Inner and Outer Discoveries at Earth's Sacred Places
Travel Turkey Part Two-Konya, Cappadocia, Oskonak,Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia
Roosters crowed. I stirred and viewed the clock: 4:30 a.m. Was I somewhere near Konya, Turkey? I staggered from my bed and went to the hotel bay window pulling back the heavy curtains, looking out towards the Toros Daglan Mountains shrouded in mystery.I had just communed with higher dimensional beings in my dream state that felt feminine. I lit a candle and wrote a poem:
Pale moon, morning soon
Will surround, permeate the earth.
Misty, mysterious, almost dawn
Breaking then inveigling
Uplifting my heart; O what was it that I heard?
Feminine vibrations at dawn’s opening glory,
The Goddess lives, I think, the glory fleeting
There is peace, joy and inner knowing growing.
We were on the road by 8 a.m. driving through mountain splendor! Konya was reached by mid-afternoon. Konya--ancient Iconium--one of the oldest urban centres on the planet sits on the central Anatolian plateau; formerly a city of Hittites and Phrygians. The city was razed and rebuilt; rebuilt and razed. Today Konya is known for whirling dervishes and where the renowned poet Rumi was invited to live in the sultan’s palace around 1228 AD; and where he began his writing calling, also creating the Mevlani order of whirling dervishes.
At eventide we tour the Mevlana Museum; its interior enchanting, ancient, peaceful. To our disenchantment the whirling dervishes are out of town, but we view a video in the gift shop and I grab a fellow bus tour accomplice and whirl her about. She laughs, I hum; all’s well.
The next morning the heat pounds down on the footpath as I walk perusing the ‘souk’ looking for whirling dervish statues but I settle for etiekmek─a bulgur and lamb pizza-like treat that’s trendy around here and is super delicious. Back on the bus we are promptly taken to a garment factory, but I’m saving my shekels for carpets in Istanbul!
We are soon off to Arkasay and I find myself standing in a caravanserai. It is here that I know I’ve had a caravanserai experience before; something within me is deeply stirred. My husband pulled me over and pointed to the loft of this gargantuan building that housed camels and precious goods, the sleeping quarters for the caravan drivers in the hay loft. Feels like I’ve done this before.
Too soon the bus tour is off to Goreme. As soon as we get underway, my husband and I win a prize of sexy underwear! Seems we were voted the ‘hottest couple on the bus trip’. Something bizarre was transpiring in my female organs and all I wanted was sex then and I was behaving outlandishly. As the bus lurched forward I twiddled my antique sapphire sultan’s harem ring that I received from my husband the previous Christmas, assessing my pre-menopausal condition. My husband was bemused and at the same time loved it, these strong urges announcing the end of strong sexual urges and telling me a transition was in progress.
Soon we are perusing the amazing chapels and churches carved into the rocky hillsides near Urgup and the beautiful frescos, breathtaking paintings that were centuries old. This was a sacred space filled with light. Feeling uplifted several of us stopped to meditate on the joys that those who lived here shared. It felt like a place of immeasurable power.
Next to Cappadocia, where Persians, Romans and Byzantines dwelt. The area was overflowing with astounding sculptures, pillar rock formations and after a day of frolicking on hillsides, I was heading down when a Turkish woman gave me a hand beaded scarf.
We had a quick dinner of etiekmek in the town square again and then it was off to our hotel for a few hours of shut eye, but at 8:30 p.m. we were whisked off to see folk dancing on the pinnacle of a nearby mountain. Collected by a small bus we were soon spiraling up in the pitch dark with six audacious types. When we arrived, we were asked to remain at a kiosk before heading into the mountain cave. All of a sudden there was a whoop and a holler and seven riders on horseback charged up the mountainside coming to an imposing full stop at the entrance to the cave theatre. What a sight!
The folk dances told stories and often included the horses. At intermission we were invited to dance in the ring as the orchestra played music. A tango was played and I had to dance. Suddenly I was dancing the tango with complete abandonment and passion so heartily that my hubby said, “Cool it!” A past life had emerged and I was ‘Her’ again, (my Elizabethan self). I tried to contain myself but I wanted to be wild. Were these my last ‘wild’ days?
The underground city of Oskonak near Avanos where Turks once lived in apartment’s eight stories underground was on the next day’s agenda. These cities were created so that when fierce northern tribes invaded, the inhabitants could dive underground. A huge boulder would be rolled over the entrance hiding it and a year’s worth of food and oil. What a trip as we crawled on all fours mostly, reaching the fourth story underground!
In Phryga to Gordion the next day, we dropped in to the tomb of Midas who had all the gold. Here Alexander the Great “cut the proverbial Gordion knot”, so to speak. In 333 BC Alexander the Great on his way through Anatolia reached Gordium, then capital. Here he was shown a chariot that belonged to Gordius, founder of Gordium, with its yoke attached to a pole by means of a cord with an intricate knot whose ends were hidden. According to tradition this knot would be untied by the next conqueror of Asia. Alexander apparently sliced through the knot with his sword. The term ‘cutting the proverbial knot’ that has come down to us has become known for a ‘bold solution for a complicated problem’. At sunset I observed a shawled peasant woman baking flat yufka bread in an outdoor oven. She broke off a piece and gave it to me; it tasted delicious.
Next we were off to Ankara the capital of Turkey, a city of modern buildings, shops and bazaars. Traveling through the north of Turkey the following day we made a stop at Bursa, the silk capital of Turkey and later this eve we make Istanbul again; and it’s time to put up our feet.
I was gung ho to sightsee at 9 a.m. the next morning, but our tour guide was nowhere to be found! We sat around the hotel; exchanged addresses, although we hadn’t any to share as we had no home in Canada at this time. By noon I decided that our dear Nezli girl had abandoned us (she was exhausted and slept in), so I collected a few women and we caught a cab to the Topkapi palace. What a place! The decorative aspects of the interior were bar-none and when we reached the gem room I was flabbergasted. We came upon an entire rotunda filled with emeralds, some as large as footballs, circling inside a glassed-in sphere. OMG! I was spellbound and enraptured feeling the energy of these amazing sparkling jewels; hundreds of them that had belonged to the sultans.
That afternoon we took a ferry up the Black Sea for several hours, discovering this inland sea whose bottom is salty and whose top has fifty feet of fresh water. Because of the salty bottom, many ancient artifacts have been located beneath the sea when this area was a city.
Eve dining found us in the courtyard of the Pera Palace, the oldest European hotel in Turkey built to host passengers on the Orient Express; where Agatha Christie wrote murder mysteries. Violinists strolled the tables playing classical music, and Ms. Moon rose in the east while soft summer breezes wafted by.
The last day of our amazing Turkey escapade we visited the exquisite Hagia Sophia, a temple dedicated to Sophia the Goddess of wisdom, now a museum. When I sat in a corner of magnificence meditating I felt like I’d picked up what I left here hundreds of years ago to reclaim. My soul felt a loving expansion. It was an altogether amazing experience and I thought to write a book about her someday.
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