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From Ancient literature to modern Visionary Fiction - Westcar Papyrus to Voices in Crystal


Two weeks ago I wrote about the "Real Jedi" and the way an ancient tale from the Westcar Papyrus gave me depth to two characters in the series Children of Stone.

This week I'm posting Chapter 2 from Bk 1 Voices in Crystal. This shows Prince Hordjedtef approximately two years after the events of the Westcar Papyrus. Elder Djedi is living with the young prince and helping him with anger management after he has lost a bid for the throne to his half-brother Djedephre.

One night they see a falling star. And yes, it's the same star Marai (in another country) believes is his goddess riding by.

Chapter 2: The Unexpected Turn of Events

Prince Hordjedtef startled from his evening meditation. Something had disturbed him. Great Elder Djedi lay still and relaxed on the lounging couch next to his own. Facing Nut, the night sky and her star children, the two men had traveled in spirit, searching for something “wonderful”. As he watched, Hordjedtef saw his teacher’s wrinkled eyelids open slightly, revealing the glassy blackness of his eyes.

He’ll wake soon enough, the youthful prince thought. For now, I need to think about what I learned. If he sleeps, he won’t be able to tell me I’m looking where I shouldn’t.

Ever since the old man had settled in the prince’s home two years earlier, the two men had meditated together. Hordjedtef recalled Djedi’s lessons:

“To learn wisdom and master it can calm the rage that comes of thwarted desires.” the elder had insisted.

He knows little of what will calm me. Only once I learn everything… Only then will the pain vanish. Only when my sister and brother die in shame! He stopped and put his angry thoughts aside. Continuing to watch his resting master, Hordjedtef thought back to some moments before their meditation today.

Ah, great master, I must know. He remembered charming him. You are old, and the gods grow impatient for you to walk with them. How then will we speak? How will we have sweet discourse when your body is in the eternal place and no longer reclining near mine?

His pleas had been enough to convince the elder to show him more of the secrets of spirit walking. Tonight had been an excellent night for it as well, the sky had been full of life.

“Ah look, young Dede! See how the stars in Asar and the milk of Great Bat glow so clearly! They speak tonight like no other night in so many of my years!” The old teacher had exclaimed as the young prince guided him to his couch. He made certain the old man was comfortable, lit the incense, and gave the proper invocation for deep thought. The elder grasped the young man’s hand and fell into his trance so swiftly that the prince barely had time to prepare himself.

Now that he was awake again, though he didn’t know if it was an instant or an hour later, Hordjedtef considered what he had seen as he stared at the old man.

I heard children singing, just like the old man promised. We have contemplated the gods, but have heard children.

He knew the ancient lector priest had spent every hour of his active life listening to the voices of Earth and Sky. Now old, and awarded housing at his princely protégé’s estate, he had taught the importance of this nightly ritual so that neither of them would miss the signs.

“When I was a young priest, I first discovered the gentle voices,” the prince remembered Djedi’s lessons and words. “I heard them sing. They called me and so I sailed out to them in the boat of my soul. I walked the stars where the owners of these voices dwelt many times, but afterward I was always so very tired. I told my seniors, but they heard no such thing, so I drew away from them. I journeyed by boat and by foot to the South and to the Kush rim, alone. I learned the ways of the holy women living there and studied the lore of all the gods. I recorded every wonder and secret until I had collected a boatload of tablets and books. Still, but less often now, I made the soul-journey to the far reaches of the universe to listen to and to talk to those who spoke as children.”

Over time, Prince Hordjedtef learned these voices were not from children’s spirits. They were voices of beings from a different place than anything of Earth. Instead of being made of flesh and bone as Khnum, the ram-headed god, had made men and women on his potter’s wheel, they were made differently and dwelt in watchful places beyond the firmament. Long ago, they had come to Earth to take part in raising the race of humans. They were gods.

“Were they the “First Ones” from the time when gods walked as men?” The young prince had asked. All the old man had told him was that they called themselves “Children” interchangeably with “Ones who watch” and sometimes “Ta-Ntr” meaning “Those of the gods.”

That had settled him. His ancient mentor could speak to the gods in ways his own father and princely brothers could not. He had knowledge which even the holiest of the women and the wisest of oracles could never teach him. Thinking about that, Prince Hordjedtef smiled inwardly and felt less pain.

Hordjedtef had continued his studies with the old man. Together they gathered and stored items that had the signature of otherworldly energy. Tonight, they meditated. He noticed Djedi’s breathing pick up and knew the old man was waking.

Still. How few things you were willing to show me; how few mysteries beyond the usual. He glanced at the crystalline disc at the elder’s throat. The symbol on it was a left-facing lunar Eye of Truth. It was a wdjat, exquisitely crafted on a disc of purest crystal. The old man wore it on a gold chain. The rest of the things you said, would be found by a woman not yet born who would become the wife of a priest. You told the same story to King Khufu, my father.

I agreed to take you into my home in Ineb Hedj town estate to live out your days. We studied as father and son and traveled in search of these artifacts. Then, that world and promise ended when my brother, was killed in battle.

He remembered hurrying back to Ineb Hedj to console his father and to do his duty of taking his brother’s widow Princess Hetepheres into his household as Great Wife. Then, just as they were days away from home, word came up the river that the king himself had died.

We arrived, but there was no grieving in her eyes. She and her sons and daughters by him had gone to the household of Djedephre, my half-brother. She overlooked my place in line and chose a minor prince from a concubine to succeed our father.

He remembered how he had flown into such a rage that he had been inconsolable. He had made threats. He had shrieked that all history would remember how Princess Hetty and Prince Djedephre had plotted together and had murdered her husband. He had cried out that they had murdered the old king. He had shut himself up in his suite and refused food for days.

At first I knew it wasn’t true, but then, having told myself that it was true so many times, I believed it myself. Now, two years later, there are good men in the priesthoods who question these acts and might still support me if I try to take what should have been mine.

The prince stared down at the elder as the man drew a deep, cleansing breath. A year ago, you came rapping at my door, he remembered. “The voices have started again. Louder this time, your Highness,” you said. I listened, and heard them say:

You will seek your god Ma-at.

As Djehuti, you shall protect her.

Listen to her words of wisdom;

Spoken on the lips of children and innocents.

Hear that the power you seek,

Is in mastery of wisdom.

All else of Earthy and human crown fails.

A year, and then nothing until tonight. This time, Prince Hordjedtef heard the children’s voices clearly and knew his teacher had heard them too.

We are here;

Children made of stone.

Tiny voices are as grains of sand.

We are lost to time in time.

Look to the stars to see.

Here? Ineb Hedj? They are coming here?

Young Prince Hordjedtef had felt his spirit slam back into his body with such a force that he gasped and sat.

Here? Have these beings heard my invocations for justice? I will build them a temple the like of which has never been seen, finer than my brother’s black and white pyr akh rising to the south, finer than his monument to my wicked sister as Skmt.

“I knew it! They will come!” he whispered and took his elder’s hand to rub and warm it; to give the elder some bearings in the waking world. It had been a deep trance; too deep for such an old man.

“You see old man, the oracles who spoke at my birth said my name would sound on the lips of men forever. Now you will see how they spoke truth.”

Hear that the power you seek,

Is in the mastery of wisdom.

All else of Earthly and human crown fails.

He shook his close-cropped head and stood, breathing and stretching to take in the calmness of the night air.

The elder was awake.

Prince Hordjedtef was about to speak, but the old man put his ancient, bent finger to his lips and smiled. His black eyes twinkled.

“Oh yes, my Highness, they are. You heard it clearly, too!”

“I – I don’t know what to say.” the prince, incredulous, was about to help the elder lift himself, but the old man was so excited that he didn’t need any help.

Djedi hastened to edge of the rail on the empty roof kitchen where the men always observed the stars, then chuckled, pointing up at the moonless sky. His ancient eyes fixed on the motion of a falling star.

“That star?” he asked, knowing moving points of light had other explanations. “Great Teacher, is it not a great traveling stone lost in the heavens and set ablaze by the fiery rim of the firmament? We see these messengers that come down in the Tjemehu sand to create rocks of the God. Is that what you have sought all these years? Green Stones?

The elder’s eyes closed gently. Hordjedtef knew his question had been quietly dismissed as an ignorant one.

“Such stones do not sing,” the elder smiled. “I would believe it to be the “Children” in their boat of crystal riding aloft. It would glow as it passed through the portals of the firmament.

The prince stared at the star again but sensed nothing more than his own watchful silence and curiosity. As men’s eyes fixed on the glittering thing moving across the night sky, a strange, dirge-like song entered both of their thoughts. It was in an informal dialect of the tongue spoken by the kings of Kina-Ahna and Tyre.

Before you a spirit protects;

Behind you another.

At your right is Justice;

At your left Goodness.

The prince didn’t know many words of that tongue, but he knew one word.

“I heard the word ‘justice’. Why, would they sing to me of justice in that language?” he asked.

“Ours is not the only land the Neter have visited, young Dede…” Djedi whispered breathlessly.

“Don’t call me that! You know I forbid it!” Hordjedtef glared at the elder.

“Forgive me, then” the old man motioned the prince’s attention to the sky one more time. “I did know how it pains you, but in my joy I spoke too quickly.”

Hordjedtef looked skyward one more time, too angry to see that the object aloft appeared much larger. Dede. My nickname growing up, from Djedefhor. Too close to my usurping brother Djedephre.

“I am thinking they have visited Kina-Ahna and Shinar; perhaps the Shur wastes of the Copper Road too. Who knows what other lands?” the elder grinned, no longer concerned about his protégé’s forbidden name.

Fixed on your head are Witness, Blessing, and Peace.

Your sides are encompassed with Life and Well-being.

How good it is to pray to you;

How blessed to be heard by you!

Shine for one who begs to serve you;

Come bless me this starry night.

The powerful voice rang through the ether of space and time as if it was being carried aloft in the curious star that glittered and grew nearer but never came down.

The prince stared at his teacher aghast as the star turned, heading east.

“Great One?” Prince Hordjedtef stared as his teacher looked down, then ambled toward the brick stair that led to his sleeping room. “What just happened?” The young prince felt an agony that something had gone terribly wrong welling in his heart. The “star” never came toward them in any way. Instead, it hurtled along in its path to a different destiny. “I thought we both had the message tonight that they were coming here?"

Djedi grasped the copper handles imbedded in the wall along the stair and eased himself down, not answering at first. The prince followed close behind, helping his elder down the steps.

“Perhaps,” Djedi answered, “we have created a demon from our desire to see our Neter friends.” He faced his protégé at the bottom of the steps. His face seemed more at peace than it had been in months. “I expected as much, good Highness,” he continued. “Perhaps it was nothing more than a glowing heaven-stone falling to earth, as you thought, and merely our dreams of voices from beyond the sky world.”

“A trick? A lesson? I don’t accept this!” The prince felt cheapened and foolish.

Old Djedi briefly patted the crystal wdjat at his throat as if it had been a pet.

The prince thought he saw flashes of color glimmering in the disc. He had never seen anything but reflected light in it before.

“Calm your heart,” the elder sighed. “Contemplate the truth as it was taught to you, dear one. Remember nothing in the waking or sleeping lands happens without reason. Sleep will allow our spirits the freedom to find the answers, if they are even meant for us to know.”

Your sides are encompassed with Life and Well-being.

How good it is to pray to you;

How blessed to be heard by you!

Shine for one who begs to serve you;

Come bless me this starry night.

The gentle but deep voice repeated in the young prince’s memory.

I received a good review this month and read two more books, All three reviews are here!

A wonderful new review! Feb 20, 2020 Hilary Anderson rated it really liked it

This is not your typical fantasy book of heroes, battles and action. In fact, I don't think there is a single character who is a hero or a villain in it. There are deaths and some suggestion of rape (almost always off-page) but mainly it is an exploration of human nature. All characters have their flaws as well as their graces and they often rise up to do heroic deed or sink down. There is always a reason for their actions. The language is enthralling but this is not a rapid page-turner. You want to keep reading but each page needs time and attention to get the best from it. It is not suited to speed readers. This book will repay any time spent reading it and definitely makes you think. Due to period and themes, some Christians may find it a little disturbing.

The Fox and The Hunter (Where Vikings Roam Book 1) by Linn Tesli

Here's a lyrical tale of a time period when Norsemen have abandoned the worship of the old gods and have become Christian to the point where it has become a crime to worship the old gods and considered "witchcraft" to practice traditional medicine or to employ the use or a shaman.

In the surrounding tribal areas, noiadi, or shamans are still respected and used. Elva is a young girl who inherits shamanic skills and will learn more from the elder women in her small tribe. On her mother's death, the grandmother is taken prisoner for using the old ways to save her. Elva begins a journey to save the old woman. Along the way she learns her strength and becomes a young woman. The reader journeys with her in this beautifully built world. I really like the story and the style of song and prose interlaced because I write that way myself. Ioved learning about this Pre-Christian culture and can't wait for the next installment! Great Job!

Lil' Red - By J Morgan Woodall

This is an erotic retelling of the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood, which sets itself up perfectly for Erotica by it's nature. It's the Depression in East Tennessee and Iva Belle Hood, a virginal 18 year old has heard there's a family that lives in the forest who can (with witchcraft) cure her ailing little sister. She's warned along the way and discovers her own sexuality too. When she reaches her destination, the reclusive family proves to be even stranger than originally imagined. The story was entertaining and well written. I give it more of a 5- but still a 5 because the girl goes from virgin to total libertine in the space of (maybe) a day or two. That's a trifle unrealistic, but still great entertainment for the fan of erotica and a fascinating retelling of an old story. Great job!

If the Shoe Fits: A Modern Day Cinderella Gender Bender Kindle Edition by Chandra Trulove Fry 2-11-20 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084D5NMN6/

In Verse Paperback – by Jane Jago (Author), E.M. Swift-Hook (Author) February 11, 2020https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084QJNJ1S/

Elvictus: Prequel to Ashera of the Kingswood Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait February 12, 2020

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0842WZZ88/

Welcome to the Paradise: A Valentine's Day Memento Kindle Edition by J. Morgan Woodall 2-13-20https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084KT6SB4/

Nomad Core (Core Control Book 2) Kindle Edition by Andrew Seiple (Author), Amelia Parris (Illustrator), Beth Lyons (Editor) 2-13-20https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084TSF8NB/

Songs of War Paperback – by Amanda Rose (Author) 2-13-20 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084QMDCHY/

Alice In Chains: A Twisted Wonderland Paperback – February 14, 2020 by Crimson Syn (Author), Nikki Landis (Author) https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Chains-Wonderland-Crimson-Syn/dp/B084QLPB1R/

Mr. Sagittarius: Poetry and Prose Kindle Edition by M J Mallon (Author, Photographer), Alex Marlowe (Photographer) 2-16-20 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084DQV3HW/

The Helios Files: UA CLASSIFIED Kindle Edition by Derek Borne (Author), Rowena Rede (Author), R. A. Milhoan (Editor) 2/18/20 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083QWZSCQ/


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© Mary R. Woldering and http://www.MaryRWoldering.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary R. Woldering and http://www.MaryRWoldering.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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