A couple of decades ago the first New Agey events began to emerge on the local scene. The first Shantipi Festival, which took place in a grove near Pardess Hanna, attracted a few hundred souls, most of whom had some backpacking in the Far East in their bios and were looking to recapture some of that spirit back home. Shantipi was soon followed by a rash of similar festivals, which generally took place on some holiday or other, and the whole enterprise grew into seriously big business. At its zenith, New Agey festivals were attracting anything up to 20,000 patrons and had become an industry.
The bubble eventually burst, leaving the niche void and bereft and ready to get back to its more humble beginnings and embrace a gentler spirit. The latter sentiment will be proffered at the Spirit Over Soul Festival, which will take place in Caesarea on August 27. It is a full dayer, kicking off at 9 a.m. and ending at midnight.
The lineup takes in workshops, therapy sessions and music shows which, on the face of it, seems a lot like the Beresheet, Shantipi et al festival menu of yore.
“I have been on the production side of this kind of festival in Israel for a long time and, yes, when you look at the common denominator of yoga and all the workshops in there, it does look similar,” says Spirit Over Soul producer Sitara Atmo. “In fact, however, this festival brings something that has never happened in Israel before – the place of giving. That is the vision of Coral.”
The said lady is the driving force behind the Spirit Over Soul movement, which has been up and running in the United States for eight years. Coral Menasherov- Shaeffler is a world-renowned clairvoyant, healer and soul-seer who has been credited with transforming the lives of many people in the US and around the world.
The element of largesse, says Atmo, is central to Coral’s life philosophy and, as a result, is a linchpin of the upcoming festival.
“This festival is not a profitseeking enterprise. There are only a small number of events that take place in Israel, which focus on the actual work, the actual giving.
There will be lots of things offered to people for free, various kinds of treatments – holistic treatment and things like massages,” she says.
Atmo and her fellow organizers have lined up the requisite personnel.
“There will be about 30 or 40 practitioners who will mingle with the crowd and offer people treatments,” she adds.
Some of the definitively soothing service will be administered in various areas around the festival compound.
“There will be a place where people can receive a massage from any of 15 masseuses and masseurs. People have to register for a slot there. They can choose from among six to eight types of massages, some deeper than others,” she says.
By all accounts, it is highly likely that the festival goers will return home not only feeling refreshed and relaxed but also with a wider knowledge of the types of healing practices available out there.
“There will also be healers scattered around the festival compound,” continues Atmo. “They will strike up a conversation with someone and, after a while, they will offer them a treatment.”
And there will be plenty to choose from.
“There will be disciplines that come from Native American teachings, reiki and palm reading, and all sorts things like tarot (card readings) and around 15 different kinds of healing techniques,” she says.
The overall healing is designed to cover as many bases as possible but also to have a comprehensive effect.
“The workshops will address a broad spectrum, based on specific energies,” explains Atmo. “To begin with, there will be workshops that focus inward; then there will be healing workshops, and others aimed at opening up the heart and providing therapy, and more creative workshops.”
The practitioner spread is, of course, just as expansive as the treatment roster. Atmo says she wanted to ensure that the people running the workshops and administering the treatment sessions arrived in Caesarea in the right frame of mind and spirit. The idea was to bring all the festival professionals together to benefit from Coral’s healing presence and to undergo some of their medicine. The intention was, it seems, released to cosmic powers-that- be, and a venue was soon in the offing.
“We wanted to gather everyone together to create a sort of family feelings among us,” says Atmo. ”A couple of days after we conceived the idea, Coral called me to tell me that the owners of the [Park Plaza] Orchid Hotel in Tel Aviv told her that the conference center there was available if she wanted to do something there.”
All the above will, no doubt, help to induce calm and tranquility among the members of the public, but Atmo notes that the beating heart of the event is Coral.
“She has a wonderful energy about her, and she will be very busy at the festival. We are very fortunate to have her here with us,” she asserts.
In and around the healing slots there will be three main performance-participation events, including a 6 p.m. gathering right by the water’s edge, with all the practitioners and patrons together as the sun sinks elegantly into the Mediterranean Sea. And there will be a couple of concerts, featuring a band called Orot that incorporates mantras and sacred singing in Hebrew, English and Sanskrit.
The closing slot of the festival features the merry La Vache Qui Rit band, which is well known to regulars of the Jacob’s Ladder Festival and puts out positive vibes by the bucket load.
“I have been involved in the spiritual world for a long time, and my teacher always says that the basic thing is that the real Buddha is living life, and that there should be celebration in the things we do in our lives,” says Atmo. “So I brought La Vache Qui Rit to end the festival so we can close it all out with a celebration and joy.”
Atmo says she expects 300 to 400 people to come to the festival and that prior booking is advised.
Tickets cost NIS 169 up to August 26. If there are still tickets available on the day of the festival, they can be purchased at the gate for NIS 190.For tickets: (054) 590-9000 and https://www.tixwise.co.il/he/Spirit_ Over_Soul_2015. For more information: http://lp.vp4.me/ng4t