HD BLOG 23: "whose roots bind…"

i finally finished moving into my new apartment and the internet is hooked up!!! hopefully, i will be able to update the HD blog more regularly now that things are slowing down for the summer. if possible, please give shout out on your blogs / email correspondences and we can get this thing rolling again. THANKS!!! and, as always, i will donate $1 to the “Silliman Comment Stream Withdrawal Hotline” for every comment posted on this blog. peace

(the bennu bird)

[25]

Amen,
only just now,

my heart-shell
breaks open,

though long ago, the phoenix,
your bennu bird

dropped a grain,
as of scalding wax;

there was fragrance, burnt incense,
myrtle, aloes, cedar;

the Kingdom is a Tree
whose roots bind the heart-husk

to earth,
after the ultimate grain,

lodged in the heart-core,
has taken its nourishment.

*

on the bennu bird

Related to the verb weben (wbn), meaning “to rise”, “rise in brilliance” or “shine” as well as ben-ben, the up thrust sacred stone of Heliopolis, benu (bennu) describes a bird that was an important avian deity. Originally of solar associations, the Benu bird came to be connected with three important gods consisting of Atum, Re and Osiris.

As an aspect of Atum, the Benu bird was said to have flown over the waters of Nun before the original creation. According to this tradition, the bird came to rest on a rock from which its cry broke the primeval silence and this determined what was and what was not to be in the unfolding creation.

The Benu, according to ancient Egyptian mythology, was also believed to be the ba of Re, and by Egypt’s Late Period, the hieroglyphic sign depicting the bird was used to write the name of this sun god. During the Middle Kingdom, it was said that the Benu of Re was the means by which Atum came into being in the Primeval water.

Like the sun god, the Benu’s own birth is attributed to self generation. A mythological papyri of the 21st Dynasty provides a vignette of a heart-amulet and scarab beetle near to which stand the Benu, which is described as “the one who came into being by himself”. It was believed to constantly rise renewed just like the sun, and was called the “lord of jubilees”. The Benu Bird was said to each morning appear under the form of the rising sun, and was supposed to shine upon the world from the top of the famous persea tree in Heliopolis wherein he renewed himself.

This most likely led to the concept of its long life, later identifying it with the Greek phoenix which also renewed itself from a fiery death like the sun rising at dawn. In fact, it may have been the prototype for the phoenix, and there may well be an etymological connection between the two birds’ names, though certainly there are distinct differences between myths surrounding them.

Herodotus tells us that the bird lived for 500 years before building a nest of aromatic boughs and spices which it then set ablaze and was consumed within the inferno. From the conflagration a new Benu bird arose who, after embalming its father’s ashes, flew with them to Heliopolis where it deposited the ashes on the altar of the temple of Re.

The bird was frequently depicted in the vignettes of the netherworld books as well as on heart amulets and other objects, particularly those of a funerary nature. When carved on the back of a heart-scarab and buried with the dead, it is a symbol of anticipated rebirth in the netherworld and ensures that the heart does not fail in the examination of past deeds in the Hall of the Two Truths (judgment of the dead). In the Book of the Dead there are formulae to transform the deceased into the Great Benu. Here, the deceased says, “I am the Benu, the soul of Ra, and the guide of the gods in the Duat.” In another verse, he says, “I am pure. My purity is the purity of the Great Benu which is in the city of Suten-henen.”

*

Much of section 25 roots itself in Matthew 13. the chapter is quoted in full below (it’s a great read, i promise).

1 On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside.

2 Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach.

3 He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a farmer went out to sow.

4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them.

5 Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth.

6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away.

7 Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them.

8 Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.

9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

10 The disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”

11 He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.

12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.

13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand.

14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says,’By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive:

15 for this people’s heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and should turn again; and I would heal them.’

16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.

17 For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn’t see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn’t hear them.

18 “Hear, then, the parable of the farmer.

19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside.

20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;

21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and brings forth, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”

24 He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field,

25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds also among the wheat, and went away.

26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel weeds appeared also.

27 The servants of the householder came and said to him,’Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where did this darnel come from?’

28 “He said to them,’An enemy has done this.’ “The servants asked him,’Do you want us to go and gather them up?’

29 “But he said,’No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel weeds, you root up the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

31 He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field;

32 which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches.”

33 He spoke another parable to them. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, until it was all leavened.”

34 Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the multitudes; and without a parable, he didn’t speak to them,

35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.”

36 Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house. His disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the darnel weeds of the field.”

37 He answered them, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,

38 the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the darnel weeds are the children of the evil one.

39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.

40 As therefore the darnel weeds are gathered up and burned with fire; so will it be at the end of this age.

41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and those who do iniquity,

42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

43 Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

44 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.

45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls,

46 who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

47 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet, that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind,

48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach. They sat down, and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away.

49 So will it be in the end of the world. The angels will come forth, and separate the wicked from among the righteous,

50 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.”

51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They answered him, “Yes, Lord.”

52 He said to them, “Therefore, every scribe who has been made a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings out of his treasure new and old things.”

*

In Greek mythology, myrtle was considered to be sacred to Aphrodite. The tradition of brides wearing a crown of myrtle on their wedding day was common in ancient Greece.

The plants are grown for myrtle oil, used in perfume manufacture and as a condiment, and as ornamental shrubs used in xeriscaping, where they are valued for their tolerance of hot, dry summers.

*

Aloes are used in alternative medicines and in home first aid. Both the translucent inner pulp as well as the resinous yellow exudate from wounding the Aloe plant is used externally to relieve skin discomforts and internally as a laxative. To date, some research has shown that Aloes produce positive medicinal benefits for healing damaged skin.

*

Cedars are very popular ornamental trees. They are also grown for their durable (decay-resistant) scented wood, most famously used in the construction of King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem provided by King Hiram, or Ahiram, of Tyre, Lebanon, ca 1,000 BC. Cedar wood and cedar oil is known to be a natural repellant to moths. Extensive reforestation of cedar is carried out in the Mediterranean region, particularly Turkey, where over 50 million young cedars are being planted annually.

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2 thoughts on “HD BLOG 23: "whose roots bind…"

  1. the bennu, an egret or heron, has special significance for many other cultures too. Aztlan, the mythical (or not so mythical) birth place of Mayan decendents was the place of the white herons. In Chinese buddhist culture the crane/heron are models of elegence, prosperity, and fortune. This is why the origami paper cranes of folded for weddings upon the thousands (I remember folding cranes for two days for one of my aunts weddings).
    Unrelated to bennu, but my personal favorite, the hummingbird (or colibri in espanol) is only found in the Western Hemisphere in the Americas and has inspired veneration in every cultre it has come into contact with. The mightiest Mayan god was a hummingbird. Several groups in Amazonia worship hummingbird gods as thier primary deity. I do too.
    Today while hanging roller brushes for painting out on the fireescape an Anna’s humminbird tried to pollenate the orange handles. As it came to the window it flashed it magenta facial feathers at Julie, Thomas, and I then left.

    Thanks for your help the other day. We’ll be moving tomorrow around 10am. call if you can come and help. Hope to see you soon my friend.

  2. thanks for the comment jason – this really opens up the reference across nations! how fascinating…

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