What Would You Carve on Your Obelisk or Totem?

October 16, 2008
If you were to have someone carve symbols that would demonstrate the characteristics you want remembered about you, would would they be?

Impressions of Egypt Number 2

In keeping with the blog’s theme of “Enrich Your Life, Enrich Your Relationships,” this is one of several posts about a trip we took in December 2007, to Egypt. It definitely enriched my life and expanded my understanding of that country, and of the many challenges they face as they evolve into a different kind of country than the one I visited. — Note added in 2011 after the spring revolution

This entry could also be filed as one of my “visual viewpoints” you may have seen in earlier posts.

Egyptian obelist

One of the places we visited was an ancient quarry in Luxor that showed how the Egyptians carved obelisks out of stone many miles from the place they were to be erected. The large stone that was to have been an obelisk centuries ago lies on the ground with a crack that wasn’t discovered until the work was partway done. Imagine being the carver that had to tell the boss, “Ups, sorry. I know we spent the last three years and all these slaves working on this piece, but it just isn’t gone to work.”

We were impressed with how beautifully and skillfully hieroglyphics and figures were carved in the temples and palaces. It is amazing that such talent could be done without the modern tools on which we depend today. I only wish I could have understood the meaning behind the hieroglyphics. Fortunately, the Rosetta Stone was found in 1799 and many of previously unknown carvings on not only obelisks but in temples and palaces came to life. Since then, much has been discovered about the ancient world that would have been a mystery without the translation of the Rosetta Stone.

Unfortunately, the fortunes of the pharaohs and kings were not long-lived, for when the next power behind the throne or religion was toppled, so were many of the monuments to the previous leaders. Consequently, there are many defaced carvings. The Christians removed the faces of many, leaving the rest of the beautiful bodies because they feared the people would revert to their old beliefs. It is sad, for the quality of the carvings that remain are exceptional.

In any case, in planning to use this picture for the Pictures-on-the-Wall Series, I thought about an article I had written on Support4Change. In it, I suggested you consider what symbols you would have carved for all to see that represent who you are, or who you hope to be.

Imagine you are given an obelisk or totem pole and can have anything on it you wish. What would you carve, or have carved, to represent who you are or to tell a story you want everyone to know about you?

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