Today completed the first week of my doctoral program at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Because I’m doing my degree online, all of our assignments are posted via the school ‘virtual campus’ program Angel Learning System.
So, I thought I could begin sharing some of my ‘posts’ with my community through this blog. I will start with my response to one of the reading assignments from my Spiritual Perspective class; an article by Angeles Arrien entitled: Discovering the Universal Journey.
When Arrien asks if the Ten Commandments are universal, my first thoughts return to the ancient teachings from Kemet (Egypt). Which is where you find what many scholars believe are the original inspiration for the Ten Commandments.
“The Netcher* Maat was associated with the seven cardinal virtues, the keys to human perfectibility: truth, justice, propriety, harmony, balance, reciprocity and order. The seven virtues and the 42 Admonitions of Maat were the guidelines for correct moral behavior. They were written approximately 1,500 years before the Ten Commandments” (Browder, 2000, p. 22) A detailed comparison can be found in the book Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization. (Browder, 2000) *a Netcher is a deity. The cardinal virtues of Maat played an important role in my own spiritual development. Especially during my twenties when I was trying to figure out how to live my life in a more self-actualized manner (more on this in future posts).
I greatly enjoyed reading the Ten Oxherding Pictures with Commentary and Verses. I particularly liked how it showed the journey of coming into what is sometimes called Christ Consciousness or living Buddha. It reminded me of another ancient text, this one from the Yoruba people in Nigeria called the Odù Ifá which dates back thousands of year. There is one story in particularly of three friends that journey to earth; I’d like to share it, but unfortunately I don’t have the reference. So, instead I thought it would be fitting to mention one of our great scholars Dr. Maulana Karenga who published a book entitled: Odù Ifá: The Ethical Teachings. (Karenga, 1999) In it he’s selected Odù (divine stories) that have an ethical message.
I won’t go into detail here (as I’m already way past my 200 words), but each Odù has a number and name. In the case of the one I want to share, it would be 78:1 Ìrosù Wòrì. I’ve attached it as a PDF. Basically, it tells of what is needed to bring good into the world. Perhaps it speaks to what Arrien says are “themes or issues that concern us as a species and …begin to uncover what has ‘meaning’ for us in our species-hood” (p. 3)
Browder, A. (2000). Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization: Exploring The Myths – Volume 1 Study Guide. Washington, DC: The Institute of Karmic Guidance.
Karenga, M. (1999). Odù Ifá: The Ethical Teachings Translation and Commentary, A Kawaida Interpretation. Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press.