Of God/s & Cats

After a 20-day trip to Egypt, my head is swimming with the names of Ancient Egyptian gods. And the different ways, today, to worship God. And … cats.

In Egypt, God/s and cats are everywhere.

It seems like we went everywhere, too … starting at the capitol city of Cairo on the Nile River, then 530 miles south to Aswan near Sudan, then 660 miles north to Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea, and back to Cairo again. We went by plane, ship, bus … and foot. We explored at least seven temples and complexes — the world-famous ones, and some that few people see — and as many museums. We visited rural farms and urban homes. Muslim mosques and Christian churches. Wide lush deltas and narrow concrete alleys. We heard mostly Arabic, but also English and French and Italian – and others I don’t know. It was as cool as 62 and hot as 115.

Within all this variety, there were always the god/s. And cats.

Ancient Egyptians worshipped dozens of gods, each playing a different role to maintain peace and harmony. Today’s Egyptians worship One God, but in different ways. No, they don’t worship cats and never did, but do take care of them.

With so much focus recently on differences, it’s rather nice to notice what we have in common: a belief in “something greater,” a desire for stability, and a love of animals. That’s a bit simplistic, but it’s my main take-away from this amazing immersion into a 5,000-year-old civilization. See photos and captions below. Thoughts on our “Controversial Topics” discussions to follow. (This is posted under “Reflections” on the blog menu. To read about the boat only, select “The Boat” from the menu. More about the journey of Mainship Many Moons to follow. To see my Facebook “stories” from Egypt, find mary.e.hanson.31. I’ve made my Egypt posts public so you don’t need to “friend” me.)

Alexander the Great, a Greek, conquered Egypt about 330 B.C. after kicking out the Persians and has been idolized by many leaders ever since. Egypt was invaded more than 20 times, and not every conqueror is honored almost like a god, so why him? Maybe because he didn’t force Egyptians to give up their religion, but introduced his alongside.
These young Muslim women stopped us on the road and asked to take a selfie with us. We were greeted warmly like this wherever we went.
Our immersion into history wasn’t all serious; on board our cruise ship, most of us decked out in culture-appropriate garb to celebrate “Egyptian night.” What a hoot! (Our guide, front center, is the only Egyptian in this group.)
People love to sit by the water in any time or country. (Alexandria waterfront.)

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