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A Few Words on Min-Amoun

At the very beginning of Egypt’s practice of temple ritual, the ram-god Min had his sanctuaries. At the height of Egypt’s power, the ram-god Amoun had the hugest and most elaborate ones. At the very end of the ancient phase of Egypt’s own faith, the temple of Min at Akhmim was the last to be toppled by the Christian mobs. In modern Egypt the only society practicing Native Religion that isn’t completely secret is one whose patron is Min-Amoun. These two gods are related, and often appear as one god. When I was taking art history under an Egyptian lady professor, she once showed a slide of a temple relief picturing the ithyphallic Min. There was a quiet snicker or two from the class. Later, when we spoke, she rather calmly remarked that she didn’t know why people in a university would have such a trite reaction. I said something, I believe, about the Egyptian culture being more clean-minded than those that came afterward.

For its 50th anniversary, the Krewe of Thoth staged a parade with an all-Egyptian theme. About half way through the parade’s pass, I began to feel a little frustrated that I hadn’t caught anything. I remembered when I was a kid, and my mom used to chide me for being unenthusiastic about the pursuit of carnival throws. "You just stand there, with your arms folded!" she’d say… Then, I noticed that the next float had a big statue of Amoun just behind its prow, and the god had his arms crossed, as does Osiris when holding the crook and flail. So, I crossed my arms thus, and when the float came by, a doubloon sailed my way. Without moving my arms, I opened my hand, palm up, and the coin landed squarely between my thumb and fingers. As I write this, I am looking at my ballpoint pen that is a Thoth statuette with the arms crossed in exactly the same way. I think that this must be some kind of transcendental clue about how and why to "stand your ground". (With my Mars in Aries, finding it, first, is good...)

Toward their own women, Egyptian men had been quite protective and even non-threatening by comparison with those of more naively patriarchal societies. Where regard for strength that remained gentle until it was time to be warlike, the symbol of the divine male power and essence was venerated in a manner that couldn’t be regarded as in any way sordid by a person of sophistication. At one temple of the goddess Hathor, patroness of love, many hundreds of wooden phalloi were discovered in the sanctuary. They had been brought as votive offerings by pious worshipers. What prevents modern peoples from doing things like this, I believe, is a lack of confidence that the gods actually want humans to find joy in life; as well as an absence of profound gratitude for the deepest wonders that make a well-rounded life possible. Egyptians loved happy endings. They believed that there was a great power to which they could appeal for not only an ultimate moral victory in a struggle, but one for the heart, as well: Amoun the Hidden.

Earlier today, as I was doing a bit of shopping, encountering the usual people who think that an "excuse me" is an instant license for them to compel you to step aside, even when it would be easier for them to do so. When this happened, I didn’t move a muscle. They looked surprised, but I instantly felt much better than I had. I felt as if I’d gained control of my inner chump. As the day progressed, I found myself coming into contact with folks who had a seemingly more honest claim on expecting me to walk more quickly or slowly, to better navigate the footpaths. So that my mind wouldn’t get stuck in a stubborn frame, I then made an extra effort to be courteous and unobtrusive. Duty toward ourselves and to others sometimes requires us to be unyielding, sometimes flexible, but usually in the long run, to be fair.