Journey Down the Nile – Day 8

Well, tonight we sail into Luxor and dock for the last time. We will remain here for the next three days. I, along with almost everyone on the boat, am sitting here on the top deck watching the sun fade away and twilight transition into an Egyptian night sky filled with stars. 

It’s strange to be so excited to see Luxor and yet, so sad to be saying goodbye to the Nile with its date palms and houses floating by as we pass along the neighborhoods. I will carry with me the sounds of the little ones waving from the shore, cheering us on, yelling “I love you!” at the top of their lungs, hoping and praying that we will wave back before our boat disappears in the distance.

We visited the Temple of Hathor today (pronounced “HAT-hore). She is the Egyptian cow goddess…the one the Israelites made a golden idol of when stranded in the desert. I have a natural affinity for Hathor. She is a mother goddess, a goddess of love who nurtures and cares for everyone. She also happens to be very cute in the carved images on the walls in the temples. When depicted as a cow she wears a lovely headdress and when pictured as a woman she has a very round open face and big cow ears…making her look a little like the princess from the movie Shrek.

Her temple today was breathtaking. Built loooooong after the temples we’ve seen earlier in the week that were erected around 5,000 B.C. This temple is new…only built about 2,000 years ago. The carvings are so crisp, the hieroglyphs are detailed and crammed absolutely EVERYWHERE in the temple: on the walls, the ceilings, the three-story columns. And the colors of the ceiling are vibrant blues: both light for day, and indigo for night. 

I won’t lie, this was my favorite day so far. I feel like I finally acclimated to the heat (100+ today), and the walking wasn’t so hard either…at least to a certain extent. 

And then we came back to the boat to have a leisurely lunch, a shower, an afternoon nap and then wake to swimming and Afternoon Tea. It’s been a little slice of heaven.

EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY:

Isis (the goddess with the big wings) and the god Osiris fell in love.

Seth (also called Setan…guess where we got the name Satan from.) was a mean-spirited, evil god who was very jealous of his brother Osiris because HE wanted to marry Isis as well. So he decided to kill Osiris. (But he way, Setan ended up marrying Isis’ sister instead.)

Seth (Setan) had a special coffin built exactly the size of Osiris (like the gold sarcophagus that you see of King Tut’s on the Discovery channel) and called all the gods together saying “If anyone can get into this coffin and it fits, I will give it to you.” Some of the gods gave it a try but when Osiris laid in it, Seth quickly closed the lid and threw the coffin into the sea.

Isis was so in love with Osiris that she went searching for him all over…and her sister went with her trying to help. Eventually, they found the coffin and Isis opened it and rescued Osiris.

Seth, not to be dissuaded, tried again, this time cutting Osiris into 14 pieces and scattering them all over the world. Again, Isis came to the rescue of her beloved. She and her sister were able to find 13 of the 14 pieces of Osiris (still missing his male member…yikes). So she went to the gods, asking them to make him a new one which they did…out of mud. Then Osiris was made whole. 

Isis made love to him in order to bring him fully back to life, and then she gave birth to Horace (the god with the head of a falcon). Horace, by the way, is the Egyptian god who brings order out of chaos. 

Later after he had grown a bit, Horace decided to take revenge on Seth and challenged him to battle. In that battle he lost an eye and the gods made for him a new one in order to reward his bravery (the eye of Horace). As a result, the eye of Horace is the symbol in Egyptian folklore of protection.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Tomorrow we wake at 3am for our sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings. Tomorrow afternoon we will get an escort to take us shopping for Egyptian gold and silver. It’s a strange sensation to be so excited about what comes next and yet longing so desperately to hold onto the moment at hand. Time feels just so precious right now. 

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