Mago Cottonwood Sculpture Coming Down by February 24, Can Phoenix Goddess Temple Help Find Her a New Home?
Mago still stands, but not for long...
Thanks to the work of a horde of Cottonwood crackers, the enchanting Mago Earth Park sculpture representing the Korean version of Mother Earth will be dismantled by February 24, according to Jennifer Sing, a spokeswoman for the Tao Fellowship, which built the park as part of a planned retreat.
Already, smaller statues have been removed from the property, which sits across from the newly built Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, on Bill Gray Road, just off Arizona State Route 89A. Left for the moment are the 39-foot image of Mago (pronounced Mah-goh), a large kokopelli, a small water fountain, a few signs, an olive-green building, and two golden statues of bug-eyed harubang, mushroom-like totems who guard entrances and ward off evil.
One of the golden harubang statues guarding Mago Earth Park
Other statues depicting Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Confucius are now gone. But it was Mago that drew the ire of certain local yokels. Some griped that it was too tall (almost 50 feet high with its base included), others that it was (ahem) not representative of Cottonwood, which is, according to the last census, about 85 percent white.
Despite the fact that Immaculate Conception rises to a similar height right across the street, Cottonwood's Planning and Zoning Commission -- faced with a high-school auditorium filled with the proverbial pitchfork-wielders (among others) -- decided to oust the "graven image" (as one local critic described it) from its rural burg.
Immaculate Conception's representation of Calvary, with Mago in the distance
Actually, the statue itself is in the midst of a big nowhere, surrounded by vast stretches of vacant land. The day I visited, there were numerous sightseers taking photos of Mago, even though the park was officially closed. The entire project was the brain-child of South Korean businessman Ilchi Lee, director of the Tao Fellowship and founder of Dahn Yoga, which operates teaching centers in 10 countries, according to its Web site.
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