worth the slight danger of slipping into the muck of the streams edge. The short trail runs down the hill, along the stream and then back up the hill. I saw fresh deer tracks and a possible fox, it ran pretty fast through the woods, as well as a large assortment of bird life. Unfortunately for the trees, I came across a pair of very large red headed woodpeckers knocking their way through a good amount of the forest.
On the way back up the hill I came across a few teepee style structures made of dead branch. This may have been as a part of the nature trail and historical lessons of the park, but I have seen many of these structures of late throughout the Kettle Moraine Forest and along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. They make for some great photo opportunities in addition to admiration of the engineered strength.
The surrounding woods are very old hardwoods and I found myself in a visceral experience as I looked through the trees at the low afternoon autumn sun. The light and shadows created by the rays gave me a peace in my soul. I felt my mind quiet and my heart go soft. I was able to open my whole being to more than simply the factual points of interest. There are a few benches where you may sit and contemplate the point of the land space you entered and why it is important. Let the forest energy fill you with a strength you may not have previously known you carried.
I left the park wanting to stay but knowing I was only a visitor, it was time to leave.
If you want to spend a little more time thinking about your experience, take a drive into the city of Sheboygan. It is one of my favorite places on earth. I believe there are special places with a creative energy that attract a certain type of life. Positano Italy, Key West Florida, Idyllwild California and Door county Wisconsin to name a few. Sheboygan is one such place. There is a force in the air in these places that draws creative souls who write about them, paint, sing and inhabit them helping to keep the flow strong. This energy helps others feel their power and improves their lives even if they don’t know what hit them.
Stop at the Weather Center Cafe for a coffee and an exceptionally large, beautiful muffin, you’ll want to take one home for later, and a cup of soup. As soon as you walk in the door the aroma of home cooked food hits you like a beacon of goodness. You will want to return, often. Outside the doors of this blissful gathering block is the water front boardwalk. I recommend a stroll after eating or take your treats with you for a long sit in the sun. https://www.facebook.com/weathercentercafe/
With all this in mind, take a glance out your window tonight and absorb some of the moons powers. Let it pull you along for a while to let all the stresses of life go away. It is written that a bright first full moon brings rain and a good harvest year, so there is great positivity to look forward to in this year. Life can be good and bountiful.
Thank you for reading my words,