Posts tagged Israel

12 Signs of the Zodiac: Carrying on a Tradition

With just 8 days before departing for our next pilgrimage on January 9, 2014, I’m dreaming about the first leg in Jaffa Israel!   Jaffa is one of the oldest cities in the world, just south of Tel Aviv and dating back to ancient times. This charming port city’s name is derived from the Hebrew word yafah (הפי) meaning “beautiful.” Old Jaffa, one of the most popular Mediterranean destinations, dates back to antiquity; not only was it an important religious setting, but it held a strategic military location at the top of a hill with a view of the coast.

Although many visitors focus on the history of Jaffa, since it is marked by conquest, I’m intrigued with it being a locale for miracles.

Four times, Old Jaffa is mentioned in the Old Testament, in the books of Joshua, Jonah, Ezra, and Chronicles. Kings David and Solomon used the port of entry for importing timber to build temples. In the Acts of the Apostles, it is written that Peter performed the miracle of the resurrection of Tabatha, the widow, in Jaffa.  He received a vision from G-d there, expressing that there should be no discrimination between the Jews and the Gentiles.

2406519663_89a073e1e0_sAstrology is the inspiration behind the beautiful Wishing Bridge, connecting Peak Parkand Kdumim Square in the heart of the Old City. At the entrance to the bridge sits an intricate and beautiful stone mosaic of the twelve zodiac signs.

And the bridge displays smooth, dark wood embraced by 12 bronze plaques, each representing a Zodiac symbol.

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Scorpio:13175049-scorpio-zodiac-sign-on-the-wishing-bridge-jaffa-israelAquarius: images-8

Local legend holds that if a person grasps the appropriate astrological plaque while making a wish and gazing out at the Mediterranean Sea, his or her wish will come true.

Unknown-1 Nearby, the Zodiac Fountain in Kdumim Square, combines effects of water, lighting, and stonework to complete the representation of the 12 chalkstone zodiac sculptures in fascinating, original designs.

The Fountain offers passersby yet another chance to make dreams come true. We will toss a coin into the fountain and intend that our wishes will be fulfilled.

A salvage excavation at the site was conducted as part of the digging work for the Fountain. The findings found under the Fountain corroborate an old legend mentioning the existence of a magical wishing well located in that very place—Anyone who tosses a coin in it and makes a wish has her or his wish fulfilled on the spot.  Oh, yes, I’ll be tossing in my coin!

The zodiacs also appear in the street names of Old Jaffa and the Wishing Bridge connecting Jaffa Hill with Kdumim Square, such as Rehov Mazal Dagim – Pisces Street.

The artists of the bridge and fountain are carrying on a tradition that goes back millennia. An ancient mosaic in extraordinary condition discovered in an archaeological exploration of a 4th-century synagogue in Tiberias shows the 12 signs of the zodiac, surrounding an image of the sun-god Helios. Ancient zodiac imagery has also been found in the south of Israel.

Story 4. Dear Elizabeth Lesser

Dear Elizabeth,

In 2012, I read an article you wrote that was published in O Magazine.  Your topic became a prompt during a writing bootcamp I was in last year.  It caused a spark within me to ignite and has since burst into a flame atop a tall torch shining its guiding Light on a transforming path between my female ancestors and me, and beyond.  It was “Mamisma!”  THE writing prompt perfectly fitted to descend me into the past.  To my surprise, however, it turned out to be a “calling” from my future!  One thousand words spilled through the ink onto my paper, and …

Sacred Pearl Tours was conceived!

In a whisper, Mamisma conveyed a message to lead a pilgrimage for women of all faiths to Israel. Nine months after finishing the bootcamp, I realized the heat of my desire had been propelling Sacred Pearl Tours’ pregnancy.

Elizabeth, you might be wondering what Mamisma has to do with an interfaith women’s pilgrimage?  First, I must tell you—having never heard that word, you activated my curiosity and I rapidly scanned the article wondering what the heck was Mamisma?  Since I knew you are a co-founder of the Omega Institute, and that it’s emphasis is on personal and cultural transformation, I expected I would learn something important about the relationship between Mamisma and feminine power?  And I did.  Mamisma is a force!  You said it is “femininity defined by mature and maternal qualities.”  Mother love!  You went on to say, “But one need not be a mother, or even a woman, to be motivated by mamisma.  It’s available to anyone who values the power of the heart.  Mamisma is not to be confused with machisma, which is the sister of machismo. The world does not need patriarchy to be replaced by matriarchy.  It needs mamisma. It needs women to harness their hearts and drive the chariots of love into the center of town.”

And where does our strength as women come from, Elizabeth, for us to have what’s needed for harnessing our hearts and driving our chariots?

Could it come out of the stories from the lives of women who came before us?  Are we their conduit?  Have they been pumping that Mamisma through us, into the women who came after, and for those who came after them, and for those who will come later?

Are we the conduit for the Pearls of Wisdom grown by our ancestors?  Do we have a duty to our female lineage to turn toward their stories and listen to their life journeys to find the Pearls of Wisdom in us?  And if we continue our journey within, will we each come to the Mother Pearl?  As conduits, do we need to connect first with our own Mother Pearl to build the muscles required to drive love into the center of town, and into the lives of those who come after us?

The Pilgrimage to the Mother Pearl in Israel was conceived for us women to pump our Mamisma!

In Mamisma, Elizabeth, Thank You!

Jacke Schroeder

It Takes a Tribe to Manifest a “Calling!”

Story Two.  I heard a “call” to lead this Sacred Pearl Tour, the Pilgrimage to the Mother Pearl in Israel.  Like all previous spiritual “calls” I’ve received, just because the telephone rang didn’t mean I answered it…right away.  It took some convincing for me to take action.  This time was the same.

Lorien Eck was one such convincer.

lorienabout3 This past winter I went to San Francisco for the Wisdom 2.0 Summit.  There were thousands of people attending who were doing business on the cutting edges of Mindfulness and Technology.  In the middle of the roaring crowd, I missed the phone ringing and then barely could hear the voice message being left by a stranger who was inviting me to dinner for that night.  She had seen my post on Facebook that I would be at the Summit and she was going to be in San Francisco for the day.  She knew me from a virtual business-networking group we both belonged to and she said she looked forward to meeting me. I accepted the invitation.  With so many people to meet at the Summit, why did I say yes?

I believe in the power of the mysterious and the synchronistic.  Tickets to the Summit came to me at the very last minute when supposedly they were sold out and I believed there were important personal and professional reasons for them coming.  And, it was quite unusual to receive a telephone message like that one.  My curiosity was peaked!

When she pulled up in front of the Convention Center, her friend Lorien Eck was sitting in the back seat of the car. Our dinner was electrified!  That I was thinking of leading a pilgrimage for women to Israel came tumbling out from my mouth.  I could see Lorien’s mind churning; she was excited!

Lorien is an artist and creative process workshop leader. She is drawn and inspired by the land–its history, colors and textures.  Her art reflects what she “receives” and it awakens your heart and nourishes your spirit.  Of course, Israel being the Holy Land, Lorien’s art fits perfectly with Sacred Pearl Tours!  She offers sessions with individuals seeking self-understanding through her Soul Cosmology Paintings as well as offering workshops for groups both nationally and internationally.  Look at Lorien’s exquisite paintings for purchase at Lorien Eck Fine Art www.lorieneck.com.

Meta-Morph-Osis-V_L_EckBackground6.jpgI could have never guessed that Lorien would be a member of my Tribe, helping me manifest the “call!”  Take a look at the BEAUTIFUL background of  SacredPearlTours.com.

Thanks so much, Lorien!  I think of you every day!

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What is a Pilgrimage?

Times when I have wanted to gain a deeper spiritual connection or make sense of my life, I’ve gone on a pilgrimage—a sacred journey.  And when I haven’t been  able to make the journey, physically, I review those I made previously.  In other words, my desire to understand the interconnectedness between my psyche and spirit with various relationships I’ve had, places I’ve lived and worked, and spiritual teachers I’ve had the good fortune to study with was so that I could access and remember the wisdom I found during those pilgrimages.  Separately, and together as one, pilgrimages have become the placeholders and guideposts for my personal and spiritual development.

Artofpilgrimage-210-expPhil Cousineau wrote one of my favorite books, The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred.  In it he says, “For millennia, this cry in the heart for embarking upon a meaningful journey has been answered by pilgrimage, a transformative journey to a sacred center. It calls for a journey to a holy site associated with gods, saints, or heroes, or to a natural setting imbued with spiritual power or to a revered temple to seek counsel. To people the world over, pilgrimage is a spiritual exercise, an act of devotion to find a source of healing, or even to perform a penance. Always, it is a journey of risk and renewal. For a journey without challenge has no meaning; one without purpose has no soul.”

He goes on to say, “Pilgrimage is the kind of journeying that marks the move from mindless to mindful, soulless to soulful travel. The difference may be subtle or dramatic; by definition it is life-changing. It means being alert to the times when all that’s needed is a trip to a remote place to simply lose yourself, and to the times when what’s needed is a journey to a sacred place, in all its glorious and fearsome masks, to find yourself.”

Pilgrimages are a wonderful way for paying homage. The sacred journey is not just through nature but through history. During the Pilgrimage to the Mother Pearl in Israel, we will more than pass by the sacred sites along our travels.  We will make connections with the stories of the people associated with those sites and find deeper meaning in the events of our own lives.  We will be honoring our ancestors, offering gratitude for who they were and how they’ve influenced our lives today.  We will find the Mother Pearl.

The thing about a pilgrimage, like most other things in life, is that there is no way to experience it except to do it.

Jerusalem

Praises

Not only did I have one epiphany after another – I walked away… more settled, clear and peaceful.
H. Strang, Writer, Journalist & Success Coach