The Souk (part 1)

(Souk I)

[This essay describes (mystically and metaphorically) a model for secondary school education- ideally open to all and from all walks of life. Here is an article from the New York Times that addresses the need for incomes besides ‘service’ sector for “retirees”. It could be applied more broadly.

As a nation, and culture, we seem to train folks for a really limited future – that benefits the “rulers”, not the people. No surprise there when schools have developed in reaction to inequality – rather than a broader outlook. ]

The souk is an Egyptian marketplace where you can find anything you would ever think to need for home or caravan- as well as items never seen before.

Active year-round, it’s a place of cacophony and business (busy-ness).

For the Egyptian government, the souk is an important resource. Money flows from commerce. Hundreds of proprietors have storefronts that collectively fills several blocks. Proceeds flow directly into the local coffers (or could, if designed that way).

Being at the crossroads of one of Africa’s arteries, the souk plays an important role in commerce and tourism- and has, for centuries.

As a construct, the souk is really several small to medium-sized, some ages-old, established markets and is testament to sustainability –whilst living, otherwise in a desert[1] environment.

Now geared to tourists – people with passing interests, or at least the parts we saw, the souk evolved by and from necessity.

The particular one we visited, the Khan El-Khalili, is located at the confluence of desert roads (and Nile barges) connecting South and West Africa with the Mediterranean and Holy Land.

As a hub, it’s open year-round.

To give a sense of the size- the Khan El-Khalili, the largest and oldest souk and jam-packed head to toe with ‘finery’, is 5000sq meters. Here you’ll find elegant rugs, tapestries, and metal wares.

While that’s a third the size of a typical Walmart – this is one of several versions back to back – forming a network that spreads from where it once stood behind castle walls, to include smaller souks for  second hand clothing, gold and silver smiths and leather goods, for example.

In any given souk, one gets a sense of redundancy – but each shop has its niche, appealing individually.

Initially the first (fancy) souk was built on palace grounds and naturally,The Khan El-Khalili was limited to exclusive (royal) shoppers. [2]

I mention this because the Khan el-Khalili souk was opened to commoners after the Fatimid Empire fell in ~1000AD. (I wonder if there aren’t some still sore relatives out there somewhere…)

Initially Surrounded by high walls, non-royals had little or no opportunity to ‘see’ how the privileged[3] other half lives- if not for serving them.

But for a palace to be built, let alone the pyramids and temples nearby, they needed roads and places for the builder’s to eat and sleep. Today’s souk derives from markets for commoners, general travelers, and crafts people – for example.

There’s history about how opening the souk to ‘commoners’ helped Cairo become what it is today – instead of staying a hermit kingdom surrounded by taupe- of both walls and sand. But I’ll leave that for historians to further explore, we will go somewhere else with this essay.


in the souk there are nor customer greeters, no color-coding, or clear signage – unlike Walmart.

While one can find typical furnishings, visitors to the souk might also want water carriers, herbs (drugs), tools) and knives (with their sharpening maintainence). You won’t find these along any predictable back or side wall- one must have their eyes peeled at all times. Until recently there were few public restrooms or toilet.  If you’re lucky, there’s a tucked away sign – in Arabic.

So visiting the first time, it’s wise to have a guide. Afterwards as long as you’re accompanied, you can go without one.

By then you may be used to negotiating without need for aid or signage – if you keep visiting, rarely and for but little reason – then as things change – which they do, you can modify with them as you adapt to new information.

Honing all along to your groove of sorts, you can stay in at-one-ment paying attention and acknowledging shifts. 

(For “shifts”, recall “f” is Peh without dot, so is the energy for sh*t as it comes up). Keeping up with life’s river as it happens might be called, “going with the flow”. You can make adjustments (for a next time – or not)- because you do the paddling.


While a bit whirlwind, as in rapid and without much time to savor sights and sounds, I loved visiting with our guide Magya who carried a parasol. She brought us there after we visited [4] the Cairo Museum and Giza pyramids.

That is, my ex-, my then 15 month old son Sam, and me piling in and out of a mini-van with stroller. I was seven months pregnant wearing ‘modesty layers’, (clothes worn not for weather but so as not to draw attention). We were spectacle. My ex- was in the army, his short hair stood out (and he wore logo a baseball cap!  

(So I could not be ‘undercover’ – not look American. My usual M.O. is to blend in like chameleon.  I love more authentic experience.)

By our waveform data of voice, gestures, vision, our experience was framed. It was clear we were American.


To give justice to  any centuries old structure which has sustained epochs (unlike me, living for a sliver of time), and to find the most imposing architecture, gardens, or fine fabric shops (my favorite subjects for a picture or support my hobby of sewing), I’d buy a map and, with the help of tour books, decide on attractions I wanted to see. 

To further plan, I’d read Moon, Insight, and/or Lonely Planet Guide’s descriptions[5] of ‘the souk’s best ‘ in pictures. With that info (and now the internet), I’d make a list, might even print it out and bind it in my (plastic) ring-bound travel folder.

Then, with itinerary in mind, head off in a direction -but try to leave time to wing it afterwards (or at least feel free to choose) -allowing for serendipity.

I developed the approach when I was (young and) single. I traveled to Europe, India, and Nepal that way and had rare scathes or unpleasantness.

If there were two of us (or more), I’d get everyone’s list, find the sights most agreed on – and we’d do those. Usually others’ ideas are as good as my own. If my choice wasn’t amongst the favored, I might feel a little shortchanged (but now I know I usually find fun[6] anyway –and if ‘deprived’, I have a new goal- to return for chance at another run through-if I were that interested.

I find I prefer traveling as an “our” and “us” now and not just me, because I am physically soft and bruise easily. “Our”, because as a woman, I like being accompanied in my pre-dotage[7].[8] I love “us” having an extra set of eyes, hands, and heart with me too, especially traveling away from home.


Normally, instead of using a guide, or even if I had one and we got some “free time” (we didn’t during this trip, or I was too tired) I’d want to ‘poke’ around and explore the oldest part’s. Cairo’s souk, being as congested as it is, would take a couple of hours to ‘walk across’- say from any entrance to entrance, let alone meandering.

My ex- wasn’t up for that, especially pushing the stroller over any cobblestone. Nor was I.

So for the two or three days we visited Cairo after the boat, Magya was indispensable; she even occasionally carried Sam, while we looked around. Even as a baby, he was a heavy child, for me with ‘bad’ back; unlike his sibling, he has dense bones.

Since we only had a couple of hours, we trusted Magya for an experience we’d enjoy and find relevant. She didn’t disappoint. We appreciated her guidance. I didn’t buy or bring any maps other than what was given for the first time.

Meandering, going to places ~not in a straight line, brings opportunity for serendipity (both pleasant and averse).  I can expect to immerse sequentially in several different sensory worlds – at least according to guide books.

There are many places I feel comfortable visiting al(l)-one, but none significantly Muslim – even countries with lots of Muslim immigrants (now). Their men’s cultural view of wo(e)-man, is warped; I’ve been touched without permission.

Since being married, I appreciate the power of “our” and “us”, especially when I’m going to go out to “shop”. I’m gullible, I want to ‘believe’ everybody -so I appreciate my other half’s less attached observations. ‘Course if we both of like it, then out comes the wallet.

Even though we had a child, our double income gave us shopping power.


For all the hoopla about Egypt’s problems, the souk and Cairo are actually quite safe. But even a guy should have a buddy. If you’re with a buddy and honor your common sense, you can help each other stay focused. 

For women both, are imperative- we can’t dominate with brain’s muscles, hands or our stature (as a rule), but with brain’s mouth.

In the souk, we learn to shut it unless for obligatory activities -like haggling.

(Humanity told they lack or are “less” then, repeatedly (soma Psych believes what she hears), with media subliminally conditioning by telling sad and desperate stories about individuals- spirits shrink as one’s soul covers up with karmic goo.

They can’t see you more than they see themselves- another form of talking trash.

So they think nothing of separating you from whatever it is you are flashing about in their virtual dog-eat-dog world- instead of ouroboris (snake eating its tail- lives of reap what you sow- and honoring the laws of attraction).

So I must warn of pickpockets- a sad, but necessary, reality)


Entering  by any of several directions, din greets you reaches you from the ground up. Depending on times of day month or year, entering the souk can feel immersed in steady stream of  hu(e)-man- ity.

At the souk, one’s senses may at first be overwhelmed. Dense packets of light photons and reverberant sounds reflect off of wood and metal. Living textures, shapes and colors moving; with acute hearing, I  heard abayas swishing.

Molecules of cooking and perfume fill your nose.  Sound waves with exotic intervals and timbre, delight one’s ears and being. (Ok, hearing music might be my imagination – maybe I’m channeling Morocco’s. Maybe Cairo’s had incessant hammering, reminding one of changes and impermanence?)

For tourists, shiny objects, lit and metal, cascade from displays- to inform (and light) one’s pathway- like living Celestine Prophecy.

Regardless from which direction, and there are many, each participant has their own first impressions. What seems ‘light’, now, is fashion at best. Regardless of your direction of entrance, the djinn greets you- reaches from the ground up.

Each entity as emission, has it’s own version of coherence, or milieu. Each one could lead you in another direction – you could think of entity as fuel. Catching your eyes with intricacies, the souk’s a place to spark curiosity. Or at least train your foveas away from what you might have last been concentrating- especially thoughts unrelated to the here and now.

Unlike Venice and Rome, other cities with dense alleyways, the souk has few ‘breathing spots’- archways looking over water, or meeting landmarks like Treffpunkts, or palazzo clearances. Everything seems more jam-packed, hemmed in, as if everyone stays together and goes at the same pace.[9]

Hammered metals, jewelry, rugs and tapestries. Even then, tourists  aren’t all interested in the same things- ask a guide. So in reality there’s less competition than you’d imagine for whatever it is, you’ve set your sights on. 


While no doubt there are some demographic preferences and patterns, call them ~cultural stereotypes- for now they’re data-driven reality. If you’re in doubt of this observation, you can ask if your guide has noticed differences between say Europeans, Americans, and Asians – they’ll tell you of their own experience. Probably 20 guides will have 20 answers – but that will be their answer (based on their experience. Reflecting always, their approach to dealing with individual challenges.

To satisfy these peculiarities, a guide might know of a different approach or part of the souk- than he or she is particularly familiar.

In order to provide the client the most efficient and effective experience, if unfamiliar (or uncomfortable) with a said need or desire, a wise guide reaches out to his/her network. (Like any other professional organization, guides should participate in a guild – so as to be of reliable service to the client – and be kept up to date with changes.)

The guild defines what might be considered certifying basic competence- not the government(!) – though the latter might have say.  Such as being able to read a map and guidebook for starters; being able to converse with the tourist (student), they might clearly speak their language or understand some of their value system.

If she/he’s really slick, she/he might have to lose them to what to outsider might seem as competitor. And yet, as you can see, maybe contract wouldn’t have served either- that well[10].  A happy client, dealt with honestly, is worth their weight in gold and the greater good they represent- as in more clients and their positive words about their whole experience – which at least indirectly, will bring rewards later.

For a couple being guided, he might notice a giant sword[11]; she copper pots.

Neither see the rugs and fine gold filigree until later.


To get to the middle of the souk, from any direction, one must traverse what seems like long distance. Alleys are narrow- allowing a few people to walk abreast.  So it might be hard to get around others in the two way traffic. Until you get the hang of it, you might sometimes feel frustrated. (Especially if you’re like me – used to things efficient- (necessary when overly scheduled and planned- not allowing enough leeway room…).

 When this happens, don’t forget to slow down and breathe when you’re ‘looking around’ (not moving).

If you’re anxious practice nadi shodanan (alternate nostril breathing) and maybe do some gentle isometrics – tensing and releasing – without moving noticeably. Exercise doesn’t need be witnessed – to be effective.

Though there is little true center, they could place a “Treffpunkt”- in German, means meeting, “step/traffic point”.  Ideally something matte and rounded, on which to rest eyes as a soothing focal point. A place for meeting at crossroads – from whence the travelers may then go ~anywhere.   Some might even switch caravans.

Just as there may not be an “optimal” education- community might define what everyone “must” know in order to have a fair chance; for any given participant, depends on where they’re starting from –their tacit supports.

Consider treffpunkt a pillar- where we all agree necessary for being successful – at least for going to and producing the souk.

1) The souk’s a good model to base real world math problems– relevant to the problems likely to be done with hobbies – and to understand algebra and geometry. (And maybe consider the idea of layaway and savings).

Bring math alive as concepts sink in. It’s ok  if they don’t ‘get’ it all at once.  People can have “rudimentary” educations and still make millions from scratch (legally, I think) – like my grandfather and sister.

2) A visitor requires knowledge of reading basics, including how to read some Arabic,  not just numbers- (or whatever the local language – souk’s and their equivalents-like malls, are a global phenomena). Learn to read each other’s stories – as well as whatever ‘blue- print’ later (like patterns and recipes) a peer might share with you.

3)have ‘lost and found’ – where you can ‘pick a guide up’ – do the basics of whichever teachers most appeal – believe they resonate with your ‘path’, especially if you feel lost (lost- l’ost- stuck in (of the) ancestral bones).

4) when finished with any treffpunkt/pillar, graduate students can be guides themselves – in that they can direction someone to or away from a direction. Teachers start a process and give outline. Nothing more. Hopefully teachers keep learning too.

5) Because the souk has continuity, one can always improve- when they come back. Might even consider taking a course over again or a new one. For those who don’t want to leave – ‘paths’ now have added unpaid(?) hands – after a certain period.

If nothing really resonates -and there will always be a few students who seem harder to reach. They will know when they find their niche. 

Meanwhile be willing to wait; trust you’ll get to them eventually. May they be encouraged to return again – or keep questing elsewhere.

E-ducation is helpful; no path is inherently better than another.

And may it be so that those who, while not fulfilled at the souk, aren’t unnecessarily dis-couraged from further studies. (To be dis-couraged is to have ones heart dissed). And at least be proficient in the one-room school house basics!


To an eagle of other high flying bird, the souk might look a bit like giant capillary bed in the sense of percolating activity coursing with people going in and out, offloading goods, bringing monies negotiating perimeters – from artery, eventually becomes venous – oxygen depleted from one, enriched with another. (Venus –relational qualities in our work or play-with both and either,  we can enliven ourselves and others when we are in groups. )

Of course it isn’t a capillary bed – there’s not just the sense of in and out –you could revisit it from any direction.

The souk model is unlike our current educational system. Now school is ~only offered to those who are “age appropriate”- sidelining others who don’t fit into traditional (AKA British style of inculcation – mainly being lectured to), Instead are flunked or sent to “alternative schools”. Already they’ve suffered a huge blow, being told they definitively don’t fit in- rejected from a group of peers, at least until now.

You might even think of the souk school as counter- current; those with the most abundance release to those just slightly less than they are, releasing sequentially as you get deeper into the middle of it- becomes less familiar to your lineage – . Like blood ‘cleaned’ in the kidney or extremity circulation’s heat transfer. Personally I’d make my investments, shop, on the way out- not in.

Instead, I would offer all students some field experience- in form of national service – that they feel useful to society.  This would also give them space from their families, who might not be helping (afraid of abandonment themselves – families often foster (co-)dependencies). The current system, you can see, might be unhelpful to those individuals trapped in karmic mires.

Setting them up instead to be service-oriented – sixth house modern versions of servant and slave.

May it be so we offer hope and new skills, instead of or at least in addition to, everybody aiming to be employee or caretaker. Roles that ‘cause’ an individual to shrink obediently, not generally expand[12].

(You never who could be a famous play-wright. The last thing they want is to hear a teacher drone.)

If one were truly undecided, before starting out on their courses, with dedication and persistence, over time, one might sample from all of it- especially when one feels without niche – or maybe like me, they’ll go home and write a story (with entertaining truths). In that case, if why not follow the most gaily dressed guide that appeals to you? I chose whatever sounded interesting, and got occasional “Bs”.


Schools themselves don’t change values, but give tools to train and discriminate. Time and interactions with spirit of the place do though, so limit those with poor attitudes.

Escort them out to return another day, when they’re in a more receptive place. You could also offer, a legume meal, guided exercise or meditation-first.

Otherwise you’re treating the souk as daycare, wasting time, space, and resources. Let the fractious do a short stint in public service instead -2,3,6 months. (let them choose).

Either way, basic maths are required when negotiating any marketplace- but not much more; though ideas about investments, diminishing returns, and similar might be helpful. 


Entering the souk there is a almost a sense of enjoining; like everyone entering a fairground. In narrower spots, one wades against a trickling rivulet.

For those requiring a car (extra assistance) ~some parts of the souk might seem inaccessible. (Though we now know with determination, everyone CAN do ~anything they may, when they’re willing to be carried – or helped For extra attention, they might need learn to haggle.

Until recently, haggling at the souk was de rigor. If you’re like me, and conflict avoidant – ‘arguing’ for a price, would be my last wish. And yet, this shows (me), if I really care to have it.

(Maybe it’s OK for a student to self-advocate to be an ‘exception’- rather than having the parent do it for them; let kids declare.

(But ask them then, if they would like help if they appear to be struggling). Learning to self advocate in ‘school’, serves one down the road.)


Haggling is quite different from sterility of price tags and shopping on-line- barely takes effort to pull out a credit card. With these extra steps between choosing and bringing home -people can detach from reality of creation and the value of the energy exchange (monies). Without a little practice, it’s hard to advocate for oneself – unless you’ve seen haggling for yourself.

With haggling, one barters about a price instead of  it being fixed. Can sound like arguing- but according to a ‘form’ if you will – like using Robert’s rules (for me anyway).

To get in and get out of the Souk during which time your psych(e) will enliven, you might shop – and with that usually haggle- (though there are some fixed price stores).


Haggling might go like this:

A typical scenario might look like thus. You show interest in a given trinket, the proprietor usually comes over right away (or slowly, depends on how they’ve sized you up) he says enthusiastically– “I can give you a good price….”  -is a good barter starter line.

In reality I’m a pushover and inwardly flustered. So to stop and show interest, for me, an item must be compelling. Adding the bartering aspects – raises my engagement threshold- could act as a ‘check’ to overspending. Being conflict averse, it’s healthy for me to practice.

Though I’m sure there are others would find haggling invigorating, I’m more drained- but love to watch them just the same – for me is like viewing a low stakes game.

You look admiringly (if you’re ‘naïve’ like me) and say,

“Sure, what’s your price?” (both) knowing well, you’ve a pocket full of cash.

Then he suggests a price that’s “supposed to be high”,

and you’re supposed to counter with something lower.

To which he might say, “no-no-no, that’s too low”, and offer 5-10 or 15% less.

Going back and forth like seesaw, you eventually come to agree on a price –

with extra discounts for bulk–

or walk off.

The price at the end reflects the patron’s basis against a merchant’s need. If I were from another part of Egypt, he might deal with me differently- even give me a (much) lower price. So yes, there are different prices. In fact this seems fairer – subsidizing the cost for others less well off- or born to less fortunate conditions. They might need an extra step-up.


Obviously to be successful at haggling it helps to be fresh and not hungry.

If the souk/school were planned for communities, I’d place groceries near the entrances – allows those essential needs (for vegetables, legumes and rice) to be met without drawing in further.

Also, you want to eat first before you get distracted at the souk- so basic sustenance establishments are especially sustainable. Ditto, tacquerias, gyros, and sushi rice bowls vendors- foods simple enough they can be cheap and organic- and eaten while hand-carried.

(Otherwise it’s best to eat before leaving home in the morning- it favors digestion[14]. In reality, a day shouldn’t be so long you’d have to eat at either the souk or school!)

It’s better to ‘shop’, when you’re replete lest you be overly susceptible to impulse buying. That’s when you buy a thing not on your list and didn’t expect. Sometimes impulse purchases – turn out well; other times, if your judgment is impaired (being hungry or irritable), maybe not.

Impulse buying is favored when we are out of sorts and suggestible, also when we re slowed down -which is why vendors stick there wares way out near a thoroughfare.

They hope you’ll notice something you wouldn’t have, if they hadn’t tripped you up.

This isn’t all bad. Perhaps students need a little more exposure to a thing; They could have “pop up”  portfolio shows yearly at their treffpunkt.


just like best class and teacher for any given subject, the really good stuff at the souk, doesn’t have to be strutted.  It gets found, and sold, by word of mouth. This is true for any successful venture judged on merit.

Especially if wares, or classes special and dear, are to be accessible, they’re likely located in a centralized protected cloister. So to get to the good stuff, you need go in more deeply.

Central areas and treffpunkts should be for each souk (or school) accessible (without haggling). How else can a person, who aside from some irrelevant limitation, might be a perfect fit, yet because it wasn’t his lineage, never knew a possilbility.

(From the ground, to access our tree’s of life, first negotiate the trunk and boughs- before you end up on the leaves. Unless you happen to be a bird- then you are free).

Otherwise, for common things- like classes that ‘everyone takes”, you will find them often duplicated. If you don’t like a price, or aren’t attached to specifics of quality, in terms of rigor, workmanship or whatever-here seems a world where there’s enough for everyone. Even if everything’s for sale—you don’t have to buy anything you don’t want or need.


As a girl or woman it is recommended to (always) be accompanied and follow a “buddy system”.- otherwise you will be hassled, usually physically. When shopping I noticed women seem focused like hawks- looking neither right nor left as they traverse an alley, they cling to themselves or their ‘body guards’.

They seem to know where they’re going[15] Get in and get out – for them maybe the souk seems a hassle. Ask them about the souk, you might hear them say “it sucks”- especially if they don’t like being pinched and bumped. On them, the souk’s richness might be lost.  (Too bad too, when there is much to be gained- even if just a story line!)

For boys- the souk’s different experience altogether, or might be. As masters of the land, they are free to go anywhere, or so it seems. They get to saunter, and take time looking around; to comment idly on this or that while they seem to be window shopping. Serendipity and synchronicities are favored – including mis-chief.


Sure there will always be a special item or brand everyone seems to stop to line up for in front of narrow storefront. If you want that, then so will you. A small crowd could form at these special places creating individual bottlenecks – narrowings where you might have to wait your turn before going again.

Making your way past a spectacle, progress is slower for that stretch. Keep to it then, go back to nadi-shodanan if your breathing has become shallow.

Otherwise, you pass on by- and note, even if the map looked like it should have been faster, perhaps for you, it’s not the best route for next time.

Once in a while you choose to pass by a thing you’d previously been hoping to get. For whatever reason, a thing put you off; you’ll get an alternate. Chances are, you’ll see the serendipity in retrospect- while not “ideal” at the time, you find a better fit elsewhere. Hopefully your guide won’t take it personally if they were aiming to get you into ‘Harvard’ of rug shops– but they are closed – so you get a second choice, like ”Yale or “Oxford”. You might find you prefer the latter’s patterns.


While the shops are often very similar- presentation is the difference. –Each reflects the proprietor’s personality. Our “bosses” – tend to be Saturnian[16]; honoring their accomplishments by building entities of monuments and structures as testament to their success.  They can’t help it – are made so- (and what they believe they need to do for l’ove too).


Coming from such and such direction and neighborhood likely follows statistical trends of what a patron might do next. The thing is any one individual, could represent an extreme and not be predictable.

Consider how it is they get to the souk. You might imagine the direction of entrance and exit might impact your experience of the souk. No two clients coming by the exact same path – (unless they’re using a buddy system – committed to coming and leaving together.)

In Cairo’s case, there are several entrances – even markets, yet all clustered on the east side of Nile river- opposite side from the desert.  Does a gate or direction – might suggest the visitor’s purpose? On their way navigating the souk, Did they pass by or have opportunity to see the same things –is unlikely, if not impossible in actuality.

Their direction of entrance presents them with separate opportunities. And yet, eventually, everyone in Cairo might one day make it there- to realize a version of the souk for themselves.

That one says they are going to the same souk – means almost nothing in actuality, other than referring to geographic location (especially to the casual observer, or eagle overhead).

Here at the souk, extremes converge. This is why it’s nice to have mediators to bridge gaps when they occur- remind one of commonalities- we all come from homes of a sort. Some more nurturing than others – all here to be e-duced.


A funny thing- not everyone does need any one given thing– at least perhaps not this time, so there usually is enough of what you’re after-until later in the day.

So it is very likely, if you are there for any one thing, you’re paths will be different- even if you came in through the same entrance.

Not everyone is part of the many tourist parades lead by gaily dressed confident (leaders) as they forge their way through the mazes lifting their parasols, using their voice to clear room for their promenade.

Sometimes they need to advocate with more than please and thank-yous. (This teaches their ‘students’, to do the same later.)

You can imagine over time though, those that serve the markets’ greatest desires, are the most flexible, and will be most resilient and successful- and with that gain most auspicious locations.

Well, until recently anyway, as in literally the last couple of decades- compared with its longevity, of thousands. The souk doesn’t really need tourists, but thrives more because of them.

You could also think of a souk in some ways, as being like arteriole meets capillary to offload and become v(i)en(o)us again- as in comes in one way and leaves another- hopefully as shopper unburdened of monies, but not feeling soaked – as in got a lot of e-mo(tion) but not many goods.

For shopkeepers, is the opposite entering laden, leaving with pockets stuffed, though sometimes they might leave with feelings hurt by those who tell them they’re too expensive. (Yet deep down they know their worth).

In school, you might even think of the transfer of energy as shifting in a counter- current direction; those with the most abundance release to those just slightly less than they are, releasing sequentially as you get deeper into the middle of it. Differences between artery and vein lessen, the one giving and the one’s receiving aren’t vastly different from each other energetically.

(Isn’t that the way it is anyway – we learn mostly from our peers – those who look like us and don’t seem threatening?!)

The souk is an interesting place to study the energy of exchanges. That which persists, stands the tests of time- attests to nimbleness.


In the souk, there is no focal point all pass by. If I were improving on it, I’d install both Treffpunkts and a lost and found. Maybe add a layaway. Have the maps focus on a few special ‘landmarks” (dark rounded statues are relaxing and restorative for tired eyes) –and to increase pedestrian flow to otherwise emphasize under- visited areas of the souk/school.  These might be places to pause, but not favor loitering.

Impulse[17] buying- like sampling courses outside of strict majors, as a result is favored.

These emphases can be shifted too- as necessary or on a whim.


For further anchoring the sensual experience of school, and help settle down participants into a souk/school day, why not add sweet pentatonic music (gentle chimes) and some grounding fragrance at entrances (like sandalwood, geranium, frankincense and/or patchouli?). (To determine which is most favored, test with a demographic focus group of boys and girls- maybe have separate openings. Rotate them.)

Notice the tendency to judge the evidence at the end of your shopping spree- compared to other patrons also leaving. Loaded with bags and articles (like getting titles) easy to feel proud and special- especially if you’ve been looking carefully.

Know this is (just) another thing to care for and to protect.

Feelings of being “better” than – your teachers, friends, and family, imply judgments.

Perhaps it’s easy to assume everyone in such a place would have the same or similar purpose or experience – so why shouldn’t they be as successful as (fill in the blank), but you can see it’s not so- the souk’s a place of simultaneous worlds.

For those needing to be in a scrum to feel better again – refilling themselves as they soak up people’s intense energies[18], such as my ex- who has a fiery nature, the souk is a very good place to regain and enliven.


[1] The ‘desert’ for me is any condition feeling bereft of love and sustenance supporting one’s inner wellspring. Literally we have cellular wellsprings that are constantly learning and re-informing.

Happening in the brain, we call it neurogenesis- where cell bodies are produced like ticker tapes–continuously unspooling as they record momentary sensations. Hippocampus (root of weaving and learning conscious brain), and heart, as well as gonads, from which we later draw from – to weave our tapestries with weft of self- Into world’s warp- merging with ongoing traffic- as it were.

[2] Traders stay(ed) in a caravanserais- rooms surrounding a central courtyard that locks up at night – (lest not be open to random riff-raff – and favors sleeping). Not sure why this is pertinent, but I include it- might be an ideal apprentice apartment  prudent to establish (and maintain) reasonable curfews?

[3] Privileged – living within the context of one’s own private laws; not necessarily those of reality.

[4]Our visit was towards the end of our Nile cruise as an add-on (which is not complete without a visit the souk), Cairo museum and pyramids. It was totally worth it; I’d do it again- along with any other city tours offered!

[5] Each map and description in any book, is directed towards that author’s avatar – usually looks like them-from inside out. He/she may not reflect my interests at all, (as I have learned), but still offer reasonable starting places for further investigation. Maps are creative depictions of a terrain as recalled (by another’s sight and measuring) – in accordance with their own vibration, which is why it’s nice to have several. I love my topographical and terrain maps (much) more than Google. Visiting a place isn’t just for bus(y)- ness.

[6] Fun- פ Peh/ ו Vau-Yod/ נ Nun- named energetic sliver of G-d’s being in entity – so is spirit medicine. The souk also has soul medicine- fills out and expands our Spirit’s entity by enlarging our vessel, so it’s two for one. But really we’ll see there are ~ten, or more

[7] Dotage – (when) one is done-days- not ‘doing’ any more. Age done with listening (d’ot-age) (down and away from the ear). What did we reap while we were listening? I hope I have a friend to accompany me – but a guide will do. I hope you have someone accompanying you then too.

[8] Traveling with a partner or buddy –they can help me, and likewise, I’m there for them- especially if, G-d forbid, one needs to use a toilet- (or worse, she’s leaking on her period and needs freshening- and blood is visible on clothes – which can happen (even if occasionally). Then you might feel you need /want a private sink! Who wants to see blood swirling while brushing their teeth- one sink over!

Or maybe need a place to nurse – (you don’t see that either.)  

But then the souk isn’t especially fertile female supportive- nor has it ever been, at least until now. And yet in the US they create several economies- of their own, because of values and laws.

So to younger women, until the souk or school, caters to your special needs, I’d say, don’t bother visiting till later- after menopause- you’ll know value later, anyway.

The souk’s the one losing your patronage.  After all, money is money, it doesn’t matter who spends it as far as a proprietor is concerned. They’re the ones losing out. Or maybe have bathrooms for neither; they don’t expect you to spend so much time you’d need to relieve yourself?!

Since catering to special needs benefits both state receiving their percent, and proprietor, both should pay for special services and structures, proportionally. (If you build it, they will come- especially if there’s a spa around). Businesses, through their own, not general taxes, should  fund accessibility for school programs- businesses are the ones who benefit- and society ultimately. (We will always be in need of solutions – from whatever ‘she’ (nature) throws at us.) 

[9] Though it helps to emphasize the agreed upon stepping stones, just as a pillar or treffpunkt might orient you in the souk,  (Der Treffpunkt is German, meeting points are places for Alephs- at least according to Paul Coelho (and I would agree- lol). Read more about Aleph here.

Think of these stepping stones as essential tasks of e-duc-ation, (being teased out of our shell-using new (but forgotten in our lineage) tools, we may thrive and grow.  Optimally, we’ll later elaborate with these tools as ad-ults (beings near their ultimate).

[10] Though if both client and guide are flexible, and willing to be patient and work together, visiting a new part of the souk for the guide, might open bring in new clientele.

[11] Zain is our sword of truth. With our sense of courage, we carry out our wishes – to lead, protect and engage with others- and is what we use to pass our tests.  (Rather than follow, turn a cheek, and ignore – which is Vau’s style. To engage is not doing whatever you are here to do – have fun and play with love (which you ‘get’ when chores are done). You see why Cheth (self-discipline) is so important – to keep us in our villas and labyrinths grooves, not ruts!)

With our will, not His, we pare our lives, when e-vil persists. With our choices we become closer to Him, and lighter in the process. We think it’s others causing e-vil- but really is our fears for change. When a thing new or unexpected happens, and we become “not ourselves”, (however that looks  in feeling or form) and (instinctive) reactions create changes in state (new villas, or houses of self, whether bigger or smaller – is what you did with the tests).

[12] As the sign of Cancer, ruled by the lens-shape moon, represents energy of nurturing and caretaking of our grounded ‘villa of self’- and what we call ‘home’, it should* be exercised ~8% of conscious waking time (like Me-di-nah  and Me-di-care.) Since I have Cancer on the 9th house cusp, I ‘care’ about laws governing expansion and higher principles (and corpus of far away places); philosophy (which is how we physically are experienced (which is later in 12, judged), is what 9th house is about. (*remember “should” means, “she would, if she could”.)

When we nurture more than 8% consistently, the effect can be to focus and shrink – rather than project as expansion.

[13] To me ‘peacenik’ (with anyone except Dad) haggling can sound a little like arguing: sharing a form of mildly animating passion–but with a stranger. Listen carefully, hear the heart songs beneath – like a subliminal tickertape.

[14] Recall in “rules for magicians”, in order to be a creator (besides with open legs), it is important to eat in places conducive to digestion. Eat quietly, chew carefully, and with those with whom you can be yourself. That might mean eating alone – or fasting until you get home. Because trips to the souk aren’t supposed to be over a few hours long, you shouldn’t miss your home-cooked meals.


[16][16] Saturnians are the embodiment of Saturn’s (often rigid but masterful) energy. Using both personal and public laws, they create what they will. Because they are,  by their ‘hard’ work ~ most prominent,  even though it ‘felt like fun’. Thus they are the ones who have much (obvious) power, you could say they collect it effortlessly, in a way.

When others (wowed) look up to them, they can collect dependent people pleasers. They may also be experienced as judgmental- especially when one is not like them -un-kin(d), and triggers them emotionally – such as when values collide. Emotions aren’t generally used to make a decision which are based on “facts” not feelings.

 – They can than lop a person off, if it lets them grow their tree taller. They seem cold, because they are, at least until now-  (somewhere there’s bit-ter-ness worth forgiving). There are those too who appear Saturnian, but for them was learned, fun, and/or driven by necessity.

If you don’t believe me, go to Astrotheme and type in ten high profile names – of public aggrandizers.  You’ll see what I mean.

Most, if not all, proprietors will have very strong tenth houses, planets on the MC cusp in 9/10, or strong planets in Capricorn. I wrote a nice essay here about my sister who has strong tenth house as she is an excellent example for how this energy manifests from one’s waveform of being.

(I have Pluto conjunct my MC in the 10th house-and is my Ascendant and chart ruler. Conjunct my moon- my status is what triggers e-motions.  Saturn in 2 makes me serious, and Mars exhalted in Capricorn in my third house of kind and communications. (I bet you’d agree I like to communicate with goat’s tenacity).

[17] Impulse – reflects our force of “I want”. Impulses, (Imp – (p)ulses) are natural to have – and for your body healthy to exercise.

Think of them as ‘pixies’ of excess static building up into a singularity- and as unresolved energy – looking for an outlet. With maturity, one learns about time, and place, and “May I”, as they learn to negotiate their barrage of inner impulses.  A condition of distraction from not being with teacher’s current groove, and makes them act impulsively.

Necessity is an Arabian lot a point in your horoscope when your perceptions (Asc) plus or minus personality vs emotions vs brains (depends on whether you were born at night or during the day). Necessity sums to a point on your astrologic spiral.

The universe fulfills these – one way or the other- anything perceived as a need – including love and fresh air.


If a class is having problems with impulsivity, as part of laws of quantum physics, what is going on from one individual – really reflects the tip of an ‘iceberg’. In that, as all students in a class are part of the same energetic corpus (in that instance). Everyone is experiencing disturbance at some level – but there will be those most sensitive.

Whatever you’d choose to do to pun-ish, or prize, an impulse, you should do for all – including the teacher him or herself! Not only is that fair, you’ll get back on track faster. (So everybody do the ten jumping jacks or high steps in place).

Maybe a student is taught to be proactive- raising their hand in a special way so teacher could finish a thought before leading in whatever exercise. It could be even a moment of silence for concentrating, after an especially important point- everyone has time to take good notes, formulate and ask questions.

Of any subject – even in college, what teacher is presenting is mere outline.  Everyone can benefit from connecting more dots by having good listening skills and being given time for questions. These are not to challenge, but stimulate and open a horizon. 

(Each class you could consider an individual ‘horizon’ what you know at the end, compared to the first day – brings you to another whole state of awareness).

A teacher could every so often “pick” on an especially strong student one who might come up with a unique view – and give others even more clues on how to have success for themselves.


By Dr. Jen Wyman-Clemons, MD

Dr. Wyman-Clemons treats the body, mind, emotions as well as spiritual wellness using tools described by established teachers and authors and her own experiences. She has ~thirty years of clinical experience as an allergy and internal medicine physician (ABAI, ABIM) and recently completed requirements to practice as a yoga teacher, USUI Reiki Master and astrologer.


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