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TOA Lesson 3
1. What is Medtu Neter? How is it different from other writing systems, especially the western writing system?
The Medtu Neter is the original name for the ancient Egyptian writing system often referred to as hieroglyphic text. It was given to Lord Khepri by Neberdjer and codified by the god Djeuty. The Medtu Neter dates back thousands of years, however Egyptologist records its conception to begin in 3400 B.C.E. Medtu Neter means ‘writings of the divine’ or ‘divine speech’. Metdu means walking stick and Neter means Divine, so in essence words (Medtu) support the Divine (Neter). Each symbol, term hieroglyph is a “tat”, image or a sign which means “to bring to life that which they symbolize or represent’. So a ‘tat’ bring forth the concept itself of a form or an object in creation. The types of hieroglyphs are phonetic, ideograms and determinatives. There are three kind of phonetic hieroglyphs; uniphonic (one sound), biphonic (two sounds) and triphonic (three sounds). Ideograms are pictorial signs which stands for the very object they represent, Determinatives are non-phonetic glyphs that serves multiple purposes. They can give extra understanding as well as they are used as word dividers. Even though all scriptures were written in Hieroglyphic or Hieratic script, certain differences is relative to the time period they were written in. The original hieroglyphic script was used in the early dynastic period (found in wisdom text such as Ptahotep and Ani), a cursive hieroglyphic script was used in the old kingdom, hieratic script in the middle kingdom to late period, demotic script in the late period and the coptic script was the last development.
One of the differences between the Medtu Neter and other writing systems lies in the culture and philosophy of the language itself. When The philosophy of enlightenment is the culture of the Medtu Neter while that of western writing systems is literal, mundane, superficial and lead to the opposite, cultural degradation. The Medtu Neter contains many layers or dimensions of meaning and this is what is necessary to transcend the basic literal aspect and discover the philosophy and thought process of the Kemetic culture to achieve enlightenment, the western alphabetic writing system is void of this process all together. Hence the hieroglyphs cannot be transcribed without the essence of the philosophy, its mythic and mystic components as the foundation or one would miss the point all together which many Egyptologists have.
2 List the important topics covered in the book readings about Ancient Egyptian writing system: Medtu Neter and why are they important for understanding Ancient Egyptian writing as well as philosophy contain in it?
The Medtu Neter is the longest lived human language. The earliest form of hieroglyphic writing was dated to 3400 B.C.E. by Egyptologists and the latest inscription 394 A.C.E. Around 450 A.C.E. the Roman Emperor Theodsius ordered the closure of the temples within the Roman Empire, ceasing the inscriptions of hieroglyphic texts. In the early 19th Century Jean-Francios Champollion and others deciphered the hieroglyphic script and its literal meaning through focus on phonetics. However, as mentioned earlier, the Medtu Neter contains many layers or dimensions of meaning. The Medtu Neter contains”… the teachings in reference to the spiritual nature of the human being and the ways to promote spiritual emancipation, awakening, or resurrection.” Hence the hieroglyphs cannot be properly transcribed without the essence of the philosophy, its mythic and mystic components as the foundation or one would miss the point all together and remain privy only to literal and superficial understanding. Because of this complexity, it’s important to understand that one must be initiated into philosophy to understand them. Which I gathered to mean that it must be lived.
The glyphs are indeed beautiful and seem ‘perfect’ with much detail and color which can lead to the perception that they are hard to read, but by the very nature of the language, it is actually easy to learn and read. I personally find this to be true as I am able to remember the meaning of a “tat” if I have seen it before easier than the meaning of say a word or a concept that’s only literal. The ‘tats’ though complex in its meaning seem to be less taxing on the mind in terms of cognizing. In addition, if one was able to speak the language, it would make it easier to write as well.
“The goddess Sesheta is the cosmic force that presides over the faculty of writing that is bringing ideas (cognition – thought) to a concrete form supported by the association with scripture and language…writing of the mysteries creates a dwelling place for the initiate, a place wherein the opening of eternity is possible.” Writing in Medtu Neter was indeed one of the important disciplines of priests and priestesses in Ancient Kemet not only to preserve the text but also “to develop the mind, to promote study of the spiritual teachings, and to engender the development of higher consciousness through continuous study and reflection on the teaching” which is the protocol for initiates of the Temple of Aset. It was interesting to find out it was also taught in elementary schools as one of the main subjects. The topic of writing and how important it was to Kemetic culture brought back the feeling I had on the trip to Kemet where I thought about the high level of devotion and focus it must of took to create the grandeur and beauty of the temples. Furthermore, the invention of writing itself was that of Ancient Kemet, and it did not go through an evolution process like the alphabet, which explains its highly developed civilization, one that was and is originally built on Nehast.
The topic which covered the history of the evolution of the alphabet (ancient Egyptian ˃ proto-Sinaitic ˃ Phoenician ˃ Greek ˃ Etruscan ˃ Roman ˃ modern) first thought to have been derived by the phoneticians (Cadmus) but which has its roots in Ancient Kemetic glyphs, was also important as it gave insights into how ignorance and misunderstanding can lead to degradation of culture and people. The evolution of the alphabet is void of the meaning, culture and philosophy from which it came from and this void is evident in western culture today.
Lastly, it is indeed important to ‘think’ in the context of the language. The following summarized succinctly the importance of understanding the Medtu Neter and the philosophy contained in it; “Language is not just a means of communication; it actually frames our reference of thought. When one begins to “think” in a language, one is actually participating in the higher aspect of language that reflects one’s consciousness as a community and as a human being. Therefore, the language of a people needs to reflect their concept of self and their hopes, aspirations and dreams. Writing structures thought, so it follows that an image-based language will have a different effect on the mind than an alphabetic system. ”
3. What are the main takeaways from the Introduction to Hieroglyphics video, the important teaching to remember about the Medtu Neter and how it works in principle?
I gathered that the teaching of the origin, history and purpose of the Medtu Neter is important to remember because then the approach to the teachings and philosophy in general would be with an elevated understanding that the Medtu Neter is ‘divine speech’ and words (medtu) support the divine in the realm of time and space which when processed through thoughts and feelings reveals the wisdom that enlighten us about the divine and ourselves. Meaning, the hieroglyphs are ‘tat’ ‘image’ or signs which bring to life that which they symbolize or represent in the mind/astral body, one glyph is layered with different meanings which is deciphered based on one’s level of understanding of the ‘tat’ or image, this gave me a little more insight into the meaning of the “Hidden Divinity”, as Sebai mentioned in the video, the divine is hidden everywhere, including the philosophy and tats waiting to be discovered.
In the video Sebai also talked about the symbol of the mummy wrapped up and its representation of the divine being ‘wrapped up’ or ‘caught up’ in the different realms of time and space (hidden). The wrappings around the mouth symbolizes the incapacity to speak. The Medtu Neter and the philosophy it represents, is to remove these restrictions and make one maakheru, pure of speech. So in essence the Metdu Neter points to enlightenment because as Sebai reiterated throughout the different lessons, the real value of a language allows you to think within the context of the culture and philosophy of the language, and the language of Ancient Kemet, the Medtu Neter is that of enlightenment.
I thought it was interesting to compare the ancient Kemetic culture of enlightenment and how the Medtu Neter was approach vs. the western culture’s approach to language. Even though the alphabet that makes up the western language evolved from a culture of enlightenment the approach of ignorance created a different result, a degraded culture which continues to infiltrate the minds of people through degraded images and symbols instead of images that have the capacity to reveal righteousness and truth found in the ‘tats’ that make up and support the Medtu Neter.