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Multisensory Journeys – Circle of Light
“It was here that I was able to experience something most people only dream about. I had a chance to experience firsthand what was to become a life-changing event.”
As a traveler and spa-goer I am always looking for the special and the most relaxing experiences possible. Also, I love adventure!
Knowing I was going to be in Southern California on business and having heard of Ojai from friends interested in health and healing, I searched on-line to find some great references re the mind/body connections.
After reading about all the great thinkers, spiritual leaders, artists and creative people and the friendly locals, I could hardly wait.
I booked a reservation with The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa; which is nestled upon 220-acres… just 1-½ hours out of Los Angeles… close to Santa Barbara. Not far from the Pacific Ocean and being surrounded with natural beauty, it seemed like just what I needed.
It was here that I was able to experience something most people only dream about. I had a chance to experience firsthand what was to become a life-changing event.
I arrived early Friday morning checking into my room, scheduled my beauty treatments, massages and decided to just relax by the pool… all the while, thinking about this new form of journeying. With my journal by my side… the rest of the day just floated by.
What would I experience?
A few days prior to my visit I went on-line to review the pleasures ahead on my planned Ojai visit.
Some of my Facebook friends described some kind of incredible multisensory journey they had experienced at the Inn in Ojai. So tremendously impressed, as they all were… each described it differently… but all said it left them deeply relaxed.Hmmmm. What would I experience?
I found the Inn’s on-line spa menu, and there it was, a special section for something described as “Multisensory Journeys.”
Like in a travel guide, various “trips” are described, including brief descriptions of each Journey, its theme, purpose and what type of persons would appreciate it.
Selections include various Dream-Journeys to places beyond the mind’s eye, true nature and pure music like one has never experienced, magical meditations and poetry in motion.
It all sounded rather “far out” to me, but I truly needed to relax and would love to participate in a healing journey! Inspired by local Native American Chumash ceremonies, I chose to embark on a spiritually healing journey; the spa’s signature journey… “Circle of Light”.
Pre-show “Circle of Light”
I arrived at the spa the next morning after a delicious light breakfast. Viewing through misty morning mountain fog allowed me to gaze at Ojai’s famous TopaTopa Mountains in the distance, giant Oak trees all around, and Orange groves throughout the area.
The ancient Chumash celebrated those same mountains. I felt the presence of so many generations here and was anticipating upon blossoming with their blessing.
Upon checking in at the Spa I was given a robe and told by a smiling receptionist that I made a very good choice; what I would experience today is not available anywhere else in the world, and that the descendants of the original people had participated in the creation of a similar rite.
The receptionist suggested that I enjoy one of the bubbling springs, to initiate the process. My Spa Guide would meet me there in about a half-hour, to prepare me for my journey.
Precisely at 11.00am a woman appeared and introduced herself as my guide. She was costumed in functional spa clothing, as other spa staff at the facility had, except she wore an eagle symbol carved upon a disk shaped pendant, dangling from a shell bead stranded necklace. She also had a few feathers braided into her hair.
She explained that the bath was part of the purification process needed prior to my journey. She led me to a private room where a masseuse was waiting, and gave instructions as to what was required for me.
The massage was great and deliberately without scent. (I would learn why later.) The masseuse was very quiet. A single flute was heard playing quietly the background… a precursor to the grand event to follow.
The Masseuse nodded goodbye and said only one word, “Soon.”
In a short and perfect moment my guide reappeared. She simply said, “Come”, and led me into a small dressing room, candle lit, and presented me with robe. It was adorned with color and I felt the fine beading as I touched the symbol of an eagle upon it. She instructed me to, “Take the Beauty Way,” and left the room.
My guide returned. She adds a feather to my hair and said, “Now You’re Ready”.
Looking more deeply into the mirror at my reflection, I view ancient symbols and a glowing aura around me. We looked into the mirror together now. A new symbolic image becomes visible; one that suggests the purpose of the journey ahead. I will keep this secret. (This was important, and I was asked to focus on it, it would help me on my journey, to achieving my ends.)
She now opens a hidden door.
“Is this the Multisensory Journeyer?” I wonder.
I gaze into a magnificent multi-dimensional space. In front of me I see the darkness of a starry night, interrupted by brilliant bands of light forming geometric patterns (that suggest a floor and ceiling and walls) with windows looking out into infinity… with me at the center.
Beside me, my guide moves one hand toward a large silhouetted object in the center of the space, and it comes to life, begins to pulse with light. “Is this the Multisensory Journeyer?” I wonder.
It looks magnificent, truly of the future and ready to take flight! Radiance is glowing from underneath the travelers seat making it appear as if the whole system floats on a cushion of light.
A beam appears within the floor… a path to the luminous Journeyer. My guide nods as if to say, “It is time”.
A smooth footrest retracts and the seat tilts forward beckoning me to sit. As I do, the seat leans back and the footrest extends. My guide makes me comfortable adjusting a head/neck rest, and placing a gossamer sheet over body.
Off to one side, near the armrest, is a small bottle-shaped device which she aims toward my nose, asking me if I can feel a very delicate breeze. She explains that this is the source of the many wonderful aromas I will experience during my journey.
My guide places a crown upon my head, an ingenious creation includes biofeedback sensors and headphones… she gives me a final tuck in.
Sound and vibration levels and aroma intensities are calibrated for me – my personal preferences are set. All of these sensory things,she explains, work together to create a very amazing, otherworldly experience.
She asks me to close my eyes and enjoy my journey. She will leave the chamber while I travel and will welcome me back upon my return. “Happy Journeying” she says. The lights go dim. I close my eyes and dream.
A voice suddenly calls out, “Are you ready?”
This was not the guide’s voice, but another’s, one much more ethereal.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I replied.
“Who’s voice was that?” I thought.
Absolute silence. I am immersed in a sea of silence and darkness, quite soothing – then I hear the faint sound of a heartbeat – my heartbeat. My heartbeat slowly gets louder, rippling through my whole body.
Distant drumbeats suddenly come into my awareness, synchronizing with my heart.
Now I sense something has changed… as if I am being transported somewhere beyond.
I am now outside in cool air, and darkness… in nature I presume. Subtle sounds and aromas confirm this, while drumming continues in the background.
A voice calls out from all directions, the drum becomes a crack of thunder. A powerful thunderstorm ensues, lightning and heavy rainfall… quickly falling off.
I am resting within a very wet forest now, light rain pattering all around me. A trickling creek has formed underneath me while drops soothingly fall from plants and from trees. Beautiful sounds of nature abound… happy frogs croaking, animal calls and birds chirping, as they come out of shelter.
Distant drums and flutes tease me… beckon me.
My spirit guide whispers in my ear that her name is Luna; she invites me to move forward, to find what I seek.
I float through my space, hearing my body brushing against leaves at side.
I encounter a montage of scents, and sounds, both heard and felt, and gentle motion. I can smell damp musty earth, fresh pines, and then floral aromas. Primitive, earth sounds are surrounding me. This virtual world seems more realistic than the world I just left. I am excited but relaxed, taking in the scenery.
Where am I? I hear the spirit of the flute player, up close, walking around me, as he appeared during a rain.
Now with footsteps and cracking branches and voices all around… great beings surround me. In my mind’s eye I see images of each spirit’s face.
Nearby campfire crackles, sending its warmth into my bones.
I am in the center of the circle of healers, shamans, and tribal ancestors. Some of the beings are very close within the circle. I hear their breaths, their heartbeats, their footsteps. Rattles move around my head… left, right, above me, then at my feet. The spirits surround me chanting, singing, or making music with the accompanying distant thunder.Incredible ceremony, scents and sounds – so much attention focused upon – me – by the ancients.
Luna’s voice cries out from below, “Fly, Fly!”
The voice of my spirit guide helps me move the directions of my thoughts, gently, on the journey’s path.
Then begins the transformation, the enchanted moment… I become the eagle, and began to rise above the spirit group into the treetops, with wind above. I am about to take flight.
Suddenly, Luna’s voice cries out from below, “Fly, Fly!”
This begins a symbolic, out-of-the-body experience.
As if by magic, my intense desire to really fly, to escape from the stresses, to remember who I really am, takes control, and in a rush of wind and mind’s eye imagery, I rise above the earth, above the trees, the mountains and the ever so familiar clouds, beyond the world that I thought I knew so well, feeling the clean cool air as I ascend.
At times I pause to just be, to sense and study all.
During my Flight I become conscious of one of our ancient spirit guides momentarily. I have learned to recognize Luna by her scent now.
Finally a distant flute calls to me, and I am whisked back into the circle of healers, the collective, as they are ending their so well appreciated work.
The spirit healers depart, except for Luna, who will accompany me back for closure.
Drum sounds becomes my heartbeat and then a gentle and well-composed heart song.
Luna tells me to remember where I have been and that I can return to it at anytime. She whispers her goodbye, She then begins to glow brilliant pink love energy, and is absorbed into… my universe.
I am back
Oh my… waking from a dream, becoming once again conscious of where and who I am. I rest a moment or two, a chance to regroup and realize that I have indeed returned. Gentle lights fade on and a voice welcomes me back, I am feeling incredibly relaxed, refreshed and spiritually renewed!
My spa guide arrives, helps me rise and steadies me. Looking into my eyes, she drapes a pendant vial around my neck. She says that I can open this gift at anytime I desire to be brought back to the special memory of the journey I just took.
She motions and we follow a glowing path out to a contemplative garden with fresh breeze and flowing water. I recline in a lounger with a cup of herbal tea resting and absorbing all. A notebook and pen are gifted to me to write down any thoughts or feelings that come to mind. I open the vial and take a small whiff, and begin writing.
So begins this story.
Multisensory Spa Discussion
To me, a spa experience should be a sensual one, one that involves well orchestrated stimulation of the senses, including touch and personal attention, beautiful aromas, mellowing music, maybe gentle lighting, temperature changes, infusions, or water and/or me in motion. Sometimes this is continuous process as in massage, other times; we are wrapped and wait for the next human interaction.
When I heard about this high technology stimulation system, I looked with some doubt, linking it in my mind to some of the massage chairs or other mechanical devices found in chiropractic office of the past.
Was I wrong? Very.
Of the things this system does, it does them extremely well. It was never intended to substitute for hands-on massage, or to provide dry heat, water or bath therapies. At most spas these are normally experienced as part of a ritual package ahead of the selected “Journey”, in preparation for it. Most often, packaged spa products are choreographed specifically for each Journey. This magical system complements existing spa services. New groups will be drawn toward this novel SPA format, the tech savvy younger crowd as one, which will increase the demand for the supportive traditional treatments at the spa.
Few spa-goers could afford to pay for anything equivalent to this astounding experience, if it was not for the benefits provided by this new technology, and the creative programming that supports it. It is a completely immersive experience, unlike anything offered anywhere within a traditional spa environment.
Multisensory Journeying… It’s all so real.