SacredSitesJourneys-Logo-Sm.jpg (15505 bytes)SACRED SITES JOURNEYS
Since 1994 ...Spiritual Pilgrimages
to the world's most important Sacred Sites
to enliven your Body, Mind and Spirit



MALTA

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Spiritual Pilgrimage to Sacred Temples
of the Mother Goddess

March 22 - 28, 2015


Pre-Tour Excursion

The Rebirth of the Goddess at the Spring Equinox!

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March 20 - 22, 2015



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Tour Registration Closed as of March 10, 2015
Tour Begins March 22nd.


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MALTA - GENERAL INFORMATION & HISTORY

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Sacred Temples of Malta

General Information
The star on the map above indicates the location of the Malta in the Mediterranean, 60 miles south of Sicily, the "boot" of Italy.
In case you've not heard of Malta, as many people haven't, here's some information about it.
Malta is the largest of the three major islands that constitute the Maltese archipelago, and is 95 square miles.
It's located east of its sister islands of Gozo and Comino.

In March average temperatures is around 63 ░F during the day and 52 ░F at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are rare.
Also, Malta is one of the few places in Europe which are "green" all year round.

Native Maltese people make up the majority of the island.
However, there are minorities, the largest of which are British, many of whom have retired to Malta.
Thus English is spoken almost everywhere.

History
Humans have inhabited Malta since about 5200 BCE, when stone age hunters or farmers arrived from Sicily. Early Neolithic settlements were discovered in open areas and also in caves, such as Ghar Dalam. Around 3500 BCE, a culture of megalithic temple builders then either supplanted or arose. They built some of the oldest existing, free-standing structures in the world in the form of megalithic temples such as those at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. After 2500 BCE, Malta was depopulated but soon became the home of Bronze Age settlers. They built first fortifications in Malta.

Being an island and thus a natural crossroads in the sea, Malta was later ruled by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs before it was occupied by the County of Sicily in 1091.
It then became part of the Kingdom of Sicily until it was given to the Order of Saint John,
also known as the Knights of Malta, in 1530, along with Gozo and Tripoli.
In 1565, the Order and the Maltese withstood a major Ottoman invasion.
The Order ruled Malta for over 250 years and built many great pieces of architecture, including the capital city Valletta.
In 1798 the French under Napoleon occupied Malta and ruled for a couple of months until the Maltese rebelled.
In 1800, the British took control over Malta and it initially became a British protectorate, and a colony two years later.
The British ruled for about 150 years. Malta became independent in 1964.
In 1974 the State of Malta became the Republic of Malta.
Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the Euro in 2008.


Esoteric History

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Legend has it that thousands of years ago very tall lovers of the Goddess with elongated skulls known as the Serpent People
built megalithic temples on the summit of a ridge of towering mountains that united Africa to Europe.
This ridge was eventually swallowed up when the immense wall of water that sunk Atlantis
poured through the Pillars of Hercules and then created the Mediterranean Sea.
The only temples to survive were those built upon the highest peaks, which then became islands.
One of those peaks and its associated Goddess temples survives today as the Island of Malta.

The Serpent People who built the temples of Malta designed them to reflect the body of their beloved Mother Goddess.
They covered them in Goddess spirals and then set “Fat Lady” images of Her inside for worship.
Their temples were calendars in stone, perfectly aligned with many solar and stellar positions,
as well as chambers for initiation into the Goddess Mysteries.

Today, during the time of the Spring Equinox (when our pre-tour excurstion group will be there!),
the male and female principles become most balanced and unite,
as the rays of the “male” Sun still pass through the front entrance of Malta’s Mnajdra Temple
to inseminate the body of the Goddess, thus fecundating all nature on the island.


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TOUR DESCRIPTION

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Join SSJs Director Andrea Mikana-Pinkham and our group of like-minded spiritual seekers
to explore and experience the powerful transformational energies
of the ancient megalithic Mother Goddess temples,
some of the oldest free-standing structures on Earth - over 7,000 years old!

Participate in meditations and ritual to step back in “time”
as you connect with the still palpable energies of these amazing sacred sites that were in use
when the Mother Goddess was center stage in the hearts and minds of the people who built them!


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Also explore the mysterious ancient “cart ruts” that have been the subject of debate for hundreds of years
as to their origin, form and function - one of the most perplexing mysteries
of ancient megalithic building technologies of all time!


SPECIAL HIGHLIGHT

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PRIVATE ENTRANCE for our group at the Hypogeum,
one of the greatest remaining structures from prehistory on our planet today!

IMPORTANT!
We've just received news that the Hypogeum will close in August 2015 for 8 or 9 months for refurbishing.
So, if you've been wanting to enter this ancient underground marvel, NOW is the time to do so!


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TOUR PERSONNEL

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SSJs Director Andrea Mikana-Pinkham will be leading this spiritual pilgrimage.
Shamanic Practitioner and Researcher/Teacher of the Goddess Tradition
and Ancient Megalithic History & Director of Sacred Sites Journeys


Andrea led our April 2013 group to Malta is returning!
Some of the group members from that journey had such an awesome experience that they're joining her again!
And there are others in the group who have traveled with Andrea on our pilgrimages to other destinations,
as well as folks who are new to our SSJ community. All are welcome!

Andrea has been leading spiritual pilgrimages around the world since 1994. She is a longtime avid practitioner of the Goddess Path. During this spiritual journey she will facilitate meditations, guided visualizations and rituals to assist you to connect with the powerful energies of the Goddess at Her sacred sites and temples.

Andrea is a trained Shamanic Practitioner, the creator and Reiki Master Teacher of Ichi Sekai (One World) Reiki, a Spiritual Counselor, and a Teacher in The Seven Rays of Healing School and the Djedhi Templar Corps, where she teaches the Egyptian Mysteries.

She is the Grand Prioress of The International Order of Gnostic Templars, a contemporary spiritual Gnostic Templar Order that is dedicated to the revival of the Goddess Tradition and Gnostic Wisdom.

AndreaMikanaPinkham-Malta-Dolmen.jpg (30750 bytes)An Invitation from Andrea: I invite you to join our diverse group of spiritual seekers on this awesome spiritual pilgrimage in Malta. I've designed our exceptional itinerary in order to give you the optimum experience at the ancient sites of the Mother Goddess that we’ll explore and experience. By facilitating meditations I will support you to connect with Her timeless Wisdom, as well as Her energies of love, compassion and nurturing. As we explore the historical aspects of these sites you'll gain an insight into how Her influence has continued to flow in these important areas throughout time, influencing "Her-story" and thus our culture and civilization of today. You will experience that the Goddess is still Alive, without and within! I'll be honored to be with you to help facilitate your sacred travel experience and to support you to have the transformation you seek. Blessings to you!

For more information about Andrea, Click here

 

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Here are links to A Conversation with our Ancestors through the Ancient Temples of MALTA
August 10, 2014 - Facilitated by Mythic Historian Debbie Keil-Leavitt
& SSJs Director Andrea Mikana-Pinkha
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A conversation about travel to Malta and its ancient temples - older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge and what the acoustical, architectural and astronomical wonders there might suggest.

Part 1/Introduction: Ancient Sites of Malta: A discussion on the ancient sites of Malta, their acoustical and astronomical wonders, and the possibilities of what these treasures may offer.
http://youtu.be/iRvVZ8khTA4

Part 2: Maltese Myth and Legend, Climate Change, the Early “Goddess” Period, and Ggantija.
http://youtu.be/0_xTwbfe-JE

Part 3: Sound and Vibration, Ancient Sites of Malta: The Hypogeum’s Amazing Acoustical Wonders, an Ancient Healing Center?
http://youtu.be/RGa6PZ3Vub8

Part 4: Ancient Sites of Malta: The Sky, Our Shared Stars, Travel and Credits
http://youtu.be/nSkzrSsDP00

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Pre-Tour Excursion
The Rebirth of the Goddess
March 20 - 22, 2015

twinkle2.gif (912 bytes)We've lowered the pricing for this part of the pilgrimage!
See the "TOUR PRICING" section below.

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Sacred Sites Journeys is thrilled to announce that we are offering a Pre-Tour Excursion to include a phenomenal event.
There will be a Solar Total Eclipse on the Spring Equinox – which will be partially visible in Malta
bringing together the Sun and the Moon, as the temples of Malta were designed to do.

To give you a sense of how these temples were created to honor the Sun-Moon/Masculine-Feminine and their interaction,
view this amazing video depicting the Maltese Temple Mnajdra at the Equinoxes, Solstices and Major Lunar Standstills
by Tore Lomsdalen, M.A.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl3azd8e0dE&feature=youtu.be

Tore organized the September 2014 SEAC Conference in Malta where Archaeo-Astronomers met to share their latest information.,
Mr. Lomsdalen make major presentations of his own, and led the group to observe the sunrise at Mnajdra shortly after the Autumn Equinox. Many of you may be familiar with the SEAC group through its President, Dr. Michael Rappengluck and his discovery
of the constellation Taurus and Orion’s Belt depicted in the 17,000 year-old cave at Lascaux, France.

Friday, March 20. Total Solar Eclipse; Free Time: Group Meeting (D)
Arrive in Malta on your own. Please book your air to Malta - Airport Code MLA. We encourage you to arrive early enough in the day so that you’ll have a chance to take advantage of the afternoon and evening activities. If you’d like to come a day early, we can give you a quote for the extra night or nights at the hotel, once you register.
Airport/Hotel Transfers: After you book your international air, if you’d like for SSJ to give you a quote for your private transfer to the hotel, please send us this request. For group participants arriving within an hour of each other, we’ll work with you to schedule a transfer for several people in order to minimize the expense.

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The Total Solar Eclipse will be visible from Malta, weather permitting, mid-day. For those arriving in the morning, we'll gather gather at a location (to be announced) to view this event. Followed by free time in the historic and beautiful walled city of Valletta.

We'll have a Group Meeting / Dinner this evening to share our experiences.
Overnight Sliema. Victoria Hotel.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Saturday, March 21. Spring Equinox! (B)
We depart early for our dawn visit to Mnajdra Temple for the Spring Equinox sunrise. As the ancient people who built this magnificent stone temple did, we'll watch the sun come up over the mountains to the East and see the light it casts into the temple's entrance and inner sanctum. The male and female principles become most balanced and unite as the rays of the “male” Sun pass through the front entrance of theJanineVatz-1-Sm.jpg (7147 bytes) temple to inseminate the body of the Goddess, thus fecundating all nature on the island. We'll have time for individual reflection on what this ancient event of a New Beginning means in our lives.

Here's a few words about the Equinox Experience from Janine Vatz, who traveled with us to Malta in April 2013 (and who has been there numerous times on her own!): Seeing an equinox sunrise from the interior of a Maltese Temple is awesome! Standing in the temple waiting with anticipation for the sun to rise over the hill and light up the interior gives one a tie to those folks that stood in that same spot anticipating that same sunrise for thousands of years before you! It really was incredible. Very moving... The energy was palpable. I swear I was one big goosebump! It's a life changing event!"


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The Male Light of the Equinox Sun penetrates the Body of the Goddess at Mnajdra Temple
Photo Credit: Janine Vatz

Afterwards we'll visit the nearby Hagar Qim Temple to connect with the Goddess energies of rebirth and creativity. (See Day 5 below in the itinerary for the Main part of our spiritual journey for more informatoin about this ancient site.)

Malta-Mgarr-ChurchMaryBlessing-SpiralStone.jpg (23116 bytes)Then you have some free time to enjoy the lovely, quiet village of Mgarr and its cathedral, with its amazing energies of the Divine Feminine. Note the Mother Goddess with the spiraled orb in the photo on the left.

Return to hotel to enjoy free time for the afternoon/evening to explore the beautiful, historic walled city of Valletta with its beautiful gourmet restaurants.

Overnight Sliema. Victoria Hotel.


Sunday, March 22. Marsaxlokk (B/L)Malta-MarsaxlokkFishMarket-NationalGeo.jpg (33636 bytes)
Malta-Marsaxlokk- Chevron.co.uk.jpg (22290 bytes)After breakfast at the hotel, we'll travel to the nearby charming fishing village of Marsaxlokk for its weekly Fish Market and a bit of exploration. Lunch  is included at a local restaurant featuring freshly-caught local fish. Return to the hotel.

Pre-Tour Excursion ends. (You have free afternoon in Valletta. The main spiritual journey begins this evening wih the group meeting and welcome dinner.)

This itinerary is subject to change due to conditions beyond our control.

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MAIN TOUR ITINERARY
(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

Day 1. Sunday, March 22. Arrive Malta. Introductory Meeting & Welcome Dinner (D)
If you're not joining Andrea and the group for the Pre-Tour Excursion to welcome the Spring Equinox, then arrive in Malta today on your own. Please book your air to Malta - Airport Code MLA. We encourage you to arrive early enough in the day soVictoriaHotel-OutsideEntrance.jpg (17919 bytes) that you’ll have a chance to rest before our afternoon and evening activities. If you’d like to come a day early, we can give you a quote for the extra night or nights at the hotel, once you register.
Airport/Hotel Transfers: After you book your international air, if you’d like for SSJ to give you a quote for your private transfer to the hotel, please send us this request. For group participants arriving within an hour of each other, we’ll work with you to schedule a transfer for several people in order to minimize the expense.

Evening Group Introductory Meeting/ Welcome Dinner.
Overnight Sliema (Which means "Peace" in Maltese). Victoria Hotel.

Day 2. Monday, March 23. Cart Ruts, National Museum of Archaeology, Free Time (B/L)Malta-CartRuts-3.jpg (15371 bytes)
Malta-CartRuts-2.jpg (17612 bytes)After breakfast we're off to explore the mysterious ancient “cart ruts” that have been the subject of debate for hundreds of years as to their origin, form and function - a most perplexing mystery! Here on the islands of Malta and Gozo they are the most famous and numerous. Deep ruts, tracks and grooves left in the limestone in such numbers, variety and confusion leave more questions than answers. On Malta there are cart ruts going off high cliff tops, while some are located on the sea floor. At both Clapham Junction and San Gwann Junction. there are many that intersect each other in total chaos. The Clapham Junction site was nicknamed that after the complex railway tracks of a London station. How were they formed? If they're made by humans, who were they and why did they make them? We'll explore this longtime mystery and see what conclusions we can come to for ourselves.

 
Afterwards we enjoy a lunch of traditional Maltese cuisine with the group at a local restaurant.

Then we're off to the National Museum of Archaeology, a Maltese museum of prehistoric artifacts that is managed by Heritage Malta. The ground floor of the museum exhibits prehistoric artifacts from the Maltese islands, from the Ghar Dalam phase (5200 BCE), the earliest appearance of settlement on the island, up to the Tarxien phase (2500 BCE).

Early Neolithic Period Room (5200–3800 BCE)
The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum: This room exhibits artifacts from the early Neolithic Period, including decorated pottery from the Ghar Dalam, Grey Skorba, Red Skorba and Zebbug phases. Of particular importance are the Red Skorba figurines, the earliest local representations of the human figure and the predecessors of the statues of later temple periods. The exhibition features a reconstruction of the rock-cut tombs that were a characteristic of the early Neolithic period in Malta.

Temple Period Rooms (3800–2500 BCE)
These rooms show examples of architecture, human representation and other items that date from the Mgarr, Ggantija, Saflieni and Tarxien phases of Maltese prehistory. The temples that were built at this time are considered to be the world’s first free standing monuments and are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Malta-HagarQim-3-GoddessStatues.jpg (13872 bytes)The museum exhibits numerous corpulent statues representing human bodies unearthed from temple excavations, along with phallic representations. Are these statues of the Mother Goddess, Fat Ladies, Deities or Priests? The discovery of temple altars and corpulent human representations suggests that some type of cult existed on the islands of Malta and Gozo in prehistory. Given the corpulence of the statues it may be that the cult was tied to a fertility rite. Fertility at this time must have been very important since, apart from family growth, it also meant the reproduction of crops and animals. We’ll explore the theories during our time here in this sacred land.

We return to hotel later afternoon. You have free time. Dinner is on your own this evening. You can either eat at the hotel, or stroll along the nearby streets where there are many restaurants.
Overnight Sliema. Victoria Hotel.

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Map of Megalithic Mother Goddess Sites on Malta and Gozo

Day 3. Tuesday, March 24. Mgarr: Skorba and Ta Hagrat Temples; Mdina (B/L)
Today we begin our exploration and experiences of the sacred Goddess temples of Malta! After breakfast we depart by coach to the Village of Mgarr (im-jarr), a typical rural village situated in an isolated region in the northern part of the island, to visit the temples of Ta Hagrat and Skorba.
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Our first stop is at the Skorba temples, megalithic remains on the northern edge of Zebbieg which have provided detailed and informative insight into the earliest periods of Malta's Neolithic culture. The site was only excavated in the early 1960s, rather late in comparison to other megalithic sites, some of which had been studied since the early 19th century. The site's importance has led to its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a listing it shares with six other megalithic temples in Malta.

Malta-Skorba-MotherGoddess.jpg (9382 bytes)The remains on the site are a series of megalithic uprights, the lowest course of the temples' foundations, paving slabs with libation holes in the entrance passage, and the torba or cement-like floor of a three-apse temple, a shape that is typical of the Ggantija phase. Unfortunately, the greater part of the first two apses and the whole of the fašade have been razed to ground level. But the north wall is in a better state of preservation. Originally, the entrance of the temple opened on a court, but in later additions during the Tarxien phase, the temple's doorway was closed off, with altars set in the corners formed by the closure. East of this temple, a second monument was added in the Tarxien phase, with four apses and a central niche. For a period of roughly twelve centuries before the temples were built, a village already stood on the site. Its oldest extant structure is the long straight wall to the west of the temples’ first entrance. Deposits at its base contained material from the first known human occupation of the island, the Ghar Dalam phase, including charcoal, which carbon analysis dated to 4850 BCE.

We’ll take time for meditation to connect with these ancient energies.

Malta-TaHagrat-3.jpg (15030 bytes)Next we visit the Ta Hagrat temples in Mgarr, of which the larger temple dates from the Ggantija phase (3600–3200 BCE); the smaller is dated to the Saflieni phase (3300–3000 BCE).

Major Temple: The Ggantija phase temple is typically trefoil, with a concave fašade opening onto a spacious semicircular forecourt. The fašade contains a monumental doorway in the center and a bench at its base. Two steps lead up to the main entrance and a corridor flanked by upright megaliths of coralline limestone. Three are placed on each side and support large hard-stone slabs. The corridor beyond the entrance is paved with large stone blocks placed with great accuracy. Malta-TaHagrat-2.jpg (21290 bytes)

The corridor leads into a central torba court, radiating three semi-circular chambers. These were partially walled off at some time in the Saflieni phase; pottery shards were recovered from the internal packing of this wall. The apses are constructed with roughly-hewn stone walls and have a rock floor. Corbelling visible on the walls of the apses suggest that the temple was roofed.
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Minor Temple: The Saflieni phase temple rests to the north and is 21 ft. long, and is entered through the eastern apse of the larger temple. Smaller stones have been used in its construction and it exhibits irregularities in design considered archaic or provincial.

Another meditation opportunity will assist us to use our “psychic archaeology” to tune into the lives of the Mother Goddess people who lived here in ancient times.

Malta-Mdina-ArielView.jpg (24215 bytes)Afterwards we enjoy our group lunch. And then are off to Mdina, the old capital of Malta. Mdina is a medieval walled town situated on a hill in the center of the island. Punic remains uncovered beyond the city’s walls suggest the importance of the general region to Malta’s Phoenician settlers. Mdina is commonly called the "Silent City" by natives and visitors. The town is still confined within its walls, and has a population of just over three hundred, but it is contiguous with the village of Rabat, which takes its name from the Arabic word for suburb, and has a population of over 11,000. Mdina is fascinating to visit for its timeless atmosphere as well as its cultural and religious treasures.

The history here goes back more than 4000 years. According to tradition it was here that in 60 CE that the Apostle St. Paul is said to have lived after being shipwrecked on the Islands. He supposedly resided inside the grotto known as Fuori le Mura (outside the city walls) now known as St. Paul’s Grotto in Rabat. The late 17th-century St. Paul's Cathedral in Mdina stands on theMalta-Mdina-Cathedral.jpg (25883 bytes) traditional site of the house of the governor Publius, who received St. Paul when he was shipwrecked on Malta.

Mdina has had different names and titles depending on its rulers and its role but its medieval name describes it best – ‘Citta’ Notabile’: the noble city. It was home then, as now, to Malta’s noble families; some are descendants of the Norman, Sicilian and Spanish overlords who made Mdina their home from the 12th century onwards. Impressive palaces line its narrow, shady streets. Mdina is one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and Baroque architecture. During our tour we will stop at the bastions of Mdina to admire the extensive views of Malta from one of the highest points on the island.

We return to hotel later afternoon. You have free time. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Overnight Sliema. Victoria Hotel.

Day 4. Wednesday,
March 25. Hypogeum (Private Entrance), Tarxien Temples (B/D)
This morning we have our private entrance into the Hypogeum, followed by a visit to the Tarxien Temples. Malta-Hypogeum-5.jpg (21670 bytes)

The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, or underground cavity carved from solid rock, is a unique monument and superb example of architecture in the negative. Excavation has yielded a wealth of archaeological material including pottery, human bones, personal ornaments such as beads and amulets, little carved animals and larger figurines.

When discovered it contained the bodies of over 7,000 people. Three stories deep, it contains rock-cut features such as a 'speaking chamber', trilithons, lintelled-doorways, a large cistern and a 'holy of holies' surrounded by 'embryonic' chambers. The Hypogeum is one of the greatest remaining structures from prehistory. Its pristine condition allows us to see the past through the eyes of our ancestors.


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The purpose of the Hypogeum is one of the most highly debated in circles of megalithic architecture. This amazing and very unique underground space offers us a rare glimpse at the prehistoric synthesis of funerary, solar-worship and shamanic traditions. Perhaps the central chamber's several small rounded cubicles carved into the walls were originally intended for 'living' people as part of a ritual, in which they would have had to lie inside in a fetal position. Traces of ergot have been found in the chamber called the 'cistern'; one of the physical effects of ergot is to constrict bodily muscles, resulting in a forced fetal position. In these small cubicles, echoes from the 'speaking' chamber reverberate into a rhythm that is similar to the human heartbeat.

The entrance to the Hypogeum is through an unsuspecting doorway in an unsuspecting street. It was first discovered in 1902, when builders broke through whilst building foundations for a house. At first, the hole was covered over and the event was kept quiet but word of the discovery soon got out and the museum authorities moved in to protect it. Although underground, the Hypogeum was built near the top of a natural hill overlooking the Marsa. The nearby Hal Tarxien, temple complex was built higher still on the same face of the hill.

Although most of the Hypogeum is underground, the entrance to it was built with megaliths, placed in what was presumably the natural entrance of the original cave. The original entrance consisted of a large square opening in its center (a porthole slab). This slab was later smashed and disposed of to make way for the new housing estate.

The first excavations in 1902 were performed by Fr. Magri, S.J. but unfortunately shortly after its commencement, he left the island to take a missionary post abroad where he died, leaving no records of his observations. Following this, the work was passed on to Prof. Themi Zammit, who worked on it for the next five years. The 1990-1992 excavations suggested that there may have once been a monumental structure built directly on top.

Malta-Hypogeum--OracleHole.jpg (24932 bytes)The speaking chamber has a hole known as the oracle hole in the wall carved with a rounded interior surface. A design was painted in red-ochre onto the ceiling of the chamber; it starts off on one side with a honeycomb design and transforms into a collection of 'floral' spirals on the other. It's speculated that the oracle hole was part of a ceremonial process. Words spoken into it make an echo which reverberates throughout the hypogeum.

The results of recent scientific study suggests that the 6,000 year-old hypogeum could have been specifically designed to conduct and manipulate sound to produce certain effects on the human brain. In this way, people in the hypogeum experienced mood changes while listening to chanting.

Some scientists believe that certain sound vibration frequencies created when sound is emitted within its walls are actually altering human brain functions of those within earshot. According to a laboratory study, exposure to a tone within this frequency, particularly at 110-111 hz seems to create a shift of brain function, "turning on" an area of the brain that bio-behavioral scientists believe relates to mood, empathy and social behavior.

We’ll have a sound meditation here to support altering our consciousness to higher frequencies. Malta-Hypogeum-7-SleepingGoddess.jpg (18733 bytes)

The hypogeum includes replicas of features from megalithic structures above ground on Malta. It is possible to see both trilithons and 'doorways' in the same style as those found in the numerous temples on the islands. It was also the place where the famous terracotta figure called the Sleeping Lady was found in a cistern containing numerous offerings. Two of these clay figurines were found in the Hypogeum. One (left) in a sleeping position, and the other of similar design, but with the woman lying face down. They were both found in the main chamber.

Malta-TarxienTemple-ArielView.jpg (35979 bytes)Then we're off to the Tarxien (tar-she-en) Temples, which date from 3600-2500 BCE and are the most complex of all temple sites in Malta. The temples are renowned for the detail of their carvings, which include domestic animals carved inMalta-TarxienTemple-4.jpg (19668 bytes) relief, altars, and screens decorated with spiral designs and other patterns. The spiral is the most common design in megalithic art on Malta, and indeed around the world. Believed by some to represent eternity, the design is expressed in a wide variety of forms across the islands and clearly had a significant meaning for the ancient Maltese peoples. Of particular note is a chamber set into the thickness of the wall between the South and Central temples, which is famous for its relief of two bulls and a sow. The site seems to have been used extensively for rituals, which probably involved animal sacrifice.

In the Bronze Age (2400-1500 BCE), Tarxien was reused as a cremation cemetery. The site lay hidden for centuries until its discovery in 1914, when farmers struck large stone blocks while ploughing a field. Sir Temistocles Zammit, Malta’s first director of museums, excavated the site in 1915-17.

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Malta-TarxienTemple-12.jpg (16524 bytes)The Tarxien temple complex consists of four temples connected by a square court. The temples each have separate entrances. Uniquely, the central temple consists of six apses. This is the only known example of such a layout and it represents a final phase in the long evolution of Maltese temple architecture. A narrow staircase connects the central temple to the east temple.

Fertility goddess figures (now in the national museum in Valetta) discovered in the ruins indicate that the temples were dedicated to the Earth Mother/the Mother Goddess, as were many Maltese temples. The most famous of these figures is a sculpture of large hips with feet, dubbed the "Fat Lady."Malta-TarxienTemple-11.jpg (21275 bytes)

Spherical stones found at the site have provided a valuable clue as to how the great stones of Malta's megalithic temples may have been moved into place; some researchers believe they were rolled on the stones while being towed with ropes. We’ll discuss this and other theories about the ancient megalithic building techniques.

Malta-TaMarijaRestaurant.jpg (23572 bytes)Afterwards we return to the hotel. You have free time for lunch on your own. And time to explore more of the area!

Tonight we have our group dinner at the Ta’ Marija Maltese restaurant located in the village of Mosta for a lively and enjoyable evening of dinner and entertainment.
Overnight Sliema. Victoria Hotel.


Day 5. Thursday, March 26.
Hagar Qim / Mnajdra and Blue Grotto (B/L)

Malta-HagarQim-5.jpg (25293 bytes)After breakfast we head to the temple of Hagar Qim (ha-jah-een), Located on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the islet of Filfla, it’s the best-preserved of several ancient limestone temples in Malta. It dates from the Ggantija phase - which is about 3600 to 3200 BCE. Unlike most other Maltese temples, it is a single temple rather than a complex of two or three. Other temple ruins stand a few feet away from the main temple and the forecourt and facade follow the
Malta-HagarQim-9.jpg (12589 bytes)pattern typical of temples across the Islands. Particularly noteworthy are the larger standing stones at the corners, which are notched to take the second of the horizontal courses above, which are traditional megalithic building techniques.

A stone decorated with spiral designs and a free-standing altar decorated on all sides were found here. The right apse has an interesting inner enclosure made of low stone slabs. The left apse has three high table altars and a low-standing pillar at the end. Three steps up from the left apse lead to an additional chamber. In the outer enclosing wall, the first upright stone behind the right-hand corner of the fašade is one of the largest of any temple, at about 21 ft. long and close to 20 tons in weight.

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Malta-HagarQim-3-GoddessStatues.jpg (13872 bytes)Other related ruins have been uncovered near the main temple, and two Mother Goddess statues discovered here are now in display in the national museum in Valetta.

Take some time for a meditation to connect once again with the Mother Goddess energies.

Afterwards we’ll enjoy lunch on your own with the group at the Hagar Qim Restaurant.

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Then we head down the hill to Mnajdra (mna-ee-dra), a complex site consisting of three conjoined Neolithic temples overlooking an oval forecourt. The first and oldest temple dates back to 3600-3200 BCE, while the most impressive of the temples is the third, constructed between 3150-2500 BCE. This temple is perhaps the finest surviving on the Islands. The masonry here shows intricate knowledge of building techniques and excellent workmanship. And though Mnajdra is less than a mile downhill from the Hagar Qim temple complex, the two complexes seem to have built at different times, and their relationship is not known.

Malta-Mnajdra -5.jpg (15046 bytes)The first and oldest temple (northern/eastern) is a simple three-apsed structure dating from c.3600-3200 BCE, not long after Ggantija was built. The small walls have been reconstructed but the small uprights, with their pitted decoration, are original.

The middle temple is the largest and was the last to be built, closer to 2000 BCE. It was inserted between the other two and set at a higher level, and is unusual in having a great 9 ft. high porthole slab (now broken) as its main entrance, with a second doorway beside it. To the left of the passage leading to the inner apses is an engraving of a temple facade.

The most impressive of the Mnajdra temples is the lower (southern/western) temple, with a largely
Malta-Mnajdra -9.jpg (12669 bytes) intact fašade and bench constructed sometime between 3150 and 2500 BCE. Its corbelled walls indicated the temple was roofed (as at Ggantija), and the stone slabs are decorated with intriguing spiral carvings and dotted patterns. The porthole niche to the left is especially impressive, framed in a trilithon and two strangely tapered megaliths on either side.
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In the right-hand apse of the lower temple is a porthole doorway at the top of a flight of steps giving access to an intramural chamber. An oracle hole opens from that chamber and another oracle hole in a recess communicates with the back and outside of the temple. Within the first side chamber is an altar on a double-hourglass shaped pillar.
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The lower temple is astronomically aligned. On the equinoxes the rays of the sun pass directly through the temple’s main doorway and light up the main axis. At the summer solstice, the sun lights up the edge of a megalith to the left of the doorway, connecting the first pair of chambers to the inner chambers. At the winter solstice, the same effect can be seen on the corresponding megalith on the right hand side.

 

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We'll have time for meditation to assist moving us into higher states of awareness. Malta-BlueGrotto.jpg (18257 bytes)

After our temple visits we’ll enjoy lunch on your own with the group at the Hagar Qim Restaurant.

We then head to the south of the island to the area known as Wied Iz-Zurrieq or more commonly known as the Blue Grotto. Weather permitting, we’ll have a short boat trip to the Grotto. This natural picturesque grotto and its neighboring system of caverns mirrors the brilliant phosphorescent colors of the underwater flora. From Wied iz-Zurrieq lookout point we will also see the small island of Filfla, which is uninhabited except for a unique species of lizards. .

We return to hotel later afternoon. You have free time. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Overnight Sliema. Victoria Hotel.

Day 6. Friday,
March 27. Ggantija, Azure Window, The Citadel (B/L/D)
Malta-GgantijaTemple-Diagram.jpg (24890 bytes)We’re off for a full day on Gozo to visit more Goddess temples! Our first stop is at the Ggantija (gii-gan-tii-ya) Prehistoric Temples in Xaghra (sha-ra). The Ggantija temples are the earliest of a series of megalithic temples here. The ancient builders erected the two Ggantija temples during the Neolithic Age (c. 3600-2500 BCE), which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and some of the world's oldest humanmade religious structures. Together with other similar structures, these have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to local Gozitan folklore, giants built these temples and used them as places of worship. Evidence indicates there was an oracle here, as at the much-later Temple of Apollo at Delphi. A priestess prophesied while in a trance, possessed by the spirit of the goddess. Ggantija also seems to have been a place to pray for healing. In ancient times, the temples dedicated to the Mother Goddess at Ggantija drew pilgrims from across the island and even from North Africa and Sicily.

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During our visit take time for meditation to connect to the ancient Mother Goddess energies. Malta-AzureWindow.jpg (14521 bytes)

From here we will proceed to Dwejra to see the Azure Window, Fungus Rock and the Inland Sea. The Azure Window at the end of the cliff, is a giant doorway, through which one can admire the blue expanse beyond the cliff. It must be one of the most photographed vistas of the Islands, and is particularly spectacular during the winter, when waves crash high inside the arch. The sea around is very deep and of a dark blue hue, thus giving it the name the Azure Window. The rocks in this area are encrusted with fossilized crustaceans, evidence that most of the island was once covered by water. In front of the Azure Window is the Blue Hole, and The Chimney, two of the most popular dive sites in Gozo.

Afterwards we'll have lunch with the group at a lovely restaurant in the city of Victoria.

Malta-Citadel.jpg (26185 bytes)Then we visit the medieval part of the city of Victoria – The Citadel, an historic fortified city or castle. It's on Malta's tentative list of future World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, who describe it as a small fortified town. The area is known to have been first fortified during the Bronze Age c. 1500 BCE, was later developed by the Phoenicians and continued development until, by Roman times, it had become a complex Acropolis. Up until the 18th Century it was the only fortified refuge against attack for the inhabitants of the island. The northern side of the Citadel dates back to the period of the Crown of Aragon, while the southern flank, overlooking Victoria, was re-constructed between 1599 and 1603 by the Knights of St. John. The massive defensive stone walls of the fortifications which rise above the town and were built by the Knights to protect the village communities from foraging corsairs attempting to take slaves and threatening invasion of Moslem forces fighting Christendom. In July 1551 a small Turkish force under Dragut attacked the Citadel, which succumbed with little resistance. Those taking refuge within its walls were taken as slaves and the castle reduced to ruins. Within its walls lies a fine 17th century baroque Cathedral designed by Lorenzo GafÓ, the Maltese architect who also built the Cathedral of Mdina. Some researchers say that it lies on the site where a Roman temple dedicated to Juno once stood. It is most famous for the remarkable trompe l'oeil painting on its ceiling, which depicts the interior of a dome that was never built.

In the later afternoon we return to Mgarr Harbor and board the ferryboat to return to Malta, arriving at our hotel later afternoon.

Tonight is our Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight Sliema. Victoria Hotel.

Day 7. Saturday,
March 28. Depart Malta (B)
Tour ends after breakfast.
Transfer on your own to the airport, or request a quote for a private transfer from SSJ after you register. For group participants departing within an hour of each other, we’ll work with you to schedule a transfer for several people in order to minimize the expense.

This itinerary is subject to change due to conditions beyond our control.

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TOUR INCLUSIONS

MAIN TOUR INCLUDES:
- 6 night’s accommodation at the 4-star boutique hotel, The Victoria, including taxes
- Daily Breakfast, 4 Lunches, 3 Dinners
- Air-conditioned motor coach
- All entrance fees to sites listed in itinerary
- All fees related to visiting special sites which are open only by appointment
- Roundtrip ferry tickets to Gozo
- 24 hour emergency assistance by ground operator support staff
- Pre-Paid Gratuities

SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS:
- Travel in a smaller group with other like-minded spiritual seekers
- Escorted by SSJs Director Andrea Mikana-Pinkham, Featured Speaker/Meditation Facilitator
- Excellent English-speaking Tour Guide
- Private entrances for our group at the Hypogeum

NOT INCLUDED:
- Round-trip International Air to Malta (MLA)
- Cost to obtain valid passport
- Meals not included in the itinerary; drinks at meals
- Any items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, internet service, telephone calls. Any item that is not specifically detailed in the itinerary

Pre-Tour Excursion for Eclipse and Spring Equinox INCLUDES:
- Travel in a smaller group with other like-minded spiritual seekers
- Escorted by SSJs Director Andrea Mikana-Pinkham, Featured Speaker/Meditation Facilitator
- 2 night’s accommodation at the 4-star boutique hotel, The Victoria, including taxes
- Viewing of Total Solar Eclipse, weather permitting
- Entrance at Mnajdra and Hagar Qim temples on morning of Spring Equinox
- Visit to fishing village of Marsaxlokk
- 2 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
- 24 hour emergency assistance by ground operator support staff

NOT INCLUDED:
- Meals not included in the itinerary; drinks at meals
- Any items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, internet service, telephone calls. Any item that is not specifically detailed in the itinerary

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TOUR PRICING

This Sacred Sites Journey to MALTA is LAND ONLY. You are responsible to book your international flights as per instructions in the tour itinerary above.

MAIN TOUR - March 22 - 28, 2015 (Based on a group of 7 participants)
Per Person, double occupancy, land only:
$2,159.00 for payments via check, money order or bank wire

Single Room Supplement:
$289.00 - for payments via check, money order or bank wire

ROOMMATES: Would you like to meet and make a new friend on your journey? If you're not traveling on the journey with anyone you know, and would like for SSJ to try to match you up with a suitable roommate, we'll be happy to try to do so.
Per our Terms and Conditions, we will hold the registration for the trip open until 30 days before the departure date (or later if possible) in order to try to match you with someone. If by that date we have not been able to do so, and there is no one to share your room, you will be responsible to pay for the single supplement. If you would like to be matched with a roommate, please register early.

Pre-Tour Excursion - March 20 - 22, 2015 (Based on a group of 5 participants)
Per Person, double occupancy, land only:
$549.00 for payments via check, money order or bank wire

Single Room Supplement:
$99.00 - for payments via check, money order or bank wire

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TOUR REGISTRATION

Tour Registration Closed as of March 10, 2015
Tour Begins March 22nd.


To access a
REGISTRATION FORM and our Terms and Conditions:
Click Here

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Questions? Email Andrea Mikana-Pinkham at info@SacredSitesJourneys.com
Or call our office at 888 501-3853 (Toll free in the US) or 928 284-2384

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