The day is a little overcast and cool, as one would expect for this time of year. The moods and atmospheres of autumn pervade the air and I am feeling a little grotty it has to be said. My cold has progressed from the excruciating pain of inflamed sinuses to annoying sniffles (enough to drive any bystanders mad). Meanwhile the neighbourhood cats are using the garden again as the feline equivalent of a major motorway and annoying me intensely. Do I sound a little peeved? Forgive me, grumpiness has etched its crazed mark on my life at the moment and I am a woman on the edge. Or thereabouts.
I sense the presence of His Nibs laughing silently in the background. Perhaps he can do something about the dratted cats. He suggests getting a dog. Good idea but not really the right suggestion in view of my circumstances. His neutral expression does nothing to dismiss the feeling that my leg is being pulled. Such infamy! Do these gods have no shame? Yet, I sense a lightening of my mood.
“We’re about to go on another journey, aren’t we?”, I mutter resignedly.
“Yes. How did you guess?” he comments with a wide smile.
I look at him and wonder when my life took the decision to explore that small tributary coming off the great river of life, without any consultation. We were given free will I am reminded. Free? I’m sure I got bamboozled somewhere down the line. The Great God Anpu makes a grand gesture and recounts a tale of ancient mysticism and magic, sweeping away any doubts and fears. I look at him expectantly, he raises his eyebrows. The pilgrim respectfully asks whether he could do the condensed version instead, the god obliges as he senses theatrics will get him nowhere on this occasion.
“You will be privy to another aspect of creation and all its mysteries my friend. This time we journey to the source of the life giving waters of our land, ancient Abu. I think you know who we are to meet, Hmnnw or as he is known in this age, Khnum.”
Khnum. Finally it comes to this. How long I have waited, eons it seems to face him in the flesh. An apt word! The doors of my subconscious open, sentries from the inner stand guard over the portal. They watch patiently for me to make up my mind as time has no meaning in their realm, eternity is no barrier. Whereas I do not have the luxury of eternity on my side. So be it, I nod at them and the doors are shut. They have their answer.
“So do we my friend. We go now”. Great Anpu speaks with authority and a calmness borne of millions of years watching the play of the “imperishable stars”.
Again the blue door appears before us, entry into another plane, to a world half remembered in our dreams – a primeval Khem. It feels just as ancient as when the first Mound rose out of the chaos of Nun. How can that be? I look quizzically at His Nibs and ask him if this place is one of many parallel universes, for it has a familiarity about it. I have been here before. He nods at the truth of that statement, commenting that “all will be revealed in its right time.” Telling me to be patient then…
The sun is starting to rise and the temperature of the air is still fresh and bearable. We appear to be standing on a small island in the middle of the river Nile. There is a small building and gardens a little way off in the distance at the river’s edge. On both sides of the river the land is lush and green, melting into an endless sea of sand stretching into the distance. I can see no settlements here, no sign of human activity. His Nibs informs me that humanity is still in its infancy, therefore quite limited in numbers. This intrigues me. He’s a cunning fellow, throwing me morsels of information, knowing that my curiosity would trap me in his net like a Nile perch.
Soon we are standing in front of a little temple. Through the doorway I can gardens and a large pool. My guardian clasps my hand in reassurance and leads me through the doorway. An electric current passes through me as we pass through the portal. Past, present and a possible future flash before my eyes. He tells me there is nothing to fear, that emotion has no place in this sanctuary. The space inside the walls of the temple is considerably bigger than I expected. I’ve found an ancient Tardis! We pass by the pool, its waters display a fluidity and movement that indicate an intelligence, a strange thing to say but that is what I see before me. Anpu indicates the importance of this location and I file away this piece of information for later. Beyond the pool is a small building surrounded by what can only be described as a faint white/gold light. My nerve endings begin to prickle and jump. I can sense Him, waiting, creating, thinking. Dare I ask for this one boon?
I drawn in a deep breath and hold it for a moment, letting it bathe my lungs before releasing it. Life is breath and breath is life. Khnum stands in the centre of the temple, holding the sides of a tall, square altar upon which stands a potter’s wheel. Facing him is a tall woman, not quite human but with a frog’s head perched on a beautiful neck. As for the “Potter God”, he appears in the human and ram’s head persona so beloved of his worshippers. The power emanating from both figures is only a fraction of what it should be; its divine fire would mean certain death to anyone else apart from their fellow neters.
“I hear your petition, you must be strong in your conviction as there is no turning back child.” Khnum’s voice echoes through the temple as he gives utterance to my deepest held secret – regeneration and rebirth.
My whole body ripples with energy as the sound waves pass through me. I nod and look at my guardian. Khnum steps in front of me and places his hands on my shoulders. I close my eyes as the transformation begins, light spreads rapidly through the cells as my material substance vanishes. I am no more the person who stepped into the temple but my consciousness and Light live, this the god gathers up in his hands as my cloak of skin falls into a bowl of water on the floor, reverting back to clay. This ball of light hangs suspended above the altar. I sense and see all that there is to know, in this and other realities and universes. The god is handed a fresh ball of clay by his consort and co-creator Heket. Droplets of the same substance as in the pool outside cover the surface of this clay; they reveal their true nature as matrix for the evolution of life. Air and Water co-mingling to produce an elixir of creation. The artistry and skill of the gods shape a being out of the inanimate clay. Perfection is what they seek and it shows forth in every line and indentation on the little figure standing on the Great Potter’s wheel. Soon it is time for the human, me, to be ensouled. He reaches out and gently gathers the ball of light and blows it into the clay figure. Life is breath and breath is life. I can see the light spread throughout me in a network of vessels, building the temple that is man/woman from the inner to the outer. It is done and cannot be undone except by the Great Potter, Khnum.
The rays of the risen sun flood the temple and bathe all in a golden light. The next thing I remember is standing outside with all three gods before the temple pool. Khnum lifts his hand and at this signal the waters of the pool surge upwards and flood through the main temple entrance into the Nile. Its waters foam with the intensity of the flow and surge onwards towards Lower Egypt in the north. A great cry is heard as the flooded river journeys northwards, bringing life with it.
The scene soon fades and I find myself standing before the blue door with my guardian. Anpu gazes into my eyes, nods and smiles. We return to the present and my world. Much to think about. Regeneration and rebirth, profound states of being are they not dear reader? My sniffle seems to have gone, which is no bad thing!