Sheba – aka “Saba… Bilquis… Makeda… Shulamite… Queen of the South… & Queen of Heaven” – is a legendary and consequential African figure in Judeo-Christian, Islamic and Ethiopic texts which, along with cinematic portrayals of Sheba, have been curated by the patriarchal overseers and caretakers of religious mythologies. Yet, perhaps in the theological drive to assure Euro-matriarchs of the legitimacy of their crowns of racist conquest, biblical constructions of the “Queen of the South” displace the natal context which nonetheless validates Sheba’s significance as a personified symbol of Africa as “South” in relationship to its “North.” Of this organic space-time MA’ATrix God Djehuti asked: “Art thou not aware that Egypt is the image of heaven, or rather, that it is the projection below of the order of things above? If the truth must be told, this land [Africa’s Nile Valley] is indeed THE TEMPLE OF THE WORLD.”
Once upon an African space-time…
THE ANNUNCIATION. Inscribed within the walls of the throat area of Ipet-Resyt – the southern sanctuary of God Amun and Goddess Mut, now called the Luxor Temple – is the depiction from 1350 BCE of Amun telling his beloved about the divine child and savior-figure she is to bear. The holy trinity they become with son Montu was celebrated in Opet, the annual days-long fertility festival which was staged between Ipet-Isut – their northern sanctuary, now called Karnak Temple – and Ipet-Resyt. Opet coincided with the annual Lion’s Gate portal opening over African soil and the subsequent inundation of the sacred Nile River, which in itself represents the “Queen of the South” rising from humanity’s birthplace to bless dependent civilizations with the bounty of her ascension and northward flow.
This organic relationship between South and North had become more deeply enshrined in Kemet’s constitution when Pharaoh Menes aka Narmer unified Upper (South) and Lower (North) Egypt to begin the Early Dynastic Period in 3100 BCE. Called Sema Tawy, this unification was symbolized as a human trachea rising from the lungs being entwined by papyrus (North) & lotus (South). The Double Crown worn by pharaohs – called pschent or sekhemty (meaning the ‘Two Powerful Ones’) was in direct allegiance to this Heaven-ordained constitution. The South was represented by the white Hedjet crown, and the North was represented by the red Deshret. Menefer (now Memphis) was the capital of the unified kingdom during this period, and Ptah was the recognized deity.
By 2240 BCE when Amun had become the venerated deity, Uaset (now Thebes) had superseded Memphis as the capital of ancient Egypt. Ipet-Resyt and Ipet-Isut, the temples of worship for Amun and Mut, reiterated Sema Tawy’s eternal South-North bond within their very designations; corresponding locations; rituals during the annual festival of Opet; and ANNUNCIATION in the throat area of the southern sanctuary. The ‘expectant’ stomach area of Ipet-Resyt architecturally depicts this temple as symbolizing humanity’s womb, and thus Goddess Mut as the matriarchal “Queen of the South” (SemaTawy lotus) with powers of birth and resurrection. “We came from the beginning of the Nile where God Hapi dwells, at the foothills of The Mountains of the Moon” [Hunefer Papyrus, 1275 BCE]
A GAME OF THRONES. Djehuti nevertheless prophesied a time when this Nile Valley “TEMPLE OF THE WORLD” would become “filled with strangers” and “widowed of the Gods.” As he lamented: “To thee I cry, O most sacred River, to thee I announce the coming doom!… Egypt, once the holy land beloved of the Gods and full of devotion for their worship, will become the instrument of perversion, the school of impiety...”
Though it’s not clear what point in time Djehuti’s fore-warnings specifically indicated, the impact of colonialism in Africa may be seen as an outcome of his prophecy. Britain played a significant role in the predatory exploration, exploitation and colonizing of humanity’s sacred womb [lotus/South] and Nile Valley Temple during Europe’s craven “Scramble for Africa” through ‘divide-and-rule’ parasitic arrangements following the 1884 Berlin Conference. The source of the White Nile is still named after Africa’s Victorian-era adversary (aka the grandmother of Europe) whose record 63-year rule [1837-1901] has been surpassed only by her great-great granddaughter, Britain’s current Queen Elizabeth II who has reigned since 1952 when a vast majority of the African continent was still under European colonial rule.
Sheba, Africa’s “Queen of the South” had become a character of consequence in the Judeo-Christian house of books, constructed and weaponized to be used as a reprogramming tool to complete Europe’s colonization of African space-time following centuries of chattel slavery. The Gregorian calendar had created a global space-time reset around the Roman Catholic Annunciation (via ‘Angel Gabriel’ to ‘Virgin Mary’). Appropriated from Ipet-Resyt in the “Temple of the World” following Judeo-Christian interpretations of ancient Egyptian Mysteries, the imperialist Euro-patriarchal narrative that was now reconstructed around the birth & crucifixion of one named ‘Jesus’ seemed designed to make “all roads lead to Rome.” Ironic then that Italy was unable to colonize Ethiopia (post-1884), making this Africa’s oldest independent country.
The Queen of Sheba is first mentioned in I Kings 10:1-13 and II Chronicles 9:1-12 in the Old Testament [OT], when she travels to Jerusalem to visit Solomon (c. 965-931 BCE) – Israel’s king who had 700 wives “of royal birth” plus 300 concubines. Sheba comes to test the wisdom for which Solomon was famed. The OT book, Song of Songs, provides a different treatment of this visit in which Sheba, as the female protagonist, is referred to as the Shulamite – a term indicating that she was highly educated. The Shulamite doesn’t hesitate to put the Israelite king’s excess of creature comforts on blast (SoS 3:7-11), even as she seeks her own true beloved. Yet translations of this book have been overly exercised about her self-identifying as “black” [SoS 1:5-6]:
- “I am black and beautiful…” [Catholic NRSV]
- “I am black but lovely…” [NAS Bible 1977]
- “I am black, but comely…” [AKJV; ASV; Webster & Darby Bible; JPS Tanakh 1917; ERV]
- “I am dark but beautiful…” [NLT]
- “I am dark, but lovely…” [NKJV 2000; WEB; NETB; NHEB]
- “I am very dark, but lovely…” [ESV]
- “Dark am I, and comely…” [Young’s Literal Translation]
- “Daughters of Jerusalem, I am dark like the tents of Kedar, yet lovely like the curtains of Solomon…” [HCSB]
- “I am dark, O ye daughters of Jerusalem… desirable as the booths of Kedar, as the tents of Solomon…” [Jubilee Bible 2000]
Disavowing the Shulamite’s sense of her own sovereign value which they then try to attach to a fellow-white patriarch, biblical commentators have served up a similar range of misogynoir:
- The word “black” does not necessarily mean that the skin is black, but rather sunburnt, dark brown… the livid or swarthy appearance of one who has suffered long from famine and wretchedness. There is certainly no reason to take the word as an argument for the bride being Pharaoh’s daughter… She has been living in the fields, and is browned with the ruddy health of a country life… The country maiden feels the greatness of the honor, that she is chosen of the king… [Pulpit Commentary]
- …she was “black” in herself through original sin and actual transgression; in her own eyes, through indwelling sin, and many infirmities, spots, and blemishes in life; and in the eyes of the world, through afflictions, persecutions, and reproaches…: “but comely” in the eyes of Christ, called by him his “fair one”, the “fairest among women”, and even “all fair” through his comeliness put upon her, the imputation of his righteousness to her; through the beauties of his holiness upon her; through the sanctifying influences of his Spirit… being in a church state, walking in Gospel order… “desirable”(y) to Christ, and to his people. [Gill’s Exposition…]
SHEBA’S TRIBULATION. Zulu Sofola, the late Nigerian playwright and dramatist, once noted: “As a race, the most painful part of our experience with the western world is the ‘de-womanization’ of women of African descent. It is true that to successfully destroy a people, its female component must be first destroyed. The female gender is the center of life, the magnet that holds the social cosmos intact and alive. Destroy her and you destroy life itself.”
In the New Testament [NT], the “Queen of the South” is called by One who claims to be greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42 & Luke 11:31) to bear witness during the Judgment. Then amidst the alarming scenes portraying this time of Judgment – including a 7-Year Tribulation period – in the Book of Revelation, Sheba is referred to as the “Queen of Heaven” [Rev. 12]… or is she now “Virgin Mary” in the apocalyptic fever of unexamined/unrepentant Gregorian guilt? Beyond the Bible, the narrative of Sheba subsequently made its way to the pages of the Quran (“Bilquis & Suleiman”), then to the work known as the Kebra Negast (“Glory of the Kings”).
Written in 14th century Ethiopia, the Kebra Negast provides an account of the visit between Makeda (Sheba) and biblical King Solomon (son of King David) which, according to the book, resulted in the birth of a son named Menelik. Credited with bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, Menelik inaugurated the Solomonic Dynasty in the 10th century BCE which lasted up until the coup d’état against then leader Emperor Haile Selassie I in1974 CE. To this day, Emperor Haile Selassie [d. 8/27/75] – born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael – is hailed by Rastafarians throughout the world as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah according to their own biblical reasonings.
During his life, Selassie followed the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church which include observance of the ancestral calendar that is a sabbatical 7-year period in arrears of the upstart Gregorian calendar. Saba (“7” in Swahili – also see sabbath), is a variant of “Sheba.” According to expert scholars, the critical difference between the two religious calendars has to do with their divergent calculations and understanding regarding THE ANNUNCIATION originally recorded in the throat area of Ipet-Resyt [click picture for video: link @ 1:17:20]. Perhaps tensions between these conflicting timelines is Revelation’s 7-year Great Tribulation? Perhaps Africa’s spiritual roads will yet lead humanity out of bondage from subjection to false, alienating controlling narratives and back to holistic consciousness of the organic and sovereign MA’ATrix of the Temple of the World? Amun… Blessed Be ❤ ❤ ❤