KEMET UNIVERSITY HOME › Forums › Teachings of the Temple of Aset Discussion Forum › Teachings of Temple of Aset Lesson 3 Discussion Forum › Reply To: Teachings of Temple of Aset Lesson 3 Discussion Forum
TOA LESSON 3 – LESSON QUESTIONS
1. What is Medtu Neter? How is it different from other writing systems, especially the western writing system?
Medtu Neter in the Kemetic language means “Divine speech” and was represented in ideographic writing called “hieroglyphs.” It was illuminated in the video lecture that the word “hieroglyph” is Greek in origin and can be translated as “heiros,” meaning sacred and “glypho,” which means inscriptions. In the ancient Kemetic language individual signs were referred to as “tat” which is explained as meaning “to make to live the things they represent in a philosophical realm—a living rendition of reality.”
The word “Medtu” actually means staff or walking stick that is used by Tem at the end of the day. This means that words are a support for the Divine (Neter) and Divine ideas in the world of time and space. In addition, the Medtu Neteru has both visual and phonetic symbols. In fact, iconography is actually part of the Kemetic language. There are three kinds of phonetic hieroglyphs, namely “uniphonic,” “biphonic,” and “triphonic.” Examples of each include the glyph for “m,” represented by the owl, meaning “as,” the glyphs for “m” and “n” (pronounced men) meaning “established,” and finally, the glyphs for “h,” “t,” and “p” (pronounced hetep or hotep) which means “peace” or “offering.”
Additionaly, thre are “ideograms” which represent the entire word. The example given was the Kemetic word “ab,” meaning heart, represented by a glyph in the image of a heart shape. “Determinatives” are non-phonetic glyphs that provide specific information which determines the meaning of a word. Hieroglyphs can be read from left to right or right to left depending on which way the glyphs are facing. They can also be read in a linear direction from top to bottom.
This is a nutshell description of the sophisticated Kemetic writing system which dates back to 3400 B.C.E. and is the precursor to the modern Western alphabet by way of Greece/Rome thousands of years after ancient Kemet. Medtu Neter differs greatly from the Western alphabet in many ways. Firstly it is artistic and pleasing to the eye, allowing for instant cognition with the use of ideograms and determinatives, unlike Western writing based on individual letters to build words. The combination of phonetic glyphs combined with determinatives is an effective way to communicate ideas and meanings of words, rather than the Western way of communicating an idea by stringing together descriptive words to paint a picture or convey an idea.
Hieroglyphic writing does not necessarily make use of so-called “vowels” to construct a word phonetically, however, the Kemetic writing system does have vowels such as the quail chick glyph for the “o” or “u” and the single or double reed glyph to make the “I” or “y” sounds respectively, as well as the vulture glyph for the “a” etc. By comparison modern Western writing can only be read letter by letter from left to right, making it a left brain activity as opposed to the Kemetic hieroglyphs which can be read from either direction, as well as from top to bottom, providing balance between right and left brain activity. ASL (American sign language) borrows from the Kemetic model by using hand gestures to phonetically spell words and certain signs that actually mean an entire word. However, the most glaring difference between modern Western writing and Kemetic Medtu Neteru is that the Divine is completely omitted out of the modern alphabet.
Htp, Shems Heryt