Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


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Craft Friday: A Book Project

As some of you know I have a bookbinding hobby. I’m not particularly good at it, but I enjoy it the same. I finally finished one project because I found a nice stopping point for me, which is why I don’t have the tutorial for today ready (it will hopefully be up next week). In the meantime here are some photos of my completed project.

As you can see, I keep screwing up the spine cover. I’ll eventually get the hang of it…

 

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I also did a horrible job of trimming the paper this time around. Luckily I know what I did (I glued it down before sizing it). This is what happens when you cut corners.

 

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Despite my errors I do enjoy my work on the cover.

 

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A couple of people wanted to see the results of my work, and this is it.  When I get decent enough at it perhaps I’ll post a tutorial for bookbinding so others can try it too.

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Devotional Tuesday: Owning My Work

Mandatory Disclaimer:  This is just my personal take on some of the passages and may or may not pull from academic sources.  In other words, this is just my interpretation of things.  Take it or leave it.

“O Doubly Evil Who came forth from Andjet, I have not disputed my own property.”-transl. R.O Faulkner

I’m going to confess to something for which I’m usually teased. Praise gives me a huge anxiety attack. I know it seems hilarious given that my readers have been a huge inspiration for me, but when I see how something I’ve written impacts others it frightens me. It’s hard to explain how or why without it deviating from the topic, so I won’t discuss those details until a little later.

What got me to focus on this particular confession was an anxiety attack when I found out my blog received some positive attention. In the vast scheme of things it won’t lead to something extraordinary like a literary prize, but that means little to my anxiety-laden mind. What upset me was I positively impacted one person. When I confided in my partner he retorted in exasperation, “Honey, this is exactly what you wanted to do. You can either have a positive impact or hide in obscurity. You can’t have both”. While I would argue about that point I see what he was trying to say. I can’t work at something and not expect results.

For me it ties into this confession based on whom I suspect this confession is addressed. Andjety is a god Who is much like Wesir (Osiris). He deals with growth and regeneration, which given my situation in life is very fitting. I’ll admit my personal life has seen some pretty bleak moments. In fact, everything I held dear and worked hard to get slipped from my fingers in half the time I worked to get what little I gained. It seems for too long my life laid desolate. I’m in a period of renewal and regrowth. In this time it’s integral I take credit for my work and the fruits therein. It’s not an issue of self placating, but reaping the fruits of my labor.

In that sense I need to look at everything I’ve done these past few years and the progress I’ve made. It hasn’t felt like it at times, but anyone who’s grown a plant from seed knows the work in store. At times it feels like senseless toiling. Other times it feels like we didn’t add enough fertilizer, or enough water, or too much of either. Sometimes we do these things and we end up killing the plant or seedling, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we even buried the seed too deep and needs to be uncovered so the seedling can reach the surface. No matter what it is our work.

What I realized during this contemplation was why I feared attention.  There are multiple reasons, but the relevant one to this topic came from my own expectations.  I was afraid I would end up trying to get more than what was due.  It didn’t matter from whom or in what form (even from myself with standards I couldn’t meet), I worried about getting too greedy, about expecting more than what could be delivered.  I see now that while it’s still possible, I don’t have to be greedy about this.  I can own the work that I’m doing and have completed and for now that’s enough.

When I own my work and the products of my life, for better or for worse, it means I can accept responsibility for it more. I can see why it’s important to invest in my work when I own it. I can take charge of my part of my work in that way. It’s led to some contemplation about my current situation and some of the more uplifting directions it’s going. I decided to take more action with my blog because of it.

One of the things I realized when looking at the person’s blog is they didn’t know who the author was. I realized this may not be very clear, or at least not as clear as I had hoped. My “About” tab now has a small bio about myself and my path. It’s a small step, but a step just the same towards owning my work.


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Devotional Tuesday: Turning Away from the Truth

Mandatory Disclaimer:  This is just my personal take on some of the passages and may or may not pull from academic sources.  In other words, this is just my interpretation of things.  Take it or leave it.

“O Youth Who came forth from a Heliopolitan nome, I have not been deaf to words of truth.”

I started writing this post a few months ago after dealing with folks on Yahoo! news. The gist of it was a biased source was cited, I pointed this out, and I was accused of being some sort of basher. Bear in mind this accusation came with foul and inflammatory language followed by how I needed to “mind my language” when I used no such language myself. I wanted to dismiss the whole thing as a troll, being Yahoo! and all, and possibly shame myself for bothering with Yahoo! That incident kept eating at me, though. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I realized after a few strings of other events that it was my frustration with an ongoing issue: ignoring the facts for the sake of a “truth”.

I understand truth is a very subjective concept. In some philosophies truth is seen as how the person observes and perceives their surroundings. Even what is seen as a current truth may change at a later date. It was considered “truth” the world was flat. It was considered “truth” we lived in a geocentric universe. It was considered “truth” there was a call to destroy Ancient Egyptian ruins until the creators of the hoax revealed the truth and the intentions.

So what happens when the truth changes? What happens when we find out we live in a heliocentric system or that something is a hoax? For many the answer is simple: you accept it if there’s strong evidence to support the new view. For that individual his or her truth changes. This applies to religious growth for me. The truth is constantly changing for me as I learn new things. When I learn more about my world I grow into a different person. It’s, for me, a way of becoming something better in the face of truth.

I see a personal reason that this confession is associated with the nome associated with the primordial mound. The act of creation, as I see it, takes action and takes knowledge. This is much like the Wadjet’s alleged purpose to help the pharaoh. When faced with the truth and what isn’t he could discern the best course of action. If one turns away from truth in this matter chaos ensues. What I see on a personal level is one doesn’t grow into a better person.

There’s a case that I encountered with this. There was a man who insisted that women shouldn’t “dress immodestly” if they don’t want to be ogled. I pointed out for large-breasted women this is almost impossible (citing my own experience) and suggested self control as a more viable option. We argued about this where I cited a study supporting my point and pointed out when called upon said violations individuals tend to act aggressively. The conversation degenerated and the man, upon further suggestion he not look at a woman’s breasts, acted aggressively. The irony isn’t lost on me, but that’s not the point. The point is the man took it personally that such violations of social norms are an individual’s responsibility. As a result of not facing one possible truth nothing was gained from either party except resentment. He’s resentful that I implied he lacked self control and I’m resentful that someone scoffed at empirical evidence and personal experience. The incident, however, demonstrates exactly what happens when I see people ignoring a truth.

When we don’t face a truth, when we ignore it for the sake of convenience, I’ve found nothing changes for the better. Instead things stay the same at best or worsen in a more likely scenario. When faced with a new truth it means we have to make a decision, one which changes our beliefs. That’s uncomfortable at times, painful at others, and sometimes the easiest thing to do. Most of it is contingent on the willingness to change and how willing we are to scrutinize new information. I’m not saying one should accept all information wholesale nor without scrutiny. What I am saying is just because the information may be unpleasant or come from an unpleasant source doesn’t negate a strongly supported idea. In the Maxims of Ptahhotep it’s written:

Do not be arrogant because of your knowledge, but

confer with the ignorant man as well as with the learned, for the

limit of skill has not been attained, and there is no crafts-

man who has fully acquired his mastery.

There is no such thing as the penultimate master. There’s always something to learn or at times relearn and from a source to learn it. Sometimes we let bias get in the way of that. Sometimes we believe we have more life experience than others, or our age determines our knowledge, or that our upbringing, or even education, gives us more value in skill or knowledge than others. It’s possible, but that doesn’t grant full expertise. We’re all knowledgeable in some areas and less knowledgeable in others.

If one is to listen to truth, how does one ensure openness to the truth? I don’t have any ultimate answers, but this is what’s worked for me most of the time:

Be aware of personal bias or biases. Tallying personal biases is probably one of the hardest things to do. It means swallowing our pride and admitting to ourselves we aren’t likely as kind or impartial as we hoped. It’s still vital to the learning process, just the same. If we turn a blind eye to our shortcomings we can never grow honestly. Don’t ignore biases which lean in a positive direction either. A bias is still a bias.

Examine why the new information should be rejected or accepted. Is the new information biased? Does it come from a biased source? Is the information dated? Or is the new information coming from a source from which you are biased against or towards? Sometimes we like to hear information which supports our bias or confirm an idea we’ve already formed, regardless if the information is sound.

Consider the changes the new information brings. Sometimes people reject new information not because it’s biased, but because it brings a change. Some people fear change for personal reasons.

Be open to the change the new information brings. If it clears all biases and any reason to reject the change is overcome then accept it and let the change or changes happen.

It’s not an easy task to consider new information and changes. It’s not easy to change based on new information. If one wishes to continuously grow, however, I feel the willingness to accept it needs to happen.


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Craft Friday: Lackadaisical Unguent

In Ancient Egypt annointing oils were commonplace. Some were worn as perfume while other oils perfumed the idols at temples during the morning ritual. These oils, because they weren’t distilled, bore a consistency of an unguent and took a lot of time to make. If you’re like me and don’t mind taking a few shortcuts this recipe is for you. I tend to split this amount into 7 very small parts for the sacred oils, but this can easily work for a single oil.

What You’ll Need:

1 oz of beeswax

1/2 fluid oz oil blend of desired oil

5-6 tablespoon olive oil (Note: this really can be any carrier oil)

Water

2 pots (Note: if you own a double boiler, use it)

Spoon

1 container (Note: use a big container. I wasn’t able to hold all of it in a small bottle.)

 

1. Fill one pot a quarter of the way with water. Turn on the stove and bring to a boil.

2. Place the other pot on top to create a double boiler. Make sure the bottom pot doesn’t boil over.

3. Place the beeswax in the top pot. Stir occasionally with the spoon until completely melted. Take the double boiler off the burner. Let cool for one minute.

4. Add the olive oil until the unguent is the consistency of petroleum jelly.

5. Add the oil to the unguent and stir.

6. Place in the desired container.

 

If you’d like some very pleasant oils, I recommend Setjy Netjerw.


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I Received a Blog Award!

Thank you, thalassa, from Musings of a Kitchen Witch, for the award!  I certainly didn’t expect it and it made my day brighter.  I apparently get to answer some questions, which leads me to believe I’m really in some sort of questions game.  Here, however are the official rules:

1.the bloggers have to have 200 or less followers.

2.there is a list of questions to answer from your nominator as well as having to come up with a list of questions for your own nominees. you can either use the same questions as was asked of you or make up new ones for your nominees.

3.copy/paste the award logo into your post. you can add it to your blog sidebar or footer if you wish.

4. notify your nominees of the nomination.

Now it’s time to answer some questions…

Which art form offers you the truest expression for yourself?

Just one?  Poetry, music, and dance are probably the truest expressions of myself.  When I dance, sing, play my ocarina, attend concerts or poetry readings, I feel the most at home.  Everyone is performing to some degree at these events.  It’s almost impossible not to become a performer when everyone has a role either as an observer or singing along with the band; it’s not just the people on the stage who perform in my view.  To me, they’re one of the same.

In that art form, what is your most honest piece of expression?

I try to be as honest as possibly in all my work (I think it’s really hard to be a performer and dishonest about your artistic expression).  That said my “most honest” (read “favorite”) pieces are “Revelations of the Hag of Lawrence” and “Light of God”.

What always makes you laugh?

A good scatological joke.  Also, very off-the-wall humor, provided the humor isn’t forced or trying to shame someone.

What always makes you cry?

Innocent lives harmed or taken away.  It shouldn’t happen.  I’m the type of person when I learn of it try to see what I can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

What is one thing that you can’t do that you’d love to be able to do?

I’d have to devote a whole blog to this question!  The top of this list is more of a temporary inability, but I want to physically embrace my partner again.  Currently we’re 2,000 miles apart.

What is your favorite book? Why does it affect you so?

I have a favorite book series.  The Middle Earth series by J.R.R. Tolkien (I know, I’m so cliche).  I love Old and Middle English literature (if I can get a copy printed in the original English I nab it) and Tolkien captures it pretty well, which is good given that was his area of expertise.

What is your favorite movie or play? Why does it affect you so?

I have a favorite movie and a favorite play(s).  My favorite movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail because I love how Monty Python combines zaniness and fact to create a whole new level of humor.  It has just enough crazy and reality that it seems semi-plausible.  Since I grew up watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus their stylings have been a great influence on my humor and aspirations (I’ve always wanted my own sketch comedy show).

My favorite plays are a toss-up between Anton Chekov’s Ivanov and The Just Assassins by Albert Camus.  Both deal with, in my mind, with many of the same topics of the darker sides of human nature, the real consequences of our actions in how they affect others, and selfishness versus selflessness.

If you were given the opportunity to spend one more day with a friend or family member who has passed away, what would you do?

It depends on the person’s state.  I have many friends and family members who died from illnesses like cancer.  And if I spent time with them would it be some sort of reanimation idea?  That could be tricky since a couple of them died very violent deaths.  I’d rather not inflict that on someone again.  This is what I get for over thinking this question…

Provided the person is brought back for one day in a pristine state without illness or decomposition and whatnot, I’d say my maternal grandmother.  She was probably the closest family member to me and was the only one who made strident efforts to really be involved in my life.    I’d like to speak with her about everything just one last time.  It doesn’t even have to be about advice or secrets of the universe.  I’d want to spend that time with someone who truly cared about what I had to say.

If you had won the $580 million Power Ball jackpot, what would you be doing today?

Apart from paying off my debts, buying my dream home, fighting off the statistically likely people banging down my door for cash, and finally living with my partner again?  Probably what I’d do any other day.

Now it’s time to nominate some folks for an award.  I’ll just dig through my subscribers and pick the 3 people who’ve inspired me to keep going.  I’ll pick, Aubs Tea, kallistaqbwht, Shine, and warboar.

Here are my questions for you:

  • What inspired you to start a blog?
  • Have you been achieving any of the goals set out with your blog?
  • Which moment in your life do you currently find the most awe inspiring?
  • What is a fear you’d like to overcome / have overcome?  If you’ve overcome it, how did you do it?
  • How do you handle unfortunate situations?
  • What is your favorite holiday?  Why?
  • What is a tradition you hope to pass on, be it to your children or to other generations in your community?
  • What is your view of the Divine, be it from a believer or non-believer’s standpoint?
  • You have just attained your dream life.  Describe it in 140 words maximum.


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Craft Friday: Wedding Heart Ornaments

I found on a pinterest a link to this blogger’s craft  and it really stood out to me. I thought the ornament was really cute and would work for some decorations of my own, namely decorating for the Feast of the Beautiful Reunion. Sadly, I am not as talented as the blogger and didn’t make mine from steel. I actually stretched out some old paperclips and bent them into a heart shape with needle-nosed pliers.

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I had some seed pearls laying around from a previous project so I wrapped them around the heart with some nylon beading thread. Clearly, beading isn’t my strong suit…

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In addition to wrapping beads around the heart I added a strand of beads and doves from another project. This hangs in the middle. I tied bows for a couple of the hearts and used a smaller bow from a previous project for the heart in the middle.  I decided to add bells left over from another project onto the ties. I used left over ribbon from the other hearts to tie them hearts together.

I don’t have a tutorial of this since it was just my rendition of someone’s project rather than inspired by their project. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the ornaments from here, but I’m sure it will come to me. I’ll probably use it as part of another decoration.


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Happy (Gregorian) New Year!

It’s the new year on the Gregorian calendar.  For many this is a time for new commitments, and I’m no exception.  I’ve decided I need to focus my blog a bit more, and this is what I have in mind:

  • I was asked in the past about devotionals.  I know the Ancient Egyptians didn’t really have devotionals, so I’m going to write about my take and experiences with wisdom literature and the 42 Negative Confessions.  This won’t be wholly based on academic research so feel free to take it or leave it.  I plan on posting these on Tuesdays.
  • There will still be craft posts.  Even though they suck up a huge portion of my time when it comes to blogging I find it beneficial for at least myself.
  • Unless I get suggestions or random inspiration for posts Budget Thursday is on moratorium.  I’m currently out of ideas and I’m not hearing anything from my readers about what they’d like to see.

There are a few other things I’m considering, but I need to figure out how I plan to pull it off first.  It’s a nice way to start off a productive, happy new year.