Sunday, January 16, 2011

1st Crystal: Tel Mar Elyas, Jordan

     For the first couple of weeks of my pilgrimage, I walked with six others from England and America along with our local guides, through Jordan and the West Bank towns in Palestine. We hoped to become tour guides on “Abraham Path” and were on a "training mission".        
We began by walking on the Al Ayoun Trail in Ajloun Province of Jordan. This was an arid and rocky path, past flocks of sheep and goats gleaning what little vegetation they could find, attended by the shepherds and dogs--much as had been done since Abraham  passed here.
     At the ancient church at Tel Mar Elyas, also called “Saint Elijah’s Hill,”  I placed our first crystal in a fork of an old Oak tree where thousands of people have put prayers written on little pieces of paper, ribbons, etc. There I recited our prayers in the late afternoon as the sun was descending in the sky over the Jordan River to our West.
   The church was mostly in ruins, but still had some Byzantine mosaics with a Greek inscription from the year 622 C.E. (which makes it contemporary with the beginning of Muhammad’s revelations.) It was a beautiful spot overlooking the valleys below. We each spent some personal time at this spot, doing our own rituals before coming together to share as a group. 
     Since Elijah is considered a prophet by Muslims, Jews and Christians, this spot has been seen as sacred by all three religions for centuries. The old tree where I deposited this first crystal, is considered a site of “Baraka” or blessing–a place whose power may be invoked to protect against disease, cure sick animals, or bring rain to the fields. The cloths are tied to it as tokens of prayer–and witness to the hopes, the fears, and the endearing faith of the local people.
   After the sun set, we went down into the village for dinner with a family of ten happy children and overnight in other local homes.

Baha'i Prayer:
Be a breath of life unto the body of humankind,
a dew upon the soil of the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.

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