Lamp

Paul Antonio



About ten years ago, after I'd made a remark to the same effect, Dr. Quirke told me that Royally commissioed Calligrapher Paul Antonio had stated that it was his belief that the calligrapy we see in most examples from ancient Egypt was made not with a bristled brush, but with a tool more closely resembling a kalamos.  I made a query to Mr. Antonio, and he called me from London with some advice.  He later sent me some photo examples of texts, which are on the hard drive of an old Apple that is not working, at present.  Google was able to find one such example of his work, so here it is, above.  Mr. Antonio has given classes of instruction in Egyptian calligraphy, though I cannot find anything specific.  He has served as a consultant to the British Museum, especially for their special exhibition on The Book of the Dead, some years ago.  I haven't been in touch with him for a long time.  His Facebook page boast over forty thousand Likes.  Anyway, since he did send me some photos like this one, I post it here, so that I can include it among my examples of those artists around the world that have some grasp of this style.  If he asks me to take it down, of course I shall, but for now, here is an example of a modern adept working in the style of the Dynasty XIX Theban scriptorium.  Dr. Quirke had worked closely with many great BD papyri for many years.  He could have pointed out how small the script actually was, but this might have blunted my investigation.  He preserved the mystery by sending me to another thinker, as did the priests in Egypt with Pythagoras.  
Lamp

Antinous

I kinda hate to say it, because of all the power and prestige wielded by sects and cults, and glamor to be gleaned from tradition and traditions through the centuries, but it seems to me that the best religions are to some degree lonely hearts clubs.  The best place to meet your soul mate is often a temple, lodge, church, holy festival, place of pilgrimage or satsang.  When Bowie came to America, he was asked what he thought.  He said he saw a nation starved for Love.  Of all the good things that can happen when one worships God or the gods, meeting a person who is a kindred spirit is one of the best.  The deities know you.  The deities know your friends.  Not only is it Venus and Cupid Who are trying to get you to be patient and affectionate with other humans.

I finally posted a copy of my translation of the Antinous Obelisk at my Academia.Edu page.  Instantly, more views than all of my other Egyptian Language texts, combined.  Now, I was never socially gay, but folks sometimes noticed I seemed a bit nelly, I would hear, years later.  Since I was 6'3", they didn't say this to my face, I guess.  Having been more of a mostly celibate mostly bisexual, I was never a big queer or had many gay friends.  I just got crushes on friends of both genders while I pursued my studies in Yoga of various kinds.  When I was young, being gay meant being on a social avant garde, and it was for hip people within the academic and artistic community.

But, I recently had a dream about Hadrian, and because it makes sense, I think it may be proper to share it.  I remember Ozzy Osbourne speaking of Randy Rhoads, years ago, how the latter was a rare friend who could truly empathize with the former, and thus was very easy to work and create good art with.  This is how my impression of Hadrian was, with regard to Antinous:  "This guy is great!  He really gets me!"  And, whether or not physical involvement is part of the picture, such a thing is a miracle, and miracles come from deities.  Socrates and Alcibiades were said to be lovers.  In the Symposium, though, it is also said that they never "made it".

Hadrian had a dream of a Mediterranean World that was fully suffused with Hellenistic culture, as did Alexander and Ptolemy, centuries before, and toward which Caesar had labored, by reinventing Latin as a literary language with Greek forms.  As Alexandria had grown, so did the emulsification between Greek culture and native cultures grown at the top echelons.  The subjects of the Roman Empire mostly did not speak Latin, but the educated ones spoke Greek.  This dream of intentional cultural fusion was threatened when Cambyses sent an army to destroy the Oracle of Amun, but a sandstorm and PetuBastis destroyed that army, and Alexander eventually arrived to put Egyptian Religion back into an exalted position.

When Antinous drowned near Hermopolis Magna, Hadrian was understandably heart broken.  He had an empire and an unhappy but stable marriage to look after.  But, he asked to see the High Priest of Thoth about saving the magic that Antinous had brought to the Earth, and how to best evolve it.  Word got to the Thoth temple, and the chief priest, along with a few others, put on unremarkable robes and went to the community center I call the Senet Club to meet with Hadrian, though they were not clear with the Emperor as to who the real high priest was, for the sake of his safety.  It is my belief that the Senet Club was the original location for the delivery of several of the upanishads now known as the Hermetica.  It was an informal place but on sacred ground.  It was a place that was more about the joy of religious involvement than the seriousness of it.

When Hadrian was finished making his pitch for support, he was in tears.  So was the high priest, who said to the others present, "We have to help this man.  I behold the anguished face of Horus as he wept over the body of his Father, Osiris."  Later, he privately explained to the other priests and scribes that he predicted that if they would support the Emperor in his labor of Love, then the Emperor would have some pleasant surprises for Hermopolis, as well.  Thoth is mentioned three times in the Antinous Obelisk, and is evoked as a supporter of the fallen hero, who was now identified with Osiris.  A new city, a new cult, a new gymnasium, and later a new library  were established at a location not too far from Hermopolis.

Antinoopolis became like a smaller local version of Alexandria, in some regards.  The gods are sad when they remember Osiris, it is said.  I guess there are a lot of people who wish to revisit the soul of the love of their lives, especially if he or she has passed on, be they friend, lover, or family member.  Evidently, there were a lot of people who came to Antinoopolis to give thanks to Osiris and other nTrw for ever having permitted them into the company of a soul mate.  Perhaps others came with coarser motivations to the sort of Mardi Gras type of celebration that sometimes turned into a sort of Southern Decadence, at times, but that is not my focus as a servant of Thoth.  My concern is for the sanctity of Love, and how expressing gratitude for Those who sent Him in the first place can benefit someone who has lost the friend in whom He appeared.

From both a sidereal and tropical standpoint, Antinous was a Sagittarian.  I never had many Sagittarian friends in my life, but the one who was the closest to a sort of mostly platonic boyfriend was one.  I started noticing the genius of other folks of this Sun Sign, like Osbourne, Mikkelsen, and environmental champion Somerhalder.  Thus, I do feel that if there was some kind of bad feeling between us, Lord Osiris Antinous can help to smooth that out, whether or not my friend is dead, as they say, or in some way alive and reading this essay.  Such friends make us want to be better people.  The memory of such friends makes us want to be better people.  And, it is that spirit that I approach the celebration of the divinity of Antinous.

The Senet Club was a community center created at the Thoth sanctuary of el-Ashmunein by Ptolemy I and II.  It was discovered not too many years ago by an Egyptian and German team of archaeologists.  Evidently, the Macedonian kings wanted a propitious place where Greeks who were steeped in Philosophy could find congenial discussions with native Egyptian priests, scribes, and followers of Thoth, as they associated the god with their Hermes, and regarded His people as perhaps possessing some advantageous perspective when it came to the Mysteries.  A few years ago, when I did an internet search for it, it seems that Dr. Kitchen, the only notably Christian Egyptologist of our time, responsible for transcribing the Ramesside Inscriptions corpus, actually created a Senet and Chess Club for a while.  I do believe that the concept and entity has a rich past and I don't see how it could fail to have a rich future, if Mankind survives.  I believe a new American one will be a Gamers Club for pagans and academics.  Think of the fun, even though the word has been sorely abused in recent decades:  a Neuschwanstein for Tutenstein...

Priest

Success

When you get some years or learning, you sometimes want to start "saving pain" in the younger generation.  The best way I have yet found to fail at this is to pollute your enthusiasm with immodesty.  Such people end up causing more pain than they prevent.  The folks who trust their god to protect them from toxic boredom, and have the patience to work on themselves instead of trying to make everything all about them are the people who make a willful, good difference.  Those people give off the aura of a true poet, priest, or prophet, even when they are not furnishing explanations that are tightly on topic.  If you are fit, the god makes a bit of business all about you, and it's work.  The teachings of the servants of Lord Krishna are so often about Bhakti Yoga, and I found that when you have a job you love, and you constantly understand that your god is watching what is going on and will respond to intelligent questions about your volitions, it is like the tree upon which all the other baubles of your experience hang.  To take those mercies and try to fuel an egotistical descent into entropy and narcosis is a squandering I recognize as the truest form of blasphemy.  Yet, it serves as a warning to the rest of us who might want our relationship with a god to be sustainable.  In that sense, it's "all good", as the god is success, while the human is failure.

Lamp

New Biographical Philosophy Rant



Funny how the book, Fear, came out on the tenth anniversary of the death of my mother.

When I attended St. Stanislaus, I took Religion Class for the first nine weeks.  The administration, then, decided that students who were not Roman Catholics should not be required to do so.  Next year, when I attended St. Paul's, I was not required to take Religion Class, since it didn't discuss any other faith but the Catholic one, but it was decided that I should be required to take the course.  For a while, I tried giving thoughtful answers, but always made a C.  Then, I took the exact rote statements from the textbook from memory, and received an A.  Even though I eventually reproduced a lot of dicta on exams, the only one that stuck with me was:

Q:  What is every Christian called to?

A:  Every Christian is called to Holiness, through prayerful living in the Holy Spirit.

I don't remember if it was immediately or eventually that I put it to a tune, to be able to better recall it or to celebrate that it in some way resonated with my own attitude.

Decades ago, when I edited three bi-monthly issues of the CES Newsletter (No, this is not name dropping, but a fact, though I have had no real connection with them since the death of Rev. Harrison.), I said of Thoth that one would not catch Him being ecumenical.  That is, though He does point us to the mysteries of understanding the nTrw and Creator, He does not encourage people of one system to make themselves responsible, doctrinally, to those of another.  Indeed, even in Egypt, the priests, learned scribes, and votaries of one nomic cult were not responsible to those of another, only to the will of the deity, the physical reality of the state theocracy, and to Maat.  When it came to Ultimate Truth, that was a matter for the individual.

If one is sincere and sensitive and still wants a good reputation, one naturally wishes to underscore his beliefs with good deeds.  Idries Shah once stated that the Sufis are actually priests of Hermes functioning within Islam.  But, even though the Sufis have been persecuted by mainstream political Islam, they live by a code of chivalry that tolerates those who cannot tolerate them, since their practice of gnosis (listening to the divinities, rather than simply listing their wants), affords an access that is believably sustainable beyond the gaps between physical lifetimes.  Many a faux hero has raised the banner of "God Wills It!" for followers later discover that it was mostly the wishes of a charlatan.  In the end, such people end up serving the will of the Creator, anyway, though having got there hard by means of an ego serving delusion.

Planet Earth is protected from deadly radiation from both the Sun and from outer space by a magnetic field.  It seems that if Mars ever had one of these, it was destroyed by a violent impact at a time too late for the natural formative ages of the Solar System to bring it to recovery.  People get into cults of personality that purchase their good karma for the thrills of behaving badly in the name of a god.  I notice that humans who go deeper into more spiritual concepts like Compassion than competing for attention in a more conveniently structured system, following a more delicate fragrance than blood/sweat/tears.  But, Science tells us that if there is a Creator, He can pull the plug on all of us in a short period of time.  There is no telling what the god is going to do.  Still, most of us are still here by the virtue of countless forbearance of Divine Mercy.  Eschatological religions insist that this certainly will happen as a result of the indulgences shown to the wicked.  Though, if one has any faith in karma, I fail to understand how this should be a constant specter of fear.

In this graphic, we see a diagram of the Earth's magnetic field.  I found it curious that it looks rather like a mullah.  It made me think once more that the people who serve gainfully in institutions of religion sometimes have the best motives, sometimes the worst, and sometimes mixed, but there is a mysterious power who can accomplish the dreams of individuals.  Yet, in this Universe, where those dreams fit in is a matter of affinity and befitting deep industry.

Baboon

Heck

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.

Temple

Sanctity

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

Ankh

Life

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

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

Life.

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.

Priest

Utilizing The Maxims Of PtahHotep as an Oracle

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:

http://www.random.org/dice

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

Example:

1

2

3

4

x216

x36

x6

x1

216

72

18

4

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…”

Temple

Maat, Mysticism, and Magic (a few thoughts regarding)

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.