Sacred Journey Festival, 13-15 Feb. 2014

Not long before the evening began to settle down on the oasis that is “Ashram Bamidbar” in Shitim, the participants of the journey began to walk through its gates. The Sacred Journey Festival, a journey that took place last February for the fourth time, was a little different this time, changing its location from the woods of the north, to the desert of the south, allowing many more people to take part in it. This time there were about five hundred people who walked through the journey together.

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The journey, that began Thursday evening, with the opening ceremony, continued to Saturday afternoon, and officially ended with the closing ceremony. In between the participants had the opportunity to experience the three ingredients of the journey: ceremony, workshop and a celebration of life, all these in a supportive and healing environment.

Ceremony

A sacred spiritual experience connected the participants of the journey in each ceremony that was led by the organizers of the journey: Uria, Sufi and Liya. The three created a haven, a safe space, and a sense of a tribal unity, filled with the intention of love. during the journey a few beats took place, and they were meant to connect between the participants, allowing them to open the heart, look each other in the eyes, see each other, embrace each other and acknowledge the tribal strength of the togetherness.

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The sacred chanting circles were too filled with the tribal strength. At the first night around the sacred fire, the drum circle was united with the chanting circle, and there they played and sang into the night, and onto the early hours of the morning. What is probably remembered as the most powerful ceremony of the journey, took place Friday night, during the greeting for the Shabbat. While the wine and bread were sanctified and passed around, the women assembled in the center of the circle, around the crystals table, and lit the candles with the words of blessings and intentions. The voices of their singing were accompanied by the voices of the singing men who stood around them. The hypnotic ceremony continued even after it was officially over, when the women kept singing, even when most of the tribe were already having their dinners. After satiated the hunger, everyone returned and joined the singing circle that was led by the Orot ensemble and was shared with many other musicians.

Workshop

The workshops that the journey brought with it, allowed a personal process of connectedness and liberation. With the Yoga sessions that started the serenity of the mornings, the chakra breathing that freed emotional obstructions, the four elements dance that freed the body and the conscious. All of these and other kind of active meditations took place inside a safe space and to the voices of a professional guiding, allowing the connection and liberation of each person to his inner self.

Celebration

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When the heart opens, the process of connecting and liberating is taking place and the strength of the tribe is beating, that is the time for the celebration of the being. A conscious liberating music filled the corners of the Ashram during the days of the journey. Intimate shows were preformed in the Chai area, and on the main stage played musicians and d.js that brought the body to move as from itself, leading people to dance and celebrate the being. Lots of musician took part of the celebration, among them was Nessi Gomes who came all the way from the U.K, and with her words and voice won the heart of the audience.

Healing

Along the three main ingredients of the journey, one can’t ignore the healing vibe that surrounded the place. Surely part of it was the laughter of the children that got a creative space of their own, and the support that everyone brought to each other with an open heart and a hug, but also with the help of the healing area. The healing area was a place where one could go to in order to have the time for himself, to meditate, draw, write or just be with himself in silence. The healing area was maintained by three therapists who were there in order to listen and to give energetic healing treatments when needed.

Even with the difference of the fourth journey from the previous ones, still Uria, Sufi and Liya were successful in enabling the participants experience an intimate journey in all of its peacefulness, allowing themselves to devote to their heart and to the tribal connection and the tribal hug.

* Photos by Amitay and Anat Alon

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