Saturday, June 21, 2008

Not your ordinary pilgrimage...

I am embarking on another pilgrimage. This time it will take place in Saudi Arabia. It is called The Hajj and is one of the five pillars of Islam. An obligation to any able-bodied muslim who can afford to do so. I have been blessed by the stars and have been afforded this opportunity. Two million people congregate in this location every year to perform rituals together. Two million souls all focusing on something greater than themselves, the Creator, Source, All That Is; a tremendous energy to be circumambulating within. The spiritual significance of a journey like this is more important to me than the religious aspects which tends to cause some discussion with some ;)

According to wikipedia (I had to look up what I was getting into, really I had no idea) Hajj consists of the following:

The Hajj is associated with the life of Muhammad, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Makkah is considered by Muslims to stretch back to the time of Ibrahim and Is'mail, prominent figures in both Islam and in Judaism. Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Makkah for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals. As part of the Hajj, each person walks counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer (qibla); runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah; drinks from the Zamzam Well; goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil; and throws stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform an animal sacrifice, and celebrate the four day global festival of Eid al-Adha.[3][4][5]
I have to admit that I am wondering what my head will look like with no hair on it?! I've never shaved my head before so who knows what kinds of lumps are beneath ;) Oh well, it's hair... it will grow back.

The Hajj this year takes place at the end of November and lasting just over two weeks. I have no idea what I'm getting myself into, it is such a rare opportunity to participate in and I am going in as blindly as I possibly can.

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