Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Egypt: Sand or Dust?

Contrary to popular belief, Egypt doesn't have "sand" dunes or any type of the granular sand we usually see on seashores.  Egypt's deserts are made of a very fine dirt, resembling dust.  Like the 1930s Dust Bowl in America when the dirt was so light it could be carried on the wind across hundreds of miles, Egypt's duststorms can reach across the Red Sea and into neighboring Middle Eastern nations.

Egyptian duststorm blowing east across the Red Sea into Saudi Arabia.

When there's an actual duststorm (which happens about once a year), the dust is so thick outside that you can barely breathe and visibility is cut to about thirty yards.  Everyone stays inside, but the dust sneaks under doors and coats the nearby floor within hours.

Cairo as a duststorm begins to move in.

Even when there isn't a duststorm, the constant wind blows the fine dust through every crack and crevice in an apartment.  It's a housekeeping nightmare. 
  • In one day, the dust isn't visible but if you run your finger on a floor or table, the beige dust will coat your fingertip.
  • After two days, you can see the dull coating on furniture and floors.
  • After five days, the dust is so thick you can write your name in it.
  • Within two weeks, the dust covers floors, counters, furniture, mirrors, everything so thickly it looks like an attic where no one's been, much less cleaned, in years. 
I'm not a great housekeeper to begin with, and the dust is a very determined foe, so it usually wins!  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Isis: The Popularity of Egyptian Gods

In contrast to most male-based religions, ancient Egyptians revered female gods as much as males.  From as early as 3000 years B.C., goddesses were equal to gods in power, and pharaonic queens, like Nefertiti and Cleopatra, ruled the nation.

Isis came to prominence about 2500 years B.C.  She represented all things feminine and was considered a completely benevolent being.  She championed women, mothers, children, the poor, and the weak.  She was described as Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Gods, Great Lady of Magic, Lady of Green Crops, Mistress of the House of Life, and even She Who Knows How To Make Right Use of the Heart.

The worship of Isis spread throughout Egypt into many cities and even over the seas to other Mediterranean countries and Europe.  In some Coptic Christian circles, she remains an important figure even today.

~ ~ ~

Why am I posting all this?  Because according to Blogger statistics, the search term that sends the highest number of people to my blog is “Isis.”  She’s listed on my page of Egyptian Gods.  Yes, I included the page because I know how popular Egyptian gods are, but I honestly never expected that page would be more popular than any of my posts, nor that Isis would be the one that everyone looks up.


Anyone have a theory as to why Isis is more popular than Horus, Anubis, or Ra?

I usually encourage my CPs to come up with original mythos instead of borrowing from old ones. But would you rather read a novel based on famous Egyptian gods or focusing on more imaginative but lesser-known Egyptian superstitions?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Counting Blessings

Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group

With the advent of Sandy and the terrible aftermath, any worries about rejections, missed NaNo goals, and other writerly insecurities pale in comparison.  I count my blessings.  I used to live in NYC, but moved to Egypt before 9/11 and Sandy. I feel lucky I did.

My heartfelt sympathies to the victims, those still struggling without power or water, and those whose homes were lost. May this be the last time NYC (and the East coast) face such challenges.  May each day be brighter than the last.  May you gain more in the future than you have lost.
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