Our August 17 – 24, 2014 pilgrimage to sacred sites of England will be much more than a sightseeing tour. The program was designed to help the participants make positive changes to their lives.
Tour host, Candace Stuart-Findlay created the spiritual journey in order to take advantage of the powerful energy vortexes in and around Glastonbury. If you wonder whether it is the sort of experience you would benefit from, then take a look at what Candace had to say:
Are you looking for lasting positive change, but continually find yourself on a negative cycle merry-go-round? Are you able to momentarily escape, only to be sucked back in again? If you had the tools to be free, would you be willing to use them?
If your answer is a resounding “YES!” to these questions, then you have found what you are seeking…the knowledge, tools, and support to forever uplift and transform your life with ease, and have FUN while doing it! You will, at last, be empowered to create your best life!
Our Spiritual Transformation Simplified™ Sacred Journey and Workshop has a 360 degree approach for expanding consciousness, incorporating spirit, mindfulness, neuroscience, metaphysics, Love, and much more!
Glastonbury was specifically chosen for the Spiritual Transformation Simplified™ Sacred Journey and Workshop location because of its powerful vortexes and transformation-supporting energy. It has seven outward spirally electric vortexes, one for each of the seven major chakras…all in support of release!
The workshop material and tools are from Candace’s book, “Spiritual Transformation Simplified™ ~ The Six Fundamentals for Life Mastery”, virtually a transformational road map providing breakthrough information and exercises designed to ease and accelerate blockage release.
It is the special determining qualities of the Spiritual Transformation Simplified™ Workshop, coupled with Glastonbury’s energy, that creates the perfect synergistic environment for deep, lasting positive change in a safe, supportive sacred space.
Here is a video with more details:
Candace Stuart-Findlay, an intuitive, energy healer, published author, speaker, and Co-host of the Empowered Whole Being Radio Show, is the Sacred Journey and Workshop Facilitator. To learn more about Candace’s work in service of empowered enlightenment, please visit the Empowered Whole Being web site, www.empoweredwholebeing.com. Candace is assisted by Rob Fournier, a trained Shaman, energy healer, intuitive, author, and Master Craniosacral Practitioner who emphasizes laughter and play as a gateway for breakthrough positive transformation. Discover more about Rob by visiting his healing center’s web site, www.livingbalancecenter.com/rob-fournier/.
We invite you to join us on this amazing sacred journey to magical Glastonbury, England…lasting joyful enlightened transformation guaranteed!
For more information and to register for the Spiritual Transformation Simplified™ Sacred Journey and Workshop, please visit http://bodymindspiritjourneys.com/empowered-whole-being.html
By Melissa MacDonald
The breathtakingly beautiful South of France, with its balmy air and pellucid ocean coast, has more to offer the traveler than just a pleasant climate. It was here, according to legend, that Mary Magdalene came in her later years to preach, heal, convert, and eventually ascend to heaven. Her final years she spent in a solitary mountain existence, imbued with deep spirituality and gaining great wisdom. The profound, feminine spiritual power of sites associated with her in this region can still be felt as deeply by modern travelers as it was by the pilgrims of medieval times.
The legacy of Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene is an intriguing character, considered by many to be deeply sacred. Maligned for centuries as a prostitute by the Vatican – who were perhaps a little wary of spiritual authority vested in a female – she is slowly being reinstated to her former position as a valued disciple of Jesus and a keystone of Christianity. According to the Gospels, Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection, making her a very important Christian figure indeed. Gnostic gospels and other non-canonical early Christian writings paint a vivid picture of Mary as a prominent leader of the early church, blessed with visions, privileged with divine insight, and a bearer of deep spiritual wisdom. Mary Magdalene is often thought to be the Mary at Bethany who anointed and washed the feet of Jesus using spikenard oil and her own hair, and who helped to prepare his body for burial with sweet-smelling embalming oils. For these reasons, the use of oils is greatly associated with the ministry of Mary Magdalene. Oils are still used in healing today, and authorities on the subject, such as Licensed Prescriptions, claim they can ‘benefit the health and wellbeing of the ‘whole person’, as well as being an effective tool for stress relief. Mary Magdalene is credited in legend with bringing knowledge of essential healing oils to France and thus to Europe, giving the people much needed knowledge of how to heal their souls as well as their bodies. A trip to her holy sites in the South of France is equally healing – a soothing balm for spirits that may be troubled or grieving.
Christianity has been accused of androcentrism, and considered by some to be spiritually deficient due to its lack of an adequate divine feminine principle. However, sites associated with Mary Magdalene in Southern France have feminine spiritual energy in abundance. Mary Magdalene is said to have arrived in Southern France around 42 CE with a few holy companions. They had drifted from the Holy Land in a boat without oars – possibly cast out as a form of exile which was generally expected to become an execution. However, their boat was blown over the Mediterranean, to land on the shores of the town now known as Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer (‘Saint Marys of the Sea’). Now capital of the Carmargue region, this place has been a place of great spiritual energy and pilgrimage since pre-Christian times. Its associations with Mary and her companions built it into a true spiritual heartland. A weathered wooden cross marks the spot where there boat is said to have blown to shore – powerful in its simplicity. Holy wells, said to have leaped joyfully from the land at the instigation of the saintly party, can be found in the beautiful church, and the power of the place is clearly felt by even the most spiritually obtuse. One of the holy company – Saint Sarah – said to have devoted her life to serving Mary, is venerated as patron saint of the gypsies, and every year in May gypsies converge in joyful pilgrimage on the town, to replenish their souls and feel the simple, strong healing energies of the area. A visit to this place is tremendously regenerative, permeating the spiritually aware with a great sense of hope, and imbued with a rich atmosphere which works actively to heal the emotionally damaged.
Sainte-Baume – shamanic mountain grotto
Mary Magdalene’s legend continues. The tale goes that she left Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer and travelled up into Sainte-Baume. This is a stunning range of mountains in the center of Provence, situated almost exactly between the Alps and the sea. There she chose to live in a natural grotto, a cave in the heart of the mountain itself. Her life was one of contemplation, of meditation, and of ultimate spiritual enlightenment. This grotto was her Bodhi Tree – here, she learned to lose her human wants and to be sustained by the spirit. Her body, according to legend, was nourished for thirty years by Holy Eucharist brought to her by angels, until she dispensed with the needs of the body entirely, and ascended directly to heaven. Her mountain is a sacred, protected location, and a site of spiritual pilgrimage for centuries. Paths once travelled by popes and kings on pilgrimage wind up to the grotto, through cool forests and along beautiful mountain paths. The forests of Sainte-Baume are sacred, and have been protected for thousands of years. They maintain an almost eldritch air of enchantment. Mary’s cave grotto, probably a site of worship since pre-Christian times due to its undeniable spiritually healing atmosphere, is replete with almost tangible sacred, feminine energies. Entering her cave grotto is like entering the womb of the mountain itself. The cave retains much of its natural, simple rocky beauty. Shrines, statuary, art, and Mary’s beautiful reliquary enhance rather than overbear the natural qualities of the cave, rendering a visit to it an almost shamanic experience. Red, white, and black color schemes in the tiles bring to mind the colors of prehistoric cave art. Thousands of years ago, the ancestors worshipped a feminine, maternal energy in caves just such as this, through similar colors and art. This reverence for the feminine is much lacking in modern times, leaving a damaging gap in many psyches. Mary’s grotto at Sainte-Baume can help visitors to reconnect with the sacred feminine, and free the female aspect of their spirit from mental oppression. Indeed, the cave could almost be seen as a transformative tomb, or regenerative womb, through which pilgrims pass to lay to rest their torments, emerging on the other side with spirits reborn.
Reconnection with the feminine, transformation in spirit
Mary Magdalene’s part in early Christianity is shrouded in controversy brought about by anti-feminine sentiment and conspiracy theories. However, the heart of the part she has to play in early Christian writings is one of exquisite love, and transformative grief. Mary tenderly anoints Christ’s feet with oils, witnesses his sufferings on the Cross when others prefer to leave, embalms and prepares his body for burial, and visits his grave to express her sorrows. It is during this latter activity that she is rewarded for her refusal to shy away from her suffering – she is the blessed apostle who is first granted a personal audience with the risen Jesus, thus learning firsthand about spiritual resurrection. Visiting Mary’s sacred sites help people to reconnect with the inner strength of the feminine spirit, which does not shy away from emotional hardship but instead admits it, faces it, works through it, and in so doing ultimately regenerates the damaged psyche, transforming it into something spiritually stronger and more profound.
Kathleen McGowan, the best-selling author of the Magdalene Line series of novels, The Expected One, The Book of Love and The Poet Prince, hosts Sacred France tours that visit sites associated with Mary Magdalene. Body Mind Spirit Journeys anticipates she will be hosting another such tour in May, 2014. If you would like to be notified when this Mary Magdalene tour itinerary has been finalized, please click here.
Photo of Saint Sarah at shrine in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer by Acomaread more
The vast expanses of Australia hold some of the best locations for stunning music festivals in the world. With a range of festivals catering to different tastes, seasons and vibes, you’re sure to find something you’ll like in the end of this year or early next year.
1. WOMADelaide is the Australian version of the popular WOMAD festival, running in Australia since 1992. The friendly atmosphere, families and natural setting in the Botanic Park makes WOMADelaide the Glastonbury of Australia, with next year’s event running from the 7th till the 10th of March featuring the talents of Billy Bragg, Living Room and Osaka Monaurail with the rest of the line-up being announced this November.
2. Splendour in the Grass makes for an alternative arts and music festival held in Byron Bay with a name inspired by English poet William Wordsworth. 2013 saw a line-up featuring Mumford and Sons, Klaxons, Babyshambles and Australian rockers Airbourne. For years Splendour was a festival for the winter seasons but recent years have seen a shift to July for a much more natural environment.
3. Festivals like the Big Day Out take place across multiple locations in January and February, with next year’s acts to include Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Blur and the newly dubbed Snoop Lion. Big Day Out had an impressive start to its career when its opening show in Sydney 1992 featured the Violent Femmes and Nirvana shortly after the release of Nevermind.
4. St Jerome’s Laneway Festival began with humble origins in Melbourne 2004, known as a simple indie music festival; now it takes place in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney, the perfect destination if you secure some cheap flights to Australia. If that’s a little too far for you, St Jerome’s made its North American debut in Detroit this year with a line-up including Sigur Ros and The National, and also takes place in Singapore.
5. The Falls Festival which takes place over New Years eve has three line-ups playing simultaneously. This year’s events will see the likes of Violent Femmes, Vampire Weekend and MGMT playing across venues in Lorne, Marionbay and Byronbay, alongside a near-constant timetable of comedy, theatre, circus, music and dance.
6. For an all-Australian line-up there is nowhere better than Homebake, which this year is celebrating its eighteenth birthday which coincides wonderfully with the 40th anniversary of its incredible venue, the Sydney Opera House. Taking place at the beginning of December acts include Paul Kelly, Gurrumul and Eskimo Joe as well as the world-famous The Cat Empire, and will have a restricted number of tickets to create a more intimate atmosphere befitting a coming-of-age party.
7. The similar Meredith Music Festival takes place in its own Supernatural Ampitheatre in a location near Melbourne, celebrating its twenty third year in style with its Pink Flamingo cocktail bar, the Ecoplex Cinema and The Meredith Gift, their traditional naked run.
8. Listen Out used to be known as Parklife, and was an infamous dance festival; it now takes place across Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne and considered the antithesis to the large, commercial music festivals. This year’s biggest act is easily Azaelia Banks with additional music from Touch Sensitive and Classixx among others.
9. The Melbourne International Jazz Festival is an early summer chilled out festival featuring the best in Australia and around the world in the world of jazz and blues. This year’s event was held from the end of May to the beginning of June and had events under the titles Explorations in Jazz, Modern Masters, Club Sessions and Masterclasses from professionals.
10. And, finally, we get to one of the largest festivals with the most popular acts in the next six months: Soundwave. In February and March of next year, over various locations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, Soundwave will bring Green Day, Rob Zombie, Placebo and Korn to the stage as well as promoting local performers with coveted spots in the line-up.
Such an enormous amount of musical variety set across locations of beautiful architecture and landscape means there is a music festival for anyone’s taste – if you’re willing to travel for it!read more
by Melissa Hart
On the beautiful south coast of Brittany, France, lies Carnac – home to one of the greatest and most mysterious megalithic sites in Europe. Between the pounding ocean and the mediaeval villages stand over 10,000 Neolithic menhirs, spread in lines across the landscape. It is a beautiful, eerie and moving sight. The stones and the place retain much of the awe-inspiring energies that influenced the peoples of the Neolithic to place them there. Many modern visitors have felt the power of this ancient, sacred landscape to move, change, and heal.
The menhirs of Carnac date from around 3,500 to 4,000 BC, meaning that the site was in active spiritual use for five or so centuries. While many of the megaliths have been removed for use in local building projects, or destroyed through superstition, there are still thousands remaining – and they are a formidable sight. The stones –some of them truly enormous – march in lines for miles across the land like a giant stone army. Indeed, local legend holds that the stones once were a Roman legion. This legion was marching with devastating purpose across France when the great wizard Merlin encountered them. He cast a spell of petrifaction, and their marching lines were turned to stone before they could do any more harm. There they remain, still in almost perfect formation. A more Christian version of the tale claims that the army was a pagan one, pursuing Pope Cornelius. Their petrifaction saved the life of the saint.
Some more modern explanations for the stones are no less wild. Antiquarians of the nineteenth century, for example, believed that the stones could be the fossilized remains of a giant snake. Their purpose remains elusive to archaeology, but the alignments of stones and the surrounding tumuli (in which the local landscape is rich) seem to suggest that Carnac was a sort of necropolis, with funerary associations. Various features of the sites indicate that this, like Stonehenge in England, was an area associated with the dark times of the year, with winter, and with death. The Kercado and Gavrinis passage mounds, for example, are aligned almost exactly with the midwinter sunrise, and many of the stone lines seem astronomically aligned to bear relation to midwinter sunrises, sunsets, or star formations. The presence of several vast tombs – the tumulus of Saint Michel being a notably impressive example – bring the funerary role of the place into clear focus.
Modern negativity, ancient profundity
This association with darkness, cold, and death may raise concerns for many modern travelers. These concerns should be disregarded. They are brought about by the toxic relationship of modern culture with death and other so-called ‘negative’ elements of existence. This constant need to be achieving, the drive to ever greater glories, the failure to acknowledge the presence of darker aspects, and the desperate need to have perfect control over one’s existence is a key cause of many modern psychological disorders. The peoples of the Neolithic understood that they could not control everything. Rather than shutting out the idea of harder times, and thus letting them grow to giant and threatening proportions in their subconscious, they incorporated them into their lives through acknowledgement, festivity, and the healing energies of sites like Carnac. Those who attempt to ignore the winter will freeze – the winter must be accepted and inhabited as a part of life no less vital than the warm joys of summer.
Healing through acceptance
Acknowledging death and winter acknowledges a lack of control over certain aspects of life – and helps people to accept that lack of control. It also opens the psyche to the great spiritual growth and lessons inherent in what modern terminology would inaccurately refer to as ‘darker times’. It is this positive spiritual growth aspect of the darkness which is embodied in the stones of Carnac. The passage mound of Kercado at Carnac is a grave aligned with the winter stars – yet at midwinter, the sunrise pours down its passage to light and warm the very depths of the tomb at the coldest, darkest point of the year. Many caught in the despair of depression may feel that their life has no hope, and that this state will be forever. A trip to Carnac will remind them that all things are transitory – including those things which may seem bad – and that, in the midst of despair, there can still be found beauty, warmth, and light. In accepting the troughs of existence, rather than fighting a futile, damaging and exhausting psychological battle over that which cannot and does not need to be controlled, peace can be achieved. Great personal wholeness can be brought about by experiencing the lessons of these stones. People who are tormented with uncontrollable personal darkness, perhaps manifesting as low self-esteem, depression, or eating disorders could hugely benefit from a visit to Carnac. For these people, a healing visit to the stones should be viewed as an opportunity to acknowledge that which is hurting them, and let it pass away from them in this place of peace. Perhaps an event from the past is affecting someone, deep down. Just as the megalith builders of Carnac marked, honored, and laid to rest their dead here, so they can mark, acknowledge, and lay to rest this burden. Those with eating disorders often have a desperate need for personal control, brought on by a life which may seem wildly chaotic. The stones of Carnac will heal this perception, bringing the distressed patients to a gentle understanding that they cannot and do not have to control everything, and that that is ok.
A site more valuable than ever
Carnac is a truly special site, whose healing energies are more pertinent than ever in this age of feverish self-control and unacknowledged, toxic depressions. With more people than ever struggling with anxiety disorders, neuroses, or just generalized misery and lack of fulfilment, the power of this landscape which embodies hope in the depths of winter can work wonders. The stones of Carnac remind us that we must peacefully accept rather than fight a damaging war against that we cannot control, and that all things, including winter, misery, and grief, will give way to happier times in the end.read more
The heart of our up-coming “Tibetan Path in India” tour is a ten-day silent meditation retreat, held at a Tibetan Buddhist facility near Dharamsala, India.
The tour host, Lisa Tully, offers these comments on the benefits of doing a silent retreat…
Silence is about connection with God.
Silence brings your direct connection with ultimate reality, which you always have, into your conscious awareness. Silence is how you make contact with your real self, your divine nature, your God-ness, if you will.
In Buddhism silence is an essential component on the path to enlightenment. So is regularly retreating from daily life, both individually and in groups.
But perhaps, as you contemplate this quest or whether to book this adventure, you think less about the accomplishment of silence and less about the goals you wish to reach.
Reflect instead on re-establishing your direct connection to The Universe.
It’s not about the day dream on how blissful life would be if you did realize your God-ness on this trip. It’s about opening yourself, in the moment, to The Divine.
Opening yourself to receive powerful pure love, acceptance, and beauty. This is the real gift of silence; why you sit for fifteen hours a day for ten days.
To remember what it feels like to be touched by God plainly, simply, and lastingly.
I will also tell you that once you begin planning for this quest, your retreat has already begun. The Universe immediately begins to bring to your life all that you need for this experience.
When you feel the flow of everything effortlessly falling into place to get you to India, this is God preparing to greet you.
When the challenges, obstacles, and doubts arise, this is God showing you what you need to address in your inner and outer life in order to be able to be open enough to remember your connection and relationship.
Each moment of flow and each moment stress is a gentle nudge from God saying, “It’s started. Look within. Do it now.”
My lesson is to remember the need for regular silence in my own life. To remember to wake up each morning with a vow on my lips and a prayer in my heart to feel my God-ness and live my truth. Part of which is that, the real power of silence lies in reconnecting with The Divine most fully.