Animal Communication Penelope Smith


Desert Dream Mountains, forest and saguaros
Treat yourself to a special retreat in a serene five-acre setting of the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Desert Dream Garden of Contemplation is a rich forest of native trees, cacti and other succulents including the iconic, majestic Saguaro cactus, flowering shrubs, wildflowers, and artifacts that facilitate your spiritual peace and renewal.

The tranquil, spacious beauty of the desert and artistry of the human/Nature collaboration encourages spiritual reflection, centering, and revitalization. Connection and communication with plant, animal, and mineral helpers and all the elements of the land invites a feeling of oneness with Spirit moving in us all. 

There are paths to walk and places to sit and “be” in the garden and wild areas of the land. Desert Dream Chapel Tower has two shaded levels ideal for contemplative observation and views of the land. Benches and large rocks are placed in peaceful, shaded places. The garden is harmoniously arranged with the natural beauty of plants, rocks, branches, and artifacts to elicit tranquility and wonder.

There is a “playa” similar to a Japanese/zen dry landscape, with sandy gravel to rake and mold as you wish. You can add rocks, branches, and other collected materials grouped next to the playa to express your own contemplative yearnings, creativity, or realizations. 

The word “playa” which means “beach” in Spanish and also contains the word “play.” Another definition of playa is “the flat-floored bottom of an undrained desert basin that becomes at times a shallow lake” which is appropriate to the geologic history of New River as it was once the bottom of a lake and stream beds. Several intermittent flowing washes also grace the land.

Shamanic mandala circle of animals and Earth MotherMandala by Xander

Structure your own retreat with these guidelines:
  • Retreats can be from one-day to a week long from September 15 to June 1 (omitting the summer season).
  • Dates are set up by contacting and pre-registering (see pre-requisites below).
  • You set your own daily schedule. The hours you may visit during your retreat are sunrise to sunset.
  • Silence cultivates fruitful solitude and spiritual realizations. Cell phone off during your time on the land. 
  • At the beginning of your retreat, I will give an orientation to the land and suggested ways to facilitate contemplation (calm observation and reflection) with yourself and all the plants, animals, and physical and spiritual elements of the area. The rest of the time is your own adventure in contemplative solitude. We can have a discussion at the end of your day to review your experiences and answer any questions if you desire.
  • The retreats will be non-residential, except if you wish to camp on the land. Accommodations within 15-25 miles of New River can be found through websites such as and (Cave Creek, Carefree, Anthem, Scottsdale, Phoenix).
  • Healthy snacks (fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter, rice cakes…) filtered water, and a variety of teas will be available. Bring your lunch and any other food you will need.

Drumming circle in golden glow at night