Archive for January 2013

Return to the Temple: A Baptism into Love and Joy

January 27, 2013
Ceiling mural at temple of Dendera

Ceiling mural at temple of Dendera

My trip to Egypt in November 2010 was priceless. It was the trip of a lifetime and I know setting foot on that ancient soil has changed me in ways I may never be consciously aware of. I do know that I received an initiation when I was there which opened me to love and joy in a whole new way.

In ancient Egypt, initiations were life-threatening. They were serve or suffer, sink or swim. Initiates were thrown into situations (like spending an entire night in a sealed sarcophagus) and if they couldn’t face their fears they risked death. It was a way of surrendering to pain and fear and then being able to render more of your true self to service. While my life was never in jeopardy, my initiation still required surrendering.

I was on a bus traveling from Abydos to Dendera – two sacred temples, the last two on our journey. Dendera is the Goddess Hathor’s temple dedicated to love and joy. While on the bus, I was overcome with motion sickness. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Oh, there was the usual dizziness and nausea, but my whole body was convulsing uncontrollably. I was aware of what was being said around me, I just couldn’t move. I was so nauseous I knew I’d have to get sick before I felt better. I didn’t want to focus on that. I especially didn’t want to think about the flight back to Cairo I’d have to board later that night… as the bus careened and thumped along a bumpy dirt road and the driver blared his horn every two seconds, I had to focus on letting go. Just relaxing into the moment.

When we arrived in Dendera, the air conditioning on the bus shut off. The other 44 people all walked past my seat. The combination of the heat and the sudden movement was just enough to push me over the edge. I lost my lunch in a plastic bag.

Once you toss your cookies on a bus full of people, all vanity pretty much goes out the window. I did start to feel a bit better though. Emil, the Egyptologist on our tour, told me I had to see the temple.

“I don’t want to,” I said my head slumped against the multi-colored bus seat in front of me.

“You must come,” he insisted, waving his hands around.

I knew I had to go. I didn’t want to miss the temple of love and joy. I had come so far to be here. I got off the bus and walked out into the 100 degree heat. Emil took my hand and led me away from the group.

“Come,” he said. “I give you good medicine, local medicine.”

He pulled me by the hand up to the front of the line where people with tickets were waiting to get into the temple. He shouted something in Arabic to the guard and pulled me right past the line.  I looked back in amazement at all the people we’d just cut. It was just so surreal.

Emil kept dragging me by the hand. We ran up to the front of the temple and he said, “Tip your head over.”

“What?” It was the last thing I felt like doing. I still felt slightly dizzy and nauseous and moving my head didn’t help.

“Tip your head over, I give you medicine.”

I did as I was told and Emil poured a bottle of cold water over my head. It cooled me down and I felt a bit better.

I entered the temple and the guard put down his automatic weapon to spread a cloth at the base of one of the columns for me to sit. He smiled and I could feel his compassion as he pointed me to my prepared place. I barely listened to the tour Emil was giving. I was still pretty out of it.

Then Nicki Scully, one of our tour guides and an incredible shaman, came over to me and held out her hand. She led me further into the temple.

Nicki was dressed in one of her ceremonial vestments – a beautiful black velvet robe with silk inlays. I kept stepping on her robe as we walked.

She led me into an interior room and sat me in the corner. “Sit here,” she said, “and let her heal you.” She pointed to the ceiling which was covered in a relief.

“This is my favorite room in all of Egypt. Just sit here and take it in.”

With that, Nicki was gone leaving me to stare up at the ceiling and sip the warm coke Emil had given me to settle my stomach. The ancient wall of the temple was cool behind my head and I wondered what had transpired in this room through the ages. What kinds of rituals and initiations had gone on here? Who served? Who suffered? Who lived to praise the Goddess another day?

I turned my attention to the ceiling, letting go of the pain in my body. The ceiling mural was still somewhat colorized. Different hues of blue still partially covered the stone. Part of the mural depicted Hathor surrounded by the rays of the sun. The rays were represented by carved triangles arranged in a pyramid shape around the Goddess. The stars of the sky were also present. They looked like little asterisks on a blue background.

Various tour groups entered the room as I was huddled in the corner. I learned this was the Divine Birthing room. The mural depicted the Goddess Nut swallowing the sun in the evening and giving birth to it in the morning.

I sat there with my head against the ancient wall staring at the stars on the ceiling, wondering what I was birthing. I could feel the presence of the Goddess all around me. She was beckoning me to relax into me. To melt into myself. To feel who I truly am – my power, my authority, my True Self, my expression. And I felt it, this energy, my energy. It was so calm but SO strong.

I could feel the energy coming off me in waves, emanating from me as if I were giving off my own light and heat; my own special brand of sunshine. And isn’t that what we do when we bring our gifts out into the world?

The energy was so strong. It made my head feel light. I kept breathing down through my feet to stay grounded. The Goddess was with me. I could feel two sets of hands over my heart chakra and another at my throat. She was showing me how safe it is to be in my heart, telling me this is where my true wisdom comes from; my authentic expression, my love and my joy.

This energy was all knowing. It encompassed the entire emotional spectrum. Here I was so vulnerable as to bare my throat to be slashed while simultaneously being so powerful I was invincible. From this state, I could tell you anything, bare my soul and not be concerned about judgment or condemnation. I felt completely blissful; knowing I had everything I needed. This was freedom!

The Goddess was holding me gently and lovingly. She was bringing me to my own wisdom. She was telling me this is the state I need to write from. From that love and joy, I could connect with my truth and trust, with my courage and contentment, with my bliss. From here I could reach the hearts and souls of others to rejoice in our sameness and our differences.

She was also showing me how strong my mental body is and that I needed to relinquish control. Stop thinking and start feeling. I had believed that all my safety was in my mental body and I didn’t feel safe outside it. Goddess had to take me to my core to show me true safety is in the heart.

It wasn’t until later that I realized I’d been baptized at the temple of love and joy. By pouring that water over my head outside the temple, Emil had symbolically prepared me to open to receive love and joy in a whole new way. By letting go of pain and fear and opening my heart to love and joy, I had passed my initiation.

I created a meditation from this experience. It’s designed to help you create from your love and joy. You can find it here on my web site, CasazzaWriting.com. It’s a free download. A gift from my heart and the heart of the Goddess to you.

Corinne’s novel, Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com or from Llumina Press.

Check out Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page for tips for beginning writers.

Follow Corinne on Twitter @CorinneCasazza

Visit Corinne’s Web site: http://www.CasazzaWriting.com

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