Mother Nyx and Why You Should Never Ask Me About Ancient Egypt

A while back, I wrote that, while I have immense respect for Mother Nyx, I didn’t really give Her much explicit worship. I didn’t feel it was my place to do so, and so I kept a fair distance and only offered what I knew to be Her due. There is nothing wrong with that, because that’s as it should be —anyway, ask the Orphics what could happen if you deny one of your deities Their fair measures.

Since that moth landed on me last week, Eros has been bugging me to give more to Mother Nyx.

This is what I get for ignoring pop culture.

Of course, I just had to do a search on the Internet and, hoping to find, you know, real information, found a lot of this, instead. I’ve read the synopsis of the series on Wikipedia, and oh dear, I have a feeling that, if i read these books, I’d get the same kind of impression off of these books that Stoney321 got off of Twilight (considering she, apparently, grew up Mormon). Just reading the plot description on the Internet encyclopedia that everybody hates to love, I get the impression that the women who wrote this meant well, but I don’t get a genuine Nyx vibe off of some of the pertinent excerpts I managed to find at all; of course, those were on the tablet, and I’m not going to fight to try and C&P anything on that thing, and I don’t care enough to look it up on the desktop. I might still eventually read them, if only “for the lulz”; seriously, it’s like a weird hybrid of Harry Potter, Twilight (complete with Magical Natives!), and Percy Jackson (without even half the homework completed), and twice as long as either series. There’s going to be something deliciously stupid about this crap.

In other news, I’ve grown really frustrated with Tumblr. I’m going to keep doing Hellenic Problems and How I See Eros, but I’m going to stay away from any pagan / polytheist blog that focuses too hard on “issues”, cos frankly, I’ve come to the conclusion that all the “Social Justice” talk on Tumblr is just as much based on UPG as a good third of what I post here. Sure, there’s a lot that seems pretty basic and is stuff anybody with any sense can learn pretty easily, but after a certain point for each “issue”, the only polite thing to do is just let the people affected by those issues most to discuss it amongst themselves, because if you have comparative “privilege” in that area (like being apparently white and / or a gender-normative male, for example), nothing you say is going to go over well with everybody in that group, no matter which “side” you take, you’re basically saying some-one’s UPG is more valid than another’s —and the only time a person can really make that call is when they’re actually affected by the topic in question.

You know, it’s like “Don’t ask an Apollonian about the mysteries of Persephone; ask some-one versed in the mysteries of Persephone, but take heed, cos if you ask five different Persephone people, you run the risk of getting up to twenty different answers”. I’m a bit of a people-pleaser, and there are times when it genuinely distresses me when I realise that, no matter what I say, I’m going to make someone unhappy; the only times it doesn’t matter is “when I know I’m right”, and we all know that when I know I’m right, I’m infallibly right —if you don’t think so, that’s your problem. 😉 I’m rarely too staunch about my own rightness unless it’s about factual correctness.

Of course, then there’s my taste in music, which is just inherently superior to yours. But I don’t preach to the unbelievers, I just pity them.

Related to all that Tumblr drama, I realised I was going to make some people very unhappy, indeed, if I decided to say any more than I did on the colours of ancient Egyptians. Thankfully, nobody’s tried to hand my ass to me, but all things considered, I have science on my side. See, I grew up in a predominantly Black and very low-prole neighbourhood; now, I know this doesn’t make me an expert on all things Black, but I like to think that I have a slightly better understanding understanding of poor urban Blacks than your average white boy about my age and of similar education, but it’s still probably not going to measure up to what some activists would like. On the other hand, I had an Egypt phase as a kid —fair enough— and the “Egyptian race controvery” has fascinated me since high school, so I get very interested in any studies of Egyptian mummy DNA and other mummy genetic studies. There are a LOT of Egyptian mummies with Caucasoid hair types, just about as many as there are mummies with Black African hair types, and yes, I’ll trust that a geneticist will be able to tell the difference with his microscopes and shit better than a blogger who, at best, might have photos to accompany one’s speculation.

This is not white-washing; no more than that famous photo of an Afghani girl with dark red hair and bright green eyes.

* The leading consensus on the “race” of ancient Egyptians is that the “indigenous” population of Egypt has remained relatively consistent in this last three thousand years —people get a bit paler the further north you go, and darker the further south you go.
* The aristocratic classes in Egypt have variously been Nubian, Persian, Greek, and others. Egypt is pretty much a rainbow of skin-colours no matter where in the country you go, no matter what point in time you visit.
* Sure, there’s no reasons for modern depictions of various Egyptian deities to be pale, but there’s really no reason they need to be dark, either. That’s kind of what happens where an ancient culture, such as Egypt, defines “race” as “the culture one is a part of”, and that culture has all sorts of people, with all sorts of skin colours, eye colours, hair colours, and hair textures. Egypt is in North Africa, which is one of those regions like the Middle East and Central Asia, where people has historically just all fucked until they were the same colour; well, actually that’s not how those alleles work, what happens in those regions, and pretty much always has (especially in pre-modern eras), is that it’s been so diverse for so long, that there’s a far greater variation of skin-colours and other features typically “racialised” (like the shape of nose, brow, etc…), that even within the same family, there can be a wide array of “racial” features.

By the way, have I mentioned this week yet that I’m needing a circle punch so that I can keep working? I have? Ah well, I’m mentioning it again.

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3 thoughts on “Mother Nyx and Why You Should Never Ask Me About Ancient Egypt

  1. I tend to agree with you on the Tumblr social justice issues. I’m a transwoman, and you would think that I could have some sort of say in the issues affecting me as a transwoman, but I keep getting told to shut the hell up since I”m not also autistic, black, from another country, or any what-have-you, and I’m sick of it. So I unfollow those blogs, and move on with my life. I miss the friends I made but if they aren’t willing to listen to my thoughts and issues on those topics, then joke-em. I got more to deal with than their pity party.

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    • [nods] I mean, OK, I understand that being of Anglo-Celtic ethnicity in the United States*, I’m obviously not going to have much, if anything of much value to say concerning other ethnic backgrounds, especially true for those of distinctly racialised ethnicities and what it’s like to be of that background. I can make observations, but since that’s outside my experience, I’ll never truly know, so any observations I can make are to be taken with a grain of salt, at best –and if I said something so over the line that it needs to be called out, i can accept that.

      On the other hand, like I said, I’m Anglo-Celtic of ethnicity. I’m practising Hellenic polytheism. These are two cultures pretty much built on acculturation and appropriation. For centuries and centuries, these are two cultures that found things in other cultures and were all like “hey, we like that, so let’s use that, but make it a little more Hellenic / English.” If appropriation needs a “zero tolerance” policy, then logically, I should only worship, like Nyx and Ares or something (I think last I checked, only four “Hellenic” deities had Their worship originate in Hellas), and pretty much everything I’ve been taught about myself and where I come from by my grandparents is wrong, because very little of it is “indigenous” to English culture. I’m a thief, born of thieves, practising a religion of thievery.

      OK, maybe that’s too far down the slippery slope, but even if I pick an arbitrary cut-off point and say “OK, this is where it’s OK to practise this, cos no-one identifies culturally as Phoenecian or Caananite anymore, and doing this, that, and the other thing is OK, cos the English have been doing it since at least… 1700, and this is just a modernisation”, that still ends up saying some cultures are more valid than others. When it’s a part of your culture to adopt, adapt, and acculturate, why is that somehow less valid than a culture that values the exclusivity of keeping certain items to one’s own culture, and never allowing for “borrower” cultures to do what’s acceptable in their culture?

      And yeah, at a certain point, it really seems kind of racist. I don’t have any perfect answers. I can respect what people say to me about it, but just because some-one has a certain amount of respect from me doesn’t mean I’m now obligated to do as they say. Like, I can respect the fact that Sarah Palin managed to get taken seriously in politics in spite of being a former pageant queen –but that still hasn’t earned my vote. I can respect the fact that many Indians and Indigenous Americans were harmed in British colonialisation, and a lot of that harm still permeates today –but if you’re going to tell me I can’t take up Westernised yoga for my back problems, or burn sage for mosquitoes, even though I am not calling it in any way a traditional indigenous Indian/American spiritual practise, I have a right to ask you why and then evaluate whether or not the answer I got made any sense. There’s nothing wrong with going “yes, some First nations people burn sage as a spiritual practise, but Anglo people who have no interest in FN spirituality burn it to keep bugs away,” but if you ask half the kids on Tumblr who go all SJW at the drop of the n-key**, they’d say there is.

      *This is important, as depending on where one lives, no two “whites” are necessarily the same —according to almost all of my friends in Canada, if you’re from Quebec, especially natively Francophonic, that’s racialised in a manner that you’re clearly not as highly valued in mainstream Canadian society as an Anglophone from even Saskatchewan, and Acadians seem less valued than the average French Canadian –or at least so I’ve been told
      ** cos, you know, they fail to realise how many “N-words” there are –hyuk

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  2. Pingback: Another week, another round-up « The House of Vines

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