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Our comedy is so often someone else's tragedy. Nagging is unwise and ungodly counsel that absolutely cannot be taken at face value by one who wishes to manifest original or creative thought. A marm, deputy, or imam who will slap you when you are not at the potter's wheel will slap you when you are at the potter's wheel. In _Manners From Heaven_, Quentin Crisp said that the lie is the building block of all good manners. Competent lovers confabulate for the sake of peace. Incompetent lovers are haters. Their mistakes continually cause abrasion, debility, and inert strife. Frankie Heck is well named, as her lips are the gates of Hell. Every moment of solace that her family manages to procure is blasted away by the relentless heave of a jealous vanity that can never let anything rest that would need rest if it were to escape the miserable ego-field centrifuge that provides the audience with so much amusement because we are not within its toxic clutches. Sheer inspired ingenuity and utterly inane lameness are the only two mechanisms by which her kids are able to procure for themselves a fleeting moment of individual identity or the generation of something remarkable or unique. Such acts always involve distracting the unwavering blast of unwarranted criticism temporarily away from its habitual target. Yes, through the power of Love, people absorb shock after shock and dodge bullet after bullet. But, when the truth came out, we came to understand that long-suffering Mother Theresa long ago lost her affection for God, and was proceeding upon sheer stubborn job-security self-will that was spiritually a big thorny plastic flower.


The other day, I saw a conversation about what makes something sacred. I didn't read too much of it, because it immediately seemed doubtless to me that everything held holy by some group started off as something very well loved, so that those who loved it wanted it to be well respected. Failing in that, they embarked upon a campaign to make the thing feared. This always happens when a belief system is completely externalized, and written on the back of a postcard as a manifesto. Sometimes, those who don't bow to it somehow become the enemy. So, when something becomes holy because of Love rather than fear, it often happens that its admirers protect it with secrecy, and grant access only to those who can prove their trustworthiness. In a religious context, stratification often takes place, so that those who are deemed more worthy of trust gain better access to the objects, ideas, and spaces held sacred by the tradition doing the sanctification. Often, the more useful a group finds its sacred ideas and treasures, the more it likes to protect them from what seems unqualified interest, which is at times more akin to privacy than idealogical zeal.

One of the most original comedians functioning in American English, Lewis Black, once said "A University is a degree-conferring institution." It made me think that a Priesthood is a holy-orders conferring institution. But, with Ordination, as with Academia, an institution that evaluates and certifies its students and faculty does so with regard to advancement and also professional reputation. A priest in any place or time would be expected not only to have a superior grasp of religious ideas, but also to be stable and reputable in order to keep reverence for the Congregation served. Any priesthood that is a physical entity will see the candidate in terms of its own needs. Thus, it is often more important to be an Initiate of the Divine Mysteries so that ones individual questions of the tutelary deity are answered before attempting to embark upon the inspiring mission of growth management in the name of this or that Tradition. Clergy, at their best, are not just indoctrinators, but tech supporters, problem solvers, trouble shooters, and lenders of healing assistance to those struggling to make better use of the ideas, resources, and powers that a tradition claims to offer.

When it comes to minority religions, most of us who participate encounter those who come in a spirit of challenge. They find their own system wanting, but lack the dedication to improve their position with God, so they must validate their negativity by attacking systems about which they know nothing. This is not always a bad deal, since it illustrates the need to take individual action to keep holy those things that the soul loves, rather than waiting upon consensus, fashion, or the unlikely clemency of natural bullies to subside in order to validate ones investment in the system. I guess what I am getting at is the idea that if one feels led of the Lord to pursue Holy Orders, then in a pagan context, there is a large individual responsibility to cultivate ones ability to serve the Tradition and the Congregation in question, as well as the God. In Christianity, ministers are always expected to be good speakers. In pagan traditions, one may hold a sacred office that has more to do with music, incense making, medicine, education of the young, or some other branch of the diverse concerns of the religious ethos and its organizations. In India, some Shaivite sadhus give darshan by sitting naked amongst the faithful and smoking hemp with them. This is laughable to members of superficial faiths, but for those sensitive enough to embrace such rituals, the gnostic, experiential benefits are self explanatory


Djinn Bey, why do most of your religious observances involve a picnic?

Ian Hotep, what does that symbol on your necklace mean?


In life, there are three ways to make a big mess: to succeed, to fail, and to die. The only way to justify this is with a big party.

But, I always hear that real life is no picnic.

When I went to school, we rarely had time for the so called wisdom of mediocre people. Today, surly people in SUVs are usually coming from survival, not the challenge of Liberty: of making a difference with Truth, or feeling the Love of the Creator for guarding Truth for their offspring.

So, what's the punch line?

Observe the wisdom of a Sufi meeting: campfires, chants, smiles, and snacks. The joke is on the Puritans and fanatics. Life is different from survival in drudgery. The good life is the real life. It's an all night barbecue. A spiritually vacant life is like a bad dream that lasts eighty years. When we go to work for a god, we do our best to make His house into Heaven on Earth. When I come from a Sufi meeting, I feel like I could take on bigger problems, because I have experienced the joy of Life.

If we follow the numbering of lines used by Devaud and Zaba, the Papyrus Prisse has 646 lines for the Maxims Of PtahHotep. A lot of these lines are almost independent epigrams of Egyptian Wisdom, but the author has evidently collected those he found most pertinent and set them like gems into a larger explanation that furnishes clarifying context.

Somehow, I wanted to be able to use dice to generate a number from 1 to 646, with equal probability for each quantity. I noticed that if we use four six-sided dice, using a base 6 numeral system and reassigning values on the dice, we can generate a number from 0 to 647. A lot of the lines are not aphoristic in content, but we can use the one selected as a guide to what the Oracle might wish to express. Thus, a 0 to 647 spread with equal probability seems fitting.

If we read the 6 on the dice as 0 and throw for the three lower places, assigning 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5; for the fourth place, we can subtract 3 from a throw of 3, 4, or 5, and thus limit the values of fourth place to 0, 1, and 2, preserving equal probability. The result will be a base 5 numeral that we can then convert to base 10 for our use as a guide in making bibliomantic use of PtahHotep.

The largest numeral this practice will generate is 2555 in base 6, or translated into base 10, a quantity of 647. We can check our result by using a Number Base converter, like this one: http://www.convertit.com/Go/ConvertIt/Calculators/Math/Base_Converter.ASP

And, if no dice are handy, we can use a digitally generated toss:


if we remember that six dots is to be read as zero, and for fourth place, 3=0, 4=1, and 5=2.














The base 6 numeral 1234 represents 216+72+18+4=310 in base 10. Casting this quantity, we would then refer to the text, starting with Line 310:

“a bundle of every disgraceful thing”, which refers to Line 300: “Guard against the mistake of greed,” and is followed by aphoristic line 312: “The man prospers whose measure is Maat…”

The other day, I saw what I thought a rather misguided statement. Maat was imagined in a very unscientific way. There were only two temples to Maat that we know of. The other gods lived by maat. The individual comes to the support of Maat. The great gods come to the support of Maat. Maat doesn't come running after anyone who doesn't pursue Her with study, rectitude, and diligence. If you want Maat to prevail in a situation or a nation, it is necessary to recruit Ra, Thoth, Horus, or one of the gods who actually comes to the defense of Maat. People who start talking too much about what Maat will or won't do tend to end up making big mistakes, like the Amarnan king. If you want to see Maat on Earth in your lifetime, you have to invoke the god Who has chosen you and ask the best way you can support Maat. You can't choose Maat for T shirt slogans and expect Her to behave like a puppet who compurgates prejudice because you are uncomfortable.

I once had an acquaintance who had good knowledge on a variety of magical topics. But, he imagined a conflict between magic and mysticism. There really isn't one, naturally, but there can arise one, artificially. A group exploring the supernatural becomes inauthentic if it teaches mysticism in grades where it should be teaching magic. Mysticism is information that is purportedly about the afterlife, but contains encrypted arcana about situations in the physical experience of life and its mastery through metaphysical psychology. Any real esoteric society starts out with mysticism or the yogic exercises that will make a disciple fit for praxis, and eventually proceeds to the magic of causing desired changes in the world. If a group dwells too much on mysticism, then it is actually fake, because, as Tibetan yogis have declared, overevaluated concepts are a source of death in the human experience. And, any mystical idea that can't be scientifically demonstrated becomes a political statement when students are expected to accept it as fact, without delving into the magical formulae that are hidden within it.

Most of what an Egyptian mage needs to know about magic is hidden away within the Funerary Rites. To become active in the practice of life magic, a certain amount of botanical wisdom is required, but with the metaphysical posture is needed a layer of supernatural expertise in affecting the physical plane. For a magical practice, one needs access to satsang, sadhu, guru, and shastra, just as in Yogic life. It is not only study, prayer, and meditation, but also through fellowship with other scribes of the House of Life that Egyptian shamans acquire the necessary gnostic intuitions to decode what is in the obscurely worded scriptures. Today, the problem hasn't been so much where to find books and commentaries about magic, but people with real experience who can be trusted at least to the point where the seeker can, through fellowship, glean some instinctive insight about magical matters. One can read books about martial arts, but this information comes together when the student can see skilled practitioners in action and gain good enough access to find answers to their specific questions.

So, if I were part of a group that simply sat around a lotus pond listening to music and there were not political weights added to this or that idea regarding the afterlife, then it would remain a pure phenomenon. Simply being in the presence of other people who venerated Lord NoferAtum could become a catalyst of mystical and magical insight, however gentle. But, if the group made no promises that it couldn't keep, it could remain pure. It could be a beacon of spiritual light and a non strenuous opportunity for creative people to interact and perhaps grow their connections toward the goal of saving themselves and the Earth.

Text Direction In Papyrus Of Hunefer


Click this image to see a larger version.  The text runs both ways in this papyrus, but the style is a blend of Elaborate Linear and Semi-Cursive:  a rare example.

Men On Cats

                     Ian Hotep

Uallabi just tore open the new bag of cat litter.

                     Djinn Bey

You could hide it in the house you built for her.  She never looks in there.

Religion And Magick

Some folks, owing to their experience, figure that religion equals something akin to B-S.  But, a true religion is a sincere blend of rational and irrational strategies to understand the Universe, a blend of rational and irrational messages.  True religions have myth, ritual, mysticism, social development, and other traditional resources and tools.  But, there are false ministers and false congregations, and what makes a manifestation of religion false is when its moral philosophy contains immoral imperatives.  I have noticed that the most enlightened Christian ministers are usually the ones whose teachings include what a pagan would surely call "creative visualization".  People with something other than an immoral imperative to live for tend to be more loving, creative people.  And if God is Love or the mind of God is Creativity, that makes a lot of sense to me.  So, the next time someone tells you that your religion is B-S, think:  Does it emulate the Creator?  Or, does it spend all its time making excuses for a destructive agenda? The Egyptians had words for ritual and words for moral philosophies.  But, there is no word that equates to "relgion" in the modern sense, since they never confused destruction with Creation, and they never contaminated their moral philosophies with arbitrary imperatives. 

Velvet Elvis Costello

            Ian Hotep

Mummy, what do you want to be when you grow up?

            Djinn Bey

Why, the abbot of an Hermetic monastery, of course! How about you?

            Ian Hotep

I suppose, then, that I should aim to be the Costello of an Hermetic monastery.

            Djinn Bey

Maybe if we put up a Velvet Elvis in every room, to remind folks that it is a place to propitiate the gods for serenity...

            Ian Hotep

I was hoping that you remembered that the Papyrus Font was designed by Chris Costello.

            Djinn Bey

Ah, Yes.  Where would infotainment be without that standard bit of scribal inspiration...