Well, it’s been a very long while since Imogen checked back to see how Orlando non Furioso is doing with his excavations! He has been busy, and digging in the sun has been bringing up some treasures. Fragments are interesting, because they are and always will be parts of a whole, waiting for validation. Fragments are also curiously beguiling for the same reason, as they make you want to contemplate the whole, which is probably what Orlando has been doing for so long, digging in the sunny yard at the Villa in the City of Ladies. He is pleased to find remnants of a soap dish which sat atop what appears to be an antique shaving cup, with lovely gold and blue dots around the rim, and holes for the soap water to drain away. He has found the remains of a tea set he and his grandmother used to use when he was a child, the remains of a dinner plate in a lovely soft green, a tea cup shard with a rose on it his mother had, and a plate he had as a child with a blue horse on it. Not sure about the shard of thick glass, possibly from a very expensive window from another era, or perhaps part of a window for future looking into?
There have also been many patterns of flat decorative glass found, in fragments, looking almost like pieces of sugar toffee, or licorice, from old windows of long ago, that no longer need looking through. They make good art, and Baba especially liked them…of course Imogen will see what else he found, once he sorts these treasures.
word and image copyright imogen crest 2012
images – fragments, reclaimed shards.
Friends, Romans, Ladies…behold, my mother!
When around others, she usually prefered to listen instead of talking, but when she talked, you really listened.
She liked playing with her boy cousins, hated dolls, always wore her hair short and loved to drink Coke (to the very end, even if she was diabetic most of her life.)
So that explains why I don’t like frilly dresses, pink and most of the usual “girl” things.
Could also explain why I like the not-so-usual tv shows, like Buffy, House, Cold Case and Pushing Daisies and other detective and/or non-mainstream shows. (I also like Cagney & Lacey, which she loved before I was born.)
She found herself walking back to the entrance to the catacombs, taking a torch, going past the statues of Jesus, the angels and the gargoyles, wondering if she would be able to find her way back to the Hall of Remembrances. Walking down one tunnel, Thalia came across a statue of a regal-looking cat on a tombstone.
Oh, oh. I didn’t come this way before. Must have taken the wrong tunnel. I would have remembered seeing this sleek cat. What does it say?
No date. Wonder when this is from? Wonder about the name—seems like an obvious combining of Bast and Sekhmet, both goddesses in Egyptian mythology, but is it? Was Bast the name in itself or short for Bastet? That would say a lot about the date right there. And both gentle and fierce—how intriguing. Well, the solid black statue doesn’t tell me why this cat was named a composite name of two Egyptian goddesses generally depicted as lionesses.
A faint noise coming from behind the tombstone caught her attention. She listened, heard it again, and cautiously moved around in that direction. She almost didn’t spot the kitten curled up on the floor, pressed against the tombstone.
“Oh, how sweet. How did you get in here? Are you okay?” Thalia squatted down and extended out her hand to stroke the kitten… and her hand passed tight through. The kitten looked up at her and edged closer, obviously wanting contact. “Why are you still here? Did you know the cat…Bast-met?”
The kitten’s thoughts came through. That is me. I’m Bast-Met. I’m actually the kitten who became Bast-Met. But I’m still confused.
Why are you confused? You were obviously loved by your owner.
Yes, I was. But people don’t realize how important a name is. I was confused because I was named after two different aspects of goddesses, even though both were lionesses at one time—Best and Sekhmet.
Lions? I thought they were cats.
No. Bast was the ancient Lower Egypt solar and war goddess and protector. She was depicted as a fierce lioness while also associated with the sunlight so was called ‘Goddess of Fire’ or ‘Lady of the Flame.’ Later she became Bastet, her role diminishing as Sekhmet , a similar deity in Upper Egypt when Lower Egypt lost dominance in the unification of the Upper and Lower sections. The feminine suffix of ‘et’ is the diminutive name that applies as she receded and Sekhmet rose to power. Her gentler aspect as protector of the home and pregnant women changed as her appearance changed to a domestic cat. Then during the times when the Greek occupied Egypt, she changed again to a goddess of the moon.
So Bast become Bastet and took the appearance of a domestic cat. Why would a cat still be important?
Cats were revered highly because they could catch and kill threats to the fragile food supply like rats and mice and snakes. So much so they were mummified before burial. More than 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Basts’ temple at Per-Bast was excavated.
What about Sekhmet? Was she also a lion who changed to a cat?
Sekhmet was a warrior lioness goddess of Upper Egypt, the lioness being the fiercest hunter the Egyptians knew. They thought her breath created the desert and so she was a protector of the pharaohs. She was also a solar deity and became more powerful than Bast, so was seen as ‘The Avenger of Wrongs.’ Sekhmet was also seen as a bringer of disease as well as a healer of those diseases, with her worship centered in Memphis. ‘She Who Is Powerful’ was depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness. Pyramid texts themselves say the Pharaoh was conceived by Sekhmet who was the wife of Ptah, ‘The Creator.’ Other myths say she was created by the fire of Ra’s eye to use her as a weapon of vengeance to destroy men because of their wicked ways. Sekhmet is the Goddess of the West and Bastet is the Goddess of the East. Both are shown with heads of lionesses with Bastet wearing green and Sekhmet wearing red.
So that’s why this statue has a jeweled collar of red and green gems. A while back I even saw a refrigerator magnet with a picture like this statue on it. Quite a contrast between being considered goddesses and being on a fridge magnet. But why are you still here?
I was always confused as to who I really was and my mistress expected two different behaviors—sometimes I should be like a lioness, the aggressive war goddess, and other times I should be gentle like a healer and docile protector of pregnant women. Mistress would encourage me to be ‘Avenger of Wrongs’ and ‘Lady of Slaughter,’ both titles of my suffix namesake. But then would be upset when I caught a rat and brought it home to her to show I was the ‘Lady of Slaughter.’ No, now she preferred for me to be tame like the mummified cats.
And all I wanted was to be me—a kitten needing to be petted and loved and let to develop naturally, not forced into predetermined roles.
Would you mind if I write your story down? Because this also applies to modern day parents and children.
It does? How? I thought it was because I couldn’t talk to my mistress.
No. Even when children are all grown up and can discuss issues like this with their parents, it usually doesn’t help. Because parents who try to force children into a mold they want usually aren’t able to truly listen and understand what is being said. Parents who listen and understand from the beginning usually tend not to force anything on anyone. They realize each has their own way to grow into their adult selves.
By this time the kitten was curled up in Thalia’s lap, purring as she was stroked. She stretched out, putting her front paws on Thalia’s shoulders. Thank you for listening and helping me to understand I was not alone in dealing with the expectations of others. I would be verrrrry happppy for you to wrrrrite my storrrry. I just wwwwanted to be mmmmme and not torrrrn in two diffferrrrent dirrrrections. Can you call mmmmme Kitty?
“My pleasure, Kitty. You’re such a sweet kitten. And your fur is so silky, Kitty.”
The purring increased in volume as Kitty’s substance solidified and matured. Thalia and Kitty rubbed noses. Then both Kitty’s purring and her body faded and disappeared as Thalia continued to stroke the empty air while thinking of an anonymous quote she had seen: “Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.” One more contrast. Treated as goddesses and important enough to be preserved as mummies but now the likeness is on refrigerator magnets. She said ‘NO’ to both aspects—she just wanted to be Kitty.
My dad and friends performing in a play produced by a nearby girls’ school.
At the time of the picture, he and his friends were around 19 or 20.
Since I wanted to focus on him, I cut out most of the cast and blurred the rest of the nearby people, then enlarged his part of the picture and stuck it on top of the (already cropped) group picture.
my dad, today: http://flickr.com/photos/themagickbox/2679494109/
Bridget Freebies & Rest: Vintage Charm Kit -> Elements and Paper (as overlay)
Wenchd Grafix: Muted Gift -> Paper (as background base)
It began with three and ended with three – the old woman who lived by her shoes, the young girl with the tattoos and the middle aged mystery lady who sat by the side of the beach always drawing in her notebook.
The young girl took pride in her tattoos as the emblem of leaving girlhood to enter woman hood. She was so still when the tattoo artist went to work it had scared those watching who were used to at least a slight tensing of nearly every girl that underwent the ritual.
The old woman who had witnessed many girls undergo the ritual had been waiting for this one. She stood in the background and no one really noticed her but it was to her the young girl would turn when she understood her own significance.
The mystery lady simply drew the tattoo and around it other pictures conjured up by the power of the word drew themselves out of her pencil. She could not draw the smell but she wrote in “singed frangipani” to remind her of the day.
Now the young girl made her way to the temple. The ritual was not over but now required supplication, prayer and a period of fasting.
The old woman nodded as the young girls figure grew smaller and smaller. She was the one, definitely the one. She raised her hands in thankfulness, turned away and began her journey to prepare the way.
(c) image and words June Perkins
The sounds of bubbling water enhanced her awareness. She felt serene in all aspects of herself. This is a good space in which to live, where one is totally at peace. And what a wonderful place in which to die—in a hammock in water—not drowning, but just floating in water in the ocean or a lake or, even a pool such as this. She lay still, attempting to remember her dream, or was it an experience? So wonderful, but what was wonderful? Oh, yes. I was told to prepare to leave at any moment. Made total sense at the time, but what did it really mean? That I’ll die so I need to be unattached to the world and centered, or a crisis is coming and so I’ll need to be prepared to leave the house? The water sounds so happy…bubbling and frolicking in the pool. Does the water carry the fumes of the oracle to me?
I remember reading in the American Book of Dying: Lesson in Healing Spiritual Pain where the authors Gross and Klauser talked of a medieval l’Hotel-Dieu–God’s Hotel–in Burgundy, France. In the 15th century A.D., this hospice served the social outcasts and was built over a river with a glass floor underneath the beds of the patients. This way they could hear the soothing sounds of the moving water, as I am now. I can tell this must be a special place, because I’m not aching from lying on the mossy ground. This hospice had clean linens, also, almost unheard of in that time, even for the wealthy.
Now I remember, another dream or experience, where someone in high authority asked if I wanted to go back and redo or eliminate some difficult times in my past. My parents were there, too, even though both are deceased for many years. No, I said to all of them. I wouldn’t change anything, as difficult as some things were at the time. For then I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t have grown into the life I have, but still be stuck in the mundane, never having to be forced to have the opportunity to forgive both myself and another I deeply trusted, never having understood the great gift it is to be placed in a situation where one had to learn to forgive a deep wound.
The deeper the bond of trust with the person,
the deeper the hurt and wounding,
the harder it is to forgive,
the more precious the gift of forgiveness
for oneself and for the other.
May all people who have been so hurt
come to this gift of forgiveness
in the time that is right for them.
I went into the cathedral in the City of Ladies, at the corner of Hope and Despair.
Inside the chapel, off to the left, was a small wooden confessional. I knocked, opened the door, went in, and sat down. I was bathed in a soft blue light. Looking up, I noticed a small stained glass window that said: “Sedes Sapientiae”, Latin for “Seat of wisdom”, one of Mary’s titles, so called because she was the vessel through which we received God’s wisdom incarnate. I meditated on what “seat of wisdom” meant to me:
Trying to understand
Giving yourself another chance,
And another, and another.
Knowing when to let go
And when to move on.
Finding strength deep within.
As I left the confessional, a priest waved at me and sang out,
“This is the day that the Lord has made,
Let us rejoice and go home.”
I smiled back at him and was on my way.
© 2008 Kerry Vincent