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Author Topic: Building a Modern Temple  (Read 6322 times)
Darkhawk
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« Topic Start: November 19, 2007, 02:17:26 pm »

This is something that's been on my mind for complicated madness-in-motion reasons, but the practical parts of it are worth throwing out for people to chew on.

Ancient temples were built to some very exacting standards, all of which are deeply rooted in the theology of Egyptian thought.  This is not minor stuff, folks, but a part of the underpinning of the universe here. :}  If we are going to, in any way, be thinking about building sacred sites or mansions for the gods, this is stuff we're gonna need to think on.

An ancient temple was a fortress, walled against the disruptive chaos that might leak into the world around it.  It was a magical support point, pinning down reality in one location, with the spellwork not merely written on its walls but inscribed in the very shape of the construction.  The stabilising influence of the perfectly constructed temple extended to the world around it, helping to hold things in place and maintain ma'at.

The walls were laid out with reference to the astronomical truths of the area, to get the alignments in tune with the cosmos.  Foundation walls were dug down until there was groundwater in the trenches, a layer of sand was poured in, and then construction proper began -- the groundwater being a manifestation of Nun, the neutral uncreated, the well of possibility; I'm guessing that the sand was intended to be protective, possibly a reminder of the encircling desert that kept invaders rare.

The sanctuary of the god included a columned hall in which the columns were carved to look like marsh plants, bundles of papyrus, similar things -- plants hearkening to the First Time, the creation of all things on the benben, which was logically speaking a swamp.  I think all non-Amarna temples got narrower and darker, sloping upwards, as one got closer to the abode of the god, seated in darkness on the mound in the instant before creation, constnatly in the act of bringing forth reality from unlight.  (Amarna temples were open-roofed so one could see the actual sun disc.)

This is what the ancients built -- a carefully designed fortification that pulls back through time to the moment of primordial creation, centreing on the god, from Whom order could emanate, spreading outwards through the recapitulation of time and from there into the rest of the world.

(This is from memory -- the book I'm pulling this stuff out of is 'Temples of Ancient Egypt', which goes into more detail about things like the fortification origins of the temples, some more structural stuff, and so on.  The book is .... lemme see if I understand how to make the amazon link, here.  It's a cool book, if you're a GIANT NERD.)

Obviously, building on that scale is an undertaking that's a bit beyond modern Kemetics at this time.

So what can we do that gives respect to the importance of these things, of rooting in the Nun and protecting ourselves, of retreating back through time and into the dark to find the emanation of the god Who holds this place?  What is a scale that's workable and doesn't abandon the hope of building things fit to hold the world together?
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Journey
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« Reply #1: November 19, 2007, 04:05:01 pm »

Ancient temples were built to some very exacting standards, all of which are deeply rooted in the theology of Egyptian thought.  This is not minor stuff, folks, but a part of the underpinning of the universe here. :}  If we are going to, in any way, be thinking about building sacred sites or mansions for the gods, this is stuff we're gonna need to think on.
This is what the ancients built -- a carefully designed fortification that pulls back through time to the moment of primordial creation, centreing on the god, from Whom order could emanate, spreading outwards through the recapitulation of time and from there into the rest of the world.

(This is from memory -- the book I'm pulling this stuff out of is 'Temples of Ancient Egypt', which goes into more detail about things like the fortification origins of the temples, some more structural stuff, and so on.  The book is .... lemme see if I understand how to make the amazon link, here.  It's a cool book, if you're a GIANT NERD.)

Obviously, building on that scale is an undertaking that's a bit beyond modern Kemetics at this time.

So what can we do that gives respect to the importance of these things, of rooting in the Nun and protecting ourselves, of retreating back through time and into the dark to find the emanation of the god Who holds this place?  What is a scale that's workable and doesn't abandon the hope of building things fit to hold the world together?

LOL - I do own the book so I guess that makes me a giant nerd? But , I haven't read it cover to cover, so maybe only a half of a giant nerd?  I use it more for reference.

You bring up a good point. Financially, the large temples are simply not possible today. I suppose this might present more of a problem for those with an orthodox view though.

I think the temples and the Gods of Egypt were very tied into the land of Egypt. I would even have trouble with the concept of building a "true" temple outside of the land of Egypt.

The old religion and ways were tied into how things used to be.......a pharaoh on the throne, the flooding of the Nile, etc.  Time marched on. It is no longer that way.

Hence, I have a more open view of practicing the religion today.  So, to my way of thinking (not orthodox at all) even though there is a limit to building temples outwardly, if you build your temple from within, there is no limit. This is spiritually speaking of course.

So, I know you were coming from a more orthodox view point, but to me the temples cannot be replicated any more than the old way of life can be, I think there needs to be adaptations. I wouldn't want to live as a Kemetic/Amish so to speak.  Smiley

As more of an answer to your question, I don't think there should be problems building a temple on a limited budget as long as you are true to your beliefs and incorporate them as best you can.  Balancing the ideal against the feasible would take a lot of planning, but shouldn't be impossible.

There are those who would love to see Kemetic temples erected, but I dont think they have to be identical to those of old. After all, there will be building codes and inspections to pass these days and the building materials will be different as well.
 
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nigel
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« Reply #2: November 19, 2007, 10:00:30 pm »


You know, maybe set up an alter with the same basic configurations. Maybe have a little fountain or a bowl of water underneath to represent the water (weren't the foundations dug till they hit water?) then do all the consecration rituals (or simplified versions of them) and make that a temple in miniature. Or with a little bit of funding a simple shed that can do the same basic functions.
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« Reply #3: November 19, 2007, 11:48:27 pm »

Quote
An ancient temple was a fortress, walled against the disruptive chaos that might leak into the world around it.  It was a magical support point, pinning down reality in one location, with the spellwork not merely written on its walls but inscribed in the very shape of the construction.  The stabilising influence of the perfectly constructed temple extended to the world around it, helping to hold things in place and maintain ma'at.

How would you go about finding that spot in a foreign country? Or, for that matter, how did they do it back in the day? My part of Canada's got a lot of stable rock plate to build on, but it's a.) not Egypt and b.) kinda stolen from other cultures with other gods.  Sad

Quote
The walls were laid out with reference to the astronomical truths of the area, to get the alignments in tune with the cosmos.

Huh Truths of the area? I don't understand.

Quote
The sanctuary of the god included a columned hall in which the columns were carved to look like marsh plants, bundles of papyrus, similar things -- plants hearkening to the First Time, the creation of all things on the benben, which was logically speaking a swamp.  I think all non-Amarna temples got narrower and darker, sloping upwards, as one got closer to the abode of the god, seated in darkness on the mound in the instant before creation, constnatly in the act of bringing forth reality from unlight.  (Amarna temples were open-roofed so one could see the actual sun disc.)

Well, who in their right mind is going to build an Amarna-style temple? Wait. Don't answer that...

Quote
This is what the ancients built -- a carefully designed fortification that pulls back through time to the moment of primordial creation, centreing on the god, from Whom order could emanate, spreading outwards through the recapitulation of time and from there into the rest of the world.

I've never heard a temple described like that. I like it. Cheesy

Quote
Obviously, building on that scale is an undertaking that's a bit beyond modern Kemetics at this time.

So what can we do that gives respect to the importance of these things, of rooting in the Nun and protecting ourselves, of retreating back through time and into the dark to find the emanation of the god Who holds this place?  What is a scale that's workable and doesn't abandon the hope of building things fit to hold the world together?

I don't think it's workable to do something like this outside of Egypt. It seems really location specific and once you get out of ancestral lands, you've got to consider that the local gods may not appreciate us building something this energy intensive on their lands.

The only alternative I can see is a pilgrimage back to the original temples. Depending on the type of structure you're looking to build (e.g. a decent backyard shed), the same price will get you there and back.
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sefiru
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« Reply #4: November 20, 2007, 12:50:36 am »


Huh Truths of the area? I don't understand.


I'm guessing it means the temple's orientation was based on actual astronomical observations at the site, rather than all being on the exact same plan.
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« Reply #5: November 20, 2007, 01:02:16 am »


This is what the ancients built -- a carefully designed fortification that pulls back through time to the moment of primordial creation, centreing on the god, from Whom order could emanate, spreading outwards through the recapitulation of time and from there into the rest of the world.

<snip>

So what can we do that gives respect to the importance of these things, of rooting in the Nun and protecting ourselves, of retreating back through time and into the dark to find the emanation of the god Who holds this place?  What is a scale that's workable and doesn't abandon the hope of building things fit to hold the world together?

Assuming we're talking about at least a whole room here, rather than just a home altar (which would be a bit different), several ideas come to mind.

One would be a longish room subdivided by sliding doors, so you enter at one end and progress through these subsections until you get to the far end of the room where the god's statue is.

An idea for a custom-built building, referring to the groundwater thing, is to have a kind of sacred well. Or alternatively, build most of it in the modern way, but have the part under the main sanctuary built with the groundwater-foundation thing.
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« Reply #6: November 20, 2007, 06:22:45 am »

Assuming we're talking about at least a whole room here, rather than just a home altar (which would be a bit different), several ideas come to mind.

I believe the original question was aimed at a total temple, not just a single room or alter, if I read it correctly.  These were massive structures and were often added onto at various times by Pharaoh after Pharaoh.  Not quite along the lines of the pyramids, but still an enormous undertaking.

The only alternative I can see is a pilgrimage back to the original temples.

I agree.  I hope one day to make such a journey.
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Darkhawk
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« Reply #7: November 20, 2007, 11:20:19 pm »

How would you go about finding that spot in a foreign country? Or, for that matter, how did they do it back in the day?

Er, they built them? :}

There's no magical ley-line tracing involved.  There's 'we're building a temple here, these are the sightings of the stars done in the correct ritual position, the king ritually starts the digging -- groundwater ho!'
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« Reply #8: November 20, 2007, 11:23:12 pm »

An idea for a custom-built building, referring to the groundwater thing, is to have a kind of sacred well. Or alternatively, build most of it in the modern way, but have the part under the main sanctuary built with the groundwater-foundation thing.

I was partly thinking in terms of 'building or significant work' but more in terms of 'what does an organisation need to consider to actually *be* a real temple'.

The well thing -- honestly, if I ever get some significant amount of land, I'm seriously going to want to look into digging a sacred well.  Partly for the Kemetic-temple reason, partly because my boyfriend is Celtic neo-recon and thus he would have use for a sacred well ....
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« Reply #9: November 23, 2007, 10:49:02 am »

Er, they built them? :}

There's no magical ley-line tracing involved.  There's 'we're building a temple here, these are the sightings of the stars done in the correct ritual position, the king ritually starts the digging -- groundwater ho!'

Hahaha. Tongue That's what I thought.
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« Reply #10: November 23, 2007, 07:56:25 pm »

I was partly thinking in terms of 'building or significant work' but more in terms of 'what does an organisation need to consider to actually *be* a real temple'.

The well thing -- honestly, if I ever get some significant amount of land, I'm seriously going to want to look into digging a sacred well.  Partly for the Kemetic-temple reason, partly because my boyfriend is Celtic neo-recon and thus he would have use for a sacred well ....
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« Reply #11: November 23, 2007, 08:04:09 pm »

The well thing -- honestly, if I ever get some significant amount of land, I'm seriously going to want to look into digging a sacred well.  Partly for the Kemetic-temple reason, partly because my boyfriend is Celtic neo-recon and thus he would have use for a sacred well ....

First please excuse the abortive post, somehow I hit post  Roll Eyes

What I wanted to say or ask is how do you dig a sacred well?  I know how to dig wells, but a sacred one?  I supose what I'm asking is can bessing be said or other ritual to make a well sacred?
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