Tours

Tours

Tour Programs: SACRED JOURNEYS to Greece

            Spiritual Journeys: The journey without leads to the journey within

Athens—Delphi–Athens. Delphic Wisdom Journey: “Know Thyself “γνῶθι σεαυτόν” “gnothei s’eutou” that was the inscription over the temple of Apollo at the sacred site of Delphi. It was the navel of the world. A place where the inner core of the earth exuded through primal rocks. It is a place to go to get in touch with that primal core.

The seat of the Sybll where pilgrims trekked to have their questions answered.

Trekking to and through a sacred place is an act of discovery and transformation.  A pilgrimage begins with a purpose, a question, a longing.  It is a journey that seeks to the the answers to the issues of one’s soul.  One embarks on a pilgrimage with the intention to encounter the divine or, at least, its voice.  This is the springboard for our journey to Delphi, the sacred seat of the oracle, whose cryptic messages, half veiled and half revealed the answers proselytes needed to hear.

Using pilgrimage as both a physical and a psychic construct, as an act of embodied prayer, we will journey to seek out the Delphic oracle, creating the questions that will manifest the answers we most need to find.

For this journey we will use dream journaling, reflective mediation, nature walks and eco-therapeutic techniques while taking in the incredible vistas of Delphi.  We will uncover (or at least be silent enough to hear the whispers) to some of our long-standing issues that we bear within us.   We will learn about the ancient practices of divination held at Delphi as well as the famous prophecies, and consider philosophical questions such as fate vs free will.  We will visit the archeological museum at Delphi. During this journey we will get in touch withour inner oracle, honing into our own powers to shape our destiny, an to find the answers to what we are seeking by looking within.  We will use dramatic enactments, divination paintings, and silent meditation.  Ultimately we will discover that the answers we are seeking have been in us all along.  Join me on this sacred journey.

The journey costs $1,000 per person includes: 

-transport to and from Delphi 

-all accommodations, 2 days in Athens, 4 days in Delphi

-all meals, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners

-entrance into archeological museum and sites

-the services of a guide and expressive arts therapist

-a commemorative journal

Journey does not include:

  • airfare to and from Greece
  • gratuities
  • spending and shopping costs

 

The Sacred Way Eleusis: The Apocalypse of the Goddess

The ancient sacred city of Eleusis was associated with the oldest most prominent cult of the goddess Demeter and the enactment of the Eleusian Myteries.

Athens-Eleusis-Athens.  An enactment of the Eleusian Mysteries, including a climb to the Parthenon at the top of the Acropolis.  Before the rise of Christianity, the vivifying ritual of death and resurrection, the hero journey par excellence, was the story of Persephone her abduction into the underworld by Hades and how her mother the earth goddess Demeter ravaged by grief reunited with her every spring.  The cult of Demeter-Persephone and the ritual enactment of the Eleusian Mysteries guided thousands of initiates into the mysteries of life and death and awakened in them a renewed courage to face their own mortality.  The journey involved a period of preparation and sacrifice, originated from the Western gate of the city of Athens along the Sacred Way, to Eleusis, the town six kilometers west to the temple of Demeter.  Consulting ancient texts we too will walk the way and discover the meaning of life and death as the ancients conceived.  The focus of our psychic journey will be the mysteries that surround our lives. Through embodied dramatic ritual, journaling, art projects we will get to know our shadow side and face our fears. We will visit the new Acropolis museum and become acquainted with the Olympian gods on the famous frieze.  The reverse of Delphi, on this course of the journey, we seek to uncover, or “apocalypse” which meant “unveilng”  the mysteries, the darkness that lies within us.

This journey is for those who are physically fit and have the courage to explore the dark side of their psyche. It involves long periods of walking and strenuous climb to the top of the Acropolis.

The journey costs $1200 per person includes: 

-transport to and from Athens to Eleusis

-all accommodations, 6 nights in private apartment with full view of the Acropolis 

-all meals, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners

-entrance into archeological museum and sites

-the services of a guide and expressive arts therapist

-a commemorative journal

Journey does not include:

The journey costs $1,000 per person includes: 

-transport to and from Delphi 

Epidauros: The Askleperion and the City of Healing

The center of healing the Askleperion grew up alongside the ancient theater as drama served as catharsis

The ancient city of Epidauros was the site of one of the most famous healing centers of the world.  Those in need of healing, physical, psychological, spiritual, left their daily lives behind seeking visitation from the god Asklepios.  Secluded in rolling green hills and overlooking the blue sea, Epidauros would be equivalent to a modern-day spa town.  Here, patients would engage in a holistic series of treatments in an effort to heal.  These treatments included dream incubation, hydrotherapy, music and movement, a vegan diet, nature walks, and poetic and dramatic enactments.  The site includes one of the best preserved ancient theaters, still in use today, that originated the cathartic art form we know as drama.

We will visit this site and reenact the therapies put in place to heal from our traumas: dream journaling, music and poet therapy, drama therapy, and massage and hydrotherapy.  We will either experience a dramatic performance and/or create our own ritual theater piece based on the trauma of our lives.  We will engage in historical lectures and explore the grounds that include a museum.  Those who join this portion of the journey will have as their intention to heal a specific part of themselves.

The journey costs $1,000 per person and includes: 

-transport to and from Epidauros

-all accommodations, 4 days in Epidauros, 2 days in Athens

-all meals, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners

-entrance into archeological museum and sites

-the services of a guide and expressive arts therapist

-a commemorative journal

 

The Hesychist Tradition: Eastern Wisdom and the Art of Silence

A UNESCO heritage site a series of Byzantine monasteries and churches dating from the 10th century preserved and hanging from the cliffs of the mountains in Kalambaka embody the Eastern Orthodox mystic tradition

During the first three centuries after the death (and resurrection) of Jesus Christ, a flowering of Christian asceticism took place in Egypt, Gaza, and Syria.  The monastic tradition involved a retreat into the desert with the goal of uniting with the divine through ascetic labor against one’s passions and incessant prayer and obedience to a spiritual elder who acted as a guide and confessor for the initiate.   The struggle for salvation produced a tradition of literary and oral teachings that gave extraordinary insight into the workings of the human soul framed within an Eastern Orthodox context, of a different flavor than that of the West (ie Catholicism).

It is this rich, largely underground tradition of knowledge and wisdom that we will focus on during our retreat.  We will familiarize ourselves through reading on the teachings of the Desert Mothers and Fathers, contemplating on the scriptures and saints’ lives through extracts of the Philokalia. We will especially focus on the heart, the center of the human soul according to Eastern Orthodox tradition in contrast to the mind or “nous” or intellect in contrast to the Western Christian tradition.  To activate the heart, we will practice the prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, the mystical prayer using a deep breathing technique the monastics used to connect to the Holy Spirit.  central practice of this tradition.

This tour at $1,500 per person includes 

Meteora: immersion in the divine services at three monasteries with lectures 

visit to the The Holy Mountain, Mount Athos via ferry to Ouranopoulis 

-the major cathedrals and monastics of Thessalonica

-transport via private coach to the major stops on the journey 

-talks and lectures, eco-walks through the mountains 

-visit to an iconographer’s studio for private lesson about the importance of iconography in the East

entrance into all major museums, churches, and cultural sites

-6 nights’ accomodation in area 3-star hotels  

6 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners at traditional tavernas

-materials for all immersive programs and activities  

 Encounter with the Goddess: Pallas Athene—Demeter—Minoan Earth Mother

The center of Minoan civilization, Knossos, was the seat of the Earth Goddess.

Tour includes the Acropolis and museum Athens—temple of Eleusis—Knossos and Minoan Crete –Athens.

On this tour we will go in search of the goddess, both as physical manifestation and psychic orientation.  We will delve into the goddess archetypes of the earth mother and goddess as creatrix.  For this we will touch on three sites central to goddess worship, Minoan Crete, Eleusis in Athens and the Acropolis.  Along with lectures that bring the culture and history of these places to life we will uncover the manifestation of the Goddess archetype within us through body work, drama, poetry, and art.

Tour $1,600  includes:

  • 3 nights’ accomodations in Crete, 3 nights in Athens in 3-star hotels or better 
  • transport from Athens to Eleusis; ferry to Crete 
  • all meals 
  • services of an expressive artist/therapist/lecturer 
  • materials for all activities and projects 

The (Cycladic) Odyssey

Sail the islands in the epic of The Odyssey on board a private yacht as you find your life’s course

Tour the islands of the Aegean, Paros, Naxos, Delos, Mykonos, Ios, Thira (Santorini) on board a private yacht for seven days and nights.

The Odyssey has become a central metaphor for life. This epic still electrifies the collective imagination into the 21st century as its influence abounds in artistic, literary and popular culture.  The story is of the clever Odysseus, a war veteran who must undergo a long series of obstacles before he has a breakthrough allowing him to return home.  We will pick up the hero’s journey traced in the epic and trace it in our lives.  Through dramatic reenactments, poetic readings, journal work, personal art “maps”, we will explore our own odyssey and find the way “home” to our most essential and authentic selves.  (This tour only takes place in late spring and summer)

This tour at $2000 per person includes:

-seven day and night accomodation on private yacht with private skipper and cook 

-all meals 

-transport to ports of call, Mykonos, Tinos, Paros, Ios, Santorini 

-all lecture and activity notes, and materials for expressive arts projects 

-services of a lecturer and licensed expressive art therapist 

 The Warrior’s Footsteps: Uncovering Male Archetypes through the Pelopponesus

Hoplites ancient Greek warriors enacting a battle scene

The Pelopponesus-Corinth-Nafplio-Mycenae-Olympia- Sparta-Mycenae-Thebes (depending on group interest).   (This tour is for men only). Touring the countryside of the Pelopponesus we will explore aspects of masculinity and warrior-kings as personified by Agamemnon and the Bronze Age of classical Greece.  Through dramatic readings of The Iliad, we will trace how conflicts came to life in the landscape.  Using the Iliad and other hero stories as our mentor texts we will embark on a journey to find what it means to be a man.  By analyzing the mythical and historical archetype of the warrior-hero, we will trace the hero’s journey to discover what is blocking us from becoming heroes in our own lives.  We will explore facets of our own identities by looking at the hero stories of other cultures. This tour is off-the-beaten path and includes sites not normally included in popular tours.  

Travel is the ultimate educational experience.  These sacred journeys are experiential learning quests in their own right.

The journey costs $1,200 per person and includes: 

-transport to and from Athens to Peloponnesus 

-all accommodations 

-all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)

-entrance into archeological museum and sites

-the services of a guide and expressive arts therapist

 

In the footsteps of the Apostle Paul

The ruins of ancient Corinth whee St Paul addressed his letter to the Oorinthians

This is a route that retraces the travels of Saint Paul as he spread the message of Christ throughout Greece. The pilgrimage commences in Samothrace and continues through Kavala, Philippi, Thessaloniki, Veria (where you can find the ‘altar of the Apostle Paul’), Athens and ends in Corinth, where a church was constructed in his honor.

This tour includes exegesis of Biblical texts, epistles, and outlines Paul’s various journeys in the Acts of the Apostles and visits to the historic early Churches of Corinth, Thessalonika, and Athens.  

Tour at $1,300 per person includes: 

-ferry to Samothrace from Athens, coach service through Kavala, Philippi and Thessaloniki

-bus tickets to Athens from Thessaloniki and then to Corinth and back to Athens 

-accommodation in 3-star private apartments in Samothrace, Athens, Corinth, Thessaoloniki for six nights

-all major meals

-the services of a lecturer in English

-all materials for the classes and lecturers 

 

Each of these tours can be tailored to specific group interests and needs, including one-on-one private sessions. 

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irene Archos