Megaliths, Shamen & the City Builders – the hidden connections (cont.)
By Lucy Wyatt
The total Civilisation Concept
I refer to this archetype as the ‘Ur-concept’ of civilisation. The Egyptians called it living in ma’at living in truth – the goddess Ma’at having the feather of truth. But I prefer ‘Ur’ which in this context doesn’t just mean the famous city which Sir Leonard Woolley excavated in the 1920s in southern Iraq (and in my opinion mistakenly identified as the Biblical ‘Ur of the Chaldees’ as I have good reason to believe that was another Ur elsewhere); Ur in this context has a meaning of ‘foundation’ and as such can be found in names like Jerusalem (Uru-shalem – ie ‘foundation of peace’).
The best way to describe this Ur concept is to imagine a colour wheel plus white. The archetype was based on all the usual attributes we attribute to civilized city living: straightness/accuracy/precision/ balance/design/ infrastructure /organisation.
Figure: The 'Ur' concept of civilisation
If any part of the circle is more important than any other it is the temple at the centre which holds all the other parts in balance. It was the priesthood that supervised the foundation of cities, the construction of the great engineering works and monumental architecture; sanctioned the trading exchanges; determined the calendar and predicted the weather; educated the young and kept written records; healed the sick and helped the dying on their way; they understood the importance of the soul (the psyche) and its role in reincarnation and immortality. Were they also the ones who genetically adapted wild animals into domesticated versions?
There are also the relationships across the wheel: all forms of communication (trade, travel and education); the individual body, cared for through the art of cooking, and link between food and medicine; agriculture (domestication of animals & organized arable production); and power. Power in this context refers to political power (administration, justice, architecture and infrastructure), and religious power, the defined roles of the priesthood; the critical relationship between priest and king – the melchizedek - the shamanic part.
This is an archetype which exists for all time and in all places which is why the same characteristics appear in the Near East as in the Indus Valley, in Phoenicia, in Minoan Crete, and in Central and Southern America (and possibly the Far East – but I haven’t explored that aspect). Egypt became the best example of it.