Luckily for me the Egyptian spiritual tour I was taking with Barbara Meiklejohn-Free took in the temple of Kom Ombo which has a shrine dedicated to Sobek, so when I finally arrived at the temple it was with a sense of anticipation.
Immediately I could see images of the crocodile god and his impassive reptilian countenance everywhere.
Before entering the temple we were first taken to the crocodile pit and Nilometer. A Nilometer is a shaft that was used in the past for measuring the depth of the Nile during the annual floods. Supposedly the shaft here once also contained the temple's sacred crocodiles.
As I approached the shaft I felt a chill, I had dreamt about this place! A deep hole with a low wall and people standing all around it, just as my tour group were doing now! Only in my dream the pit was hidden in a cavern and was bottomless, a black hole of despair! As I approached the shaft and peered in my hairs stood on end as I could see deeper and deeper into the well, and then felt a sense of mild relief as I finally spied the bottom far below. Still, I felt a sense of dread when I stood too near to this place!
At last it was time to enter the temple and visit its twin altars. One altar was dedicated to Sobek the crocodile god while the other one was dedicated the falcon-headed god Horus. We were told to enter right-hand doorway which led to Sobek's altar, then to proceed around the altar of Horus before exiting Horus's temple through the left-hand doorway.
As I was tuning in to the energies and preparing myself for my task I found myself lagging slightly behind the rest of the group. When I reached the altar I took out the crystal and placed it on the large black slab of rock which was the altar stone. I called upon the god Sobek to return to this Earthly plane and told him that his energy was needed here again. I placed my hand on the stone and closed my eyes.
After a short while I had a vision of a huge lizard-like creature standing to my right. He was almost as tall as the temple columns and carried in his right hand a long narrow staff which appeared to be made of some kind of dark metal. He pointed the staff at my crystal and filled it with his energy, a white light coming from the centre of his being, down the staff and into my crystal. The crystal started to glow with a blinding white light, and then down this beam of light I could see thousands of tiny creatures like tadpoles entering the crystal. I knew that they were tiny crocodile spirits, the sperm of Sobek the crocodile god.
I opened my eyes and found myself alone, the rest of my group having already moved on. I retrieved my crystal and then heard a "Pssst!" A local guy dressed in traditional galabeya was calling me over. I followed him and without saying a word he led me to a locked door and opened it with his key! He led me inside a darkened chamber that was completely covered in ancient carvings, and then he indicated the centre of the far wall which was carved with a relief of the god Sobek! I did not stop the question this mystical occurrence and with a sense of awe just knew that I just had to trust this guy and follow his instructions. He placed the palms of his hands against the carving of the god and then knelt down as if praying, indicating that I should do the same. I copied him and he then left the chamber, leaving me there alone.
As I stood there with my palms against his image I felt the power of the crocodile god enter me, filling me with his strength. I saw an image of the Aswan Dam and knew that it was near there that I must place the energised crystal.
My guide then led me to another locked chamber and indicated an Egyptian god holding a stethoscope which he indicated that I should place my heart against.
I did so and felt my heart receiving the energy and power of the crocodile god, a healing to give me the strength that I needed to complete my tasks here on Earth.
I then thanked my mystical and silent guide and proceeded to the altar of Horus to catch up with the rest of my group.
The next day we all got up super-early for the long drive to Abu Simbel, high above the Aswan Dam by Lake Nasser.
The 550 km long Lake Nasser, now one of the world's largest man-made lakes, was created when the Aswan Dam was completed in 1970.
The giant ancient-Egyptian statues and temples of Abu Simbel had to be moved 65 meters higher and 200 meters back from the river, in one of the greatest challenges of archaeological engineering in history.
Although the construction of the dam has been great for the Egyptian people so far, eliminating devastating floods and droughts, and generating huge amounts of hydro-electric power, it has been terrible for Egypt's crocodiles. The Nile crocodile still inhabits large portions of Africa and in ancient times it's range extended all the way down the Nile to the Mediterranean Sea. The ancient Egyptians revered the crocodile as the personification of the Nile itself and worshipped these ancient creatures in the form of the crocodile-headed god Sobek, to whom they built numerous temples. Sacred crocodiles were kept in these temples and when they died they were mummified and placed in sarcofagi with grave goods as befitted their high status. But now, due to the Aswan Dam and pressure from the growing human population, the crocodile is no longer seen North of the dam.
When I arrived at Abu Simbel I sought guidance if I should place my crystal there but was told emphatically no! The crystal must be placed near the dam!
After our brief visit to Abu Simbel we then started the long bus journey back to Aswan in the late morning and I was wondering how I was going to get near the dam to place my crystal. It was then that another one of those strange synchronicities occurred. Our guide suddenly announced that he was arranging a special optional excursion this afternoon to a Nubian village just below the Aswan Dam, not only that but these Nubians kept live crocodiles in their houses for good luck which they caught in lake Nasser! Naturally I signed up for the tour immediately!
After returning to Aswan those of us that signed up for the tour boarded the tour boat and headed up the Nile towards the Aswan Dam, passing by traditional wooden feluccas plying the waters
and camel trains following desert trails beside the Nile.
An hour or so later, as we approached the Nubian village I saw a large dark shape move in the water. It looked like the back of a seal or a small whale, but nothing like that should be living in the Nile! I took it as a sign from the river god and tuned in. "This is the place!" I heard. I unwrapped the crystal from its silk and carefully placed it into the water.
The crystal glowed with the energy of Sobek and as it reached the bottom of the Nile I saw a huge image of the crocodile god rise up out of the water. He was angry and swept through the water towards the dam, ripping at it and smashing it. The dam must be destroyed! It was blocking his power, the power of the Nile, the power of the river god!
Although the dam has had some short term benefits in the long term it is spelling disaster for those living downstream. The floods no longer carry the nutrient rich silt which formed the basis of ancient Egyptian agriculture and wealth, modern Egyptians must instead rely upon artificial fertilisers produced by petro-chemical companies. The rich Nile Delta is also now becoming stagnant, a breeding ground for mosquitoes and disease. Lake Nasser is slowly filling up with this silt which once formed the Nile Delta, and when it does so the dam will become useless.
The Nubian people living near Aswan were resettled there after most of their homeland was flooded following the construction of the Aswan Dam. The village that we were heading to was one of these resettlement villages, now surviving from tourism as much as anything else, with a small crocodile museum housing mummified crocodiles.
We were led to a traditional Nubian house where we were served flat-bread with strong Nubian cheeses and black honey (molasses).
An enclosure in the courtyard housed three sad-looking crocodiles, held in captivity since they were babies.
While a further cage held baby crocodiles which tourists could pick up to be photographed with.
The crocodiles here were crying for help, wanting only to be released from captivity and free to swim in the Nile again, but what could I do? I'm not capable of removing the Aswan Dam or even of releasing these crocodiles, but I can only hope that one day crocodile energy will return to the river Nile somehow, nature will once again find its balance, and the crocodile god Sobek will be appeased.
Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com