Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - Google Magic

The prompt today for Sunday Scribblings is to google a subject and research it and see what you learn. I have googled my subject and have written two small pieces containing the information I accessed.

Many, many years ago, long before dinosaurs were ever thought of as, going to roam the earth, before violent geological upheaval of volancoes, seas and mountains being formed, back to an earth in its first incarnation, a very different earth, where gods were in the ascendant and ruled the earth. The day began in the West, with the Sun God, Ra getting in his boat, attended by his trusty daughter and pulling the sun across the sky to the East, whereupon he would descend into the underworld and cross the world under the earth to re-emerge victorious the next morning in the West. Unfortunately, Ra had eyes that could not penetrate the darkness, and was, therefore, at risk from his enemies, especially the evil serpent Apep. To the fore came his vigilant daughter, the ever watchful Lady of the East, owner of the the Sacred and All-Seeing Eye. By night she transformed herself into a cat and was known then by the name of Bast. The priests of Ra, in their temples, endeavoured to kill the serpent by burning wax models inscribed with his name and cursing him. Every night Apep tried to kill Ra, every night Bast, with her night vision thwarted him, and plotted to kill him.

One day whilst travelling through the sky the answer came to her of how to achieve her wish. Looking straight into the sun she gathered up the strength of its rays and stored them behind her eyes. As they entered the underworld, she crouched, long black, sleek and ready to pounce. In the darkness Apep, hissed and sinuously slithered towards the boat, Bast lifted her head in his direction and flashed the brightness of the sun's rays, into his eyes, he faltered and in that instant Bast launched herself at him and sank her teeth into him until he was dead.

Bast was then given goddess gifts of her own, her main purpose was to ensure that the warm sun would continue to bless the Nile delta, continuing to keep the soil fertile to bring forth abundant crops, in this aspect she is a Goddess of the Sun and of fertility. With her all seeing sacred eye, her cats eyes that reflected light she was given the dual honour of also becoming a Moon Goddess, her eyes that stored the sun's rays then giving reflective light to the moon.

In the lower Nile delta is the city of Bubastis, wherein is a temple, not the largest temple of the Eygptian's but certainly the most beautiful. It is built of hugh blocks of pink granite and set on what is almost an island formed by two canals fed by the Nile, that circle it, one to the left and one to the right and stop short at the site of the magnificent entrance. Each canal is a hundred feet wide and shaded with beautiful palm trees. The gateway rises over sixty feet in height, and is decorated with incredibly carved statues of women, cats and catheaded women. These statues are over nine feet in height. The path to the temple starts in the city and crosses the marketplace, it is four hundred feet wide and two thousand feet long. Giant trees line the way. Once inside the grounds there are cats everywhere, and none may taunted,teased or ill treated, as this is the temple of Bast. Priestess of Bast tend to the cats, who are all considered holy. Their robes are of a diaphanous red, the sacred colour of Bast, and their rituals comprise of sensual erotic dancing emulating a cat's movements. These dances are coupled with music and great feasts, where the petitioner who need boons granted for healing and protection, must also provide foods for the cats. When a temple cat dies, its particular priestess must shave off her eyebrows as a sign of mourning and the cat is mummified and buried in the temple's vast cat cemetery.

Every year a festival was held at the temple in honour of Bast, and the pilgrims approached the temple by boat from the Nile. Boats travelled many days to this festival, only men and women were allowed to worship, no children were permitted. The journey was spent in singing and playing music, and the women dancing wildly when vast amounts of wine were quoffed. As the journey progressed the worshippers grew more and more bawdy, women calling out lewd comments and flinging their robes open at the fishermen they passed. On arrival at the temple animal sacrifices were made and after entering the temple grounds it was the duty of every man and woman to partake of as much wine as could possibly be stomached, or possibly not be. The whole idea was continuous wine drinking and feasting, with the temple priestess performing their erotic dances, it obviously decended into a bacchanalian orgy. It is no surprise that by this time Bast was, apart from a Goddess of Fertility, a Goddess of Mothers and Childbirth, the possible results from the festival. Many thousands of people attended this festival every year, it was a very popular festival.

In the centre of the temple grounds, totally enclosed by giant trees that are impenetrable, lies a beautiful garden with black cat sculptures, ponds complete with fish and many perfumed plants in overblown flower. Here wander the most beautiful of the temple cats, wearing their red amulets, their one gold earring and purring with satisfaction. Within this garden, that is not open to temple visitors is a beautiful smaller version of the large temple. Deep within, with the aroma of incense heavy in the air, and waited upon by the highest of the temple priestesses on a low couch made of gilded wood and studied with lapis lazuli then strewn in scarlet pillows, lies a long slender female with the head of a cat. She lazily strokes a large black cat with hand ending in long claws, she lethargically awaits the end of time and the beginning of eternity when the Gods will join together again.

I constructed this piece by doing my research on Google, and using the data I found put this piece together. Descriptions of the festival and temple come from the books of Herodotus and the basis of the story of Apep is Eygptian myth. Having said that I embellished the first part of the piece, which is the myth and I totally made up all of the piece about the eternal Bast at the end, although there is a shrine in the middle of the temple. I just wanted to add my own slant so the last part is total fiction, and the first part is how I saw the myth. I just call it artistic license.


miss*R said...

magic? you mention magic? ooh you are brave - but it is funny that the search took you right back to Egypt. Seems magick has been around for a VERY long time!

Terri /Tinker said...

This was a fascinating and imaginative take on the prompt, Daisy. You know, given human nature, I'm not at all surprised about the popularity of that festival! Sounds rather like Carnivale. (Maybe that's where Carnivale originated - hmm, I'll have to research that :)

paris parfait said...

Great artistic license! I love Egypt - an absolutely fascinating country, past and present. It still amazes me how much their fascination with death infuses their present

Gemma said...

Ra is such a powerful word.
Do you know about japa meditation?
Chanting Ra.....Ahhhhh
connects me with whats out there.

PEA said...

What did we ever do without the internet to research such stories...oh yes, the library! lol This was a fascinating piece and I just love the way you embellished the story and added some of your own all sounded real to me and all fit together:-) Hugs xox

judie said...

Great story Daisy! You have a really great imagination. Or....maybe it's memory! :)

Re your comment, No. I deleted it because it was an advertisement.