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On picking up stones

11th January, 2015 Egyptian Winter Solstice trip


 Stones talk to me. They are sooo seductive. They don’t have to be bright and shiny to catch my eye. Some whisper quietly ‘come get me’, others bellow ‘look at me.’ I often have to close my ears. To discriminate. What quality is being offered? Will it help me journey, heal or raise my consciousness? Reconnect to a sacred space.

Nubian Temple

Nubian temple stone.

This latter quality is particularly relevant in Egypt. A land strewn with stars and stones. Last year it was Aswan Granite and the beautiful Nubian Temple Stones that called most strongly. We’ve journeyed with them in workshops many times since then and collecting them kept a group of Aswan children in school when their teacher would otherwise have had to give up as had hadn’t been paid for months.

This year it was Egyptian flints – more like Menalites than our English flint. Wrought into amazing shapes and enticing simulacra. They found their way into my bag. Always with permission from where they were found. They’ll soon be helping us to make a journey down the Nile to raise the kundalini energy. I was fascinated to find a PhD thesis on the ideology of flint which says that it was sacred to goddesses who were ‘the Eye of Ra’ – which includes Sekhmet – and connected with snakes and lions. (Carolyn Anne Graves-Brown The ideological significance of flint in Dynastic Egypt – UCL… I already knew that flint was a divination tool back then, I’d covered it my MA research and one of my books, but I’m looking forward to savouring this thesis in depth. My brain needs a good workout.

Predynastic Flint Knives

Predynastic Flint knives,

I hadn’t realised how many stones there were until I went to pack. Or rather, how heavy the ones I had were. Thankfully Egypt Air allow you two 23kg cases and I always take a spare. So off to the airport I went and put the bags through the scanner. I was pulled aside and told to open the case. ‘You have stones?’ asked the guard. ‘Yes’, I replied, ‘natural.’ He clearly thought I was smuggling carvings. When he saw the stones the look on his face was comical. ‘Oh’, he said, ‘natural. You can go.’

Interesting how something so precious can masquerade as something so ordinary. I wonder what he’d have made of the beautiful Sodalite carving of Merit-Aten in my other bag.

Beloved of the god‘Beloved of the god’ is a rough translation of Merit-Aten. And she was. The elder daughter of the Pharaoh Akenaton and the beautiful Nefertiti, and Great Wife to Smenkhare, the mysterious Pharaoh of whom so little is known. She shone like a jewel. She is pictured on her mother’s knee in a very intimate family portrait.

Christine Hartley

Christine Hartley

My mentor Christine Hartley was suggested to have been Merit-Aten in one of her incarnations, or rather two as, having been murdered, the girl quickly reincarnated as her own niece. Christine was never totally convinced as she had no recollection of that life. But it felt right to me.



So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see a carving of Merit-Aten in a shop window in Luxor. In I went. ‘Lapis Lazuli,’ explained the shopkeeper showing me a genuine piece of lapis. ‘Sodalite’ I said firmly holding the carving. After long discussion and considerable hard bargaining – and almost having to show him Sodalite in The Crystal Bible on my Kindle – she was mine. At a very good price. It pays to know your stones in Egypt. She’ll be leading us down the virtual Nine in January. Can’t wait. You’ll see her photo then.



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