January 21, 2012

A is for Amun-Ra

Posted in Pagan Blog Project 2012 at 11:02 am by

How do I see Amun-Ra?

He is both the Hidden Wind and the Manifest Sun, and also their meeting place, where unseen power infuses the visible appearance. For me, He embodies the process of creation itself — whether the creation of a world, or a single being, or a work of art. He is the indrawn breath of inspiration, of light and life, and the passage from that inspiration to existence, the shattering exhalation, the call of the wild goose, the cry of birth. If the Eye of Ra is raw energy — “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower,” to quote Dylan Thomas — then Amun-Ra is the idea of the seed and the order of the plant’s development, the flower that issues forth and the influence of that flower on the heart that perceives it. He is the power that is greater than power, the matrix that contains force, giving it direction, shape, and limit.

People tend to experience Amun-Ra as very formal, very kingly; He favors ritual and commands obedience. Perhaps it’s because that kingly role provides a certain structure, a vessel to contain his immensity and abstractness, to translate it into human terms. To the common people, there would have been something ineffable about the king, who was rarely seen yet whose influence was everywhere. But Amun-Ra is not just remote; he is also the compassionate friend and benefactor of the people, prayed to for help in all sorts of matters. Perhaps in ancient Kemet there was a political angle to this, promoting an image of the ruler’s beneficence toward the people by drawing connections between him and the King of Gods, but it’s true of Amun-Ra nonetheless. He is the divine ear that hears all prayers. And while his responses to a seeker’s questions may be unexpected and often challenging, they strike to the heart.

As I was lying on the couch last weekend, thinking about what to write for this post, I suddenly heard, Get up and go into the shrine room. Oh, but I was comfortable, and the cats had just snuggled up to me….

Go to the shrine.

…and I really wanted to fall asleep….

Get up now.

I got up. I went to Amun-Ra’s shrine, lit sandalwood incense for Him, and knelt before the shrine in prayer. And I felt that connection at once, even though in all honesty I haven’t been paying much attention to Him or serving Him lately, felt His care and close involvement, His hand upon my own creative work.

How can I get closer to You? I asked in sudden love and longing, and the realization came to me:

He is everywhere — how can you get closer than that?

A Sufi master once assigned his disciples the task of killing a chicken where no one could witness the act. One took his chicken out into a cave in the wilderness, another took his down a deep well, a third shut himself in a dark closet and tied a blindfold around his own eyes. When the disciples all returned to the master, one of them still carried a living chicken. When asked why it was still alive, he replied that he had not been able to find any place where the eyes of God could not see him.

Amun-Ra is guide and commander, both subtle and inexorable — He is everywhere, watching and hearing. As He hears, He is also speaking; listen for Him.

Dua Amun-Ra! Nekhtet!

I’m running a bit behind at the moment, but hopefully I’ll have my first “B” post out sometime this weekend.

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