On the 13th day of my trip to Egypt we went to several places. By this time on the trip, we had worked our way North to the city of Faiyum. We were no longer on the boat but were traveling by bus and we had the pleasure of staying at a number of very nice places along the way. We spent two nights in Faiyum at a place called the Helnan Auberge and I really loved it there. It was located on the banks of Quaran Lake, which was huge, and the grounds and views were lovely. One of the things that I wasn’t sure what to expect about Egypt were the accommodations and I just can’t say enough about how nice the hotels were where we stayed. I only mention it, because I really want people to get past any negative stereotypes or views that they might have about going to Egypt. I let my own fears keep me from going for far too long! If you have ever thought about making the trip, I strongly encourage you.
On this particular day, we were originally supposed to go to a place called the Valley of the Whales, but sadly the security that was traveling with us would not allow us to go. There was some sort of skirmish going on in that area and the military was involved, so it was just too dangerous. I should take a moment just to talk about the security on this (and I believe all trips) since there has been a bombing of a tour bus in Egypt since I went. We did have an armed guard that traveled with us, but I honestly never felt threatened or like we needed him, but it was certainly nice and comforting to know he was there. In addition to that, apparently all tour groups must report exactly where and when they are going to the government who then also assigns armed guards to escort you on any long drives that I assume are going through areas where they feel the extra protection is needed. This typically consisted of a truck of 3 to 4 men both in front of and behind the bus as we went. There were various checkpoints where we had to stop so they could change guards and report in. It felt uncomfortable at first to be sandwiched in between trucks full of armed guards, but eventually you get used to it and they were all awfully nice. They would smile and wave at us from the windows and it just made you feel a little more human. Certainly, I would rather be safe than sorry. I realize now that these measures to keep us safe were not only for obvious reasons but are also important for their tourism industry in general. I have mentioned it before, but I will say it again now, these people really rely on tourists as a huge part of their economy. If people are afraid to travel there, it has a dramatic impact on their country and the people who live there. I really was very surprised to hear about the bombing of the tour bus that happened in Cairo after I got home, considering how careful and protective of tourists they are. I was also deeply saddened. I couldn’t help but think of our own kind bus driver, our tour guides who bent over backwards to make sure we had a good time and the private security guard that traveled with us who was excited because his wife was pregnant again. So often we hear about things on the news and we say oh, how terrible, but we aren’t really engaged. These incidents need to be more personal to all of us. The people affected have names. They have loved ones and families that need them, and hearts made of gold. I pray for terrorism of any kind all over the world to come to an end every day.
Thank you for bearing with me and my side discussion...now I will get back to the cancellation of the Valley of the Whales. We were all disappointed because this was an unusual destination where the remains of whales are still lying out in the middle of the desert, which I find fascinating. However, I have total trust that if they said it wasn’t safe, it really wasn’t. We regrouped and our guides found another wonderful temple for us to visit instead. It was called the Temple of Sobek-Re. As an added bonus, this new route took us past one of the Coptic Orthodox churches in the area and we were able to stop there as well. This was an interesting contrast to the other places we had been and certainly much more reminiscent of typical Catholic churches here. This particular one was dedicated to Archangel Gabriel, who I really adore. (It also struck me because in the Islamic tradition, Gabriel is said to be the angel that dictated the Quran to Muhammad. I wish that there could be peace between these two groups. If only we could focus more on what we have in common instead of our differences. Sigh.) Something I loved and will always remember about our stop at the Coptic church was when one of the priests there read to us from the bible in the Coptic language. This language is a mixture of local languages with one which was used as far back as the time of the Pharaohs. And oh my gosh, it was beautiful! The way he read it sounded more like singing than talking to me. It spoke to my heart and I could have listened to it all day. I would love to know how to speak in such a melodious way.
Once we left the church, we went on to the Temple of Sobek-Re. There was something very magical about this location and I am not sure exactly what it was. It just felt lighter and airier to me and the energy there was comfortable somehow. I was told that it had suffered a lot of damage from some sort of bombing if I remember correctly (forgive me, somehow this seems to be the theme of the day), but it was still intact enough to be able to go in and walk around. We were even able to go up some stairs to the rooftop area which had a beautiful view of the green ribbon of the Nile winding its way through the desert. One of the walls had the remains of a relief depicting the crocodile God Sobek facing what was left of the God Re. In this particular example, they represent the equilibrium between our lower “reptilian brain” and that of our Higher Self and Heart. The two Gods stand facing each other, holding the tension between them in perfect balance, thereby stabilizing the forces of both. After visiting the Temple we were able to wander around the grounds afterwards for a while, which was always one of my favorite things. My dear friend Auset even got me to loosen up and pose for her for a while. I am so glad she did because the pictures she took really expressed all of the happiness and joy that I felt while I was there. (I want to give her another shout out...you can find more about her and her work here: https://www.ausetimages.com/)
After visiting the Temple of Sobek-Re, we headed back to the hotel, but we did make one more stop on the way, at an endearing little town called Tunis. This town is known for the delightful pottery that is made there and we actually went to see one of their pottery schools where there were a number of people working to make various pieces. They were so kind (as everyone was in Egypt) to let us come through and watch them work for a while. This town reminded me a lot of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It had the same artsy vibe, adobe style walls and colorful touches of flowers and paint. The best word to describe it is charming, and if I were ever to move to Egypt, I do believe I would want to live right there. Many of the pottery pieces they sold had adorable little animals like goats and sheep on them that all looked so happy and me smile. I even brought a few home with me. 😊
Today I am going to deviate from using a Tarot card to express the day’s experiences and use a card from my Anubis Oracle deck instead. There is a card in it that is just too perfect to pass up, and I am sure that the inspiration from it came from the Temple of Sobek-Re itself. This Oracle deck by Nicki Skully and Linda Star Wolf is one of my favorites. It made the trip to Egypt and back with me and I consulted it many times while I was there. The card that jumped to mind when I reflected on this day was the number 6 card of Sobek and Horus. The God Sobek stands with his arms outstretched facing the God Horus in a stance just like the relief from the Temple itself. Horus is depicted with the head of a hawk, as is the sun God Re (or Ra) who the Temple was named after. You can even see that wonderful contrast between the green Nile and the sand of the desert again. Another reason that I like this card for this day has to with it’s meaning. “Reconciliation of Opposites, Forgiveness and Understanding.” Given the topic of discord between people, groups and even myself that came up more than once while I was writing this post, I just knew that this card could best express my highest hopes and prayers for us all. May we have reconciliation, forgiveness and understanding between and within us.
Rev. Kennedy Turner is the owner of The Cat's Meow, Tarot and Talismans, LLC in Louisville, Ky. She is a Psychic Medium, Professional Intuitive Tarot Card Reader, and Certified Healing Reiki Practitioner. She also designs and blesses jewelry for use as protective personal talismans and charms, tailored to meet your individual needs.