Equinox, Turkey, Yom Kippur, Lunar Eclipse & World Cup Rugby
It’s the Equinox today. For us in South Africa and the southern hemisphere it is the point of turning out towards Spring and Summer; for those in the northern hemisphere it is the point of turning in towards Fall (here in S.A. we call it Autumn) and Winter. Such a special time of year – when the earth stands still for a brief moment before it tilts and turns on its axis – and for when we also note these changing seasons and what they portray on both visible and non-visible levels – there’s a shift, we sense it.
It was wonderful to return home last Wednesday from my adventures with Susan Schwartz in Turkey. My husband was welcoming – he did not play golf as he always does on a Wednesday afternoon! The garden is beautiful with buds and blossoms blooming, many in my absence. My orchids are a delight!
I had a fever on my return but with a good night’s sleep, I woke on Thursday feeling better. All is well on the home front, save for ongoing disturbing news here and abroad.
Turkey – how to say in a few brief words on a blog post. Vast, vibrant, verdant, colourful, thrumming, thriving, handsome, beautiful, magnificent, ancient, modern. We travelled southwest from Istanbul (pop. 12 million) then eastwards stopping many times en route and overnighting; and a 12 hour drive back to Istanbul from Ankara leaving at 7.00 a.m. on our last day. Many hours in the air-conditioned bus, travelling, travelling, beautiful countryside, interesting architecture in the towns, mosques everywhere, their gilded minarets pointing up towards the sky. Hot, 35 degrees most days or a little more. Walking among ancient ruins telling of time before – steps, many steps, climbing up and climbing down (Ephesus), amphitheatres (Pergamum), caves (Göreme-Cappadocia), Salt lakes (Pamukkale) – places of ancient beauty –
Çan (pronounced John or Jan) our Turkish guide, a very tall, very lean and handsome man of around 33 or so, spoke English extremely well and was very knowledgeable and kind. Naheem our driver was a sweetie. The others in our group were interesting and lovely. A young couple from New Zealand, 4 Australians, 3 young Mexican women. Gabriella from Mexico was here in Johannesburg visiting Alexander Township on an exchange from the London School of Business when Mr. Mandela died nearly 2 years ago; she was so moved by the national outpouring of grief over our deep loss. We saw and experienced much on many levels. I am still digesting which will still take much time for me to process. I even took some videos on my Ipad when Susan and I took a boat ride on the Bosphorus on our last day! A first for me!
And Yom Kippur, which begins tomorrow at sundown, the holiest day in the Jewish Calendar. The Day of Atonement. At-One-Ment. Susan and I spoke a little of this while in Turkey. A few days into our travels was the beginning of the New Year – Rosh Hashana – with Yom Kippur still 10 days away. This day asks much of the person observing the 25 hours of Yom Kippur. It is a rigorous examination of one’s life over the previous year, confessing all one’s sins to G.d, repenting and asking forgiveness. It is a time of fasting as well, denying bodily comforts as a way of focusing on repentance. And prior to the covenant with G.d, making right with those to whom one has caused harm in any way and asking their forgiveness. It is a cleansing for those who repent and a joy to be cleansed. A solemn time indeed. O that we all – of all stripes – do this! The shofar sounds at sundown the following day and a feast ensues!
And a few days later, on the 28th September, the total eclipse of the full super-moon, ‘…also called a Blood Moon because it presents the 4th and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad: four straight total eclipses of the moon, spaced at six lunar months (full moons) apart’. *
And the Rugby World Cup which began last Friday night at Twickenham, London. Our Springboks played Japan on Saturday night in Brighton and horror of horrors, we lost. South Africa is in the top 3 of the 20 countries taking part. We’ve won the World Cup (played every four years) twice in the past. But, Japan outplayed us. We were leading by a hair’s breadth in the last few minutes 32:29 but Japan scored a try in the last minute to win 34:32. It was a totally nerve wracking match and we’re all in shock at this completely unexpected result. The shock has been felt world-wide. One of the only times I feel patriotic and feel that buzz is when our boys in green and gold and the crowd in the cathedral of the rugby field (or soccer field) stand to sing our national anthem Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika which is sung in 5 (of our 11) official languages: Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English. I’m always reminded of 1995 when we took the World Cup on home ground – Mr Nelson Mandela was our newly elected President (1994) and to see him walk onto the field prior to the match, and after to raise the cup with Francois Pienaar the captain, were unforgettable moments. S’truth, unity … what a feeling … a birthing moment.
And, in a sense, I feel as if we’re in a birthing moment with change all about –