This spring I have been studying ancient religions. It’s been very interesting, partly because I have gained new insight into ancient practices, and partly because I have learned about myself. I believe that whenever we learn something, we grow and change as people.
Learning about the way in which others have understood the world – and life – is particularly illuminating. It helps me to look at my own perspectives with fresh eyes, and perhaps to throw out some opinions I no longer need.
The ancient Egyptians have fascinated me. Did you know that they practiced gender equality to the level where women were paid the same as men for the same job? It seems we’ve lost something along the way, doesn’t it.
Every day, when the sun arose, the ancient Egyptians thought of the world as literally created anew. The rebirth and resurrection of the sun was undeniable and real. In a place like Egypt, along the life-giving river Nile, with the blinding, hot sunlight, I can understand how that was the truth. It strikes me as a wonderful way of approaching life. Every day a fresh start, every day a new chance
I have always felt it very important to understand my past, and to learn from it. That is how it becomes useful for me. Tomorrow is a new day, untainted and crisp, ready for adventures. So if I keep repeating the same mistakes as yesterday, I’ll just be messing up a perfectly good day. However, if I take the time to learn from yesterday and adapt tomorrow, the adventure will get better and better. Hopefully I become wiser and wiser along the way.
Ancient Egyptian mythology is full of fierce, strong women.
Taweret, the hippopotamus goddess, was equally feared and adored. Hippos are very dangerous beasts, and she was described as a demon in early texts, but Taweret was also seen as the protector of women, fertility and childbirth.
This gradual change from demon to benefactor is particularly interesting as it indicates a change of perspective. It implies that “demon” didn’t mean “evil” to the ancient Egyptians, but simply “dangerous”. Taweret was a formidable and forceful deity, with strength and power. Something fierce is only dangerous if it acts against you, and is comforting if it acts for you, protects you and helps you.
The archetype of Taweret, the model or energy of her that we can tap into in order to learn more about ourselves and the Universe, has had a hard time since the days of the Pharaohs. Women who stand their ground often find themselves vilified in our day and age, feared and ridiculed. Women are supposed to be meek and mild, we are told. Women must be women in a particular, feminine way.
It riles me. This is why I honour Taweret today. I offer her a flower and listen for her hippo roar. As my walls tremble with her voice, I let her courage fill me and walk with her as I decide for myself how to be this particular woman. I decide. I am fierce and meek and everything in between. I am all these. I am Taweret.
Vild Prestegard is an anthropologist, holistic therapist, Reiki master and public speaker based in Norway. She is a regular blogger for Cycle Harmony. You’re welcome to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.