Well, Smack Me With A Dead Fish

Okay, so. Some folks I know were talking about this knitting pattern, titled “Osiris”, which is described as “A stole with 13 full moons and a fish.” The fish, in this case, being the bottom-feeding beastie that consumed Wesir’s penis and thus meant that his reconstitution required a bit more magic than would have been the case had all fourteen pieces been recoverable. (For more of my ramblings about Wesir’s amber wave of grain, please refer to this post.)

And the conversation turned, as such a conversation might, to whether or not it would be inappropriate or perhaps tacky to wear a fish stole in a devotional context for Wesir, especially when the fish was explicitly there was THE ONE THAT ATE YOUR PENIS, YO.

Which turned into the usual side conversations about taboos and appropriate behaviour, and what one does about fish and Wesir, and I made an offhanded comment about execrating them by eating them. (Which may not be an ancient practice – I don’t know off the top of my head – but I do know off the top of my head that there was a stomping on fish execration and that meat offerings were reliably also treated with the symbolism of conquered enemies. So it’s not farfetched and I would not be surprised by some nome or other doing it. And some other nome being horrified. And fistfights.)

Anyway.

I got one of those funky revelatory moments.

One of the things that I think is important for people to do is look for underlying systems in their environments. I don’t live near the Nile, after all, and the intuitive rhythms and balances of that place are not mine (even if they still existed in the same form after the construction of the Aswan Dam). And one of my standard illustrations of that for my local environment is the Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters are maize, beans, and squash. They are a traditional planting method used by the Native inhabitants of this and other areas of the North American continent. Roughly speaking, one plants the maize, lets it grow a little, and then plants beans and squash around it. Maize is a heavy feeder, but beans are a nitrogen fixer; beans like to climb, and they can use the maize stalks to do so. The squash leaves spread to discourage invading leaves, and create a sheltered microclimate that keeps moisture available to all three plants. Further, the combination of maize/beans/squash produces reasonably balanced nutrition and thus can supply the needs of a human community.

This strikes me as an elegant illustration of ma’at, one tuned to my local environment.

And – if I want to get mythical – one of the traditional things done in this area when soil was poor is to throw a fish in the hole when starting the planting.

And thus I find Wesir and his fertile power of vegetative growth hanging out a few thousand miles from home.

Dua Wesir!

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2 thoughts on “Well, Smack Me With A Dead Fish

  1. odeliaivy says:

    Ha! My aunts just asked me if I would be planting the three sisters this year at their Easter dinner. I may have to try it. I’ve not grown corn before.

  2. […] Nicoll asks to be smacked with a dead fish and also thinks long and hard about Wesir’s […]

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