How do you dispose of an obviously problematic ancient artifact? These are not trinkets that happen to be centuries old: they’re created by someone who made them at an astrologically appropriate time to draw down a particular energy and then charged the talisman or icon with intent. You can’t just leave them out in the council recycling bin. If you need answers now, I immediately referred this woman to my druid, Anthony Ashworth, who is an expert on these matters. The short answer is to clear/honor the item before returning it to an apt recipient in its place of origin. But I also have thoughts that you can read right after this spooky, poignant tale.
My brother was a shaman of sorts, born on Christmas Day, he was a schizophrenic who identified with a Jesus-like prophet role. He died of his own hand many years ago (I was 12) on (quite deliberately) David Bowie’s birthday. A collector of both characters and antiques, he left behind many treasures.
One was a small hand made sarcophagus, like the effigy buried with Egyptian elite, nestled between their hands. Many years ago, Simon, in a fit of temper/madness threw the effigy across the room and it broke at its base, separating its feet from its body in a crooked break. One week later, my brother went skydiving and broke his leg in a disturbingly similar spot. He always said that when he broke the effigy it released a curse. Yet he kept it. He said he bought it from a deceased estate that housed many international curiosities. When my brother died no one in my family wanted it. I took custodianship.
For many years it has sat, wrapped in silk and hidden in a box that I superstitiously taped shut. I had actually forgotten about it. I recently moved the last vestiges of my former life from a shipping container and discovered the box. It is home with me now. But it feels strange. I am celebrating my birthday with a good friend on top of a mountain with a permitted eight close friends. mount Alexander in central Victoria with a permitted eight close friends.
I have recently begun to consider the possibility of bringing the effigy with me, and all of us performing some sort of appropriate, grounded ritual for/with the effigy to release the curse? To free the spirit? Gosh, I don’t even know! I wonder, do you have any advice on ways to approach this? Fire? Rock? Water? I feel I don’t want it, however, the practicalities of popping in the bin feel dangerous!
The group of people who are with us for this celebration will also all be going skydiving together for the first time in December, which strangely feels not at all accidental! My year (like everyone’s) has been unprecedented – breakups, a parent dying, hysterectomy, near-fatal car accident – and I strongly feel that releasing the effigy at my natal Sun return will somehow begin a new chapter?!
(I did not respond to this question in time and then received this update after the release ritual took place)
An update: Since I unwrapped my little effigy there have been notable accidents in my close circle. The first two did not start me ruminating on their significance, but yesterday brought it home. Firstly, a couple of weeks after the unwrapping, my mum broke her foot. Then just before the new year, one of my best friends (who was slated to skydive with me) had a motorbike accident which he narrowly escaped, but his injury was a decimated foot/leg/ankle. Then yesterday my 13-year-old daughter broke her tibia in two places when skateboarding. The same bone and leg my brother broke all those years ago.
Perhaps it is not synchronicity and just coincidence? Though I always struggle to believe that everything is not connected… for now I will gaffer tape up his little box, as things were better with hundred miles an hour tape in place, though if you have any suggestions for ritual or release, I will practice them profoundly and reverently.
How to do this safely, respectfully, and with some sort of aboundingly positive finality!
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
With love and respect!
Aquarius, Scorpio Rising.
Dear Aquarius, Scorpio Rising,
This is such a sad and beautiful story: your brother, a seeker and clearly one of the Supernatural Capricorns, and a 12-year-old you, rigid with grief, taking on the exiled talisman. You’re right. There is no such thing as coincidence. As I write, the effigy has – I believe – been cleared, blessed, and sent back to the land it was from. (I’m adding in some words from Anthony re this shortly). I’m often stunned by the casualness with which some people (not you, obviously) treat Ancient Egyptian (actually, Kemetic)* artifacts.
Enchantment was central to their culture, infused into everyday life to an extent not seen in any civilization since. If something says ‘opening this tomb will unleash the rage of Apophis’ (or similar), isn’t there a faint chance that the creators of the message might have (a) meant it and (b) have been pretty good at sorcery? I am always interested in Ancient Egyptian/Kemetic discoveries – many of them have temple friezes which show ancient astrological diagrams, for instance – but I view or read with my eyes nearly shut, lest they suddenly show the remains of a person on there. It’s disrespectful.
Far from the monotheistic religion ruling contemporary Egypt, old Kemet was governed by dazzling magic. They were a polytheistic, star-gazing, spell-making, sacred geometry mapping, nature-worshipping, cat-adoring people. Their mythology is the ur-culture that lies beneath modern mysticism and religion. A few examples: Many people believe that Bes – one of several household protection deities – lives on as the Maori Tiki. There is also a theory that the island of Tahiti was named for Tehuti, also known as Thoth, the original Mercury. Correspondences between the Goddess Isis/her son Horus and the Virgin Mary/Jesus story still tantalize academics.
Egyptian/Kemetic astrology influenced everything, like an occult river flowing beneath Babylon, the Ancient Roman Empire, the Phoenicians – who traded with Cornwall, Vedic astrology, and even China. The I-Ching springs from the eight primordial deities of the Ogdoad. The Tarot is but a visual depiction of far older mystical factors. The Fool, for example, refers to the Egyptian God Sah, which was also the constellation now known as Orion. The Ancient Kemetic people were black Africans by the way.*
Anyway, Ms. Aquarius, Scorpio Rising – your Capricorn brother clearly felt an affinity to lost, magical lands and had a brain too intricately wired for this society. In another time he would have been a shaman. I’m sure he is watching from one of the dimensions, awed at your higher perceptions. You did right by him and the effigy. I’m posting this below because it feels right. It’s the Osiris Hymn from the so-called Egyptian Book of the Dead – a botched translation of the real title: The Book Of Coming Forth By Day.***
The doors of perception open; what was hidden has been revealed. It is myself I see and a thousand colors swirling in liquid light. I am where the sun sets below the mountains. I am in this body. I am that star rising above clouds hung by a thread from its ocean moon. Hail myself, traversing eternity walking among gods, a shuttle flying across the loom through the thread of time. This is all one place; one cloth: a mans’ life endures. On earth flowers grow, snakes crawl and wisdom lies in the palm of a hand. All that is will be—hawks and sparrows, the thousand lives within.
I have come home. I have entered humanhood, bound to rocks and plants, men and women, rivers and sky. I shall be with you in this and other worlds. When the cat arches in the doorway, think of me. I have sometimes been like that. When two men greet each other in the street, I am there speaking to you. When you look up, know I am there—-sun and moon pouring out my love around you. All these things am I, portents, images, signs. Though apart, I am a part of you. One of the million things in the universe, I am the universe, too. You think I disguise myself as rivers and trees simply to confuse you? Whatever I am, woman, cat or lotus, the same god breathes in every body. You and I together are a single creation. Neither death nor spite nor fear nor ignorance stops my love for you.
May we come and go in and out of heaven through the gates of starlight. As the houses of earth fill with dancing and song, so filled are the houses of heaven. I come, in truth. I sail a long river and row back again. It is joy to breathe under the stars. I am the sojourner destined to walk a thousand years until I arrive at myself.
*Ancient Egypt refers to the Greek translation for the land – it was actually Kemet. I only recently learned this!
**I once got into an argument in the comments for putting an image of the actress Claudette Colbert to illustrate a post about Queen Cleopatra’s astrology. But Cleopatra was Macedonian, the descendant of one of Alexander the Great’s generals. Her story was late in the day for Kemet. Jump back 14 centuries to Nefertiti – the beautiful one immortalized in art – and she – for example – was a woman of color. Cleopatra was white but she was not Egyptian.
*** The Normandi Ellis translation.
Image 2: Queen Nefertiti