Fern & Oak


New York 2017: Day Seven... Ancient Egyptian Afterlife & Spaghetti

Brooklyn museum - mummified animals and gender changing mummies
Dinner at the Spaghetti Incident with Big T, Bob, Emilie and V
Christmas movies and wine with Amy

Ancient Egyptian gender transformation in the tomb... 

The Ancient Egyptians believed that they were reborn in the afterlife, and their tombs were not simply a final resting place but a sacred site of literal rebirth. Here their souls were born again. However, they believed that in order for a woman to be reborn, it was necessary to briefly transform into a man! The reasoning for this was because they believed that a man created a fetus and during intercourse simply transferred this to the woman. Thus, rebirth for a woman alone in her tomb was impossible. To overcome this believed issue, a priest would magically transform a woman's mummy into a man long enough to create a fetus. This involved a ritual of representing a woman with red skin on her coffin (men were depicted with red skin, women with yellow) and a priest would recite spells that addressed the woman with masculine pronouns as well as graphically record these spells on the coffin. The use of the “male” colour and the change of language had the magical power to change the woman in her coffin. After she had created the fetus, the woman would return ringer original female state and incubate herself for rebirth into the afterlife as a woman. It was only recently discovered due to new research inspired by the growth of feminist scholarship that the representation of red skin and masculine pronouns were not mere mistakes, which is what was previously regarded by scholars...

Some more Ancient Egyptian knowledge for you! The first image (black statue) is a very rare female sphinx head as sphinxes were usually depicted as male. Her eyes originally had precious stones in. The middle image is small - around 12 cms. Previously, scholars had believed that these statuettes of nude women with unfinished legs, elaborate hair and sometimes tattoos served as symbolic concubines for men in the afterlife but actually they are fertility figurines for both men and women and were often placed in shrines for Hathor, the goddess of fertility by those hoping to conceive a child. The last image is of the god of death, Anubis. 

A spell from an individual's tomb, taken from The Book of The Dead; this spell was written upon a scroll and buried with the deceased (named Sobekmose) so that he make assume any form he wants in the afterlife...

... I am a swallow, I am a
swallow. I am a scorpion, the
daughter of Re. How sweet
are your odours, the flame that
comes forth

from the horizon...
I am a snake whose years are
long, who sleeps and is born every day.

I am a snake who is at the limits
of the earth. I sleep. I am born.
I am risen every day...

... I am the one who dwells in
his waters. I am the crocodile
who seizes. I am one who takes
by robbing. I am the fishes of
Horus, great one

In the Bitter Lakes. I am
the Lord of Prostration in

Lastly we have some mummified animals. As the Ancient Egyptians believe the afterlife was literal life, they needed to have everything they needed placed within their tombs. These fours images are of a mummified ibis, encased in a coffin (the bird's neck is folded back on its body and stored in the gold part of the coffin), a snake coffin with snake remains inside the wooden log, a mummified crocodile and a cat coffin, made of wood with a mummified cat inside.