Saturday, 8 September 2007


The Fields of 5 - HoTeP
hymn to Hathor from the 18th Dynasty:

The beauty of your face
Glitters when you rise
Oh come in peace.
One is drunk
At your beautiful face,
O Gold, Hathor.

The above pictures show Hathor, in her bovine aspect, with Sun-disk between horns amongst papyrus plants in the Western Paradise in a picture from the Book of the Dead, and in he female aspect shaking the rattle known as the Sistrum

Egyptian writing didn’t use vowels, but we add them in to make the words easier to pronounce. So htp is usually written as hotep or hetep. It means ‘satisfaction’. It was used in phrases like ‘The Field of Satisfaction’ - the paradise of the Afterlife.

So anyway, I’d gone to the gym, which on this occasion had required the consumption of a certain amount of coffee to boost my motivation, and then afterwards I was thinking about how to ‘come down’ a bit, to smooth off the caffeine vibe. I decided upon a combination of cider, St John’s Wort and 5-HTP. 5-HTP, or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is sold by health-food shops as a precursor to melatonin, the brain's natural relaxation / sleep chemical, and is also a chemical precursor to serotonin, the brain chemical that causes feelings of satisfaction. High melatonin levels at night are related to high serotonin levels during the day, and visa versa. Seratonin makes the body feel satisfied. When you’ve had some carbohydrate, for example, your brain signals to your body “Now we are sated”, and the body relaxes, enjoying the release of serotonin. Also after orgasm. And the chemical abbreviation actually spells out this Egyptian word for satisfaction, htp. I like that. So there I was, having taken my 5-hotep, sitting supping cider in the Bull in Ditchling, and they were playing a compilation of ambient lounge classics, you know the sort of thing. “If your fond of sand dunes….” I started to feel quite blissy - maybe it was the fusion of the coffee, the HTP and the post-gym endorphins. The one thing to bear in mind with HTP is that it is also a precursor to the sleep chemical; it can go either way. In fact I usually just take it to help get a restful night’s sleep. But it seems from my experience that perhaps the caffeine can be enough to signal to the body not to fall asleep, enough to tip the 5-HTP towards the serotonin pathway.

So I’m sitting there and suddenly this htp / satisfaction thing really starts to speak to me, like I’ve entered the Field of Satisfaction. Cosmically satisfied. Forget L-ucy in the S-ky with D-iamonds, we’re talking H-athor in T-ranquility with P-apyrus. Hathor is the Egyptian cow goddess of beauty, dance, sensuality, alcohol - in short, pleasure. She was often depicted standing amid the papyrus thickets of the Afterlife paradise. Picture yourself in a boat on the Great Waterway. Look for the girl with the Sun between her horns. Let me take you down, cos’ I’m going to the Fields of Satisfaction. I CAN get my… Sa-tis-fac-tion. You get the general idea. Reminds me of a post-St John’s Wort poem (actually song) I wrote a while back (St John's Wort increases the accumulation of serotonin in the brain):

I have tasted Satisfaction from my head down to my toes
Contentment like cows munching where the tall papyrus grows
My love her beauty's like the flowers that grace the heavens’ lawns
Beauty’s like the goddess with the Sun between her horns

In fields of Satisfaction with the grass as tall as trees
Have you heard it whisper when it’s blowing in the breeze?
Or seen the ibis wading where the crystal water flows
Down amongst the marshes where the tall papyrus grows?

It now occurs to me that this song could have a chorus:

Hathor in Tranquility with Papyrus!
Hathor in Tranquility with Papyrus!

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