By the fourth day in Egypt almost all of our group had arrived, and we spent the day at a beautiful park and restaurant. It was located in the middle of Cairo and it was called Al-Azhar Park. It was a beautiful building and lush grounds. I really loved the architecture there.
One of the things that I noticed more than anything were how many young couples were there taking strolls together and hanging out with their friends. The customs around dating in Egypt are obviously much stricter than ours, so it was so cute to see all of the couples there talking and flirting but rarely holding hands or touching. There were also a number of what I thought were wedding parties. The men in these groups had on suits or tuxedos. The girls had on what looked like beautiful and elaborate bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses, only the brides were always in a mauve, pink or lavender gown rather than white ones. I asked about it and they told me that these were actual engagement parties and celebrations, not weddings. Apparently becoming engaged is a huge deal and receives way more recognition there than it does here in the United States. The woman does not wear white until the actual wedding, which is how you can tell the difference. It was just so sweet. This was one of the places where many of the younger people would surround you wanting to take pictures with you. I found it really strange, but it was just a thing they liked to do. They were always very sweet and polite about it, but it did make me feel like rather an oddity, which I guess we were.
The final thing of note to me on this day was the stark contrast between the greenery, space and beauty of this place versus the crowded, busy, polluted and rather dirty city itself. Do not misunderstand me, Cairo is a wonderful and beautiful place, but it is the most populated city in Egypt. They do not have the trash collection system or environmental regulations that we are used to here, so it is definitely a noticeable difference as far as air quality and cleanliness go. It is extremely crowded; the driving is CRAZY compared to here. The cars get so close they kiss and there is absolutely no acknowledgement of lanes or any sort of structured traffic pattern that I could see. There is lots of honking and yelling and pedestrians everywhere and I have never been so relieved that I was not the one who had to drive! It was so interesting to be navigating our way through all of this while taking note of all of the history mixed in with the modern world. Again, the contrast of old versus new certainly drew my attention.
The Tarot card that I think would have to represent this day is the The Lovers card. It is one of the main cards in the deck that represents relationships, romance and sexuality, but more than that, it has to do with the polarity of the things in life, in particular the differences between the male and female principals. Since one of my main memories about this day’s experiences were the customs of dating and marriage there, as well as the contrast between things, it seems appropriate. I am also sharing both the Nefertari and the Rider-Waite versions of this card again, just for the symbolism.
As the Angel is shown over the couple protecting them (or keeping them apart) in the Rider-Waite card, so is the vulture Goddess Nekhbet in the Nefertari version. I love the beauty of the Nefertari card and that the lovers are shown together, but the Rider-Waite card goes deeper by showing them naked but separated. They long to be together but there are things keeping them apart; the angel, the mountain, the clouds, the sun, etc. While all of these things can be overcome, the couple must be open and honest (“naked”) with one another to do so. They must see the big picture to understand the differences between them and join together as a loving whole. The Lovers card in the Rider-Waite version makes obvious reference to the story of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise, but it also represents their RETURN to paradise and eternal life on Judgement Day. As with all of the cards in Tarot, The Lovers is multi-faceted and has many meanings and interpretations which is where intuition comes into play. It can also be referring to the need to love yourself before you can love others. As in the words of Doreen Valiente in the Charge of the Goddess, “And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou know this mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.” For me, on the fourth day in Egypt this card represents the differences between people and relationships as well communities, architecture, history, and the past and the present. All trying so hard to come together but struggling so hard to do it smoothly. Thank you for reading and may you be loved and loving.
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.