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Words and Symbolism

In the beginning there was the Word. Communications, writing especially, is the ultimate priesthood. Within it we can heal, we can harm, we can convey the very contents of our souls, our dreams and aspirations. We can create, we can destroy – and they can live beyond us. The Word creates the world.

That is why the sacredness of words is so central to the Ancient Egyptian or Kemetic belief system. The ancient Egyptians held that the word was sacred. They believed that uttering the true name or ren of something or someone could either create or destroy them. You could, make or unmake if something was uttered absolutely correctly. If not, and something is misspoken? Well, we Kemtics have a saying that “the Mysteries protect themselves.” In my experience, that has been very true. The chances of disaster striking is less likely because unordered words were not and are not effective.

Behind this notion is the power of the Word. This concept, which is also a Goddess in her own right, is Ma’at. Ma’at is the right order of things, the balance of the sum total of everything. Ma’at is the moral ideal, and that which judges us in the end. There is Universal Ma’at, but there is also personal ma’at and only we can determine what that is or is not for us. Through our words and our deeds, ma’at is that which we are responsible for, each of us every moment of our lives. Every contract we sign, every promise or vow we make holds us into account for what we have done, and ultimately feeds into who we are as a person. Either we are trustworthy or untrustworthy, balanced or out of balance. It is something that is with us for every moment of our lives. As Sir Lawrence Olivier once said about life and livelihood: “Everything we do is autobiographical.”

The Goddess Maa't

This Ma’at through our words is all stored within the heart. And it is that which is, at the time of our death and in the Halls of Double Ma’ati in Amenta or the Underworld, weighed against the feather of Ma’at. This is the purpose that the Negative Confession, often mistranslated as being the 42 “Laws” of Ma’at, provides. The “confession” served a purpose. In the litany of denials of all the things we have not done to disturb not only universal ma’at but our ow. The Negative Confession was used so that your own heart would not rat you out or betray you. In antiquity, this meant the difference between joining Wasir (Osiris) and the rest of the gods in the Field of Reeds or ending up as a snack for the Ammit, and dying the second death, from which there was no return. If anything, this negative confession gives us pause to think before we act or before we speak.

It also underscores the idea that whenever we know something in our heart, we can feel it. This feeling is right in that undeniable spot. When we are stricken to our core, it is in that place where we feel it most profoundly. From there it spreads out to the rest of the body and in some extreme cases, can even strike us down where we stand. It can keep us up many a sleepless night and dog our every step during the day. We may try to drown it in drink, alcohol, drugs or any other external pleasure or inner escapism, but still it waits for the moment where it can niggle at our innards and we essentially eat ourselves via that reminding voice.

Immortality lies within our words. That is why writing is so vital for those of us who call ourselves writers. Some, like me, cling to this notion. We tear into it ravenously upon waking or even before sleeping because we know that ultimately it is what is at the very core of us. Getting those words out, whether it is by telling stories that are inside of us via fiction, non fiction, film or by some other means, it is as important to us as breathing. We do not feel right with the world or ourselves if we sit on the words that are inside of us.

In the beginning was the Word…

My own mouth came to me, and Magic was my name.

The Ancient Egyptians understood something that we moderns quite often forget. Within the pictographs of the language was also housed a deeper, unseen meaning. There are literal and symbolic meanings. Most indigenous cultures still tap into this symbolist’s viewpoint. Symbolism often can bridge the gap between literacy and illiteracy. Though literacy, as we know it today, was not as widespread in antiquity as it is now, there is always something that resonates through the world of the symbolic ‘word’ to the world of form. It is not just a primitive and simplistic superstition. It is a reality. Look at the symbol for the word life – the ankh. Ankh This has been incorporated into so much of what we know today. You don’t even have to know how to spell the word, ankh, the symbol by itself conveys several thousand years of the idea behind it. Ancient mirrors were shaped like an ankh because they reflected life. The same is true of so many other symbols. Another symbol, the eye – the window of the soul, what you serve, what sees, what bears witness, what punishes us for the wrongdoing, what protects us in the end from enemies that might wish to do us harm.

This is why, to my mind, the works of R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, his wife, Isha, and his stepdaughter, Lucie Lamy had it right. Recent offerings from Jeremy Naydler and Richard Reidy also tap into this idea using ancient symbolism along with what we know archaeologically and egyptologically. Somewhere between the ridiculous offerings of new age hucksters and the staunch, unwavering scientific certainty of liturgy that has been “proven” is something else. Between those two extremes is a middle ground where our words are felt by instinct. Of course, modern language is not nearly as complex as that of the ancients. Their words, comprised of hundreds of symbols could have as many as seventeen tenses and double and triple entandres in addition to the symbolic meaning. No wonder so few were scribes or even literate!

But all of this aside. Study and absorption are all a constant for each of us. Writing is part of that process and if we are alive and conscious, especially within this social media driven world, some of us have become determined to prattle less, write more. Within that resolution, came the newest nighttime behaviour: less awakened by nightmares, I have been awakened by insights rather than nightmares of ruin and destruction. These insights are the very things that I have hoped for. It’s the feverent wish to be given a small clue, realization or insight that are needed. As I write this, there is a small gold statue of Djehuty (Thoth), the god of Wisdom and writing watching over me. I think sometimes he must somehow just blink ant my unordered thoughts!

To my mind, I have been sitting on my words for too long. I have endless reams of what I have written either on Livejournal, PanHistoria, Dreamwidth and my various blogs. The hardest part for me is organizing it and perhaps that is where my use of Scrivener comes in. It allows me to do what needs to be done and pass it between PCs in smaller files that are more easily arranged. It’s long since time to actually do something with it.

We are surrounded by words on a nearly constant basis. We are rarely able to escape from them for any length of time and we are immersed in them to such a degree that we barely have time for our own thoughts. But perhaps thinking about the words that we write or that we utter, we can come to an understanding about how and why words were considered sacred. This is especially needed in a world where our words will undoubtedly outlive us.

BD Hunefer cropped 1

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OOC: It’s that time of year again!

This morning my Blackberry blew up with comment notification for muses and communities that have been the most inactive. All of the “comments” were from Russian or Nigerian bots of one kind or another. Having logged into six different accounts already, deleted all of the “comments” and banned all the users, it made me realize that it is one way for me to maintain activity in those groups and journals..

Livejournal continues to be a monumental PIA. I do not have nearly as many of these issues with Dreamwidth. Clearly, all of this began when SUP took over the site. It really is a shame, there are many communities and people still here on LJ that I miss terribly. I have no idea if anyone even reads this journal that I rarely update, and when I do, it i is to play in places such as , and even there I have been very lax.

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OOC: Returning

It’s been a very long time that I have been away from LJ. In a conversation with my beloved friend, the scribe of all_forme, we have decided to pick up Faelyn and Rochefort’s story once more. This journal will be used mainly for RP and writing. I miss everyone and am looking forward to posting once again.

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Munday – Drabbles

1. Do you go over 100 words, or find your drabbles coming up short more often?

I always tend to write more. The challenge is in the edit so that it fits to that 100 word mark.

2. What do you do to edit when you’re over/under where you should be?

I will be more sketchy with my details, delete unnecesssary dialogue and do a lot of implied metaphor. In other words, I do a hatchet job on it or just provide a snippet or snapshot of something larger.

3. Have you learned anything about word choice and economy of words by writing drabbles?

No. That isn’t something that writing drabbles has taught me. When you write for the media, you have to write tight, concise pieces in the inverse pyramid fashion. That has to come with practice and with the editorial demands of the delivery system you are using. Writing for print isn’t like writing a PR piece or a piece for broadcast media and neither of them is like writing for a documentary or a screenplay. There are standards in each of these arenas and so you have to adapt accordingly to what those are. Writing fiction for this comm and on LJ is what I do to unwind. Some people have a cigarette. I write a few paragraphs.

One thing I have learned is that nothing here on LJ is worth stressing over. Save that kind of anxiety for something that writes you a paycheck.

4. About how long does it take you to write a drabble?

That really depends on a number of factors. If the Muse is in the mood and inspired, it can take me ten minutes. If the Musse is reluctant, or if I have a huge number of things on my plate, it may take me several hours or a half a day to get it to where I want it to be.

5. Do you have any secret drabbling tips / hints to share with your fellow drabblers?

Carry a notebook with you at all times, or barriing that, drop keywords into your smartphone to remind you later. Sometimes inspiration can come from something heard on the radio, in an overheard conversation or at any number of places.

Also, think and write cinematically. The drabble is very similar to a Mise-en-scène. You have a single frame and it is that single frame, that snapshot that is visible. The Mise-en-scène is what we see. Editing is what we do not see. So you do not need to include everything. That is a tough lesson to learn for someone like me who likes to either analyse things to death and /or give lots of details in my writing. You still want to convey what is important, but you have to do it with an “economy of style” so as to hit that magic 100 words.

Bonus question:
If you are participating in 100 Drabbles of Summer, how many have you completed so far?

I have just a couple done so far and will post them later today. Lots of deadlines to meet, and fortunately has a fairly long one on this assignment. 😉

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Munday – Villains

1. What makes a good villain, in your opinion?
There is no 100% bad villain, just as there are no 100% good heroes. Either one would be boring as hell and there can be no suspension of disbelief in either case. I like a villain that you can find glimpses of that person’s past – why they are the way that they are. When that happens, the reader can almost empathise with that character. It doesn’t have to be emo, or overt. Some of the most powerful things can be articulated with a mere glance, a gesture, or just the smallest of nuances. Those kinds of things add to their complexity and makes the villain far more compelling.

2. Do you tend to write more for villains or heroes? I tend to write characters with more villainous qualities than not. In the character’s mind, they know exactly what they are doing and why and as Faelyn is fond of saying, and the icon indicates, All is fair in the pursuit of power. Faelyn spent her life living by that creed because of who and what she is. Other characters, such as sheldonsandscia is a sociopathic little bastard. He does what he does and feels not the slightest bit of remorse, except in the very odd instance and with very few people. nomanselizabth does what she does because she is a queen, and as a monarch, unpleasant tasks that guarantee one’s survival have to be undertaken. I don’t know that any of them really sit around and dream up new and interesting ways to be villainous, however.

3. Who wins more often in your stories, the good guy or the bad guy? It’s a toss up. Sometimes one side wins over the other, but everyone is a villain or a hero, depending on your point of view. My stories tend to be about survival and the character going for what he or she wants. Formulaic who wins and who loses scenario rarely enter into the picture.

4. Have you ever written a redeemable / reformed villain? A good guy turned bad? Yes. I wrote a muse from child to adult who was just sweet and cute and she slowly changed into something else that in no way resembled her former self. That was hard, because I really rather liked the inquisitive little girl that was there before she lost her innocence.

5. Are there any themes among your bad guys – do you tend to write zombie stories, fantasy villains, etc?
Again, it is about the redeeming qualities of each villain that my muses interact with. captainbarbossa, early on, in spite of his dangerous exterior and arrogance has things about him that provide those small moments of creamy delicious story flavour! is a muse where you clearly do have a bit of sympathy for the Devil! There are lots of wonderful villain muses that my muses will itneract with. such as the Giovanni’s from the World of Darkness fandom. It is a natural for Faelyn / Fanny since she is half Unseeliewhich means,
“Unblessed” She even went as far to marry the “bad guy from the Three Musketeers fandom, The Comte de Rochefort as played by all_forme because they understood each other as more “heroic” muses wouldn’t have.

6. Are some of your antagonists non-villains, just at cross purposes from the hero?

I have NPC’s for that purpose and most of them are just ignorant and foolishly try to stand between my muses and their stated goals. Of course each side has varying degrees of success, neither side can win all of the time. Besides, conflict is what drives a story.

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Wednesday: Mood

Today, we challenge you to find and share a picture that visually represents your mood right now.

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Munday Survey Says….

Attitude in relation to authority figures

Faelyn being High Lady and Queen of the Fortunate Island thinks of herself as an authority figure. As long as she agrees that that person or institution has equal or greater “authority” than herself things are fine. She is, though, a diplomat and can play the subordinate and the suplicant if it is to her calculated advantage to do so. She hotly resents the Christian Church, particularly the Catholic Faith, but she sees many protestants as being far worse in their subjugation and exploitation of women. She won’t be overt in her undermining those authorities, but she does work covertly in achieving her objectives.
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