In 2006, I traveled to Malta. Accommodations were at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa.... which was very plush. I have to say that it was the trip of a lifetime. I plan to do a trip like that to Asia, one day, maybe. **grins**
I'm sad to say that I didn't blog very much about my trip to Malta in 2006. Looking back in the blog archives, I only covered my jaunt into Valletta during Karnivale. I feel like I missed out on a bunch of things while I was out there. Really, the only way to truly absorb a location is to live there for a few months, maybe even years. So I guess it's alright.
What triggered my memories of Malta was the Papal conclave that has just commenced in reaction to the resignation of the current Pope. Based on recent reports, this is only the second time in the history of the Catholic Church that a Pope has chosen to step down. So what does my trip to Malta and the Catholic Church have to do with the picking of a new pope? Maybe nothing; maybe everything. **shrugs**
It's not a secret that I am always in search of meaning in life. My mother raised my siblings and I in the Mormon faith. As a child I followed it and found much enlightenment up until I reached my teen years. From that point, my search for purpose and meaning took me elsewhere. I remember coming across a book in the possession of my ex-husband titled, "Al-Islam Christianity and Freemasonry". That was probably one of my first steps outside of Christianity. Prior to that book, I had never heard of Freemasonry. **shrugs** I read the ENTIRE book in one sitting. It was new information, outside of the small bubble that the Mormon faith had created for me during my childhood.
At the pinnacle of devout Mormonism are the ordinances and covenants that culminate in temple ceremony. All of the ordinances that occur in the temple are Masonic in origin. Imagine that; ME, at the age of 19, reading the Freemasonry book that I mentioned previously. Then there's ME at age 31, experiencing some of what I read in that book but in a Mormon temple ordinance. **sigh** All very confusing to say the least. Much of what occurs in Masonic ritual and Mormon ordinance can be found on the internet. It's not a secret. In my opinion, the ordinance or ritual does not create spirituality however the individual experiencing it can. He or she determines how the events are received in his or her own heart and spirit and gives value. One can either embrace it and force the experience or discard it altogether. All of these thoughts are coming to me as I remember my trip to Malta.
My second evening in Malta, we dined in a building that dated back to the 16th century; Knights Hospitallers. We were greeted by a court at the entrance of the structure. The lighting was fairly authentic to medieval times; it seemed like there were candle lit sconces and candle lit dining tables. There were knights in armor, as well as metal armor displays. This building was a hospital/infirmary a couple centuries ago. Now it serves as one of the largest meeting facilities in Malta. Now, either the soldiers back in the day were very small or the metal armor displays are "mini" replicas of, what I hope were, bigger men.
I have to tell you that I was utterly amazed by the evening that was prepared for us. The food was absolutely delicious. We missed the first three courses of a seven course meal so we were still very hungry at the end of the dinner. We got there and they were already serving the entree. I can remember clearly that it was two pieces of duck with a pear sauce. It was absolutely HEAVENLY. I just wish there were more of it. By the end of the evening we were still very hungry and absolutely clueless of any after-hours joints to fulfill the late night munchies. **shrugs** It was all good though because we more than made up for it at the breakfast buffet the next day. Another peculiar oddity for me was the absence of ice water. At that point in my life, I preferred ice cold water. Now I like room temperature water or hot tea or coffee. In Europe, you must inform the wait staff that you prefer "still" water rather than sparkling and you want it in ice. It came to me that Americans must stick out like a sore thumb. If I could do it over again, I would be as the locals were... I would drink up that warm, sparkling water instead of insisting on cold, still water.
One of the highlights of the trip was a lecture featuring Jordan Maxwell. Hearing of the papal conclave reminded me of that kick-ass lecture. I absorbed a lot of what he said and filed the information away in the recesses of my mind. It has been a seven year process to bring that information forward again. Mr. Maxwell held my attention for his entire lecture. Though I don't have my lecture notes in front of me, I was struck by the organization of his lecture. If you remember the movie The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks; there's a scene that I'm thinking is the opening where Tom Hanks is lecturing in front of an enormous screen. He flashes through images while he talks about the symbolism behind every day images. I can confidently say that the character Robert Langdon, played by Tom Hanks, was possibly based on Jordan Maxwell. The lecture was intense, the information as titillating as when I read about Freemasonry. Truly, I enjoyed every minute of it because the information was pushing the boundaries of what I thought I knew and opening up a Pandora's Box to new knowledge. At some point, we all must come to the realization that the world we see around us has deeper meaning. When a person is ready to look beyond the surface, he or she will find that there is no end to the rabbit hole.
If you're game, I included an interview of Jordan Maxwell at the bottom of this post. The internet sensation, Zeitgeist is based on the work of Jordan Maxwell. If you have very fixed beliefs in terms of religion and spirituality, Zeitgeist and Jordan Maxwell will be a lot to take in. I urge you to attempt to look at the information objectively. Peeling away the layers of your life is a topic for another post and not this one.
Visiting Malta was indeed an adventure that I was able to experience with some of my closest cousins. If I could do it all over again, I would indulge in the wine and party with the locals at Karnivale. I would throw caution to the wind, let down my hair, and delight in new experiences! I have to say that a good portion of who I am becoming started when I listened to Jordan Maxwell lecture. The information he shared was outside of my known world and I am grateful to have allowed that door of knowledge to be opened!