Tag: Turkey

Enrich Your Visit to Turkey – and Joy for Life – with Rumi

As Phil Cousineau said in our interview back in April, “Rumi is omnipresent in Turkey, his face on the money, his presence in music, on the stage, in movies, and he is a huge source of pride to those who live there… [not knowing Rumi] would be like going to England and not knowing a thing about Shakespeare.”
If you’ll be joining us on our journey to Turkey in October this year or are planning to visit another time, learning more about Rumi will most definitely enrich your visit and will encourage more joy and happiness into your life!


Statue of Mevlana Rumi, photo by I, Maderibeyza
The Spiritual Significance of Rumi
Coleman Barks, who has been translating Rumi’s works into accessible, “lively American free verse” since the late 1970s perfectly sums up Rumi’s universal spiritual appeal in a piece for the Huffington Post:

“Rumi very consciously made himself and his poetry a bridge between cultures and between religions. There is nothing exclusivist about him. He includes everyone in his embrace. He was, and is, a healer of whatever might separate us.”

That healing comes from and pushes the reader towards a place of enlightenment, a place of expansion, not only of our own capacity for love but also of our understanding of our relationship with earthly reality.

Continue reading

Top 5 Spiritual Destinations in Turkey

Are you planning a visit to Turkey? Curious to know what the must-see sacred sites are in this beautiful country? Here we take a look at the top 5 – plus a surprise bonus “destination” at the end!

1. House of the Virgin Mary

Located a few kilometres outside of Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary is an important shrine for Muslims and Christians alike, and is believed to be the final home of the Virgin Mary. This popular pilgrimage site has a “wishing wall” on the outside for visitors to leave intentions and prayers, a sacred healing spring running under it, and a modest shrine inside the house.
House of the Virgin Mary, Turkey. Photo by CherryX.


2. The Temple of Artemis, Ephesus

According to the old legends, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was founded by the female warriors known as the Amazons (Callimachus, Hymn to Artemis, III.233). Considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and dedicated to the goddess of the hunt, The Temple and the entire ancient city of Ephesus are some of the greatest pilgrimage sites of antiquity.
Temple of Artemis, Ephesus, Turkey

3. The Oracle at Miletus

In classical antiquity the Oracle was both revered as a voice of god and place of pilgrimage when seeking advice. Well-known for attracting crowds of pilgrims, Miletus was one of the most important cities in the ancient Greek world and the place St. Paul stopped at on his Third Missionary Journey, on his way back to Jerusalem and Didyma (Acts 20:15–38).
Miletus, Turkey

4. Aphrodisias

Dedicated to the ancient Mother Goddess, and then the Greek goddess Aphrodite, Aphrodisias was the site of a magnificent Temple of Aphrodite and the home of a renowned school of marble sculpture. It has been a sacred site since as early as 5,800 B.C., when Neolithic farmers came here to worship the Mother Goddess of fertility and crops.
Temple of Aphrodite, Turkey

5. Mevlana Museum, Konya

In the 1920s Rumi’s mausoleum and dervish lodge were turned into a museum, which has been an important place of pilgrimage ever since. The poet, philosopher, and religious teacher Mevlana Rumi is widely believed to be one of the world’s most important literary and spiritual figures and an embrace and understanding of his works helps us to discover the philosophical concepts of Sufism. While in Konya, and to further deepen your understanding of Sufism, you can see a performance of the Whirling Dervishes.
Mevlana Museum, Turkey

Bonus “Destination”: You!

As a seeker and traveller you will always bring an extra dimension to all the destinations you visit. When travelling around the culturally-rich sites of Turkey take time to open to the sacred energies and appreciate all this country has to offer.


Have you visited any of these sacred places in Turkey? Would they make your Top 5 list or would you choose others? We’d love to hear from you!


If you’re interested in visiting these sites and more, check out our “A SacredJourney to Turkey with Phil Cousineau: Long Conversations in the Land of Troy, Rumi and the Goddess”, October 10 – 22, 2014.


~ Kim Bridgett & Sacred Earth Journeys

Looking for Vacation Inspiration in 2014?

Our handy quiz helps you plan your perfect journey!


Choosing a vacation destination can be tricky, and choosing the perfect package to suit your unique needs even harder. We all want our vacations to be meaningful, memorable and, well, magical – but how do we pick the perfect spot?

Choose a package that’s aligned with your values.

What is it that really matters to you? What makes your soul sing and makes you feel completely at one with yourself? If you can identify your core values you can translate those to your vacation package…

Ask yourself these 3 fun questions to help you find what’s right for you:

1. When do you feel most happy?
  • a.     During a new & exciting activity
  • b.     On my yoga mat
  • c.      Hiking in nature
  • d.     Reading or learning about a new culture

2. Your perfect birthday gift would be:
  • a.     A new surfboard or bike (or similar piece of gear)
  • b.     Handmade coconut oil moisturizer with essential oils
  • c.      A new camera
  • d.     A gift certificate for your favourite bookstore

3. Your favourite clothes store is:
  • a.     MEC
  • b.     Lululemon
  • c.      Etsy
  • d.     The whole world is my clothes store!

If you answered mainly:
A vacation with fun and challenging activities would suit you! The perfect package would include yoga or similar stretching exercises to keep your body and mind in balance and your adrenal system healthy! Ensure the meals are nourishing and wholesome too as you’ll be burning lots of calories!
Try this:
Practice, Breathe and Surf Costa Rica with Chris Duggan & Natalie Rousseau: A seven-day adventure and yoga retreat in idyllic Mal Pais, Costa Rica
November 22 – 29, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Twice-daily yoga classes
  • A choice of 3 included activities + many more as optional extras
  • Choose activities such as surfing/SUP, horseback riding, zip lining canopy tour, 4WD tour
  • Optional spa services to relax your muscles!
  • 3 delicious & healthy meals a day
A vacation with  a combination of physical exercise and opportunities to explore local communities and sites would suit you to a tee! Stops along the way to mingle with locals and explore artisan crafts would be a bonus. Look out for packages that offer more than yoga – meditation, health consultations, time for outdoor activities or spa services will provide a more fulfilling holiday experience!

Try this:

Bali Bliss Retreat with Michele Labelle: A Transformational Yoga & Meditation Retreat in Magical Bali

November 3 – 12, 2014

Package highlights:
  • 7 yoga classes and meditation practice
  • Visits to Uluwatu Temple, Ulun Danu Temple and Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery
  • Cultural Immersion & Homemade Lunch at Pacut Village
  • Snorkelling Excursion to Menjangan Island
  • Optional Excursions and Spa Treatments 
You need a vacation package that understands and honours your connection to the natural world. A package that provides opportunities to spend time alone or as part of a group at some of the world’s natural, sacred sites would be a great choice! Look for packages that allow you time to explore independently and really breathe in your surroundings. Also look out for holidays that include visits to local communities and artisan craft markets for gifts to bring back home.

Try this:

Heart of the Pachamama with Puma Quispe Singona: Celebrate the Transformative Energy of the Spring Equinox in Sacred Peru
September 17 – 24, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu for TWO DAYS
  • Travel with Andean Medicine Man, Healer and Wisdom Keeper, Puma Quispe Singona
  • Visits to Sacred Sites and Temples
  • Authentic Community Immersion
  • Special Spring Equinox Ceremony
OR this:
Sacred Path Of Quetzalcoatl-Kukuulkaan with Miguel Angel Vergara: A Journey to Discover Your Potential in the Land of the Toltec & Maya (Mexico)
December 1 – 9, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Travel with author and Maya Master Teacher, Miguel Angel Vergara
  • Participate in meditations, rituals and ceremonies at the sacred sites
  • Lectures by Miguel Angel Vergara to illuminate the significance of the sacred sites we visit
  • Visit the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City
  • Learn how chocolate is made at the Ecomuseo del Cacao near Labna
You need a vacation package that speaks to your creativity and thirst for knowledge. Look for holidays that include opportunities to engage in creative pursuits, ideally with a skilled tour leader who shares your passion for the written word. Journeys to countries and sites of historical and cultural significance will appeal, as will trips that depart from the usual tourist trails and allow you to more fully understand the culture of a country.

Try this:

A Sacred Journey to Turkey with Phil Cousineau: Long Conversations in the Land of Troy, Rumi and the Goddess
October 10 – 22, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Travel with author, presenter and scholar Phil Cousineau
  • Daily engaging and enlightening Conversations with Phil
  • Guest talk by Bedri Baykim, renowned Turkish artist, residing in Istanbul
  • Private Whirling Dervishes Ceremony in Konya
  • Exceptional visits to some of Turkey’s most famous and sacred sites
OR this:

The Heart of Ancient Greece: An Odyssey with Phil Cousineau: The Myths, Heroes, Gods and Goddesses, and Sacred Sites of the Classical World

September 21 – October 1, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Travel with author, teacher and filmmaker, Phil Cousineau
  • Insightful Group Discussions and “Long Conversations”
  • Visit the Acropolis, Parthenon & Theatre of Dionysus
  • Visit the Site of the Ancient Olympics and the Olympic Museum
  • Visit the Dream Temples of Asclepius & the Ancient Amphitheater in Epidaurus

A complete mix of As, Bs, Cs & Ds:

Visit Sacred Earth Journeys to read about all of our vacation destinations and packages to suit you! We also take bookings for yoga retreats in Canada and beyond, and are sure to have something to suit your unique needs! Or contact us to organize a group vacation package for your family, friends or business and let us show you how to translate your values into a perfect holiday!


Bon voyage!
~ Kim Bridgett

Turkey Is Beckoning: An Interview with Phil Cousineau

In this interview, Phil Cousineau describes Turkey’s great appeal to the spiritual traveller, the importance of Rumi and Sufism as well as Phil’s own favourite places in this rich, ancient land. You can join Phil in Turkey this October 10 – 22, 2014 on our: “Sacred Journey to Turkey with Phil Cousineau: Long Conversations in the Land of Troy, Rumi and the Goddess”.
KB: What is it that particularly appeals to you about Turkey as a destination?

Phil Cousineau: Turkey is the great crossroads between East and West, a place like no other. There is a distinct Oriental flavor to Istanbul and also all over Eastern Turkey. Western Turkey is ancient Anatolia, essentially Eastern Greece for centuries. Sites like Hisarlik, ancient Troy, are crucial for understanding the very roots of Western civilization, art, drama, even opera. Besides the food is fresh, affordable, plentiful, and Turkey, especially in the fall when we will be there, will be among the least crowded corners in Europe.

KB: What place or site are you most excited about taking participants to visit on this sacred journey to Turkey?

PC: The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Troy, which I read about as a boy, Ephesus, the most intact ancient city, thanks to the German archaeologists, the ports along the south, Catal Huyuk, the ruins of the oldest known city, and Konya, where we will visit the tomb of the Shakespeare of the East, as Mevlana Rumi is known.

KB: This journey is built around “long conversations” – what is it about Turkey as a destination (and this particular journey) that lends itself so well to conversation, pilgrimage and exploring the concept of spiritual/sacred travel?
PC: Over thirty years of leading tours and workshops I have found that it is in these Long Conversations where the real meaning of our travels finally emerges. These journeys are not just about viewing things, which can be voyeuristic, but in experiencing the world – and then reflecting about the experiences. The casual pace of travel around Turkey, the immense depths of history, such as knowing we will visit three of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, are so provocative they call out to us to be more contemplative.

KB: What can participants expect from this journey to Turkey that they wouldn’t find elsewhere?

PC: Time, contemplation, local speakers, friends for a lifetime.

KB: Sufism and Rumi also strongly feature in this journey: Do participants need any prior knowledge of the works of Rumi or of Sufism? Will those who are very new to Turkish culture find this journey “accessible”?

PC: I highly recommend that our participants read some Rumi before they leave, or see a documentary film about him. Not doing so would be like going to England and not knowing a thing about Shakespeare. Rumi is omnipresent in Turkey, his face on the money, his presence in music, on the stage, in movies, and he is a huge source of pride to those who live there. It’s a gesture of respect.

KB: Is there anything else you would like to tell me about this journey to Turkey?

PC: Remember what Rumi wrote 750 years ago: “What you seek is seeking you.” In some mysterious way these great lands and cultures are seeking travelers like you to make them come alive again.

Read more about this enticing journey to Turkey with Phil Cousineau and Sacred Earth Journeys here.

~ Kim Bridgett