Imagine that "Everything that happens is for your good. Is it hard to wrap your mind around that" I must admit, some days this concept is completely foreign to me.
I am lost in the world of mundane to-do lists, stressing over the kids' activities, cleaning house, and paying bills. Before long, though, my spirit calls. I am drawn to certain books, places, people, and they give me the message to return to love. To return to my passion. To remind me that life is absolutely on my side.
Anita Kopacz and Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith at Abu Simbel[/caption] I spent several days in the deserts of Egypt with my most profound spiritual teacher, Michael Bernard Beckwith. Every single day, I was gently pushed to remember who I really am. As I gazed upon the magnificent structures, the pyramids, temples, birthing chambers, and goddess sanctuaries,
I was encouraged to look upon them as if I were a part of the energy that created them. The excellence, the precise execution of artistic genius, the devotion, the mastery. I was to look upon these wonders as if they were my mirrors. That little voice inside of me that usually barks, "You're not good enough!" was silenced. My stories of lack, of unfairness, of being molested and mistreated, all burned away in the heat of this arid land, as I was constantly reminded by everyone around me that I am a queen. The desert fire initiated me into my greatness. It reminded me that regardless of how hot the fire, life is not against me. Life is absolutely on my side.
Rev. Beckwith, Akili Beckwith, Rev. Cheryl Ward, and Josephine Keita so graciously led our group through the land of Khemet. Each day a new adventure awaited us, from meditating in the Pyramid of Giza to flying a hot air balloon over the Nile River. Come with me as we travel through the ancient civilization of Egypt and remember who we truly are.
At dawn, we travel to Cheop's Pyramid, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, the Sphinx, and Valley Temple. Built over 35 centuries ago, the towering pyramid stands majestically on a desert plateau with two slightly smaller pyramids erected to preserve their bodies and treasures for the afterlife. East of the Great Pyramid is the Solar Boat Museum, housing the spectacular funerary boats placed at the disposal of the king for his journey of Day and Night in the afterlife with the Sun God Ra. Then we proceed to the Necropolis of Sakkara, the city of the Dead, to see the famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser and the Wall of Cobras. Lodging: Nile Fairmont Hotel*
We woke up at 3 a.m. in order to arrive at the pyramids before they opened. As the bus slowly made its way up the dirt road, the majestic structures revealed themselves on the horizon. I could hardly contain my excitement as we drew near. Rev. Beckwith led us into the main pyramid like an exodus to the Promised Land. The stonewalls arched around us as we walked through the entrance. Up ahead, I saw a few people shaking their heads refusing to continue. The walls led to an underground tunnel with a steep incline to journey deep into the belly of the pyramid. We explored the ins and outs of this ancient structure, ending up in the King's Chamber. There, Rev. Beckwith and Akili led us in meditation. It was an epic beginning to the trip that would eventually transform my life.
Morning transfer to Cairo for our flight toAbu Simbel*, site of the magnificent Temples of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari. This is a breathtaking experience. An engineering marvel, the great temple was moved up the hillside to save it from flooding when Aswan's High Dam was built. Fly to Aswan and transfer to the hotel. Lodging:* Aswan Moevenpick Hotel
The Temple of Rameses and Queen Nefertari were indeed breathtaking. The massive statues towered over us in all their glory. The Nubian guides ushered me to secret nooks and crannies that had sacred symbols. They would demonstrate simple rituals to do with certain hieroglyphic characters. For example, when I came across a winged sun disk, I should touch the disk then place my fingers on my third eye in the middle of my forehead, then touch the disk again, and touch my heart. This ritual keeps you connected to your intuition and feelings.
Aswan Nile Cruise. Transfer to your cruise ship that will be your floating hotel for the next three nights. After lunch, we sail aroundElephantine Islandand visit men, women, and children in the Nubian village. Lodging:Moevenpick Royal Lilly Ship Before we departed for our trip to Egypt, Josephine Keita had asked us to bring an extra suitcase full of items that the Nubian children could use. I stocked up on backpacks, shoes, clothes, notebooks, diapers -- the list went on.
As our boat neared the harbor, beautiful Nubian women in traditional garb walked back and forth on the deck. Some were holding handmade dolls, shawls, dresses, and small statues which they were eager to sell. When they saw our suitcases full of gifts, the women did a traditional call of excitement. We brought our gifts to a small school in the middle of the village. They served us tea, water, and hibiscus juice (yum!). We did not anticipate the mayhem that would follow. The women ran into the school frantically grabbing and claiming the gifts. Amidst the chaos, a musician began to play his drums. I walked up to him and started dancing. Three Nubian women surrounded me and started to show me their moves. I was better able to process my "Black Friday" experience with the beautiful sounds of the Nubian drum.
Morning sightseeing includesAswan's High Dam*, the ancient* Granite Quarries*, and the* Temple of Philae-- the temple of love, music, and dance. We sail toKom Omboto visit the Greco-Roman-styleTemple of Sobek*, the Crocodile God. Standing serenely on a hilltop, the site offers an incredible view over the Nile. Tonight we will have a Nubian, Galabeya, and Pharonic Costume Party. Lodging: Moevenpick Royal Lilly Ship* The Temple of Philae is dedicated to the goddess Isis, the wife of Osiris and mother of Horus.
As I stepped foot into the temple, I instantly felt at home. Although we were not ?allowed? to pray, an armed guard took me to a side room to meditate. He told me that it was a birthing room for Isis. I gathered a small group and we spoke into existence the dreams that we wanted to birth.
Morning visit toEdfu*, an exhilarating carriage ride takes you through town to the Temple of Horus, the Falcon God. Return to your ship and sail to* LuxorandKarnak Temples*, a holy city of pylons, hypostyle halls, colossal statues, and obelisks built over many centuries and dedicated to the God Amon-Ra, his consort Mut, and their son, Khonsu. Lodging: Moevenpick Royal Lilly Ship*
Luxor Temple Luxor was particularly special for me. The sphinx-lined path, goddess chamber, massive obelisks, and magnificent statues kept me in awe. There was a hieroglyph on the wall of the goddess chamber that depicted a young woman and man being held up by four women. I was reminded of how my sisters and girlfriends have supported me throughout rough times. I sat at the foot of the picture in gratitude of my journey.
Early morning, we visit the complex ofKarnak Temple*, a vast open-air museum, and the second largest ancient religious site in the world, after the Angkor Wat Temple of Cambodia. We then cross the Nile to "Thebes"Luxor's West Bank. Sightseeing includes theValley of the Kings and Queens, where some 64 of Egypt's Pharaohs had their palatial resting places hewed into the sheer rock. Lodging:* Luxor Achti Hotel The sun beat down on us as we took a tram down a dusty road to the Valley of the Kings and Queens.
I covered my head with a white scarf to shield me from the sun as we walked up to the tombs. The management only opens four tombs at a time because the humidity from people walking in and out of the rooms significantly deteriorates the structures. I stopped in my tracks when I walked into the first building. All of the original paint remained on the numerous hieroglyphics decorating the walls, tombs, and statues. With this reference, I was better able to imagine how the other temples might have looked 2,000 years ago.
The morning begins with a hot air balloon ride over the Nile River. Later we will meander through the once throngedTemple of Hathor*, Goddess of Love. Lodging: Luxor Achti Hotel* The Temple of Hathor was magnificently well kept. We visited secret rooms that were once filled with treasures and saw an ancient sundial on the roof.
Many of the sites that we visited had statues and carvings that were defaced. The Temple of Hathor was decorated with so many faces of the goddess that the invaders must have tired from defacing each depiction of her and left several for us to admire.
After breakfast, we transfer toHurghadaby bus. Upon arrival check-in at the resort. The remainder of the day at leisure. Lodging:Moevenpick Resort Hurghada The Red Sea magnificent. White sand beaches and turquoise water framed the Hurghada beach resort off the coast of the Red Sea. The next few days were packed with water sports, sailing, snorkeling, parasailing, jet-skiing, and lounging at the beach.
Before our departure back to the U.S., we paid another visit to the Pyramid of Cheops. Rev. Beckwith, Akili, and Rev. Ward led us in prayer and meditation throughout the trip. Our final meditation took place in the King's Chamber. Rev. Beckwith urged us once more to remember who we really are. As we sat on the stone floor, many of us felt the power of remembering our true potential. Images of the many temples, pyramids, tombs, goddess chambers, and obelisks ran through my mind. At that moment I felt that life was absolutely on my side. I felt that this journey helped me remember that my ancestors built miracles - and I am here to do the same.
*The itinerary was lovingly prepared by Josephine Keita of Nubian Tours.