My primary area of study has been comparative mythology, with a heavy focus on ancient Egyptian writings and art. Why Egyptian? Sheer volume, for the most part—there is more actual source material surviving and available for study than for any of the other great Bronze Age civilizations. Egyptian use of visual and literary metaphor to communicate abstract concepts produced a surprisingly modern image of humankind and our place in the cosmos. Egypt may well be called “the gift of the Nile,” but they ran their nation with a sophisticated system of metaphor.

 Egyptians did not have the Celtic or European hierarchy of divinities, with a “head god” or “king god” over all, like Zeus or Thor. During the New Kingdom era, however, the temples which acquired the greatest political influence were the temples of Ammon; many textbooks on Egypt therefore list Ammon as “king of the gods.” The name Ammon means “hidden, invisible, secret.” The hieroglyph for this is a corner, a 90-degree angle, (an “L” with equal-length lines.) The metaphor is that the hidden mystery is “just around the corner,” present and functioning but not quite seen. It is within this present-but-invisible dimension that forms of energy function in the psyche.

It is a double-metaphor, in that the 90-degree angle is a metaphor for the fundamental and hidden laws of nature and physics, each dimension of reality separated from the other by 90-degrees, even the dimension of time. Ultimately it is these universal principles which Ammon represents, laws which man and pharaoh can use to advantage if those laws were understood and respected.

Ammon is a triple-metaphor in that it is also related to the word amen, which is both the western horizon where the Sun sets as well as one of the names for that dimension “beyond the horizon” that is the Afterlife, invisible to us but as close as if “just around the corner.” This invisible dimension was the counterbalance to the living reality we share together here “on top of the Earth.”

These essays are directed to this amen/Ammon system of metaphors, a means for using modern metaphors to create a similarly coherent psychological and emotional infrastructure upon which to build a successful life.

 Myth=The Language Of The Self Talking To The Ego

Freud did not like to talk about it. Carl Jung called it the “self,” and identified this unifying function at the center of the human psyche with soul-like qualities, even as he shied away from actually calling it “soul.”  Whichever term you use, it is that bit of yourself at your core that feels permanent— you, to the best of your ability. It is also that part of you that knew how to grow an adult human from strings of molecules.

 The language of the soul/self is a language without words. Soul/self existed before words and will continue to exist when all words are spent. Thus to understand your own inner self—and for that self to understand you—you need a firm grounding in metaphor. Myths are not historically true in the sense that we mean history, rather myths are metaphors for the reality behind all truths. Learn to recognize and understand mythological metaphor and you will get to “see around the corner” to a larger worldview.


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