To the Edge – or Falling into The Treasury

Entrance Road to Siq

Road to Siq

“Hey Bahrain!” the Jordanian cowboy called out as he waved me down.  “You want your horse ride today?  It’s free, part of your ticket.”

“Sorry,” I told him.  “We are allergic to horses.  Plus, we arranged for a donkey today.”

“With Juomaa?” he asked.

“Yes,” we confirmed.

Defeated, he shook our hands and said good-bye.  The game was over.

9:20. Of course, we were late.  The tour groups had already made it to the Treasury.  A sound floated our direction – a whistle? Our eyes followed the sound to the grinning Maaz, still dressed in brown.  We hardly recognized Juomaa sitting next to him, looking regal in his thobe and gold ghuttra.

Our Salams said, we boarded our 5-star donkeys.  Our tent-mates insisted we could make it to the High Point of Sacrifice by ourselves, but Joumaa’s promise to show us the unmentionable place held my curiosity.  Maaz led my donkey while I texted my husband.  “If you don’t hear from me by the end of the day, then send someone to look for the circling buzzards.”  Following narrow trails, we reached a silk-rock cave.

“This was a classroom.”  Joumaa pointed out the markings on the walls.  They were early 19th century, nothing ancient.

“And here is the place,” he said ushering us around the corner before he hurried away.

Ancient Fertility Symbol

The unmentionable  – a reminder of the Goddess’ rites practiced under a full moon – a huge phallus carved in the back wall.  After seeing that big boner, I understood the Old Testament tirades against Baal.

The visit took ten minutes.  4,000 years later, save the lone phalli, there was nothing left of those wild, fertile times.  When we returned, our donkeys were gone.

“I sent the boy ahead.” said Juomaa.  “We will walk this way.”

Joumaa Kudblan #petra bedouin guide @evathedragon 2013

He led us through trees and boulders, narrow passages.  We were not the first to cross the ancient steps, but we definitely needed a Bedouin’s guidance.

I heard humming, the echo of a thousand, gathered voices and whispered to Juomaa.

“Shhhh, he said pointing at Louise.

Still wearing her gold shoes, Louise broke through the brush.

“Close your eyes,” I said.  “Hold out your hands.”

“Why?  What are you going to do to me?”  Conjuring the vestal virgins, she stood tall and held out her palms.

“We will guide you.”

As if she knew her fate, she asked in a regal tone, “Where are you taking me?”

“Trust us,” said Juomaa.

It took us a dozen steps to walk her across the boulders.

“Stop here,” Juomaa commanded only centimeters from the edge.  Gripping her forearms so she could not break away, he said, “Now – open them.”

Startled, she nearly fell.  Then tears swelled in her eyes as she took in the Treasury below us.  From our ledge, the tourists and the Bedouin looked like ants.

treasury overlook people are ants by @evathedragon 2013

“It’s so beautiful,” she whispered.  “I am overwhelmed.”

Surprise,” said Juomaa.

To be continued …

ABOUT JUOMAA KUDBLAN THE PETRA BEDOUIN GUIDE

Jouma Petra Bedouin Guide Jordan by Eva the dragon 2013

Juomaa Kudblan, Mr. Friday, was a man we instantly felt comfortable with.  His mobile is 00 962 7 7753 5425.

You can arrange to meet him at the Petra entrance, or, if you are lucky, arrange to meet him at Haroun’s for a sunset trip to the Monastery.  He charged us each 50JD for our four-hour tour.  His rate matched the rates quoted on Frommer’s.  His donkey were well-cared for, and he is a kind, stable individual.

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Who was the Sphinx? and other interesting questions

The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker

If you ever sat down to eat your lunch and “just” took a peek at your friend’s new photos on Facebook, then looked up and saw it was dinner time, you understand the genius of Facebook.

Before Facebook and Wikipedia, there was a genius named Barbara G Walker.  When I open her book The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, I find the hours have disappeared as I jump around exploring such things as Montanism, to Cybele, to Antaea. Then I discover when witches were carried to prison their feet were not allowed to touch the ground.  Why Not?

Answer: So they could not get power from the earth ie, Mother Earth.

In the 1960s journalist Barbara G. Walker began investigating the disappearance of a Goddess.  No one seemed to why the Goddess no longer starred in ceremonies or why no one wrote rave reviews about her anymore.  Occasionally close observers noticed her small cameo appearance in books and films.  For twenty-five years, Barbara Walker sifted through the clues to see if she could write a story about her.  Walker discovered the Goddess existed only censured by centuries of patriarchy.

In 1983 The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets was completed. Walker wrote about all the clues she found: 1,350 entries on magic, witchcraft, fairies, elves, giants, goddesses, gods, and psychological anomalies such as demonic possession; the mystical meanings of sun, moon, earth, sea, time, and space; ideas of the soul, reincarnation, creation and doomsday; ancient and modern attitudes toward sex, prostitution, romance, rape, warfare, death and sin, and more.   Then she linked and cross referenced ideas, religious traditions and people across centuries.

By opening The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets your mind will be introduced to perspectives and ideas never discussed in a classroom or in Bible study.  And you will know why some libraries have banned the book.  If this encyclopedia wets your appetite, you can read one of her eleven other books about myths, symbols, crystals, tarot, spirituality and rituals.

Or if you knit, you can join her fan club at the Walker Treasury Project.  A woman of multiple talents, she wrote 13 books on knitting including the renowned “Treasury of Knitting Patterns”.

I have never met Barbara G. Walker but I would love to.  Born in Philadelphia in 1930, Walker read the King James Bible as a teenager.  “She decided the Bible “sounded cruel. A God who would not forgive the world until his son had been tortured to death–that did not strike me as the kind of father I would want to relate to.”

Walker obviously thinks for herself and has enough confidence to say this idea does not resonate with my soul so I better look at it more closely.  She displays all of her human complexity and allows herself to be passionate about many things: writing, researching, atheism, knitting, humanism, social criticism, social work and dance.  Just like the Goddess she searched for, today, Walker the person is a bit elusive.  She lets her work be her legacy.

Facebook is criticized for revealing too much minutia about people’s personal lives and Wikipedia carries warnings about its lack of authoritative sources yet people “go to” both of them if they want to find out something.  Opponents criticize Barbara Walker for the quality of the information and her feminist bias.   But her bibliography is 15 pages and her cross-referencing is fantastic.

Just like I use Wikipedia for a quick answer to a question or Facebook to find someone, Walker’s encyclopedia is a go-to source if you want to begin to explore anything about women’s spiritual or mythic history.  And 30 years after its first printing, HarperCollins reissued the book with an updated cover proving the Goddess is still in demand.

Whether banned, criticized or lauded, I love it and always find something that makes me say “Now that’s interesting.”

Hvov, “The Earth” an Iranian form of Eve.  Zoroaster’s followers called her Mother of All Living.  Known in India as Jiva or Ieva.

Hmmmm that’s interesting.

Oh yes, the Sphinx.  Look up the Great Goddess Hathor and compare to Oedipus and the Sphinx.

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