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14 January, 2009

Echoes of the First Parent

"... you spat out Shu, you expectorated Tefnut, and you set your arms about them as the arms of a ka, that your ka might be in them." - Pyramid Texts, Utterance 600

One of the things about theology is the way that it translates, encapsulates, and expresses basic truths, basic concepts, basic meanings.

Consider this word, "ka". I got in elementary school the instruction that the Egyptians thought people had two souls, the "ka" and the "ba", and the "ka" was their double. Not very sophisticated, and we spent a lot more time on architecture anyway.

But what is this thing, "ka"? This wikipedia article has a photo of a ka statue and the hieroglyph, both showing the symbol referred to in "as the arms of a ka". There are figure statues with the arms held in the ka position, uplifted, with children all along the upper arms (and that's gotta be some strong biceps, man). Etymologically, the word is related to words for fecundity, genitalia, and, in the plural, is a synonym for victuals. The Egyptians would present gifts to each other with the phrase, "For your ka", and make offerings to the gods with "May your ka be fed."

Life-energy. Family-energy. Animating soul. Linked to reproduction but not reproduction itself; sustained by gifts, offerings, that which is fed and sustains being.

Shu and Tefnut, the first children of the Creator, were born, existent, and it was not until their Parent's embrace that they were invested with that life-energy, that the animating soul of creation was in them.

Set arms about those children and embrace them, that they may have life; this is the gift and essence of parenthood. Not the making of the form; the sharing of the soul. Parent is a thing that we do, not a thing that we are by happenstance or breeding; it is a holy act, the extending of the lifeline that came from the first Parent and the outspread, welcoming arms of being.

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