Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ma'at's Mysteries: The Roots of Renewal
by Larsen, Laurie Sue, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2018, 330; 10846811
Abstract (Summary)

In searching for restorative stories that elevate understanding and engender the capacity for seeing through the cultural chaos and confusion of modern times, this dissertation turns to Egypt at the beginning of its recorded history, approximately 3100 BCE. The ancient Egyptians faced many of the same challenges facing the world today, and they learned to weather them by creating a resilient cultural model that endured cycles of growth and decline. Their culture perpetuated while adapting and transforming. In their surviving records are some of their rituals, practices, and beliefs that provide much-needed perspectives, observations, and stories that contributed to their own renewal and capacity to regenerate their culture.

The mythological roots of renewal in ancient Egypt reveals one deity in particular who embodies the capacity to harmonize and balance the opposites—Ma‘at. She is central to the act of fostering daily reciprocal relationship and maintaining the flow of energy between the divine and the human realms. She is both the daughter of the solar god Re and his source of life. She is the embodiment of the cosmic patterns and natural laws. She is the incarnation of the offerings to the gods and their reciprocal response flowing back to the human realm. She governs the tides of justice, truth, balance, and harmony.

The collective psyche’s inherent capacity for renewal and resilience is revealed through Ma‘at’s story and prominence in Egyptian history. Their images and literature reveal that in the presence of Ma‘at, it is possible for human consciousness to discover the transcendent space where opposites reconcile to initiate new harmony, create unity, and guide all things to their rightful place. Balancing and harmonizing any duality creates a continuous circulation of energy in the psyche. This circulation has the potential to birth a conscious, ethical heart, an awakened heart which—as these ancient people would say—directs our saying and our doing. By recognizing Ma‘at’s essential characteristics, understanding her relationship with her fellow deities, and identifying her foundational role within the ancient Egyptian civilization it is possible to participate in the awakening of Ma‘at’s roots of renewal in our own times.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pye, Lori
Commitee: Wikman, Monika, van Löben Sels, Robin
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy of religion, Comparative religion, Spirituality
Keywords: Ancient Egypt, Eros, Goddess Ma'at, Holoscopic perspective, Reciprocity, Renewal
Publication Number: 10846811
ISBN: 9780438267848
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