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A spiritual journey to Egypt

Modern worshippers visit ancient sites

April 6, 1997
Web posted at: 2:15 p.m. EDT (1815 GMT)


From Correspondent Gayle Young

GIZA, Egypt (CNN) -- Tourism in Egypt has entered a new age - - almost literally. People who believe in the power of pyramids, crystals and meditation, sometimes known as "new agers," are flocking to Egypt in record numbers to visit a site they consider a source of great mysticism and energy.

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Unlike other tourists, they are not seeking a good time, but something a little more complicated.

Some, like California therapist Franklyn Smith, believe in reincarnation and that they lived in Egypt during ancient times.


"For as long as I remember, I've had an affinity for anything Egyptian," Smith says. "I've done past life regressions. Some are vague. Some are more specific."

Egypt has had tourists since just about the time the pyramids were constructed. But initially officials were wary of new agers. who wanted to visit the pyramids at night and during certain phases of the planets to chant and meditate.

Abbas Nadim of Visions Travel Inc, which puts together some spiritually oriented visits to Egypt, said that some late night visits were arranged by paying guards under the table.


But now officials are loosening up. In return for a steep fee of several hundred dollars per group, special tour groups are being allowed to enter the pyramids before sunrise. One such tour, led by author Dannion Brinkley ("Saved by the Light"), meditated in the heart of the Great Pyramid of Cheops before dawn.

Tour operators estimate there are 17 million so called new agers in the United States, and many of them dream of coming to Egypt. The new arrangements can be mutually beneficial -- visitors say they had an unforgettable experience, and officials got some badly needed revenue.

Still others say the trip was simply magical.


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