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Journal Steve Franklin's Journal: Winter Doldrums

I've been continuing to enter an amazing amount of information I recently obtained from a relative on my father's mother's mother's side about my father's mother's family into my genealogy program. Genealogy tends to be become an obsession, though I'm not quite there yet. Of course alcoholics have trouble admitting it to themselves as well. The earlier generations in America had fairly prosaic occupations, but now I'm starting to see actresses and musicians and artists. I think it's a kind of transcendence. The most prominent example is Jacqueline Mayro, who played in Gypsy on Broadway. She seems to have dropped out and I don't know what later happened to her. She married but that's all I know about her.

I'm also continuing to think through the implications of what I call the Exodus Project--an attempt to deal rationally with where the ideas of the Exodus of the "Israelites" from Egypt originally came from. This is distantly related to the book on the Tarot published by McFarland in 1988.

Surprisingly enough, there's an extant papyrus from the reign of Ramses II that refers to a revolt in the Valley of Rehanu (the Arab's Hammamat) which connects the Nile with the Red Sea and required the services of a couple of thousand war chariots in an attempt to put it down. No one seems to have made the connection because the "cities of Ramses" were being built in the North (Lower Egypt) and not in the South (Upper Egypt). There's this whole problem that folks have with taking things a bit too literally when it comes to biblical "history." Forget that the followers of Moses crossed the Red Sea, which is not exactly east of Memphis where Ramses was building his new capitol. Forget that it didn't make much sense to visit the pharaoh if he was all the way upriver at Thebes just south of Kopf at the western end of Rehanu on the Nile. Forget a whole series of obvious clues. "Building" is taken literally, the collective psyche seeing the poor "slaves" toiling away on the buildings of the new capitol.

It turns out that Rehanu was the seat of a quarry operation where the rarer and more valuable stones were assembled for shipment along the Nile to the sites of new royal construction. The town of Kopf was the center of Min worship. A huge Buddha-like statue is being dug from the banks of the Nile of this character Min, apparently some kind of fertility god if his chronic tumescent state is any indication, the kind of fertility deity one would expect to see worshipped at the vernal equinox. Min, it turns out, is the more common Egyptian equivalent of Moses, linguistically speaking. Ranses II's successor Merneptah is the first to mention "Israel," as the translators render it, but the actual words tell a slightly different story. They are literally the "People of Min." So the revolt at Rehanu fits perfectly with the birth of Isrealite religion.

The barren lands north of the valley on the eastern side of the Nile were ruled by another god, who visited plagues and famines and the like on those who dared to enter his domain. His name was Yahu....

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Winter Doldrums

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The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal