Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Egyptian Mythology and the Importance of Harmony

Egyptian Mythology, no matter what the content of a specific tale, has at its heart the theme of Ma'at, of harmony. To the ancient Egyptians, life was an eternal journey of which one's earthly existence was merely an aspect. This journey was maintained by constant vigilance concerning balance, harmony, symbolized by the goddess Ma'at and the eternal principle she embodied.

My article on Egyptian Mythology, recently published through Ancient History Encyclopedia, explores this concept through a focus on one of the most famous myths of ancient Egypt: the story of Osiris and Set. The link to the article is here: http://www.ancient.eu.com/Egyptian_Mythology/

And the article begins:

Egyptian Mythology was the belief structure and underlying form of ancient Egyptian culture from at least c. 4000 BCE (as evidenced by burial practices and tomb paintings) to 30 CE with the death of Cleopatra VII, the last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt. Every aspect of life in ancient Egypt was informed by the stories which related the creation of the world and the sustaining of that world by the gods.
Egyptian religious beliefs influenced other cultures through transmission via trade and became especially wide-spread after the opening of the Silk Road in 130 BCE as the Egyptian port city of Alexandria was an important commercial centre. The significance of Egyptian mythology to other cultures was in its development of the concept of an eternal life after death, benevolent deities, and reincarnation. Both Pythagoras and Plato of Greece were said to have been influenced by Egyptian beliefs in reincarnation and Roman religious culture borrowed as extensively from Egypt as it did from other civilizations.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

In The Corner at the Dance flash fiction

In Between Altered States Magazine is a free on-line publication which features the surreal and the bizarre in flash fiction format. It's a great experience created and maintained by Ms. Aleathia Drehmer, herself a fine writer, and I've looked forward to each new episode ever since I learned of the magazine's existence. My own surreal little offering, `In The Corner at the Dance', was featured in the last episode. The link to the story is here: http://inbetweenalteredstates.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/in-the-corner-at-the-dance-by-joshua-j-mark/

In case the link doesn't work, the piece is here below:

In The Corner at the Dance by Joshua J. Mark

I’m in a land of porcupines with bristling bodies and all eyes. They move before me in circles but never touch me, banging solidly against each other. I see the guy who loves his pistol and always polishes it and if a girl defeats him he lets her die. The mosquito dude lets you live but you lose your hopeful berry. Then there’s iron neck guy who’s worse than triangle head and as I’m watching them all I’m thinking `What’s that horrible music in the background? And who started all of this?’

Lollipops with musical notes on them float above my head. I’m sitting in a puddle of I don’t know and I don’t know why when here comes the Danger Clown swinging across the floor toward Godiva who stands impassively and doesn’t even shake her head when he shimmies up to her.

There seems no really controlling any of this.

If anyone could see me I would feel unwelcome here. I’d feel like a complete creep. Confetti leaves of artificial trees dance down delicately between me and the world. Another porcupine boy, all hands and eyes on stilt legs, asks the chair beside me to dance. She smiles and shakes her head. He says, “But you need to. We have to get out of here” and she shrugs and takes his hand. He yanks her to her feet and pulls her from the room. Everyone is still banging into each other wide-eyed. It’s not so much a dance as a collision. My mushroom silence strands me safely. The band plays as the room rises and falls.