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Kösem Sultan (Part 2)

Updated: Sep 16

Anastasia the Child


Chapter Two of my 'I've been everywhere, man' series


Some of my past lifetime recollections brought back to life for you



Kösem Sultan

Ottoman Turkish: كوسم سلطان

c.1589 – 2 September 1651

WRITING THIS HAS BEEN DIFFICULT, I won’t deny it. Despite the pleasure of treasure hunting for little jewels of music and poetry from the Greek and Turkish cultures to excite your palate, at the same time there’s been an underlying thread of anxiety running through it all for me. Anxiety that I won’t be able to express on paper what I knew so well a few years ago.


How to impart that deep knowing to you all?


Already the mockers have come out of the woodwork, such as my enemies from the Lynn Andrews camp, always so keen to call everything I say ‘a pack of lies’ – this from the followers of the world’s greatest liar, Lynn V Andrews! Ironic I know!


I swear to you all, this is no lie. I experienced such a profound knowing after discovering her. Perhaps other women have felt the same. I have no doubt about that. Kösem was certainly a powerful and beautiful role model for many.


What makes us stay?


When all we ever wanted was to go – get out of there and go home? It’s a decision some slaves get to make – those with the wherewithal to escape that is – many slaves never had any other option but to stay. For me it was never set in concrete, the emotions around 'staying or going' warping and weaving throughout my lifetime.


I know there was a time I was completely desperate, I hated my horrible captors with every fibre of my being, and yet and yet… there was another part of me that whispered to myself, 'Stay… stay… and see what happens.'


A part of me was deeply intrigued by all the possibilities, then falling in love with the utter majesty of the place, the sumptuous surroundings, everywhere the beauty … then falling in love with the man. A moment arrived where, if the door had been opened for me to easily leave, I'd have no longer chosen to go.


I did once try to run, but in a final moment of truth, I suddenly turned around. And went back. I can’t exactly name what that impulse was that changed the course of my life and that of Ottoman history, but there it is. I stayed.


Well aware of what that meant, despite my youth. It meant changing my religion. It meant never having the chance to see my beloved family again, nor my island home that I adored, nor running the hills free as a little mountain goat, barefoot with flowers in my hair.


After the abject humiliations and degradations when stolen by marauders during a raid on my home, to be then thrown in the disgusting hold of some filthy ship, with the sea-sickness and vile slops we ate, the rags and bones we were thrown, and the touching and leering – then the absolutely opposite experience of landing up in an ecstatically gorgeous Palace, provided with incredible clothes and a virtual makeover from head to toe leaving me feeling like a rockstar beauty (you know what I mean!) –

well all of this did turn my young head somewhat.


At first in a blind rage and desperate to escape, a secret part of me was awestruck. The actual stunning beauty that was everywhere I turned, fed my soul – the intricate and exquisitely tiled interiors of the Palace, the elaborately woven riches of the finest carpets on the tiled floors, ceilings and walls; the perfumes, rich fabrics and the clothes … ah the clothes … yes they were to die for, I have to admit it!


Even now I yearn for the fashions of that time – I miss the grace and somewhat sexiness of the men’s thin leather tunics and silks; and those elaborately sewn gowns that flattered every little bit of me, yet also gave me the leg-room to stride! But how did I land up here? Well, I’m trying to impart to you the pure seduction of the place.


In retrospect, from the vantage point of Now, it was the saddest of times, so much tragedy crammed into one lifetime, my soul still bears the scars. There were those incendiary moments that made it all worth it and those other times that kept my heart pounding in terrible fear for my children, my people. And myself.


Always there were enemies, poisonous snakes lurking in every nook and cranny, so keen for my demise. Always around me ‘til the end of my days.


Yet there was that loyalty from others, such a loyalty that cannot be understood ‘til experienced firsthand. Those who would literally die for me, and did. I felt the same way. I'd have died for them.


These are the ones whose memory I cherish most: the ones I loved ‘til I felt my heart might burst through my chest, who loved me back just the same.

Please Note: From time to time throughout the telling of this tale, you’ll be privileged to have the pleasure of strategic video snippets from ‘The Magnificent Century: Kösem' series. I’m only mentioning this because the translations are often rather endearing, calling Kösem ‘he’ and 'him' at times, while others are called ‘it.’ Enjoy!

Anastasia's Childhood

"Life can only be understood backwards."

Mackenzie Astin


There are conflicting reports of certain details of my life – one of these is my birthplace. Was it the Greek island of Tinos or Kefalonia? I checked into both places with my soul recall to feel into the truth of the matter. My heart certainly lifted with delight as I perused images of Kefalonia, and felt somewhat familiar with its bright bays, turquoise seas, multicoloured houses and flowered hillsides.


Yet it was when I came to look over the Island of Tinos that the truth was obvious. This was it. This was where I was born and grew up – living there for more than one lifetime. There's no doubt whatsoever in my mind about this.


At left - possibly one of the few real paintings of the young Anastasia - Kösem Sultan to be
Me a few years ago

My Mother + Father

μητέρα και πατέρας

Mitéra kai Patéras


Another uncertainty relates to the work of my father. Some say he was a Merchant whilst others say he was a Greek Orthodox Priest.


I say the latter, and I’ll explain in more depth my knowing about these two uncertain matters.


My childhood was carefree in many ways, despite my rather strict religious upbringing. I loved the solemnity of the church and the depth of the sacred teachings, enamoured of the saints in the way only a pubescent girl can be.


My mother was a beautiful warm woman, who ensured all matters of tradition were faithfully adhered to, in her own style. I missed them terribly when I was taken and was shattered to lose them. For a long time, I also experienced the visceral sensation of my heart bleeding when feeling their wrenching pain of loss.


My empathic traits were powerful, and this sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of those around me came as easily as breathing. Certain others around me also had these abilities to a greater or lesser degree, depending on their sensitivity and leanings towards a compassionate nature. A gift humanity has now largely forgotten or labelled as a problem.


And of course, the bad memories of the terrifying witch hunts through the ages sits within the DNA of every medicine man or woman who was tortured and burnt for their healing abilities. I’m not referring here to the dark witches, I have no concerns about their demise, to be honest.


In some ways the internet has made the world a smaller place; but back then with no technology whatsoever, our innate abilities had the breathing room to fully blossom.


My ability to read others was strong. As a clear (Clair), body language and face cues were mine for the taking. The down side of such heightened sensitivity happens when feeling the pain of loved ones. It can be literal torture. I’d sooner feel my own pain any day than the suffering of my parents when I was stolen from them.


During that first awful journey over the Sea to the Ottoman Empire, though, I was in my own little world of pain, drowning in the anguished depths of despair, and on top of it all wanted to die from the horrible seasickness.


Later in the Palace, when cleaned up and presentable, I had the luxury of time to feel what was happening for those left behind. My connection to Father was strongest. I had long conversations in my mind with him as I fell asleep, remembering those last days where he showed me my future inheritance, finally treating me as the young woman no longer a child.


I yearned for his gentle hugs, his scratchy beard against my cheek, the clean smell of soap in his clothes and skin. My mother’s practical down-to-earth nature, bustling ‘round the old white-washed kitchen cooking up delicious little feasts each day, singing hymns and teaching me her favorite songs:


"Children, of Greece, children

Who fight severely up in mountains

Children, to sweet Mother of God

We all pray for you to come back again."


Sofia Vembo, “Children of Greece, Children”


All this was gone. Forever. Some part of me knew this and grieved.


The painful memories faded over time, as the many sensations the Palace offered overcame my sensibilities, leaving me a little breathless at the marvels and incredible beauty of it all.


That I became more and more confused about where my loyalties lay is an understatement.

Tinos/Τήνος


During ancient times, Tinos was known as Ophioussa – Ophis, meaning snake in ancient Greek because of the great number of snakes crawling on the soil of the island, and Ydroussa – Hydria = water places because of its abundant waters. According to ancient Greek mythology, Poseidon, who was the island's protector, chased the snakes away from the island and was the reason he was highly worshipped in Tinos.


Source: The Greek Vibe - Tinos - a Greek island where miracles still happen


... Kardiani, Tinos ...

I'll sing to you all of my childhood home,

the beautiful Greek island of Tinos


When I compared Kefalonia with Tinos to assess the truth of where I grew up, due to conflicting reports, I was drawn to the sweet beauty of Kefalonia but ultimately knew it was Tinos.


But you see, this lifetime as Anastasia/ Kösem was not the only time I lived here. The Greek islands, well, the whole Mediterranean area is deeply familiar to me, and now living in Australia, I’m far, far away from the places my heart calls home.


Perhaps I lived a lifetime In Kefalonia, probably so. The actual history of Tinos itself though, is ancient ancient. And here is where we’ll trace a path in time to places so old, no one remembers their names. We’ll return here soon....



But first, let’s take a cruisey stroll through the paved streets of Tinos, my Tinos!


In fact, let's pull back a little prior to the traveller’s arrival in Tinos. She’s voyaging through the Cyclades, a group of islands in Greece's Aegean Sea, to get here.


About a half hour before the boat pulls into port she begins wondering if her eyes deceive her, as hundreds of glistening sunbeams seem to be magically bouncing against the sides of their vessel. She pulls up her large sunnies, rubs her eyes then looks again, but no, it's still happening! She later puts it down to the whims of the summer sun, her mind playing tricks, or even that extra glass of wine at lunch. But the continuous reflections of

vapori as they float by tiny seaside villages of Tinos really make her wonder.


After alighting and carrying her bags up a steep stone staircase to her accommodation, she heads back into town for a wonderful Greek dinner.


... Ysternia, Tinos ...

Once happily seated at her table with a bottle of Ouzo and a tiny glass, she leans back to drink in her surroundings. Right next to the café in the village square there’s a Panigyri (an open-air fair) in full swing. She’s surrounded by the hubbub of traditional instrumentalists, plenty of song, island dance, food and wine. Joy!


The food arrives, and too late she realizes she ordered enough to feed her ‘til kingdom come!


Tyraki cheese, louza ham, pasteli, baby artichokes with eggs (froutalia), sun dried tomatoes and tomato fritters (tomato keftedes), kopanisti cheese spread with tomato or figs, and a dish with capers (Tinos’ famed kapari), and of course, fresh fish Tinos is known for its delicious meat dishes.


Looking surreptitiously over at her neighbours table who are already onto dessert, she sees plates of delights for the sweet tooth: sweet cheese pies, fritters with thyme and honey, amygdalota (Greek macaroons), and Tinos’ famed pasteli (sesame and honey bars) wrapped in lemon tree leaves.


Absolute bliss!


... Kardiani, Tinos ...


ΚΑΛΗΜΕΡΑ! / Καλημέρα!

Kalimera!

Good Morning!


Greeks don't do breakfast and neither do I. For a long time I did, but stopped this year and feel the better for it, although a heart-starter coffee is pretty well mandatory. Our traveller feels the same way, and first thing next morning we find her back at her fave café slurping on a syrupy black coffee with a back-kick like a donkey. It gets her going.


... Kardiani, Tinos today ...


Today, magical adventures await. Tinos is certainly a beautiful island with its green mountainous landscape and many villages, tiny chapels and dovecotes scattered everywhere. It’s also pretty windy, and the seas get quite rough at times. The ancient Greeks believed the God of Winds lived here.


The landscape shifts and transforms from lush vineyards into lands of barren boulders and deep marble quarries.


The island's mineral resources of chrome, lead, iron, and manganese are much sought after. The white and green marble of Tinos is also extremely famous worldwide, used in the construction of many works of art since ancient times.


... The Valley with the Dovecotes in Tinos ...

Tinos has more than fifty villages and about a thousand dovecotes - or pigeon houses …. These intricate two-storey structures were seen to represent wealth and power, and were later converted into lodgings. The beaches and villages differ dramatically, from Kolibithra, a surfing beach with decent waves in spring, to the tiny Volax at the very heart of the island, a village unique for the poetry inscribed on the walls of its pretty homes swathed in geraniums.


... The surreal granite boulders of Volakas ...


But there’s more to say about Volax, a place with rather supernatural energies. Giant boulders, some the size of multi-storey buildings, fill the landscape all ‘round the little village, giving a rather surreal vibe to the whole area. The people who lived here a few centuries earlier said these enormous rocks arrived in a meteor shower.






...The Aegean Sea with Island groups...


But our traveller, whom we haven’t forgotten, not at all, has other reasons for her journey here. She's no tourist, but an Orthodox Greek, and travelling to this religious site is actually a religious pilgrimage for her.


There are thousands of other pilgrims arriving for the same reason the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Our traveller will join the many people walking on their knees up to the holy Church of Panagia Evangelistria.

The Miraculous Icon of the Virgin


... The Miraculous Icon of the Theotokos ...
The 'Megalochari' of Tinos

In June 1822, Pelagia, a nun from the convent of Kechrovounion had visions of the Holy Virgin, who told her how much she had suffered after being buried under the ground for many years.


The story goes on to say she was instructed by the Virgin Mary to inform the elders of Tinos Village to dig up a piece of land in the field of Anthony Doxaras, where they'd find a sacred icon. Excavations began and on January 30th, 1823, a worker finally found the icon. These excavations were followed by detailed excavations which revealed this was the site of an ancient Byzantine Church and the temple of Dionysos.


The icon called Panagia Evangelistria, translating into Our Lady of Good Tidings, is a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary kneeling with her head bent in prayer.


Scholars say the statue is older than the Byzantine Period and probably the work of the Apostle Saint Luke. It was a sacred icon of the Byzantine Church and either lost or hidden during the Muslim invasions.


There have been endless recorded miracles that have taken place here.


The Church of Virgin Mary (also called Panayia Evangelistria) is probably the most important religious monument in the whole of Greece. It was built in 1823 by the Smyrniot architect Efstratiou to house the miraculous icon of the Holy Virgin.


... The Shrine of Panagia Evangelistria ...

Now wait just a sweet blessed moment!


So Tinos holds not only the the Shrine of Panayia Evangelistria and the The Miraculous Icon of the Theotokos: The 'Megalochari' of Tinos, it's also the site of an ancient Byzantine Church AND a Temple of Dionysos.


Let’s look at this for one sweet moment.


This Island is one piece of sacred land! A power place, with ley lines and dragon lines all meeting here. A veritable crucible of spiritual history, an alchemical mixture of diverse elements that all together make GOLD!


Now, Dionysus is the god of wine. Not my favorite beverage, as the adult daughter of an at times violent alcoholic, yet I acknowledge there’s something about wine that’s sacred. Like all gifts of God – and the lesser gods – herbs or drugs such as ayahuasca, peyote, marijuana and yes alcohol too, my friends – are not meant for daily consumption. I fully believe they were provided to humans for medicine, visioning or sacred ceremony. This is when they really come into their own.


Overuse of any sacred medicine is abuse. Moderation is the key. Am I preaching to the choir here?


But on legitimate occasions of celebration, divine intoxication inspires our ecstatic dance of love and sensuality in a sacred celebration of life.


Dionysus wasn’t just the god of wine, but also the god of vegetation. ‘Its origins are related to the Thracians, a group of tribes that inhabited towards the south, neighboring the ancient Greeks. The old Thrace region was made by the portion now divided into Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria. So Greeks took this element of Thracian mythology and incorporated it as their own,’ says the writer of Kos, Ancient Temple of Dionysus, who further elaborates:


‘Therefore, the objective of this god was to liberate people from the suppression of impulses and repression of feelings, unleashing their instincts by wine. The free spirit of Dionysos did not recognize worries. However, this divinity had also a sombre side, which gave him certain duality, as the consequences of drinking are not always happy once the effects vanish.’


All this is significant. 'Why?’ some might ask.


My soul’s journey through time is not a one-faceted one-dimensional trip, my friends, but a multi-faceted multidimensional experience. The veils between lifetimes, for all of us, have been thick enough at times to block our recall of various exploits and adventures we might be either justifiably proud of, or alternately, deeply ashamed.


I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I know I’ve done many things and gone places I simply wouldn’t consider going near these days. But there you have it. Times change and so do we. Hopefully.


Then there’s that other crucial element of vastly different cultural and social values in vastly different times. For example, sex has gone through extremes of acceptance and rejection through the many ages.


You must know that I don’t believe this planet has only existed a paltry 65,000 years or thereabouts, no. This planet has been spinning in space for aeons, millions upon millions of years, with so many extinction events I’ve lost count. With humanity sitting very close to the fiery edge of yet another extinction event right now.


I was here before it began and I’ll be around, wherever, after it’s gone. My soul is eternal, my soul's journey immeasurable. No one but I knows where I’ve been. And God. My journey through time and space is really an infinite dialogue between God and my Self, and I'm inviting you to listen in for a time.


Now, back to Dionysus.


There have been times - and I know many people badly miss them, where pagan rituals, sex, feasting, cannibalism and beheadings were the order of the day, and absolutely, I’ve been there too. Usually a big part of the proceedings. I’ve been on both sides of the table and both sides of the sword, dagger, rope and burning fires. What goes round comes round and all that.


I’ve been queen and beggar, harlot and monk. Etcetera ad infinitum. That’s why I say I’ve been everywhere in these memoirs. I know I have, and so much more than is recorded on this planet. There’s SO much more, my friends, than any of us can possibly imagine.


The Mediterranean area is rich with history, layer after blessed layer of it. The deeper you dig, there you’ll find another kind of Temple, devoted to another kind of god and goddess. It’s all there, it’s all real and it all happened. I mean, I’ve also lived in Asia, been a Siberian Shaman, a Buddhist monk, and so much more.


But let’s stay with Greece and Turkey today, both lands so richly fertile with incredible history and unique cultural practices.

The world has gone pale and cold, bland and dead, and we need to somehow re-open the wellspring that's been closed down. Release the dammed-up life energies with dancing, love and life, without causing destruction, cannibalism and suffering. There’s magic and mystery and messages in the past - we can take what’s good and carry it forward.


The fire so badly needed now, so close to going out, is that flaming fire that lives in our heart.

Taken


The day I was taken was a very bad day, and the day everything changed. It was a soul violation and a rape of my life. Yet if it had never happened, how would the amazing things that followed have ever occurred?


It’s one of those mind-bending questions that cannot be answered: ‘if this …., then would that…?’ and so on. Weighing up the bad against the good. Impossible. It was what it was.


After those big ol' Ottoman raiders slunk in and ripped me from my peaceful family home, I was a mess. What can I say. After dragging me away like some kind of animal onto a boat for a horrible Sea journey, they sold me at some Slave Markets in Constantinople. I felt like a piece of nothingness in their eyes, it was damned excruciating.


They wanted to sell me as a virgin, so at least that was safe for now, although this didn’t rule out touching, poking and prodding me all over.


Did you read somewhere they made us strip down to our nakedness at those public markets? Yes, you are correct. Utter humiliation.


Looking at myself back then, I see a beautiful healthy young girl with a keen intelligence, and all this, along with my youthful sexiness, gained me the attention of some Palace people.


One of the Sultan’s Envoy’s spotted me and rescued me from that slave market hellhole to take me to the Constantinople Palace. He saw me as a raw gem they could polish into something beautiful. I guess his summation turned out correct.


But if I thought the hellhole slave markets were bad, I was to discover the Harem was another kind of snake-pit altogether.

Slavery in the Ottoman Empire


A large percentage of officials in the Ottoman government were bought as slaves, raised free, and integral to the success of the Ottoman Empire from the 14th to 19th centuries. Many enslaved officials themselves owned numerous slaves, although the Sultan himself owned by far the most. By raising and specially training slaves as officials in palace schools such as Enderun, where they were taught to serve the Sultan and other educational subjects, the Ottomans created administrators with intricate knowledge of government, and fanatic loyalty.


Source: Slavery in the Ottoman Empire


At some point I realized that practically every woman in the Palace –except certain Royalty – were non-Turks, taken by force from their homeland and gifted as slaves to the Sultan. Muslims cannot enslave other Muslims, and so the concubines were Christian girls stolen from the Caucuses, Syria and Africa then sold to the Ottoman. The exotic Persian names we were given supposedly made us more desirable to the Sultan.


The closer I got to the throne, the more I saw that slavery was also the background of most Haseki’s and Valides, although further back in time the Sultan’s had married foreign princesses, prior to the centralizing of the Ottoman Empire.


This place was an absolute multicultural melting pot.


I also realized another, more hidden agenda - that of not empowering nor encouraging the Turkish people to rise into power, interestingly.

The internal politics of the Harem were fairly cut-throat, and it wasn’t just my sweet childish beauty that saved me, but my intelligence. I thanked my lucky stars time and again for my swift thinking. I’d never have survived as long as I did without that wild edge to my smart mind. Both physical and psychological resilience in a brutal regime saved my life on many occasions.


And it wasn’t just my native cunning that got me through, although that was of immeasurable help. Topkapi was an extensive complex sprawling over hillside grounds, and although I loved wandering around absorbing the richness of the luxurious private chambers, courtyards and kitchens, grand state rooms and the treasury – which I didn’t enter ‘til much later – it was the library I truly loved.


I was utterly fascinated by all the historical records painstakingly shelved therein, and once I learnt the language, spent hour after hour drinking the words like fine wine. I read everything I could get my hands on, and my knowledge grew immeasurably. In later times, this education armed me enough to guide me well enough through the intricate maze of Ottoman politics.


The Turkish devotion to the art of beauty was everywhere – on walls, floors, architecture and clothing design; and the gorgeously scrolling handwriting completely captivated me. Mine was a keen mind always hungry for knowledge, and here it was aplenty, so much more than my homeland.


But I was full of questions.


How was it that a country where three quarters of its population were originally slaves, somehow managed to infuse such fanatical nationalism and loyalty into these newcomers to the Empire? The school most of the ‘taken ones’ attended soon after their arrival was partly to explain, with the conversion to Islam the final farewell to whatever religious or patriotic values our birthplace had first fostered.


In later years I often asked myself this during meandering walks through the rose and jasmine-scented gardens. These particular aromas would stay with me to the end of my days, holding the memory of first love that went some way toward blunting the still razor-sharp memories of my brutal kidnapping. 'Love' in that context was such a dichotomy anyway. And this hadn’t escaped my sharp mind.


The question of loyalty to a strange country fascinated me, and I naïvely looked forward to those moments where I’d see that put to the test to gauge how strong and true it held. Naïve, because those moments of loyalty tested were ‘most always filled with such heart-rending cries of fear, pain, torment, and often ultimately ending in death, and I wished to never see such things ever again.

And yet … when you’ve grown up surrounded by the lowest lows of crazy palace intrigue, and seen poisonings, stranglings and beheadings, with always the metallic sound of training Janissaries swords clashing in the background, somewhere behind the melodious harem music, that became my 'normal'.


For the child grown into a woman, she knew nothing else anymore. This was my world and I saw too much too young.


A completely different head space and heart space. You’d hope that in such a place devoted to love, jealousy would be non-existent and hate a non-sequitur, yet these emotions flourished as rampant as poison ivy and stinging nettles. Rambling all through the place, the tiny needles stinging, biting and scratching any who tripped through its deceptive beauty without their spiritual armour on.

Topkapi Palace


... The magnificent Topkapi Palace at sunrise ...


Topkapi Palace was built over an 18-year period, from 1460 to 1478, and was home to all the Ottoman sultans until the reign of Abdulmecid I (1839-1860), a period of nearly four centuries.


... Topkapi Palace - a luxurious reading room ...

'Topkapı Palace and Harem (Topkapı Sarayı) are likely to have more colourful stories than most of the world's museums put together. Libidinous sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines and scheming eunuchs lived and worked here between the 15th and 19th centuries when it was the court of the Ottoman empire. A visit to the palace's opulent pavilions, jewel-filled Treasury and sprawling Harem gives a fascinating glimpse into their lives.'

Source : Topkapi Palace Museum


... Inside the Harem of Topkapi Palace ...

So, who am I? To feel all this?


'Who am I? Not the body, because it is decaying;

not the mind, because the brain will decay with the body; not the personality,

nor the emotions, for these also will vanish with death.'


Ramana Maharshi


As I stated online prior to writing this, of my intention to do so, yet again the trolling, harassment, mockery and relentlessly derogatory commentary has been the usual standard stuff. Rolled out by fungal-infected fools, so what can I say. It’s to be expected. There are some who are devoting their useless lives to making mine a misery, I’m not really sure to what end.


I know they enjoy my suffering, however I’m needing to stay with the process here and not let their constant onslaught of psychological warfare affect me too much. It’s ultimately a distraction tactic – that of the dark witches. Part of my work here is to recognize and overcome their attempts at distraction, then get on with my precious projects.


So, leaving them all behind in their self-made fog – let's get back to that question of questions. The one we must all ask. Who am I?


And in this moment we contemplate a soul of light caught within the confines of a human body and bound to a place of darkness …. who am I? Is the opinion of others based on the opinion of others based on the opinion of others who’ve never met me, the truth of who I am? Well, no.


Is the opinion of others based on the opinion of others based on the opinions of those who want to destroy me in their own madness, the truth of who I am? Again, no.


Does anyone in this place know who I am? Well, it seems to be a big no.


The constant suffering I feel at the derogatory words of those who’ve never seen my face, heard my voice, nor known my heart, is intense. They twist my suffering into a joke, then say I'm joking. It’s been pure agony being on the other side of their idiocy. The target of their hate. For they have their own joker, yet say it’s I.


I feel an overwhelming need to set things right about myself, let the world know I was rarely joking when speaking the words of suffering you laughed at. I expressed my pain and you all laughed as though it was a comedy. What was happening there? Was a spell of insanity placed on the world to hear things in this warped way? To never hear what I was truly saying? To always misunderstand me?


So when I ask you, “who am I?” it’s partially because I want to let you know who I’m not. I am NOT who they said I am. I always knew that everything I’d have to do since their smear campaign began was going to be related to clearing my name and my family name. Everything. Clearing the dishonor that came from nowhere. Even if I died in the process.


I'm calling on Spirit to help untie those earthly cords that held me immobilised in the dark cave of their making with the truth of who I am concealed, so they could attempt to replace me with their vampire clones.


I’m the opposite of all they say I am.


I’ve had to climb down off my horse to fight them on the ground, to get this relentless spiritual warfare against me begin turning around again. I know they want me dead so they can replace me. I know I’ll never let that happen, no matter what it takes.


I’m climbing out of the box that those who hate me tried to bind me within. I’m letting the world know what they tried to hide about me, with their dark spellwork and slanderous media smear campaigns.


I can all too easily quote the enlightened words of divine being Ramana Maharshi, yet despite loving his soul to pieces, not all he says is absolutely true for me. I believe it is and was for him.


So again, who am I? Where can I begin. In this lifetime alone I’ve been so many things. Mother, lover, daughter, sister, friend. Counsellor, teacher, dancer, writer, poet. I can carry on in this vein endlessly, there’s so much more – or we can go deeper.


To that place of pure spirit. Pure innocence yet pure knowing.


More than this, I’ve been around as long as God. I go far, far back in time, to the time before time. I’ve travelled the cosmos for millennia upon millenia, trying on new bodies and lifetimes, undertaking Godly missions, bringing higher teachings and love, the reception of which, by the beings I've taught, creating either suffering or exaltation for me. Depending on the enlightenment or ignorance of the crowds.


Those of us who’ve been enlightened have been the most hated, hunted and maligned. Tortured then killed.


This is God's truth. All of it.


Our violet crown chakra an open portal to cascading waterfalls of clear Light became the thing to fear. By the stupid ones, the power hungry, fearful to lose their false power to our real power.


So it’s happened again this time around.


Unbelievable, because I really didn’t expect it. But there it is. The ignorance in this world is still alive and kicking.


To survive the dangerous stupidity of the killer apes, we've hidden our light then girded ourselves in warrior garb to fight back every way we can.


So that’s who I am. Now.


And in this particular journey back through time to revisit an Ottoman lifetime, we use the process of shamanic recapitulation to understand and release the many ghosts of that time. More than this, my heart fills with love and my mind with fascination for a time that held such richness, such savagery, such love, passion and power, in a world now reduced to sick Game-playing even whilst surrounded by very real and deadly wars.


The Game is their horrible addiction, far worse than heroin, and the world is highly likely to go into an extinction event soonish; all the while mocking, tormenting and trying to kill those of us trying to save the place and awaken their numbed and slumbering souls in time. But I have little doubt they’ll all choose instead to go down with one hand on the joystick of their demonic Game and the other hand clutching their spliffs or drugs. Whatever. Their way is in no way my way.


If this world goes down, still my soul will rise.


But I badly need to cast off all those damned opinions of others who inexplicably hate me, and reclaim who I am. My grace and strength, my knowledge and power, all of it. Even my good looks which those who want to destroy me lie about daily. Enough to hurt even the most stoic, truthfully. So I must cast aside those damned ignorant ones and leave them for God to deal with, to again be who I really am.


There’s so much more to me, but I’ll leave it there for now. Because as I always say, who we are now is the sum of all we’ve ever been. And so it is.


'Let come what comes, let go what goes. See what remains.'


Ramana Maharshi

The Question of Reincarnation



For me there is no question about reincarnation. It’s a given. I have too much personal evidence and too many memories to even think about challenging the concept.


Perhaps the following excerpt from the third book of my trilogy will go some way toward enhancing your understanding of the concept of separate incarnations of our one OverSoul.


This excerpt is a dialogue between four aspects of myself, three of whom are from my far distant future and different dimensions: Shani, Jax and Sulien.


In my trilogy I’m first known as Éilísh, but after dying rather prematurely, it's discovered by my angelic guardians that the only way I might return to fulfil my life’s work and mission is to merge with the angelic aspect of myself, Cassiel – so I’m a new creature indeed – part angel, part human, mostly Dhamphir.


Cassiel has met each of her future selves in other astral journeys undertaken when in meditative trance, but only separately.


Somehow God and the Universe has brought these four of my respective selves together in the one place – within a galactic bubble floating somewhere in the cosmos. Impossible, yet there it is.


By now the four of us have become decidedly turned on to eachother, floating into a polyamorous sexual embrace, all the while discoursing philosophically on how God had made the impossible possible:


The Four of Us


At first confusingly jumbled, their thoughts shifted until each mind rearranged its unique thinking threads into its own labyrinthine groove. This was something else. It was tempting to sink into placid indolence, but none of them were really made that way. Besides, there was the underlying knowledge that this wouldn’t last forever. It could end any time.


Shani was the first to break thru the seductive lassitude overtaking them all. ‘You know Cassiel, no cosmic laws are being broken here. It’s just beyond anything we’ve ever known or dreamed.’


Cassiel emanated warm vibes of appreciation at being read so thoroughly.


Shani continued, ‘I think I can explain it.’


Jax tilted his head to one side, his face visibly flushed and grinned. ‘Carry on my love. The floor is yours!’


They all laughed, halfway between no floor and eternity. Sulien reached out and caressed Shani’s arm, lost in admiration at her ability to think straight in this moment. Shani smiled, her eyes glossy and bright.


‘It’s the whole soul consciousness thing. Like when you do your mediumship work, Cassiel, tuning into one particular incarnation of your client, all the while knowing there are countless other lifetimes extant for that very same person.’


Cassiel gasped in comprehension, ‘Ahhh, right I remember! We’re each a different aspect or projection of the One OverSoul, I guess we’d call it.’


She hesitated and Sulien jumped in, eyes flashing brilliantly, despite being suspended in some radiant alien sky making sensual love whilst simultaneously conversing philosophically with three other aspects of themself. Life as usual, right? Exuberance bubbled forth as Sulien’s eyes opened wide in sudden understanding.


‘Think of our OverSoul as a radiant sun - which it actually is - and each of us a ray of light radiating from that sun. Each one of us is an expression, or a manifestation, emanating from our OverSoul!’


Jax spoke up quietly, his amber body gently twisting and turning within their intimate polyamorous embrace. ‘That’s right. The entire soul cannot live within our human body. Our Over-Soul is a massive interdimensional energy construct, and our body simply can’t contain it. The enormity of its power would overwhelm our puny little forms. Fully annihilate it!’


The other three laughed, staring unabashedly at Jax’s beautiful physique – anything but puny! None of them were. But point made.


Excerpt from ‘The Four of Us’, in the Chapter ‘DreamWalking: The Four’

from Book 3 in my Trilogy ‘Love + Power: The Book of Life.'


The Dilemmas of Being Kösem


Yet here I also came across a number of quandaries. I could not ignore them, as they’re all part of the bigger picture of why I’m here, interestingly.


One of those dilemmas involves Nurgül Yeşilçay, the absolutely gorgeous Turkish actress who portrays Kösem in the series that triggered my remembrance of that past lifetime so strongly.


A few things have unexpectedly arisen for me since beginning the writing of this memoir, yet I was also fully aware that writing this whole thing would push me into various difficult places.


In a way I’ve cornered myself in a rather shamanic tactic – so as to blatantly confront all the contradictions that different incarnations intrinsically hold, viewing all in the same way the Sun oversees all things - with acceptance and non-judgemental love, all the while shedding light over the world.


This particular lifetime holds a number of powerful circumstances, and each, when viewed up close, can cause powerfully conflicting emotions.


Such as:


  • I’m writing Past Life-time Memoirs about a woman, Kösem, who spent most of her life in a country practicing a religion – Islam – that doesn’t accept the concept of Reincarnation.

  • She was abducted from Greece in probably pretty violent circumstances, and brought to Constantinople to eventually be sold into slavery in the Sultan’s Harem.

  • This same woman changed her religion from Greek Orthodox Christianity to Islamic

  • Kösem was known, loved and deeply respected for her deep commitment and adherence to the Islamic religion

  • She fell in love and married her head captor – the Sultan. Was this a form of Stockholm Syndrome – or real love? I think we all feel it was real love.

  • Kösem began life as a very innocent young girl – Anastasia – and when she rose to power, vowed to end the practice of Fratricide in the Ottoman family that was enacted as part of any new Sultan’s rising to power. After ensuring this Veto on Fratricide was written, then signed and sealed as Law upon the death of her husband Sultan Ahmed I, there were various times in Kösem’s life where she was forced to renege on this vow, under what kind of pressures we can only begin to imagine.

My work in disentangling the dilemmas of this lifetime is to take those circumstances, then merge my soul recall with those moments in time to bring in the information.


To be honest, I didn’t really know how I was going to ever unravel such a complex life filled with so many seeming contradictions and bring in the truths about it all, but I prayed to God for a way, and a way was opened for me.



Nurgül Yeşilçay


Then yesterday I had a sudden inkling that the stunning actress who played Kösem in the 'Magnificent Century' series, had also felt herself to be the reincarnation of Kösem. I want to begin here.


From what I can see, Nurgül Yeşilçay is Muslim, how devout, who knows. Whether she subscribes to the public disavowal of reincarnation I find in my online research, is not clear. I do know that yesterday I suddenly fell into her heart, and felt that at times she'd believed this to be so.


We know the process of any consummate actor who really takes on a biographic or historic role is similar to a shamanic process – where you empty yourself of yourself, leaving a hollow, cleaned-out conduit for the character you’re taking on to come on through.


The best actors do this brilliantly and the transformations can be remarkable. To the extent of being seen as channeling, in some cases.


I believe this happened for Nurgül Yeşilçay as she portrayed Kösem. It’s obvious to me. Her work is brilliant and beautiful and heartrending and powerful. If she’s a Muslim who disavows reincarnation, then there was probably no issue there. Yet I have a feeling there was. That she felt she was one and the same at times.


I’m not going to argue about this. I think she’s a genius actress and brilliant channel.


Whether she or I are the latest incarnation of Kösem, well I’m not going to quarrel about it. I acknowledge that I felt what lives within her heart (she’s welcome to correct me if I’m wrong).


And I also know and stand by what I felt in my own heart. I have to admit I felt a little sad when I felt Nurgül’s heart.



Islam + Reincarnation


But I'll keep moving forward with this Memoir and leave this particular issue standing in the light of the Sun, with the knowledge that God moves in mysterious ways and anything is possible. Anything.


If anything, it highlights for me the possibility that there may be some Muslims, those who follow Islam, who do have past lifetime memories, and don’t know how to talk about it. Again, I may be wrong.


That Kösem ardently followed and believed in the Islamic religion with all her heart and soul means she likely didn’t believe in reincarnation at all during that lifetime. I can only contend that upon death, my spiritual eyes were opened and I saw and remembered differently. I’m not saying Islam is incorrect, far from it. I’d never say that! I utterly respect the words and works of the Prophet.


I just have a diverging belief in that area, in a religion I do personally love in many ways.


It’s a big problem, I know. I can’t fix that problem, only name it.


Yet this whole question is part of the larger picture of my work here in this particular lifetime. I hope from the bottom of my heart that I do not offend any Muslims with this piece of work, as that’s not my intention in any way. But it’s highly possible I might. Please bear with me, friends, as I try to explain where I’m coming from through-out this memoir.


The other issues I raised above, I hope to also feel into with my soul recall, in a particular type of deep reflection and merging that I do for Past Life Recall work like this, and answer those questions in that way.


Death : the deepest radiance

... The Fountain | Death is the Road to Awe ...

My Religions

If there is any lover in the world,

0 Muslim, it is I. If there is any believer, infidel, or Christian hermit, it is I. The wine, the cup-bearer, the musician, the instrument and the music, The beloved, the candle, the liquor and the inebriation, it is I. The seventy-two religious sects in the world Do not really exist; I swear by God every religious sect it is I. Earth, air, water and fire: do you know what they are? Earth, air, water and fire and the soul as well; it is I Truth and falsehood, good and evil, pleasure and suffering, beginning and end, Knowledge, learning, asceticism, devotion and faith it is I. Be assured that the fire of hell and its flames, Paradise, Eden and the angels of heaven it is I. Heaven and earth and all they hold: angels, demons, and men it is I.


Jalâl ud Dîn Rumi



Now we arrive at the edge of a spiritual minefield, which I'll endeavour to walk through with the greatest of care. Standing at the edge of that field, with Rumi holding one of my hands in reassurance and Jesus the other, I feel cold beads of sweat gathering on my brow, and lifting my eyes to the heavens, call out silently to God.


I feel the Buddha-light emanating from the flaming lotus eternally burning in the hearth of my heart, and know all will be well. I listen well to the voices of the Ascended Masters surrounding me, walking with me, holding me in love.


I look across the field again and laugh at myself for a moment. It’s only a field of rambling wildflowers after all! I’ve fooled myself with all my fear. I sigh and prepare to walk forward, but a Master in the form of a tall pillar of twisting violet flame places a hand on my shoulder, and I stop.


'Look again,' a voice speaks quietly within my mind.


I see all the riotous colours flaming across the field, those flowers that fill my heart with such delight, then my vision penetrates the earth, down below this carpet of gorgeousness, where lie multitudes of severed heads, torn limbs, broken dead bodies and the bones of the fallen. Religious wars were the theme songs of most of their deaths.


I recall the terrible violence of religion, the suffering of war, the rape, pillage, torture and killing. The small white bones of dead children lie scattered amongst the fallen, so many innocents slain. The bones of their mothers cover some of the young ones, where they'd flung themselves in futile gestures of protection.


Young men filled with bravado, piss and beer, all dead too, with the roots of the flowers poking through their dirty whitened bones. The skeletons of old men, weathered warriors of many battles, finally taken down by some random bullet, stray arrow or slashing sword.


Where are their souls? Have they returned to the world time and again to fight more wars of attrition? I can tell you now, their souls are not here in this field of flowers, but long gone.


Ah. I know now this blood-soaked field has no innocence, with its multi-coloured flowers waving in some spring breeze, fooling us all with their bright faces and brilliance. But don’t be mistaken-– it’s not the fault of the flowers. For they are innocent and the purest of God's children. The stories of truth lie silent and still far below. Flowers are the cleanup crew, making everything beautiful again after the bloody destruction of the storms.


I turn to the Masters all ‘round me, each appearing on this day as a brilliant spiralling pillar of violet flames. I know they’ll all have their say. The flames of spirit flick and lick at me, burning away all preconceptions.


‘You, who’ve been around forever, how can you explain the hate so prevalent in this place? And why so much hatred is aimed at you?’


I don’t see who speaks, yet the question is pertinent. I turn to see those distinctive intense eyes of Yogananda peering through his flames at me, pushing me to really see the deadly nature of this place. I’ve been coming here since before this world was made, and things haven’t changed much here at all, in so many ways. His melodious voice speaks again.


‘Don’t try to answer yet. Walk through this place and reflect on all the religions you’ve taken into your heart in each and every lifetime. Say why you are where you are now.’


‘Yes, the people need true words as real food for their starving souls,’ I answer he who has advised me just now. The others all hear, and murmur their assent within my mind.

Then Rumi speaks up: 'Do not break with the prophet of your time! Do not rely on your own skills and footsteps! Though you be a lion, if you travel the Path without a guide, you will be a self-seer, astray and contemptible.'


I sit on the soft grass to drink in the delicious music of his poetry, although he is stern as a good father, watching in delight as the cosmic dancer flings his arms wildly into the air. Yet not as wild as he might seem, he steadies any dizziness within his eternal dance. His lyrics are God’s word and a guide to true seekers.


I'm moved to speak to him of my secret love. Yet not really so secret....


'The truth is, my soul is a Sufi, Rumi.'


... Hu the Zikr | Spoken by Anandmurti Gurumaa ...


Of course he already knows where my heart lives. ‘But Rumi, love,’ I continue, intent on sharing my concerns on the matter, ‘There appear to be no spiritual masters in this time. All those I’ve approached have soon revealed themselves to be corrupt as stinking sewers, and I’ve taken to advising most children to avoid all those fake ‘spiritual teachers’ for now.’


Rumi continues dancing his ecstatic dance, all the while silently watching me on each turn with a humorous side-eye. I continue.


‘The Original Teachings are all I trust for now,’ I sigh. ‘And even then, I ensure they’re not corrupted versions of the original words, or mistranslated into some kind of asinine crap. And I can also feel when heavy spellwork has been soaked into the teachings like puddles of poisonous black ink, so there’s that too…’


Rumi laughs, and reminds me, 'It’s all timeless anyway'.


The Masters are all ‘round.


I feel a mutual acknowledgement from them all that they’d really prefer not to incarnate right now on Earth, and truly madly deeply appreciate the efforts of those like I, who expose our Self to such torment, torture and constant danger from the deadly intentions of the ignorant, by incarnating on Earth in these times.


I throw my head back and laugh like a lion, letting the heat of the sun warm into my face and eyelids while basking in its radiance for a while.


‘Ah my friends! My pleasure!’


Some chuckle at my dark humour, others send the warmest of vibes my way to soothe my ravaged soul. Jesus loves me. We all sit silently in mutual camaraderie beside the blood-soaked battlefield, in our own collective golden field of love.


Somehow this strengthens me like an infusion of supernatural green tonic. My blood is strong, my heart is on fire, I’m good and I’m ready to rip!


Then beautiful old Sufi Master Ibn Arabi speaks quietly into my mind, his tone soothing, his words wise. He has read my heart, and answers what I was silently pondering.


Teach your children not to praise their own faith exclusively so they disbelieve all the rest. If they do this they will miss much good. Nay, they will miss the whole truth of the matter.


'God, the Omniscient and the Omnipresent, cannot be confined to any one creed, for He says in the Quran, wheresoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah.


'Everybody praises what he knows. His God is his own creature, and in praising it, he praises himself. Which he would not do if he were just, for his dislike is based on ignorance.


So wonderful to be in the company of enlightened spiritual telepaths! My heart exults, my dilemmas answered before I even formulate the question.


Clarity is coming on how best to approach the spiritual dilemma I now face. I reflect for a time on my research on the mysteries of Jesus a few years ago then look directly into Ibn Arabi’s eyes and smile, thinking of that well-known old Hindu proverb:


‘'There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading in the same direction, so it doesn't matter which path you take. The only one wasting time is the one who runs around and around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.’


‘That’s it, my old friend!’ he nods enthusiastically, ‘seems like some people out there are finally getting it!’


Anandamayi Ma sits down beside me, poking at some of the weather-whitened bones of the dead sticking out of the ground a little, pushing them back into the soft earth. Then gently clasping both my hands in her own and looking deep into my soul, speaks with deepest compassion.


'You’re worried about certain Turkish people’s reaction to your Memoirs.’ She pauses to feel into my heart, then goes on, ‘Oh, you’re more worried about riling the Muslims. You’re remembering how you went out when you were Kösem, the trauma of being murdered …’ Her sympathy is a healing balm, her honesty uplifting.


That was the way with these Masters, their humour could be quite contagious, then on the other hand their faces became serious, their foreheads furrowed with the deepest concern whenever they turned their attention to worrisome planet Earth.


‘Mhm,'' I nod, ruefully rubbing my throat. ‘My neck still aches badly from that day, even centuries later. The pain seems to have settled deep within my soul DNA...'


She whispers quietly into my mind that when I revisit my time in Turkey, this will bring the needed healing. As I squeeze her hand in gratitude, she kisses my cheek affectionately. I adore her forever. Nearby, Krishnamurti is striding 'round in garb of flaming white, exercising his soul. I feel into his energy, and yes, that irritated anger clouding his heart when last on Earth has fully dissipated, replaced by some kind of iron mind.


Powerful. Interesting. We’d talk later, I had no doubt.


I close my eyes briefly to concentrate on rummaging ‘round the filing cabinet of my mind – looking for certain research and writings, then dig up the relevant document I want to discuss.


I look over at a nearby tall pillar of spiralling ultraviolet, gold and white pluming flames I know are Jesus, but cannot see his earthly form, only this intense column of spiritual fire. I have some questions for Him.


I quickly scan my old notes, looking over at Him now and then to gauge any reaction, hoping for a few bright purple sparks or gold-red flickers, anything at all really. Nothing as yet though.


I clear my throat, ‘Ahem,’ and begin reading a little self-consciously, warming to the task as I go on:


“Jesus. So who was He really? If we look at the most ancient and earliest known paintings and depictions of Jesus, something else emerges. At times we see a picture of a man appearing of African bearing with very dark skin and tightly curled short hair, but at other times with long lank hair, or even snow-white hair.


The evidence in front of our eyes is of the historical shifting and gradual morphing of depictions of Jesus across cultures and over the centuries. To finally that of a Caucasian man with long wavy hair and blue eyes. Possibly bearing similarities to the well-known defacing of ancient Egyptian paintings. Is this what happened?


Where dark brown skin was lightened and whitened, and the original broader noses either painted over or smashed off statues, thus whitewashing and erasing the real and original history. Is this what happened with the multitude of depictions of Jesus? Perhaps this is the Truth and perhaps not.


What did He really look like? There are many written accounts from those times, and the reports of his appearance are varied. The Book of Revelation includes John’s vision of the Son of Man:


'.. His feet were like unto burnt brass, His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow.'


Quranic traditions give oral depictions of Jesus appearance, stating the Prophet 'did not say that Jesus was of red complexion,' rather He was 'a man of brown complexion and lank hair.'


Lamentations states: ‘their visage is blacker than coal’ referring to His face.


One of the oldest non-biblical depictions of Jesus was found in a Russian translation of an original Greek text. The descriptions sit well with the earliest iconic representations.


“At that time also there appeared a certain man of magic power, if it be meet to call him a man, [whose name is Jesus], whom [certain] Greeks call a son of [a] God, but his disciples [call] the true prophet, he was a man of simple appearance, mature age, black-skinned, short growth, three cubits tall, hunchbacked, prognathous (with a long face), a long nose, eyebrows meeting above the nose with scanty [curly] hair, but having a line in the middle of the head after the fashion of the Nazaraeans, with an undeveloped beard.”


So was Jesus a shamanic shapeshifter? Or an extra-terrestrial visitor or angelic being taking on the forms of the cultures he visited in order to blend in? Was he African, Caucasian, Greek, something else or all of the above?


Some very early images depict a fairly androgynous being. I can propose a number of what might seem outrageous theories here, and all could be proven plausible, given the evidence.


But the overwhelming evidence shows an ascending Master of great knowledge and apparently magical healing abilities. Who was here to impart enlightened teachings and healing to any who would listen and receive with open eyes and heart. His brilliance as a wordsmith, and propensity for speaking in parables and riddles also shows a particularly secret and sacred type of training of use of the Word. So just what is the Truth?”


Excerpt from my essay on Jesus: The Lost Years: Once You See, You Cannot Unsee



I finish reading and stand in dead silence for an endless moment, waiting. Then those celestial flames of violet, gold and purple part like translucent curtains and the Man steps through, radiant with love as ever, crowned with the Light of God’s glory. He smiles then gently embraces me, whispering softly into my mind.


‘Ah my girl. You’ve got it! The answers are in the questions. There’s nothing more to say.’


I laugh, suddenly flooded with Light. I really do understand.


The Masters all gather in a circle next to me, sitting on the soft green grass picking pretty flowers and tucking them behind each-others ears, laughing and reminiscing about that time Jesus disappeared, secretly living in an Indian Temple for seventeen years being trained up as a Master Magé.


I thought I’d been everywhere ‘til I listen to Jesus tell the tales of his travels.


... R.E.M. | Losing My Religion ...

Again certain querulous readers ask, ‘What has any of this to do with Kösem?’ First, I’ll respond that each time I incarnate I carry a deeper Godly mission encoded within. Deeper than living some mundane life. I have to somehow trigger my awakening to that mission each time, particularly when the veils are thick and heavy, clouding my remembering.


Usually I remember my celestial tasks when very young, then circumstances often later shut me down to some degree, this planet being the savage place it is. Shutdown is a common response to severe trauma, and most of our lifetimes carry reams of it. Trauma.


Humans are often extremely vicious to eachother, and despite being enlightened over and over, I still wasn’t totally exempt from participating in such deplorable ways, nor in being deeply affected by any vicious attacks on me.


Now, in my time as Kösem, I’d had those kinds of conversations I outline above with my circle of dearest friends, the Ascended Masters, just before my arrival my birth on the Greek island of Tinos in the late 16th century, and living on into the 17th century.


We always make sure to connect between lifetimes -– catch-up, debrief and the like. None of them were intending to alight on Earth for a long time yet to come, so I was their central focus these days, with their goal being to help me survive the very troubled times to come we all foresaw, to the best of all our abilities.


I arrived again as Kösem in 1589, and now I hope you see the breadth of who I really am. And when I was stolen from my home, the young daughter of a Greek Orthodox Priest, Christian through and through, and taken to a sumptuous Turkish palace, intended by my captors to reside there as one of the Sultan’s Harem women, there was a constant but subtle pressure applied for conversion to Islam. 'Subtle?'' I ask myself. 'How subtle, really?'


I remember one person in particular quietly pushing me hard to convert, one of the Eunuchs, but also there was the knowing that my living conditions would radically change if I did so, life expectancy improve and quality of life.


But I have to let you know that I kicked and fought and hit like a wild little tiger for quite some time, rebelling against the whole thing, desperate to return home to my beloved kinfolk. Yes, I admit I was seduced to a degree by the opulence, the divine music, sumptuous clothing and gorgeous surroundings. Once my outrage, shock and despair had settled a little, I wiped the hot angry tears from my eyes and looked around, the vision of those material things were a definite contributing factor to my softening in attitude over time.


I’ll go into the other factors later such as falling in love with a certain man, the Sultan-– completely turning around my prior resolve to get out of there any way possible, and I actually made the decision to stay. To convert. I grew to love, once more, the Islamic religious traditions, with all my heart and soul. For I have been a Muslim before that lifetime. It’s always, for me, a simple matter of remembering.


And when I took Islam on, I embraced it with all my heart and soul, walking the talk and living by the teachings.


And also, my dear Readers, do not forget that my dearest friends between lifetimes include Sufi Masters, Muslims, Chinese Zen and Tao masters, Hindus, Buddhists and the rest. I have a multicoloured multicultural soul, and the Palace was a brilliant wealth of multicultural life.

Something within me finally aligned and my soul relaxed.


It became ok to change. I always carried Jesus within my heart, at the same time as falling in love with Islam and following the Prophet's teachings faithfully, with all my heart and soul.


I never ceased my dialogue with God, I never ever lost my religion. My heart was big enough to carry both within, and so much more.

The Harem

... Cariye or Imperial Concubine ..

'I am a harem woman,

an Ottoman slave.

I was conceived in an act

of contemptuous rape

and born in a sumptuous palace.

Hot sand is my father;

the Bosphorus, my mother;

wisdom, my destiny;

ignorance, my doom.

I am richly dressed

and poorly regarded;

I am a slave-owner and a slave.

I am anonymous, I am infamous;

one thousand and one tales

have been written about me.

My home is this place where gods are buried and devils breed,

the land of holiness,

the backyard of hell.’

This poem was written by a woman of the House of Happiness, Dar’üs-sade



And certainly, I also felt the same way for a time [as the poet above]. How was it that my perceptions gradually shifted to something entirely different? Looking upon those I first saw as devils to now seeing a lover of whom I was entirely enamoured? Seeing those around me as friends now rather than deadly enemies?


But let’s go back to the beginning, to my early days in what may as well have been an alien planet. And also, remember the times: I landed in the Ottoman Empire when (certain) women’s power was on an unprecedented rise within the Harem and Palace. A time that became known as the Sultanate of Women, which I’ll go into more deeply in Part Three.


Harem comes from the Arabic word haram, meaning a sacred or protected space. Most Muslim homes in the Ottoman Empire had one, and the custom of having a segregated space for ‘women only’ carried across to some Christian and Jewish households as well. Religious Sharia law ruled that in public, women had to be veiled and closely watched by men, but in the Harem they had more freedom, with only other women as company.


The Imperial Harem was in the heart of the Sultan’s rooms, a sealed sanctuary for the women, with living quarters for the Sultan’s mother, wives, sisters, daughter and female servants and slaves. Yes there were also concubines but this really wasn’t the main purpose of the place.


One of the things that woke me up to the truth of my plight was that no matter where I looked, there was no view of the outside nor any direct route to the outdoors. A kind of glorified prison, in so many ways.


When I arrived, I was sent to thoroughly wash myself in the bathing rooms, and when I say I had a complete makeover, I mean it. Not that I wasn’t squeaky clean in my home in Tinos, but we lived a simple life, and just didn’t have what the Palace had.


The sea-journey where I’d been violently ill over and over, then the stinking slave markets had all left a distinctively unpleasant odour on me that needed to be dealt with. Every part of me was washed, oiled, massaged and perfumed. My hair became an artform in itself, the hairdresser a true artiste, and over time my hair’s lustrous sheen only improved. I loved all the pampering and adornment.


In my soul I knew this was an amazing one-off experience that could make or break me, and for now I had to roll with it. The opportunities that opened for me over time like a long hallway of doors opening one by one felt at times like some kind kind of waking dream.


I was given the name Mahpeyker, a Persian name meaning 'visage of the moon;, my nickname Kösem came a little later. ‘Kösem’ has a few meanings, one being ‘shepherd who leads the sheep’, it’s also to do with having very smooth skin, and another meaning relates to ‘having a strong stance that dominates the environment.’ I guess you can see that my strong personality shone through from the start.


Most of the women around me were extraordinary beautiful, and I was told I was too, which was a revelation to me! But being pretty wasn’t going to be enough in the long run. We had a lot of learning to do, which I soaked up. We were taught to act in a refined manner, and maintain self-confidence and a mature outlook.


This incredible school for girls taught me literature, geography, history, calligraphy, and any other subjects I chose. We learned to play musical instruments, dance and recite poetry. Some of us were musically talented, my talent was singing, which my Sultan loved.


The art of seduction and eroticism were also highly valued subjects on the school syllabus, and I feel I went pretty well there too!


As all us young girls grew to know eachother better, I learned that most of the lovely women around me had been purchased from the slave markets of Russia, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Iran and parts of Europe.


... Inspecting new arrivals ...

There was a definite pecking order.


The elites of the Ottoman Empire Harem included women such as the Sultan’s mother, preferred concubines, royal concubines, children (princes and princesses) and administrative workers. These administrative people were high-ranking women officers responsible for training Jariyes for domestic work.


The Sultans concubines were mostly purchased slaves and generally of Christian origin (usually European, Circassian, Abkhazian, or Georgian).

The mother of the Sultan was highly involved in decision-making for the Imperial Harem. And it was the mother of the Sultan, although technically a slave, who received the extremely powerful title of Valide Sultan, raising her to the status of a ruler of the Empire.


... An Ottoman Harem ...

We learnt many secrets and special rituals to maintain our beauty, yet they weren’t really secrets but age-old recipes blending medicine and cosmetology!


One of the Harem’s beauty ‘secrets’ was the Hammam (the baths). I washed and cleaned my skin with handmade soap comprised of herbs and olive oil boiled together with rose oil, then after drying myself, an extract of hibiscus and jasmine was massaged through my hair.


I became quite the perfume connoisseur and had my favorites. One gorgeous perfume I loved contained ambergris, tonka bean, vanilla and flowers, the combination a powerful aphrodisiac in itself.


Last but not least I applied black Kohl ‘round my eyes, drawing fine lines then lightly smudging it to give my eyes that sultry cleopatra look!


I began attracting attention without really trying, and the young Sultan (he was about my age!) heard me singing one day, and later told me he was very drawn to spend time alone with me.


And everything changed again.


... David Byrne + Brian Eno | Regiment |Tribal Fusion Dance ...

The Black + White Eunuchs


Now before I let you in on a little of my first night with my Sultan Ahmet I, let’s look to my friends, the Eunuchs. Well, not all could be classified as friends, but particular Eunuchs did get close, and in certain cases, we maintained lifelong connections ‘til my dying day. At the height of the Ottoman Empire, we had about 800 Eunuchs.


I was absolutely shocked on behalf of the men who’d been made into Eunuchs, when I first learnt the truth. I still feel that way. The hierarchy of the Harem was actually half women, half Eunuchs. Some heartless witches laughed at them and called them less than men because they’d been castrated.


I never laughed. I silently wondered how’d they managed to not kill themselves from the terrible suffering, humiliation and lifelong indignity they’d been sentenced to when that dreadful cut was first made.


When I got close to one of them, he told me most had been male prisoners of war or slaves, castrated before puberty. Condemned to servitude for life. Seen as no threat to the women of the Harem, they were our guardians.


White Eunuchs were culled from conquered Christian areas of Armenia, Caucasia and Georgia, and also Hungarian, Slovenian and German prisoners of war, captured during wars between Balkan countries and the Ottoman Empire.


Black Eunuchs were captured from Egypt, Abyssinia and the Sudan.

Islam forbade the practice of castration but not their use as slaves, and castration was usually done en route to the markets by Egyptian Christians or Jews.


But some had been more than castrated. Burak Sansal writes of different varieties of eunuchs in his article The Ottoman Harem:


  • Sandali, or clean-shaven: The parts are swept off by a single cut of a razor, a tube (tin or wooden) is set in the urethra, the wound is cauterized with boiling oil, and the patient is planted in a fresh dung-hill. His diet is milk, and if under puberty he often survives.

  • The eunuch whose penis is removed: He retains all the power of copulation and procreation without the wherewithal; and this, since the discovery of caoutchouc, has often been supplied.

  • The eunuch, or classical thlibias and semivir: He has been rendered sexless by the removing of the testicles, or by their being bruised, twisted, seared or bandaged.

Black eunuchs tended to be of the first category: Sandali, while white eunuchs were of the second or third categories, thus have part or their entire penis intact. Because of their lack of parts, black eunuchs served in the harem, while white eunuchs served in government and away from the women. (Burak Sansal, The Ottoman Harem)


... Shemakhinskaya Bayaderka Festival | Ratxan ...

In my early sixties, those who were not so close to me referred to me as the Old Queen, and as I grew older I spent more and more time in my garden apartments. In the evenings you'd find me in the company of my closest confidantes and loved ones. My eunuch’s danced and talked and laughed and bitched, as only eunuchs do -– no-one can bitch quite like a eunuch! If I recall correctly, that’s where I was the night of my death...


But this part of my Memoirs is about my much younger years, we'll get to my death soon enough!

The Serpent + The Dove


Once there was a secret union

A serpent and a dove

Enchanted by their beauty

They found a perfect love

Although the garden was lost to them

They sought a purity

They're shown by the sunlight

A gate into the sea

A home there to be


... Lisa Gerrard | The Serpent and The Dove ...

There they lived beyond all reason

Acquainted by their dreams

But one in true affection

Their souls would be redeemed


From Girl To Woman


The Aga’s slowly open the huge wooden door to the young Sultan's Chambers, and I enter for that very first time. Feeling so many mixed emotions I can’t think straight … trepidation, rebellion, yet also great curiosity. I’ve been preparing all day for this, by now smelling sweet as an entire garden of roses and jasmine, and apparently looking divine, or so my helpful dressers had insisted.


At the same time, Ahmet has also been preparing himself. There were things he badly wanted to say to me. The whole reason I’d been taken from my home was about to be divulged, and the emotions this would release within my young breast would be fairly tumultuous.


We sit on the edge of his huge canopied bed on velvety blankets, as I listen wide-eyed to his story. Wide-eyed because some of it really didn’t gel. Certain pieces of the puzzle weren’t connecting.


He tells me that when he’d fallen into a deep depression after the strangulation death of his brother Mahmud, his worried grandmother Safiye invited him to her apartments hoping to cheer him up. There he’d seen that painting of me holding a lambkin, looking adorably sweet and innocent. His heart immediately lifted and thenceforward he never felt sad whenever he looked at my portrait.


He told me he fell in love with me at first sight.


This ‘love at first sight’ of his had resulted in that ship pulling up at our port in Tinos, and those cruel Turks jumping out, brutally taking me from my home after tossing a few coins on the ground apparently as payment.


After his brother’s death, his father had also died, and Safiye had set those wicked plans in motion to steal me, in an attempt to cheer up her beloved grandson. By the time I arrived he’d been made Sultan.


It didn’t make sense. Hadn’t I been in a slave market, naked and filthy? Hadn’t I been randomly spotted by some Palace Envoy? Or was he there deliberately that day? I couldn’t tell. It was a good story, I had to admit, but my mind was feeling a bit scrambled by all the contradictions. I wondered about the truth of the matter for years to come.


Then he tells me how he’d done all in his power to not have his brothers executed upon his ascension to the throne. I get interested, and start to like him all at once. Everyone around him was angry at his decision, he says, although he’d stood by it and fought back. He’d fought hard against the emotional blackmail and other heavy pressure tactics of all the aggressive adults around him. He was only fifteen.


I felt proud of him, my heart warming to the young lion.


Here, finally, was someone on the same page as me. My mind raced as I imagined all the great constitutional changes we could make together. A real power couple! But I was getting ahead of myself.


The more he talked, the more I liked him, and he was a young man who also knew how to listen to a woman. Really listen. A gift indeed. Something frozen began warming deep within me. A profound feeling, a spark had kindled and a flame was forming.


I looked into his beautiful almond eyes and suddenly knew I could love this man. I just knew.


By now I was sexually wide awake. Nothing had been kept from us young women in the Harem’s school for girls. Nothing. I felt all those desires, yearnings and passions begin to catch fire within my loins and breast. And I well knew what to do with all those powerful feelings stirring within us both.


I was a very loving affectionate girl, and as he talked, I spontaneously reached out to warmly caress his hand. He stopped talking for a moment and looked at me with those intense, amazing eyes, then leaned towards me.


To be continued...


... Image from The Magnificent Century: Kösem' series ...



BRIEF PARTIAL BIOGRAPHY

OF

Kösem Sultan


Kösem Sultan (Ottoman Turkish: كوسم سلطان‎, IPA: [cøˈsem sulˈtan]) (c. 1589 – 2 September 1651) – also known as Mahpeyker Sultan (Turkish pronunciation: [mahpejˈkeɾ sulˈtan]; Māh-peyker) – was one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history. Kösem achieved power and influenced the politics of the Ottoman Empire when she became Haseki Sultan as favourite consort and later legal wife of Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603–1617) and Valide Sultan as mother of Murad IV (r. 1623–1640) and Ibrahim (r. 1640–1648), and grandmother of Mehmed IV (r. 1648–1687). She was one of the prominent figures during the Sultanate of Women.


Kösem lived in the Ottoman Empire as a courtier during the reign of six sultans: Ahmed I, Mustafa I, Osman II, Murad IV, Ibrahim, and Mehmed IV. After her death, she was known by the names "Valide-i Muazzama" (magnificent mother), "Vālide-i Maḳtūle" (murdered mother), and "Vālide-i Șehīde" (martyred mother).


EARLY LIFE


Kösem is generally said to be of Greek origin, the daughter of a priest on the island of Tinos whose maiden name was Anastasia. She was bought as a slave by the Bosnian governor, and sent, at the age of fifteen, to the harem of Sultan Ahmed I. Upon her conversion to Islam, her name was changed to Mahpeyker (Moon-Faced, meaning "beautiful"), and later by Sultan Ahmed I to Kösem.


HASEKI SULTAN THE IMPERIAL CONSORT


Kösem rose to prominence early in Ahmed's reign as part of a series of changes to the hierarchy of the imperial harem. Safiye Sultan, Ahmed's once-powerful grandmother and manager of the harem, was deprived of power and banished to the Old Palace (Eski Saray) in January 1604, and Handan Sultan, Ahmed's mother and Valide Sultan, died in November of the following year. These two vacancies allowed Kösem to rise to the top of the imperial harem hierarchy from her previous position as the Sultan's second or third concubine.


As a Haseki Sultan to Ahmed I Kösem was considered his favorite consort and gave birth to many of his children. During her time as haseki sultan she received 1,000 aspers a day. As the mother to a number of princesses she had the right to arrange their marriages which were of political use. Venetian ambassador Simon Contarini mentions Kösem in his report in 1612 and portrays her as:

"[A woman] of beauty and shrewdness, and furthermore ... of many talents, she sings excellently, whence she continues to be extremely well loved by the king ... Not that she is respected by all, but she is listened to in some matters and is the favorite of the king, who wants her beside him continually."


Contarini reported in 1612 that the Sultan ordered a woman to be beaten for having irritated Kösem. She may have been Kösem's fellow consort Mahfiruz, mother of Ahmed's eldest son Osman. Kösem also made efforts to keep her brother-in-law Mustafa safe from execution, and may have regarded Mahfiruz as a rival intent on lobbying in favor of her own son. After Mahfiruz's apparent expulsion from the palace, probably in the mid-1610's, Kösem and Osman grew fond of each other. She used to let him join her in carriage rides where he showed himself to the crowd, but once this came to Ahmed's attention he forbade any conversation between them.


Kösem's influence over the Sultan increased in the following years and it is said that she acted as one of his advisers. However, she refrained from involving herself constantly in serious issues as the Sultan refused to be overshadowed by his wife. Kösem is sometimes accused of trying to save her own position and influence throughout her long career "rather than that of the sultan or of the dynasty".


Kösem also had a long career as a guardian of şehzades. It is possible that the significant modifications in the pattern of succession to the throne during Ahmed's time owed something to her efforts. She must have realized the personal gain that might stem from the transition to seniority coupled with the fact that she was no longer haseki but had a son "in waiting". According to the Venetian ambassador, Kösem "lobbied to spare Mustafa the fate of fratricide with the ulterior goal of saving her own son from the same fate."


RETIREMENT AT THE OLD PALACE


Like his parents, Ahmed died at a young age (27 years) on 22 November 1617. This made Kösem lose her position in Topkapi Palace and she retired in the Old Palace during the reign of her brother-in-law Mustafa I and step-son Osman II.


Due to the emergence of seniority as the principle of succession, which meant that a prince's mother might mark time in the Old Palace between the death of her master and the accession of her son, Kösem was able to maintain her Haseki status and daily stipend of 1,000 aspers during her retirement there; still, after the end of Kösem's tenure as haseki, the position lost its prominence.

In 1619, her step-son Osman II paid her a three-day visit at the Old Palace, thus manifesting his special fondness for her. Even if their relation was cultivated, though, it did not yield consequential results for the young Sultan, whose most exceptional weakness was the lack of a Valide Sultan, a queen mother, to lobby in his favour.’


VALIDE SULTAN, THE SULTAN’S MOTHER


First tenure


Kösem came back in power when her son ascended to the throne on 10 September 1623 as Murad IV. Since her son was a minor, she was appointed not only as a Valide Sultan but also, as an official regent (naib-i-sultanat) during his minority, from her son's ascension on 10 September 1623 until 18 May 1632. During most of Murad IV's reign, she essentially ruled through him and effectively ran the empire, attending meetings of the divan (cabinet) from behind a curtain, even after 1632, when she was no longer regent.


During the early years, the Empire fell into anarchy; the Safavid Empire invaded Iraq almost immediately, Northern Anatolia erupted in revolts, and in 1631 the Janissaries stormed the palace and killed the Grand Vizier, among others. Murad feared suffering the same fate as his elder brother, Osman II, and decided to assert his power. He later tried to quell the corruption that had grown during the reigns of previous Sultans, and that had not been checked while his mother was ruling through proxy. His absolute rule started around 1632, when he took the authority and repressed all the tyrants, and he re-established the supremacy of Sultan.


Second tenure


Kösem's other son, Ibrahim, lived in terror of being the next of his brothers to be executed by Murad's order. His life was only saved by the intercession of his mother Kösem Sultan. After Murad's death, Ibrahim was left the sole surviving prince of the dynasty. Upon being asked by the Grand Vizier Kemankeş Kara Mustafa Pasha to assume the Sultanate, Ibrahim suspected Murad was still alive and plotting to trap him. It took the combined persuasion of Kösem and the Grand Vizier, and personal examination of his brother's dead body, to make Ibrahim accept the throne. When Ibrahim succeeded his brother in 1640, he proved too mentally unstable to rule. This enabled Kösem to continue in power. He was encouraged by his mother to distract himself with harem girls. The distractions of the harem allowed Kösem to gain power and rule in his name, yet even she fell victim to the Sultan's disfavor and left the Imperial Palace.


Ibrahim's behaviour sparked talks of deposing the sultan. In 1647, the Grand Vizier Salih Pasha, Kösem Sultan, and the şeyhülislam Abdürrahim Efendi unsuccessfully plotted to depose the sultan and replace him with one of his sons. Salih Pasha was executed and Kösem Sultan was exiled from the harem. The next year the Janissaries and members of the ulema revolted. On 8 August 1648, Ibrahim was dethroned, seized and imprisoned in Topkapı Palace. Kösem gave consent to her son's fall, saying "In the end he will leave neither you nor me alive. We will lose control of the government. The whole society is in ruins. Have him removed from the throne immediately." The new Grand Vizier, Sofu Mehmed Pasha, petitioned the Sheikh ul-Islam for a fatwā sanctioning Ibrahim's execution. It was granted, with the message "if there are two Caliphs, kill one of them." Kösem also gave her consent. Two executioners were sent. Ibrahim was strangled on 18 August 1648.


Third tenure


Eventually Kösem presented her seven-year-old grandson Mehmed IV to the divan with the words "Here he is!, see what you can do with him!" Thus, she declared herself regent for the second time, and ruled openly again between 1648 and 1651. At the head of the Ottoman Empire stood the child sultan, Mehmed IV. With Mehmed's ascendancy, the position of Valide Sultan ("mother of the reigning sultan") should have gone to his mother Turhan Hatice Sultan. However, Turhan was overlooked due to her youth and inexperience. Instead Kösem Sultan was reinstated to this high position. Kösem Sultan was a valide (mother) under two sons, thus having the more experience of the two women.


To be continued ...


... Image from 'The Magnificent Century: Kösem' series ...


Before I finish this second section of my Kösem Memoirs, I want to give some attention to that amazing Turkish series ‘The Magnificent Century: Kösem'' that delighted and astounded the hearts of so many all over the world. Yes we acknowledge it wasn’t completely historically correct, but mostly it was, and the extremely few inaccuracies were mostly just a little poetic license, to say, give us more time with fascinating characters such as Safiye Sultan – much too riveting to kill off too soon!


The series captured the times of the Ottoman Empire with great accuracy I’d say, without a doubt. The tales of how this great civilization managed the complex intricacies of internal Palace politics, and the very tricky negotiations with other potentially warring countries, religions and beliefs, was astounding and – well -– magnificent!


And when I say ‘civilization', I mean it from the depths of my heart and soul. Western civilization pales into absolute insignificance beside such glorious empires.


I feel the same way about China, Japan and other advanced cultures -– true civilizations the West cannot hope to measure itself against. That there were terrible injustices and crimes against humanity, on both sides, we know.


That some were survival strategies designed for times where the ruthless execution of your enemy might be the only way to ensure your own long-term survival, some might find hard to comprehend. But I remember. Leaving certain enemies alive or unchained might have deadly results back then. I also acknowledge quite a few things that really DID need to change, such as fratricide practices and other rather vicious customs.


We are now in different times with different ideas of ways to go forward, but yes it was a magnificent century, and even within any oppression, there were certain opportunities for self-actualization.

SOURCES + RESOURCES


Miraculous Icon of the Theotokos: t

he "Megalochari" of Tinos

Tughra's








Kösem Sultan's Tughra








Ottoman Empire Tughra

Maiden, Woman, Queen


The three actresses who played Kösem Sultan magnificently

in the wonderful Turkish Series 'The Magnificent Century: Kösem'
















Anastasia Tsilimpiou

As the child Anastasia, who becomes Kösem














Beren Saat

As the young Queen Kösem


















Nurgül Yeşilçay

As Woman. Mother. And Queen. Kösem



Copyright © 2023 by Julie Von Nonveiller Cairnes. All rights reserved.

Other writings on my past lifetime memories:



If you've been enjoying this series so far,

stay tuned for more!


Part Three is coming soon, it's called:


"Kösem: Woman. Mother.

And Queen"