Traveling one summer in Istanbul, I had just left Hagia Sophia and was headed back to my hotel. I could feel someone’s eyes on me. A blond American woman in Turkey quickly gets accustomed to the probing eyes of men. When I turned around, I met the gaze of a woman in a black burqa. Every part of her veiled, except her eyes. And she had the most beautiful ones I’d ever seen. Huge. Almond shaped. Dark as a starless night. Time expanded. I stood completely still, trying to return her gaze, it’s intensity consuming.
In Turkey, the very ground buzzed with the intensity of life. The land was a woman constantly giving birth, the divine feminine – the power of creation itself. Turkey helped me understand, in the flesh, why our three main monolithic religions made God a man. They were terrified of the unbridled feminine power of creation – because where there is the power to create, there is also the power to destroy.
Just as quickly as I had been drawn into her gaze, it ended. The woman in blue black robes gracefully folded herself into a large sedan of the same color. I watched the back of her head as she disappeared into the midday traffic. I have never experienced anything close to the intensity of her gaze – before or since that moment on Kabasakal street. And at this point, I don’t think I ever will.