Inconsolable: Flight of the Father

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Image: Pixabay

The Alchemist stands in silence, his time has come to pass beyond the Veil. The moment of transfiguration waits. This is the hardest thing yet to face in a life stretching centuries, to leave all that he loves and values in life, his daughter. The child has now become parent to the father. She holds the wisdom bequeathed to their line in a time when only the unknown powers of the world walked as gods. Like the ancient Egyptian god Amun her true self is hidden, as is her name, until now. Amunet, thus is she named after one of the Eight progenitors from Khemenu (named Hermopolis by the Greeks). A place associated with one none other than Djehuty (Thoth). In his mind’s eye he sees Amun in splendid glory, a serpent coiled round the divine sceptre. Strange how all comes back to the beginning, the serpent biting its own tail.

He can feel the change spreading through the cells, one by one they fill with light and purity of being. They speak to each other, communicating the sacred words that will initiate his ‘Coming into Being or Existence.’ They wait on her presence, knowing that she is the catalyst for this transformation. The Alchemist surveys his entire life, from beyond existence in a Universe bereft of all light and sound to the fullness of a life to this moment. The human part of his being is inconsolable at the parting from life and loved ones. It fears the separation, of relinquishing memories that are dear and irreplaceable. Our remembrance of a greater existence is only beneath the surface he thinks, we need only push aside the barriers of our making to drink from this pool. This much he has instilled in Amunet, a worthy student and teacher.

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Image: Pixabay

He senses the Sun lying beneath the horizon, not yet risen, gathering strength. The Light within also waits, gathering strength. Drops of liquid fall into the waters of life, creating ripples that disappear into eternity. Drop by drop the humanity within is absorbed into something, not yet understood and omniscient. Amunet appears, called to perform this sacred ritual only this once until her time comes to undergo this transfiguration. She faces her father in silence and then utters words of power bestowed by the unknown powers residing within. Human and gods integrate and call forth ancient magic rarely revealed. Her breath to his breath. The Light within rises as does the Sun beneath the horizon. The god Khepri makes his ascent into the sky and also in the Alchemist’s heart. They are ‘Coming into Existence.’ Drop by drop the waters of life absorb his essence, expanding and rippling outwards beyond the horizon. She senses his every move, the moment is upon them. Both smile at each other, having knowledge of what lies beyond material manifestation there is no sadness. Such emotion vanishes like mist in the rays of the approaching sunrise. He is risen and light incarnate, it is done.

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Image: Pixabay

A great silence descends upon this place. A memory from the birth of the Universe. Roshanak approaches Amunet and places a hand on her shoulder. Both women gaze at the beauty of the sunrise. This ending is only a new beginning. The serpent biting its own tail. Roshanak hands Amunet a small leather bound notebook, within are the notes of her journey so far and adventures to come. So it continues. Amunet puts on the coat handed to her and then makes her farewell.

A Fleeting Glance

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Image: Pixabay

The spectre of a creature inhabiting the dark places of our subconscious emerges into consciousness once more. It’s been a while since I visited this landscape, the last time was in Ancient Bloodline – Moonlit # writephoto. Love, although a dysfunctional and destructive one, was the basis of that story. How could it be otherwise when it involves the Lady of the Bright Red Linen (one epithet of the goddess Sekhmet) and demons such as vampires. The ending was not a happy one. Why should it be?

The memory of that tale and an old project prompts me to weave another story involving yearning and love. My interest lies in exploring the depths of this creature’s psyche and also ours. Whether I succeed remains to be seen. Alas my protagonist doesn’t fare well much like the one in “Ancient Bloodline”. Crimson kisses and exquisitely painful emotions lead only to oblivion. My general of armies of darkness and blood has followed his ancient Egyptian priestess through centuries of search. Often glimpsing her but not quite able to touch, until now. Such an obsession is his undoing. Continue reading

The Storyteller Returns

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Image: Pixabay

The Storyteller and I parted ways some time ago; amicably it has to be said. Only a temporary situation you understand. We both relish our personal space and the time apart reinvigorates the spirit. We share the same corporeal form but encapsulate twin creative souls. Some writers adopt a pen name to create works in a different genre to their main output. It seems I’ve gained another Muse to perform that function. Her true name is yet to be revealed. This is deliberate, for a name is a thing of power and more so one’s true name. Only the Jackal God and the Storyteller are privy to such a secret. Her journey is my journey; we seek each other and meaning in the trials and tribulations of our chosen goal and path. We also seek them in the moments of stillness and joy. I invite her to partake of tea and conversation.  Continue reading

Hail Thrice Great Tahuti!

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Image: Pixabay

An ambitious title I think to myself dear reader, but a note to the ‘Lord of Holy Words’ (as inventor of writing and the arts) is rather appropriate at this time. Being endowed with complete knowledge and wisdom he is kept rather busy with all manner of business. Here’s hoping he answers. Tahuti (ancient Egyptian) has gone under the guise of many names throughout the ages, the most familiar being Thoth and Hermes. Totally different pantheons and cultures admittedly. I have great affection for both entities whose energies have been present in my life for a long time. The pursuit of knowledge has been a driving force since childhood and much that’s been gathered over the years has been filed away in (mental) drawers. Now and again I get a nudge reminding me to check in said drawers. Such a time has approached and I’m feeling a little nervous, who knows what’s lurking in there! The mind feels much like a library that’s been neglected for years, its contents shrouded by dust and in need of renovation. A terrible state of affairs because I love books and libraries, my first job in fact was working in a large public library in London. Continue reading

Conversation with the Jackal Shaman: In the Hall of Ma’at and Weighing of the Heart Ritual

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Image: Pixabay

White Rabbit looks into the distance, deep in thought. The Jackal Shaman and I watch him. Rather than break the silence we converse in signs and symbols. You may well ask how that’s achieved. Pens and pieces of card. Neither mystical nor magical. Or is it? Ancient sigils imbued with mystery and knowledge, they open gates that are closely guarded. Those giving access to our secret selves, our subconscious, our memories.

White Rabbit turns round and mutters, do you know one aspect of magical Taoism is to guide the soul of the dead to the underworld? This is based upon the belief that the soul can get lost if it isn’t accompanied to the right place. A situation that can be dangerous; as the region between the living and the underworld is inhabited by malevolent spirits, demons and ghouls. Their prey is the soul of the dead, who is allotted forty-nine days to reach the underworld. If this isn’t achieved, then all is lost and they join the ranks of these predators. The Sorcerer’s task is to ensure the soul is safely guided through this dangerous terrain. Much like Anpu and Hermes. Continue reading

Conversation with the Jackal Shaman: In The Hall of Ma’at and Introductions

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photo credit: israel gutier The way to the color via photopin (license)

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.

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photo credit: nielskliim Light art in a former water reservoir via photopin (license)

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

Conversation with the Jackal Shaman: Cult of the Apis Bull (Hp)

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Image: Anubis, Jan Malique

The Jackal Shaman and I meet at the crossroads once again. In my hands is an offering relating to an important archetype. One deeply connected to the ancient Egyptian creator deity Ptah. My recent offerings have been rather light-hearted, providing relief and laughter. Not so on this occasion. I feel the need to revisit old haunts for quiet reflection. My visits to the shores of Khem have been rather infrequent and this opportunity presented itself. Currents of the subconscious move in unfathomable ways, sometimes I have to just go with the flow where these posts are concerned. As for a conversation with the Jackal Shaman, these are infrequent but meaningful when they occur. He usually turns up when there are changes afoot.

The primary theme of this discourse is the Apis Bull but it may be useful to gain an insight into the lineage of this archetype. The bull has been viewed as a symbol of virility, fertility, strength and chthonic power from early times. The spilling of its blood in rites such as the Taurobolium and Mithraic Mysteries were thought to bring blessings of purification, good health and regeneration in their wake. We encounter the bull’s darker symbolism in the myth of the Minotaur lurking within the labyrinth and bullfights in modern times. J E Cirlot, suggests the bull may have been a lunar symbol due to the shape of its horns representing the crescent moon. Mircea Eliade posited a connection between bulls and thunderbolts with sky deities. Black bulls were thought to be connected with death.

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Image: Photopin

The bull’s ancestor the aurochs (Bos primigenius) and various subspecies had a range that stretched across Europe, large regions of Asia and North Africa. Bos acutifrons Lydekker, 1898, ancestor of all later species flourished in India in mid-Pleistocene times and over the course of this era aurochs spread outwards. Extinction occurred through loss of habitat and over-hunting, the last aurochs surviving in Poland until 1627.

As for the physical attributes of the aurochs, scientists have estimated the shoulder height of a bull to be between 160 – 180 cm and about 150 cm for the cow. The coat of the bull was black-brown and reddish brown for the cow. Both probably had a light area around the snout. Their horns were forward pointing and curved inwards, with variations in length, thickness, etc.

Its worship in ancient times stretched across the Mediterranean, Britain, Egypt, India, and the Near East. This list is not exhaustive of course and a fuller exposition is not within the remit of this article. Although special mention must be made of neolithic Çatalhöyük (“forked mound”), located south east of Konya, Turkey. The site consists of a main mound and west mound and was first identified by James Mellaart in 1958 and excavated by him between 1961–65. Excavations were restarted in 1993. The main mound covers an area of 14 hectares, a sizeable area!

Çatalhöyük was thought to have been established around 7400 BCE and occupied until 6000 BCE. Our attention is drawn to the discovery of mud-brick and plaster buildings dating from 6500 BCE; in which remarkable shrines had been unearthed showing bull veneration, vulture cults and depictions of a mother goddess. We must ask ourselves why such symbols have endured over huge tracts of time and embedded themselves deeply within our psyche. Life and death entwined in an eternal cycle.

Theriomorphs played an important part in religious worship throughout Egypt’s history. They were entities set apart from others of their species by virtue of special traits and markings, vehicles in which gods and spirits indwelled. Bull cults in particular were an important aspect of early dynastic Egypt, being primarily a royal symbol. The Pharaoh was called “Bull of his Mother” and linked with Hap (Egyptian) or Apis (Greek) who was the living manifestation of the creator god of Memphis, Ptah. The Palermo Stone attests to the antiquity of the worship of Apis soon after the establishment of the Egyptian state. The animal was known as the “blessed soul” or “deputy” of Ptah and was an intermediary between humanity and the creator. Such was the importance of the relationship between the two that the king rang alongside the Apis Bull in a ceremony called the Ritual of Running of the Apis (pHrr Hp). This was performed to symbolically fertilise the land and affirm their fitness to rule. The link continues into the afterlife, as the phallus of Apis was believed to be instrumental in helping the pharaoh ascend to the heavens.

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Image: Ptah, Pixabay

At this juncture it may be useful to shed light on the nature of Memphite theology, The worship of Ptah was quite ancient, the god becoming established in Memphis once Menes had made it the country’s capital. It was highly mystical and philosophical in nature, the like of which was never to be seen again in ancient Egyptian religion. These concepts were in existence long before monotheism took root. Ptah created the other gods through thought, Horus the Elder acted as his heart or mind and Thoth as his tongue. The creator god was seen as the Eternal Heart or Mind and self-created. Budge elaborates further on how this deity was viewed by his priesthood, which will strike a chord with many:

“…self-created, self existent, without beginning and eternal. He was the Mind of the Universe, the Cause of Causes, whose thoughts had produced every material thing and being in heaven, earth and the underworld…Light was an emanation from his heart, his influence pervaded all Nature through his breath of life every creature lived, and almighty power resided in the Word of his Mouth”.

What of the “blessed soul” of Ptah? His birth and life were extraordinary events. The Bull was conceived through the action of lightning striking his mother, who was unable to bear another calf. The Apis bull was black in colour and distinguished by special markings consisting of:

– a white diamond shape on his forehead.
– the shape of an eagle on his back.
– double the number of hairs in the tail.
– the shape of a scarab beetle under his tongue.

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Image: Pixabay

At any one time there was only one Apis bull, who once found was installed in luxury quarters to the south of the Temple of Ptah in Memphis, being consulted as oracle and venerated for the rest of his life. His life span was abut 14 years and upon his death was embalmed and buried with full honours, interred within a stone sarcophagus (weighing 70 tones) in the Serapeum, Saqqara. After death the Apis was identified with Osiris. In later times the two gods were merged to become Serapis. By then the true essence of ancient Egypt had moved back into the shadows, still intact and waiting.

Jackal Shaman, its time has come. Is my offering worthy?

Cosmic Fire

May your eyes go to the sun, your life’s breath to the wind. Go to the sky or to earth, as is your nature; or go to the waters, if that is your fate. Take root in the plants with your limbs.
Death, v 3, The Rig Veda

I stare at Unut, She who was once Snake is now Hare. It seems my totem animal is still with me after all these years; remaining not visible yet very much present. Returning to the point of origin has its drawbacks. It raises unsettling questions within the mind as thoughts of life and death walk past. Djehuty intended us to meet and I now understand why. This story is important for me and must be savoured at leisure. As so many have reiterated, life and death are cyclical in nature. Accepting our mortality and that of loved ones can be a truly difficult fact to accept. The notion of impermanence has been debated at great length throughout the ages. This is not set to change soon. Existence is in continual flux, ebbing and flowing like waves upon the seashore. Humanity and perhaps even the ancient ones must find the path back to equilibrium and acceptance. Is it heresy to make mention of this? I sense we have lost our way a little.

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Image: Pinterest

The Hare Goddess remains silent, an unreadable expression on her face. She asks whether this is what is really bothering me. I shake my head and mutter ‘stasis.’ Contrary to appearances I am not one who is unable to face the greater issues of existence. Certain changes have occurred recently, ones initiating much inner turmoil. Witnessing the creation of Life and the Universe takes its toll. Being in such close proximity to the Eight has changed me. The Self is currently in its death throes, holding on to concepts rather than people. The time has come for the old to die and rebirth to occur. My grip is tight, unable to let go. She touches my hands gently; warmth and reassurance flow from her. One by one she unfurls my fingers until what remains are open hands. Shadows flow from them; it is the remnants of who I once was.

Unut leads me beyond the boundaries of Khmunu and into a different reality. Words are unnecessary at this point. We are standing before a gigantic star. It is dying and has been in death throes for millions of years. I am mesmerised, my mind feels the depth of its sadness and pain. Being an Empath can be a burden. The star’s heart breathes in and out, its life force flowing outwards towards oblivion. We are here to stand vigil over the dying, to ease its passing. There are others who join us, encircling the giant. Rhiannon stands beside me, as does Inanna on the other side. The star is kin to us all as we are made of stardust. We grieve for them as appropriate and perform ancient ancestral rites for their transition. Cosmic Fire fills my sight once more; it pierces the veils between the worlds. The heart of the giant beats slowly and sonorously; now and again it becomes irregular in rhythm. Hardened has it become and intense in heat now. We offer them love and our silence. Time and space shift and shift again. The star’s flesh falls away and its heart is exposed, appearing vulnerable and fragile. Its life force begins to glow brighter, becoming incandescent.

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Image: Pixabay

A song of sorrow echoes throughout space, spiralling around us. We mourn, we mourn for a soul that is passing beyond the gates of existence. The star recounts its journey from birth to now; its voice faint but filled with unexpected hope. Existence for them can be counted in billions of years. We are but a tiny speck in the great sea of time! I ask them for a name, they whisper it and wait for my answer. I offer them a blessing from the depths of my heart. Their light fades gradually, finally extinguished but not destroyed. Its atoms have dispersed awaiting rebirth. I can sense the essence of the star, it feels vital and incandescent in the darkness of the Void. Unut raises her hands in blessing and draws a veil across the waiting life potential.

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Image: Pixabay

We stare across the expanse of the heavens. The song of many echoes throughout the vastness. Their tales are ones I shall value much. It will be an honour to keep them safe for all eternity. The Imperishable Stars have much to teach us, but it is not my place to reveal such stories now. Not due to vows of secrecy but because I do not truly understand. The Hare Goddess tells me that they shall speak to me in my dreams. ‘Take heed’ she says. Indeed I shall.

(For the rest of the Storyteller’s journey please see my other blog Dispatches from the Hinterland).

Ancient Bloodline – Moonlit # writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

My response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt Moonlit #writephoto.

Nothing grips the imagination more than the spectre of the Vampire. It’s inhabited the inner landscape of our psyche for millennia, perhaps tens of thousands of years; seducing and repelling in equal measure. This fearsome creature of the shadows touches upon many deep-seated fears surrounding blood, sex and death. Its mythos has been forensically examined by many but won’t be in this post. Folklore and legend abound with speculation regarding the origin of the dread, bloodthirsty beast. Some sources even alleging the gods of ancient Egypt were such entities. I cannot possibly comment…Instead my concoction provides a vehicle for one ancient Egyptian vampire to briefly tell their story. Ally that with one creation myth of the Universe and you have this offering. There are no heroes or villains in this tale. Continue reading

Priesthood of Anubis

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The relationship I have with my personal deity is complicated and often perplexing. The years have been witness to many partings and reconciliation between both of us. I’d hesitate to call myself a priestess of this ancient Egyptian god, that would be presumptuous. False modesty? Not at all. My journey down that path still awaits but not for long. I called upon him many times in the past and somehow he always turned up. Why? A question put to him often but silence was all he gave for a long time. Or so I thought. We sometimes choose not to listen if the answer isn’t to our liking. The deity chooses us rather than we choose them. This may be for a specific purpose, to convey teachings, to aid in our transformation, to enable us to grow and evolve. The possibilities are many. Am I imbuing the god with anthropomorphic qualities? Maybe I am, such is the reality of our relationship. You have to understand that I pay homage to the energies encapsulated in the figure of this deity rather than worship the vessel. The early worship of this jackal god may have emerged from animistic origins, evolving into fetishism and the worship of animals (fetish – an object considered to have magical powers). It is quite appropriate that the lonely jackal feeding off carrion on the desert fringes should be endowed with mystical powers and associated with death. The desert was considered an unknown quantity, a dangerous place populated by demons and things fearful. What better than this denizen of the wastes to watch over the dead (and the living)? Did I forget to mention Anpu (Anubis) is my personal deity? Continue reading