Day 28~ March 28th~ Egypt

the temple of Hatshepsut

The impressive mortuary temple built for Queen Hatshepsut, the 18th dynasty female Pharaoh stands as the evidence of Egypt’s influence on today’s classical architecture styles. This pharaoh was known for her great power and dominion over both upper and lower Egypt and was said to reign for over 22 years.

The original name of the mortuary temple is Djeser-Djeseru (holy of holies) and it is entirely dedicated to the birth and life of the queen to whom it was dedicated.

Legends of Queen Hatshepsut’s great ambition as a ruler and the later destruction and desecration of her statues leave much to ponder about her  intentions as a ruler of Egypt. The sense I got standing at the temple near Deir el Bahari is that of cloudy oppression.

 

Day 25~ March 25th~ Egypt

egypt then and now~ two men near one of the 'Colossi of Memnon' in Luxor

The Colossi of Memnon are shrouded with mystery and lore. One of these 2 massive 18 meter statues is known since ancient history to ‘sing’ at dawn. It is supposed to emanate a sound like the string of a lyre breaking at the early morning hours. The phenomenon was first reported by the Greek historian Strabo who claims to have personally heard it around the year 20BC.  These statues stand marking the entrance to Amenhotep’s temple and are said to depict his person.

The strangest thing to me about these statue and other megalithic sites I have seen in Europe (Carnac, Avebury, Stonehenge) is the fact that the stones that made them were firstly incredibly massive and secondly, they were transported across long distances in ways that we still do not comprehend. We always assumed that the ancients were inferior to us with their lack of technological know-how, but were they really? The large one-piece stones for these statues were quarried about 420 miles (675 km) away from where they stand and were moved to Thebes where they have been for at least the last 3400 years. This is a massive undertaking that amazes me and forces me think that we know so little about Egypt.

Day 19~ March 19th~ Egypt

The great sphinx at Giza

The more we find out about history the less we actually know…

The Great Sphinx in the Giza plateau, original purpose unknown, original name unknown, actual construction date unknown, and despite all that, one of the largest and oldest statues in the world stands proudly looking at us, impressing us and challenging us to find out more. It is so daunting to look at that I am not surprised the arabs call it “Abū al Hūl”, (father of terror). 

No matter how much we know about history, how much information we have gathered, and how certain we are about our theories, the largest part of the puzzle remains unsolved, and yet it begs our investigation.

Day 13~ March 13th~ Egypt

larger than life

Have you ever wondered why entities that aim to exercise power over us are always large, imposing, overwhelming? Government buildings, houses of religion, temples, Egypt…

The first thing that I registered when looking at Egyptian art is how large everything is, how oppressively daunting it is. The first reaction is to feel small in the face of it, and less significant. But isn’t the human significance and power more concentrated in the smaller worlds? Isn’t the whole universal power coded in every cell of the human body and just waiting to be activated to its highest potential by personal development?

Just a ponder along the way…

Day 6~ March 6th~ Egypt

Nofet~noble woman and princess

There is something so entirely remarkable about the statues and the art you see from ancient Egypt. Putting aside any feelings of eeriness and discomfort, the art feels somehow, yes, alive. It radiates, it vibrates, it holds your gaze, it stirs deeply…

And after doing all of that, it makes you think, question, dwell and contemplate. Someone once put out the rather obvious but profound observation that can be easily missed: “Why are teeth never shown in ancien Egypt? What is that all about?”

The seated statues of Nofret (Nefret) and Ra-Hotep (noble prince and Pharaoh’s son and princess) from the 4th Dynasty of Egypt were photographed in the Cairo museum, they stand about 1.2 meters high and are remarkably well preserved. The light on Nefret’s face is from a passing by guide’s flashlight.

Nofret and Ra-Hotep~ Cairo Museum

Day 3~ March 3rd~ Egypt

Ka (ancient wooden statue with out-stretched set of arms above the head at the Cairo museum)

While searching and researching inside the realms of Ancient Egypt, the unseen comes into focus as the seen gradually gets blurred…

The ancient Egyptians believed that each person hosted in themselves a double, an electrical entity that ushered and guided them towards their true destiny. They called it the Ka. Their Ka was to live beyond the death of their physical bodies and mummifications served as preparations for homes that the Ka would one day return to inhabit.

Their lives were lived in great discipline as to remain pure and adhere to purpose because any deviation from purpose was an abomination of the Ka.

What was most haunting for me standing in front of this statue was the look in its eyes. It was the kind of look that can take you on a journey, far beyond where you would normally be.

Day Three~ February 3rd~ Lebanon

martyrs' square

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” Khalil Gibran

Designed by the Italian sculptor Renato Marino Mazzacurati and placed in downtown Beirut in 1960, this statue stands witness to the horrors of the civil war in Lebanon with its many bullet holes that are left as a reminder of what has been. On this very square a revolt against the occupying Turks resulted in the hanging of some of Lebanon’s best intelectual figures in 1916.

War, pain and struggle have had a permanent home in Lebanon throughout history and when you hear that you would expect to meet sad and broken people. But somehow Lebanese people come out on the other side of the spectrum, the joyful side. Love of life rules the day and happiness bubbles in their hearts and explodes in their faces transforming them into smiling phoenixes that rise again and again from the ashes of disaster.

There is a magical way about Lebanese people that can simply make you addicted to them, to the country, to the land, and to their bright faces.

joy

bursting with joy