Our lives are the sum of our days and our days are the sum of the myriad of seemingly small decisions we take each day. When I decided to take my first holiday in Egypt I had no idea I was going to end up selling my house in Ireland and building Mara House in Luxor. I certainly had no idea I would consequently have my life there turned upside down overnight and live through the Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East!
Sometimes a thought just will not leave me alone until I either write it down or act upon it. In early 2012 several thoughts would not leave me alone
- “Everything here is made in China”
- “Nobody here has work”
- “Surely to God everyone can learn how to make SOMETHING!”
Blogging or ranting was not going to clear these thoughts – in fact I was so frustrated myself I was doing little or no writing anyway. Along with everyone else in Egypt I kept waiting for the miracles promised by the revolution and the new President. I waited, we waited, I thought – not sure what many others were thinking but one thing was certain; nothing was moving, nothing was improving and it was about to get even worse.
During the recession of the early 80’s in Ireland many people including myself had turned our hands to craft work so I was now filled with ideas of gathering groups of people together and learning/reviving Egyptian craft work.
Now, here in Egypt, I was becoming obsessed about the power symbols of the ancient Egyptians. Three in particular would just not leave me alone.
They were the Djed, the Knot of Isis and the combined symbol of the Key of Life + Djed + Was.
I searched the souks, shops and bazaars but could not find them. The Ankh was everywhere but it seemed that many of the other ancient symbols had been, or were being, forgotten. I felt impelled to have them created once again in stone as they were before.
My encounters with the craftsmen I went to see left me angry and confused to the point I was ready to give up on the idea. Because I was asking for something they were not already making they thought I should pay 500 to 1000 Egyptian pounds per piece! These were people working for a now non-existent tourist market!
Once again, Providence stepped in and a new but now very dear friend set up a meeting for me with yet another craftsman. I swore this was going to be my last attempt. I met a talented, honest father of 6 who was happy to experiment on my behalf without demanding stupidly exorbitant prices.
The symbols of Egypt remind us to focus on their positive desires, for health and well-being, in moments when our surroundings or circumstances may indicate otherwise. Gemstones and minerals are believed by many to have healing and other helpful properties since time began. In our darkest moments it can help to have something to touch, hold and draw emotional strength from – we can use any tool to draw strength and energy through – talismans and amulets in the form of jewelery is a great way to keep a touchstone handy.