Carcassonne, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
photo via andy
Egyptian Religion was rooted in the landscape of the Nile Valley and the vision of cosmic order that it evoked. The consistency of their environment- the sun rose everyday in a clear and cloudless sky, the river flooded on schedule every year, ensuring a bounteous harvest- persuaded the Egyptians that the natural world was a place of recurrent cycles and periodic renewal. The sky was imagined to be a great ocean surrounding the inhabited world,
Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes
for love, joy and celebration. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover
and savor each moment as it passes; embrace all that life has to offer
and to celebrate the joy of every day. The hummingbird’s delicate
grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every
personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest
Look, it’s a great photo. The photographer kicked butt. They should be very proud of this photo.
But hummingbirds are not carrying your hopes for joy around. I am sorry. Have you met hummingbirds? Hummingbirds believe strongly that they should be eighteen feet tall and have flamethrowers. They are a half ton of pugnacious wrapped up in a half ounce of feathers. Given the choice, hummingbirds would fly around with “Ride of the Valkyries” blasting out of tiny speakers on their wings, putting the eyes out of their enemies.
They do not fear humans, but if they learn that humans will provide feeders, they will become very demanding. They are fiercely territorial. They are…kind of jerks, actually.
Also, there are papers indicating that female hummingbirds engage in what can only be termed “nectar-based prostitution” where they trade sexual favors to males in return for access to particularly rich nectar sources.
If your hopes for love involve nectar and your hopes for joy involve crushing your foes, seeing them driven before you, hearing the lamentations of their nestlings, etc, then possibly the hummingbird may carry them around, otherwise…uh…have you considered vultures? Vultures are very pleasant, affectionate, and social birds. You should probably give them your hopes and dreams. They would be better at it.
Did I mention it’s a great photo?
this is Jack.
Jack (full name: Jack Sparrow) lives at the Hawk Conservancy. (He’s missing some toes because he was rescued from Vulture Smugglers.)
When you interact with Jack, you can tell he’s at about the level of … something between a ferret and a dog. Funny short little attention span, and a weird face to look at, but a human reads him as curious, friendly and interested in people.
When you meet a working vulture, you realize that they are definitely a wild predatory animal and very instinctive, but with a
consciousness that extends to interest in their surroundings; like, he’s
very much focused on THE SNACK, but before and after the SNACKTIME he
also wants to have a chat about your day and look at your face and peer into your camera and ask to look at the pictures you took and then say “hey now take one where I’m doing duckface” and you’re like “ok Jack go ahead”
Contrast with owls, which are typically pretty, but which are basically as interactive as a pop-up ad. They exist to land on things and eat them. They are not complicated. Vultures are hey-whatcha-doin. They’re yeah I’m a psychopomp but my real hobby is DJ-ing. They’d like to couchsurf next time they’re in town. You’d let them.
I would give Jack my dreams to carry. He would hold them well, in his big black lovely inky eyes, in his broken gentle feet.
Why is the last line making me tear up?
What a sweet vulture.
An item from the cult of Sabazius
Hand of Sabazius, Roman, 3rd century, made of bronze.
Many religions were syncretistic, meaning that as they grew and came into contact with other religions, they adopted new beliefs and modified their practices to reflect their changing environment. Both Greek and Roman religious beliefs were deeply influenced by the so-called mystery religions of the East, including the Egyptian cult of Isis, which revealed beliefs and practices to the initiated that remained unexplained, or mysterious, to the uninitiated. Most popular Roman cults had associations with these mystery religions and included the prospect of an afterlife.
Sabazius was an eastern god of fertility and vegetation, who in Roman times was worshiped in association with other deities, particularly Dionysus (or Bacchus, as he was generally known to the Romans). His cult inspired a series of votive images of hands, the fingers of which form the gesture of benediction still familiar in Christian practice. Missing from this example is the small figure of Sabazius himself, who was typically seated in the palm of the hand above the ram’s head. Around him are his major cult symbols, including a snake, a lizard, and the heads of a lion, a ram, and a bull. On the tip of the thumb is the pinecone of Dionysus. The opening in the wrist, shaped like a temple, had a hinged door that revealed an unknown, lost object, perhaps a reclining mother and child, as seen in other examples. (walters)