The Jackal Shaman crosses the great expanse to bring word of further challenges. Must be something important for him to make this long journey. Our encounters of late have been brief but meaningful. Dear reader, this ancient Egyptian god is not to be underestimated. I know the phrase has passed my lips many times but the warning still stands. The Psychopomp isn’t just for death but for the rest of life. How appropriate I smirk. Rather like puppies aren’t just for Christmas but for life. Ha, ha. Okay, stand up comedy isn’t going to be an appropriate career choice. Doesn’t help laughing at your own jokes.
I’m glad you said that and not me, His Nibs gently comments, there are alternatives. Perhaps we can discuss it over tea?
We both consult our diaries. His Nibs look fabulous these days. Younger even. Must ask him what he uses on his skin. The ancient Egyptians loved their perfumes and precious oils. We have a lot in common. Both of us are aware that beneath the superficial musings a heavier issue lies waiting, waiting to be acknowledged. My heart and I debate the matter passionately, should we proceed with this adventure? His Nibs can see the battle raging within and smiles reassuringly.
The Heart plays an important part in the ritual we’ll witness later. It’s been an important symbol in human civilisation from early times. Our language is littered with references to this organ, “disheartened”, “follow your heart”, “heart of the matter”. The heart’s been a repository of all our sorrows and joys. Raising us to sublime heights in moments of utter beauty and clarity; then dashing all hope against the rocks to leave our lives in pieces. Apart from its biological functions it serves us in other ways, being a symbol of love, compassion and a centre of spiritual consciousness. It’s the life essence of our being. Take a moment to think about how you project yourself in the world, where does the sense of Self reside? How does your heart speak to you?
He offers a hand, time to begin the journey to the Hall of Ma’at. The hypnotic sound of drumbeats surrounds us; it bends time and space to create a portal. The bone oracle feels heavy within its pouch, singing a song of longing, of joy and pain. We enter a Khem that predates what’s known as Predynastic Egypt. Please forgive me for blurring the line between fact and fiction. It’s a necessary action in the Shaman’s journey to the land of ancestors and spirits. After all, the inner Universe is a vast and mysterious place waiting to be explored. It’s also a place with shifting boundaries, filled with traps for the unwary and foolhardy. The exploration of such landscapes requires a trustworthy guide and protector; a task His Nibs is most capable of performing.
What of the scene before us? A simple hut constructed of mud brick and reeds, situated on top of a large mound. Sound familiar? I glance at His Nibs, my raised eyebrow provoking a blank expression from him. Oh well, onwards. The doorway is small and necessitates a crouching posture in order to enter. The interior is dim and lit by simple lamps, small pottery saucers filled with fat and thick wicks. There appears to be another doorway opposite the main entrance. Steps lead downwards into a corridor. There are other presences in this hut but they offer no threat. Even so, breathing is difficult due to the intensity of the power emanating from these, entities. I’m not sure they’re human. My companion leads the way. It seems he doesn’t want us to linger in this place of transition.
We reach the bottom and find ourselves standing in a corridor that twists and turns, finally opening into a huge hall filled with numerous pillars. Twenty-one lining either side. The Hall of Ma’at. Light streams down from small apertures in the ceiling. It’s a place outside of time, I get a picture of a gigantic heart enclosing this space. There’s a deep silence in the temple. It’s not empty, there’s something in there. Many ‘somethings’ in fact. They’re aware of us. The scent of incense only increases the sense of power and numinosity in the space.
The 42 Assessors stand guard at all time, states the Jackal Shaman.
I understand why the deceased would feel fear in their presence, is my answer. There is nothing more to be said. There is nothing more I want to say.
He stares deeply into my soul and then places his hands on my shoulder, strength pours through to give me support and my heart responds strongly. His strong and sonorous voice then addresses me.
I shall introduce you to my companions, for they are curious to know the one that has come amongst them. Friend of course and not foe. They shall not be named, yet. That is to come later.
One by one the Assessors step forward from the shadows. Representatives of the 42 Nomes of ancient Khem. It feels as if I’m being examined by the very essence of this land. This scrutiny stretches into what seems like an eternity and then they step back into the shadows.
I look at Him. It’s time to go back. We exit the temple and make our way back through the corridor, up the steps, into the hut and back to reality. A little rushed but necessary. The magic of such places can saturate both mind and body. I need a cup of strong tea to ‘earth’ me properly. It also gives me time to absorb all that’s been seen and heard. Anpu bids goodbye and disappears into the great expanse. The next part of our journey will consist of revelation and truth. Am I ready for it? The faint sound of drumbeats can be heard in the distance, it ends soon to be replaced by the rattle of the bone bag. The bone oracle speaks, of what I can’t say