This is the worst time of year for me. It's not snowing, the sun isn't shining. It's muddy and gray. C.S. Lewis called it, "a waiting room of a world." Perhaps it's because there is no distinctive day into night and night into day. I find myself thinking about a vacation. I really want to go to Egypt. I have been mesmerized by Egypt since I was a kid. The beautiful colors that have survived thousands and thousands of years painted on the walls of tombs, the golden outfits and huge headdresses, and giant pyramids are the stuff of a culture that just doesn't seem real. But it is. I can go see it.
For me, it's important to go see these places that are firmly fixed in my imagination. You can look at photos and videos of a place, but nothing prepares you for the real thing. Once you actually go there, you not only have a spiritual connection to the place, but a physical one. When you cast your real shadow on the rocks of an imaginary place, you become part of it's history, and it is a physical part of you.
So I'm putting it out to the universe that I'm going to Egypt. Not sure when or how it will happen, but I'm going. Here are some interesting facts about ancient Egypt:
- In Egypt, men and women of equivalent social status were treated as equals in the eyes of the law. This meant that women could own, earn, buy, sell and inherit property. They could live unprotected by male guardians and, if widowed or divorced, could raise their own children. They could bring cases before, and be punished by, the law courts.
- The tomb was designed as an eternal home for the mummified body and the ka spirit that lived beside it. An accessible tomb-chapel allowed families, well-wishers and priests to visit the deceased and leave the regular offerings that the ka required, while a hidden burial chamber protected the mummy from harm. Within the tomb-chapel, food and drink were offered on a regular basis. During the ‘feast of the valley’, an annual festival of death and renewal, many families spent the night in the tomb-chapels of their ancestors. The hours of darkness were spent drinking and feasting by torchlight as the living celebrated their reunion with the dead.
- The ancient Egyptians regarded beauty as a sign of holiness. Everything they used had a spiritual aspect to it, including cosmetics. Both men and women wore makeup. Traders traded makeup often, especially in the upper classes. In tombs, cosmetic palettes were found buried in gold with the deceased as grave goods, which further emphasized the idea that cosmetics were not only used for aesthetic purposes but rather magical purposes.
- Nobles and wealthy peoples of both sexes wore wigs which were a sign of prestige and wealth and not worn by lower-class Egyptians. While women usually wore longer hair and kept it down, most men, regardless of their social rank, kept their hair cropped short. Men usually wore wigs above shoulder level. Wigs were either curly or braided.
- Egyptians believed cats were magical creatures, capable of bringing good luck to the people who housed them. To honor these treasured pets, wealthy families dressed them in jewels and fed them treats fit for royalty. When the cats died, they were mummified. Also, when a cat died, the mourning owner would shave their eyebrows.
I've got my eye fixed on the East and will keep working toward this goal.