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Ancient Egyptian Wisdom ... Daily Practice

Friday, October 30, 2009

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art Returns Artifact to Egypt

Officials at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art returned an artifact to the Egyptian government on Thursday. The red granite fragment was on loan to the museum from an unnamed private owner. As museum staff inspected the artifact, which has never been displayed on the premises, they realized that the fragment was the corner of the base of a shrine enclosure meant to contain the statue of a deity. The shrine was dedicated to Amun, the chief deity of Karnak (Ipet-Isut), by Amenemhat I.

Dorothea Arnold, the Chairman of the Museum's Egyptian Art Department recognized the piece, "For a long time, I puzzled about the object to which this fragment belonged. I finally pieced it together when I came across a photograph showing the Naos in Karnak which is missing a corner in an article by Luc Gabolde in the journal Egypt Afrique et Orient ... We decided that, in these circumstances, the appropriate thing to do was to alert the Egyptian authorities and to make arrangements with the owner so that we could return the fragment to Egypt." The MET purchased the granite block, which was acquired last October on the antiquities market, in order to repatriate it.

This was not the first time that the MET returned "ill-gotten" objects to Egypt. 8 years ago the museum returned a 19th dynasty relief displaying the head of a goddess. The item was recognized by a Dutch Egyptologist, who had studied a chapel dedicated to Seti I at Memphis (originally Men-Nefer). Similar to the latest repatriated relief, the Seti I relief was purchased by the museum to facilitate its return.

Most media outlets hailed the relief's return as a victory for Zahi Hawass, the very visible head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. Hawass has lead a public battle to return many of Egypt's most noted artifacts on foreign soil, including the Rosetta Stone (British Museum) and the disputed bust of Queen Nefertiti (Neues Museum in Berlin). After refusing to return a golden burial mask of a noblewoman, Hawass cut ties with the Saint Louis Art Museum. He next lobbied France's Louvre to return 5 painted wall fragments. The Louve relented after Hawass cut ties with the museum by halting their excavations and cancelling a lecture by a former staff member. Hawass has still remained "chilly" to France's Minister of Culture after the return of the items.

Regular readers of The Udjat should know that I am certainly no fan of Zahi Hawass (read one of my posts on the topic here). He has worked diligently to deny the African origins of the Ancient Egyptians. I am also routinely annoyed by his obligatory inclusion in virtually any documentary by the History Channel on Kemet. He very seldom adds anything of value to the discussions. I must give Hawass credit, however, for his dogged commitment to the return of Egypt's ancient artifacts. I regularly ask who "owns" the artifacts and legacy of Kemet. While I don't think that the region's current Arabic inhabitants are this lofty civilization's heir, I do think that the wholesale rape of these historic treasures by foreign nations is a great tragedy. Our current fixation is on a slab of red granite from an important shrine. I'd like to know when we'll begin to discuss the "ownership" of mummies by these same museums. After all, these are actually human bodies; individuals who never thought they would ever be removed from their resting places. How would you feel if the body of a cherished uncle, or ever a grandparent was exhumed for public display. Do you think the Vatican (or any other Christian country) would allow the exhumation of the body of an early Pope? What's the difference? Who speak for Ancient Africans? Currently ... no one.

Okay. I think you've heard enough of my ranting. I'm sure you're probably thinking that without all of these artifacts in a variety of countries around the world, we would know much less about the early civilization that paved our way. That's probably true. However, I think I really want to hear much more honest public discourse about these facts. Public discourse which includes the descendants of these wonderful forbearers. Even though they are now among the most downtrodden inhabitants of the planet. Up you might race, you can accomplish what you will! Shem em Hetep (Go forth in peace)!

Related Articles:
LA Times - http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/10/monster-mash-13.html
NY Times - http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/10/27/world/AP-ML-Egypt-Met.html
MET Press Release (Dorthea Arnold Quotation)- http://www.metmuseum.org/press_room/full_release.asp?prid={768AF8B3-20A5-4EB6-820F-2DECCBC8854D}
Fragment Photo Credit - Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities/Associated Press

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ancient Egyptian Symbols the Basis of Washington, D.C. Design

This weekend I had the privilege of once again taking the Egypt on the Potomac tour of Washington, D.C. With groundbreaking historical research by the Founder of the Institute for Karmic Guidance, Tony Browder; the tour uncovers the esoteric Ancient Egyptian symbols embedded in the very design of our nation's capital.

I know what some of you are thinking. "So what? Some of the buildings in Washington, D.C. are designed with the world's most noted ancient civilization in mind. Everyone loves Ancient Egypt." Actually, Brother Browder's exhaustive research proves that the very design of the city utilizes Kemetic sacred science to attempt to harmoniously channel divine energy for sustenance of this nation. The entire city is a monument to Ancient African symbolism.

Our story begins with the first president, George Washington, announcing the creation of a permanent capital along the banks of the Potomac River on January 24, 1791. The plan called for a perfect diamond/square with straight 10-mile boundaries at 90 degree angles from land ceded from Virginia and Maryland. Washington charged Andrew Ellicott with surveying this "sacred" location with the help of Benjamin Banneker. Banneker's background is quite interesting. A free-born African, he seems to have been descended from the Dogon people of West Africa who are known for their long tradition of tracking the heavens (more on this in a later post). Banneker was a self-taught astronomer of the highest order and perhaps a genius. He was able to accurately predict solar and lunar eclipses which he published in 6-year almanacs. He was also reputed to have borrowed a watch from a traveling merchant and replicated each piece in wood. His working wooden watch was able to chime hourly, and continued to operate efficiently until long after his death.

Banneker and Ellicott collaborated to create a astrologically harmonious plan for the new capital. Banneker slept in a tent while charting solar and lunar movements for approximately 3 months. Ellicott visited him daily to assist with translating these movements into land surveys. These measurements were given to a Frenchman, Major Pierre L'Enfant, to create the actual street plan. However, due to his addiction to alcohol it is likely that L'Enfant was unable to complete his work. The plan was probably completed by Banneker.

Planning the capital city in its entirety prior to construction allowed for sacred masonic (read Ancient Egyptian) principals to be ensconced into the design. For example, 16th street was planned as the corridor which bisected the city into two equal halves and also marked the sun at its highest point in the sky (also known as Aten-Ra). This "corridor of light" also crosses into the most important building in the United States, The White House. Ever wonder why The White House has some many rooms in different primary colors? It is a symbolic "refractor" (prism) for spiritual energy. Ironically, these powerful masons used sacred African aesthetics to edify themselves at the same time they subjugated and enslaved our African ancestors.

This incredible tour includes major stops at the Meridian Hill Park, the Scottish Rite Temple, the House of the Temple (Scottish Rite headquarters), and the Library of Congress. The masonic buildings are included to elucidate some of the fundamental masonic principals which are culled from Ancient African sacred science. You don't want to miss this tour! I've included a short video of my experience below. Be sure to take a look at it. Brother Browder has done the kind of work with which the ancestors must be very pleased. For more information and scheduling, visit http://www.ikg-info.com/.

What's the bottom line? Know thyself, African! This nation's founding fathers signed the greatest monuments to their power with YOUR signature. I wonder what happens when we arise to claim ownership. Shem em Hetep (Go forth in Peace)!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Baseball: All-American Sport Created by Ancient Africans?

Sometimes I get teased by my friends when I tell them that baseball is my favorite sport. Oh sure, I enjoy a good Knicks game (I know these are very rare) and I root for both New York football teams, but the Mets have long been my guilty pleasure. My friends say, "How can any self-respecting Black man choose baseball over basketball or even football!" What can I say? No matter the good-natured ribbing, I still love the game. As I sat watching the Yankees fall to the Angels last night, the thought occurred to me, "What if my friends knew that baseball was created by ancient Africans?"

I know. Maybe this is a little bit of hyperbole. The Europeans who played early variants of the game were probably not aware of the game's similarities with one played by the Ancient Egyptians thousands of years earlier. However, it is incredible that our ancient African ancestors enjoyed "baseball" long before the days of billionaire owners and mammoth free agent contracts. There have been very few games in recorded history which used a bat and a ball.

The Ancient Egyptian game was called seker-hemat, which is loosely translated by Ancient Egyptian gaming expert Dr. Peter A. Piccione as "batting the ball". In a seldom referenced bas-relief of Thutmose III at Hatshepsut's mortuary temple, the King is seen holding a curved bat and a softball sized ball in front of the deity Het-Heru (who the Greeks misnamed Hathor). Two preists, who are depicted much smaller than Het-Heru and Thutmose III, stand beneath the King with their hands raised to catch the batted bat. Above the images reads, "'Batting the ball for Hathor, who is foremost in Waset.'' The scene is dated around 1475 BC. Approximately 3,000 years before the earliest western games which are usually considered the forerunners of our modern game. Apparently seker-hemat was played at least a millenia earlier. Inscriptions in pyramids dating 2,400 B.C. reference the game. What do you think? You think A-Rod was thinking about Thutmose III as he re-established himself as a legitamate post-season contender? Okay ... maybe not. I wonder how the rest of the America will respond when the discover the Africans seemed to have played "baseball" thousands of years earlier? Go Figure. Shem em Hetep (Go Forth in Peace)!

Related Articles:
Pharaoh at the Bat. Dr. Peter A, Piccione. College of Charleston Magazine7/1 (Spring/Summer, 2003): 36. http://spinner.cofc.edu/~piccione/pharaoh_at_bat.pdf?referrer=webcluster&

Baseball's Origins Ain't Found Till They're Found. September 12, 2004. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/12/sports/baseball/12origins.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We're Back .... with A Whole Lot More to Offer!

We're back! I haven't posted to The Udjat since August as I've been very, very busy. In late July I was laid off from my job. As you can imagine I was in a panic. How would I pay my mortgage? Could I find a job in this difficult economic climate? I still decided to leave for my annual trip to Egypt just a few days later.

I have to say that while I was prepared for my lectures in Egypt, I was still preoccupied by my employment situation. The 10-hour plane ride was even more tedious than usual. It was only when I stood at the foot of the only monument of the World's Seven Wonders which remains standing that I received divine clarity. As I reached my relatively small brown hand out to touch Khufu's Great Pyramid, I realized how insignificant my problems were. My issues would be resolved ... all things were in divine order.

In the months since our return, I have been looking for full-time work, but also working diligently to advance the mission of the Center for the Restoration of Ma'at. Nfr-Ka Ma'at and I traveled to Chicago's Oriental Institute with Kemetic Yoga master Yiser Ra Hotep to view the Qustul incense burner (read my original post on the burner here). Additionally, we're also preparing to start a league for folks interested in playing the Ancient Egyptian board game known as senet.

I have just completed my training to become a television producer. We are anxiously developing our new television show titled "Kemetic Legacy Today". We've certainly been active. I'm sure that our brief hiatus will actually create more material for the Udjat. Hang in there ... it's gonna be a wild ride! Shem em Hetep (Go Forth in Peace)!