Caravanserai Stop

The caravans have pulled into the Hermitage, which is not far, as the raven flies, from the religious scholar's town, Medina.

There is much clattering of hooves in the old courtyard of the Hermitage as everyone arrives and dismounts. The Hermit has prepared rooms for travellers and stables for the animals. We will be staying here at the Hermitage for four days before making our way to Alexandria.

The exciting news is that the Sheik of Araby has sent a host of Magic Carpets for guests who will be attending his Masque Ball. The carpets will take you to the Sheiks opulent palace where the ball is taking place tomorrow night.

Guests will immediately recognise the carpet that has been selected for their flight to the palace. There is no need to pack or dress yet. Costumes and masks will be provided upon arrival.

magic carpet ride by Heather Blakey

But first, prepare to take a Magic Carpet ride to the Sinai and Saint Catherine's Monastery

Upon your way be sure to find the Hermitage Art Room and experiment and make some icons and retablos for yourself.

December 16 2005

Seeking the Grail

Unearthed by a Syrian workman in 1910 near Antioch, an early centre for the Christian faith, the Antioch Chalice is thought by many to contain the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper. The gilded silver outer vessel depicts Christ and His disciples. From Crucifixion nails to the crown of thorns, objects believed associated with Christ were revered as relics with miraculous powers.

Here at Soul Food the quest for 'a grail' is like the never ending story. Travellers have set out on the journey to Ithaka and beyond, trudged the Silk Road, followed the footsteps of Bourke and Wills to the site of the Dig Tree, taken up residence in the Lemurian Abbey, squaffed chocolates with mysterious powers, lingered in the House of the Muse, worked the Soul Food Alluvial Mine, all in the endeavour to find the creative grail and mecca.

One of the favourite stops on the road that leads to Mecca and the Grail is the Hermitage, presided over by Imogen Crest. Far away from the worries of the rest of humanity the Hermitage is a fortress. Within this fortress travellers have retreated the world in a tradition that dates back over centuries.

Scent of Buried Treasure

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Following the clear scent of buried treasure Hermit, Imogen Crest has unearthed some special vessels for us to inspect and wonder about the fragrant fluids they held.

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Travelling Carpets

Wandering was a way of life for many in old Persia, and as they roamed their rugs travelled with them in special ways. Knotted pile carpets, made like saddle bags (above) were laid across the backs of camels, horses and donkeys to carry the nomad's possessions. Inside their tents special carpet bags, stuffed with household items and clothing, functioned as bureaux and cupboards, and as cushions upon which to rest.