The longest river on EARTH flows unlike any other ~ from south-to-north. Out of the sentient HEART of Africa and birthplace of humanity, the Nile River travels well over 4,000 miles through 11 African countries: Kenya; Tanzania; Uganda; Rwanda; Burundi; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ethiopia; Eritrea; South Sudan; Sudan; and Egypt. A Kiswahili term for these countries is Nchi za Maziwa Mkuu – meaning ‘countries of the Great Milk’ or EARTH‘s ‘Milky Way’… Its 2 major tributaries, the White and the Blue Nile, meet in Khartoum, and then flow together as the Nile River confluence into the Mediterranean Sea.
Once the earthly domain of Divinities, Africa’s land of temples and pyramids in the northern deserts is regarded as the Gift of the Nile. As one Divinity proclaims: “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 is indeed THE TEMPLE OF THE WORLD…” Djehuti then laments a time when this heaven-on-earth Nile civilization will become “filled with strangers” & “widowed of the Gods” : “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…”
It’s not clear what point in time Djehuti’s fore-warnings were specifically targeting, or whether the impact of colonialism in Africa should be seen as an outcome of his Nile Valley prophecy. Ethiopia (then Abyssinia with current-day Eritrea), under Emperor Menelik II, successfully resisted colonization by Italy during Europe’s craven “Scramble for Africa” rubberstamped at the 1884 Berlin Conference. Britain played a significant role in exploring, exploiting and claiming sovereignty over humanity’s womb in the HEART of Africa, colonizing this sacred space through ‘divide-and-rule’ parasitic arrangements. Not only is the source of the White Nile still named after Africa’s Victorian-era adversary, but current Nile River conflicts about water-security are tangled up in old bilateral agreements with Egypt and Sudan, designed in Britain’s self-serving interests against the Eurocentrically-divided continent.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD] – a hydroelectric powerplant in construction since 2011 on the Blue Nile (the reported source of 85% of Egypt’s water) – has become a flashpoint between the two countries. Egypt is a dry desert country with a growing population that has always been heavily reliant on the “gift(s) of the Nile” as its primary resource for water, electricity, agriculture, spiritual moorings, etc. Some Egyptologists have suggested that during Egypt’s era of Divine habitation, the ancients were familiar with this sacred river only as far south as Khartoum where the White & Blue Niles meet in present-day Sudan. Whether or not African Divinities possessed such limited knowledge about their land, Egypt’s current stance is that GERD violates treaties they and Sudan entered into with Britain in 1929 & 1959 respectively, which guaranteed Egypt a majority share of Nile waters.
For hundreds of years, Ethiopian rulers in the south knew of their powers to divert the waters of the Nile River. Egyptians argue that this will be the impact of the Ethiopian dam on their future, thus the reason why they should maintain veto powers and all other privileges of their bilateral treaty with Britain. Other former European colonies in the Nile region argue that they cannot be held to such treaties since they were not parties to them during Britain’s imperial rulership. Tanzania rejected the treaties at Independence in 1961, and Ethiopia has since argued against both treaties [1929 &1959] as being outdated, not to mention divisive and dismissive of Africa’s regional history and needs.
As the current US administration helps Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan broker a resolution, it is unclear whether Africa’s ancient Nile Guardians are at this same table…
KHNUM – one of the earliest deities from Egypt’s pre-Dynastic period [- 3150 BCE] – was known as God/Guardian of the Source of the Nile River. The Nile River was the sacred earthly font of the Egyptian Mysteries and of subsequent derivatives within the major religions of the world beyond. Life throughout the Nile Valley was regulated and sustained around the river’s annual flooding which also brought silt and clay with its waters. Khnum earned the titles “Divine Potter” and “Lord of Things Created from Himself” by molding the river’s clay into human figurines and other objects at his signature potter’s wheel.
Other theophoric names capturing his significance included Khnum-Khufwy (meaning ‘Khnum is my Protector’), the full name of Old Kingdom Pharaoh Khufu under whom the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Great Pyramid of Giza – was built [completed in 2560 BCE]. The Giza pyramid complex was deliberately constructed to be in precise astronomical alignment with the heavenly constellation belonging to Divine Hunter & Fertility God, King Ausar (and his Consort, Queen Auset) whose legendary heaven-on-earth reign was disrupted by Set – god of chaos, violence, perversion & foreign oppression…
A story told on the Famine Stele of the Ptolemaic Dynasty (332-30 BCE), illustrates the correlation between Nile God Khnum and the well-being of the Nile Valley peoples. During the reign of King Djoser (c. 2670 BCE) when Egypt was struck with famine, Khnum appeared in Djoser’s dream to register his displeasure at the fact that his shrine on the Nile River island of Elephantine had fallen into disrepair due to neglect. Djoser’s vizier, Imhotep, advised the king to travel to Elephantine to verify the dream and make any necessary amends. Satisfied with King Djoser’s follow-through, including subsequent renovations of his temple shrine, Khnum lifted the famine and fertility returned to Egypt.
Elephantine (in the River Nile’s 1st cataract & city of Aswan) and Esna (further north) are the two principal Nile River sites where temples were built for the worship of Khnum. In Edfu and Esna, hieroglyphic inscriptions refer to Khnum as ‘Foremost of the per-Ankh [House of Life].’ This high recognition was one he shared with Goddess Seshat who worked closely with Djehuti, God who decreed Nile Lands as “the Temple of the World” and prophesied Set‘s disruption of Divine Order… Heaven-On-Earth… the World Temple. The per-Ankh were learning centers attached to ancient Egyptian temples where knowledge, aligned with nature and the cosmos, was considered sacred and taught by Priests of Re …Initiates of the ancient Mysteries.
Elephantine – where Khnum’s southernmost worship center was located – demarcates the ancient boundary between Upper Egypt & the Kingdom of Kush which, according to historical records, took over Egypt from 760 to 656 BCE. However, this location is not the “source of the Nile River” as distinguished in the Papyrus of Hunefer – copied from the ancient Book of the Dead – which states… “We came from the beginning of the Nile where God Hapi dwells, at the foothills of The Mountains of the Moon”. Hunefer, owner of this papyrus/paper, was a steward of Pharaoh Seti 1 during the 19th Dynasty [c. 1300 BCE]
“We…” refers to Africans in the northern Nile Delta region
“…beginning of the Nile…” refers to the Great Lake estuary & African HEART… WOMB… [southern Nile region SOURCE]
“…Mountains of the Moon” are the Rwenzori Mountains bordering present-day Uganda & DR Congo.
“…Hapi” was a pre-dynastic Nile fertility God who depicts the North-South bonds of the region in the tying together of Nile Delta papyrus and Nile Source lotus plants. Like the Ankh [“Key of Life”] Hapi‘s hermaphroditic features by extension also represent the sacred union between divine masculine and feminine. The life-bringing inundation which has always sustained Nile Valley civilizations is EARTH‘s celebration of this “renaissance” …an annual [re]union referred to as the ‘Arrival of Hapi.’ This event – always heralded by the return of Sopdet (celestial Nile Star of the African goddess) to the night skies – was ritualized annually between God/dess Amun/Mut within the sacred compounds of their ‘Karnak‘ and ‘Luxor‘ Temples in the legendary, communally-celebrated ‘Opet Festival.’
Ipet-Resyt – the ‘southern sanctuary’ of God/dess consorts Amun/Mut along the Nile banks – is a temple [‘Luxor‘] whose unique architecture was strategically designed to resemble a human figure in repose. One of several proverbs written on its interior walls states: “Routine and prejudice distort vision. Each man thinks his own horizon is the limit of the world.” Another proverb says: “When the governing class isn’t chosen for quality it is chosen for material wealth: this always means decadence, the lowest stage a society can reach.” Humanity’s SOURCE/HEART should by now be awakening from impositions of Britain’s Victorian-era exploits of Africa’s material wealth as its own and, by extension, the prejudicial routines of predatory foreign interests… should be reclaiming its organic Ma’atrix & setting its own horizons with Heaven-centric &/or enlightened 2020 vision.
Sankofa – an Akan saying from Ghana – contends that: “In order to move forward, you must reach back to reclaim that which may have been lost, forgotten, or stolen.” Visionary Father of pan-Africanism, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah stated in 1960: “We face neither East nor West: we face Forward”…
Other proverbs from Ipet-Resyt (Amun/Mut’s ‘Luxor‘ Temple on continental Africa’s Nile Valley side) state: “Your body is the temple of knowledge… The Kingdom of Heaven is within you; and whosoever shall know themselves shall find it.”
❤ Amun ❤ àṣẹ ❤ Let ❤ There ❤ Be ❤ Light ❤
African Goddess Seshat was referred to as Sefket-Abwy – meaning “she of seven points” – by Pharaoh Tuthmosis III (1479-1425 BCE). She wears a signature seven-pointed crown which has led to speculation about the hidden Africa-centered significance of the crown which adorns Lady Liberty’s head and her symbolism as a whole. Standing tall with words of welcome on Manhattan’s Liberty Island in New York, the statue itself was brought as a gift from France in 1886 to strengthen democracy and bilateral alliances following US Civil War gains. The initiative was launched by abolitionist and Chair of the French Anti-Slavery Society, Édouard de Laboulaye. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was the sculptor.
A proverb from Ipet Resyt (“the southern sanctuary” built for God/dess consorts Amun/Mut) says: “Lacking images, people invent idols… Better to found images on realities that lead the true seeker to the source.”
Seshat is the African goddess who represents the consciousness of an order far superior to the matrix of knowledge that was installed and is currently governed by a patriarchal elite. Represented in Kemetic mythology by Set – god of the desert, storms, disorder, violence, chaos, & foreign oppressors – who destroyed Heavenly order when he usurped Kemet’s throne after murdering and dismembering King Ausar – this false trauma-based matrix is now said to be in its death-spiral. Humanity has experienced it as slavery, colonialism, racism, misogyny, pedophilia, thievery, rape, & other perversions. Alternatively, Set represents the dysfunctional shadow poles of the Masculine versus a potential, fully incarnate Divine King, Warrior, Magician, & Lover. Seshat’s crown is one of several potent African symbols of Divine Feminine power which speak to how, when, and where She, as Ma’at, enters to help re-pair, anchor, & balance Divine Order from her own sovereign, fully incarnate, and complementary truth.
Seshat ~ Point #1… “SCRIVENER” is the meaning of Seshat’s name. Sesh, meaning ‘writing’ was a communication technique using hieroglyphs (Greek, meaning ‘holy writing’) which, according to Kemetic legend, were created by god Djehuti. Djehuti passed the skill on to select scribes (typically men) to aid, he believed, in the development of wisdom. The god Re disagreed with this premise, saying that written documents would weaken people’s memories and ancestral wisdom that was organically passed down through generations, nature and oral tradition. As a proverb from IpetResyt advises: ‘Images are nearer reality than cold definitions.’ Hieroglyphs, the oldest and more pictographic form of writing, over time evolved into Hieratic and then Demotic scripts as scribes worked to simplify the writing process itself. Each efficiency-upgrade in writing as a communication technology meant an increased abstraction (hence “alienation”) from the organic world, as Re might have feared. This trend has continued up to the highly abstract western alphabet of the present-day, which has been characterized as ‘aggressive’ by communication scholars such as Marshall McLuhan. Goddess Seshat stands at the crossroads of this communication debate vis-à-vis Divine Order…
Seshat ~ Point #2… “RECKONER OF YEARS” – God Djehuti, whom Goddess Seshat appears to mirror in her attributes, is credited with creating the ancient Egyptian calendar which forms the basis of the ancestral 13-month calendar used in the Horn of Africa where the current year is “2012.” The Gregorian calendar (after Pope Gregory XIII) – a reformed Julian calendar (after Julius Caesar) – forms the basis of the main western calendar where the current year is “2020.” Seshat’s lunar-based time-reckoning and recording skills were used in service to royal and religious leadership and concerns such as life-spans, length of reign, appropriate scheduling of ceremonies and rituals… some of which she and Djehuti would record on the sacred ished – the Tree of Life at Heliopolis – which was said to hold eternal knowledge of the Divine Plan. Goddess Seshat stands at the crossroads of competing space-time frequencies and a Divine Age of Aquaria schedule…
Seshat ~ Point #3… “MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE OF BOOKS” – Among Seshat’s duties was her role in the temple Library of the Gods which housed the works of Khemet’s foremost scribe and alkhemist, Djehuti. She was Djehuti’s personal librarian and keeper of his spells (called hekau) and writings. Djehuti’s canon of writings includes the Emerald Tablets and 42 Books of Knowledge on all matters connecting the heavens and the earthly realm, with a forewarning about the fall of Khemet to outsiders – represented in mythology by Ausar’s murderer Set. After pieces of Ausar’s body were retrieved, reassembled and mummified by his widow Auset, it’s said that Seshat helped cast Djehuti’s resurrection spell for Ausar’s missing 14th piece which enabled the posthumous conception of Heru. This event was appropriated and translated in later biblical accounts as the Immaculate Conception of Jesus. The ‘t(kh)n’ hieroglyph for obelisk – architectural symbol of Ausar’s resurrection – is the identical word and spelling for ‘to beat a drum’ or ‘musician,’ which connects organically to African oral traditions… our collective Akashic Record or Book of Life.
Seshat ~ Point #4… “FOREMOST OF THE PER-ANKH” was the prestigious title bestowed upon Seshat and god Khnum – ram-headed potter and guardian of the Nile River source. ‘Per-Ankh’ were ‘houses of life’ attached to temples where libraries were housed and where knowledge, considered sacred, was attained. Given her proximity to Djehuti, of whom it was said that without his words the gods themselves would not exist, Seshat’s footprints can be traced through those of the ‘Shulamite’ in the biblical Song of Songs. (Shul, Yiddish for “school/synagogue” is related to shule/scuola in German; schola in Latin; and skholḗ in Greek – all meaning “school”). The term ‘Shulamite’ as emphasized in this particular book suggests that the “black and comely” female protagonist is highly educated. How different biblical Revelation would be with Seshat as the ascended True Seeker & Genesis recalibrated to the Song of Songs!
Seshat ~ Point #5… “GODDESS OF ARCHITECTS & BUILDERS” – Though there were no temples built for the worship of goddess Seshat, she is paid homage for her prominent role in the foundation of major Khemetic temples in Heliopolis, Edfu, Abydos, Dendera and elsewhere. The temple of Horus in Edfu (c.237BC) has the inscription: “I take the measuring cord in the company of Seshat. I observe the progressive movement of the stars. My eye is now fixed upon Meskhetiu. The god of time-keeping stands by me, in front of the merkhet. Then, I have established the four corners of the temple.” Meshketiu, the ‘Big Dipper/Plough’ of the constellation Ursa Major, was known as ‘the Drinking Gourd’ by Africans who followed the North Star to escape slavery on the Underground Railroad. The merkhet was the instrument that oriented the harmonious alignment of temple foundations with the heavens, according to principles of sacred geometry…
“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 is indeed the temple of the world.” [Djehuti]
Seshat ~ Point #6… “PANTHER GODDESS” – Besides her signature 7-pointed crown, Seshat’s dress is made of panther skin which can denote royalty status within the Nile Valley reflection on earth of the Milky Way, particularly at the source of the sacred African river in the Bantu kingdoms of Buganda, Ankole, Busoga, Toro, Bunyoro, etc. There’s a sacred totemic relationship each of these Kings has with the panther, who is known in Buganda as Mayanja. Karamojong and Acholi warriors also wear panther skins as part of their regalia. In Khemet – “the gift of the Nile” – sem priests wore leopard skin garments in similar fashion to priests in Zimbabwe, southern Africa. King Tut’Ankh’Amun – the last of his royal family to rule during the end of Khemet’s 18th dynasty (c.1334 – 1325 BCE) – is famously depicted traveling through the afterlife on the back of a black panther.
Seshat ~ Point #7… “OPENER OF HEAVEN’S DOOR” – The mystery of Seshat is bound up with Africa and within the cultural codes of her 7-pointed crown… panther totems… sacred architecture… t(kh)n-ology… proverbial wisdom… the Nile Valley as temple of the World… Ancestral vs. Gregorian timelines… ‘entry’- vs. ‘exit’-portals…
The mystery of Seshat is key to how we navigate the spaces between worlds in our ascension journey… decode the Song of Songs through Her dance… ‘Follow the Drinking Gourd’ via Her merkhet… exit Set’s 3D matrix of the elite’s false controlling-narratives through Akashic self-revelation… collapse slavery & colonialism’s karmic cycles… and enter sentient Mother Earth’s true Ma’atrix to the Age of Aquaria / Age of Miracles / Golden Age / Heaven / Zion… return to UbuNtu…
As proverbs from Ipet Resyt state: “If the Master teaches what is error, the disciple’s submission is slavery. If he teaches truth, this submission is ennoblement… The kingdom of heaven is within you. Whosoever shall know Herself shall find it.” ❤ ❤ ❤
2019 marks a historic realignment and opens the door to healing in Africa’s collective soul and consciousness. Slavery’s cruel time-portal, symbolized by the “door of no return” on the western shores of the continent, has in 2019 become an entryway for reconciliation and ascension in this Year of Return after several centuries of forced separation and exploitation. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana has been a powerful champion of formalizing this return, exemplifying ancestral wisdom through hindsight, foresight and example.
Sankofa ~ an Akan word which contends that: “In order to move forward, you must return to reclaim that which may have been lost, forgotten, or stolen” ~ is symbolized in one of two adinkra…
Africa’s children are star-seeds within a time-space continuum that has been lost, forgotten, stolen, hijacked through slavery, colonialism, and the subsequent self-entitled narratives of her antagonists. Indeed “2019” is a Gregorian year, based on Vatican manipulations (via Pope Gregory XIII in 1582) of time, space and human consciousness. Sophisticated understandings of time, and linkages with nature, the divine feminine, and the cosmos existed in ancient Egypt prior to the Greco-Roman worlds re-ordering of it.
The main western calendar is a reformation of the Julian calendar – after Julius Caesar, whose name remains on the Gregorian calendar as the month of “July”… followed by August, named after Roman Emperor Augustus. Weekdays of the western calendar similarly invoke Roman gods and their planetary associations: Sun day (Sunday); Moon day: Fr. Lundi / Sp. Lunes (Monday); Mars day: Fr. Mardi / Sp. Martes (Tuesday); Mercury day: Fr. Mercredi / Sp. Miércoles (Wednesday); Jupiter day: Fr. Jeudi / Sp. Jueves (Thursday); Venus day: Fr. Vendredi / Sp. Viernes (Friday); and Saturn day (Saturday).
In other words, humanity has been living in the colonized space-time frequency of elite western patriarchs. African life in particular has suffered under the shackles of this homosocial and false matrix. The Year of Return in 2019 has felt like the authentic beginnings of a dismantling of this Eurocentric order and the resurgence and ascension of a pan-African consciousness. This is conveyed through Nsoromma (“children / stars of the Heavens”) and Fawohodie (“freedom, independence, emancipation”), the adinkra chosen to symbolize spiritual consciousness during this momentous Year in Ghana. Translated as “what is lost in the sea is returned by the waves,” the symbolically-colored waves in the Year of Return logo additionally encompass Sankofa…
December 21st, 2012 – exactly seven years ago on the Gregorian calendar – was a date predicted by some to mark the dawning of the Age of the Water Bearer, called Aquarius and depicted in the west as a Euro-patriarchal harbinger of New Age consciousness. So… more of the same in terms of who colonizes and controls the human narrative [*sigh*]!?! In Africa, the Water Bearer has always been a divine feminine representation for various reasons connected organically to nature and divine order. An alternative depiction of the feminine dominion over the waters is Mami Wata, revered by several million spiritual followers from Ghana all the way to the Congo. Often depicted in the form of a mermaid, Mami Wata almost always holds a looking glass.
The looking glass is an intriguing puzzle piece when it comes to understanding African concepts of mirroring in the theater of oral-aesthetic or ancestral timelines. For example, December 21st, 2012 hasn’t yet occurred in the Horn of Africa, where today [December 22nd, 2019 on the Gregorian calendar] is April 12th, 2012 on the 13-month Ethiopian calendar which traces back to the ancient Egyptian calendar. There’s a seven/eight-year lag between the 12-month Gregorian and this African timeline, owing to alternate determinations of the date of the annunciation of the Messiah’s birth. (This lag would also push the “December 21st, 2012” Age of Aquaria launch to August 27th, 2020 Gregorian time. See Calendar Conversion link)
Upon the inner walls of Ipet Resyt – “the southern sanctuary” built for God/dess consorts Amun-Mut known today as the Luxor Temple in Egypt – lies the 1350 BCE blueprint of this “Annunciation.” According to John Anthony West (click picture for video: link @ 1:17:20), surrounding transcriptions of the communication depicted taking place between Amun and his consort, goddess Mut indicate that, in this conversation, Amun is informing his beloved that she will give birth to a divine son/savior. Roman-Catholic appropriations of this depiction in biblical accounts are presented as the angel (“Gabriel”) announcing that a virgin (“Mary”) will conceive and become the mother of a divine savior (“Jesus”) who is the son of God. Furthermore, the propagandized image of the Vatican’s “Jesus” is said to be modeled on Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI. “Lacking images, men invent idols…. Better to found images on realities that lead the true seeker to the source” [proverb from Ipet Resyt].
Enkutatash (“gift of jewels”) – the Amharic word for the Ethiopian New Year – occurs on September 11th of the Gregorian calendar, except for leap years when it occurs on September 12th. The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church uses a calendar identical to the Ethiopian for its liturgical year. On the Eritrean Ge’ez calendar, New Year is called Ri’se Awde Amet (“Head Anniversary”). The Ethiopian Enkutatash tradition comes from a time when the Queen of the South was showered with gifts of jewels (enku) upon her return from Jerusalem where she’s said to have made her legendary visit with King Solomon. This visit began the Solomonic line from whence hails Emperor Haile Selassie [July 12th, 1892 – August 27th, 1975 Gregorian]… the Messianic Lion of the Tribe of Judah in Rastafari spiritual consciousness.
In hindsight and with some authentic insight, perhaps the Year of Return is calling all of us (rather than a single “savior”) to an ascended re-membering of and return to UbuNtu …our Africa-centered unity-consciousness that has always said “I am because we are…”
“The kingdom of Heaven is already within you; if you understand yourself you will find it…” [proverb from Ipet Resyt]. Hindsight, Insight, and/or Foresight… It’s my wish that 2020 [Gregorian] or 2012-13 [Ethiopian] will lead to greater self-clarity and humanity’s Higher Ascension… Happy Sankofa! ❤ ❤ ❤
[CLICK TITLE BELOW TO LINK TO ORIGINAL 2/11/17 POST]
Ta-Nehisi Coates rewrote the map of Wakanda. Of all his work on Black Panther and related comics, the new map impresses me the most. It is, while not wordy, the most literary action. While seemingly nonjudgmental, the most political. He de-anglicized some of the place names and outright removed those with – at best – unfortunate connotations, such as the Primitive Peaks and what is listed on earlier maps as Domain of the White Gorillas (Mostly Uncharted). He concretized Wakanda’s six major cities, in opposition to earlier versions of “mostly uncharted” or generic “Woods” surrounding a centralized city that counts.In passing, this might not even register with the average reader. Some people jump over extras, anyway, but more than that simply don’t sight-read everything and put it into an orchestrated context with a story set in the place a map is illustrating.
People do not often interpolate place names, nearness to waterways or distance from agriculture as even purposeful decisions made by an author. We do not consider it when we know the map is a fiction of a fictional place. We don’t question it when we know it’s an engineered clarification of a real space. And, to be fair, we really aren’t taught that we should, or taught how we can.
Sidenote: Coates and Stelfreeze are talking to something like seven different completely-formed and articulate audiences with every release of Black Panther.
Our primary introductions to maps probably presented them to us as objective and inarguable. It would feel different if a person went around naming everything and claiming it, in real time before us, as theirs or belonging to this ally, etc. Walk up to a local and go, “This thing you call _____ is now _____ because that’s my language and this is about me and what fits well in my mouth,” and the sense is very different than when it’s been done quietly, beforehand, without our witnessing.
The authorship of a map is usually entirely erased by the time we peruse it. That there was an author is obscured from us, in the case of real maps, so they will have the power of truth, and in the case of imaginal lands, so they have the power of conviction. To read a map without questioning the choices of labels, boundaries, or distortions is to be as colonized as the land is as the map is drawn.
We grow up reading maps and we spend year after year in school, most of us, learning cultural ecologies in History, in Cultural Geography, World Cultures, what have you, and yet, don’t consider these systems and narratives to have an angle. We expect the explanation of city life in Italy or rural life in Uganda to be as objective as the multiplication tables in Math class. We extend this to maps of fictional locales the same way we do not anticipate the math or science in a story will be false unless it highlights its falsity.
Sidenote: Anecdotal facts couched within otherwise pure fiction are still treated as objective truths by many in any given audience.
A smart author and in this case I am considering all major contributors as authors, visual artists, wordsmiths, anyone making a significant choice in regards image or text. Of course, not all comics – not all of any media – is up to the nominal authors, and sometimes you’re tasked with something, as Eliot R Brown was. A former technical artist and designer for Marvel, the first serious effort at a map of Gotham City was Brown’s first work for DC. And, it was a work where revisions seem to have piled onto revisions to the point where the work may be said to have lost any cohesive authoring, and not really, even, a steady hand stitching the piecemeal together.
In fact, the map as it has been published and republished/reused (in movies, advertisements, comics, etc) does not line up with the final version that Brown turned in.
Further down the control-scale we have the map generated for Marvel’s Age of Apocalypse, which just knocks out South America and the Middle East as “Atrocity Zone” or just irradiated wasteland, but also gives us San Francisco, Dallas, and Chicago while the “Human Settlements” in Africa (which, in comics scenes, plenty of exoticism and nonsense) are given no names or clarification.Sidenote: A cognitive map is a mental representation (and thereby a useful distortion) of the relative locations and attributes in a spatial environment. All maps of Wakanda, in print, are representative of cognitive maps.
The anglocentric nature of the map, that the only details are given over to the United States and to England, even in an anglophone comic, seems to run contrary to the intent of a map of the world, illustrating a world issue. It’s a serviceable map, but barely even that. And, even some people who worked intimately on the comics seem unsure how the map really came to be what it is. While the Gotham map may lack an authoritative author, it has authority, while this map does not even have that.
I mention these, primarily, to show the strength of the authorship and cohesive intent of the Coates and Manny Mederos map. But, divers hands or not, cognizant expressions or not, all of these maps are subject to the purviews of cultural ecology, behavioral geography, psychogeography, implicit history and the privileging of information and assumptions. Just because the Coates and Mederos map uses the phrase “political geography,” right on it, does not mean it has more of a political geography than those generated by cartographers or authors who did not use the phrase.Not intending something is never the same as not doing something. Intent does not govern effect. Warrior Falls and Black Warrior Creek to the east of “Mostly Uncharted” and north of Primitive Peaks, no matter how well-intended, had certain effects back when that map of Wakanda was created, and it has different, and perhaps more sharply-felt-by-a-wider-audience effects when considered today. Knocking out all of South America as “wasteland” and leaving Australia completely off your word map has effects. The AoA map isn’t a map of the world, but a map of an embarrassingly childish American perspective of the world. The Gotham map is articulate and full, and its use by storytellers as a settingSidenote: Cultural ecology is the study of human adaptations to social and physical environments. But, in fiction, the near-opposite occurs, and social and physical environments are adapted to primary characters and prefigured plots.
All maps are representative of cognitive maps. Presence and repetition, familiarity and novelty encourages our reflex perceptions and tells us our left from right, our uptown from downtown, why Australia is a continent and why Europe is one (and why some people expect Central America to be one). Maps aren’t topographies and geography. Maps, illustrate.
How we describe worlds describes us. What we accept, how we engage with maps, with the cultural and political ecologies drafted and concretized by authors can define us as readers. When I refer disparagingly to aspects of some of these maps, when I question or beg questions, I am not trying to insult, or even accuse the cartographers and authors. I am grateful for their good work, and for them having done it. Having done their work, the maps are – in many significant ways – no longer about them.
Woyaya – the catchy title song of the second album by Osibisa, a London-based Ghanaian and Caribbean Afro-pop band led by Teddy Osei – was released in 1971 and would frequently be heard in various settings throughout 1970-80’s Africa. By the time it was reissued in 2004 along with the self-titled first album [Osibisa], the song had been covered by musicians such as The 5th Dimension & Art Garfunkel . Wiyaala [click pics for music] provides a 2020 version of the classic in which, for Osibisa fans the uplifting expression “woyaya” has since come to literally mean “we are going…” Read More
“…She has touched the farthest star
Her beauty speaks of what we are
And her freedom makes us free
Her now is in eternity, infinite to all that see
And her dreams have been achieved
Now there is a sound of laughter
Nature sings out her name
For the world to know her fame… ~ Black Orchid ~” [Stevie Wonder – from ‘Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants’]
During the months of July and August, 2018 Mother Earth is responding to an amazing shift in the Harmonics of the Spheres. The Sun’s gravitational pull has aligned to one side of itself all of the planets in the solar system, each with their own unique frequencies. Read More
“If you don’t own your masters, your masters own you.” On his B’Earth’Day [June 7th] in 1993, Prince changed his name to the unpronounceable ‘Love Symbol’ of his recently released 14th studio album following disagreements with Warner Brothers [WB], the label which originally signed him in 1977. It was a public act of rebellion against WB’s restrictions over him and his prolific creativity. Likening their contractual relationship to one of indentured servitude or slavery, Prince explained: Read More
“When the moon is in the 7th House… And Jupiter aligns with Mars… Then peace will guide the planets… And love will steer the stars… This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius…” [Lyrics from “Age of Aquarius” by the 5th Dimension, 1969].
Humanity is said to be currently moving to its new astrological Age – an event which happens roughly every 2,000-plus years. We’re living through a transitional period Read More
“Great, another broken white boy for us to fix!” One of several funny lines from Black Panther delivered by Shuri in reference to CIA Agent Everett Ross. “What the hail!” My line when I left the theater on President’s Day with mixed feelings about the movie, but mostly about the droplets of ice which had just begun falling from LA’s South Bay skies onto my African head-wrap. Was this a sign? Movie promos had gone hard with Gil Scott Heron’s classic The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, I mused while trying to extract pieces of the odd weather from my son’s fro for inspection. But why not build a strategic alliance between African cousins rather than having T’Challa, in true bourgeois liberal fashion, make a Wakanda charity-case out of Killmonger’s Oakland after the fact? Mom, it’s not your story… Huh?! Read More
~ Posted in honor of African-American Music Appreciation Month, June 2017 ~
“The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal. The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly.” [Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss] Read More