Monday, February 26, 2007

Pick a Horus, any Horus

Trying to make sense of the Egyptian myth of Horus, my first question was, "Which one?" E. A. Wallis Budge listed 15 different Horus gods in his The Gods of the Egyptians (1904), and George Hart's A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (1986) lists 14!

Happily, I'm not the only one baffled by this profusion of overlapping deities. The nature of Egyptian polytheism has been a challenge to scholars since classical times. I'm reading Erik Hornung's Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt (1970, trans. 1981 by John Baines) and am grateful for his citation of this passage from Philippe Derchain's Le papyrus Salt 825 (1965), which suggests that it's possible to think of the Egyptian deities in a way that is completely different from Western monotheism or Greek polytheism:

A god is combined with another and becomes a new being with new characteristics, and then at the next moment separates into a number of entities. What he is remains hidden, but his luminous trail can be seen, his reaction with others is clear, and his actions can be felt. He is material and spiritual, a force and a figure, he is manifest in changing forms that should be mutually exclusive, but we know that within all this something exists and exercises power.

Derchain's extended simile from particle physics is intentional. The answer to "Which Horus?" may be "Who's asking ? When? Where? Why?" as the observer (me) must choose a place to stand to take the measure of the falcon-headed god.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Welcome to my world

I am earth and water. Every boulder draws me with its strength and warmth. Every stream invites the dip of my hand.

I have lived in nine cities on three continents.

I have been a writer and editor all my life. I worked for 20 years in broadcasting, mostly in news and news technology, and then spent 13 years as a desktop software guru, before taking on my latest adventure, which is studying mythology, depth psychology, and their practical applications at Pacific Graduate Institute.

My favorite painter is Cezanne, my favorite sculptor Barbara Hepworth. The best novel I've read so far this millenium is William Gibson's Pattern Recognition.

I draw energy from the landscape and from the creative work that I do within my spiritual community as a worship leader and facilitator ... and every single day, from my family.

Welcome to my world! On with the story!