Sailing to Luxor
In silence, we are given the grace of loving deeply, wholly and well. (Jean Houston)
During the night following our visit to the Valley of the Kings, my sleep is shadowed by old fears. I am visited by the ghosts of my lifelong struggles with loving, with letting go, my fear that love will measure me, find me wanting, or in the Egyptian way, weigh me, find my heart too heavy, abandon me.
In one of the dark hours, I feel invited into prayer. An image of Russian nested dolls comes to me. I open the first, who looks like Jean, and find inside a second, an image of the Sacred Feminine, the Holy One. In the clarity that comes between sleep and full wakefulness, I hear an invitation, “Simply enjoy being close to this person. Enjoy the gift of this time.”
Hours later, I waken fully to clarity and joy, the power of these old demons vanquished by morning’s light.
We are to spend this day on the ship, a morning of teaching in the Captain’s Lounge, an afternoon free to rest, to enjoy the scenery as the Moon Goddess takes us back up the Nile, then down again to Luxor.
Today, Jean speaks to us of magic in its many forms. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” the tale that unfolds in Disney’s Fantasia with Mickey Mouse multiplying brooms to carry buckets of water, is based on the true story of a Greek who studied magic with an Egyptian master.
Magic, Jean tells us, happens for many who travel to Egypt, returning home to find healing and wholeness have come to friends, to difficult situations, while they were away. Things happen in Egypt because it is believed that everything here is invested with life – even stones! As we come to understand the holographic universe, we know everything is a containment of the whole.
While Jean speaks of magic, there is some glitch occurring in the sound system in the lounge. Suddenly coloured lights above her chair begin to blink off and on.
“The ancients learned how to expect the unexpected,” Jean says.
I realize that we are learning the same thing here.
A quiet joy is blinking off and on within me as I sit here, fully aware of being on a ship on the Nile, listening to a teacher whose words have illumined my life for several years now.
Kairos time, Jean is saying now, is a Greek expression that refers to the moment when, in weaving, two sets of weft thread are open so the warp thread, carried by the shuttle cock, can pass through. Kairos time is sacred and urgent. It allows clock time to be suspended and you have the option to change the story.
Now we are back in the story of Isis and Osiris. Their child, Horus, has been born, hidden by Isis in the papyrus swamps. Ruthless Seth at last succeeds in finding the child and releases a scorpion to sting him to death. In her agonized grief, Isis stops time to allow Horus to be healed.
Kairos time offers radical choice. If we don’t take the opportunity, we are like Parsifal who failed to ask the question in the Grail Castle and must wander for years in misery before the second chance is offered.
Like Parsifal, like Jesus, Horus is the widow’s son. His father Osiris is in the Underworld and from there begins to teach his son though dreams. Osiris trains Horus in wisdom and prepares him to defeat Seth in battle.
The Egyptians understood dreams better than any ancient peoples. What we dream comes in more directly than what is obscured by daily life, so that in our dream we can be “tricked out of” our ordinary mindsets.
Inevitably, the time comes when we are called beyond our linear lives. We need training in the depths. We, like Horus, are available to be trained by the partner in the archetypal realm when we are ready to take on our task in the great world.
Today when the sacred stewardship of the planet is so urgent, when an enormous rise of Seth energy is seen in the destruction of the planet, in the economic collapse that destroys the dreams of so many people, we need the training that comes from the ones who, like Isis, sidle in through our doors. From them, we learn how to use the gifts we have been given, for we are born into this time for our task.
For the Ancient Egyptians, training was far more than intellectual development. They were aware that there were other parts of the self, which they called other “bodies”. They described five bodies, with other persona, other ways of being. Egyptian priests learned how to access these other persona, developing a level of consciousness that allowed them to distinguish each of the five while remaining aware of wholeness.
To accomplish our great work, we too need to contact and be gifted with qualities of the five bodies: the Aufu – the physical body; the Ka –the double or what we hold in our mind as our body image; the Haidit – the shadow body entered in dream and trance states; the Khu – the magical body, which in ancient times was thought of as magical-spiritual; and the Sahu – the most subtle, etheric spiritual body.
In a process, beginning with the physical body or Aufu, Jean leads us into awareness of the five bodies within. When we come to the visualization of our magical-spiritual self or Khu body, I am surprised to see an inner image of an old and beloved teacher. For several years the figure of Yoda from Star Wars would appear in my prayer and offer guidance.
Now he is here, but will not engage in the conversations I want to have about my struggles with loving. He is wholly silent. I sense, I know, he is calling me into a newness, sending a shaft of light that releases my love to flow easily through my life and my work. Love set free.The experience is brief. Powerful.