Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sacred sites still drawing in spiritualists

Sydney Morning Herald

The Great Pyramid of Giza was one of the ancient wonders of the world, and even most travellers today would not consider a trip to Egypt complete without seeing the pyramids.

But for some tourists, the pyramids and other sites are much more than stops on a sightseeing itinerary.

These visitors view Egypt as an ancient sacred homeland, and they come hoping for a spiritual transformation.

Numerous specialised tours cater to these seekers.

An American, June Schatilly, 82, signed up for a spiritual tour earlier this year despite the discouragement of her family. She was drawn to Egypt, she said, after having several visions of herself in a past life there. After a two-week excursion, Schatilly said she feels renewed.

"I'm 82, but I'm a kid again," Schatilly said. "Everything might be the same thing, but I'm going to be experiencing it in a different manner."

Schatilly took her trip through Heartlights Sacred Journeys, a company that combines Egyptology and metaphysics with visits to sacred sites. The trip starts with visits to the Pyramids of Giza and the mysterious Sphinx.

Visitors explore the subterranean chamber or otherwise known as the pit, the queen's chamber and the king's chamber. Group members are also encouraged to participate in meditations and chants.

Then the group travels to the grand-step pyramid of Saqqara, one of the oldest of Egypt's more than 100 pyramids. From there, they hop on an overnight train to the southern city of Luxor in Upper Egypt.

Waking up in an archeologists' treasure trove, spiritual seekers say they are overwhelmed with the mystery and magic that surrounds each site, especially at the Temple of Karnak, which was used in ancient times for major religious ceremonies.

See the above page for the full story.

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