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What is Love?

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BY REV. DR. QUEEN MOTHER IMAKHU  2/14/21

(C) 2021 ELAINE LLOYD-ARTIS All Rights Reserved

Black African Khametic (Ancient Egyptian) culture gives deep insights into the definition of LOVE.

In Khamet (Ancient Egypt) the word for love was MER (mayrh). Mer was also a word for water.

The symbol used for MER was a wooden cultivating tool, used for cutting water troughs into the ground to guide Nile river water over vast farm lands. Without the water, rich with nourishing silt, there could be no crops. People would starve. 

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Ancient Khametic Love Poem

My *sister's love is on yonder side,

The river is between our bodies;

The waters are mighty at flood-time,

A crocodile waits in the shallows.

I enter the water and brave the waves,

My heart is strong and deep;

The crocodile seems like a mouse to me,

The flood as land to my feet.

It is her love that gives me strength,

It makes a water-spell for me;

I gaze at my heart's desire,

As she stands facing me!

My sister has come, my heart exults,

My arms spread out to embrace her;

My heart bounds in its place,

Like the red fish in its pond.

O night, be mine forever,

Now that my queen has come! 

* "lover's"

 MER means that love is to be cultivated. Love takes work. Love flows and nourishes. Love is not just a feeling - Love is active demonstration.

The process of growing crops was often community or family-based. Neighbors and relatives pooled their abilities to turn infertile fields into bountiful yields. A harvest is not just meant for one person. A harvest feeds many. Love is to be shared. Yes, one must nourish the self, family, and loved ones first. Others benefit from the overflow.

The renown Book of Ptah-Hotep reads, "Share with your friends that which you have, for that which you have is a gift of God. Those who fail to share with their friends are shunned for having a selfish soul." 

The wisdom of the Khametic sage Ani states, "It is useful to help one whom one loves, so as to help him clean up his life and make restitution. He will not become a burden to you or society."

Sage Ankhsheshonqi says in his book of axioms, "May I have something, and my brother have something, that I may eat freely without shame." (Chapter 10:16)

"May I recognize my brother and sister that I may share with them. May I recognize my brother and sister that I may open my heart to them." (Chapter 11:3, 4)

 

"If you have reached your prime and gained much property, let your brothers be great with you." (15:7)

 

In Khamet, the terms "Brother, Sister" could refer to a sibling, a dear friend, or a lover/mate - in other words, "You are like or of my blood." Sharing and baring one's heart are acts of sacred trust.  

Love, however, is not just about giving. Love is reciprocal. Knowing how to receive is vital to the healthy love experience, Self-sacrifice has its place, but perpetual depletion leads an individual to physical ailments. One-sided giving can break down the body and psyche. Healthy relationships are based on mutually agreed upon expectations that are reliably fulfilled. The player on a team who consistently "drops the ball" affects the outcome for his team mates. The ignored child, neglected by selfish parents, can become the disruptive student, crying out for attention in a class that views her as a terror. The co-worker who always expects his fellow employees to compensate for his unwillingness or inability to do his share breaks office morale. The stingy mate who does not show the same consideration to his ever mindful, attentive partner creates an emotionally abusive atmosphere. 

Be clear, rape and sexual assault are NOT Love. These acts are about conquest, control, degradation, and humiliation. 

"Do not violate a  widow (vulnerable woman) when you find her alone in the fields." - Book of Amen Em Apt, 28:521

Abuse is the opposite of Love. Abuse is consciously cruel and disrespectfully crosses boundaries. The willful withholding of affection, attention, essential actions, transparency, and reliable functions creates chaos, pain, apprehension, interruption, disappointment, self-doubt, and imbalance. 

The Khametic idea of balance was Ma'at. Depicted as a woman with extended, evenly balanced winged arms, Ma'at represents higher love through harmony, reciprocity, order, balance, justice, and interdependence. There is cosmic order when harmonious agreements are kept. People and sentient beings live justly and peaceably when knowing what to expect from their environment and world. Respect comes from understanding roles and abilities. One should not expect a crocodile to be an adoring lap dog. The crocodile would be out of its element and nature. On the other hand, it is not smart to recreationally swim in a lake known to be populated by crocodiles.

 

"A crocodile does not grab hold of a townsperson." - Book of Ankhsheshonqi, 22:15 

In families, a child should expect to be fed, clothed, protected, sheltered, instructed, guided, educated, and nurtured. A well-loved child creates a confident, law-abiding, loving adult who understands how to conduct himself in this world because his foundation is Ma'at. The sage Ani says, "If God grants you children, may the heart of their father and mother know them. Whoever hungers, let them be sated in the home of their parents. There, let them find a protective wall." Ani reminds his adult son to ever bless and never abandon his loving, dutiful mother. "She never abandoned you throughout all stages of your life, including pregnancy... When you marry and settle down, be as attentive to your offspring as your mother was to you."

The cycle continues. Such is Ma'at.

"Ari Ma'at" means "To do what is right." In other words, "Do the right thing." Just, mindful actions create a harmonious world. Through Ma'at we understand that our behavior and choices have subtle and grandiose impacts that affect the world. Karmic Law is Ma'at. "What goes around comes around" is a common truth. The Book of Ankhsheshonqi, Chapter 12, verse 6 says, "Do not do evil to a man and so cause another to do it to you." Chapter 15, verse 23 advises, "Do not do to a person what you dislike, so as to cause another to do it to you."

 

These verses are original versions of The Golden Rule. 

Love is courageous. It does not depend on the opinions of others. Outsiders may not understand when certain friends or couples come together. Society may impose superficial values. Ma'at determines a harmonious pairing, not busy bodies. Love is also loyalty. Disloyalty brings esfet, or disharmony. 

Ptah-Hotep says, "Know those who are faithful to you and do not mistreat those who are your friends... What belongs to one friend belongs to another."

The Book of Ankhsheshonqi, says:

14:16 - "Do not abandon your wife if she does not conceive a child."

 

17:18 - "If you have grown up with a person and are faring well with him, do not abandon him when he fares badly."

21:6 - "There is no friend who goes alone."

21:10 - "There is none who abandons a traveling companion whom Nebertcher (God) does not hold accountable." 

 

Love does not depend on emotions, which can be flighty, immature, and lacking in objectivity. Love in Action means to do what is right - Ari Ma'at.  Western society tends to direct us to just "do what we feel." This is a childish approach to life. Ma'at helps us to identify the balance, and act within proper accord. Love also encourages respectful, mindful communication.

"A rude answer brings a beating. Speak sweetly and you will be loved." - Book of Ani

And of course, being an overall lovable person is the best way to attract someone worthy of your love.

"Make yourself lovable to and remembered by all through your good character." - Book of Kheti

Shaasha (Respect) is vital to Love. While it is possible to give respect to an individual without loving him/her, it is not possible to love a person without including respect. This respect extends to elders (Abu/Abu-t, Ur/Ur-t). True elders exude self-respect, possess wisdom, and deserve love, respect, and protection because they have walked the earth longer than you. 

 

"Do not revile one older than you. He has lived and experienced more than you have." - Book of Amen Em Apt, 27:508, 509

To love an elder is to love wisdom. A person who ignores wisdom is a fool.

"Do not instruct a fool, lest he hate you... Another's instruction does not enter the heart of a fool. What is in heart is in his heart." - Book of Ankhsheshonqi, 7:4, 27:10

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Love and honoring of our ancestors through daily pouring of libations is a given. "Pour libation for your father and mother who rest in the valley of the dead. NTR will witness your action and accept it, Do not forget to do this, even when you are away from home. For as you do for your parents, your children will do the same for you." - Book of Ani

The sages had much to say about how to celebrate each other in mate relationships. Khametic culture was birthed through African matriarchal and matrilineal concepts, including societal parity, and power through the maternal bloodline. Even throughout the advent of male dominated Pharonic rulership, Khametic women had power as artisans, chefs, entrepreneurs, rulers of household and estates, scribes, priestesses, physicians, and educators. The average marriage was monogamous (only royals were polygamous), and preferably enduring. Pre-nuptial agreements often gave preference to the best interest of the woman. Women were able to sue for abuse and divorce. Ultimately, women were respected because women have wombs. Ankhsheshonqi said, "A woman's uterus is as strong as a horse's heart." (23:24)

 

A gradual shift to patriarchal consciousness grew through each dynasty. Women had to fight harder for their rights and respect. Repression of and aggression against the Divine Feminine have prevailed throughout the world. Strong pushback came during the Twentieth Century. During the 1960s and 70s, women made progressive strides in overcoming restrictions, reclaiming power and respect. However, the 90's ushered in "women bashing" throughout mass media. Misshaped the ideas of how women should be treated as mother and mate have led new generations to believe that misogyny, misplaced blame, and abuse are acceptable. Let us harken to Ancient African wisdom in order to return to mutual respect between the sexes. Personally, I find comfort in reading the ancient admonishments upholding the value of womanhood.

"When you prosper and establish your house, and love your wife with adoration, fill her stomach, clothe her back, soothe her body with fine ointments, make her heart happy for the length of your lives together. She is of great value to your life. Do not abuse her and force her to bring you into court. The power of her justified wrath will be your regret. Therefore, treat her well so she will not want to leave you." - Book of Ptah-Hotep  

"Do not order your wife around in her home when you know that she runs it with excellence. Do not show off in front of guests by challenging her to unjustifiably grovel when she is the Mistress of the House who knows your home better than you. Quietly observe her. Admire her outstanding abilities. Your home is happy when you emotionally support her. Many men are clueless about this simple truth. A man who doesn't provoke conflict in the home will not receive it conflict. So, every man who wishes to be master of his home must first master his emotions." - Book of Ani

"May the heart of a wife be in union with the heart of her husband so they may be free of conflict. If a loving woman is at peace with her loving husband there will never be trouble... A woman loves according to the character of her husband... When a man is suffering, his wife is a lioness protector for him." - Book of Ankhsheshonqi

On the other side of things, Ankhsheshonqi addresses when a well-taken-care-of woman is in a loving, committed relationship, but disrespects it.

"When one abandons a woman who is well-loved, she is truly abandoned (it's her loss)."

 

Why was it an abomination to disrespect being well-taken-care-of? When men and women of Khamet built their abundance, their drive was to make their lives, their children's lives, and future generations better and stronger. The Book of Prince Hardjedef succinctly spells out that a man should clean up his life, establish himself, find an intelligent, loving wife, have a child, and create a hearty inheritance for the offspring. Building a family cemetery was expected, along with hiring a family priest/ess to tend to the burial chapels. The priestess was to be treated like family, and rewarded with a prime burial spot in the family cemetery. These instructions demonstrated how to show love and devotion to your mate, children, loyal loved ones, and to ancestors. It was considered an insult if a mate, child, family member, or close ally took hard earned blessings for granted. A frivolous-minded person operates from selfishness, greed, self-pleasure, and solitary gain. This counters the African-centered perspective on true empire building with emphasis on family and generational wealth based on love and devotion.

Who is the generator of blessings, abundance and wealth?

"Do not neglect to serve your God. Do not say, 'I have this wealth, I will not serve God, nor will I serve man.' Avoid wealth coming to an end by serving God who created it for you. All good fortune is from the hand of God." - Book of Ankhsheshonqi, 7:14, 18:16,17, 20:6

 

"If you have risen from a lowly status, and have gained wealth after having been poor in the past, knowing there are people who knew you from then,  put your trust in God, and not in the wealth God gifted you with." - Book of Ptah-Hotep, 30th Stanza

"The love of The Most High is more precious than the worship of wealthy nobles." - Book of Amen Em Apet, 28:525, 526

 

First and foremost, we love Nebertcher/Nebertcher-t, NTRU/NTRU-T (The Ones Most High, The Divine Limitless Creative Forces). Our relationship with the Divine should be respected and cultivated.

"Serve your God that God may protect you." - Book of Ankhsheshonqi, 6:1

 

"Every hand is stretched out to God, but God only accepts the hand of his beloved (sincere of heart)." - Book of Ankhsheshonqi, 23:14

"He who hears (divine wisdom) is beloved of God. A person's divinely aligned heart is his LIFE, HEALTH, STRENGTH!" - Book of Ptah-Hotep, Epilogue

"Make your memorial last through love of you. God is honored through your goodness and kind community donations... Make your monuments worthy of The One Most High... In the monthly service, wear white sandals, visit the temple, observe the mysteries, enter the shrine, eat bread in the NTRU's house. Pour libations, multiply the loaves. Make ample daily offerings. It benefits the one who does this. Endow your monuments according to your wealth. Even one day of this devotional service brings blessings to your afterlife. NTR recognizes those who ceremonially honor him."  - Book of Kheti

Finally, loving yourself is encouraged because you are OF The One Most High.

 

"Give yourself to The One Most High. Take care of yourself in respect for and because you are of The One Most High. Do this in the same manner daily." - Maxims of Ani 

The Books of Amen Em Apt, Ankhsheshonqi, and Phebor tell us that self-care is not lavish self-indulgence. Staying strong, healthy, and mindful of healthy eating are the best ways to honor NTR, your family, yourself. Over-indulgence in excessive pampering is not considered a good way of life.

Self-love has nothing to do with narcissism. The latter is an illness characterized by dangerously extreme self-absorption, self-loyalty and an absence of empathy. Narcissists charm people through lies, manipulation, and chameleon-like behavior. They have no true sense of remorse or accountability, and can be easily identified by the trail of havoc they cause, and the blame they assign to others for their own misdeeds. A healthy person who has a strong sense of self is aware that the world does not revolve around him/her. She is a responsible, caring, community-minded, family oriented person who knows that life is not her own, yet, confidently knows and reflects her own worth. "Rekh-i em ib-i" (I know myself/my heart.)

"Ib" is heart, mind, intelligence, intention, passion. A healthy hearted person has balanced self-control over his/her feelings, thoughts, intellect, willl, and desires. In the 42 Precepts of Ma'at, the axiom, "I have not eaten my heart" means, "I have not been ruled by extreme emotions." Ib Ma'at is the balanced heart and mind, which allows decisions to be made from a centered place.

The person with a healthy self-love attracts other healthy people into her life. This makes it especially easy to create a happy, stable mate relationship flowing with mutual love and respect. 

A vast collection of Khametic romantic love poems was left behind, created by both men and women. These writings exhibit courtship, passion, admiration, the beauty of love-making, devotion, and risk taking to see one's beloved. Enjoy the ancient poem at the above left.

WAIT! WHAT ABOUT CELIBACY??? 

Celibacy is an act of sacrifice. It means giving up sexual intimacy because you have chosen to channel your sexual energy into developing a deeper relationship with The Divine, developing your abilities as a healer or seer, manifesting at a higher rate and level, and or creating a more disciplined focus on becoming a better person. Even though I have been in marriages and mate relationships, I have been drawn to this spiritual practice all of my life. Recently, I took the pledge. I am now blissfully celibate, and been experiencing NTRU with greater joy, humility, focus, understanding, insight, compassion, and empowerment. I am here to serve in wholeness and divine purpose, flowing in love. NTR is another word for JOY. Finally, I am Divinely Aligned.   

Celebrate all aspects of true LOVE in your life. Know that the work that you put into reciprocal relationships yields luscious fruit. Embrace your harvest. MER AA (Much Love)

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