Other People’s Religions’ Words

Our personal relationships are intimately connected to our larger communities and society as a whole. The changes we make at a smaller, relational level affect the whole. Recent studies show that it is not a constant, harmonious connection with someone that is seen as most important but the repair of disconnection, or resolving of conflict that helps us to feel intimate, seen and healed in relationship.

From All my Relations! The Yoga of Relationship, which is reminding me of the implications of my post on Kintsugi.

More things about the ‘ethics’ subdividion of the Eightfold Path, sometimes described as ‘right relationship‘.

The great thinkers of the Axial Age laid down universal foundations of right relationship that have lived on through the ages. Their messages of compassion, mutual aid, community service, human well-being, and respect for life provide the basis for people of all cultural and religious traditions to lead a life respectful of the integrity, resilience, and beauty of the entire commonwealth of life.

Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy, Peter Brown and Geoffrey Garver

These are my thinky thoughts of the day.

“Ma’at is the force that gathers people into communities.”

– Jan Assmann, from memory so probably slightly off

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Commitment

It’s easy to get tangled up in pointless angst, with this reconstruction thing.

Take something simple and basic: the sixth-day festival honoring the ancestors. It’s mentioned from the Pyramid Texts through the Book of Going Forth By Day, ancestors are foundational to a sound Kemetic practice, go!

But…

… sixth day of what?

Parker has the sixth day of the lunar month named “śnt”, in other words, sixth day, so clearly it’s lunar, and falls the day before “dnỉt”, “part-day, first quarter day”, so the day before first quarter!

Only.

Okay if you count the lunar cycle this month the first quarter falls on the tenth day and even if we make it better by figuring this is one of the long months with an extra-long dark moon we can only get it to ninth or maybe eighth, so the sixth day’s location in the lunar month is scary uncertain.

We can try to fix this! We can normalise the lunar month so the full moon always falls on the fifteenth (śmdt, “half-month day, day of the full moon”) and count backwards! Which puts the half-moon on day … eight in May 2013.

Maybe we could do it on the half moon day? There were several surrounding cultures who had major ancestor festivals on half moons, either first or last quarter. But it says the day before, I don’t know, that might be actually genuinely wrong

Lunar calendars are hard. Maybe we can do sixth day of the civil calendar month instead.

Oh. Shit. Which means we have to know when Wep Renpet is.

Which would be the heliacal rising of Sirius over the great house, home of the king. In, well, fuck. That means picking a king’s residence (and possibly a king), or at least picking a city, and one could go with an Egyptian one, or where one lives, or the capital city of one’s home nation, or …

… and what about that horizon, anyway, if there are mountains or trees or buildings that might interfere with the theoretical appearance of the star, do we use a theoretical horizon?

… is that online calculator accurate, anyway? Humidity? It wants me to put in humidity? Augh!

Maybe I’ll just declare Wep Renpet to be the summer solstice in accordance with the theory of the double birthday of Ra in Revolutions in Time and have done with it, that’ll let me set a nice stable calendar, right? (“Mesore”, the last month of the Egyptian calendar, was one that took its name from a festival that fell in that month, and means “birthday of Ra”.)

(Of course, the solstice date isn’t a fixed point in the modern civil calendar, but let’s not think about that.)

Let’s just … there’s no way to be right about this, so let’s do something else. How about figuring out when to celebrate the Wag festival, that should be more straightforward!

… well, which Wag festival, the civil calendar one (1 Akhet 18) or the lunar calendar one (2 Akhet 18, lunar)?

… never mind.


Somewhere, this whole reconstruction process has to give way to making a commitment. Do the sixth-day festival on the sixth day of the Gregorian calendar month. Pick a startpoint for an Egyptian civil calendar and do it on the sixth day of those months. Do it on the sixth day of the lunar month counting from the new moon, or count back nine days from the full moon, or the day before the half moon, or hell, the half moon day itself.

But do something. Commit. Commit even in the face of sure knowledge that you are probably not doing what the ancients did. “What the ancients did” is a signpost, a guideline, the beginnings of an idea, not a holy state from which falling short is sinful.

In the end, one chooses to give up being “right” and serve the gods instead.

Good reconstruction obsoletes itself; the process ends in something which is inevitably proven “wrong” in time… and which works.

Post derives from a conversation at Warboar.

(Richard Parker, The Calendars of Ancient Egypt, and Revolutions in Time, edited by Anthony J. Spalinger, for source material for the wibbling, by the way.)

Kintsugi

It is apparently not actually factual that the Egyptians used portions of the Eye of Heru to represent major fractions, at least according to Wikipedia.

the Eye of Heru

Eye of Heru artwork from the Guide

No matter.

One doesn’t have to literally take the eyebrow as an eighth, the pupil as a quarter, the trailing tear as a sixty-fourth to learn the truth.

The eye of Heru used as a sacred amulet, the protective udjat, is the one which was wounded, that which was torn out in conflict with Set, which was (along with Set’s testicles, which suffered similar injury) restored by the powers of Djehwty. This is the eye which was broken, the moon eye which fades and comes back into wholeness.

The fractions add up to sixty-three out of sixty-four.

The eye is whole.

It is greater than its visible portions, its undamaged parts considered separately.

This is the secret of the udjat eye, the eye of Heru: that the greater wholeness is the one that emerges from incompletion, the greater health is that which has shown itself greater than the damage it has suffered. This is the symbol of a perfected imperfection, its mathematical suggestiveness of incompletion no more than a guidepost to that which is within.

It is not unbrokenness that is most mighty; it is restoration. That which has been remade is greater than that which was never wounded.

Relevant links:
Frauenkirche
Kintsugi

I Aten’t Dead

My health has taken a significant turn for the worse and it is severely interfering with my ability to put blogthoughts together. I expect to resume normal transmissions when I have returned to the place of functional medication. As of yet I do not have knowledge of when I will return to the place of functional medication.

Prayers are appreciated, if you are inclined. (But please no distance healing stuff; my energy patterns are an unholy mess. Maybe I will write a ka-and-health post at some point. When I can make the thinkythoughts actually go.)