Of all the experiences that I have ever had in Turkey, thus far, this one stands out the most.
I have never been a skeptic of esoteric practices. Astrology, palm reading and the whole gamut of this art, has long fascinated me to no end.
So, when the opportunity presented itself to me to get such a reading done, I said "YES!!"
It was on my first trip to Ankara and after being in Turkey already for a few weeks without seeing the Capital, I was super excited to go on this trip.
Even though I had a full itinerary of exciting things to do in Ankara that day, planned with the careful help of one of my colleagues, I was most excited about the khave reading.
How many times have I said the word excited already?
I know right, but that can only partially convey to you how excited I was to have a reading done.
After a 15 minute cab ride from Kizilay (Ankara's hip, 'place to be seen' area) to the reader's home, of which included a terrifying one minute panic attack driving up the steepest hill that up until that point, I had ever seen, I was ready to take the plunge.
It, the home, was not quite what I had expected. It did not convey the Western stereotypical look of costume spook for a place where readings were done. No broken white picket fences, un-manicured gardens or broken window panes.
This Western notion of the occult was further debunked on entering the apartment/townhouse.
"Hi, I'm Nilgun. Come on in," she said offering me two blue plastic shower caps.
"Hey, I'm Petra. It is a pleasure to meet you" I replied taking the plastic shower caps not sure...why?
"It's Turkey," she replied answering my quizzical look. "We don't wear shoes in our homes."
I understood. I mean in the Caribbean we too have the same home etiquette as well. Shoes worn outside are forbidden past the door of any home. So I had no problem complying with her request to place each shower cap on each shoed foot.
Even though I indicated that I would be more than welcome to take my shoes off and just wear my socks, she still said, "No, that's ok. Too much work sometimes."
Plastic footed and ready, she ushered me into the area in which the reading would be done. It was, and I am not exaggerating, the most beautiful living area that I had seen. Hardwood floors with yes, the typical suite, but the layout and accessories of candles, scented and unscented, made it so damn Zen.
I was instantly calmed and at peace.
"So, how do you like your coffee?"
I had forgotten that to get the reading you first had to make and drink coffee.
"Oh, yeah- Uhm, orta."
"Ok, just wait here and I'll go make it. Just give me a few minutes."
Watching her disappear to the kitchen, which was out of sight, I started to get a little nervous. I mean, I didn't even remember that coffee was involved in a Turkish Khave Reading.
However, the Zen ambiance of the room was enough to quell any doubts or fears. I was confident that I would have a good experience... and with Nilgun.
Strikingly beautiful, but not in a traditional Turkish/Middle Eastern sense she was not brunette but blonde, but still svelte.
Waiting for her to return, I breathed deeply and tried to quiet my own thoughts for the reading. I sincerely believe that the esoteric is about energy and the channeling thereof; so I wanted to eject any bad energy from my mind.
On her return, she placed my cup of khave on the coffee table with some wrapped chocolate. Yum...so good.
As I drank the khave she explained her process of reading and what it meant to her.
This old Turkish tradition in which every Turkish woman professed some proficiency, was to her, not a mere cultural practice but a deep spiritual calling and practice.
Listening to her speak about reading, I KNEW that I had met someone who had dedicated themselves to the perfection of their craft. I was not prepared to dismiss her or this art as meaningless.
Furthermore, she indicated her respect for the occult and her passion for Reiki. She understood the power of life and its energy.
I was grateful.
Already thick in consistency, I knew that I had come to the end of my cup of coffee when I slurped a thick mass of coffee grounds. I indicated this to her and she then instructed me to turn the cup over on its saucer and in a clockwise motion move the overturned cup on the saucer in a circle in front of me. After which I would have to place the still overturned cup on its saucer back onto the coffee table.
I was never good with instructions. Just to turn the cup over caused anxiety. There was so much gloop left at the bottom, I thought that I would spill it on the hard wood floors despite using a saucer.
My clumsy fumbling made her frown- a bit. The quality of the reading, according to tradition, had to do with the careful adherence to this ritual of circling the cup in the right direction and way so that the coffee grounds could be stirred.
Even though, I may have messed it up- a bit, I knew intuitively that the reading or Nilgun's ability was not in jeopardy.
We waited a few more minutes until the time was right, which was indicated by the absence of any warmth felt on the cushion of her index finger on the bottom of the cup, which was now overturned and on top.
Turning the cup over, the saucer was revealed with not much contents haven fallen out. Peering into the cup, and slowly with her manicured nails turning it millimeter by millimeter, she started to interpret her findings.
The contents on the saucer were of value to the reading and to her. I didn't know this, but every single mark made by the coffee is up for interpretation.
And so she started with this aspect in as much the same way that an essayist starts with a well crafted and defined thesis and introductory paragraph to support the argument or discussion.
She revealed that the saucer as well as the contents in the cup clearly showed that I had a very strong spirituality to the point where I could grasp the meaning of life and God in a way that most people couldn't. And that furthermore, because of this, I would often be 'misunderstood'.
She continued by saying that I used my understanding of life, God and energy almost unconsciously, but powerfully so to get what I wanted.
In other words, I had such a strong faith in the goodness of the universe, that I was more often than not in the habit of receiving its 'blessings' even when events were less than propitious.
I didn't live for the things of this world, because I knew that these things were fleeting and that because of my undying faith in Source and the universe, that I had no choice but to see only the good in people, but sadly as a result was often affected harshly when I came to realise the true reality of humanity.
I was well read.
Photos taken and edited by Petra.