Nothing touches the insides of you like Egypt does. Each time I come, it is because I have been called. A faint yet steady voice sings my name into the wind, and I follow through. I come alone, never in a group anymore, nor part of one. It is how it has to be now for me.
How do I describe the feeling of wandering through the ruins to someone who has never done it? I cannot. There is a power that resides in the experience embedded into my cells that cannot be given away to others. There are some things that simply have to be experienced and that is all. Some will find their way to it and others … maybe next time.
Each time I come here before I get on the plane, the dreams begin. Giving me sure signs only I know for myself. I need no confirmation from others, nor do I need their approval. Egypt has a way of changing everything so it may have you. You belong to her as she belongs to you. There is no other to get in the way of the connection. She is the blood that flows through your veins and each time you walk on her land, the ancient sands beneath your feet, you know this to be truth for yourself. Needing nothing to validate this truth for you. Here I transcend. Egypt is a reset for me, a potent cocoon of truth and knowing.
My feet move across the stone floors, as my hands move gently across the walls feeling the indentations of the magical invocations carved into them. I hear their meaning in my mind as I completely open to everything, safe in this space to do so. The rest of the world disappears and I am in the only place I need to be.
I release and surrender until I am only a vessel, filled with nothing. The walls contain only my essence as I begin to fill and soak in what lives here. I look down at my boots, the ones that have been everywhere. The scratches and scuffs reflecting back to me where my feet have been and walked, sometimes fallen, sometimes risen. I offer only my breath and my heart to each standing stone altar. These offerings are gratefully received.
I contemplate on all who have been here before me and those who will come after. Surely they have and will feel this too. Egypt changes everything in brilliant ways.
I sat down by the Nile this morning. The water looked tired, dirty. The gasoline from the cruise ships pooled in rainbow glistening shimmers. Deceivingly beautiful as it contaminates what was once worshipped as holy and sacred. I weave together two strands of long grass, saying prayers into them; for humanity, for earth, for everyone and gently lay it in the water. Two young fishermen down stream watch me carefully. I push my blonde hair back under my head scarf. Reminded to stay open, yet aware. Knowing I am protected by a higher power, absolutely and in all ways.
As I walked back to my hotel on the West bank, I took deep breaths of the air. Felt the rocks under my feet. Reflected on my journey since the last time I was here. All of it seems to dim in the light of the sun as it reflects off the contrasted landscape of sand and green. I love it here. The desert, the ruins, the people, the smell of the cities, the sounds of the call to prayer drifting over it all 5 times day. I wondered what life in New York would be like if we prayed 5 times a day – to whatever god we believe in.
After a turkish coffee in the open aired cafe, I took a taxi to Luxor temple. As I wandered through the temple of man, I sang a song to all men. Thinking of all those I have given my heart too. I smiled as I sang, knowing all was in divine order. Offering thoughts of love, gratitude and humility to each place I felt called to do so.
Through the body of the temple I sang, as the guards watched me carefully. I carried nothing with me. I brought only myself. I smiled as Egyptians selling trinkets and postcards approached me, yet somehow knowing not to disturb me. This is an unusual thing, as anyone who has ever been to Egypt knows how persistent they are, as for some this is their only source of income.
Soon a crowd of children had gathered. They followed me up through the temple. I sat down on the floor of the upper part, and bewildered slightly, the children sat down next to me. Their eyes shining back at me, I said hello. In one unified voice, they all said HELLO! in english back. The guards had gathered a bit closer, watching, always watching. I didn’t care. I only cared about the children. I began to sing a song, and slowly I sang each note, teaching them the words. They laughed at first, giggled, and then began to sing along. Soon we were singing in unison. Proud of our voices and proud to do it together.
I smiled and they smiled. The guards came closer and shouting at the children in Arabic told them to leave. Before they did they all looked at me, and I smiled, they smiled in return. Knowing for now, it was ok to feel and be love, no matter what our lives are like, or where we come from, it is ok to smile, to trust and to sing.
This was my day in the temple of man. A day with the stone, the images, the light drifting through, the guards and the children.
As the sun begins to set on the Nile, and my balcony door opens to this magnificent moment, I smile knowing coming was the right thing for myself. There is a certain kind of selfish that is necessary to living an authentic life. I love myself enough to know this.
February New Moon