The first annual Ma'amakim Festival, meaning "the depths," is set to take place this weekend at the Kibbutz Almog spa retreat located at the northern end of the Dead Sea. The goal of the festival is to encourage the flow of love - resulting in self-growth - while emphasising awareness of the region's dire ecological problems. The festival will feature a wide variety of New Age events and activities, including a "great hug for the Dead Sea," and including a "creativity corner" for parents and children with various crafts, communion with spiritual leaders, examination of the "awakening process," group-guided meditation, sing-alongs and a "pure heart" circle. A staff of renowned spiritualist leaders - including Gidi and Nati Bar-Shalom, Pnina Bar-Sela and Tantra guru Iris Yotvat - is ready to lead workshops on topics such as vortex healing, "reality exercises" and holodynamics. For the planners of the festival, the poetry of locating it at the lowest place in the world is key; where else can one delve into "the depths of the spiritual journey"? Today through Saturday night (New Years Eve), at Kibbutz Almog. Entrance costs NIS 280, with reservations at (09) 994-5267 or (054) 213-7211.