Issue 17 – 6 June 2017 – rattuos
‘Let no man belong to another who might belong to himself’
This is a saying attributed to the great Paracelsus, a man who launched chemistry and medicine, discovered the necessity of and how to keep wounds antiseptic in the 1500‘s, brought to Europe the great painkiller laudanum and much else – all but forgotten these days. But it is this simple saying that is of the greatest interest.
You can choose a path that has been forged for you almost certainly by someone you do not know personally and who probably lived very long ago. But if you choose their way you belong to them. There may be no harm in that but we should all acknowledge the author of our knowledge, not plagiarise it and claim ownership ourselves. We can test knowledge handed down to us and judge it accordingly which may be the wisest way forward. We can also be ourselves, our own guides, but how?
When we are born part of us is our adult spirit which the Egyptians called the ka. The same was true when our universe was born. In our case the ka is elusive. It may be part of us but it tends to stand aloof. When we die part of us will even testify against us. It is not so much a case of winning the various parts of which we are some composite or host but actually becoming them, but this is extremely rare and difficult. The moment when that happens, if at all, is called our ‘enlightenment’. For almost all of us this will be after we die.
I suspect that but for the ancient Egyptians we would have no concept of either the soul or the afterlife in our modern religions but most would not agree. Anyway it is well worth looking at the original concept:
“The ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of five parts: the Ren, the Ba, the Ka, the Sheut, and the Ib. In addition to these components of the soul there was the human body (called the ha, occasionally a plural haw, meaning approximately sum of bodily parts). The other souls were aakhu, khaibut, and khat
An important part of the Egyptian soul was thought to be the jb, or heart. The heart was believed to be formed from one drop of blood from the child’s mother’s heart, taken at conception. To ancient Egyptians, the heart was the seat of emotion, thought, will and intention. This is evidenced by the many expressions in the Egyptian language which incorporate the word jb.
In Egyptian religion, the heart was the key to the afterlife. It was conceived as surviving death in the nether world, where it gave evidence for, or against, its possessor. It was thought that the heart was examined by Anubis and the deities during the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. If the heart weighed more than the feather of Ma’at, it was immediately consumed by the monster Ammit, and the soul becomes eternally restless.” Wikipedia
We need to look at the various parts in more detail but first understand that we are not just a single creature. We are not exactly the same as our dream self and know this when we remember our dreams in which we acted or spoke in quite a different way to our day time self. Our ‘emotions’ often conflict with our mental process. One tends to override the other. Our ‘name’ (ren) is included above and is also part of us, we make our name in life or inherit it.
“ Sheut (shadow)
A person’s shadow or silhouette, Sheut (šwt in Egyptian), is always present. Because of this, Egyptians surmised that a shadow contains something of the person it represents. Through this association, statues of people and deities were sometimes referred to as shadows.
The shadow was also representative to Egyptians of a figure of death, or servant of Anubis, and was depicted graphically as a small human figure painted completely black. Sometimes people (usually pharaohs) had a shadow box in which part of their Sheut was stored.” Wikipedia
Some cast a giant shadow which is to say their lives have a massive effect on others who dwell in its shade. We could see this as both positive and negative. Some take a huge slice of our resources and we live in the poverty they create. But our shadow is that part of us we leave behind, big or small.
As a part of the soul, a person’s ren (rn ‘name’) was given to them at birth and the Egyptians believed that it would live for as long as that name was spoken, which explains why efforts were made to protect it and the practice of placing it in numerous writings. For example, part of the Book of Breathings, a derivative of the Book of the Dead, was a means to ensure the survival of the name. A cartouche (magical rope) often was used to surround the name and protect it. Conversely, the names of deceased enemies of the state, such as Akhenaten, were hacked out of monuments in a form of damnatio memoriae. Sometimes, however, they were removed in order to make room for the economical insertion of the name of a successor, without having to build another monument. The greater the number of places a name was used, the greater the possibility it would survive to be read and spoken.” Wikipedia
I have left this here but do not agree with it – ‘the Egyptians believed that it would live for as long as that name was spoken‘. It is a classic Egyptological statement based on various assumptions but the Egyptians were not as simple as that. For a start the Egyptians were given a variety of names at birth which all represented what we now call gods and goddesses but in those days were possibly considered serious influences. You needed to live up to your name, become infused by it and honour it. When you died it should be even more revered because of you. So it is with our common surnames although we may not see much in them. Many of us have ‘Christian names’ and we may miss the archetype from which they derive. Certainly when we hear a surname like ’Lennon’ it now means more than when it was spoken 60 years ago. That is what this ren is about. Some are names we are born with, some are nicknames, some names we take. I suppose just looking at 4 Italian surnames says much about the ren – Ferrari, da Vinci, Borgia, Mussolini. Their descendants must bear them as best they can.
Bâ takes the form of a bird with a human head. The ‘Bâ’ (b?) was everything that makes an individual unique, similar to the notion of ‘personality’. (In this sense, inanimate objects could also have a ‘Bâ’, a unique character, and indeed Old Kingdom pyramids often were called the Bâ of their owner). The Bâ is an aspect of a person that the Egyptians believed would live after the body died, and it is sometimes depicted as a human-headed bird flying out of the tomb to join with the Ka in the afterlife.
In the Coffin Texts one form of the Bâ that comes into existence after death is corporeal, eating, drinking and copulating. Louis Žabkar argued that the Bâ is not part of the person but is the person himself, unlike the soul in Greek, or late Judaic, Christian or Muslim thought. The idea of a purely immaterial existence was so foreign to Egyptian thought that when Christianity spread in Egypt they borrowed the Greek word psyche to describe the concept of soul and not the term Bâ. Žabkar concludes that so particular was the concept of Bâ to ancient Egyptian thought that it ought not to be translated but instead the concept be footnoted or parenthetically explained as one of the modes of existence for a person.
In another mode of existence the Bâ of the deceased is depicted in the Book of Going Forth by Day returning to the mummy and participating in life outside the tomb in non-corporeal form, echoing the solar theology of Re (or Ra) uniting with Osiris each night.
The word bau (b?w), plural of the word ba, meant something similar to ‘impressiveness’, ‘power’, and ‘reputation’, particularly of a deity. When a deity intervened in human affairs, it was said that the Bau of the deity were at work [Borghouts 1982].” Wikipedia
Phonetically Ba is very similar to Ab, the usual Egyptologist spelling of the heart (see below). We might see therefore a twin here but what kind of twin. I mentioned the dream self above and that is what we are really seeing here. The dream self can fly if it thinks about doing it. This human headed bird is also the prototype for the later angels, and also seen guarding the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen (see my article on the Ark of the Covenant).
The ba is not only our dream self but for most is what we are when we go to the afterlife. It does not survive forever. You will not find many from previous centuries over there. And without a physical body to support it there is a slow decay, but as far as we (the bas) are concerned that decay is very, very slow and as in some dreams our experience seems to be practically endless, especially our nightmares which really give some indication of what we call purgatory or hell. When we are in our ba we are weak in many respects and when testimony is given against us for our actions in life we tend to be spellbound and terrified however powerful we were when alive. Much of the ritual of ancestor worship is designed to empower (feed) the fading ba and to pay some of its karmic bills.
“Ka (vital spark). The Ka (k?) was the Egyptian concept of vital essence, which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead person, with death occurring when the ka left the body. The Egyptians believed that Khnum created the bodies of children on a potter’s wheel and inserted them into their mothers’ bodies. Depending on the region, Egyptians believed that Heqet or Meskhenet was the creator of each person’s ka, breathing it into them at the instant of their birth as the part of their soul that made them be alive. This resembles the concept of spirit in other religions.
The Egyptians also believed that the ka was sustained through food and drink. For this reason food and drink offerings were presented to the dead, although it was the kau (k?w) within the offerings that was consumed, not the physical aspect. The ka was often represented in Egyptian iconography as a second image of the king, leading earlier works to attempt to translate ka as double.” Wikipedia
This is the spirit we are born with, fully formed and extremely powerful but as we age it becomes disconnected from us, unless we are a vehicle for what it is here to do. It chooses us and one may find some distant relative of reincarnation theory here. We might expect a powerful ka to choose someone destined to be pharaoh or a child who will be Dalai Lama. In reality it prefers to remain hidden from the world and its most likely destination will be a hidden master (male or female). Some kas will have lived more than once, some will only need or want to live once. As far as a human is concerned they are imperishable, immortal. You can become your ka but that will require you giving up most of your aspirations and serving the same purposes as this spirit. As far as I can see this is also the guardian angel that some claim to have, but you cannot take everyone at their word. Certainly when I was a child I spoke to my ka and thought then that it was some deity. Only when I found myself as an adult speaking back to the child in me did I realise we were identical.
“The Akh (Ꜣḫ “(magically) effective one”), was a concept of the dead that varied over the long history of ancient Egyptian belief.
It was associated with thought, but not as an action of the mind; rather, it was intellect as a living entity. The Akh also played a role in the afterlife. Following the death of the Khat (physical body), the Ba and Ka were reunited to reanimate the Akh. The reanimation of the Akh was only possible if the proper funeral rites were executed and followed by constant offerings. The ritual was termed: se-akh ‘to make (a dead person) into an (living) akh.’ In this sense, it even developed into a sort of ghost or roaming ‘dead being’ (when the tomb was not in order any more) during the Twentieth Dynasty. An Akh could do either harm or good to persons still living, depending on the circumstances, causing e.g., nightmares, feelings of guilt, sickness, etc. It could be invoked by prayers or written letters left in the tomb’s offering chapel also in order to help living family members, e.g., by intervening in disputes, by making an appeal to other dead persons or deities with any authority to influence things on earth for the better, but also to inflict punishments.
The separation of Akh and the unification of Ka and Ba were brought about after death by having the proper offerings made and knowing the proper, efficacious spell, but there was an attendant risk of dying again. Egyptian funerary literature (such as the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead) were intended to aid the deceased in “not dying a second time” and to aid in becoming an akh.” Wikipedia
This concept has become corrupted over the thousands of years. It is the wizard in us if we choose that path and as suggested above can be good or bad just like magic. I avoid it but many I have known have given their lives up to this magic or religion. It is what the opening statement in this article is about. For most of the Ancient Egyptians this was the path chosen or followed I would say.
There is nothing wrong in life with going to work in someone’s factory. Not everyone can start their own business let alone create one that employs many others. That is exactly the case with our occult or hidden/spiritual life. The problem is what the factory makes. Perhaps it is chocolate or cigarettes, medical equipment or weapons. The same will be true in the occult factory. If you know modern business you will have discovered that they all do wonderful works and have brilliant mottos. In fact almost all are completely dedicated to making money and you will fit in only as long as you do that for them. As you get older you will perhaps wish you had set up on your own as you find the succession of managers ordering you about to be less and less worthy of your respect. Fortunately you have a spiritual life too. Your ka will direct you to that as much as possible, until it is clearly impossible. But we must be aware of what we do in life and in our spiritual life and how it affects us after it. If we choose wisely we will help others, or at least not harm them. Whether we are also hidden masters is entirely up to us but we need our ka, need to become our ka, and if we do can work on higher matters than our worldly factories manage, work on karma and dharma rather than our own karma and dharma if you can see that distinction.
Ask your ka. It may seem ridiculous but if you do not communicate yet your ka will almost certainly have been waiting until you do and chose you because one day you would. You may well already communicate but not think of that one as your ‘ka’ or your dream self as your ‘ba’. It does not matter, this is just for those interested in such things – clairvoyance (communication), enlightenment (becoming) and Ancient Egypt.