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17 December 2007 @ 10:36 pm
Excerpt from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, 3200 years ago  
I am the woman who lights the darkness
I have come to light the darkness
It is twice lit
I have lightened the darkness
I have overthrown the destroyers
I have adored those in darkness
I have lifted up those who weep
who hid their faces
who had sunk down
who looked upon me
I am a woman

Excerpt from the Papyrus of Ani (12th century BCE), Plate XXVIII, Egyptian Book of the Dead
trans. Sir E. A. Wallis Budge (and some modernizations from me that do not effect its nature)

Random geeky sidenote: "Ani" means "I am" in Hebrew. Ani Difranco and all of those who take that name have a lot to live up to between the Hebrew and the Egyptian scribe for whom this papyrus was written.

This is an approximation of the verse in Ancient Egyptian. Budge's pronounciation has seen some updates since his day (1888 and thereabouts), but the nuances are usually pretty mild, so this should do:

Nuk khem seshep kekiu
Ini-nar seshep kekiu
Sut khet sep sen
Seshep-na kekiu
Sekser-na ayshemi
Tua-na amu kekiu
Se-aykhay-na aakebi
amennu khrau-sen
maa-sen ua ar ten
Nuk khem

the kh is like the first sound in the Hebrew word for Life.

In all of my recent studies of ancient texts, I haven't run across any celebration of woman so heartfelt and poignant as this. It brought tears to my eyes when I read it, so I thought I'd share it. I think I might develop a small 2-candle ritual around it, to remind myself of all of the wonderful women in our lives who remind us to bring light to darkness, and to lift up those lost in it.
Current Mood: amusedawe
Moriaemoriae on December 18th, 2007 07:15 am (UTC)
i really like that.
Kburgunder on December 18th, 2007 07:17 am (UTC)
The pronunciation for woman is very nearly the name I use when I am speaking and writing in Russian, as the Russians don't have a schwa.

That makes me happy, too.
Kburgunder on December 18th, 2007 09:38 am (UTC)
It also makes me think of Phedre no Delauney from Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series, especially while she is in Darsanga.

(and so many other things. I could wax poetic about this entry for hours)
Moriaemoriae on December 19th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)
i can see that. i'm currently reading the 3rd in the series.
Artemis Jones: pomegranaterimrunner on December 18th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)

That got me right where I live, for a couple of reasons.

May I repost it, with a link back to you?
marc17marc17 on December 18th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
Sorry, off topic: Are you still thinking about going to Treffen? With the falling dollar and everybody thinking of seeing that festival in Canada, I'm thinking of Canada instead.
sculptruth on December 18th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
I love references like these. We forget sometimes, how important the women around us are to our well being. They should be celebrated!
Cassandrakasiandra on December 22nd, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)
This immediately made me think of the text for a Mass I played on at the U of A. The music is by David Maslanka but the text is by Richard Beale and it's based on a set of seven poems on the "Holy Mother" theme.


Beautiful text, moving music.