National Insect Week – The Symbolism of Flies

This week is National Insect Week, and to celebrate our buggy friends I’ve decided to muse about flies… partly because of the links to Loki, and also because of their sacred symbolism in Ancient Egypt.

Many people have seen pictures of golden fly amulets and necklaces and wondered, “Why?” From a human perspective flies can seem annoying, they spread germs and diseases, and they multiply quickly. Let’s now turn this around and try to see it from a mindset the Ancient Egyptians were familiar with: symbolism and sympathetic magic.

If viewed from this perspective the fly becomes persistent and tenacious rather than annoying. As anyone who has ever dealt with them knows, flies don’t give up! They keep trying, going for what they’ve set their tiny fly-hearts on, no matter what obstacles (or fly swatters) they come up against. They are tenacious little creatures, and sometimes we too need that kind of attitude.

Flies also breed in large numbers, so from a sympathetic magic viewpoint the fly could be a very useful motif to draw upon. Fertility, in various aspects, was something the Ancient Egyptians valued so emulating the abundant fertility of the fly by wearing a fly amulet isn’t too far a leap of the imagination.

Flies also spread disease and perhaps, as with Sekhmet, their amulets were worn to try to curry favour, stave off illness, and act as a protective symbol. Flies also swarm on the dead, and it is not unreasonable to reason that they may well have a ‘death’ element to their symbolism. They are drawn to rotting substances and ‘feed’ on death in that manner too.

On a more modern level of symbolism flies as scavengers can also represent those who seek relentlessly to make what they can of the opportunities that present themselves. Flies are the ultimate opportunists. No matter how many times they’re wafted off (or chased away) they keep trying to get to what they want. Sometimes this is perfectly good stuff, but other times they’re literally feeding off poo. And this teaches us something: sometimes even the messy, s*** stuff in our lives can become fuel for our future Self.

If we tie in their fertility as well then we gain a picture of a creature relentless in the pursuit of its goals, able to turn even the rubbish times into future nourishment, and able to keep producing and creating ‘life’. We could learn a thing or two from Fly, if we’re willing to look from a more symbolic, sympathetic magic, Ancient Egyptian type of perspective.

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See also: Flies, Cats and Rat Traps: The Ordinary Animals of Ancient Egypt by Anna Garnett, Curator of the Petrie Museum –http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/museums/2017/11/15/flies-cats-and-rat-traps-the-ordinary-animals-of-ancient-egypt/

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

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Remembrance Sunday prayer + repost of ‘Why I wear a poppy’

On this Remembrance Sunday
I wear my Poppy to remember the fallen,
To remember my family and Ancestors Who fought and gave their lives
And hearts for freedom.
I remember those who fought
To maintain the liberties
Of their families and people,
And I honour them for their sacrifice.
May they now know peace,
May they be remembered.
May the freedom we have
Because of them
Never be taken for granted.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2017

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Traditional Crafts at Local Village Fair

Last Summer my parents and I visited a neighbouring village for their annual village fair. It’s been going for hundreds of years, and there are no signs of it stopping any time soon. What was lovely to see, amongst the craft stalls, were two areas showcasing traditional crafts.

Rob lives in our village and makes traditional wooden frame buildings. He also does thatched roofs. He had a display of some of the techniques used, and was even giving a demonstration of how he cuts beams into shape by hand.


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Link: Temple Ritual at Abydos by Rosalie David

From the Egypt Exploration Society ‘s Twitter feed:

New volume now available! Rosalie David’s ‘Temple Ritual at Abydos’, packed full of archive photos and watercolours: https://t.co/Ae2bQ8zK6U https://t.co/YjPsy91fiP

From the website:

…Prof David added the complete translations and transliterations to the ritual inscriptions and revised the text; we selected images from the EES archives and especially from the 1930-50s Calverley & Broome folios with their magnificent watercolours…

The result is one the most ambitious volumes the EES has realised in some time and one of the most visually appealing too. On 392 pages you’ll find numerous line drawings, many full-colour reproductions of the scenes of ritual and sacrifice from the temple walls, and photographs from our archives.

Link: The Egyptian Bead Project

Finally a project that combines two of my loves: Egypt and beading.

the Egyptian Bead Project is a collaborative and multidisciplinary research program for all scholars interested in beads and beadwork. It aims to use archaeological artifact studies to increase our understanding of the role of beads and beadwork, and also trade and technologies related to beads in ancient Egypt.

You can read more on the website:
http://www.egyptianbeadproject.com