Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


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Budget Thursday Suggestions

Admittedly I wanted to post a craft project, but it’s not going to happen.  I hope to have it next week.

In the meantime I realized when preparing blog posts that I’ve gone through all of my notes for Budget Thursday.  I’m fresh out of ideas.  I know, however, all my readers have their own ideas.  So let me have it in the comment section.  If you’d like to see an idea for Budget Thursday as a blog post leave it in the comments.

 

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Budget Thursday: Image of a God/dess

This is a question I find asked incredibly often by those who are either in search of an image of a hard-to-find deity or just don’t have the money (sometimes the two aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve seen statues of hard-to-find deities that are quite pricey). Luckily there are very simple solutions to this problem that mostly depends on what you want to do with the image.

Print off an image. If you really want to get creative with it I suggest modifying it so that it’s only the outline. This will allow you to color the picture as you wish. I found this link while scouring the web full of images ready to color.

Make your own. This one is very pivotal on your resources. Sometimes making one from clay is easier. You can also make one from paper maché, just keep water away from it (or seal it).

Draw an image. This goes back to printing off your own, but it allows for more control.

I’m sure there are other ways to handle this issue.  If you have an idea you’ve tried feel free to share in the comments.

 


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Craft Friday: Djed Pillar Scene

In case I haven’t drilled it into my readers’ heads, I really love making craft projects for Kha-her-Ka.  This is a piece I’ve had for a few years, so unfortunately there’s no tutorial for it.  I did, however, pour out more decoupage glue / sealant than I intended, so I tried to use it where I could.

The actual stand is just a one-a-day calendar stand that I modified. I drew Aset and Nebet-het in a position that adores the djed pillar.  I think colored it with acrylic paint and ink.  Sadly, even after all these years the sealant made the ink bleed.

I used the binding as the platform for the djed pillar by cutting it off with a sharp knife, glued cardstock on both sides, then glued it to the parts that originally held the calendar dates.

The newest addition to the display was the border.  I took some papyrus scraps from another project and some ribbon I use to scrapbook.  First I glued down the papyrus scraps over the edges.  I let the papyrus dry before gluing the ribbon pieces down.  After that dried I trimmed to fit and applied the sealant.

In case you were wondering, I didn’t forget the corners.

 

The djed pillar, while a little worn, is actually a piece I’m most proud of.  I keep getting  junk mail for credit card offers so I used this project to vent my frustration via paper-mache.  Yes, I’m fully aware it’s wholly inaccurate.

 

I placed the pillar upright for the purpose of photographing, but I don’t place it upright until the last day of Kha-her-Ka.


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Silence

Except for a couple of posts a week I’ve been incredibly silent. Some of it is life being hectic due to the holiday, other projects, and completing other tasks, not to mention other real life duties.  At the end of my day, though sometimes that isn’t until the middle of the next day, I’m sometimes too tired to update blog posts.  I feel as if I’ve nothing to say because of it.  What started off as too tired to say anything one day spanned to several days.

I felt unnerved at first by how much time lapsed between my last actual blog post.  I felt a strong possibility I wouldn’t update and revise my past blog posts.  I felt I wouldn’t contribute anything new to my blog.  I was afraid I said all I wanted to and my blog was dead before it even began.  I found this silence uncomfortable.  It was the type of silence I hated for so long because of my personal associations with silence.  For the longest time silence meant condemnation, disapproval, or derision.  It was the awkward silence after a heated argument, the anger that hung between people and the impending fear another argument or worse would explode.  I learned silence was in itself an act of intimidation.

I admit silence wasn’t always used for intimidation, but if broken the same consequences would ensue.  If silence was broken during reading periods or during a performance it meant I disrupted someone and met derision.  Silence always indicated proper conduct during prayer or as a sign or respect for those who paid the ultimate price.  In those instances if it was broken there was a punishment, and it usually consisted of a silent glare at least.  Silence was considered a precious commodity with unclear boundaries.

I didn’t clear most of my fears of silence until my early adulthood.  I’m not sure if there was just one event or a series of events, but I know it revolved around a Reiki circle.  Early in my spiritual journey I studied Reiki and attended a Reiki circle to hone my practice.  During those times we didn’t always speak to each other.  When we did we joked, shared experiences and knowledge, and discussed anything having to do with those moments at the circle.  It was the silence that really impacted me.  No one was punished with silence, only once can I recall someone forced into silence (the person was more of a nuisance and got in the way often).  Silence happened and when it did everyone honored it.  It was honored even when I visited other members of the circle in their home.  Sometimes it was a lull in the conversation, sometimes it was because we were moved to silence.  Sometimes it’s because nothing needed saying.

The moments of silence with friends from the circle are the ones I remember best.  I remember the drowsiness with eating with friends and the ensuing nap we took on the floor in one incident.  There were many times when on road trips we sat in silence and enjoyed the moment.  The silence became a means for introspection.  It was a moment of peace and stillness.  The silence proved a means to remove the distraction of conversation so I could live in the moment.

It was in those moments I learned silence is perfectly fine.  I can enjoy silence and appreciate everything without a sound.  I don’t need to speak to fill some imagined void.  Not every moment needs words or sounds.  Later I learned while a member of the Kemetic Orthodoxy that “silent” and “wise” were pronounced the same way.  I haven’t studied the language with enough rigor to say either way, but I feel it applies to lessons like this one.

The same silence it took me so long to embrace is one I feel applies to writing my blog.  Sometimes I don’t have anything to write.  It doesn’t mean my blog’s abandoned.  I’m saying what I need to say when I feel the moment’s best.  I’m choosing my words over prattling and honor both moments of speaking and moments of silence for myself.  I practice wisdom.


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Craft Friday: Papyrus Blossom Wall Hanging

For some reason I love to decorate for Kha-her-Kha.  I have various decorations, but this one is particularly my favorite.  Granted I’m sure if you squint your eyes really hard  after downing a few shots of vodka my papyrus blossoms look like the real thing, but I also like the folksy charm of this style.

 

I’m including in this tutorial how to make a wall hanging if you wish to sew instead of use decoupage glue.  As with anything else feel free to change it up and share the pictures with me.

What You’ll Need:

-green cloth 3 x 3 inches (note: don’t use felt like I did for this tutorial.  I’ve found cotton works best.)

-scissors

-small cup of water

-2 paintbrushes (I prefer to use one for painting and one for sealing. If you want to try something else, go for it. Just remember to keep the brush clean and wash it thoroughly.)

-decoupage sealant / glue

-Acrylic paint in the colors of:

-yellow

-gold

-brown

-ribbon, 4 feet

-thread and needle (if using sewing option)

Papyrus Blossoms

1. Fold the cloth diagonally. If smaller triangles are desired fold again. Cut.

2. Round the corners.

3. Paint with the yellow acrylic paint vertical stripes. Let dry.

4. Paint a horizontal yellow stripe across the top. Let dry.

5. Paint over the yellow stripes with the gold acrylic paint. Let dry.

6. Paint the bottom tip with brown acrylic paint. Let dry.

7. Apply a coat of the decoupage sealant. Let dry.

The Ribbon, to Glue on Blossoms

1. Fold the ribbon in half lengthwise.

2. Take the folded end of the ribbon and hold it.   Make a mark 3 inches down.

3 .Make 3 more marks, one roughly every 4 inches.

4. Apply glue to the blossom’s center;

place the blossom on the mark. Let dry.

Repeat with the other blossoms.

 

The Ribbon, to Sew on Blossoms

1. Fold the ribbon in half lengthwise.

2. Take the folded end of the ribbon and hold it. Make a square knot roughly 3 inches down.

3 .Make 3 more knots, one roughly every 4 inches.

4.  Sew the tip of the blossom onto the know and sew the top of the blossom onto the ribbon.  Repeat at each knot.


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Budget Thursday: Libraries

I remember as a child elated to venture through the library and select my own books to read. I was fortunate to have parents that weren’t too concerned with what I checked out as long as it wasn’t full of adult content or practices of which they didn’t approve (which was usually arts and crafts, but that’s due to the inherent mess that came with it). Thanks to the convenience of the internet and bookstores it’s a resource most remembered when one is lacking an internet service at their home. Regardless, the library is still a valuable resource for one researching Ancient Egypt with little change to spare.

Most libraries are more than books and videos. Some libraries actually subscribe to various academic journals relevant to your research; this subscription may be available in a digital or physical format, sometimes even both. The catch to this is usually how available a journal may be. I have found many times in my searches that journals are considered a reference source so you may not be able to check it out. Should that be the case in your library, don’t fret. You can still sit down with the copy and makes notes as necessary.

Take advantage of the inter-library loan program. Many libraries engage in some form of inter-library loan program. Libraries that partake in these programs show you what’s available not only at the current library but other libraries as well. If you use it you retrieve the book and pick it up at your desired location. The drawback is you may have to wait a few days, but this saves on costs of transportation in the long run.

Don’t forget to behave (and make sure any kids behave as well). It isn’t a budget-worthy point, but it’s a nice point to make these days. Even though much of how libraries function has changed drastically some protocols for behaving have not. Many years ago it was considered improper etiquette to carry on a conversation at a normal volume since it’s disruptive to a reading environment. In the day of cellphones it’s easy to just take a phone out and proceed to converse without regard to your location. Some libraries have set up “no cellphone” zones due to this rampant problem. Keep your cellphone on silent or turned off. If you must speak on your cellphone move to an area where you won’t disturb others (this may even be outside) and keep it brief. Also, speak in a hushed tone. This is akin to what my elementary teachers taught as the “3 inch voice”, or speak as if the person is within 3 inches of you.

Beware of the food court. Some libraries also provide a food court in today’s world (I don’t understand it either). It should go without saying to avoid from spilling food or drink onto a library book. If you damage a book the library has the right to ask for recompense.

Pay attention if something is for reference only. If it’s a reference book / journal / et cetera you can’t check it out. You can, however, take notes or make copies. On that note…

You don’t have to check out a book or other material. Many libraries accommodate for reading, just as they always have. You can come prepared to take notes, make copies, what have you and then place the reading material back into its proper place.


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Craft Friday: Djed Pillar Card

I meant to have another tutorial up for today, but time got away from me and it isn’t ready.  Instead I’m going to show a very blurry card I made based off an idea to use paint chip samples I found on pinterest.

 

I’m not showing a step-by-step because all I did was glue some papyrus onto a card (I glued it down and cut around it.  And, yes, I do have papyrus lying around), cut out the shapes from the paint chips, and then glued them on to the papyrus.  After it dried I dipped a q-tip into some gold acrylic paint and rubbed it along the yellow parts of the pillar, which didn’t show up in the photo.  It’s pretty simple and just in time for Kha-Her-Ka.


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Budget Thursday: The Internet as a Resource

Let’s face it, the internet is a research source that people will most likely use regardless of how much money one has to spare. It’s fairly inexpensive, there are vast amounts of websites devoted to information on Ancient Egypt, and it’s easy to network with others to access such information. When trying to find accurate information online, one discovers new challenges: many people push their unverified personal gnosis –or UPG– as accurate and truthful as a whole; outdated information may be used; or information that’s outright erroneous. So how does one navigate the internet and find useful information?

Google Scholar is a helpful tool. There are a few useful methods, one which I learned while researching for an English essay back in college. I grew frustrated with the lack of scholarly sources the metasearch engines provided. Upon venting on a forum I frequented a fellow member suggested the scholar feature on Google. The scholar filter displays a plethora of links, though admittedly some scholarly sources are better than others. It links to some sites where you must pay to view the article (it seems there’s no escaping that), but many articles are available for free. I acquired several free .pdf files from several reputable institutions, like the Chicago Institute of Near Eastern studies.

Check the “shelf life” of the information. I will caution that some reputable sites still list some articles where the information is very dated. They list these not to “throw people off” as some would lead to believe. Egyptology is a field that changes very drastically, so what may have been held as a fact a few decades ago might be dismissed today.

Fact check with peers. A simple, though questionably effective, way to fact check are forums or social groups. Those who frequent such places often have many resources and knowledge they are willing to share. However not all sources are up-to-date, accurate, or even for a particular path for which you follow. This is where the aforementioned groups are double-edged. As long as there’s awareness of who follows exactly what path (which means paying attention or asking for clarification) a pattern should develop with certain practices. Understanding how other practices function and asking for sources is integral to weeding out some of the information.

Keep up with Egyptology. If consulting a religious forum feels too dicey, there are websites devoted solely to Egyptology. While it’s difficult to discern if JHotep1992 is really pursuing a degree in Egyptology, let alone possesses any real credentials, they may provide accurate information. That’s why I personally stick with resources from a college. Learning what’s accepted as accurate or scholarly is a boon for independent research.

Learn how to research. Another method includes analyzing as many materials as possible on the subject. In my first semester of college I took a composition course where we learned how to research topics. My teacher encouraged us to look at as many different reputable sources as possible from different authors. That way it would be easier to extrapolate the consensus on information and discern facts. It’s also helpful to educate yourself on the types of sources available.

Here are some sites I recommend:

Per Djeba’s Per Ankh Library (note: you will have to sign up for a class or for the organization, but it’s worth it)


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Budget Thursday: Book Rummaging

I mentioned how second-hand bookstores can be intimidating for some. Those stores are child’s play compared to book rummage sales. The type of pandemonium that transpires is comparable I imagine to moonlight madness sales. I’ve experienced this from a salesperson’s perspective as well as the buyer. But fret not, because you too can survive with all your body parts intact with some of these tips.

Check out college bookstores. In case I haven’t mentioned it before I worked at a textbook store while attending college. The store held a yearly rummage sale and cleared out books where a teacher retired, or a particular book wasn’t suited for the course, or the professor simply wanted the latest edition. The rummage sale was a big perk, not to mention advantageous for research material. I was able to acquire many academic books on the topic of Ancient Egypt that ranged from everyday life to essays on the religion. Check your newspaper or the store’s website for dates and times.

Check out libraries. I learned also that my university’s library would also clear out books periodically. While I didn’t have much luck at the university library other libraries proved fruitful.

Get there early. Just like with any clearance sale, the sooner you get there the better books you may get. While better prices may occur closer to the end of a clearance the better books tend to be infrequent at that time. I’ve learned this the hard way. I have arrived close to the end of book sales, searched tirelessly through piles of books for several hours only to come out empty-handed. There is another issue to consider with book clearances: time.

Plan ahead. Scouring the racks for decent or relevant books is very time consuming. While it’s not likely to take an entire day to search through every spot for books it will certainly take a few hours. This can create a schedule conflict in your day. I recommend you plan accordingly, or if you have a bibliophile friend to make it a trip if you have engagements with said friend.

Be aware the entire stock isn’t out during a rummage sale. During a rummage sale books from various places and sections take days to bring out due to the accumulation over time. One day it may be an entire section of how-to books, then the next a stock of art techniques may fill the empty spaces. I’m not even certain calling and asking if a certain section will be available is even advised. People who work with books have to clear stacks of semi-organized sections at times, so it’s truly an issue of uncertainty from where a book is pulled or when. Conversely this is advantageous if the selection is poor on one day.

Find a silver lining. Spending hours looking may not provide anything despite early arrival. There are times when I arrived at a book clearance on the first day, scoured the books, only to yield no books. I don’t feel my time was always fruitless for various reasons. Sometimes my quests introduced me to a new bookstore, or a new friend, or even an employee who could defer me to places that provided better results. Sometimes the key to finding value for anything is to figure out what you wish to gain.