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"Journey Into Egypt, Part 3: Cairo and the Church of the Apparitions of Mary"

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"Journey Into Egypt: part 3: Cairo and The Church of the Apparitions of Mary", published April '01 in"Women Spirit Rising"

It has been 2 months since I've returned from Egypt. The day to day experiences have faded as Marin County/San Francisco life again has taken the foreground of my perception. Traveling into such a foreign culture is probably always such a wonderful opportunity to expand one's mind, and combined with the amazing initiations we received, left an indelible imprint on my psyche. One of the vast cultural differences I noticed was in the way traffic operates in Cairo. This city has around 17 million people. As we were driven upon our arrival from the airport to our hotel in a late model Mercedes tour bus, I sat up straight in my seat, jet-lag forgotten. The roads were packed even late at night. There was a wide range of vehicles: buses, older taxis, cars, and horse and burro-drawn flat carts slowly carrying men and boys with their vegetables. Honking was constant. The newer buses all had musical horns that would loudly send out a melody every time they were used, which was quite often. Many of the cars didn't have their headlights on so as to conserve their power since the drivers couldn't afford to replace them when they burn out! No one used any defined lanes. Sometimes there would be 3 lanes abreast; sometimes there would be 4 vehicles squeezed into the same expanse of road. Somehow the drivers had agreed to a system of cooperative and creative jockeying into position. There seemed to be a need for quite a sense of aggressive placement, yet I didn't sense any overt anger or hostility. The Egyptians had made the seemingly chaotic situation work. At times I watched nervously as our bus would miss the next vehicle by an inch, as our driver would use a stubborn style of power tactics we might term the "chicken" game.

Along the way to the hotel, we were driven near the Pyramids of Giza, just close enough so I could see them in the distance. I instantly felt transported into the causeway in the Great Pyramid and started a new dissolution into myself. Ah, what an entrance into the mystery of Egypt. The perception of the dualities of existence there continued to unfold for me. Wealth/poverty, urban/country, lush/arid, noisy/quiet, bustling/still, old/new, low/high vibrations; all of these were in intimate position to the other. I didn't get much chance to speak with Egyptian women. Men serve mostly as the tour guides, drivers, waiters, and as store personnel. The dichotomy in the behavior of the men was pronounced. As in any culture, the gamut is run. We were admonished to dress quite modestly because the men had gotten the idea that all American women are easy, so to speak. Many Egyptian men asked me to marry them. One was quite rude, returning my loud and flat "NO!" with "Why not?" as he continued pestering me until I finally had an entourage of other Americans around me. One storekeeper at the airport grabbed money out of my hand and disappeared. At another place one tried to grab money out of my friend's hand but luckily her male friend was with her and he grabbed it back. I learned to never go into a store by myself or I would suffer the consequences of an amazingly overt display of hard- sell techniques. Trying to get out the door or away from a pestering man was like playing basketball when you had the ball and having someone block you every which way you turned. Other ways of sexual harassment were the norm. I could not last long there, I know, holding in my enthusiasm and temper. I love to dance sensually and generally feel uninhibited in the way I walk, dress, and generally purport myself. Friendliness in and of itself was risky. Another place where several of us were "taken" was at the temple sites. The guards would lure us usually one at a time and pretend to do magic or holy communing with us in a special room or segment of the site, then demand "Baksheesh" (tip) or try to grab or kiss us. On the other hand, there were the wonderful genuinely respectful Egyptian men. Several times in the sacred sites, a man would look at me and very heartfully and cleanly say "Welcome to Egypt". It seemed some people were very happy and honored to have us foreigners there to partake of the sacred energies. One of our guide's male aids was always sweet, kind, courteous, and respectful when he helped any of us with physical handicaps. I cut loose one night for one dance to a band in our hotel and he happened to see me, blushed deep red, and turned his head. I was sad saying good-bye to him.

As we drove through the country on our way to sacred sites, we passed by many mothers and children who would wave enthusiastically as our big tour buses would go by. Their houses consisted of 1 or 2 small mud rooms with dirt floors and open holes in the walls for windows. Their yards were tiny plots where their animals lived, all caked with manure all over their bodies. Yikes. The people would be sitting outside right by the busy roads, talking or cooking. There was garbage everywhere. Strewn about plastic waste littered people's yards, including those that bordered the Nile. The plastic bag litter was so profuse on the walk to one lesser-known sacred place that at first I thought it was a huge field of beautiful white-flowering plants. In addition to the garbage, I saw large dead animals belly up at the edges or in the open water canals throughout Cairo. Row after row of multi-storied mud buildings had string after string of brightly colored clothing hanging outside. Vertical rebar, metal rods which are used as foundational building material, were sticking out of many buildings, ready for when the next story would be added in response to Cairo's huge growth sprawl. Children were everywhere begging or working hard at selling tourist items. I hear that compared to India, Egypt is quite mellow. I was glad when we flew to Aswan to our cruise ship and left the poverty, noise, and smog of Cairo.

In addition to mosques everywhere and the broadcasting of live Muslim prayers many times a day, are the many Christian sites. One in Cairo was the Church of the Apparitions of Mary which we experienced the day before we left Egypt. It's famous for having been the site over the years of many apparitions of Mary which have been seen and photographed by many people. It's also rumored to have been built on top of old Isis temple ruins. As we pulled up to the church I recognized it immediately from a picture of it I had purchased in Mt. Shasta many years previous. I had felt very drawn to the picture, not even knowing where the church was located, and had filed it away in a drawer wondering why I had purchased it. We entered the church and sat in pews, sharing the space with many Egyptians who were talking loudly with each other. I immediately found myself in an extremely deep and silent meditation, outward sounds forgotten. An incredible sense of peace became me. My mind stopped and with my inner eye I began to see another time's procession of people in brightly colored robes walking up and around a hill. I communed deeply with the energies as Mary appeared to me, clear as day. I had never experienced my vision in this way before, it being all through my left eye. I was told later that this had been the initiation of the Left Eye of Horus. The world which I was then seeing and experiencing was magnificently vital, complete, and in its own dimensional reality. Mary spoke to me about how it was time to once again come forward as Pure Essence of Healing and being of service in this way as we had before. I was deeply anointed. The power of her love was gratifyingly overwhelming. My ability to become nothing other than that Essence was magnified as I allowed my release into that simplicity of being. Although I didn't want to leave this precious state, I was guided to open my eyes and go forward to pray with the 5 tapestries of Holy beings that were hanging in the front of the church. As I stood, a tiny and ancient looking Egyptian woman dressed all in black came up to me and spoke in Aramaic or some other Egyptian dialect. She kept on and on trying to get me to understand her, even trying to enlist the aid of another Egyptian woman near her. She gestured me forward to go up to one particular tapestry on the side and tried to tell me of something I was to do outside the church. (Burn my prayer candle there?) I thanked her and went forward to the tapestry she had pointed out to me. It was of Mary with her hands and arms slightly out from her sides and facing forward. Her hands were offering healing energies outwardly depicted as colored lights fanning out from her fingers. (How interesting- this was how Yeshua had first appeared to me years before.) I stood in front of her and prayed for wisdom, healing, and understanding of how to fully become that Essence in the world. I moved on quickly to the other tapestries as we were being urged to complete and return to our bus. I still felt such in another world. I sat in the bus and saw the little Egyptian woman cross the street who seemed like a clue to an ancient time. As I waited for all of us to return, I felt more of the armoring dissolve from around my heart. I felt so tender, so blessed, so belonging to the world of Love.

Mary is still with me. That same feminine Christ energy comes forward at the drop of the hat, so to speak. Soft, unconditional care and love. She's here again with me every time I remember that aspect of myself. When I feel her there is no extraneous thought or impulse. That sweet softness overpowers everything. She is all-pervasive in the Graceful Simplicity of the message which she contains. The Purity is like that of an everlasting flower, a flower who knows who it is- it can be none other than that and blooms forward with its sweetness and healing balm for whomever wishes to partake. May humanity drink deeply.

Rev. Christine Hodil is a vibrational healer with a specialty in sound, ordained minister of the order of Melchizedek; spiritual counselor, improvisational vocalist, and mystical educator with 17 years experience. Christine is available for in-person and phone sessions, and Fusion empowerments. 1-800-325-0264.