A beautiful review of Seven Sacred Sites…

January 23, 2012 at 3:18 am (Uncategorized)

By wonderful author Felicity Pulman.

Seven Sacred Sites is a treasure trove for the `armchair traveller’ as well as for those seeking their own spiritual enlightenment. Part travelogue, this is also an insightful and moving account of Serene’s journeys to seven of the world’s most wondrous and sacred sites: the ruins of Machu Picchu and the mighty Amazon river and jungle in South America; the sacred Isle of Avalon at Glastonbury and also the mystical circle of Stonehenge in England; the pyramids and temples of ancient Egypt with their divine secrets and mysteries; the Big Island of Hawaii, with its fiery volcano; the Camino, an ancient pilgrim path leading to `the field of stars’ and the burial place of St James of Compostela in Spain; and the earth magic of Uluru and the Red Centre in Australia.
Each section begins with a comprehensive and fascinating history of the site, describing its origins and geography and its significance in terms of the sacred, the pantheon of gods, goddesses and spirits associated with each place. Each section also details special knowledge pertaining to the site; its purpose, its psychic connections and the ancient wisdom contained there, along with `an armchair traveller’s guide’ – ways to experience the sacred and mystical power of these sites even if you’re unable to make the journey in person. Each section includes a `postcard’ – from Shirley MacLaine, Doreen Virtue, Cassandra Eason, Lucy Cavendish and others – recounting their own personal journey and experience of the site.
The author’s love of nature shines through and the beauty of each site is lovingly described, while each section is crammed with interesting facts. Every site has its own divine power and capacity to bring insight and healing, and Serene gives an interpretation at the beginning of each section. So, while visiting Machu Picchu, she asks us to `journey deep into the lush Amazon jungle and take part in ancient rituals that cause the death of the old self and lead to spiritual rebirth, then climb the sacred peaks of the Andes to the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu, and feel your spirit soar above the world, reborn and renewed.’
For Glastonbury, she asks us to `immerse yourself in the ancient magic of the priestesses and druids of the British Isles, attune yourself to the beating heart of the earth and its sacred energies, and hear the whisper of history in this mystical place where the early Christians worshipped, King Arthur lived and the wise women made their potions.’ In this section she talks about the magic of herbs and attuning yourself to the Wheel of the Year, describing ancient ceremonies that celebrated the changing seasons and the cycles of agriculture. Likewise at Stonehenge she details the importance and power of the lunar calendar while inviting us to `unlock the secrets held within these ancient stones and connect to the energy of the cosmos…’
Serene talks about `leaving your ordinary life behind you as you set out on an ancient pilgrimage to find your true self …’ as she describes the pain and joy of walking the Camino. When visiting Uluru and the Red Centre, she suggests that you `absorb the unique energy of this ancient monolith and the powerful vibrations of the desert landscape that surrounds it’ so that you might find `a spirit of place and a sense of environmental consciousness as you open yourself up to the lessons of the people who have lived in its shadow for tens of thousands of years.’
While walking through the temples and pyramids of Egypt she advises you to `feel the masculine and feminine energies of the universe flowing through you … allowing these ancient powers to unify the disparate parts of your soul, creating union and a sense of oneness.’
`Find healing and happiness,’ she says, when you visit The Big Island in Hawaii. `Feel your soul being cleansed by the fiery and passionate volcanic energy of this tropical island, and your heart opening up to joy as you climb sacred mountains, bathe in crystal waterfalls, swim with dolphins and feel the presence of ancient gods and goddesses in a paradise of sunshine and deep healing.’
It’s hard to do justice to the wealth of knowledge and information contained in Seven Sacred Sites. But most of all, Serene has given us a deeply personal and inspirational account of her journeys to these sacred places: this is a journey of the heart and soul as well as a physical journey. She details the highs and lows of her visits and the insights she’s gained, often at some personal cost and sometimes accompanied by danger and/or discomfort. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited several of these sites in the past, and reading about them brought back beautiful memories along with new insights – and a deep regret that I hadn’t read Serene’s book BEFORE I travelled there. But my eyes have now been opened to what I missed before, and I’m looking forward to revisiting some of those sites and venturing to new ones, this time with Serene’s book under my arm and, hopefully, with the same open heart and expectation of adventure and illumination. Highly recommended.

© Felicity Pulman, 2012

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