“The Most Powerful Portal in Zion” - Kursi

The Spiritual Site that Became an Intersection of Ley-lines and Multicultural Discourses


  • Marianna Ruah-Midbar Shapiro Zefat Academic College
  • Adi Sasson Tel-Aviv University




Israel, sacred places, Judeo-Christian tradition, Syncretism, Holy Land


Kursi is an Israeli site that has recently been increasingly appropriated by various alternative-spiritual groups, especially contemporary Pagan and neoshamanic ones. Located on the Sea of Galilee’s northeastern shore, it lies in an array of archeological-historic sites relating to Jewish-rabbinical, Christian, and, to some extent, Pagan history. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority regulates the site (rather than a religious institution) and is interested in intensifying its mystical aura, and thus amplifying its spiritual appropriation. The various discourses surrounding Kursi (of archeologists, Christian pilgrims, etc.) are eclectic, and adopt from one another to varying degrees. Nevertheless, it seems the contemporary Neo-Pagan/Neo-ShamanPagan/neoshamanic discourse is most comfortable with adopting and reinterpreting elements from other discourses. Practitioners fearlessly and creatively meld all contents together. Their invention of a tradition combines Israeli, Jewish, Christian, Pagan, and New Age symbols with scientific findings, pseudo-scientific theories, and establishment-related discourses, thus weaving them into a new synthetic-syncretistic mythology via ritualistic work.

Author Biographies

Marianna Ruah-Midbar Shapiro, Zefat Academic College

Marianna Ruah-Midbar Shapiro is the founder and head of the department for Mysticism and Spirituality, and a senior lecturer at Zefat Academic College

Adi Sasson, Tel-Aviv University

Adi Sasson is a tour guide of Christian pilgrims in Israel. She has an MA in gender studies from Tel Aviv University.


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How to Cite

Ruah-Midbar Shapiro, M., & Sasson, A. (2019). “The Most Powerful Portal in Zion” - Kursi: The Spiritual Site that Became an Intersection of Ley-lines and Multicultural Discourses. Pomegranate, 21(1), 100–127. https://doi.org/10.1558/pome.36576