Dear Friends,

On this Autumnal Equinox, I bring you the story of Hatshepsut (Hat Shep Soot), believed to be the second of Egypt's female pharaohs. 

She was one of the most prolific builders in Ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper and Lower Egypt.  Yes, she believed in infrastructure.

Her monuments were carved with proclamations by the god Amun:

"Welcome my sweet daughter, my favorite, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the Pharaoh, taking possession of the Two Lands."

Hatshepsut is sometimes depicted with the traditional regalia of kilt, crowning head-cloth and false beard. In Egyptian artistic convention, causing herself to be depicted as a traditional male king, Hatshepsut ensured that this is what she would become.

Following her death, her step-son Thutmose III ruled Egypt alone for 33 years. At the end of his reign, attempts were made to remove all traces of Hatshepsut's rule. Her statues were torn down, her monuments defaced, and her name removed from the official king list. Early scholars disagree on his motives – vengeance?  Or was he was simply ensuring that his succession would run through the male line without female interruption? 

She was nearly lost to history.

In this photograph, she holds offerings to the Goddess Maat, affirming that truth, justice and the balance they create are the guiding principles of her reign.  I've written four haiku, each prompted by the image.

Autumn Equinox - September 22, 2021

Hot Egyptian suns
these unkind Museum lights
a kind of justice --

Running through me, cracks,
space between what is and was …
still I kneel to Maat.

Balanced -- truth, justice:
treacherous step-son vanished.
Offering bowls full

The Beautiful Feast
leads always to me, parades
to my temple door.