Tuesday, November 24, 2009


If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near,
Shadow and sunlight are the same,
The vanished gods to me appear,
And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
1856 [1857]

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Day at the Races

I've created my own calendar.  I've actually created two, but I'll just talk about the one.  It's predominately a solar event-oriented calendar with the four solar events (the two solstices and the two equinoxes) as its main festivals.  The idea for it came during a class on literary criticism when I was bored.  I remembered that the Egyptians had considered the sun to be a different god depending on its position in the sky.  When rising, the sun was Khepri.  At noon, it was Ra.  At sunset, it was Atum.  I decided to apply this to the year as a whole.  The year can be divided in two, a light part and a dark part.  The dark of the year is the period between the Autumnal and the Vernal Equinoxes when the nights are longer than the days.  The light part then occurs between the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes when the days are longer than the nights.  The sunrise of the year is then the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of the light.  So this is associated with the god Khepri.  The noon of the year is obviously the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and therefore associated with the god Ra.  And the sunset is the Autumnal Equinox, associated with the god Atum.  Which just leaves midnight, the Winter Solstice.  Keeping with the sun god theme, this can be associated with Amun.  Amun was considered the hidden sun, the sun at night.  Other associations are possible here, such as Horus as a child, but Amun keeps the pattern better.

The other four festivals are nature festivals that I've also associated with other gods.  Beltaine I've associated with Horus (as a man, not a child), Imolg with Min, Lughnasadh with Set, and Sahmain with Osiris.  Of course, these are all the sabbats of the Wiccan/Neopagan calendar, but their origins are very ancient (Christianity: The Origins of a Pagan Religion by Philippe Walter, to cite just one source offhand).  

Also, the sun is Horakhty during the twelve hours of the day (Horus of the Two Horizons) and Khnum (the Ba of Ra) during its twelve hours of the night (according to the Amduat).  By the way, Khnum is an old creator god, originally pictured with a bulls head, who became identified as Ra's Ba and was given a ram's head.  This is because the Egyptians never met a pun they didn't like.  The Egyptian word for ram was also ba, because, well, baaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Yes, this does take the Egyptian gods out of their context, and some people might object to that.  However, even in ancient Egypt, gods changed context all the time, as with Khnum.  I'm not doing anything that every ancient culture didn't do.  I've researched each god (and continue to do so), and I think each placement is appropriate to the symbolism of that god.

I'm still working on developing this calendar.  The other one's on hold for the moment, though I'll get back to it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Night at the Opera

I've recently become an opera fan.  I never used to like the opera until earlier this year when I went to see one for the hell of hit.  Seeing an opera is a whole different experience than just listening to it.  But where did I see an opera, you ask?  Chicago?  I could've gone into Chicago and seen one, but actually I saw a live broadcast (well, the encore anyway) at my local movie theater from The Met.  They transmit some of their operas to six of the seven continents (I'm sure that the scientists on Antarctica are sorry they're missing out).  I've even gotten my friend Ken interested.  We have so far gone on two of the gayest "man-dates" that two straight men can go on with the possible exception of going to see The Wiz.  That would be THE gayest.  Apropos of nothing, my friend Mike knows the entire score to The Wiz by heart.  Just thought I'd mention that.