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Sacred Earth Journeys is dedicated to providing a more meaningful and rewarding travel experience, specializing in sacred sites tours and spiritual travel. Our journeys combine respect and reverence for ancient wisdom traditions with the joy of exploring some of the most beautiful landscapes in all the world.

Since 2003 we have been offering...

Sacred Earth Journeys is dedicated to providing a more meaningful and rewarding travel experience, specializing in sacred sites tours and spiritual travel. Our journeys combine respect and reverence for ancient wisdom traditions with the joy of exploring some of the most beautiful landscapes in all the world.

Since 2003 we have been offering spiritual journeys around the world, custom sacred tours, and retreats to countries as diverse as Peru, Mexico, India, Ireland, England, Bali, Greece, Turkey, Bhutan, and more.
 

Our blog takes a look at aspects of the culture, sacred traditions, geography or peoples of our travel destinations. We have inspiring feature interviews with some of our tour leaders, wisdom teachers, and past participants who have travelled with us, contemplative pieces that aim to assist you on your inward journeys as well as tips for making your future travels more meaningful. Our blog is a collaborative effort, coordinated by our staff writer & blogger, Helen Tomei

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How Karma Yoga can deepen your spiritual practice

How Karma Yoga can deepen your spiritual practice

What is Karma Yoga

Karma yoga derives from the Sanskrit word that means “action or doing” and is based on engaging in selfless acts for others. It is about removing the egotistical question of “what do I receive through doing this?” And about simply acting without focusing on gain or result. Karma yoga is one of the four branches of yoga and is an ancient practice that draws on the law of Karma to help make you a more compassionate and loving person, as well as to make the entire world a happier and kinder place. 

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How our summer solstice journey to Mexico inspires deeper self-knowledge

How our summer solstice journey to Mexico inspires deeper self-knowledge

The summer solstice during Mayan times

As many people know, the Maya were astronomers with their focus being mainly on the movements of the sun. Many of their sites, including Chichen Itza, were built in a way that seems to align with the sun’s changing position throughout the year. 

The summer solstice (Saq ‘Q’ij in Mayan) was an important time for the Maya as they used this time for celebrating, dancing, and performing ceremonies to connect with the Light. This was also a time when they travelled to other dimensions in search of answers and solutions to problems so that they could create a better world. They observed that on this day each year, the sun seems to become ‘still’ giving them the longest day, which they saw as a special time of purification, abundance, fertility and youth. 

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The Power of Visiting the Sites of the Buddha

The Power of Visiting the Sites of the Buddha  - Sacred Earth Journey

The Buddha made it clear during his lifetime that he and his teachings are simply the raft, not the shore. He wanted his followers to not indulge in idolization, but instead inner transformation. Nonetheless, he wished for his followers to visit the sites of the Buddha.

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Mindfulness in Buddhism: Touching the Healing Wonders of Life

Mindfulness in Buddhism: Touching the Healing Wonders of Life

Mindfulness in Buddhism is worth examining deeply. COVID has left us stressed and in search of meaning. It has increased our suffering considerably. According to Buddhist tradition, cultivating mindfulness deepens understanding of our thought patterns, neurosis, and leads to a profound sense of gratitude for life’s many gems. It can also eliminate suffering.

With deep enough practice, transformation happens. We transmute our suffering into peace and insight while obtaining the power to do the same for the surrounding world. This type of internal reconfiguration is extremely valuable not only during these times of increased suffering but all the time. 

We may think that mindfulness simply means to be present during a seated practice, but in Buddhist tradition it goes much deeper than that. Foremost, it teaches that seated breath meditation is simply not enough. Mindfulness in Buddhism teaches that with Right Diligence we should aim to sustain present moment awareness throughout our entire days.

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How the Joseph Campbell Monomyth Inspires Pilgrimage

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The Joseph Campbell monomyth has become somewhat legendary in academic circles. Mythologists, literary critics, and fervent spiritual seekers alike have turned toward Campbell’s mythic model not only to understand folk tales and lore, but to comprehend their own journeys, too.

Joseph Campbell was a mythologist who got his start studying the humanities as a college student. He took a particular interest in medievalism, eastern religions, and foreign languages. Biographical accounts detail how during the great depression, Campbell spent the remainder of most of his 20s in Woodstock, New York engulfed in reading and studying.

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National Geographic: “Pilgrimage is on the Rise”

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Pilgrimage is an art form. It’s an ancient practice with roots in times where the veil between physical life and the sacred was much thinner.

Since 2003, Sacred Earth Journeys has worked tirelessly to show the world that it’s in dire need of the reinstallation of pilgrimage as a common reason to travel.

Since then, we’ve worked with various teachers, healers, medicine people, and elders from the world’s many sacred traditions. 

From the Maya in the Yucatan all the way to Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal, we’ve woven powerful, educational, and healing journeys throughout various landscapes, bringing people together from all walks of life.

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2022 Pilgrimages: 3 Journeys with Phil Cousineau

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Sacred Earth Journeys is leading the way in 2022 pilgrimages for the post COVID world. According to a recent article by National Geographic, “More travelers than ever are embarking on pilgrimages, a trend that may boom in a post-COVID world, as people move away from short-haul city breaks toward fewer flights and longer trips with a sense of purpose.”

Enter Phil Cousineau. Working with Phil for over a decade has imbued our mission as promoters of pilgrimage with insight and magic.

Our participants who decide to travel with Phil always come away with a deeper sense of themselves as wanderers, artists, and mythopoetic journeyers through life at large. 

One writer, Victoria Coen, had this to say after traveling with us and Phil on a writer’s retreat in Greece: 

“Phil is an exceptional leader, teacher, writer, storyteller. . .I enjoyed his immense knowledge of Greek history and his incredible way of conveying it in engaging storytelling format which made the learning more intellectually stimulating as well as emotionally captivating.”

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Traveling Mindfully Connects Us to the Deeper Meaning of Life

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Travel can be a sacred act. Many people on the planet are waking up to the idea that true  “pilgrimage” is a tangible possibility. Traveling mindfully is an intentional process, an active rather than passive way of traveling.

Intentional, sacred travel, even, is a process by which we can connect to the deeper meaning of life.

In his The Art of Pilgrimage, Phil Cousineau writes, “The art of pilgrimage is the craft of taking time seriously, elegantly. What every traveler confronts sooner or later is that the way we spend each day of our travel . . . is the way we spend our lives.”

Phil isn’t only a well-read, adventurous author—he’s also one of our veteran tour leaders who’s been crafting expansive journeys with us for many years. 

It’s because of leaders like Phil that we’re reminded of the importance of how to best travel. . . and how to best spend our lives. 

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3 Ancient Greek Myths That Remain Relevant in Today’s World​​​​​​​

3 Ancient Greek Myths That Remain Relevant in Today’s World​​​​​​​

Whenever people think of Greek myths, they often conjure up images of an imaginary past in which gods and goddesses interacted with humans and heroes went on epic journeys around the ancient world.

Some of Ancient Greece’s most famous myths were not only rooted in reality, but are also alive and well today.

Travelers can revel in the enduring legacy of these myths by standing on the soil where Amazon warriors displayed their incredible strength, where Hercules first lit the Olympic torch, and where the Oracle of Delphi guided people to discover themselves in order to understand the world around them.

These myths are part of ancient Greece’s enduring legacy, and continue to shape the country — and most of the world — to this very day.

1. The Amazons

According to Greek mythology, the Amazons were a tribe of female warriors that lived in Themiscyra, an area located in present-day Turkey.

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Mindful and Spiritual Travel Are More Essential Now Than Ever

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Visiting sacred sites, studying sacred mythology, meeting new people abroad, and learning from spiritual teachers are all factors driving people into spiritual travel.

You see, ever since stay-at-home orders went into place due to COVID-19, people have been waking up to their need for more meaningful connections and experiences.

Even Deepak Chopra predicts the future of wellness travel after COVID. His verdict?

Chopra says people are looking for a reconnection to existence. From exploring nature to seeking wellness travel, people yearn to form meaningful social connections as well as connections to why they’re alive.

Chopra even predicts people will begin seeking out spiritual sites more and more. 

What is spiritual travel exactly? 

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Updates on Paititi, Lost City of the Inca: Does the Search Continue?

Amazon Rain Forest ~Jacob Lopez, staff writer

Cusco represents the heart of the Inca civilization. It is there that many begin their pilgrimage to Inca cities such as Machu Picchu in the Andes. Inspired by the mystery and transformative power of Andean indigenous traditions, many undertake adventures such as our very own Heart of the Pachamama with Puma Quispe Singona. But now, and for the last 100 years, there has been another set of explorations from Cusco. Researchers have been navigating through the Peruvian Amazon for signs of the Lost City of Paititi.

Discovering Paititi would be extremely beneficial for both our preservation and understanding of the culture of the Inca. Finding such places and artifacts ensures their protection. The preservation of sites also enables researchers to study them and bring to light things previously unknown.

In 1979, two French-Peruvian explorers named Nicole and Herbert Cartegena discovered the agrarian settlement of Mameria. Their discovery provides the very first written proof of Incan presence within the Peruvian Amazon jungle. Mameria contains approximately 15 square miles of houses in the pirca style of the Inca. 

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Peru Travel Itinerary: Discover Peru Sacred Sites

two-llamas-standing-on-a-ridge ~Jacob Lopez, staff writer

By creating a Peru travel itinerary surrounding the many Peru sacred sites, you’re securing yourself an immersive experience in a culture rich with healing arts. 

When describing the importance of pilgrimage to Peru’s sacred sites such as the Sacred Valley Peru, our journey leader Puma Quispe Singona says: “There is so much that is constantly affecting us. So we need to take care of our heart. We need to take care of our mind. . .We have ceremonies. We have rituals. We have ways of being and thinking. . .so we can be healthier. So we can be happier and in inner peace.” 

Puma is an Andean medicine man and wisdom keeper who leads our Heart of the Pachamama journeys through the sacred lands of Peru. 

In this article, we serve as your guide to forming a Peru travel itinerary to discover Peru sacred sites based on our own time in Peru with Puma. You’ll learn where to go and what to do during your time among the traditions of the Andes in Peru.

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Joseph Campbell Books to Inspire Your Hero’s Journey

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Sacred Earth Journeys has lately been on a bit of a Joseph Campbell kick. Is that surprising? His work embodies the Sacred Earth Journeys mission of mythological education and personal transformation. We’re endlessly delighted at all the Joseph Campbell books and quotes teaching our pilgrims that we too are heroes in this world full of labyrinthine journeys and prospective transformation. 

Better yet, his work inspires the physical manifestation of taking the hero’s journey, that is, taking an actual trip abroad

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The Hero’s Journey We All Need to Take

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The world is undergoing a troubling, yet essential transformation. On the outside, it appears we’re on the brink of collapse: environmental degradation is rampant, war is preached as an inevitable part of life, and COVID-19 makes us wonder if things are changed forever. Yet on the inside, many of us are awakening to the idea of a more meaningful life. Many of us are embarking or thinking about embarking on a personal hero’s journey. 

The idea of the hero’s journey comes down to us from comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell. You’ve probably seen Joseph Campbell quotes circulating the web. For example, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls,” is very recognizable, especially the “follow your bliss” part.

In many of Joseph Campbell books, including The Power of Myth, The Hero’s Journey (an autobiographical work on Campbell), The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and Myths to Live By, he explores what’s referred to as the monomyth. The monomyth cycle includes a hero’s call to adventure and eventual pilgrimage into the unknown where he or she returns with boons to bestow upon humanity. 

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5 Buddhist Practices and Concepts to Utilize In Uncertain Times

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There is an immense amount of suffering on the planet that comes from neglect for the present moment. Why do we neglect the present moment? As the ancient stoic Seneca said, “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” The idea here is that we suffer because, instead of noticing the myriad of gifts available to us in the present moment, we blast ourselves with the prospect of some wrong that could come upon us. And though the above quote is from a stoic philosopher, it’s an appropriate foothold to transition into the power of Buddhist practices in the face of uncertain times (Stoicism and Buddhism hold similarities in both philosophy and practice after all).

We are all currently coping with a global pandemic, and it can be helpful to study what Buddhists have used through the ages to transforms and carry themselves through unstable moments in history such as war, loss, and so on.

Study these 5 components of Buddhism. Put them to practice and you’ll experience a notable shift in your being.

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5 Joseph Campbell Quotes for Initiating a Personal Hero’s Journey

Statue-of-Dante-Alighieri Statue of Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy, an exemplary model of Campbell’s hero’s journey. Florence, Italy

One needn’t study Joseph Campbell quotes for long to see how myth is universal—not merely “fake,” but representative of higher truths.

In the context of mythology and sacred journeys (such as those led by Sacred Earth Journeys), the hero’s journey or “monomyth” comes to mind. The hero’s journey is a vast psychological, mythological template of stories involving sets of protagonistic “heroes” that are called to adventure, undergo a set of trials, and return home victorious and thus with boons to bestow on their community or world. The idea of the hero’s journey was spread by various scholars and was eventually popularized by Joseph Campbell via his popular book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, after studying Jungian analytical psychology.

Phil Cousineau, a Sacred Earth Journeys leader and author of The Art of Pilgrimage, drew inspiration from Campbell’s work. The two even worked together in the mid-’80s before Campbell’s death in 1987. Cousineau was a co-screenwriter for The Hero’s Journey documentary film about the life of Joseph Campbell. It won several international awards and was a longtime favorite for PBS viewers. Campbell remains an important influence on Cousineau’s work.

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The Surreal Landscape of Ladakh, India

beautiful-landscape-in-norther-part-of-india-picture-id471925925 Ladakh is one of the most elevated and coldest regions in the world

Ladakh is a mountainous, Tibetan Buddhist haven located in northern India, bordered by the Himalayas in the south and the Kunlun mountains to the north. Ladakh is nestled closely between Pakistan, China, and of course, India. It is in very close proximity to Tibet, hence the large population of Tibetan Buddhists in the area. 

As described by UNESCO, “The region constitutes a Cold Desert biome with harsh climatic conditions, which can be attributed to two factors. One is its location on the leeward side of the Himalayas, which makes it a rain-shadow zone inaccessible to the annual southeastern monsoon winds that sweep the rest of the country, thus creating desert conditions with low levels of precipitation. . .These physiographic peculiarities and ensuing harsh climatic conditions have led to the emergence of a unique Cold Desert ecosystem as well as Culture of the community, which is unlike any other in the world.”

While many might be aware that India contains a cold desert cultural landscape, it’s incredibly beautiful, and even surreal as compared to the rest of India, a country often noted as hot, humid, and overall, tropical. 

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How to Travel Sacredly

back-to-nature-solo-traveler-a-happy-young-woman-tourist-walking-in-picture-id1169892688 How to Travel Sacredly
In the Words of our Sacred Earth Journeys Leaders . . .

There are different levels of experience that are possible while taking the leap and heading abroad as a traveler into this world full of castles, temples, home-stays, and ancient cities. We the travelers ultimately decide whether or not our journeys are sacred. Our level of experience may start with where we stay and the sites we choose to see, yes, but there are other important components than just those. Here’s some advice surrounding how to, in general, travel sacredly.

This advice comes in the form of quotes by none other than the leaders of our Sacred Earth Journeys. Make sure to click the links to check out our journeys videos through which our leaders speak these words!

The first quote is by Freddy Silva. Freddy is a bestselling author and a leading researcher of ancient civilizations, restricted history, sacred sites, and their interaction with consciousness. He has led journeys for us through Mexico, Egypt, and Peru. His words charge our longing for journeys full of ancient mysteries and hidden secrets.

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How to Connect With the Soul of India

ganesha-picture-id536777947 How to Connect With the Soul of India

In India, spiritual seekers come across the Sanskrit term sacchidānanda, that is,consciousness, existence, and bliss as experienced when encountering Ultimate Reality, or Brahman.

In our journey overview video for our February 2021 journey: Shiva Dancing: Sacred South India With Andrew Harvey, Andrew states: “We are children of divine joy. If we build that joy and nourish that joy, it will grow and grow and finally, it will open into total liberation.”

Andrew is the founder of Sacred Activism, a merging of the passion for God and the passion for activism. His statement on being “children of divine joy” is important to think about when considering a journey through India, a foolproof way to water this divine joy so might it blossom into “total liberation.”

Here’s how to best connect with the soul of India. This is critical for connecting with the soul of who we ought to become if we are to cast light through the perilous shadows currently pervading the world.

Embrace the Soul With Monastic Life In an Ashram 

From our past journey at Shantivanam Ashram: taking food in silence
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Healing With Wachuma: Science and Tradition

Flowering Wachuma cacti at dusk. Healing With Wachuma: Science and Tradition

Wachuma is a plant cactus medicine with origins in the ancient Andean Mountains of Peru. The medicine is considered a masculine, Father plant teacher. The journey Wachuma inscribes onto our souls is one that brings us through to our darkest shadows so might we transcend our inner barriers and reach Heaven on Earth. Due to experiences of healing with Wachuma (but also religious subjugation), the Spanish renamed the medicine upon their arrival. They called it San Pedro, “Saint Peter” in English. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus declares to Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Wachuma was named after Saint Peter because the Catholics viewed Wachuma as the key to the gates of Heaven. Pilgrims who undergo sacred journeys with Wachuma report dealing with emotional baggage unknown previous to their journeys. They return from these journeys feeling lighter and better able to transcend the weight of their lingering afflictions. 

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