Monday, November 1, 2010
Do Minority Religions Own the Past?
Modern Druids are making a fuss about ancient human remains on display in museums in Britain. How it is any of their business one cannot begin to guess. I suppose they need to think of ways to stay in the media's ever-hungry headlights... and claiming to be 'new indigenes' - likening themselves to colonised peoples such as Australian Aboriginals or Native Americans who do have a legitimate claim to have their actual relatives owned by museums re-buried - seems to be working for them. It is difficult however, to see how Druid claims regarding museum objects such as, for example the Babylonian plaque, the 'Queen of the Night', are actually 'Druid'. The behavior of Honouring the Ancient Dead (HAD), the group spearheading this activity, is unnecessary, appears contrived, and smacks of self-publicity under the guise of a virtuous ‘cause’.
Interestingly, one of the articles on this subject uses an image (above) of the transvestite Roman-era mummy that Golden Dawn member, Florence Farr, believed was her ancient Egyptian 'Adept' spirit guide, Mutemmenu, a Chantress of Amun. Indeed, this mummy was in Mutemmenu's coffin, which dates from the 19th or 20th Dynasties (1295-1186 or 1186-1069 BCE). The actual mummy however, dates to the Roman period (30 BCE–395 CE) and is actually that of a man whose wrappings are padded and swathed so as to imitate feminine features such as breasts and rounded thighs. I've written all about it in 'Women's Voices in Magic'. Not all contemporary Pagans are pro-reburial of human remains in museums however. Pagans for Archaeology are not, and I don't think Florence Farr would have been either, seeing as she used to visit this mummy regularly for conversation and advice. It is interesting that HAD’s attitude is a complete turnaround in this regard.