My last entry comes as we finished our two week trip through Egypt and Jordan. The filming of the Frankincense Trail was completed, the camera people had packed and left, Gary and Mary Young had left for their next adventures but 91 of us were still in Jordan, heading back to Amman to catch many flights back to the U.S., Canada, Germany, England and Australia. Our tour guides arranged a world-wind one day trip through the Dead Sea Region on our way back to Amman.

St. George's Church, Madaba 1St. George's Church, Madaba 5Our first stop was at St. George’s Church in the town of Madaba where in the floor was discovered the earliest map of Palistine done in mosaic. In history we went through an iconoclastic period where images were destroyed out of religious zeal. A good portion of this floor map was destroyed before someone thought to cover it up with sand and put another floor over it. It exists in a Greek Orthodox church. As we were hearing about the map, a priest happened by and asked in a very American accent where we were from. As it turns out, he was from Cincinnati, OH and was now stationed in Madaba.  

From Madaba, we went up to Mount Nebo where it is believed that Moses died. There is a memorial to Moses there. On this mountain top, the wind was very chilly. You could see the entire valley below stretching to the promised land. Mt. Nebo 11

Moses of course is one of the greatest prophets of the old testament and Mt. Nebo 3is honored by Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. There is the ruins of a Byzantine church on the site. The Franciscans bought the land in the 1930’s and maintain it to this day. Although a church has not been rebuilt on this site, you can go under a great tent to see the mosaic floor of this once great Byzantine church.

Mt. Nebo 5 mosaicFrom Mt. Nebo, our buses wound down the mountain to the Jordan river and to the place where Jesus was baptized. Being at a much lower altitude  it was quite warm. Getting out of our buses, we noticed that there were actually many churches in the area–it seems every Christian denomination needs their own church to honor the place of baptism.  The one church we were taken to is St. John the Baptist church 2St. John the Baptist, another Orthodox church with exquisite icons. St. John the Baptist Church 5

St. Jon the Baptist church 9 iconOur guide told us that this church really does have a gold dome on it, a gift from President Putin of Russia when he visited the site a few years ago. the guide  then added, “laundry money.” Walking on beyond this gold domed church, we arrived at actually a muddy hole, the place where Jesus was baptized. Baptismal site 1 Walking a little further, we reached the borders of the Jordan river where there was a fountain of clear water.jeffrey

Jeffrey Lewis is seen here dipping into the baptismal waters.  From across the Jordan (now just a muddy stream), we could see Israel. Looking at Israel 2

Baptismal site 7.aJPGThe last picture at this site is of me sitting beside a mosaic of the baptism of Jesus.

Loading up on our buses once again, we headed for lunch at the Dead Sea. The food was outstanding but we didn’t waste much time eating for we all wanted to at least put our toe in the dead sea which is 30 times saltier than the ocean. It is actually impossible to sink in the Dead Sea. When we were there, a stiff wind was blowing white caps making it very difficult to keep your footing in the black gooey mud. Here are a few scenes to show you our final episode of our travel. Dead Sea 2Deadsea 1deadsea 13deadsea 22deadsea 14

Some Reflections on Our Jordan River/Dead Sea Excursion

By the time we started this one day trip, it was the end of two fantastic weeks with little rest and a lot of 4am wake-up calls. Some of the folks on the trip weren’t always careful to drink bottled water and were suffering from the Nile Revenge. Others were coming down with respiratory ailments. Everyone’s immune system seemed to be compromised to some degree. Our tour guides told us that normally when they run this one-day tour, each stop is an hour and a half. We had 15-30 minutes because our buses needed to be at the Amman airport by 5:30pm for those who had evening flights. For those of us not leaving that evening, we stayed at a nearby hotel for the night.

Egypt and Jordan 2010 695deadsea 24Exhausted but very full from this trip, I can say that I am truly grateful for all the experiences. I stayed healthy and came home ready to get back into the swing of teaching, writing and speaking. The Dead Sea was much larger than I expected and the Jordan River much narrower than I pictured in my mind. Well below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on the earth. My only regret is that being so close to Israel, that I didn’t get to explore more historical sites important to my heart. Another day. In the Scriptures, it often referred to Jesus at the Jordan river but because so much of the water is drained off for irrigation, it is only a small stream  now. You could actually walk across it to Israel although I wouldn’t advise it.

Our excursion time in Egypt and Petra was about exploring the distant past–mythology, culture, the peoples, gods and goddesses, symbols, hieroglyphics, ancient writings, temples, tombs, earthquakes, abandonment of cities, wars, conquests and more that I’m sure I’ve forgotten. Our one day trip to Christian sites was a completely different experience. Limited by our time to get to the airport, the number of places we could visit was also limited. The most powerful site for me was actually Mount Nebo–the place where Moses once stood and some believe it is where he died and is buried. It was actually looking out over the valley below–the promised land and seeing it as a fertile valley fought over by so many different peoples that I realized how connected we are to our historical roots–Jewish, Christian, and Islamic. Jesus (Jeshua) walked the River Jordan area. His footsteps are still there energetically as they are all over Palistine. When you reflect on that–remember–wherever you place your foot–you leave a little light. When we walk with purpose and awareness, we make sacred the earth. The ancient Egyptian priestesses I believe understood that, the Nabataeans understood it and many of us today nod our heads in agreement.

PS: Want to learn more about these essential oils that sparked this trip to Egypt and Petra? Go to http://www.ISHAhealing.com to find out how you can become certified as a clinical aromatherapist.

PSS: Want to find out how you can integrate prayer, hands-on healing and anointing with oil in your Christian church? Go to http://www.HTSpiritualMinistry.com to learn more.

Treasury 2This is the third in a series of blog post about my trip with other Young Living Essential Oil enthusiasts who went to Egypt and Jordan to participate in the filming of the documentary: The Frankincense Trail. After our time in Egypt, all 108 of us flew to Amman, Jordan where we took a three hour bus ride down to the city of Petra. Gary and Mary Young chose a very nice hotel for us within walking distance of the entrance to the Siq (opening). Petra is a city carved from the colorful limestone. It is thought that the ancient Nabataeans who inhabited this region around 800 BC carved beautiful tombs, temples and caves out of the rock. If you have heard of Petra, you are probably familiar with the “Treasury.” The city was actually lost in history and “re-discovered” in the 1800’s by the Bedouins. When they found the beautiful treasury building, they thought that it was built by the Egyptians and that Pharoah’s treasure must be hidden in the rock. So they used to shoot their guns into the rock face trying to see if gold was hidden there. Hence the name “The Treasury” stuck.

This much we do know about Petra. It was for centuries the center of all Western trade. The caravans from the East, North and South had to pass through this area. Their camels laden with goods such as silks, frankincense, myrrh, gemstones, pearls, gold and spices were traded at this world hub. Representatives of the Kings of various nations would bartar and buy and sell these commodities. Once they settled on their fair prices, they would then re-load their camels to take thier purchases back to their respective countries. the Nabataeans imposed a tax on all goods which helped to secure their own wealth and made Petra prosper. Petra 24 Camels

The city itself is filled with exquisite temples and tombs. it was a center for ceramic production until the third century BC. Unfortunately all this wealth insited the ambitions of their neighbors–the Jews, Greeks and Romans and for centuries, there were wars and conquests over this area. It is important though to remember that this area developed due to the trade in frankincense, a necessary element in worship and healing. Eventually, Petra was conquered by the Romans and you will see among the ruins some evidence of Roman architecture.Petra 37Petra 56

Three churches built during the Byzantine period have been discovered complete with mosaics in the floor. While exploring the area, we came across a group of Italian tourists who were having Mass at one of the church sites. Here is a picture of one of the mosaics in the floor.Petra mosaics 1

The emergence of Islam in the seventh century was an important piece in the history of Petra and the Nabataeans. Petra was not on the way to Mecca and so the trade caravans literally by-passed the area. A series of earthquakes pretty much emptied the city and it was abandoned until the twelfth century when the Crusaders built fortresses to strengthen their position there. But without the trade route, there was little or no reason to go there and the city was literally lost to history not to be “re-discovered” until 1812 when a Swiss explorer went there having heard tales about a legendary hidden city.  Archaeological excavations didn’t start until 1924.Petra 22Little Petra 4Petra 29 GailannePetra 57 Carl Here are a couple of pictures of our fellow travelers exploring by camel–Carl Janicek and Gailann Green on a donkey.

Pictured above is the famous split in the rock cliffs (the Siq) leading to the Treasury at the entrance to the city. This site was used in the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie.  Much of the original stone walkway still remains reminiscent of a Roman road. All along this roadway are statues and and alcoves for the god Dushara and the goddess Al Uzza. Petra 15Egypt and Jordan 2010 562Egypt and Jordan 2010 538

Our Purpose in Going to Petra

Petra was on our trip because one more scene needed to be filmed for the Frankincense Trail documentary. And that was the arrival of caravan into Petra with the unloading of the frankincense. Gary Young had unsuccessfully tried to film this scene several times before but had to deal with tourists messing up the scene by walking through it. This time he had permission to film between 7-8am. That meant those of us who were going to be in the scene got up at 4am to be on the bus early for our drop off point. We had to be in costume and get on our make-up.Petra filming 8Petra filming 11Petra filming 15

All went extremely well and the shooting was completed with only one take. And no tourists walked through the scene!Petra filming 17Petra filming 21

Now here are two “Bedouin men” that you just might recognize or maybe not.Petra filming 29 Linda, Marilee that’s me on the left and Marilee Tolen on the right. After the filming we had to walk back up the Siq to our hotel. We walked up in costume and that’s when we encoutered a whole lot of Italian tourists who repeatedly grabbed us to have their pictures taken with us. I tried to tell them that we weren’t the real thing but it didn’t seem to matter to them.

After the shooting, we were free for the rest of the day. Several of our companions had found a “Turkish Bath” and spread the word that it was a great experience, so 4 of us who traveled together, Jeanne Clark, Marilee Tolen, myself and Connie Cox visited the Turkish Bath.turkish Bath 1 Here we are having tea after our “cleansing.” Yes, Marilee and I got all our make-up finally off.

The Bedouin People

Whenever I go to historical sites, I like to think of all those people who once lived there and thrived. Supported themselves, raised families and eventually passed on. I bought a book while down in Petra from one of the Bedouin’s. It was actually written by his mother who was a Kiwi (New Zealander). She had come to Petra in the late 70’s as a hippie and married a Bedouin. they lived in a cave, raising their 3 children. I read the book the whole trip home and found it fascinating–I recommend it to all of you. It’s called “Married to a Bedouin.” Sorry, I don’t have the author’s name–I have already lent the book to a friend.

Egypt and Jordan 2010 668I found the Bedouin people very friendly. They are beautiful–especially the men!Bedouin salesman Our whole party was invited to go to a bedouin barbecue one evening–the food was outstanding. After standing around the fire for awhile, I asked one of the Bedouin men–where are the women? He laughed, “they are in the tent,” he said, like what a silly question. Their society is very different from ours. Women and men do not associate or celebrate together. Even at weddings or funerals, the men congregate in one tent and the women in another. The women always have their heads covered and many are veiled. There was a certain allure about this beauty. Many of us who had been dressing in head scarves all week actually felt better having our heads covered and not just because we were having bad hair days.Egypt and Jordan 2010 593 Here is a picture of Jeanne Clark in one of her head scarves. Perhaps it was because of our filming purpose–but we primarily interacted with the Bedouin men. Even the shop keepers and the and all the souvenir stands were run by men–no women in site. I would have like to have met some of their women.

Spiritual Insights Gained from my time in Petra

Egypt and Jordan 2010 667Petra 38 DonkeyPetra 45 camelsIn Petra I experienced amazement and wonder at the great precision carvings in sandstone. I appreciated the beauty of another culture and its people. I rode another camel around the cliffs, I bargained with the souvenir sellers (that is actually expected behavior and they are insulted if you don’t bargain), I walked in the rain, felt the sun upon my face, enjoyed Arabic food, had my body steamed and scrubbed, participated in a film, and explored cliffs and dwellings of ancient peoples. I stood inside the Treasury (off limits to tourists now), rode a donkey up to Roman ruins, and walked and walked. What can these sands of time offer me?

  • Life does not have to be complicated–keep it simple.
  • Beauty is in one another.
  • The environment will eventually heal after we have been here.
  • Spices can excite not only our taste buds but our lives.
  • The simplest entertainment is often the best.
  • Camels are not so bad once you spend enough time with them.
  • Head scarves are actually a thing of beauty.
  • History does repeat itself–and cave dwelling is really quite doable.
  • Some things in life are better when we bargain.

Tomorrow–the Dead Sea Tour

PS: Want to learn more about frankincense and other biblical oils? Consider becoming a certified clinical aromatherapist. go to: http://www.ISHAhealing.com

The purpose of our most recent trip to Egypt was to participate in the filming of a documentary on the Frankincense Caravan Route being filmed by Young Living Essential Oil company. A hundred and eight of us volunteered to take part in the caravan scenes which included village scenes of saying good-bye to the men who would be leaving for many months, some of whom would never return. And a caravan scene of moving through the desert past the pyramids at Saqqara. These caravans were often attacked by mauraders so of course we had to have a fight scene. Luckily I was only leading a camel and not having to be a part of a sword fight on a horse!

Sukarno Pyramid 2Let me first tell you about Saqqara which is at the tail end of a long chain of pyramids beginning at Giza. Saqqara is actually a 7 hour walk from Giza–that’s how long it took the Bedouins to walk their camels down to Saqqara for the filming. We actually never got very close to these pyramids but even from a distance they are quite impressive.  In all, there are over 80 pyramids beginning a bit north of Giza at Abu Roash and extending beyond Saqqara  southward.  It’s safe to think of the pyramids as all tombs. Saqqara actually has three different types of pyramids in the area including the famous stepped pyramid.

GaryGary Young spent time telling us about the caravans and how hard this life was for those who walked or rode the camels for thousands of miles. Some of these caravans would stretch 30 miles long and would be comprised of thousands of camels laden with fine silks, ivory, gemstones and of course–frankincense and myrrh resins. The caravaners all knew where the water holes existed in the desert and would plan their trips accordingly. The caravans would  eventually end up at the great trading center in Petra which is in modern day Jordan. This was considered a “safe” city where you didn’t have to worry about your enemy cutting your throat in the night. Each country’s representatives would know how many tons of frankincense, myrrh and other precious commodities they would need for the coming year and would bartar or buy what they needed and re-load their camels to take back their prizes to their home countries. as I mentioned there were all kinds of dangers along the caravan routes–everything from mauraders to “camel spiders” which are nortorious critters that at night time would sneak up to their prey and inject an anesthetic into the person’s skin and proceed to have dinner! When you awaken, your face might be missing. Luckily we didn’t meet any of these camel spiders in our adventures although this is depicted in the film.

For years I have taught about these great caravans in our courses in both the Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry program and in our Certification in Clinical Aromatherapy program (www.ISHAhealing.com) It was quite a thrill for me to participate in a re-inactment for a documentary. Of course all caravaners were men so we dressed in period bedouin costumes as men.

Linda on camel3Yes, that’s me atop a camel. For the filming I was one of the “camel boys” leading a camel and not riding. I learned a lot about these animals. I’ve been stepped on, kicked and peed upon ( you learn after awhile to get out of the way!) Here is a picture of me leading my camel into the village scene. In costume 25 Linda

I asked one of the Bedouins what they thought about all of dressing up and pretending to be them and his answer was that they were pleased because we would be telling the world all about their lives.

I learned that being in a film is a lot of hurry up and wait. When we finally got all the camels lined up and ready for action, we began to notice a storm blowing down from the north. I am only sorry that I didn’t get any pictures of this especially when we were caught in a sand storm followed by a once in 500 year event–a hail storm. Finally down off a high ridge with these camels, we sought shelter in our food tent. Many of the men in our group held tightly to the tent poles but when this huge tent starting collapsing, it was time to head for the buses–costumes and all. caravan In the pictures you can see the clouds starting to come in–within an hour–it was a very different story!

One of the scenes we had hoped to film and eventually did the following night was a caravan camp site at the end of of day of travel. You can see all the tents set up in a square (better to protect against attacks) with all the camel saddles serving as chairs around improvised tables. Linda at tent Here I’m not in my Bedouin costume.

On the second day of filming, we did the village scenes, again a lot of hurry up and wait while the cameras were set up and everyone was in costume, make-up and in their places. Here I and my “wife” aka Marilee Tolen are in the village waiting for the shoot.In costume 6 In costume 22In costume 40 Jeffrey Lewis The next picture is of some of my fellow “movie extras” and the third picture is of Jeffrey Lewis leading his camel through the village scene.

Spiritual Insights I Gleened From the Frankincense Trail

I promised that I would write about the “spiritual” significance of the events as they unfolded on this trip. For me, there were many special moments in these two days of filming. Simply participating in something that has a great purpose is sufficient. Being in a sand storm of mamouth proportions and not having any of us hurt was another. The power and magnitude of nature made us all respectors of the desert and how dangerous this way of life really was. I learned how much fun (and yes fun is of spiritual significance) it can be to dress up in costume and pretend to be in another era. When we do things like this–we leave cares and worries behind, we live in the moment and we don’t worry about our businesses, about paying bills, and all that reality stuff that fills our days.Camels caravan 6

FrankincensetreeThe greatest spiritual insight I gleened was about frankincense itself–the reason why we all came out into the desert, dressed up in Bedouin costumes and led camels through a sand storm. The resins are from a simple tree of the desert, hidden among the rocky crags in what is now Somalia, Yemen and Oman. These trees have yielded tons and tons of its life blood for thousands of years. And why? Because man has recognized the healing power of this oil and this incense. Aside from it’s chemistry and vibrational frequencies, we have learned from experience that this oil heals everything from warts to brain tumors, heals sores and heals minds and emotions. It was considered of “divine” origin, fit for the Kings and royality. It was of course the most famous gift to the Christ child. Frankincense is that fragrance that connects me to many positive childhood memories of church–to when incense was freely used in Catholic services. It connects me to my memories of having visited so many cathedrals of Europe and smelled the lingering fragrance of incense. Frankincense is that other worldly smell that lifts us up to the heavens and connects us to the angels and to God. It has done this for thousands of years through so many cultures and times. It is an emotional and spiritual healing fragrance.In costume 28 Dr. Close (That’s Dr. Ed Close in costume in case you don’t recognize him!)

And what did I learn from my “make-believe” participation in a caravan? I had a sense of the monotony of a caravaners life, trudging through the sand, always alert to dangers–mauraders, sand storms, thirst, and critters. They left with a sense of adventure but also knowing that this was how they supported their families. Their lives were not unlike ours in reality. We too have a lot of monotony–the daily stuff that we do making a living, supporting families, watching out for danger. Why did they do this dangerous work? Perhaps it was a sense of honor, protection, means of support for their families, adventure, exploration, or maybe even escape. Now look at your own life–why do you make sacrifices to tell others about essential oils? Giving talks, making telephone calls, doing heartfelt sharing. I can ask myself why do I get on airplanes every week, make personal sacrifice, stretch my writing and speaking abilities, and dedicate my life to serving others? There are parallels here which we can learn from. Are there spiritual lessons that we can benefit from? Let’s see.

  • Perseverance in the face of adversity and danger.
  • Focus on the mission and calling of why we do what we do–not just on the sacrifices.
  • Trust in the Divine Plan that all will be well.
  • Thirst for what is right and good for truth, knowledge and wisdom.
  • Open to Adventure leaving fear behind.
  • Share knowledge freely from the heart without thought of what’s in it for me.
  • Be willing to do the mundane in order to promote the vision. (Feed the camels, walk in the sand.)
  • Follow and lead when it is called for–but always with a focus on the mission.
  • Be alert for changes and be ready to adapt to changes in the environment at a moment’s notice.
  • Be kind and speak from the heart–there’s no need to hit people over the head or be aggressive in telling others about the oils. It’s all about sharing from the heart.

Tomorrow–on to Petra.

PS: Interested in learning more about frankincense and the other Biblical Oils? Consider becoming a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist. Go to: http://www.ISHAhealing.com

Yesterday’s post reflected on my spiritual journey through several temples in the Luxor valley including the Valley of the Kings. Today I want to continue my story and take you to the temples at Luxor, Dendera and Karnak and to the King’s chamber at the great pyramid in Giza. As I mentioned in the last post, rituals were conducted daily at these great temples in an effort to connect with divinity and with the sacred in life. If we take a moment and think about other societies throughout history–we find that there is this universal spiritual need to reach out to what is “unseen” to the world of spirit whether it is through worship or through prayers for protection, appeasement or gratitude. Our hearts and minds are oriented toward God and there is a longing that only grows within as we age and mature. It is that longing for oneness with the divine that carries us to visit the “holy” or “spiritual” places where we can be touched and touch the divine. And so I begin today’s journey through the great Temple at Luxor.

Luxor Temple 24We actually visited Luxor in the evening, one of the few temples lite up at night. As I approached the gate entrance, I had an awareness of having been here before–the same feeling I had the first time I entered Chartres Cathedral in France. It was a “knowing” and an awareness at some level of experiential knowledge that I really can’t explain. As I walked through the colonades, it was if I knew the ceremonies that took place here. We had time to wonder through this temple and explore the many rooms, some of which were places where people came for healing. Luxor Temple 18

I am pictured here in one of the rooms dedicated to healing. I would have to say that Luxor of all the temples was my most favorite place–probably because of the spiritual connection I felt here.Luxor Temple 17

Pictured to the right is one of the carvings in the wall of perfume jars. This was on the walls of the healing rooms–quite appropriate I thought. Luxor Temple 12I could imagine the fragrance of frankincense, and other oils like spikenard, myrrh, and balsam waffling through the halls!

The final picture I am including from Luxor is of some of the colonades richly ornate, fitting for the work that was conducted at this place of healing.

My story continues with a very special temple run only by the priestesses–Dendera. With a wake-up call at 4am, all 108 of us on the Frankincense Trail tour were on our buses for a three hour ride to Dendera Temple. Dendura 1This too is a massive temple in which most of the roof in still in existence, held up by huge columns. As you enter this sacred space, you are immediately aware that many ceremonies were conducted here by the priestesses. In fact, this was a completely female temple near the Nile River. There is a tradition that has been handed down that when Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled into Egypt, the priestesses hid the Holy Family in a secret hiding place beneath the floor of this great temple. Herod’s army pursued them and actually desecrated this temple and the priestesses but never found the family hidden beneath the floor.Dendura 8  We were privileged to have special permission to go down into this crypt to see the space where the Holy Family stayed for several weeks. Every inch of this cramped space was filled with carvings and exquisite symbols about life, death and the future. For me, this was truly a ‘holy’ spot and one I wish I could have spent some quiet time in meditation but with a hundred people all waiting their turn, we each only had a few minutes here.

As we explored the many rooms of this temple I was impressed with the deep sacredness of the space. The columns you see to the right have been cleaned and the brilliant colors beneath are visible. The ministry of antiquities is spearheading a cleaning of this great temple–other sections are still blackened with age. One room in particular was fascinating to me–in the ceiling, you find a complete wheel of the zodiac. These priestesses were astrologers and knew the heavens. Dendura 19 It was originally made of pure gold and is now in some museum–hopefully to be returned someday. to the left is one of the frescoes on the walls depicting either some kind of healing ministration or embalming process. Several of us spent quite some time in the Chapel of Sanctity where the mysteries of the birth of the cosmic order were celebrated. Below is the best picture I could get of the zodiac in the ceiling.Dendura 11 zodiac

Dendera was indeed a remarkable temple and one I recommend if you ever visit Egypt. Be prepared to want to stay all day. The spiritual energy here is quite strong.

Karnat 10Next on our adventure was the Temple at Karnak. This is an immence area divided into three zones or enclosed areas. Each of these areas was completed in different eras and dedicated to different gods. Much of Karnak lies in ruins with restoration continuing to go on to this day. It has many porticols, columns, statues, and obelisks, shrines, colonnades and smaller temples. One special place we were taken at Karnak was to the temple honoring the god Sekhmet, a female cat-headed god. Here, Kadiza, one of our Egyptian guides, lead us in a healing ritual.Setnet 4

My final entry before I move on to the Frankincense Trail story is to the great Pyramids at Giza where we had special permission to visit the King’s chamber and the Queen’s chamber inside the pyramid of Khufu. It was quite impressive as we approached these three great pyramids constructed around 2500 B.C. These are gigantic burial grounds that originally had smooth exteriors of limestone. These were stripped away before the 19th century and probably used for many other purposes. Most likely many of these stones are now part of buildings in Cairo. Guarding the entrance is the Great Sphinx which is now worn away by the sands of time.Giza Pyramids 3

Giza pyramids 12The day we were at Giza was quite warm and by the time we climbed the hill to Khufu’s pyramid, most of us were pretty heated. In order for all 108 of us to go into the King’s chamber, we had to go in three groups. Inside, Gary and Mary Young along with Kadiza our Egyptian guide, conducted ceremony for us with singing once inside. Then there was time for private reflection as the lights were extinguished. Here is a picture of the stairway leading up to the King’s chamber followed by a picture of me in the chamber.In the Pyramid 1

In the Pyramid LindaI sensed a great deal of energy in this space but no profound experience–nothing like my experience at Luxor. The air was “old” and thin. The walls were granite and undecorated–probably 14-16 feet high. A simple emptygranite sarcophagus was at one end. The queen’s chamber was below the King’s chamber and smaller in size. It too was undecorated, however there was an alcove where probably the sarcophagus once was located. Here is a picture of Gailann Green standing in the Queen’s alcove.Queen's chamber 1

As we exited the inner sanctum, we came out to a beautifully clear night with a full moon–a fitting end to our temple and pyramid visits.Giza full Moon 5 Pictured with me is Jeanne Clark.

 

PS: Want to learn more about essential Oils and how they can help you maintain health? Consider becoming a certified clinical aromatherapist. Go to http://www.ISHAhealing.com

Now that I have been home for a few days from an absolutely awesome trip with other aromatherapy enthusiasts, I want to take some time to truly reflect with you the meanings I have gleened from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Gary Young, founder of Young Living Essential Oils extended an invitation to distributors to accompany him to Egypt and Jordan to finish the filming for a documentary on the Frankincense Trail. At first there was no way I could clear my calendar for two whole weeks but then it just happened thanks to several of our teachers stepping up to cover me while I was gone. Divine intervention? I like to think so.  My spiritual guidance said I needed to be on this trip not just for me–but for my students and readers as well.

I left in the middle of a snow storm from Denver and miracleously made all my plane connections arriving in Cairo on February 20th. This was to be a day of rest before heading down to Luxor located on the Nile River, about an hour’s plane ride south of Cairo. Jeanne Clark, one of our Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry instructors was my roommate which made the whole trip quite enjoyable. IMG_0785The next morning we had orientation, meeting with Gary and Mary Young, Doug Nelson, the CEO of Young Living and with all our tour guides. Since there were 108 of us, we were divided into three color-coded buses. My “orange ribboned” companions would be with me throughout the trip. We found out that we would have a very busy schedule and that sleep would not be on the agenda! What I also discovered was that reflective time would be in short supply.

I am going to divide my thoughts about this trip into different blog posts beginning with the Temples. After that there will be posts on the frankincense trail and the filmng we did for the documentary, then on to Petra, the city set in stone and more filming. My final entry will be on the River Jordan, Christian sites and the Dead Sea.

A Spiritual Journey to Ancient Temples

Why do we seek out ancient spiritual sites? Over the past 20 years I have visited many of the great cathedrals of Europe–Chartre, Note Dame, Cologne to name but a few. Someday I would like to visit   Hindu temples in Malaysia, Buddhist monasteries in Tibet,  the Jewish temple in Jerusalem and great mosques in Arabia. On this trip–I visited spiritual temples of ancient Egypt. There is a kind of “divine seduction” that draws us to seek a spiritual connection with Source/God throughout our lives. We create altars in our homes, gather sacred objects and yes, visit sacred sites. We want to touch the sacred and feel its energy. We want to know that our lives count for something and that we have purpose. Beyond the yearning we feel to visit these spiritual sites, we are actually longing for transcendent experiences, to be fearless in the presence of God. This is not so much about religion as it is about that deep spiritual connection with divinity. For the Egyptians, there were many gods. But if you examine their mythology a little closer, what you see are really “aspects” or “views” of the One Source/One Creator. It’s the many faces of God.

Hatshbsut Temple 1Our first stop was at the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. It is one of the most well preserved temples in all of Egypt. Queen Hatshepsut was the only woman to reign as a pharoah. From a distance you can see that the temple is cut into a great mountain with a long path (ramp) leading up to it. As I walked around the columns and viewed the carvings and hierogyphics on the walls, I thought of the many rituals that were celebrated here.

Hatshbsut Temple 18.aJPGHatshbsut Temple 7Many columns lined this fabulous testament to architecture. it’s official name is the Temple of Deir el-Bahri and is a unique example of Egyptian architecture consisting of a series of vast terraces and ramps that move up to a sanctury. I tell you all this because of the shear size of this temple. The period was about 1500 B.C. Here is another picture of some of the well preserved frescoes on the walls.

Valley of Kingsscan0002In the afternnon we visited the Valley of the Kings a very dry desert-like area where there are many tombs of the royality. Most of these tombs were pillaged over the centuries and their trasures stolen. Tutenkhamun’s body had just been returned from the Cairo Museum and was in his crypt. (Several days later we visited the Cairo Museum where I was privileged to see the alabaster jars that held the precious essential oils “fit for a king” and to see his throne which depicts in pure gold, his wife, Queen Ankhsenamon, rubbing oil on the King’s  body.)  Going down into the tomb we could see the richly decorated walls depicting the gods protecting the King. Every inch of these rooms were decorated in brilliant colors. No pictures were allowed in this tomb or any of the tombs we visited in the Valley of the Kings. It was amazing to see how well preserved these tombs were. Since I mentioned artifacts from Tutenkhamun’s tomb, here is a picture of the Queen anointing the King. It is one of my most favorite pictures in all of Egypt.

Al-Bahari Temple 8Al-Bahari Temple 10From here we visited Habu Temple, the temple of Rames III. It is one of the most perfect buildings left by the ancient Egyptians. This is actually a massive temple to celebrate the victories of the pharaoh. Statues of their various gods can still be found within the grounds. As you enter, you walk through a series of vestibules, open areas and closed areas–all leading to the sanctuary.Al-Bahari Temple 3

This temple actually had a landing on the Nile river where the royal court could sail right up to the landing to enter the temple.

My next post will take us to Dendera, Luxor, Karnak and the pyramids at Giza.

PS: Want to learn more about frankincense, myrrh and many other biblical oils? Consider becoming a certified clinical aromatherapist. Go to: http://www.ISHAhealing.com

What exactly is inflammation and what causes it to “flare-up” in the body? Inflammation is actually a complex response of the body’s tissues to harmful stimuli or irritants of one kind or another. It’s our body’s protective attempt to survive. It can be localized or systemic. Symptoms might include redness, swelling, pain and heat. Here’s a list of some of the inflammation induced problems that can develop: allergies, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, gout, psoriasis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, bronchitis and diabetes. The list actually goes on because at the root of all illness in the body is–inflammation.

How Can Essential Oils Help Lower the Inflammatory Response?

A few years ago, the research team at Young Living tested 77 therapeutic grade essential oils and found 6 of them had a high rate of inhibiting nitric oxide which is released in the inflammatory process, inflaming tissues and causing tissue damage. Here are the 6 oils:

Oregano–most significant, Melaleuca ericifolia (Rosalina), nutmeg, lemongrass and peppermint. Other oils that were shown to have intermediate nitric oxide inhibition were lemon, frankincense, tangerine, myrtle, lavender, patchouli, Eucalyptus polybractea, juniper clove, orange and Eucalyptus radiata. Recent research in this area has found that Copiaba and Octotea from the Amazon basin are the highesst known oils to decrease  inflammation.

Does nature provide us with what we need to stay healthy? What do you think! There are no side effects from using essential oils from nature. That cannot be said for pharmaceutical drugs.

PS: Want to know more about essential oils and how they affect the body? Become a certified clinical aromatherapist. http://www.ISHAhealing.com

PSS: Want to know where you can get these highly anti-inflammatory oils that have been tested and proven to be the highest quality? Go to http://www.Youngliving.com/HTSMsmith

Young Living has come out with a brand new roll-on essential oil that has become my newest favorite oil–Stress Away. I carry it in my pocket wherever I go, and I make sure that it is with me on airplaines, in traffic and just plain working at my desk writing. It has an amazing fragrance that is at once soothing and relaxing.

What’s in it that gives it such calming power? It is a unique blend of the essentila oils of vanilla, lime, ocotea, and copaiba (essential oils from the Amazon), cedarwood and lavender.

The lime essential oil in Stress-Away is coumarin-free which means it is not a phototoxic sensitizing oil. It lends a subtle citrus fragrance to the calming vanilla fragrance.  The ocotea and copaiba which are the two highest anti-inflammatory oils ever tested aid the body’s response to stress.  And the cedarwood works with the brain to improve relaxation while the floral scent of lavender calms any tense mood.

Young Living has come up with a winner!

PS: Want to get some Stress Away to try? Go to http://www.youngliving.com/HTSMsmith to order yours today.

The ocotea tree lies deep in the amazon basin of Ecuador and is related to the cinnamon species. It’s not like any common cinnamon tree though and as for it’s chemistry, has only about 5% cinnamaldehyde as compared to 50% or higher in cinnamon bark oil.  That means ocotea will produce far less skin sensitivity than cinnamon bark or cassia essential oils. Ocotea has the highest level of alpha-humulene of any essential oil tested to this date.  Why is this such great news? Alpha-humulene is known to help balance the body’s internal response to inflammation.

The trees are male and female with only the female trees producing foliage suitable for distillation into essential oils. Historical use of ocotea actually dates back at last 500 years when it was used to aromatize sweets and cakes.

The oil comes from steam distilling the tree leaves which are at the top of the tree canopy. A second oil is produced called Ishpingo which comes from steam distilling the flowers of the ocotea tree. This rare and expensive oil is even sweeter than the ocotea oil.  Should diabetics be cautious in using either of these oils? Actually testimonials have shown that ocotea and ishpingo can help regulate blood sugar within days simply by putting 1-2 drops under the tongue. Remember–these are only testimonials and may not work for everyone. Because of the cinnamaldehyde content, some may have skin sensitivity.

PS: Let me know how you are using ocotea essential oil. It’s important that we share our testimonials with one another to build up a bank of knowledge. So write a comment and let me know how you are using it.

PSS: Want to try ocotea essential oils? You can order yours by going to http://www.youngliving.com/HTSMsmith

The oleoresin of the Copaifera tree is one of those secrets from the Amazon basin that native people have used for centuries. They have tapped the trees to obtain this life blood and used it in a myriad of different ways–rubbing it on sores, muscle aches and pains, and even taken it internally for digestive upsets. They created ointments, creams and tinctures as well as diffused it through smugging.

Today we take the oleoresin and distill it to create a clear essential oil known as copaiba. It has a rich, uplifting, but light woody smell. When tested by gas chromotography and mass spectrometry, copiaiba is found to contain high levels of beta caryophyllene, gamma elemene, and alpha humalene. Why is this such astounding news? These compounds are known to be highly anti-inflammatory. In fact, copaiba is the highest tested anti-inflammatory essential oil on the planet to date.

Traditionally, copaiba has been used to aid common digestive discomforts when taken internally. Historically it has also been used to regulate natural immune responses, in other words, it’s good for boosting the immune system and helping us to keep healthy.

Let me know how you are using this “wonder” from the amazon. I personally am using it to dissolve a hard cyst on my finger, a lipoma on my back and to decrease inflammation around a nerve on my foot. Write me your response on how you are using copaiba.

PS: Want to learn more about the new oils from South America? Go to http://www.youngliving.com/HTSMsmith to order your new oils today.

PSS: I am now teaching about the new oils in all of my aromatherapy classes. For a schedule of classes, go to: http://www.ISHAhealing.com and click on schedule.

St. John’s Wort or Hypericum perforatum, is an infused oil meaning the flowers are gathered at a certain time of the year and placed in a carrier oil until the essential essence of the plant oozes out into that carrier oil. This is a plant of many faces. Some regard it as a wildflower, others a weed or at best an herb. It has actually been described as a healthful plant by herbalists since the earliest Greek herbals. It has a long history of use including being used as a diuretic, a wound healing herb, a great treatment for menstrual disorders and for allaying the pain of contusions. 

In the Middle Ages, harvesting herbs meant collecting the herb on a specific day, often a day with religious significance. This simply may have been a way of marking the best time of year to harvest a particular herb. In this case, St John’s wort, as you may guess, was harvested on St. John’s day which is June 24th. When the fresh flowers of this plant are crushed, they exude a blood-red juice, which stains the figers blue-violet.

Today St. John’s wort oil is used for bruises, is anti-inflammatory, and is often used to help speed healing of wounds and sores. It helps to reduce inflammation and can be applied to sprains, burns, skin irritations, or any laceration accomplanied by severed nerve tissue.  It was once known to pharmacists as “red oil’ or “Hypericum liniment.” The practice of soaking the flowers in olive oil, infusing the oil in the sun, then using the oil internally as a diuretic and external application for wounds dates at least to the 1500’s.

PS: Want to learn more about healing oils and how they can help you maintain your health? Find out how you can attend aromatherapy classes near you by going to http://www.ISHAaromatherapy.com

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