Animal Mummies #2: Animals in the Ancient Egyptian landscape

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Egypt at the Manchester Museum

Exhibitions on Ancient Egypt often favour black or beige as a way to represent either a gloomy/scary concern for death or sandy, washed-out monumental backdrops. ‘Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed’ challenges these notions and opens with an imagined vista of Saqqara at the beginning of the Late Period (c. 750 BC), populated with taxidermy specimens of species that might have been encountered. Contrary to many expectations, there’s a lot of greenery here. We have chosen green – the colour of new life and, importantly, the assurance of renewal after death – as the colour palette throughout the exhibition.

Saqqara_landscape

This recreated image shows the area just to the north of Saqqara, near the cultivation, is often referred to as the ‘Lake of Abusir’ and was once much marshier than it is today. This area has been suspected by Egyptologists to have been home to many ibis birds, sacred to…

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Twenty-five Benefits of Inner Work

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Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

UnknownDespite the rapid growth of psychological awareness in the West, many people don’t really get what inner work is or why anyone would want to do it. If you’re one of them, this post is for you.  If you’re not, but struggle with some of the issues below, or know someone who does, it’s for you too.  We can all benefit from using our instinct for reflection in more intentional ways.

Inner work is anything that helps you reflect on who you really are beneath your conscious awareness and public persona. Examples are wounds you dismiss, grief and pain you deny, traits you disown, instincts and needs you ignore and thwart.

One effective form of inner work is to study depth psychology, for example, the writings of Carl Jung and Jungian analysts.  This might lead to examining the meaningful themes and symbols of myths and your dreams to see how…

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The Sticking Place

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what a shrink thinks

Macbeth
 If we should fail?

Lady Macbeth:
  We fail? 
But screw your courage to the sticking place,
 And we’ll not fail.

Macbeth, Act 1, scene 7, 59-61

Committing psychotherapeutic acts takes extraordinary courage.

Facing down anxieties, digging down underneath painful symptoms, revealing vulnerabilities, casting out demons, seeking salvation, asking forgiveness, challenging abuse, severing damaging relationships, examining your failures, flaws, weaknesses, revealing your shames, contending with guilt, grieving, preparing to die, coming out, fighting for intimacy, encountering emptiness, apprehending your own murderousness, and the depths of your hungers and desires, setting limits and boundaries, saying “no”, tolerating exposure, baring your soul, withstanding the pain, changing your life, telling the truth…

Telling the truth.

Holy shit.

These are terrifying acts.

I can think of no psychotherapeutic action that does not require courage.

I cannot think of a single split second of the 30 years I have spent engaged…

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Ronald, Donald, Carl and Fred

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what a shrink thinks

It’s you I like,

It’s not the things you wear,

It’s not the way you do your hair–

But it’s you I like.

The way you are right now,

The way down deep inside you–

Not the things that hide you,

Not your toys–

They’re just beside you.

 But it’s you I like–

Every part of you,

Your skin, your eyes, your feelings

Whether old or new.

I hope that you’ll remember

Even when you’re feeling blue

That it’s you I like, 

It’s you yourself, 

It’s you, it’s you I like.

 It’s You I Like

~ By Fred M. Rogers © 1970

I’ve been re-reading a lot of Ronald Fairbairn’s works  lately. An object relational psychoanalyst- writing through the 1950’s – a man who worked with abused children, “shell-shocked” war vets and introverts. He was number one on my theorist hit parade for many years, but dropped off…

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