Sunday, April 1, 2007

Unofficial Notes for April 1


Sharing Issues and Challenges

  • Student shared challenges dealing with the health care industry
  • Another shared feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of by a friend
  • The sacred writings say to “carry the wicked without becoming like them”; so at what point do we abandon those who don’t share/carry our spirit
  • Maat is a set of moral principles and guidelines; as we become stronger our moral and ethical life improves; member struggled with issues within the Black family – referencing the article that was shared during the last class (single parent families have a responsibility vs. not making a one-sided attack on the single parent family, while not recognizing their strengths)
  • Min Mxolisi explains that the article was not an attack on single-parent families, but rather a statement of the challenges amongst African American families

Books of Rising and Transformation (p. 121, “X”

  • Readings from the Husia,
  • Read “Books of Rising and Transformation”, p. 121 (X)
    • There are four sons of Heru depicted in the Hall of Maati
    • “…Bring to me the four brothers who pass by, wearers of the side-lock who stand by their staffs in the eastern side of the sky. May they tell my good name to Ra…Never again will the sky be void of me or the earth be empty of my presence.”
  • Read “The Book of Coming Forth”, p. 109 (IX)
    • “These are words … Great Hall of Maati… so that one may be separated from all offenses he or she may have committed and may behold the faces of the divine ones”
    • Maati is the great house, and is a femine dual, and means the two truths
    • Two sisters appears in the Asarian drama; Aset represents perseverance in pursuing truth; for Nebt-het, it is repentance, for her betrayal of Aset
  • Member was afraid given the high requirements of the Declarations of Innocence; but the sacred writings do speak to compassion
Were ancestors concerned wit a physical or spiritual resurrection?
  • Waiting for a mother's resurrection, because member was so attached to her; but has felt her presence since then; seems to be an assumption that human beings are perfectable
  • The history does suggests an aspect of a physical rebirth, with the statues in the tomb and the collection of material wealth
  • Is our tradition like the Judeo-Christian religion where practioners engage in "back sliding" or do we expect a constant ongoing transformation towards perfection
  • Why did they preserve the body if it was not important? There must have been some reason for the body to survive; in the history of mummification it wasn't always practiced, until it was discovered - the ancients were very concerned with beauty, and a notion that the image was important, and perserving the body from decay was symbolic of defeating death
Declarations of Innocence
  • The Maati-maati Ka class (African Astrology), and how our ancestors dealt with the cosmology; when we came into being our ancestors mapped out who we were
    • Person got their chart done from birth, and from a previous life because there are some declarations that they had to honor; some declarations are not relevant for her in this life
  • 42 declarations reflective of the 42 nomes (cities); later there were 38 declarations because there were 38 nomes
    • Discussed the need to review the declarations, since there are not 42/38 nomes; Baba Ray suggests it is time to review the declarations and extract/add the ones which are relevant for us in this time
    • Raises the question whether we should recite the declarations during service, and should we have measured up to them in order to recite them
    • We did have a ritual in service where we did recite the declarations, and suggests we do so during equinox/soltice
The Book of Vindication
  • Lecture and discussion by Mama Aduni - shares her writings to weave information together

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Class Note - March 25 UNOFFICIAL


Shared Maat Reflections/Journal
  • One shared that about her coming to understand the loss of her son recently, and realizing that his divine presence remains
  • One shared concern that there is often not enough sharing in the work we do, and dealing with overly critical people
  • More willing to help and share with others, such as with students at the school; has wrestled with doing the work in our community in the spirit of Maat, while demonstrating unity in our community
  • Struggled with an unreasonable demand from a teacher, which was undermining their role as parent, was able to remain calm, but it was an effort
  • Shared "National Report" from Jet, "Black Males' Rampant Joblessness, High Drop-Out Rate, Incarceration Dooming Black Community: Study"
Books of Contemplation
  • According to Bereasted, Maat arose "as in individual and personal matter, as a designation of right conduct in the family or immediate community...then gradually passed into a large arena as the spirit and method of national guidance and control of human affairs..."
  • Thus Maat was not a "top-down" philosophy
Read notes of "Books of Contemplation" and shared thoughts from the reading
  • Our older children don't seem to get "it" - to see the need for the work that we are engaged in; our children are someplace else
  • Suggesting that the experiences are different for other generations, and the issues that moved an older generation does not move the current
  • Believes that children resist some of the teachings
  • Biggest challenge for us is to provide a forum for them to come to, so they can have a "living room" situation on a community scale; need to build institutions
  • Maat is a reflection for a need amongst people for a sense of order and predictability; all of the other elements of Maat assume the presence of "order"; when do young people express a need for order?
  • Current states comes from us not maintaining a set of values, and passing them through the generations
Book of Declaration of Virtues
  • Western slave trade launched the "4th" intermediate period
  • According to Karenga it is important to note that the personal and social are not separate
  • Students are asked to write a statement about how they honor and promote the virtues/maat; some of them are shared below
    • I worshipped and praised Amen-Ra; I have been silent and respectful of other religions to not foster isfet
    • I am growing with Wo'se
    • He was a good husband and father who introduced us to the beauty of nature; instilled in us a love of learning
    • I appreciate the seasons; I find to contemplate my connection with nature
    • I have always sought my higher aspirations, and helped to keep my family together
    • More study and prayer to attend Wo'se; strive for self improvement and practice; study and share with others
    • Instrumental in restoring Maat through Wo'se; knowing the power and beauty of the sun; one who is involved in restoring education; one who provides financial support to individuals

Monday, March 12, 2007

Class Note - March 11 UNOFFICIAL


Sharing of Journal Entries
  • Reviewed journal entries, shared ideas about Maat and how it is used
  • In response to discussion about the demise of values in our community, a student shared that Aset as a mother to Heru, is a good role model for young mothers today
Maat: Defining Our Terms
  • Shared and read key terms, such as truth, harmony, justice, balance, righteousness, divine right order, and reciprocity [hopefully the full text will be posted later]
  • Asked to discuss "Truth", and look at the value of the definition presented, truth "it's that which comes as it will to show you how to live correctly as a being of self-knowledge and self mastery..."
  • Added that the "Declarations of Innocence" provide very specific expectations that support the more general terms reflective in Maat
    • I have not cheated ... for example
The Book of the Moral Narrative
  • Refers to both the Husia and Karenga's recent work on Maat
  • Shares the handout, "Book of the Moral Narrative"
  • Examined some modern day examples, such as the change of democracy in South Africa - is this an example of justice ("i.e. not driving whites from the land"), harmony (showing an enemy a different way) or something else?
  • In exploring examples of application, the intermediate periods were overturned by force, not by word; how can this be applied to our collaspse today?
Khun-Anup Story
  • Discussed the story of Khun-Anup and its application; reviewed the story
  • Discussed the aspects of the story which are clearly examples of injustice; the administrators and officials mistreated Khun-Anup
  • Is the story true, or is it a teaching lesson?
  • Suggested that Khun-Anup is a priest or is representative of the priestly class, and consequently the story may be an example of a change or redirection amongst the priests

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Official Class Handouts - First Class

Socio-Historical Context for the Development of Maatian Ethics
What is Maat?
1. Maat is an interrelated order of rightness. Obenga (2004 ) identifies four basic areas in which Maat is expressed:

A. The universal domain in which Maat is the totality of ordered existence, and
represents things in harmony and in place.
B. The political domain in which Maat is justice and in opposition to injustice.
C. The social domain in which the focus is on right relations and duty in the context of
D. The personal domain in which following the rules and principles of Maat, “is to
realize concretely the universal order in oneself: to live in harmony with the ordered

2. The basic concept of Maat as the foundation and order of the world lasts throughout the
history of ancient Kemet in a dynamic process of continuity and change. Maat remains the way of life from the Old Kingdom through the Late Period, including the Greek and Roman conquest.The key point is that the practice of Maat is conceived and carried out within the worldview which links the Divine, the natural and the social. This is the African worldview that can be recognized throughout the whole of the African continent.

3. As moral thought and practice, Maat is a way of rightness defined especially by the practice
of the Seven Cardinal Virtues:
• Truth -of self
• Justice -declaration of truth
• Propriety - stability of community
• Harmony –oneness of the soul
• Balance – of nature
• Reciprocity – stability of family
• Order – of family, community, and environment

4. As a foundation and framework for the moral ideal and its practice, Maat is the constantly achieved condition of and requirements for the ideal world, society and person.

The focus of this Husia class is on the continuity of Maat as the fundamental principle of ethics and religion in Kemet which endures in spite of changed concepts of it in various periods. Our challenge is to examine the moral ideal with an eye towards revealing its capacity for and contribution to our discussions on contemporary leadership and society as well as its moral and practical application on the individual, family and community levels.

Maat is the never changing internal base that directs the progressively adaptive and modifying behavior. As generations and centuries turn, time modifies, as time progresses, language expands, and rituals take added forms of expression. What (not who) is already great must become, and is expected to become greater – that is procreation. Also as time modifies the assessments, analysis and philosophies that were attached to the circumstances and determinants set to the “prior” (sp tpy) time period require modification (not revision) (Tep, 2002).

The Maatian ideal from Pre-Dynastic Kemet to the Old Kingdom

Pre-dynastic Kemet ( ? -3100) Nubia is the oldest monarchy in the history of mankind. Capital
cities, Napata and Meroe. Ta-Seti is another name for Nubia (land of the bow). Meroe is the cradle of arts, sciences, Medu Neter, temples, pyramids and divine kingship. Nubian civilization (humanization of the human and the building of an ethical code of human conduct) rose out of both Kemet and Sudanese heritage with contacts as far away as Libya and western Asia.
Inscription on Gebel Sheikh Suleiman monument, south of Qustul Nubia presides at a battlefield scene including fallen enemies – two bound prisoners and a royal ship.

Edfu text is an important document on the early history of the Nile Valley. This famous inscription is found in the Temple of Heru at Edfu. It gives an account of Egyptian civilization which was brought from the south by a band of invaders under leadership of King Heru.

The Ethiopians say that the Egyptians are one of their colonies which was brought into Egypt by Ausar. These Ethiopians who migrated to Kemet were called Anu. They build cities of Esneh, Erment, Qouch and Heliopolis. To these people we can credit with the most ancient bools of Kemet – the Pyamid tests and The Book of Coming Forth, and all the myths or religious teachings and all the philosophical systems called Kemetian.

Kemets greatest masters, Ausar, Auset, Heru and Djehuti all belonged to the Anu. Through these soverign rulers the core of Kemet’s philosophy and science was created and maintained. The Anu occupied southern Kemet and Nubia.

Monumental event: (3102 B.C.E.) Indo-European hordes start to come down out of the Eurasian Steppes reigning death and destruction. Asians and whites start to infiltrate the Delta. This led to a long series of wars between the Africans and Asians in the north.

Old Kingdom was a formative time in which the bases of Egyptian civilization were firmly established. These include concepts of state and kingship, artistic conventions, writing, literary forms, technology, science, medicine and other achievements, and disciplines of human knowledge. The socio-historical setting for Maatian ethics unfolds in this period (Karenga, 1989).

Pyramid Age: Old Kingdom (3150-2250) Dynasty 1-6
A. Aha Narmer defeated the Asians and united the “Two Lands” starting the first
dynasty or nation-state shaped by religion. The ancient Africans had to rethink Maat
within the context of a large bureaucracy.

B. Religion gave the state its moral and political paradigm reflected in the Pyramid Texts which contain concepts of judgment, justification and immortality based on Maat, the Shabaka Text (Memphite Theology) where kingship is legitimated through the principle of right over might, and the positing of right as that which is loved and brings life and wrong as that which brings hatred and death. It also contains a religious drama of creation and a religio-political drama of the founding of a united Kemet and in the Sebait, the Instructions which offer an implicit and
explicit theory and view of leadership and society based on Maat, Kemet’s moral
and spiritual way.

C. Maatian ethics evolved in a period of consolidation and growth, and peace and
security. This in turn lead to the growth of a bureaucracy with its emphasis on
meritocracy and righteous leadership. The rising bureaucracy is key to the
formulation and evolution of Maatian ethics.

D. Geography of Kemet demanded careful administration – 600 miles of Nile Valley
from Memphis, approximately at the apex of the Delta, south to Aswan.

E. Strong administration produced and insured order and security and led to great
achievement in the Old Kingdom. Time of great intellectual, architectural and
scientific achievements – so organization of its vast human and material resources
was essential.

F. Bureaucracy was essentially a civil service. Practice of official authority was
inspired by disinterested service and justice on the part of the bureaucrats, in the
interest of the king and his subjects.
1. CEO of bureaucratics was prime minister and under him were the “sesh”
(scribe) with extended meaning of civil servant and intellectual.
2. Sesh same as civil service and scribal profession was the principle repository
of literacy and learning.
3. Mastery of reading and writing were essential for proper exercise of
administration and scribal schools were academies for the bureaucracy.
4. Prime minister’s office and tradition was significant for its administrative role,
the formal royal instructions by which the prime minister carried out his duties
and the tradition among prime ministers of setting down Instructions for those
who succeeded them and which became one of the main sources of Maatan
5. Oldest complete book of Instructions is by Ptah-Hotep vizier or prime
minister of King Isesi of the Fifth Dynasty (c. 2350-2310 B.C.) It became the
model for all other Sebait.

G. Another socio-historical setting in which Maatian ethics was shaped was Kemet’s secure and peaceful context.
1. The settled, peaceful and tradition-oriented life encouraged a more placid and
benevolent attitude to humanity, so virtues of moderation and justice were more
easily practiced and sustained than in lands torn by conflict such as Palestine and
2. Model person is not the warrior or priest, but the gentle person who serves and is
3. Sheltered by a strong central government, a self-sufficient economy, capable army
and a difficult geography which discouraged invaders, Kemet up to the 11th Dynasty
enjoyed an unparalleled era of peace, development and great achievement.

H. Summary –Maatian ethics evolve in a context of social order and development and key is the sesh.
1. Formulation of the ethical vision emerges from the sesh and they advocate and attempt
to bring into being the just society.
2. Seba (moral teachers) i.e., scribes as teachers of ethics, pose a philosophical paradigm
of righteous leadership supported by a moral culture as key to the achievement of the
just society.
3. This paradigm offers a philosophical framework and grounding for the
conceptualization and development of the ethics of large-scale organizations and the
central role righteous (Maatian) leadership plays in this.
4. The Sebait which are the central treatises on ethics were written at first, essentially to
establish the ethical grounds for a Maatian leader or civil servant. Through teaching,
tradition and development, it became the collective moral focus and legacy of the
people of Kemet.

I. The economy of Kemet rested on a solid agricultural base, urban commerce, and maritime trade. It was managed by a large professional civil service which produced its laws, rules and ethics, as well as collected taxes in kind throughout the country, stored these goods in government warehouses, ruled in the name and at the pleasure of the king, but were effectively in control of the daily operation of the government. Within the stratum structure of Kemetian society, the royal family in its extended sense was at the apex, followed by land-holding nobles, civil servants, merchants, peasants and domestic servants.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

First Class - March 4, 6247 (2007)

First Class !

Unofficial Notes

  • Introduced the course including its description, objectives, and learning strategies
  • DESCRIPTION: Course is designed to provide an understanding of the wisdom teachings of Kemet with an emphasis on the principles of Maat as guidelines for the development of personal character
  • REQUIRED TEXT: Selections from the Husia: Sacred wisdom of Ancient Kemet by Dr. Maulana Karenga
Addressing Maat
  • People mention how Maat was reflected in grandparents and others who stayed in communication; who layed hands on each other and supported one another

Socio-Historical Context for Maat
  • Kemet came up from Kush/Ethiopia; ancestors were alone in their cradle for thousands of years; don't really know Kemet's age
  • African ancestors migrated from Kemet about 4,000 years ago (Gramoli) and were caught off by the ice - mutated to Cromagnon; later integrated with Gramoli again and produced the Asiatic man
  • MIT Aduni shared a summary of Kemet's development
Review of Husia
  • Min Mxolisi shares the beginnings of the Husia and how/why it's importat to understand the sacred texts
  • Other countries, notably Germany, are sending some of their scholars to study Maat
  • Husia - the book's name; means - Hu = "divine/authoritative utterance", Sia = "exceptional insight"
Reviews Maat from Theophile Objenga
  • Excerpt from pages 122-125 of African Philosophy and the Husia
  • From the Memphite theology, which is hailed as the foundation for the Dynastic era
  • Four good deeds of the Creator (Husia, page 8)

Recommended Readings (just listing the ones available from