On the fifth day in Egypt, we flew from Cairo to Aswan. We were picked up at the airport and taken to the lovely boat, the Dahabeya Afandina, where we would spend a number of days sailing on the Nile. The overall plan was to begin in Aswan and work our way back up the Nile to Alexandria, visiting sites along the way. (Bear with me here, a bit of geography and history is necessary to really understand the spiritual goals of this trip.) The Nile is a river that actually flows from SOUTH to NORTH or UP geographically. The terminology here was a little confusing for me because the Southern part of Egypt is referred to as UPPER Egypt, while the Northern part is called the LOWER. In other words, Upper Egypt is south of Lower Egypt because the upper Nile is south of the lower Nile. It helped me to think of it as the Nile beginning in the south which would be “up” river and flowing towards the Mediterranean which although in the North would be “down” river as the Nile flows.)
The reason this is pertinent is because this trip was very intentionally designed and organized as a passage along the Nile from south to north in order to be a transcendent undertaking. One of the ideas behind this was to begin at the base of the Nile in Aswan as if we were beginning at the Root chakra of Egypt's or our own energy system. By moving up the Nile and stopping at various sites and Temples (or chakras) along the way until we reached the Crown chakra in Alexandia, it was representative of the spiritual awakening experienced when the primal or shakti life force energies begin to flow up through the chakra energy centers of the body. Other comparisons were made to the Nine Spiritual Bodies or the Tree of Life. The ancient Egyptians believed that the human soul was made up of nine parts, again moving from a more physical plane to a more spiritual one. If you look down on the Nile as a whole from above, it resembles a lotus flower opening up, which is another symbol for this type of spiritual awakening. Finally, the journey was reflective of the Goddess Isis on her search to collect all the parts of her lost husband Osiris in order to resurrect him. Enough history, back to day five.
We left our things on the Dahabeya, and then left to visit the Kalabsha Temple. It is located on an island in the middle of Lake Nasser, near the Aswan High Dam, about 16 kilometers from Aswan. Due to flooding, the original temple was dismantled and re-erected at the present site between 1961 and 1963, which I assume is why some of the walls appear newer than others. We took a small boat out to it and there were other interesting, more modern structures to see along the way as well. Kalabsha was the first site we visited where I was really able to get up close and personal with the remains of what must have once been a most beautiful and breathtaking place of worship. I was expecting to have a very magical and enlightening experience here, but I have to say that this first stop hit me really hard. I don’t know what your feelings about past lives might be, but I know in my heart of hearts that I have this inexplicable connection to Egypt. For years I had said that I never wanted to visit because I didn’t want to see it in a way that was not how I “remembered” it in my mind and soul's heart. However, the Universe had other ideas and the circumstances that led me to the opportunity to be a part of this trip could not be denied. So, there I was walking through this amazing place and looking at these incredible remains and I felt like I had a rock in my stomach. I think I was in rather a state of shock. Nothing seemed right and I was absolutely grief stricken to see it in such a state. I mean no disrespect by this, but the only thing I can think to compare it to emotionally could be how people might feel returning to their homes or communities after they have been bombed during a war. And Kalabsha is in way better shape than many of the other sites you come across. Thank goodness we did not visit any of those first! While it was breathtaking and awe-inspiring, for me it was also heartrending to have to face the reality that the Egypt of my spirit's memory simply was no more. I sat and had a good cry there that day. Fortunately, I was with a group of loving people who understood and helped me come to terms with it so that I could let it go and appreciate what was still left there to see.
Once we left Kalabsha, we visited the Nubian Museum. By then, I was in a much better place emotionally and I absolutely loved it there. It was a very charming building and the artifacts kept there were marvelous. Many had been amazingly well preserved. One of my favorites included a giant statue of Ramses II. His eyes seem to follow you and it feels like he is actually sizing you up and looking through you! I loved the energy this statue gave off. Another artifact that I particularly liked were some life-sized replicas of horses. They were unbelievably realistic and designed and decorated with such care. There were countless other interesting things to see and I will share a few more pictures below. As you leave the museum, there is a wonderful area out front where the local women sell the most delightful things like jewelry, beaded bags and clothing and other handmade items. Along the walk back to the bus I fell in love with an obelisk surrounded by the cutest statues of monkeys. The Nubian Museum was a great ending to a day that started out as rather difficult for me.
Given my experience at Kalabsha, The Tarot card that I must choose for it would have to be the Death card. My first encounter with the Temple ruins of Egypt that day was a grim reminder that the magnificent days of the Pharaohs and the ancient mystical practices that were once upheld there are for the most part dead and gone. Of course, I knew this already, but to be there and to actually SEE the deterioration and breakdown of this remarkable place and its bygone customs just felt so tragic. On the flip side, the Death card not only represents something ending, but it also has the more positive meaning that from endings always come new beginnings. Egypt is still an astonishingly beautiful country with some of the most kind and charming people that I have ever met. The modern-day culture and customs are splendid and very much alive, and I loved the place with all my heart. It may not be what it once was in the days of old or how I would like it to be, but I am so thankful that so many breathtaking structures and artifacts still remain and that I had the opportunity to see so many of them. The Death card is the reminder that sometimes things must end or die so that new things can begin and be born. When I reflect on this card and this day I think of the words of Heraclitus. "The only thing that is constant is change." I am glad that the impact of the people who designed and built these ancient constructions do continue to make themselves felt even after their death. As difficult as it was for me to let go of the past, I am also glad that life goes on.
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.