Malta, for me, was a reconnection with the mystical and mythological…a whirlwind visit that I imagine I am still digesting ( https://dawnbramadat.wordpress.com/letters-from-europe/). While wandering around one of many temple sites, having made my offerings and said my prayers, I struck up a conversation with another woman standing on her own. It turned out that she was a Canadian as well, and was in Malta following a soul calling that was still unfolding to her. I met Brenda again days later at the Hagar Qim temple complex, and we shared verbally our need to encounter these ancient sacred spaces in respect and silence, without the usual trappings of the organised tour. We exchanged e-mail addresses and she’s since communicated with me about facilitating exactly this sort of personal experience for visitors to Malta. She has sent me some information that I have offered to share here, on this blog…. Where are YOU going to be on December 21, 2012…?
It’s about hope…
Twenty-two years ago I boarded a plane for Europe and embarked on an unexpected journey. Perhaps it was symbolic that my baggage missed the plane and I arrived in London divested of my “things”…just me…standing alone in a foreign landscape. I had just finished my B.A. and my plan was to take a year to travel and work in Europe before beginning graduate studies. But there are the plans of the person and the plans of the soul. While there I “contracted” pneumonia and thus began the real travels, an eighteen year journey through Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I use the word “contracted” deliberately as I agree with Caroline Myss’ belief “that each of us is guided by a Sacred Contract that our soul made before we were born. That Contract contains a wide range of agreements regarding all that we are intended to learn in this life.” There is no question that the illness was my great teacher. This is not to say that I didn’t struggle with it. In her book Women Who Run With the Wolves Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about “…the great teacher we have been saying we want. ‘No, not this teacher!’ we shriek when she arrives. We want a different one. Too bad….The interior teacher surfaces when the soul, not the ego, is ready… and thank goodness, for the ego is never fully ready.” Mine certainly wasn’t. At first I felt like I was dangling on the edge of a cliff and hanging on with my fingertips, desperately trying to pull myself back up onto the solid ground of my “real life.” Eventually however I let go and dropped to sit at the feet of this new teacher and that is the first thing she taught me, surrender. The lessons were numerous. There was Ego Dissolution 101. Overnight I had been stripped of all my externals. I was more or less confined to my home, lost friends, went from earning a First Class Honours degree in English Lit to being unable to read the simplest book. I no longer had an answer to that common question, “What do you do?” Everything by which I had defined myself was gone. “Who are you now?” CFS whispered, “Who are you really?” The most valuable lesson though was the way the illness pushed me beyond my mind. Without my intellect to help me navigate the way, I groped like a blind woman and developed new ways to see, honing intuition instead. The course load was heavy, there was no recess or summer holidays and as year followed year, I had begun to think CFS fell under the category of lifelong learning and there would not even be a graduation. Enter teacher number two….enter Malta.Eight years ago my mother went to a retreat in the Kootenays and fell in love with a CD she heard there. It had been recorded in the Hypogeum in Malta. She ordered it and it arrived with a simple brochure offering pilgrimages to Malta’s 5000 year old temples. She had no idea when she showed it to me that she was setting her daughter on the path to heaIing. I had barely heard of Malta and could not have pinpointed it on a map. However, I looked at the brochure, looked at my mom and said, “We’re going.” It was the most illogical statement I have ever made. I was too ill to leave my house, let alone cross the Atlantic, but the pull to go was irresistible. So I took my backpack off its dusty shelf for the first time in almost twenty years, the same backpack I had taken on that initial trip to Europe which had started me on my journey with CFS. It was empty except for one thing, a butterfly ring that I had forgotten I owned. Illness had been a metamorphosis, a passage from one way of being to another, and now it was time to fly again.
Even on that first trip my arrival in Malta felt less like an arrival than a return. I felt like I was Home and, as in any true home, had the immediate sense of being looked after. I had no greater expectations than maybe having one good day during my month-long stay. However, I was amazed to find that within a week I was remarkably better and in much less pain. I had forgotten what it felt like to be able to move freely. Malta reminded me. It is impossible to encapsulate my experiences in Malta in a paragraph. That first trip alone is a book unto itself. Suffice to say that I returned to Malta twice more, each time experiencing the same phenomenon…better in Malta, ill back in Canada. On my third trip I made another sudden pronouncement to my mother, telling her that I was leaving everything (house, partner, pets, security) to come to Malta. I have been in Malta four years now and have made a full recovery.
People ask me what it is about Malta that has helped me heal. First it is important to understand that the illness itself was healing, taking me from who I was to who I could be. What has happened on this island has simply been a continuation of that process, as if I have been learning about the next phase of healing, one which blessedly has included the clearing of CFS symptoms. I think of Malta as yet another teacher, one who has the answers and guides me with hints and support but makes me do the work…and I have had to work. I have learned it is not enough to recover from the physical symptoms of illness. Just as I had forgotten what it felt like to be healthy, I have now had to let go of the memory of being sick. The emotional, mental and physical patterns that accumulated during twenty years of illness have been coming up for release. Fear (that my legs will give out, that I won’t be able to sleep) has had to be replaced with trust.
As for what makes Malta extraordinary…there is the cleansing sea, the warmth, the endless golden light. However, there is something more, something deeper, a strong spiritual energy that has run like a supportive backbone through this land for millennia. From the beginning I was drawn to the ancient Neolithic temples. I would say I sat at them for hours at a time, except at the temples there is only timelessness. They lift me out of the “now”, holding me above my struggles so I can see them from a higher perspective. The temples take me further out of my mind to a place where all is possible. It’s about hope.
……..OK. The above article was written for a journal out west and when I contacted Dawn to see if she knew of anywhere I could submit it in the east, she kindly offered to post it on her blog. In the original article I refrained from speaking about energy for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to reach everyone and I have met ‘ordinary’ people who are coming to the temples without knowing why they are coming. I, myself, knew nothing about energy before I ‘met’ the temples. Secondly, even after all the time I have spent at them, it feels like hubris to even attempt to define what these temples are. However, this being Dawn’s blog, I suspect her audience might like a little more information. After my first visit to Malta I remember having the sensation of being stretched on the flight back to Canada. That was because a large part of me never left the temples. On that initial visit I joined a group of women doing a ritual in a temple. At the entrance a woman asked me whether I was ready to walk in the ways of the ancestors. It was my first ever ritual, of course I said yes. I spoke above of sacred contracts…nothing has been the same since. After that I could not stay away from Malta for long and when I made the pronouncement that I was leaving my life in Canada, no-one was more surprised than I. I had no intention of doing so until I heard the words passing my lips. There were financial and visa impossibilities, but I felt exactly like a kitten who has just been picked up by its mother to be relocated. Since then I feel I have been under the supervision of a new, challenging teacher and the healing I have been undergoing has not been only physical, but also hugely energetic. In particular, feminine energy that I did not even understand was damaged has been surfacing in a new way.
Now I feel the time has come to share what I have been given here. To that end I have started a website www.maltaspirality.com in order to introduce more people to the temples. I am hoping to organize a group for the winter solstice as one of the temples is aligned with the sunrise. With a minimum of four people we can open all the temples before opening hours to experience them in silence. If anyone is interested please contact me. Dates are still flexible as I am taking feedback at this time. Debating between ending on the 21st so that people can be home for the holidays vs. beginning just before the 21st and continuing through New Year’s. Thank you Dawn for helping me get this out there.