Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mummification Meditation

The other night a friend and I did a "mummification meditation".  It was totally awesome, and I want to share the experience with you.

Walking the Twilight Path
First of all, we've been reading a book called "Walking the Twilight Path: A Gothic Book of the Dead" by Michelle Belanger.  (Please note, this is NOT a "Twilight" series book, this is a serious book.)  It's about getting accustomed to the idea of death and dying, which used to be a part of all cultures and really should be again.  One chapter is devoted to a discussion on the pomp and circumstance of burial in ancient Egypt, and this meditation is included to give the reader an idea of what it might have been like.  We made a few changes to it, namely that my friend did the meditation as the deceased, while I took on the role of the ka-priest in charge of the preparations and burial, which was not in the original meditation. 

The room we used is my private 'sitting room', which has all my altars and gothy stuff in it.  With the Egyptian wall hanging, the black curtains, candles, incense holders, statues, etc., the place looks like it could actually BE a room in some Egyptian tomb.  I had her sit in the rocker, as there was no room for her to lay full length on the floor.  She put on an eye mask, so she saw nothing; it was all about sound, touch and scent.  Then I lit the candles and incense, turned off the lights, and played the background soundtrack of the 1979 Tutankhamun exhibition. 

As the music played, I read passages of a modernized version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, called Awakening Osiris, by Normandi Ellis.  While reading portions of the text, I touched her head, hands and feet with my large ceremonial ankh and rattled my replica sistrum.  Next I annointed her in a few places with special scented oils.  To give her a sense of being wrapped in bandages, I lightly wrapped a piece of linen around each hand and foot, then removed it and placed it over her head like a veil.  During all of these, I continued to recite various passages of the book.  Finally, I did a very short version of the 'Opening of the Mouth' ceremony, which ritually allowed the soul to speak through the body, and was done as the last ritual after the mummy had been brought into the tomb.  Then I faded the music, as though the priests and attendants were leaving and sealing the tomb.  A profound silence fell as the mummy was left alone to begin its eternal existence.  I let the silence last for several minutes before ending the meditation.

What an incredible experience for both of us!  I was worried that she might not have gotten much out of it, but she was thrilled and came out from under the linen veil and eye mask with a huge smile on her face.  She said she really felt that she had experienced something special.  And I was totally psyched after doing such a beautiful and elaborate ritual.  I'd love to figure out how to do this on a more regular basis!  But mummification isn't exactly popular in the U.S. at the moment, so it's not too likely.

If you'd like to hear the music I used, here is the YouTube link for the entire album by Ali Jihad Racy:  Ancient Egypt

"That which is named can be written.
That which is written shall be remembered.  
That which is remembered lives."

8 comments:

  1. Eerie and beautiful sounding! Your room sounds marvellous!

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    1. It is! Wish I could post pics, but we don't have a camera anymore, and our scanner won't work on the laptop even if we did. :-(

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  2. After reading this I'm coming to think that you chose the wrong profession for a career. You should seriously think about becoming a funeral director. Your meditation sounds interesting and profound.

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    1. I seriously HAVE thought about it. I'm coming to realize that funeral archaeology is as important to me as the ancient Egyptians (especially since they practically started it!), and I've been studying on the subject. I also think I might work up the nerve to speak with one of the ladies at the mortuary where my grandmother was about how to get into the industry. Unfortunately, I don't think there is too much demand for mummification or elaborate rituals, but hey, it never hurts to offer them as options!

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  3. This was so interesting, I am going to order this book from the library! I'm very interested in doing this meditation! It sounds like an awesome way to get in touch with your soul

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! And yes, I highly recommend the book, it's quite unique.

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  4. It sounds like it was a really cool experience for both of you. And I think you'd make an awesome funeral director. :)

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    1. It was. And thank you for the compliment! :-)

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