10 Haziran 2015 Çarşamba

How can there be a window where no wall remains?

From a rose garden in Konya
Simin Uysal

This week, I have been working in Konya on an environmental protection project. Konya, has a special place in my heart for being the home of the Mother Goddess and the great teacher, mystic and poet Rumi where he lived most of his life, taught and produced his works.

Rumi believed passionately in the use of music, poetry and dance as a path for reaching the Divine. For Rumi, music helped focus their whole being on the divine and to do this so intensely that the soul was both destroyed and resurrected. It was from these ideas that the practice of whirling Dervishes developed into a ritual form. Rumi encouraged sema, listening to music and turning or doing the sacred dance. In the Mevlevi tradition, sema represents a journey of spiritual ascent to the Perfect One. In this journey, the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth and arrives at the Perfect. The seeker then returns from this spiritual journey, with greater maturity, to love and to be of service to the whole of creation without discrimination with regard to beliefs, races, classes and nations.

In between the meetings, I stroll around the same places where he used to walk and I sit in the same places where he used to sit and teach. Yesterday, during my walk in one of the seemingly endless rose gardens, one of his poems started echoing inside me.

"With the Beloved's water of life, no illness remains
In the Beloved's rose garden of union, no thorn remains.
They say there is a window from one heart to another,
How can there be a window where no wall remains?"

Repeating his words to myself echoing from almost 900 years ago, I sat there in the rose garden watching the swans swimming in the pond. His words carried me to such a place deep inside where all could feel was love and light. The roses were singing and the swans were dancing. 

Then I moved to the tea garden nearby where I recalled Shams Tebrizi, friend and teacher of Rumi who spent forty days with him in Konya, teaching. I grabbed my book to read again his teachings titled "The 40 rules of Love". Here they are: 

Rule 1

How we see the Creator is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If the Creator brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see the Creator as full of love and compassion, so are we.

Rule 2

The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your ego with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

Rule 3

You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.

Rule 4

Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advices, ‘Beware too much ecstasy’, whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

Rule 5

Most of problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.

Rule 6

Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.

Rule 7

Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.

Rule 8

Patience does not mean passively sitting and waiting. It means to look at the end of a process. What does patience mean? It means looking at the thorn and seeing the rose, looking at the night and seeing the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

Rule 9

East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.

Rule 10

The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.

Rule 11

The quest for love changes the person. There is no seeker among those who search for love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for love, you start to change within and without.

Rule 12

There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner light. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the light of God pass through them.

Rule 13

Try not to resist the changes, which come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

Rule 14

God is busy with the completion of your work, both outwardly and inwardly. He is fully occupied with you. Every human being is a work in progress that is slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection. We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. God deals with each of us separately because humanity is fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.

Rule 15

It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human being with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.

Rule 16

Real faith is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure water, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.

Rule 17

The whole universe is contained within a single human being-YOU. Everything that you see around, including the things that you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for the devil outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you set to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness.

Rule 18

If you want to change the ways others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered with roses.

Rule 19

Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.

Rule 20

We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.

Rule 21

When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine bibber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearance. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees the inner realm.

Rule 22

Life is a temporary loan and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.

Rule 23

The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it fells upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.

Rule 24

Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy or fight someone we tumble straight into the fires of hell.

Rule 25

Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level of tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batin – the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.

Rule 26

The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.

Rule 27

Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbours ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of 40 days, because you will be different inside.

Rule 28

The past is an interpretation. The future is on illusion. The world does not more through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.

Rule 29

Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to live everything to the fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all pervading and it is composed on 40 different levels. Your destiny is the level where you play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well you play it is entirely in your hands.

Rule 30

The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a single bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?

Rule 31

If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss or fright, one way or another, we are all faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before…

Rule 32

Nothing should stand between you and God. No imams, priests, rabbis or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters and not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.

Rule 33

While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, only to leave it all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.

Rule 34

Surrender does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in surrendering to the power that comes from within. Those who surrender to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.

Rule 35

In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insan-i Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.

Rule 36

This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. For not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody is setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even a leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. Whatever God does, He does it beautifully.

Rule 37

God is a meticulous dock maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.

Rule 38

It is never too late to ask yourself, “Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?” Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one-way to be born into a new life: to die before death.

Rule 39

While the part change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every decent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.

Rule 40

A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western. Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.

5 Mayıs 2015 Salı

An Anatolian Day of Dreaming

Simin Uysal

Hıdrellez, is one of the seasonal festivals of all the Turkish world. Hıdrellez Day, which is known as Ruz-ı Hızır (day of Hızır), is celebrated as the day on which Prophets Khidr (Hizir in Turkish) and Elijas (Ilyas) met with each other on earth. The words Hızır and İlyas have since merged together and pronounced as Hıdrellez. Hıdrellez Day falls on May 6.

In the folk calendar used by the people, the year used to be divided into two: The period between May 6 and November 8 was summer, called the “Days of Khidr”, and the period between November 8 and May 6 was winter, called the “Days of Kasim”. May 6 thus represents the end of winter and the start of the warm days of summer, a cause for celebration. 

There are various theories about the origin of Khidr and Hıdrellez. Some of these suggest that Hıdrellez belongs to Mesopotamian and Anatolian cultures, and others that they belong to pre-Islamic and thus shamanic Central Asian Turkish culture and beliefs. However, it is impossible to ascribe the Hıdrellez festival and beliefs surrounding Hızır to a single culture. Various ceremonies and rituals have been performed for various gods with the arrival of spring or summer in all eastern Mediterranean countries since ancient times. 

One widespread belief suggests that Khidr is a prophet who has attained immortality by drinking the water/elixir of life, and who has become immortal and wanders around among people from time to time, especially during spring, and helps people in hardship and brings abundance and health. In Turkey, where belief in Khidr is widespread, some of the characteristics attributed to him are : 

1. Khidr rushes to the aid of people, whose in difficulty and grants peoples’ wishes. 
2. He always helps well-meaning people with good intentions. 
3. He brings abundance and wealth wherever he passes. 

4. He brings remedies to those who are troubled and healing to the sick. 
5. He helps plants to grow, animals to reproduce, and human beings to become strong 
6. He helps improve peoples’ fortune. 
7. He is the symbol of good omens and good fortune. 
8. He works miracles. 

Hdırellez, one of Turkey’s seasonal festivals, is actively celebrated in the country. People prepare beforehand for Hıdrellez celebrations in villages and small towns, although rather less now in the big cities. These preparations concern house-cleaning, clean clothing, and food and drink. Before Hıdrellez Day, houses are cleaned from top to bottom, since people think that Khidr will not visit dirty houses. New clothes and shoes are purchased to wear on Hıdrellez Day. 

Fasting, votive offerings are traditions in some parts of Anatolia to make prayers and wishes come true. Sacrifices and votive offerings should be for “the sake of Khidr”. 

Hıdrellez celebrations are always performed in green, wooded places, near sources of water, or near a tomb or shrine. Eating fresh spring plants is another custom in Hıdr
ellez. It is also believed that picking flowers or plants in the countryside, boiling them and drinking the water will heal all illness and that this water rejuvenates and beautifies anyone who bathes with it for forty days.

Various dreaming practices are performed on Hıdrellez night (May 5th) in the belief that Hızır will bring blessing and abundance to the places he visits and the things he touches. Food bowls, pantries and purses are left open. Those who want a house, vineyard or garden believe that Khidr will help them obtain such things if they write, make a small model, painting or a drawing of their wish. These are then hung on the branches of a rose tree, left or buried under it on Hidrellez night. Another version of this is writing or drawing the wish on a small piece of paper and dropping it in flowing body of water such as a creek, river or the sea at dawn on Hidrellez day. 

Bonfires will be built tonight, where people will be gathering around them to sing, dance and jump over the fire for cleansing. Of course, there will be plenty of food around!

Tonight, many will be incubating dreams, hoping to catch a glimpse of the events in the new season. Some girls hoping for a husband will go to bed after eating something salty and not drinking any water, hoping their future husband will appear in the dream presenting them a golden bowl filled with water. 

Tomorrow morning, if you walk around the streets and look around shortly before dawn, you can see people rising and opening their windows and doors, inviting in abundance carried by Khidr to fill their houses!

This is a festival where we dream our best dreams and celebrate them in community. You are invited to join us in celebrating yours !  

26 Şubat 2015 Perşembe

Dreaming in Japan: Mt. Fuji, Hawk and Eggplants

Simin Uysal

I was in Japan last week on a surprise trip and I was deeply impressed by everything I've seen in this beatiful country, including dreams.

After being in Osaka for a few days, I traveled to Tokyo where I rose from an exciting dream on my first night. In Anatolia, the dream(s) you have on the first night in a new place are considered important and as an omen and I have the habit of paying special attention to such dreams for as long as I can remember.

In one part of the dream, while rushing towards a specific place, I came across a group of Japanese women in a courtyard I had to pass through. Although I was hurrying to accomplish a mission, I decided to stop and pay attention when I noticed they were sharing and talking about dreams. Noticing my presence, they came closer and asked me many detailed questions about dreams which I answered thoroughly. While talking with them, I noticed a non-Japanese old woman, who was extraordinarily tall, in a plain white long dress and very long white hair reaching her feet listening to and looking at me with great attention, nodding with an approving smile.  When I start talking about dreams, I don't know how to stop and at one point, I found myself teaching them how to share dreams: the Lightning Dreamwork Game by Robert Moss. They followed the instructions and liked the game. As I started running again in a hurry towards my destination, I paused for a moment and said "Don't forget that dreams require ACTION!"

I woke happy and excited from this dream on the morning of February 19th and while checking my emails, the first thing I noticed was that it was the first day of the Chinese New Year. 

I decided to follow my own advice in the dream and my action was to start learning about how the Japanese regarded dreams, especially the first dreams of the new year. I learned some very interesting things:

Remembering dreams especially on the first three days of the new year is important in Japan. Hatsuyume is the Japanese word for the first dream of the year and traditionally the dream foretells the luck of the dreamer in the following year. Since the night before the first day of the new year is passed with celebrations and without much sleep hatsuyume is the dream one has on the night of the first day of the new year. Therefore, in the traditional Japanese calender Hatsuyume is also the name of the second day of the year (the day after the night of the first dream).   

Since the Edo period, there is a belief that dreaming of Mt. Fuji, a hawk or an eggplant are especially lucky! It is not so difficult to understand why a sacred mountain or a hawk is considered lucky but the eggplant was a surprise. It is my favourite vegetable which I refer to as the "sultan of all vegetables" but I was in Japan! I found two theories explaining this: One suggests that this combination of Mt.Fuji, hawk and eggplant arose because they were the favourites of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The second theory which I like more, suggests that the word "nasu" means both eggplant and a great achievement.

It is also considered lucky to dream about the seven deities of good luck and visiting the temples of these gods during the new year holidays was a practice. It is believed that on the new year's eve, these deities in their treasure boat enter the port to bring good luck to the people. According to tradition, sleeping with the picture of these deities on a boat under one's pillow is a way to ensure that the first dream of the year is a lucky one. There is also set of pictures you can use as talismans for lucky first dreams:


The one the right with the Seven Gods of Luck is hung outside to attract good luck and the one on the right with the Crane and Tortoise for long life is hung in the bedroom. 

What if one has a bad dream on the first three days of the new year then? In that case, you can get rid of the bad dream and the bad luck by floating the picture with the gods down a river. And a tapir can help you, too! You can place a picture of a tapir under your pillow or use a pillow in shape of a tapir to sleep. Tapirs, although not found in Japan and became known through travellers' stories in ancient times, are believed to eat bad dreams! 

I learned all of this fun and interesting information as part of my action plan following the first dream of the New Year (Chinese) in a place I slept for the first time. The second part of the plan was sharing these in my blog. I think, my dream was a lucky one! Sweet dreams!

5 Şubat 2015 Perşembe


Simin Uysal

It truly fascinates me to see how our dreams,among other things, can provide us with great insight on our current emotional states and help us through challenging ones in unexpected ways.

A couple of weeks ago, I rose from a dream where I was under the sea with a shark! I don't perceive sharks as bad and they have helped me in some dreams. This one was different though. We were face to face and I could see its teeth and it was not friendly at all.

I am only human and although I am a good swimmer, there is no way for me to compete with a shark. I was feeling totally terrified and sure this shark was going to eat me alive. I briefly tried recalling the documentaries about what one can do and even thought about kicking its nose to make it go away but quit the idea because obviously it was not going to be helpful. I needed help and needed it NOW!

At that moment, I started hearing something like a song from the depths of the sea. Then within a few moments, I could see a gigantic whale rising from the deep. The whale was so big. Its colors were blending with the depths of the sea and the sunlight from above. It was here to help! The shark, now reduced to the size of a toy compared with the whale, disappeared instantly. Then we made it to the surface and breathed together. It was such a memorable moment for me. The whale gently carried me back to the ship which was about to enter the harbour.

I rose from this dream relieved and my heart feeling light as feather. Having been struggling with emotional challenges for some time, the whale has helped to rise above them. Dream incubation has been a practice of Anatolian people for more than 4,000 years. The cuneiform tablets tell us that it's been practiced by the Hittites and a thousand years later in the temples of Asklepios and Serapis.

On top of bringing enormous relief andemotinal  healing, this dream also made me curious about whales. I did not know and wasn't too curious about whales but I am now! The great sperm whale, as I learned after a little research, is one of four whale species found around the seas surrounding Anatolia, especially the Mediterranean.

Through dreams, we reconnect with not only the spirits of the land but also the seas we live together!    

30 Kasım 2014 Pazar

Ancient fire altar in Amasia

Simin Uysal

Roman coin with the fire altar and the temple 
I was thinking there was nothing more left to learn about Amasia until last week when I started silently wondering about whether having a small fire ceremony would be possible and where we could do it.

My friend, without having an idea about my thoughts, showed me a short article in a magazine the same night, about the historical findings related to a fire altar in Amasia!

This ancient Roman coin, produced in Amasia during the reign of Severus Alexander (222-235 AD) depicts a temple and a fire on the mountain where the remains of the citadel is still standing. The fire altar has been unearthed in 2007 by the archeological excavations by the local museum. Interestingly, it is believed to be dating back to 334-330 BC to the Hellenic period. The museum thinks that the fire cult has been strong in Amasia during Helenic and Roman periods and is associated with Zoroastrianism.

Well, my question seemed to have been answered by the ancestors of this beautiful land. This city continues to amaze me!

The citadel still standing on Mt Harsena

12 Kasım 2014 Çarşamba

Dreaming with the ancestors in the Land of Thousand Gods

Simin Uysal

It was almost two years ago when I had a powerful and mysterious dream. In the dream, it was twilight and I climbed a hill with an unidentified person beside me to see a cubic stone which I knew belonged to the ancient Hittites. I woke from the dream with a sense of urgency yet without a single clue about what to do. I am living on the same land where the ancient Hittites did almost 3,500 years ago and I've started reading about the Hittite civilisation but could find nothing related to this stone. I had no idea then that this dream was the mark of an adventure involving the ancient Gods of Anatolia, Pharaoh Ramses II and the Amazons!

Although I didn't know, the adventure began when I received an email from a dear friend of mine two months ago, asking me to work as a communication expert for a few weeks in an internationally funded project in the Black Sea region. I agreed but the timing felt interesting as I've been working on a book on a tight deadline. The task required traveling back and forth to the project site for almost six weeks and staying there during weekdays. We decided to drive together and during our journey, she suggested we visited Hattusha,  the ancient capital of the Hittites on our way. I started having goosebumps while approaching the ancient city though the dream was long forgotten. We parked the car and started walking up the hill and entered the remains of the Great Temple. I was feeling very much excited and I saw it.....a green nephrite stone was there right before my eyes! I started recalling the dream. 

Green Nephrite Stone 
I was still unsure about its significance and decided to think about it later as we had other interesting points to visit. As we were driving uphill towards the upper city, overlooking the planes, we saw a rainbow which felt like a message from the greatest deity of the Hittites, the Storm/Sky God Teshub . After walking through the Lion Gate and seeing another rainbow, we headed towards the sanctuary of Hattusha, Yazilikaya (inscribed rock in Turkish) to visit this holy place at the gates of Hattusha, the City of Thousand Gods.  

Lions Gate at Hattusha
There are two chambers in the temple and Chamber A was most impressive, where we saw a rock-cut relief of 64 gods. Mountain gods were also there with their scaled skirts symbolising the rocky mountains. We even saw the goddess Shaushka (Mesopotamian goddess Inanna/Ishtar). Walking between the ancient gods and goddesses, we finally reached the storm-god Teshub and the sun-goddess Hebat where Teshub stands on two mountain gods and the sun goddess stands on a leopard. e made our offerings and proceeded to Chamber B which was in better condition and the 12 Gods of the Underworld could be clearly seen carved on rock on one side and King Tudhalia IV of the Hittites in the embrace of God Sarruma on the other.  We made our offerings again and continued our on our journey northeast.

Twelve Gods of the Underworld 
King Tudhalia IV in the embrace of God Sarruma

I arrived at the project site which is a beautiful town by the Green River (ancient name Iris) and most impressive mighty Mount Harsena where the rock carved stones of ancient kings watch over the town. It is also the place where the ancient geographer, philosopher and historian Strabo was born around 63 B.C. According to Strabo, the name Amasia comes from Amasis, the queen of the Amazons, who were said to have lived here. The name has changed little throughout history: Amasia, Amaseia, Amassia and Amasia are all found on ancient Greek and Roman coins. Today, it is called "Amasya" in Turkish and all have the same pronunciation. 

As I was briefed on the project, I learned the water coming from the mountain was being wasted because of the leakages in the system and the sewerage was being discharged directly into the Green River causing it great pollution. And  it was most saddening and heart breaking for me to see the river polluted so badly and precious water being wasted in this beautiful place. The project is for building a wastewater treatment plant which will be commissioned in two months time,  renewing the sewerage system and directing it to the plant instead of discharging directly the Green River and detecting and repairing the leakages. I believe the project will help the Green River which flows through three cities and many towns for 500 kilometers until it reaches the Black Sea, become cleaner.

Amasya - The Green River and the Rock Tombs

The waking events finally seemed to be catching up with the dream. The green stone, as I learned later, is believed to be a present from Pharaoh Ramses II to the Hittite King though noone seems to be sure about its significance! When I think about the "nephrite", I am reminded of "nephritis", a kidney disease caused by toxins where the kidneys are inflammation can no longer purify the blood. The green nephrite stone, served as a great metaphor for the Green River, like the veins of the Earth carrying and circulating waters and the metaphoric existence of nephritis and it certainly inspired me on this assignment with the most unusual and inconvenient timing. 

I felt this was a perfect opportunity to approach this assignment with Sandra Ingerman's teachings in "Medicine for the Earth". Being assigned the task of a "communication expert" of the project and having had the dream where I believe the spirits of the land supporting this, I thought, I had to first communicate with the Green River, Mount Harsena and the spirits of the ancestors. I took long walks by the river, sat with the trees on the mountain, carefully followed my dreams of the night and spent time with the inhabitants of the town before sitting behind the computer to write my report. 

Walking by the river and watching others, I saw the depth of the trance we are in and how disconnected we are from nature which we are part of. Technology and modernity provide us with many comforts I am thankful for but our current way of life clearly does not support all of life, even the elements which give us life. With these feelings and thoughts on my mind, I started wondering how the ancient peoples were actually more evolved than our technologically advanced modern society. I decided to visit the local museum for some inspiration. As soon as I stepped inside, I saw an ancient statuette of the Storm/Sky God Teshub on display and recalled the recent visit to the temple where I saw King Tudhalia in the embrace of God Sarruma. I left the museum with a feeling of curiosity about this King. 

When the Hittites came to Anatolia, to the "Land of Thousand Gods", they adopted the local beliefs and gods of the local Hatti civilisation. The existence of a god (or seeing everyhthing as sacred) for everything tells me a lot about their way of life in balance with and honouring nature. I later read it was the Hittites were the ones who constructed the first reservoirs, water ways and sewerage made of earthenware pipes in Anatolia. King Tudhalia IV, as I saw in carvings of the temple, was the one who has built 10 reservoirs. Water cult was an important element of the Hittite belief system and those who damaged water pipes or polluted the water were punished. The Hittites also carved shrines near springs and rivers which were considered as sacred, for honouring water deities. 

3200 years old Hittite reservoir built by King Tudhalia IV, discovered in 2002

There is clearly much to learn and be inspired from the ancestors of the land. We have all the resources we need for taking care of all life we are living with. It is not difficult but requires us to wake up. 

I prepared my report with these feelings. The core message of the awareness raising actions is simple: "Water is sacred and everyone is responsible". 

A press conference was held at the building site of the waster water treatment plant last week. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a sweet friendly black dog when I arrived at the site which has become a sign (or a tail wag) from the universe since my beloved black dog died of old age a few years ago. This was not the only good sign because a ray of light between the mountain peaks started lightening exactly the area we were standing while the mayor was speaking and saying "as a municipality, we are dedicated to honouring nature. we owe this to our descendants." I was also pleasantly surprised to learn the municipality have started producing electricity from the solid waste because I worked on a solid waste management project around 2009 involving rehabilitation of the dumpsites to protect soil and ground water and also recycling of solid waste. 

Working in the narrow cobbled streets of the town the next day and enjoying the warmth of the November sun, I came across a door with the figure of the Hittite Sky God carved on it and inscribed "Teshub's Mansion". My heart was smiling with the confirmation that the ancient gods and ancestors of this land were supporting every action honouring all of life. Ancient peoples of Anatolia had ceremonies and rituals and shrines. They also honoured the gods/spirits as a way of life, in everything they were doing as daily activities. After the Hittite civilisation disappeared and Phyrigians established their state on the same land, they continued honouring the ancient mother goddess of Anatolia, Cybele by considering everything under the sky as her temple. 

The relationship between ancient peoples and nature is most inspiring. They did not have electricity, car or smart phones but they were smarter than us today to know their lives depended on honouring all of life. 

The adventure continues and I will be training municipal staff on commmunication techniques in a few weeks time. My dream followed by the recent developments, have restored my hope in these projects and now I am working with lots of wonderful  inspiration from Medicine for the Earth (which I think needs to be taught in schools and workplaces!) which Sandra Ingerman teaches and shares with great generosity with the world. I feel that I am now a completely different communication expert than I've been in the past twenty years :-)

The door inscribed "Teshub's Mansion" 
Teshub - Storm/Sky God of the Hittites




3 Temmuz 2014 Perşembe

The Tale of Fairies from the Land of Beautiful Horses - Cappadocia

Simin Uysal

A few months ago, I had a dream where a white dove appeared and said "Follow me". I  naturally started looking for stories and the search led me to the fairies of Cappadocia. 

Cappadocia (meaning the Land of Beautiful Horses), in Central Anatolia, is a popular touristic place with its importance in early Christianity, rock houses, wine, underground cities and also for its dreamy volcanic rock formations which are  sculpted by wind and water, called the Fairy Chimneys.  
Here is the tale of fairies from this dreamscape:

"Once upon a time, scary giants used to live on our Great Earth. Humans were always scared from them and they were careful not to enrage them. To keep the giants pleased, they used to leave offerings for them on the altars on high mountains. But the giants would get angry from time to time despite the offerngs and send great waves of fire and thunders. These waves of fire would burn down everything the humans had. 

Humans, who do not understand the reason behind the rage of the giants, started leaving more offerings and praying more. Nothing they did seemed to calm the giants down. 

One day, the Sultan of Fairies comes to visit this land. The suffering of humans gives him great sadness and he decides to help. He gathers all the fairies to tell them about his plans. "Our human brothers and sisters are in a difficult situation and we need to help them. If we can put out the fire of the giants, they will be scared and will go to hide underground so will never bother the humans again" he announces. Upon hearing this, all the fairies started carrying snow and pieces of ice to the boiling fires on the mountain. After days of hard work, finally they succeeded to put out the fire. Finally, the giants were scared and fleed to hide underground. 

Humans and fairies celebrated the victory of the fairies together and started living peacefully together. Humans were living in houses carved in rocks while the fairies were living in the small chambers at the top of these caves."

The tale does not end here though. There is more and it continues with a love story:

"Humans and fairies living together peacefully, have their own separate sultans. The sultan of the humans has a handsome and brave son named Revan and the sultan of fairies have a beautiful daughter named Gülperi.

One day, Revan decides to travel to underground to take revenge from the giants who have caused much suffering to his ancestors.  He  easily passes through all the doors leading to the underworld with ease. But when he arrives at the final door which he opens with great anger, a giant rock rolls over leaving him trapped inside a room. He understands he is trapped by the giants but it is too late. Handsome Revan, unable to find a way out this trap starts waiting in despair. 

Meanwhile, the daughter of the fairy sultan is having the same dream night after night where a handsome young man is desperately asking her to save him. Intrigued by her recurring dreams, she tells them to her nanny who, after carefully listening says: "your dreams are true. There is indeed such a young man who is trapped in the underworld and you need to save him" Upon these words, Gülperi gathers her guardians and goes looking for the young man. They find him unconscious in the chamber he was trapped and carry him to the fairy sultan's palace where Gülperi helps him heal with medicine unknown to humans. 

When he finally opens his eyes, Revan sees the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. They fall in love. Gathering his strength, Revan returns to his palace and asks for his sultan father's permission to marry Gulperi. Sultan becomes thoughtful upon this since there has been no marriages between the fairies and humans until then and decides to consult the circle of elders.  

After heated discussions, the elders decide this marriage is impossible because the fairies live in the sky, the humans on earth and fairies are immortal whereas the humans are not. This would bring humans to an end, they conclude. This marriage is impossible and the young man must be under their spell.  
Upon this decision, the sultan decides to declare war on the fairies to protect the humans and to force them out the land. He jails his son so he can't run to warnl the fairies. 

The fairy sultan becomes very sad upon hearing the war plans of humans. He gathers his people and says "we saved humans from the cruel giants but humans are weak and forgetful and now they want to fight against us and they want us to leave. I know they will wake up to their fault someday. If we fight against them, they will suffer a lot and their losses will be great. However, if we leave now the cruel giants of the underworld may take advantage of this and return to attack them again. We need to continue protecting humans but they should never recognize us." And he asks all his people to shapeshift into doves. 

The fairies, now in shape of doves, continue living in the small chambers right above the rock carved houses of humans. Gülperi, in shape of a white dove, never leaves the sad prince alone and continues to fly and perch outside his window everyday."

You can see the fairies in their new shapes especially in the dovecotes carved in the soft rock in whatever space allowed. Their droppings fertilize the land, producing sweet fruits and tasty wine. If they believe you are peaceful and loving enough, you may even be able to see them in their original shapes while walking around the fairy chimneys at dusk or dawn. 

A Fairy Chimney in Cappadocia