Heart of the Temple
On a recent trip to Egypt, I found myself almost instinctively placing my palms over certain hieroglyphics in the many temples I visited. It was as if I was being taught to read this ancient language through my hands. Even after so many centuries, these holy places vibrate with a palpable energy that is hard to describe. The sacred symbols seemed to express something beyond words, and many times I would be directed to scoop up the potent essence of the hieroglyphic in my cupped palm and place it over my heart.
After a few days of doing this, I noticed being drawn to certain glyphs, particularly the winged scarabs. Whenever I saw one, I surreptitiously collected its energy for my heart like a secret treasure. Then someone told me it was the ancient Egyptian symbol for love. These winged scarabs, they said, would often be placed at heart level on the walls of the central chamber of a temple. This was the living templeÍs heart. I then began to press my chest against the scarabs on the temple walls (when the guards werenÍt looking) feeling my heart quicken in resonance with a force that pounded from the still vital temple heart. Each time I placed my heart on the heart of the temple, It was unclear if my heart was beating for the temple or the templeÍs heart was beating for me.
Not only was the beating of the scarabs wings the heartbeat of the temple, it was also considered the pulsing center of all creation. Modern physicists say that the physical center of the universe is whatever point it is being calculated from. The center of the universe can be anywhere and everywhere, even on a temple wall or in the heart of a man. Which makes each of us the center of all creation, something the Egyptians knew long before the "new" physics. The Egyptians associated the creation of all life with the sun god Ra. They believed that Ra brought forth the universe and all that it comprised through projecting the desires and visions residing in his heart into space. To the ancients, all of creation is consciousness and love is the substance from which consciousness experiences itself. The key to creation resided within the heart of Ra.
Noted author and student of the Egyptian mysteries, Normandi Ellis, told us a story about Isis and Ra while we sailed up the Nile.
Long, long ago the Egyptian sun god, Ra, created virtually everything that existed in the world. More powerful than anyone, he ruled both heaven and earth. Isis, a clever goddess gifted in the arts of magic, was curious to know the basis for RaÍs power to create. She desired to know Ra's secret great name, because it was the key to his magic and would give her greater power.
Isis spent a lot of time wondering how she could obtain Ra's secret name. As Ra grew older and more feeble, she devised a plot. Whenever Ra drooled, Isis gathered up his spit. Kneading the spit with earth, she fashioned a serpent. Although the serpent came forth from Ra, he had not created it, so it was outside of his control. Isis formed the serpent into the shape of a dart and placed it on Ra's daily walking path across the sky. When Ra passed by, the serpent reared up and bit him.
Soon, Ra began to burn with the serpent's poison. He couldnÍt understand the creature's behavior and was horrified to discover that he had no power over it. He could not cure his body of the terrible pain. Ra called to his children for help, but they could not end his suffering. Eventually, Isis came forward and offered to work her magic to end Ra's pain. However, she insisted she would help Ra only if he revealed his secret name. Knowing his secret name would allow Isis to penetrate the heart of Ra, and access the mysteries of creation, Ra offered a variety of nicknames. But clever Isis was not fooled. She had heard them all before. Fearing for his life and in great agony, Ra finally gave in and transmitted the secret great name from his heart to Isis's, allowing her the ability to create life. Her heart was now as RaÍs, holding the prime impulse of the beginning of all that is.
Later, as I again stood heart to heart with another temple wall, a deep inner knowing moved through me… there is no mystery… there is no secret name… your heart is the heart of Ra… you are the center of creation. I remembered the story of Ra and the incredible lengths Isis went to get something she already had. I saw how we have continued to participate in the ancient myth that the ability to create was in the hands of an all-powerful being only. We believed that the powers of the gods were outside our capacity as mere mortals and there was some secret mystery to uncover. For too long we ignored our power without even knowing what that power really was. The pounding in my chest reminds me that my heart is my power.