Famine, cannibalism, disease, crime – it was widely rumored in ancient Egypt that during a terrible time in its past the forces of isfet (chaos) completely upended the orderly society of which Egyptians were inordinately fond.The first “intermediate period” between kings became the subject of several Middle Kingdom teaching or wisdom texts, such as The Prophecy of Neferti and The Admonitions of Ipuwer. These writings essentially bemoan the terrible things that are supposed to have happened, and warn readers to maintain maat (balance, justice) in order to avoid a recurrence.
Here’s the thing – there is no real evidence that the catastrophic events actually happened.Modern scholars lean towards the idea that they were written primarily as propaganda, reinforcing the importance of unifying under the king, keeping religious observances of the neteru (gods), and keeping things on an even keel.
We’ve not long passed the equinox, that twice yearly point in the wheel where normal Paganism stops to talk about balance, and usually alongside this, peace. World Peace Day falls close to the autumn equinox and Earth day, and Earth Hour are around the spring one. Peace and balance are, without a doubt, good things to work for.
Some days my life has little of either. On the whole, I have a quiet, easy, privileged sort of life, free from many of the things that torment many of the world’s inhabitants. Even so, I find celebrating balance really difficult. Not least because I do not see much of the balance of nature as a comfortable harmony – all too often, balance is created by things in tension, pulling in opposite directions. Conflicting needs counterbalancing each other can create harmony very easily when you look at the whole effect. The experience of any part of the whole, is not of the harmony, but of the conflict.
I'm doing a rather brisk business in tarot readings and counseling of late. Not complaining, you understand. I love reading cards and have been doing it since I was about 12. There are few things more satisfying than offering a client a different way of viewing a situation through the lens of these colorful tools.
For many months now, there are cards that regularly show up for everyone. I'm tempted sometimes to take them out of the deck and try a reading that way but I suspect other cards would join together to give the same reading. As they do.