Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow and Egyptian Gods Turning into Demons

Ancient Egyptian gods sometimes transformed into butt-kicking demons. It all depended on their mood.

Consider sweet, loving, cow-faced Hathor who went wild-eyed crazy on you if you got her mad enough. That’s when she turned into lion-headed Sekhmet, who feasted on human flesh.  It wasn’t easy to call her off once she got started gorging either. 

The god Shezmu offered you his
his best wine. If he liked you.
Beer worked pretty well, though. One myth had her guzzling 700 jars of beer before she agreed to stop devouring people.

Another fascinating god/demon was Shezmu.  Shez was like a bouncer at a popular bar. If word from above came that you were allowed into his highly exclusive club known as the Afterworld, he’d welcome you with a big grin, a pat on the back and an enormous goblet of wine.

But if he got word that you were not on the list, he—like Hathor—went postal on you.  Instead of offering you a cup of wine, he’d grab your head, shove it into his wine press and…well, press. Really, really hard. Just as a wine press squeezed all of the juice out of a grape, he squeezed all the blood out you.

And then drank it.  Because he could.

So, what’s the connection between snow and the dual nature of some ancient Egyptian gods/demons? There is none.

It’s just that after Day Four of being snowed/iced in—no school, no mail, no driving—I’m starting to understand this dual nature a little better.

If Shezmu didn't like you, it was your head in that press.
On the one hand, snow in the South is a novelty—beautiful and sparkling and extraordinary. Like Shezmu, I welcomed it into my life with open arms and a beaming grin.

But on the other, it has overstayed its welcome and gone demonic. I’m ready for Sekhmet to turn back into Hathor, for wild-eyed Shezmu to turn into fun-loving Shez.

Unfortunately, I don’t have 700 jars of beer to bribe the gods for release from this icy torment. But once it all melts and I can drive to the store, I’ll start stocking up and making up for this oversight.

And I’ll even save it all for them. I swear.


Karen Strong said...

Oh, Vicky --- I am so OVER this snow and ice. I think today you might be able to venture out to restock.

Interesting about how the dual nature of the goods.

And really 700 jars? That would have been PERFECT for the last 4 days! :)

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

I'm with ya babe! Today is one day too many. I've got things to do! Gads.

Narukami said...

And thus do we see the difference between the snow and the Romans.

As Antonia, daughter of Mark Antony, told her son Claudius, "I have always considered it the height of good manners to know when to leave."

Clearly this snow has no sense of decorum or manners.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Karen, I hope you make your flight to Miami! Can't wait to hear about the conference.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

e: Being forced to stay inside and write shouldn't be so painful, should it? ;-)

And David, Lady Antonia Minor (right?) put it perfectly!

Unknown said...

Great post Vicky! Always fascinating to see common human themes reflected in different cultures spanning centuries/millennia - in this case the perils of excessive alcohol consumption!

Have a great 2011!!


Trisha said...

The dual nature of ancient gods/goddesses is one of the main reasons I love them so much. They feel like fleshed out (errr..sort of) personalities instead of abstract ideas. So much more fun.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Hmmm. . . they kinda remind me of teenagers. ?? ;0) We have just about got our driveway clear... welcoming all those drip-drip sounds outside!

Gabriele Campbell said...

Send the snow to me. I like it.

Yes, I'm a winter perv, several feet of snow and minus 15°C is what I love; better than hot summer days. :)

But we only got rain those last days. *sniff*

Gail said...

700 jars of beer, eh? Well you sure wouldn't care or notice if you slipped on the ice after drinking all that!!

I am so glad for the melt. If you think walking around on snow and ice is tough for fully-sighted folks, think about those of us with a white cane- YIKES!!! Of course, when the ice starts to crack and melt, the cane comes in handy for whacking those chunks off the walkway and drive!