Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Mystery of the Blue Hippopotamus

There is a reason why the background for this blog is a blue hippopotamus. And why it is staring straight out at you. In Ancient Egypt, these blue hippopotami were given to Taweret as votive offerings, informally given in the family shrine. (Well, She was never included in the official state shrines-I'm not sure why the Pharaoh didn't include household deities amongst the state ones). The hippopotamus was revered for its brute strength, and in the case of the males, its physical vigor and territorial nature. The female was surprisingly not really revered for its motherliness (I guess cats and lionesses took the award for that one) but more for her tenacious protectiveness of her young. The hippopotami is also connected intimately with the Nile River, that being its main source of food and protection from the searing heat of the sun. The blue color of this particular figurine to me symbolizes water, the life-giving water of the Nile. Water was essential for purity then, as it is now in my daily practice. With regards to my Mother, water is Her element, the place where She can communicate through the feeling of water on skin, with the feeling of being purified and cleansed physically and spiritually. This is also why showering every day is a necessary part of my spiritual practice. :)

I have a little blue hippopotamus figurine that was one of the first offerings I gave to my Mother. Every time I see the lotus flowers etched into the sides of the animal, I am reminded of Nefertem-Ra rising out of the lotus flower that was the First Time. I am reminded of beauty within nature, no matter the type of flower. There is even a little bird perched on one of the lotus flower stems, which reminds me of my Father, always there. So this little blue hippopotamus figurine is more than just an offering-it is a tangible, physical representation of my faith. Blue is also the color I associate with ma'at, and the principle of balance in life. Whenever I go on a trip, or if I am unable to have a permanent shrine, I will bring along the blue hippopotamus, and will be reminded of my faith and the things that bring me love.

Mystery solved.

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