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"We only use the word 'festival' because it's a sort of convenient peg," says Sagol festival founder Lilakh Aberjil Netzer. "We're not a festival in the sense of the Shantipis and Beresheets. Sagol is not about having big bands perform on stage. It's not about entertainment per se; it's about looking to the spiritual side of our lives, and about personal growth and development."
The event will take place for the 11th time, at Dor Beach, from October 19 to October 21. Since its inception, Sagol has always been one of the more intimate gatherings. At its zenith three years ago, the organizers intentionally limited attendance to 4,000. This year the limit has been placed at 2,000. "We have created a sort of family atmosphere over the years," Netzer says. "We want to know the names of all the people who work at Sagol and as many of the visitors as possible."
Next weekend's agenda includes a wide range of workshops and sessions devoted to meditation, body movement, dance, women's circles, awareness sessions and all manner of holistic treatments, such as reflexology, shiatsu, reike, healing and massage.
"People come to Sagol because they are looking for a life change and to develop themselves spiritually."
And she firmly believes that Sagol is making a difference on a grander scale.
"I have followed the progress made by people who come to Sagol and by others. I see a difference in people's behavior. They are more considerate and aware now. I organized the Israeli part of a global meditation day 11 years ago. Back then, very few people knew what the word 'meditation' meant. Now everyone knows what it is."
The sessions at Sagol will be led by professionals from Israel and abroad, including Hawaii-based psychologist and spiritual guide Alan Lowen; Gurdjieff Sacred Dance instructor Sunder Jivan; American yoga teacher David Sai (who developed the yogabeats technique); and Jerusalemite Parashakti, who melds the teachings of dance, shamanism and the yogic arts.
Above all, Netzer says Sagol is very much about hands-on experience. "This time we have an 18-hour workshop that focuses on relationships and communication, realization and self-love. To take part in such a long workshop, you have to be committed to what you're doing. Above all, you have to be committed to yourself."
For more information, visit the Sagol Web site at www.sagol.org or call (08) 993-3950/60.