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Journey: A Cycle of Sacred Time
by Jan Boddie, Ph.D. & Marystella Church, B.A.

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In the English language we sometimes interchange the words journey, trip and travel. There is, however, a quantum difference between taking a trip and being on a journey. We've all done some traveling, perhaps at times alone and at other times with others. Be it a commute to work, a weekend getaway, or a vacation in Hawaii, it's a common tradition in many countries to take trips. To go abroad and play at being a tourist is a familiar way to travel for many of us.

Yet being on a journey is quite different from traveling or being on a trip. It's as different as taking a picture of the ocean is from jumping in and experiencing it! For starters, traveling can be exhausting because there is so much to figure out: where to stay; how to find the cathedral or whatever you came to visit; fussing about the clothes you did or did not bring.

Journeying probes deeper than these thoughts that consume us. Being on a journey is going beyond what is on our mind and connecting with what is in it. Imagine the difference: You are on a tour of the Acropolis in Athens, overwhelmed with the magnificence of history and art and natural beauty, while also being concerned about time and your schedule for the rest of the day. Now imagine being at the Acropolis and following your inclination to stop on Mars hill where Socrates sat with his students, and taking the time to engage in a deep and meaningful dialogue with like-spirited companions.

There's a difference between keeping busy with seeing sights and taking pictures, and actually being present with what you are experiencing. Although each requires form and purpose, travel gives a focus to the doing-ness, while journey is balanced with actual being-ness. Journey goes beyond the restraints of physical time and space. Journey feeds the soul.

The word "travel" comes from "travail," which originally meant an instrument of torture, while "journey" is rooted in the name of the Goddess Diana and is related to both "deity" and "Day." One might loosely translate this as meaning "a cycle of holy time." In other words, to journey is to make a pilgrimage. People used to make pilgrimages to foreign and holy places, which were symbolic for reconnecting with the hidden and holy places within themselves.

But physical travel is not a prerequisite for journeying. We journey every night in our dreams, for example, during which a rich symbolism helps us to remember and even heal aspects of ourselves that have been buried below waking consciousness. We journey during guided meditations; even daydreaming is a form of journey.

When we travel, we literally carry baggage. Typically, we also carry the symbolic baggage of expectations and belief systems, of judgments and assumptions. In fact, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration by closing ourselves off from the adventure of discovery. It's impossible to be present in the unfoldment of each new moment when we've locked ourselves into the future by having a fixed agenda.

Embarking on a journey, be it in the dream world or the physical world, is like stepping out of the grid lines that limit our concept of reality. Patterns in daily life vanish as we step into the spaces between the dots, into the "places" where possibility and probability live.

When we open ourselves to experiences that are not dictated by logic and reason, and that are not structured by belief and judgment, we become aligned with what was always before us and what was always within us. This is a journey or pilgrimage. It is a movement toward wholeness or holiness, a cycle of time for entering the sacred.

Connecting with more of who we really are (that is, experiencing more of our innate wholeness) is also an opening for connecting more fully with others and with the Earth. When we journey, we waken to the knowing of our interconnectedness.

True journey, then, cannot happen in isolation. It is a contradiction in terms to set ourselves apart (whether out of fear or arrogance or unconscious beliefs) when the essence of journey is inter-relatedness. By remaining connected to ourselves, others and the Earth, our daily travels, our trips to foreign places, our dreams and flights of imagination are transformed into wondrous cycles of sacred time.

Although journey can be experienced in as many forms as there are personalities on this planet, we are all on the same journey. This is the new paradigm struggling to be birthed: a collective realization of our inter-relatedness in sacred time, and a remembering of our connection to things we do not yet know.

Jan and Marystella are co-founders of
New Moon Sacred Sight Journeys, based in Santa Rosa, CA. They lead groups of kindred spirits on journeys to various places in the U.S. and abroad.


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