The following story is from my book ‘Her Secret Service, Silent power of Womanhood’. And this segment on ‘Feminine Mystique’ is about Moses’ adoptive mother, Princess Cheheny visiting Temple Island and what she learned from her dancer friend Eresi.
Cheheny had wandered to her favourite part of the island. She let a cool, soft breeze caress her face as she stood on the crest of the bank, listening to the rushing and murmuring of the Nile, watching its fast flow. For a split second, she felt as if she moved instead of the water below. Bemused, she turned away thinking, “This island is a world unto itself!”
She visited the Temple Island more frequently now that Moses was away at the boarding school. She loved to walk in its fragrant gardens and observe the busy activities of the women who lived on the island. And she enjoyed lively discussions with its residents, who shared her interest in the wonderful, hidden things of life.
Shielding her eyes from the brilliant sun, she watched a labourer as he climbed to the roof of the limestone temple. A carrying basket of red tiles to replace the old loose ones sat on his back. Another man on the ground held the ladder to keep it steady. Beside him was a hand wagon containing more tiles.
Toward the south end of the island stood a row of cone-shaped beehives fired from clay. The large garden around the buildings, watered daily by the residents, was bountiful in flowers that nourished the worker bees’ constant need for nectar. Beekeeping had come to provide a major source of income for the temple.
Cheheny watched a beekeeper, her head covered in gray netting, hold a plate of lit candles at the upper opening of a hive while she blew smoke into it. The bees retreated to the back of the hive to escape the suffocating smoke. In the meantime, another woman removed the honeycomb through the lower outlet. The practice was swift and seemed simple.
They piled the combs on a cart and rolled it to a workroom, where they separated the honey from the wax, then mixed it with ground herbs for healing purposes or simply put it in clay jars for use as a sweetener. The wax they made into candles of many shapes and sizes. The honey, healing formulations and candles were sold in nearby markets along with other produce from their farm across on the mainland.
Done watching, for the time being, Cheheny now walked through a sheltered grove surrounded by date palms and pomegranate trees and was glad to sit down on a bench in the shade.
Just then, the principal dancer of the temple approached her with bouncing steps and said smiling, “May I join you?”
“Of course Eresi,” answered Cheheny, moving over to make room beside her. She liked this young woman whose free spirit and inquiring mind brought joy to her surroundings. The two viewed the peaceful landscape and listened to the buzzing of bees around the flowers.
The dancer then picked up a winged sycamore seed from the ground, separated the pod, and stuck it on the ridge of her nose. She looked at Cheheny with a funny expression and they both broke up in laughter.
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That started Eresi telling Cheheny about her carefree childhood as the middle daughter of a well-to-do silk merchant and his wife. Eresi had three sisters and three brothers in all. The family lived down the river close to the seaport, where the foreign ships docked and brought their goods for exchange with the Egyptians. Eresi’s home was surrounded by a large walled garden; here the youngsters were free to romp and play tricks on each other.
“What brought you to become an initiate in this temple?” Cheheny asked.
“I was always inquisitive about life. Where does it come from and what is its meaning? What allows a bee to find the subtlest essence of a flower, or a plant to flourish with nourishment from the soil, the water, and the sun?
What is behind it all? Undisturbed nature is perfect, and I will never cease to wonder what makes it so! To this day, I ponder these kinds of questions and everyone who lives here understands my passion.”
Smiling, she looked around her and said, “There is constant motion all around us, often so subtle that you can hardly see it. But sometimes, when the wind rises, that motion can be robust, even violent.
As a child, I imitated the movements of flowers, trees, bees, and birds. That was my beginning as a dancer; it became a way of worship for me, and here I may practice it every day.” She moved her arms in a slow spiral.
She continued, “We were encouraged to commune with nature. Mother believed that through a close relationship with it and its unseen workers, we can learn to weave our own, beautiful tapestry of life.
‘There will be no end to the marvel of it!’ she used to say. And she meant not only the wonder of what our physical eyes can see but also the life-giving power of thoughts that are in harmony with nature, thoughts such as thankfulness and love .”
“Is your mother still alive?” Cheheny asked.
“As a strong inspiration to me, yes! But she left this earth long ago. There was a certain feminine mystique about her, and a mystery about her arrival as well as her sudden death.
She was only fifteen when our father met her on his travels east of the river Euphrates. Later, she spun their meeting and subsequent betrothal into one of the greatest of love stories. The tale seemed different every time she told it, but was always embellished with the magic of her native mountains and the wisdom of its happy people.”
Chuckling, Eresi moved closer to Cheheny and turned her face to her with an expression of absolute delight. “Mother,” she practically sang the word, “had such a sense of adventure and love of the extraordinary that she could not be surprised at anything.
“I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that she saw us seven siblings, floating on newly found individual clouds in the garden. I am sure her way of responding would be to laugh and say, ‘Oh, that looks like fun, but be careful children, do not bump into each other!’ Whatever was imaginable to her, she also saw as possible. That gives you an idea of what kind of a person she was.”
Eresi thought quietly for a moment, then continued, “On a more serious note, she spoke often about her three rules for living: ‘Remember the Origin of everything, Live in Thankfulness and Nurture Life!
Follow these principles you cannot go wrong!’
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“She practiced these simple rules in her life, and she treated everyone the same way. We had many servants and they knew that the family respected them as individuals and appreciated the quality of their work. Therefore they performed gladly and sincerely returned the respect.”
Eresi’s mother had attended a special wisdom school in her early youth and perhaps it was because of it that she carried this feminine mystique about her! She was also able to express her spiritual knowledge in a clear manner. One morning she had spoken to the girls about womanhood.
The dancer remembered that occasion vividly. “We sat in the garden while a gentle breeze rustled the leaves of the eucalyptus tree above us. Butterflies darted from one flower to another and the sky was a perfect blue.
“There our mother began to teach us.” The young woman turned to Cheheny with sparkling eyes, “Would you like me to share with you what I learned?”
“Oh please do, I love to listen!”
With a thoughtful smile, Eresi said, “Mother spoke about the heavens, especially about the highest Feminine, the supreme model for us women.
“She said, ‘While our Creator remains eternally secret, out of His Brilliance issues forth the Radiation of Love, the Queen of Womanhood. She brings forms into being by her mere existence, and as the first embodiment from the Source, She radiates the Will of perfect Love into all the worlds.
‘From Her issues forth constantly moving and fashioning Power of Law of Love, always in perfect feminine/masculine balance, and with endless potential. To this Power, we owe our very existence and it affects us at every moment.
‘We can experience this reality through intuition, which opens up our understanding for the Light connections and for vibrant creativity otherwise dormant within us.
‘Become truly feminine, perceptive and humble, and you will receive perfect guidance and gifts beyond measure. Everything is contained in this attitude of feminine receptivity!’ Our mother urged us.”
“That sounds wonderfully simple,” exclaimed Cheheny. “But even if we understand it, to follow the guidance is a real challenge while living in the tumult of the world.”
“That is true,” agreed Eresi. “For me, being a resident of this ancient temple is good from that standpoint, but even here we create our own challenges.”
“Unfortunately it is so wherever we are,” said Cheheny. “We forget, because of the pressures from within and without, that our experiences are profitable only if we follow the inner guidance.”
“Yes, our bodies with their sensations, feelings and intellect are useful tools only when they do not usurp the mastership of the spirit. But thank goodness we have intuition and receptivity as gateways to understanding the language of the spirit.
“This language expresses itself in living, albeit flashing, pictures or sounds instead of earthly speech or thought. Also, a yearning for guidance helps open up the inner ear or eye to receive the clarity, support and strength of the Law of Love.”
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Both women remained silent until Eresi exclaimed, “Stay alert! Mother said. Spiritual pride and vanity are hostile to Light, and may result in personal imaginings and false visions! But by staying vigilant we are perfectly guided toward becoming fully conscious beings.
“Furthermore, gratitude roots the Power in the soul and sends strong currents of our commitment back to the Source. And the more we praise the Giver of All Gifts, the more we receive. Jubilant worship and joyous activity truly are the perfect prayers!”
“Your mother was truly a woman of Wisdom!”
“We were at her feet many times and my memory is a storehouse of knowledge she gave to us over the years. But I always felt that her whole being was the knowing.
“She made me realize that we women, as carriers of feminine Grace and Power, have a special role to play in the evolution of humankind.
We are the mediators for the Light because of the receptive nature of our spirits.
“We can ennoble our surroundings and transmit the Light radiations by simply being aware of It. This is how the Queen of Creation, or the Eternal Mother as She is also called, is our ultimate model.
“Our mother would smile knowingly and somewhat mischievously when she said, ‘I know from my own life experiences that the woman provides the anchorage of Light for her man; she is the support he needs to fully manifest his active and affirmative nature. Her mere existence, if she is committed to Light, brings fulfillment and success.’
“We can achieve the fullness of our feminine gifts,” Eresi continued, “by always remembering and honouring our Origin, and by thinking, feeling, and acting with the awareness it brings. Then we will have all the help we need, and our thoughts and actions are imbued with Grace.
“A woman who lives this way is beautiful no matter her physical age or form because she is a pure expression of her inspiring, original spirit.”
They sat in silence. Eresi closed her eyes as tears rolled down her cheeks. Cheheny, also moved by their shared experience, placed her hand on the young woman’s.
Finally, Eresi whispered, “The last time my sisters and I sat with our mother I was closest to her. After she finished speaking, she stroked my hair. Something very difficult to put into words opened up for me. I had listened to her stories and teachings for many years and thought that I understood their significance.
“But not until she touched my head with her hand did I fully, deep within, experience her words and the love they carried. At that moment she gifted me with simplicity, joy and certitude. They now are the foundation of my life.
“I am truly thankful for everything I received, and my sincere wish is to pass it on to you my friend.”