Sublime… certainly the best word to describe this day on Malta.
Some years ago I did a bunch of research on the Amazons; warrior women from Anatolia. From that research, I wrote a workbook and intended to help women that way… which I did to a degree, but my long term difficulty with expressing my gifts, combined with the 2008 recession put a damper on that whole idea.
During those years and because of my research, I developed a fascination with a place called the Hypogeum, so much so that I called my blog “The Hypogeum”. It literally means “underground”, from Greek hypo (under) and gaia (mother earth or goddess of earth) and I had gobbled up all kinds of “info” about it, but it was somewhat elusive to me in that I couldn’t imagine what it actually looked like or more importantly, how it felt. All my knowing of it was through reading about it or listening to my friends talk about it.
Today I actually went into it with a group of women and we all sang…
I heard my own voice in this incredible, underground and very ancient temple.
My own life flashed before my eyes, or I felt it all in quick succession. All the things that I’ve experienced seemed to flash quickly and I felt my connection to now and whatever was before. It was as though we were all simply dressed differently, but engaged in actions that were familiar. Have you ever been overwhelmed with reverence? That’s what happened for me. I felt the eternity of being and now know how vast that is!
Another thing that folded into this time in the Hypogeum was a memory. At some point, I buried a baby daughter there… I know, that’s totally weird, but I did. I felt her little body in my arms and I felt the heartache at her loss… but there was another emotion too. A deep sense of peace was remembered. Peace that I could lay her perfect self inside this womb of the earth and I KNEW that she was well. I was simply missing her. So different that the rituals we have here for our beloved ones who pass away.
Most of the women I have traveled here with I didn’t now before this trip. Now, I feel like we have shared something so timeless, we could remain close and always be able to relate as sisters.
Logistically, Jennifer and Joan had a lot of navigating to do to get us to both the Hal Saflieni Hypogem and the Tarxien Temple today. Both sites are right in the middle of Paola, Malta… a busy little town. We got dropped off by the bus and escorted from one place to the other by Joan and/or Jennifer. Traffic, shops, homes, cemeteries, churches… Paola is a busy town, too.
Underneath all that are these places, although Tarxien Temple is above ground. Where the Hypogeum was discovered at the turn of the century (1902) because of an apartment building being built. Tarxien was discovered because a farmer was bugged by the big stones that were messing up his plowing activity around the same time! Progress obviously continued, but these two sites were protected and excavated.
At the Hypogeum, normally you go down with 10 people who you probably don’t know, and listen to the descriptions or commentary the museum offers. This is certainly not as amazing as what we got to experience.
Jennifer arranged for us to go – just our group in groups of 10 – AND she also got permission for her to jump over a barrier and sing inside one of the chambers. She has a remarkable voice to begin with, but that mixed with the sound of the silence (which is audible) made me cry.
Jennifer escorting us down into the Hypogeum, with Vicki
Lots of tears for me; something I’m not prone to but had been doing almost daily on those islands. Again, it was meaningful, but also so “everyday” in a way. We remained ourselves, while we were all transported into the wonder of the ancients. Such difficult transitions that day for us, but so beautiful, none the less.
Vicki commented how she felt like she’d just had a full blown hallucination while deep in the earth, but was forced to get her shit together quickly as we walked back up through the watery steps to the entrance. She failed miserably and ended up weeping in the bathroom for a bit before we made our way back to the buses.
There are experiences that we have which can redefine us, mold us anew. Going to the Hypogeum was one such experience that changed me. How it changed me is a bit elusive, other than I know that my life is richer now.
As we left the site, there were people gathering to take their tour after we left. The sense of being held in a state of grace left me and I immediately knew that our journey down into this place was very special and unusual. Clearly, they were not companions in any way, yet they were going into the sacred place together and would most likely, have a bit different experience than we had been given. I doubt they raised their voices in song together, or had a sense of the place as we had.
My thoughts didn’t take away anything from my moments there, but I did have a deep sense of gratitude that I had gone there with these women.