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Sacred Tours to India - See Old Delhi | Sacred Mystical Journeys
Rennes le Chateau Courtyard - Sacred Mystical Journeys
Egypt Sacred Tour with Joan Clark and Finbarr Ross
The Mound of Hostages at Tara Hill in Ireland
Drombeg Stone Circle - Ireland
Triskele Symbol - Sacred Mystical Journeys
Spiritual Tours to Malta
Bolivia Sacred Sites Tours
Isla de Gozo - Sacred Tours to Malta
Tor at Glastonbuy - Sacred Sites Tours
Sacred Tour of Celtic Scotland - Shipwreck at Fort William | Sacred Mystical Journeys

Travel Journal: The Great Sphinx of Giza

This picture was taken at 6:15 p.m. last Thursday in the peace and quiet just before the sun started to rise. I will share more photos from our sacred journey as they are available, but for now our journey continues. Today we depart Alexandria for home, grateful for all we experienced.

Finbarr Ross and Sacred Travel Group at the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt

I look forward to future sacred travel adventures in Egypt.

Blessings, love and light,


News From the Autumn Equinox at Tara

The sky above Tara Hill at Autumn Equinox, 2017

I am sharing with you some news from the Autumn Equinox ceremony at Tara which was attended by approximately 60 people.

Finbarr Ross at Tara Hill September, 2017We first went to the Holy Well at Tara at 2:00 p.m., where we had a water ceremony; then at 3:00 p.m. we proceeded to the main seat of the High King and the Druids at Tara. We entered through the ceremonial entrance, stopping at the newly discovered temple measuring 170 meters and made of over 300 wooden posts.

Next, we stopped at the house of the Synods where a group of Israelites came in search of the the Ark of the Covenant in the early twentieth century, which they were convinced was buried here.  I believe it is one of the Emerald Tablets that is buried here.<

We then moved on to the Mound of the Hostages and then on to Lia Fail or “Stone of Destiny” for our ceremony and the Three Fold Golden Flame meditation, as we opened the 6th of thirteen Inter Dimensional Gateways.  The thirteenth will be opened at Winter Solstice 2023. The 7th Inter Dimensional Gateway will be opened at Chartres Cathedral at Chartres, France at Spring Equinox 2018.

Finbarr and group at Tara Hill in Ireland

Finbarr and group at Tara Hill in Ireland

See you at Chartres at Spring Equinox as we quest Awakening to Beauty and the 7th Inter Dimensional Gateway.

Blessings, love and light,


Egypt Safe For Travel

Egypt is now classified by the US government as a safe country for traveling. The Department of State’s announcement relayed that Egypt is safe, stable and secure and that the country will continue their optimistic steps to regain its position as a leading tourist destination.

Ancient temples to gods and goddesses stand silent as desert winds and sands swirl. Colossal shrines, Temples and Pyramids to mighty pharaohs loom on the horizon, testaments to god-like rulers whose power should never be underestimated. This is Egypt, a world of ancient history and mystery.

Egypt in all its glory is open for business with travel alerts lifted, with museums and all attractions now open. Simply said, it is a truly wonderful time to visit Egypt!

Egypt Sacred Tour: Oct 6th – Oct 20th, 2017

Egypt Sacred Tour with Aromatic Alchemist Joan Clark and Finbarr Ross | Sacred Mystical JourneysCome and explore Sacred Egypt with Mystic Finbarr Ross and Aromaetica Alchemist Joan Clark as we traverse the sacred and use the power of scent to unlock memories, activate consciousness and release hidden alchemical secrets.

Embrace the spirit of the Egyptian culture, its land, people, rituals, and the scents that empowered their rites of passages and ceremonies on this mystical journey into the heart and spirit of Ancient Egypt.

The Ancient land of Egypt holds the imprint of a civilization both spiritually and technologically advanced. This journey provides an amazing vibrational environment for each one to experience a personal adventure into the ascension mysteries of your life now unfolding.

Come away with us on this sacred pathway called Egypt and discover her ancient secrets…

Sacred Travel to John of God in Brazil Telecall

Finbarr Ross and John of God | Sacred Mystical Journeys

Finbarr Ross and John of God

Spiritual Journey to John of God’s Casa and its amazingly powerful energies in the crystalline portal of Abadiania, Brazil is a very powerful, spiritually rich, and deeply transformative experience on all levels. Casa is a home away from home with its uniqueness of familiarity, and a welcoming and supportive environment for one’s deep process of purification, connection, and healing. Whether you are looking for relief in physical, mental or emotional body, or deeper spiritual connection within your own spirit, this sacred pilgrimage offers tremendous benefits and expansions as gifts that are yours to take home with you, leaving a lasting impact in ways you never imagined possible!

Listen to Sacred Travel to John of God Telecall audio archive

News From the Camino: Part II

I’d like to share with you more news from the Camino tour and an update on special experiences we shared…
Roncesvalles | Sacred Mystical Journeys
Vista de Pamplona, capital de Navarra, España | Sacred Mystical Journeys

Our adventure continued as we traveled the pilgrimage route over the Pyrenees to our first pilgrimage stop in Spain – Roncesvalles. This is a very special place with very special stop for pilgrims with accommodations, meals and a very special church which houses a gold Madonna that wants you to linger for some time with her. We moved on to Pamplona founded by Roman general Pompey, with its beautiful cathedral very different from French cathedrals in every way – decoration, statues, symbols, energy, etc. The cathedral is considered one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world. It also houses the largest bell in Spain known as “Maria”. (By the way, Pamplona is also famous for the Running of the Bulls.)

Here we had our first experience of our travels with eating dinner at 9.00pm (which the Spanish do) as this was the earliest we could find a place open for dinner. We overnighted in Pamplona and traveled on to Burgos.
Cathedral interior, Burgos | Sacred Mystical Journeys Burgos sits on the banks of the Aranzon River with its Flamboyant Gothic 13th century cathedral containing many unique treasures including the tomb of El Cid and his wife. Here, one really has the feeling of being a pilgrim, a very special place which touches you deeply in the heart.
When we were in Lourdes we were talking about the Marion suites around Europe and the world when I told my traveling companion about a place in Spain where Mother Mary appeared to 4 children in 1961 and continued to do so until 1965. On two previous occasions while I was traveling this part of Spain, I tried to get to Garabandal without success, but this time everyone wanted to go and experience this special place. Off we went, and the journey took us up into the mountains from Burgos for almost 3 hours before we reached our destination. Upon arrival we met some very lovely people who were very helpful and directed us to the place where the apparitions appeared in the Pines. This was indeed a very magical place with an amazing story and energy. You can Google it and read all about it. We were very blessed by the experience, and after having some homemade soup, we set off for Leon.
Cathedral of Leon, Spain | Sacred Mystical Journeys
Leon, with its 2nd century Gothic cathedral set among twisting alleys and a half-timbered old town, is on the Plaza de Regla. It has within it the Virgen de la Esperanza. A short distance away is the magnificent and amazing Basilica of San Isidoro, built in 1063, with its treasury housing many Black Madonnas honoring the Divine Feminine. This was definitely the highlight of our Camino pilgrimage in Spain so far, just absolutely magnificent; we were floating when we left here. Leon is known for its chocolate delights, so we had to partake of some, and they were just great!
The cathedral of santiago de compostela | Sacred Mystical Journeys Our pilgrimage in Spain was nearing its end as we reached Santiago De Compostela, our final destination, with lots of pilgrims whom we watched for two mornings as we ate breakfast line up to get their passport stamped and their certificate.  The original cathedral of 819 contains the relics of St. James and is currently a 13th century Romanesque marvel. Here we had many wonderful experiences and we met a lovely cleaning lady who let us into two private chapels to touch and experience two Black Madonnas – all of this on top of our experiences with Saint James and the swinging incense bowl which takes 4 men to swing it on a rope! Just incredible.
interior of Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, Fatima, Estremadura | Sacred Mystical JourneysOur Journey in Santiago De Compostela came to a close after two days, and our group split with some going to the airport to start their journey home and the rest of us traveling on to Fatima to experience Our Lady of Fatima. Fatima is very different to Lourdes and much less hectic. This time I had a different experience from my two previous visits there, as they are currently renovating the Basilica for the 100 year anniversary in 2017, so there was a lot of construction going on.
After two nights in Fatima (which is a very beautiful place) I dropped the Fatima participants at the Lisbon airport and headed for Toulouse and the Angel Sanctuary in Alet and then to London to start the England tour.


Blessings, love and peace,


News from the Camino Pilgrimage

I just wanted to share our adventure with you, and to give you an update on our quest along the Camino.

We started on Friday morning walking the labyrinth which was, as always, wonderful. We finished walking the labyrinth, and before we started exploring the Cathedral and crypt with its many beautiful windows and doors – all which tell a wonderful story – it was brought to my attention that on November 1st 2014 the Labyrinth will be closed for 30 months as they renovate that section of the Cathedral. All of the front section, main alters, and windows have already been renovated, and it looks magnificent. Exploring the doors and windows to me were some of the highlights after the labyrinth (the story of the old and new testament).

After exploring all of this, we went for dinner and to our hotel to pack so that we were ready for the next phase of our Journey to Orleans to honor its heroine Joan of Arc in the church of Notre Dame des Miracles, and where there is a powerful Black Madonna, St. Mary the Egyptian carved from black stone.

After lunch we traveled to Vezelay where we arrived at approx. 4.00pm to experience the scallop shell pilgrim symbol in the pavement before the 12th Century abbey Basilica of St. Madeleine.  The basilica is where some relics of Mary Magdalene are housed and where she is honored as “The Holder of the Grail.” This was an amazing experience! The energy in the abbey and in the crypt are amazing, and opening oneself up to these energies takes one to a very special place.

I need to share with you that the experiences we are sharing on this pilgrimage are very different to a sacred sites tour. We are feeling a much deeper inner experience as we walk and quest each sacred place.

We spent our second day in Vezelay re-experiencing our initial visit to the abbey, but on a much deeper level. In the afternoon we took time to be quiet, to meditate and journal and watch the walking pilgrims arrive.

Next we took a little diversion, still on the Camino route, but a different path from our planned route. We went to visit Saint Bernadette in Nevers – what a mystical and heart opening experience! This was my second visit there and it was magical and left us in a deep inner peace.

Next we traveled back to our route, and to Lyon to the 10th Century Cathedral St Jean which holds a 12 to 15th century astronomical clock and a 17th century Black Madonna. Then we visited Notre Dame Fouvieres and its three Black Madonnas – what an experience!

Having been totally taken to a new level, we set off for Le-Puy-en-Velay, where we overnighted and I overslept by an hour. Luckily we were not traveling anyplace where we needed to be at a specific time.

We spent our day visiting amazing ancient Druid sites upon which churches were built. We visited the Cathedral with its Black Madonna, we experienced The Fever Stone also known as the stone of apparitions, and we saw Frescoes and another Black Madonna on a side chapel. We then climbed all 262 steps to visit the Goddess statue of Notre Dame De France on top of a volcanic peak. Then we visited the volcanic rock with the Chapel of Saint Michael – another magical experience. We finished our day off by visiting the Chapel of Saint Clair, also known in ancient times as “The Temple of Diana.” All of these experiences are taking us to a new understanding of the Camino pilgrimage process as we encounter a deepening peace each day, learning more about ourselves and the art of pilgrimage.

Our next step of the journey took us to Conques, the seat of a powerful 8th century abbey, and home to Saint Foy and her story. Saint Foy was burned for converting to Christianity but the fires extinguished, and so she was beheaded. After her death, many miracles of healing happened which were attributed to her. The Abbey is also home to a magnificent treasury which holds many amazing pieces of sacred art are relics, among them a gold Black Madonna.

Having experienced all of this we set off for Rocamadour with its 12th Century Basilica of St. Sauveur built in the cliff face; at its entrance is a sword dangling from the rock. The sacred crypt of St. Amadour the hermit holds powerful energy with breathtaking views of the valley below and of the surrounding mountains. The basilica also houses a powerful Black Madonna and churches on different levels. This is truly a place of pilgrimage. We did, however, miss the Black Madonna in a boat at the lower church, as it appeared it had gone on vacation to destinations unknown.

Our next stop was the Basilica of St. Sernin in Toulouse – a very special pilgrimage stop on the route – a place where you can experience some magnificent shells, explore, and connect with the many beautiful Madonnas, paintings, and relics. Having taken in all the energy we could hold, we departed for Lourdes to stop and partake of the special water and healings that happen there as it was only thirty minutes off of our route and we felt it was the perfect place to spend our last night in France before venturing into Spain. On our route so far we have encountered 16 Black Madonnas, and received many blessings, mystical moments, and vibrational shifts within ourselves.

I will follow up later with our Spanish experiences!

Thank you all for the support and blessings you bring to my life.


Blessings, love and peace,


My Journey with Essene and Cathar Initiations

by Finbarr Ross, June 2012

France-Finbarr-orbs-in-caveI have just returned from France where I had some amazing experiences which I would like to share with you. For some years now I have been thinking that I should explore Mount Bugarach where the ancient Essenes had a community and this year at the beginning of June I had the opportunity to be in the area for a week so. Through my friend, Eugene, I was organized with a guide who’s name is Harvey to take me on this expedition as I wanted to visit the Cathedral Cave and anything else that he was willing to show me.

On the morning we met he said to me “So you want to visit the Cathedral Cave? And what else do you want to see?” I asked “What is there for me to experience?” Harvey asks me “Are you open to going into a cave for an Essene Initiation?,” and I say “Yes,” and we set off for Mt. Bugarach with our translator Tim.

Upon arrival we start to climb for about 45 minutes and just ahead of us we could see an opening to a cave, but Harvey stopped and pointed out to me a black snake. It was about 4 ft long and it looked very peaceful. After admiring the snake and watching it climb out on a branch we proceeded to the cave.

Then Harvey asks me to take all the metal off my body, my watch, etc. as we are going to be entering this cave in the dark and he asks me if I am OK with that. I said yes, not fully understanding what I was letting myself in for. He hands me a headband with a light on it to put around my head, but tells me we will not be putting on the light until we get all the way inside the cave, which is about 150 yards.

Next he gets down on his knees and starts to crawl in through a hole in the cave which is about 30 inches in diameter and Tim tells me to follow him. Now, I have to tell you, I was not prepared for this, so I got down on all fours and proceed to follow through the hole. Tim assures me he will be right behind me and for me to just follow Harvey. Off we go, but about 12 feet in I get claustrophobic and say I have got to get out. I start to back out and hit my head on a rock and get two gashes. Back out into the sunlight we go.

France-Bugarach-CaveHarvey, through Tim, tells me I am perfectly safe that he is in front of me, Tim is behind me and I need to breath.  He says that when I go into fear allow a symbol to enter my head and continue to look at this until my breathing is under control again. I closed my eyes searching for a symbol and got a snake, so off we set again and this time I was much calmer.  We traveled back through the hole, into the dark, on all fours, which was not easy as pebbles, etc were not too kind to one’s knees. I was moving along nicely until I felt that I was going down an incline, and I stop and panic. I use my symbol and get my breathing back to level. Tim asks me what is wrong and I tell him it feels like there is a big drop before me and yes, indeed, there was. Tim spoke with Harvey and discovered that Harvey forgot to mention that in this section I needed to go feet first and then back to all fours.

Finally I get to a place where Harvey asks me to stand up. We are still in the dark and after about ten minutes he asks me to turn my light on, which I do, and find myself in a massive cave with what looks like a lake in it. Harvey asks me to take off my shoes and socks and roll up my pants as we are now going to walk through this water which is about ten to twelve inches deep and went around a corner through some rocks.

I followed Harvey through the water and boy was it cold!  But after going about 30 feet it no longer felt cold, so I continued on for at least another 100 feet and then we were in another large cave which was beautiful. As I stepped out of the water onto dry rock I had an amazing experience where I was greeted by several beings, one of which was Joseph of Arimathea, who informed me that I had just completed a major Essene Initiation. It was an amazing , mystical and magical experience which lasted quite a long time and all during this time Harvey and Tim just stood and watched me have my experience which as I have already said was magical and I was vibrating at an amazing rate with lots of energy.

After some time Harvey asks me am I ready to go back out and I say yes and then he tells me I am to go back out on my own with the light on and that he and Tim would follow me shortly but that this was something I had to do on my own for me so that I could fully understand all that had happened and it gave me some to time to process all that had happened.

I worked my way out to the cave entrance and was amazed at all that had transpired over the course of the morning. Shortly thereafter Harvey and Tim arrived and we made our way back down the mountain in silence. Then we had a break to have our picnic lunch.

France-exploring-cavesAfter lunch we got back in Harvey’s car and drove to the other side of Mount Bugarach and we again started to climb, which we did for over an hour, finally reaching the Cathedral Cave which was a massive cave This was just an amazing experience! What a wonderful cave with so much energy, but I have to say it was nothing to match the experience at the initiation cave.

Having spent an hour in this wonderful cave we gingerly made our way back down the mountain as it was very steep in places and then drove back to my hotel to make our arrangement for my next day experience.

On the day I met Harvey and Tim, Harvey asked me did I want to have a Cathar experience as well as an Essene and of course I said yes. So he told me about a Cathar initiation cave and upon hearing all about it I said yes. At 8am the following morning I met Tim and we drove in my car to meet Harvey, who lived on our way to the Cathar caves. It took us about an hour to drive there and we stopped on the way to pick up a picnic lunch and get some tea and coffee.

Harvey first took me to the cave of the two churches one was much larger than the other, it was absolutely huge and it had a light coming in through the roof in one corner. We explored this cave for about an hour and came to a point that was sealed off. Harvey told me that the government had sealed it off to protect a large amount of wall painting within the cave until they decided how to let people view them and also protect them from vandalism.

We next explored the sister cave of the two churches which was much smaller and had a very sacred energy.  It was obvious that lots of rituals had been performed in this sacred place, whereas the larger cave one felt like this is where they had lived.

We climbed back down to the road and drove further along so that we could again start climbing up to the Cathar Initiation Cave. Upon reaching this cave Harvey tells me “Finbarr we are going to do the same as yesterday. We will enter the cave in the dark on all fours, but first we will have to walk some distance through the cave in the dark until we get to the entrance to the tunnel.” I say OK and he says just follow my voice so I follow his voice on foot for about a 50 yards and then he tells me to get down on all fours and follow him, follow his voice. I ask how far in I had to go on all fours and he says a little longer than yesterday. Harvey was a man of few words and into allowing one to have an experience and then discuss it with you, but giving you information beforehand? No, it was all about trust.

So off we set on all fours and I feel much calmer than yesterday so I am in a good place and after a while Harvey asks me to stand up and when he did I had an experience with a being which lasted for about what seemed like ten minutes and then Harvey asked me if I was ready to move on so off we went again, me following his voice with Tim bringing up the rear and then we would have another break where I would stand up again when asked by Harvey and I would have another experience with another being. This process went on for some time and finally Harvey asks me to switch on my light and we are in a most magnificent cave. I then asked him how many stops did we make and he said “Seven Finbarr, one for each chakra.” Now I understood why he would not tell me anything before we started. He wanted me to have my experience at each stop with the different beings and master that appeared. (This cave was a little easier and harder than the Essene cave in that floor was smoother but some of the openings in the tunnels were not as large and we were literally crawling on our belly on a few occasions to get through and opening.)

We explored the cave in all its mysticism and discovered some amazing symbols that had formed over thousands of years as drops fell from the room of the cave creating pillars, one with a beautiful Goddess and one of a triple Goddess with a phallic symbol next to it and then a castle. All were amazing. We spent a very long time in this cave as the energy was amazing and when you walked you had to look at your feet to make sure they were on the ground because you felt like you were floating. Finally we worked our way back out with lights on, having had an amazing experience.

When we get outside Harvey now tells me we need to go to the Bethlehem Cave and was I up for that?  The Cathar Initiations were always completed at the Bethlehem Cave, as it was a place of thanksgiving and rebirth. So off we travel to the cave and upon reaching it one knew they were in a very special place. Upon entering it I was immediately drawn to an amazing rock that was about eight feet in diameter and I walked over and asked for permission to lie on it. Harvey tells me that lying on that rock or altar was part of the Cathar initiation and while I am on the altar Harvey climbed the wall to about 4 feet above the floor and put himself on the wall in a cruciform position and stays up there and then he said to me after I finished on the altar “Do you want to put yourself on the wall?” This you could do by using the toes of your shoes on tiny stones that stuck out and the trick was turning yourself around to stretch your hands out as you held on to one side and balanced your body on one leg (toe) to swing your body around to get into position to put yourself with arms outstretched on the wall. This was an incredible experience and when I got down off the wall and walked around the cave a few times Harvey asked me if I was ready for the final part of the initiation.

Now I am standing in the center of the cave with its wide open expanse looking across the valley to another mountain and I am now wondering what he wants me to do next. He now tells me I need to go through the rebirthing process and takes me up to the end of the cave with the large opening with about a 500 ft drop and to the right of the opening is a small hole in the rock about two feet in diameter. He tell me I need to crawl through the hole and to be careful because the ledge is small and I need to enter the cave through the large opening (with the 500ft. drop). What he did not tell me was that as I went through this opening I was going to have a major experience of being rebirthed energetically. As I put my head through I felt I was in another dimension, light and feeling wonderful while the part of me still inside the cave felt very heavy, this process continued until my whole body was through the channel and then I felt so light and walked back in through the large opening feeling totally renewed and refreshed.

That brought to a close my experience with the Essenes and Cathars on this trip, but I did go on to ancient Druid site and some other ceremonial sites.

I am forever changed and transformed by my visit to Alet les baines,  Mount Bugarach and Ornolac. I had healing work done at the Angel Sanctuary with meditating with the angels and a wonderful healing tool called Chiren the results of which were amazing, I had David of David’d Healing Piano play my soul song for me at the Angel Sanctuary and now I am looking at putting together a very special tour for a small group (maximum of 8 people) to go and experience what I experienced on the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th of June 2013, but of a little longer duration so if you feel you would like to have the Essene/Cathar Initiation experience.  If you are interested, let me know and I will organize it.

Turkey: Istanbul and Home

by Linda M.

Hagia Sophia mosque in sultanahmet, Istanbul, TurkeyOne moment we were in Ephesus and the next, after a short flight we were in the heart of Istanbul. I love, love, love that city, the food, the spices, the smells, the music, the haunting call to prayer, the fast bustle of the younger generation as they weave their way around the matured ones who move in the contemplative slow paced manner of their ancestors.  There was ample room for both as they walked past ruins thousands of years old saddled up to contemporary buildings.  Underlying it all I noticed the fierce proudness of the Turks.  It has always been there and always will be. There is a dignity to be seen in every face and an openness and acceptance of life and others.   It was wonderful to be part of that.

One of our first stops upon our arrival was Aya Sophia.  I had already visited so many beautiful sites and been touched deeply in various ways, but nothing prepared me for what I saw there.  The vastness, the sheer opulence, the icons, the colours, the architecture, all of it was like walking into the mind of God and seeing beauty and brilliance everywhere.  I suspect that if one could spend a month, day in and day out, in that sacred space alone, in silence, and simply viewed the images that veiled doorways in one’s psyche would be uncovered, revealing deeper parts of the Universe. I felt that just being there at all had a hidden effect.  There were ancient stories being told there through the icons.  One only had to look.

As we walked around and gazed at the various mosaics, Finbarr pointed out different subtleties in the position of the hands and other details that would differentiate one religious figure from another.  It added a deeper understanding to what we were viewing.  I marveled that my shoes were touching the same surface as others had 1500 years ago.   So many things had happened during that time and yet, this treasure had survived it all, embraced it all.  It was pillaged, fell into disrepair and was restored more than once.  It served as a Christian church, an Orthodox church and a mosque.  Medallions inscribed with the names of Allah, Mohamed and other Arabic writing can be seen as readily as the mosaic panels.  This sacred building is named Aya Sophia not by chance.  Sophia means Wisdom and that crosses all time and all religions.  Truth is truth. I gave a silent prayer of gratitude to the architects and builders of this wondrous building as we left.  I had no doubt that I would return someday.

From there we took a short walk to the Blue Mosque.  When I first arrived in Istanbul two weeks earlier it was the first place I visited and even though I hadn’t spent a lot of time there, when I re entered the building it was like I was visiting an old friend.  I went in respectfully, wove my way around visitors and those who came daily to worship and went to a little spot out of the way that I had found on my previous visit.  I sat quietly and just soaked in the atmosphere and gazed at the ceiling covered in blue tiles and the designs around me.  There were arches and circles and curved triangles and everything seemed to have soft edges and rounded corners.  There was nothing harsh or rigid about anything there.  The rich golds and the blues and the greens and the sunburst oranges seemed to weave into each other and dance around symbols that spoke to the part of my psyche that thrives on images, not words.   After a bit it was time to leave.  This is still a working mosque and at prayer times the doors are closed to the public for an hour or two.  Then they are re-opened for pilgrims to enter.  The energies of the new prayers have blended in with those of centuries before.  Time does not exist here.

I was so glad that the tour was arranged in such a way that we spent our last few days here in this ancient city and in the old part of Istanbul. We visited a few more places that day, Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar and others and I crawled into bed an exhausted happy traveller.

The next day was the last one in Istanbul for some of us and Patricia, Laurie, Finbarr and I met in the lobby for a day of exploring.  We went to the spice bazaar and sauntered all through it for a few hours.  Then we were ready to move on.  Patricia suggested we might want to take the ferry across to the Asian side and have lunch there.  We were eyeing the five or six lanes of traffic, and looking across the highway to where we wanted to go but couldn’t see how to get there from where we were because of abutments when Finbarr spotted a sign for the underground walkway.  We followed him like three little fledglings following Mother Goose.  At times it was like being in an underground subway in New York or Toronto with hoards of workers briskly walking by.  Other times we could have been in any cruise port as the locals hawked their goods, jeans, batteries, scarves, lace, hats and food and even eyes of protection.  It was all there in less than a city block.  We emerged from the caverns to the light of day and immediately were approached by a wiry, fossilized gentleman in his 70’s.  He had dark eyes, set deep within his face, overshadowed by bushy eyebrows.  That and his unruly mustache gave him the air of Zorbas the Greek and his manner was similar.  “Lady, lady, where do you want to go?  Come with me!  I’ll  take you.”

Traditional houses from Amasra, BartınThe long and the short of it is he offered to take us to the Black Sea, give us time for lunch and then put us on his boat to sail back to where we started.  I was pretty sure he said for 60 Euros.  When he confirmed the price, we said, too much.  He came down to 45.  We hemmed and hummed and finally Finbarr took control and said, “It’ll be an adventure!”.

And it truly was.  We had no idea how far it was to the sea. It only took a few minutes or so for us to fathom that we had at least an hour’s ride ahead which left little time for lunch.  I ended up sitting in front with him.  We didn’t know we had hired a frustrated race car driver and a few times I had to shut my eyes.  Then I thought, if I’m going to die today I want to see it coming!  So instead I chatted away like a magpie, teasing a bit and simply enjoyed his company.  Two hours later we arrived at the Black Sea and he brought us to a quaint little restaurant right at the water’s edge and we had the most wonderful fish dinner I have ever had.  To sit close to the sea, in the salty air, with no traffic, cars or otherwise, around us was perfect.  Turkey was showing us one of her treasures and we were so grateful.   Later, we hustled to get to the ferry on time to get back to Istanbul.  It was an incredible day, one I will never forget.  Thank you, Hermes, for arranging such a day of fun and adventure and laughter.

As I got on the plane next morning I was filled with love and gratitude to the Universe.  I was going home a different person than I was a few weeks earlier.  On the outside there might not have appeared to be any changes, but inside I felt softer, more open, like someone had opened the windows and doors of my soul and let fresh air and light in.  I had had a spring cleaning of the psyche in the fall, which was kind of apropos.  Sometimes you just have to get out of your routine, comfortable life and just do things backward!  Ahhhhhhhh, I thought as the blinders were lifted.  I could see where Hermes had been working behind the scenes throughout my whole trip, not just on the last day. In fact, he was on the job before I even left home.  He is the patron of travelers, the messenger and the trickster.  How could I have not clued into that earlier?

I started this journey with the intent of joining Finbarr’s trip to France but through a comedy of errors, set up by Hermes I can now see, I ended up in Turkey instead.  For some reason that trip had to happen first.  I suppose I won’t find out why till September when, if the gods allow I will take Finbarr’s Mary Magdalene’s trip to France.  I am sure the answer is there but whether they will reveal it or not, I don’t know.  I only know I can hardly wait to see what the Universe has in store for me on that trip! Bon Voyage!

Safety Issues when Traveling in Egypt

about-sacred-toursI have to tell you Egypt is a very safe place to travel in, the people are very loving and welcoming. I was in all the places that we see on TV as being major trouble spots and I saw no disturbances in my 14 days in Egypt.

Yes. the people are suffering badly by the drop off in tourism which was their number one money earner. It’s just like the problems of low tourism and bad press that Ireland suffered in the 1970’s due to the problems in Northern Ireland. I met Christian and Muslim alike, they were are all saddened by the drop off in tourism but they have hope-filled hearts now that they have had their resurrection to a bright future.

With all the bad press in the US, I’ve asked SIT, our Ground Agents in Egypt, for some testimonials of people who have recently been to Egypt on their tours.  Here’s what they say: 

November 28, 2011

“Good morning to you both!  It’s Sunday afternoon, November 27, 2011. Our “jetlag” is over and I want to thank-you and STI for a FABULOUS trip to Egypt and Jordan.  My husband Jim and I have traveled quite a bit but we have never had such a passionate tour guide as we had with Ayman.  He is a total joy to be with, and his passion and knowledge of Egypt has opened our eyes to history as he made it so real!  We have both been researching timelines and delving into the history of Egypt since we returned home on the 24th!  

“We have so many fond memories of Egypt and the warm welcoming of its citizens. We resent how our news media are portraying the demonstration/protests as if it is occurring all over!  It is confined to a small location in downtown Cairo. At no time did we ever feel threatened or scared.  Everyone at the hotels and the various sites we visited were welcoming and friendly.  We are making it our personal goal to educate our clients and friends not to believe what they are seeing on TV!

“We will be planning another visit to Egypt (with STI of course!), after all we still have so much more to see and experience.  If you have anyone that is on the fence about traveling to Egypt, I would be happy to “hold their hand” and share my experiences! 

“Thanks again to all of the staff at STI and especially Aymen for such a special time!”

Mary V Marks

Accent Travel and Cruises, Ltd.

November 11, 2011

“This trip exceded my expectations!! I have had a passion for Egypt since I was a little girl so when I got engaged, we decided to go to Egypt for our honeymoon. I am SOO HAPPY I went with STI for our tour. All of the staff from the transfer crew, drivers and tour guides were amazing. We had Ayman as our guide in Cairo and he was great. You can totally see the love and pride this man has for his country, it shines through when he speaks, whether it’s about a 4000 year-old pyramid or about the kind of cars that are in Egypt. We were so lucky to have him as our tour guide.”

“Our guide from Luxor to Aswan was Tamer, he too was amazing, he also spoke very highly of his home town (Luxor) and the pride just shown though all he told us. Over all I will ONLY USE STI, we never doubted how we were getting from the airport to the hotel or whereever we were going, as we ALWAYS had a representative meet us. The first thing I did when we got back to New York was call our representative Jane (and my new  friend) and tell her we plan on going back in 2 years time for our anniversary!! I truly believe that by using STI-travel our honeymoon was made even more speical. Both myself and my husband are totally excited to go back to this amazing country!!!”

Jason and Stephanie Waring

I’ve personally been on two tours in Egypt this year, and highly recommend it for anyone.  Egypt needs us and we need her!

Mysical Avalon ~ Island in the Mists

220px-Street_and_Glastonbury_TorThe name Avalon conjures images of a mystical land that lies between the mists, a place of legend.  Is Avalon a real place or just one of stories and fairy tales?

Avalon has been identified with Glastonbury, a village in the English countryside, not far from other mystical and sacred places such as Stonehenge, Avebury and the White Horse at Silbury Hill.  Glastonbury does, indeed have a special energy and ancient spiritual connections.

Glastonbury was named as the Place of Glass or Isle of Glass, given this name for its waters that reflected like mirrors.  It is also known as Avalon, meaning the place of apples.  The area is a rich farmland, filled with apples and much more.  To the druids the apple symbolized fruitfulness and fertility, and to some even immortality.

Glastonbury was a mystic and spiritual center for the Celts and the druids, also for the Essenes and early Christians.

It held an important place in the King Arthur legends as the sacred isle of the goddess, held by the Lady of the Lake.  It is said that King Arthur and Lady Guenivere were buried at Glastonbury Abby, and remains have been found there.  Yet this story, as so many of the mysteries, is shrouded in half truths and scandal.

Stories also tell of Jesus coming here with his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, and studying with the druids.  Glastonbury Abby is an ancient center for learning and Glastonbury has many other special sites to visit.

Holy Thorn

220px-Glastonbury_ThornThe legends say that Jopeph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury and placed his staff in the ground at Wearyall Hill.  The staff rooted and grew into a Hawthorn tree.  This sacred thorn would bloom twice every year, once at Christmas and once at Easter.  It is the only thorn tree in the world to bloom like this, especially rare at Christmas.

Traditionally a branch of the tree would be cut and sent to the Queen each Christmas.  In 1965, the Queen of England had a wooden cross placed at Glastonbury with the following inscription: “The cross, the symbol of our faith, the gift of Queen Elizabeth II, marks a Christian sanctuary so ancient that only legend can record its origin.”

Chalice Well

220px-ChaliceWell(GB)SevenBowls+VesicaPoolThere are two sacred springs in Glastonbury, known for their healing properties.  The story also tells that after the death of Christ, Joseph of Arimathea brought the holy grail, containing drops of Christ’s blood.  He placed it in the well and the water turned to red.  There is also another spring which runs clear.  The prophesy states that when the red and white (clear) waters start flowing together, representing the masculine and the feminine, this will be the time of Divine Union.  Great miracles will occur in the world when this happens.  This has already begun to shift, and the red waters are almost running clear.

Glatsonbury Tor

While the waters and the sacred well symbolize the feminine, the higher and majestic hill of Glastonbury Tor represents the masculine.  The Tor stands above the surrounding countryside, with views to all the lands below.  There is a chapel to St. Michael standing at the apex, some believe there was an ancient stone circle here.

The Tor is another powerful energy center, with a vortex at the top.   The Tor has been associated with the King of the Fairies and is said to be an entrance to the land of the fairies.

The stories and tales of Glastonbury and Avalon are more numerous than we can recount here.  It is a magical land filled with sacred symbology, mystical tales, spirits and fairies.   The mysteries of Avalon are waiting for you!