Earth & Spirit Easter Octave Celebration
In Honor of Great Mother
April 8 - 20, 2020
with Gail Faith Edwards
We're excited to introduce this very special Easter Octave Celebration in honor of Great Mother in Southern Italia!
You are invited to spend an extended, relaxing and soul nourishing 13 days with us in our medieval village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of the Cilento National Park, where Old World ways are still thriving.
We’ll be deeply immersing ourselves in the ancient veneration of the Divine Feminine, deeply rooted in these lands since the most ancient times. From the Sorrowful Mary of Good Friday, to the ancient Bird Goddess of Pagani, you will have a chance to experience Great Mother in many of her most ancient guises as she is still being venerated today in ritual processions that include drumming, singing and dance.
Truly immerse yourself in the ancient language of the ancestors. Awaken your genetically encoded ancestral inheritance via ritual, sacred procession, prayers, music and movement, seasonal and ceremonial foods and plant magic, in the still wild Cilento National Park, Southern Italy
We’ll be participating in five different long-standing ritual processions in honor of our sacred Madonnas – beginning with a Good Friday procession with the fallen Christ and his Sorrowful Mother, followed by a succession of four annual ritual processions in other localities in honor of the Blessed Madonnas who are traditionally celebrated with joyful festivities that include traditional Napoletan drumming and dancing called Tammorriata, music and singing during the octave of Easter. In between sacred ritual processions we’ll be visiting ancient places of profound meaning and interest in our region.
Leave Boston Wednesday evening, April 8, arrive in Napoli Thursday afternoon, April 9…we pick you up in Naples and escort you to our village, get you introduced and settled into rooms and after you rest and freshen up we’ll share a fabulous welcome dinner with plenty of vino and you’ll sleep well.
Good Friday - we’ll spend this day exploring sacred places and unique features of our village, which will be your base camp for the next 10 days - we’ll visit local shrines and gardens, meet some locals, attend Good Friday evening mass and participate in the exceptionally moving candelight Procession with the Sorrowful Mother and Jesus, singing an ancient lament that you will learn.
Saturday – We’ll go to the Certosa monastery and the exquiste museum inside that houses Old World artifacts excavated in our valley, including Etruscan items, and after our mid day meal we’ll go to the Battestero di San Giovanni, Padula, for a cleansing/clearing/healing ceremony in preparation for Easter and the week that follows. This ancient sacred spring has been active since Paleolithic times.
Easter Sunday – Cruise down the Amalfi Coast to pay homage to the Black Madonna of Positano. Easter Sunday dinner, return home by boat as the sun sets on the Mediterranean Sea. Life doesn’t get much better than this.
Monday - Madonna dell’Arco, one of the most important of the religious popular feasts in all of Campania, which takes place in Sant' Anastasia on Mont Vesuvius every year on Easter Monday. It is the destination for the traditional 'fujenti' or 'battenti' pilgrims from all over Campania, who sing a traditional 15th century song to the Madonna. Tammorriata/Procession
Tuesday – Pasquetta Nocerina - Shrine of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Nocera Inferiore - Originally the area half way up Monte Albino had an ancient chapel, called the Three Pigni or delli Pigni, that housed a miraculous image of Great Mother. Today there is a sanctuary here as well as three refreshing water sources that people have been coming to for milennia, called Bocca di Mare, Musceo and Fontanelle. The cult of Sant' Emidio and Sant' Eligio is part of the celebration on this day and effigies of the saints will be in the procession, returning to the sanctuary along with the Madonna dei Miracoli. All along the ascent to the sanctuary, people will be playing folk music and dancing. The saints are accompanied with horses, dogs and other animals. The cult of animals is linked to the figure of Sant'Eligio . Tammorriata/Procession
Wednesday special day up on Monte Cervati – ancient caves, archaeology, history, nature. Our mountain is considered to be one of the places Neanderthals co-existed with Early Cro Magnon. There will be an unimaginable array of spring ephemerals blooming and a fabulous meal will be prepared and served to us by the Grotte, Brigante e Caccio group up in the Casa Praiano. You’ll be meeting and learning from locals who are active in the revial of traditional foodways and are exceptionally knowledgeable regarding our history and traditions.
Thursday – we’ll spend the day at Paestum. You’ll meet Menrva and Hera here and will have all the time you want to explore the ancient ruins and temples…we’ll have a healing ceremony at the temple of Menrva, enjoy a meal and visit the stunning museum just across from the scavi that holds all the artifacts excavated from the settlement. I usually like to get a delicious gelato right next door before I leave this sacred place, you might like to join me!
Friday – we visit Atena Lucana and the ancient dream temple - this is the oldest village in our valley, founded by the Pelagians way back in the BC period, amazing people, culture, architecture and history. World class Soil Museum in Pertosa to learn about the unique geography of the area, see an amazing collection of heritage seeds, native plants used for dyeing, weaving and an extensive Herbarium of pressed plants under glass with information regarding traditional uses.
Saturday - Madonna di Castello in Somma Vesuviana – Madonna di Castello is a powerful healer. Tammorriata/Procession. While in the area we will explore the Battistero Paleocristiano Santa Maria Maggiore in the village next door.
Sunday - Madonna delle Galline in Pagani – Tammorriata/Procession – This procession is one of the highlights of the entire octave of celebrations! We might be up all night, depends on what you want to do!
Monday – Arriveriderci! Return home from Naples, arrive Boston tonight.
Total Fee: $6,400 includes round trip airfare to Naples/Boston, all transportation in Italia, 11 nights of housing, every morning's generous breakfast and a fabulous dinner each night, all entrance fees wherever we go. You're on your own for lunch and any souvenirs you want to buy or offerings you want to make.
$500 now to hold your place
$5,900 due on February 15
The Cilento National Park in Southern Italia, is one of the last true wildnerness areas in this world, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to vibrant, still thriving Old World culture, traditions and beliefs. It happens to also be the place of my origins, my ancestral home. My blood and bones are made from this land, these mountains and trees are my body and I am honored to introduce you to our ancient, deeply spiritual ways.
Join us in April for a fun-filled weaving together of reverence for Great Mother with travel, fabulous food, art, history, archaeology, Southern Italian Traditional Folk Medicine ways, prayer, plants, saints and the magnetic, healing energy of a small group of people into a rare and beautiful experience that will be deeply soul nourishing and long treasured, while at the same time relaxing, restorative and entirely low key. We'd love to have you with us!
Our base camp during the journey is located in our remote and friendly medieval village at the foot of our mother mountain, Mount Cervati, the largest mountain in our region.
Your rooms are comfortable, spacious and designed with an eye toward maintaining traditional features. There is central heating in every room, fully modern bathrooms, a large comfortable and private balcony. Best of all, it's conveniently located with easy access to our parking area and is right down the cobblestone passageway from my own house. I can't wait for you to come and stay here with me in my beloved Italian village!
We're in the heart of the Cilento National Park and our village is a World Heritage site. Our location puts us in very close proximity to the Grotto of Vallicelli, which was a thriving Bronze Age community, inhabited since the Paleolithic era, and home to some of the original inhabitants of this mountain area. Bring a head lamp or flashlight and I'll take you inside to see housing Italia style 50,000 years ago, including hand carved seating!
From time immemorial its unique geographical position has made this land a natural crossroads for the cultures that developed on the Adriatic, Ionic and Tyrrhenian coasts. The ancient culture of Etruscan, Villanova, Lucanian civilization and the later Greek colonization all met here. In fact this is the very center of ancient Magna Grecia. It is a most amazing and magnificent place!
Our valley was once the central location for Dianic worship in all of Southern Italia. This spiritual tone and sense of reverence for nature and all that she represents still permeates the hills and valleys as well as the lives of the people here. Life, and the sense of the divine, really hasn't changed all that much since ancient times.
"We all loved your village and especially the people. They were all so welcoming!" L. Brainerd
We'll visit several of the world's best preserved archaeological sites and hilltop villages, make pilgrimages to ancient as well as modern shrines and meet many of the earliest Mediterranean Gods and Goddesses as they are still portrayed, though perhaps renamed, in their original locale.
We'll have many opportunities to learn about the lineage of Great Mother, the plants and trees long associated with her, her songs and traditional offerings, and to understand the depth of her roots in human culture. We'll pay homage to her in her many guises throughout these lands. We'll be participating in 6 different ritual processions in her honor during this sacred ancestral journey.
This pristine, magical, and centrally located place is in the region of Campania, (formerly Basilicata until the unification of Italy changed our borders.) and we'll be in the midst of one of the most incredibly fertile agricultural areas of the world with a legacy of growing and preparing foods that goes far back into ancient history.
All the while we will be surrounded by the local flora and the mountains will be awash with an amazing array of spring color. Our valley is famous for its great diversity of plant life, with 200 rare and unique orchids native to our immediate area. The wonder and abundance of a great diversity of wild medicinal herbs, flowers, trees and fruits will be all around us and permeating all we do.
The cost of the 13 Day Easter Week Celebration Journey in April Journey is $6,400, and includes all transportation from Boston to Naples and return, transportation from Naples to the village and back, as well as all transportation during our journey. Each day's generously presented breakfast and a fabulous, traditional Mediterranean dinner are also included. Our meals are guaranteed to be not only culinary masterpieces of highest quality, but served with flair and a major highlight of every day. All entrance fees to sites visited during the tour are also included in your fee You are responsible for providing your own lunch. Your fee does not include a gratuity for the driver or hotel concierge which is appreciated but not expected.
We are accepting deposits now on a first come, first served basis for our April Easter Octave Journey 2020.
We'll visit the Certosa di San Lorenzo, the second oldest monastery in Italy which took over 400 years to build and holds an extraordinary collection of art and artifacts, many as old as 7,000 years and uncovered right here in our valley. These are world treasures that are virtually unknown and an absolute blessing to behold.
In a nearby village we'll enter an ancient Aslepian Healing and Dreaming temple, in use for many centuries before Christianity, transformed into a Catholic Church and still active.
And we'll also pay a visit to the ancient Baptistery of St. Giovanni, a renowned healing spring, long dedicated to the winged God Attis and Leucothea, the goddess of the waters, long before the Christian era.
You will be awed by the natural wonders of the Amalfi coast, the inland mountains, the Cilento Parco Nationale, the villages that climb into the sky, the olive groves and gardens, as well as the proliferation of magnificent art and architecture everywhere we go.
The people of this area, descendants of the indigenous people of the Apennine mountains, are among the most generous, loving and hospitable people found anywhere in the world. You will have plenty of opportunities to associate with and learn from these inspiring people.
We'll visit a few of their well tended organic gardens.
Just as they have done for centuries, village women will be on hand to personally guide us through our local shrines and share their history and meaning. Our village design and archetecture is outstanding. It was built in the 9th century, but human habitation here goes back at least 50,000 years.
"Your people are so beautiful, and I just wish we had more time to spend with them. I definitely want to go back again" D. Zawalik
"I had such a great time! I especially loved the herb gathering and putting up herbal medicines. I am still enjoying my rosemary oil!" C. Perry
It is a great joy for me to lead the Earth and Spirit Tour and introduce you to an area of the world that is stunning for its incredible, ever changing landscapes, diversity of nature, both flora and fauna and its wealth of ancient history and culture, and proudly maintains it's connection to both the land and it's rich spiritual heritage. The village that will host us is my maternal family's ancestral home. I am truly honored to introduce you to it's people and their way of life, which is beyond inspirational. It is simply and deeply soul nourishing.
Because we have ancestral roots here and know it so well, we can bring our guests to amazing places off the beaten tract. Many of the places we visit are virtually unknown to "outsiders." The small size of our group (we limit it to six guests each time) ensures you have a deep and intimate experience, well beyond the scope of a large travel tour.
Note: If you are already in Europe and would like to join us for the tour, we welcome you! Please email us regarding the possibilities and adjustment in tour fee.
We are also willing and able to host private tours for small groups of friends and/or family. Let us know your needs and we will try our best to cater to them. We have made private arrangements for a number of people to reconnect with their ancestral village in Sud Italia. Let us know of that is something you would like us to do for you..
"I had a wonderful time and congratulate you, Rosa and Adam for your hard work, long hours, and dedication. Everything you did was aimed at our pleasure and you sure hit the mark...this trip was exactly right and I treasure every minute of it." J. Cohen
"You have a magnetic personality and a very calming presence. Your village and its people are absolutely amazing and inspiring. I predict the Earth and Spirit Tour will blossom beautifully. It certainly deserves to! We all had a fabulous time." N. Lovelace
The Earth and Spirit Tour is intended to be a secure space where we can come into meaningful contact with our common, ancient spiritual history, culture and inheritance. It is a time to immerse ourselves in and hopefully resonate with the language, art, artifacts and customs of our Old World ancestors, still vibrantly alive and actively celebrated in Southern Italian culture. As the people here are fond of saying, in their deeply generous way: "This is not just Italian culture, this is human culture and belongs to all of us."
Our 13 Day Easter Week Celebration is limited to a small group of participants. A $500 non-refundable deposit will hold your place for this once in a life time experience in southern Italia. You may use the button at the top of this page. The remainder of your payment for the April 2019 Easter Octave pilgrimage is due by February 15, 2020. We prefer you make your deposit here and pay the remainder of your fee by check.
Our itinerary should remain exactly as posted above, but is subject to minor changes, as necessary. .
"I had the most incredible, magical, life-altering trip. Thank you!" C. Perry
"We all agreed that the trip was the trip of a lifetime—no other way could we have stayed in the village without your family connections. To be so remote, without tourists around, and out in the hills and the very special Valley of Diana, was something none of us will ever forget. Also, we all agreed that you were the perfect guide to the sacred sites we visited—your enthusiasm, knowledge and delight were wonderful to be part of."
"This has been a deeply soul nourishing, healing and life changing experience that I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life."
"The itinerary was perfect—I loved every place we visited, and the rhythm of it all."
"Rave reviews for the place we stayed…absolutely perfect! Rave reviews also for our chefs — though the portions were daunting, the food was exceptional in both preparation and the fact that it represented dishes they traditionally use. Wouldn’t change any of this experience!"
Explore the small villages that we share our valley with...all have ancient roots...via this website created by my friend Claudia Cardello.
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Virtual pilgrimage Easter Octave
Thank you for visiting ~ blessings on your day!