…playing with some ‘Elementymology’ and thinking about things alkaline, the Goddess Kali and the nature of the soul…
Al•kali•ne → Al•kali → Kali → Ka
Alkaline diets and Alkaline Water are a hot trend these days. There is increasing faith in all things alkaline along with some evidence of therapeutic success in the treatment, cure and prevention of disease, especially cancer. There is however information from the medical field that strongly suggests that increasing alkaline intake is less effective. Our blood is already alkaline and our body requires acidic compounds for digestion and even produces some with strengths between vinegar and battery acid. Diets including acidic compounds are now increasingly avoided, but the body’s systems already regulate and maintain our blood pH right around 7.4.
We may not be able to just “drink our troubles away” after all.
“Our blood pH is very (and I mean VERY) tightly regulated to be almost exactly 7.4 (maybe 7.35, but let’s use 7.4 so I don’t have to type more), which is in fact slightly alkaline. There are multiple systems in place to keep our blood pH at or very near this level.”
“Lots of diseases—or actually, all human diseases, can survive just fine in an alkaline environment, since our blood is alkaline.”
“But it is also true that if you make the environment alkaline enough, nothing can survive. You could pour, say, lye (sodium hydroxide, with a pH of about 13), onto tumor cells in a laboratory dish, or bacteria, or yeast, and you would kill them in an instant. But is this a useful therapeutic method? If your blood were infused with sodium hydroxide you would be dead long before it got to a pH of 13. I don’t think experiments have been done to test exactly what blood pH is lethal, but I can assure you it is nowhere near 13. Probably about 7.8.”
“So if you eat or drink something slightly alkaline (say, 7.5 or 8.0) it will be immediately overwhelmed by the gastric acid, and what enters your duodenum (the first part of the small intestine after your stomach) is going to be at the pH of your gastric secretions, more or less. Maybe around pH 3 or 4. Is a slightly alkaline water going to stand a chance against the wildly acidic environment of the stomach?
Then bear in mind this: Immediately after the stomach contents goes into the duodenum, it is met with a huge load of bicarbonate ions secreted by the pancreas, which immediately neutralizes any acidity. And this all happens before anything is actually absorbed into the body.
Another aspect of this is the concept of “alkaline foods”. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding of an almost irrelevant idea from old food physiology research, which looked at the pH not of foods, but of the ash left over after foods were burned. The vague idea that burning something and looking at the residue left over applied to our physiology of digestion has led to the concept that certain foods are “acidic” and others are “alkaline”. This was not the intent of the original research, but for some reason has been taken on by alternative medicine as a way of directing dietary choices, and then there was the birth of alkaline water.”
Mike Condron, M.D.
excerpts from Quora: If no disease,
including cancer, can survive in an
alkaline environment, then why
aren’t doctors using this method
to heal their patients?
So what is it about alkaline that we find so attractive and meaningful? What else can we find using intuition and looking at the science, the history and the mythology?
Alkaline refers to any of various bases having the properties of an alkali, or containing alkali, and having a pH greater than 7. Alkaline also refers to the hydroxides of alkali metals and of ammonium compounds.
In chemistry, an alkali is a basic, ionic salt of an alkali metal or alkaline earth metal chemical element. An alkali also can be defined as a base that dissolves in water. A solution of a soluble base has a pH greater than 7.0. Alkalis are chemical compounds that neutralize or effervesce with acids and turn litmus paper blue.
Ashes to Ashes…
In Arabic al-qalī means “the ashes, burnt ashes” (historically of the plant commonly known as saltwort, which thrives in soda due to growing in alkaline soils). From the Arabic term qala we also get “to roast in a pot or pan.”
Soda Ash is a common name for Sodium Carbonate. It is the inorganic compound with the formula Na₂CO₃ and its various hydrates. All forms are white, water-soluble salts. All forms have a strongly alkaline taste and give moderately alkaline solutions in water. Historically it was extracted from the ashes of plants growing in sodium-rich soils.
The element sodium was also known as natrium (hence the Na symbol used when written in its formula) or nitrum to the Romans, neter to the Israelites, (nit(i)ru) to the Akkadians, nTrj (netjeri) to the Ancient Egyptians, and nitron to the Greeks, eventually becoming known as niter or natron.
Natron is white to colourless mineral salt when pure, varying to gray or yellow with impurities. Natron was used for medicine, cookery, agriculture, in glass-making and to dehydrate egyptian mummies. The medicinal uses are known thanks to egyptian pharaonic, greek and latin texts, which are rich with hundreds of recipes.
“The soil of El-Kab literally effloresces with the natron, which, it was discovered, preserved the bodies buried in it; and even as late as the time of the Pyramid texts of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, when the northern sources of natron were known, it was still necessary for ceremonial purposes that the materials used by the embalmers should contain some of the natron of El-Kab.”
Rev Hist Pharm (Paris). 1996.
Historical natron was harvested directly as a salt mixture from dry lake beds in ancient Egypt, and has been used for thousands of years as a cleaning product for both the home and body. Blended with oil, it was an early form of soap. It softens water while removing oil and grease. Undiluted, natron was a cleanser for the teeth and an early mouthwash. The mineral was mixed into early antiseptics for wounds and minor cuts. Natron can be used to dry and preserve fish and meat. It was also an ancient household insecticide, and was used for making leather as well as a bleach for clothing.
The mineral was used during mummification ceremonies in ancient Egypt because it absorbs water and behaves as a drying agent. Moreover, when exposed to moisture, the carbonate in natron increases pH (raises alkalinity), which creates a hostile environment for bacteria. Natron was thought to enhance spiritual safety for both the living and the dead. The Pyramid texts even describe how natron pellets were used as funerary offerings.
Another alkaline/alkali known as Potash is an alkaline potassium compound, especially potassium carbonate or hydroxide of various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form. Its formula is K₂CO₃. The name derives from pot ash, which refers to plant ashes soaked in water in a pot, the primary means of manufacturing the product before the industrial era. The word Potassium comes from potash. However, when written in chemical notation, potassium is represented with the letter K.
Potassium was known in its Mediaeval Latin form as Kalium, most likely derived from the Arabic al-qalī or alkali. “Natron” was a designation for mineral alkali and “Kali” was applied to vegetable alkali.
Martin Heinrich Klaproth, suggested in his paper for the Royal Academy of Berlin of 26, January 1797:
“The word potash, in the new chemical nomenclature upgraded to a generic name, can not claim general acceptance in Germany, since it has only a bad etymological value and merely finds its origin in the fact that in former years for burning out the condensed lye of wood ashes an iron pot (lower saxon Pott) was used in stead of the modern calcination oven.
My proposal is: to determine the name Kali instead of the present names vegetable alkali, vegetable lye salt, potash etc.; and to return to its old name Natron instead of the names mineral alkali, soda etc.).”
Elementymology & Elements Multidict
•In 1807 Sir Humphrey Davy was the first to isolate metallic sodium along with potassium using electrolysis of caustic soda. Upon making his discovery public, the names natron and kali, and natrium and kalium, were replaced with sodium and potassium and naturalized into modern language.
There is a source of vegetable alkali that comes in the form of the annual Kali turgidum or Kali tragus plant, commonly known as prickly saltwort or prickly glasswort. It is a succulent halophyte that grows where the water is salty.
In the medieval and early modern centuries the Kali plant and others like it were collected. The collected plants were burned. The resulting ashes were mixed with water. Sodium carbonate is soluble in water, but the non-soluble components of the ashes would sink to the bottom of the water container. The water with the sodium carbonate dissolved in it was then transferred to another container, and then the water was evaporated off, leaving behind the sodium carbonate. Another major component of the ashes, that is soluble in water, is potassium carbonate. The resulting product consisted mainly of a mixture of sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate, with smaller quantities of variant hydroxides and alkalis.
Ma Kālī , The Great Mother Goddess
In Sanskrit, the meaning of the word Kali suggests blackness, the color blue, and time. The root word of this name is kala, meaning time. It also means ‘black and dark colored’. It also refers to the Lord of Death, Shiva who is ‘eternal time’. Thus his consort, Kali, is also ‘Time’ or death. Kali is the feminine form of kala. It describes that she is time itself or beyond time. In the ‘Shabdakalpadrum’ dictionary is the phrase, “Kalah Sivah tasya patniti Kali,” meaning “Shiva is Kala (time) and thus his wife is Kali”. Thus she is the power of time which devours all.
Generally she is the central deity of Time. She created the world and destroys it. She is beyond time and space. After the destruction of the Universe, at the end of the great cycle, she collects the seeds of the next creation. She destroys the finite to reveal the Infinite. This Black Goddess is death, but to the wise she is also the death of death.
Symbolism of Kālī
Ma Kali, The Great Mother Goddess, is the Source, the One that gives birth to all. Known as the ‘slayer of demons,’ she destroys the army of mind-born delusions symbolized by demons that cause a separation between our true Self and the Divine. To our limited and contracted ego, she appears to strike terror while in reality, She is Supremely beautiful, beloved and of incomparable grace overwhelming with love. Kali is never understood by the intellect. She and the essence She symbolises are beyond the mind. She is felt in the heart. One may assemble her by letting the mind step aside and allow the heart and soul to ponder Her greatness.
Mother is considered to be the earliest manifestation of annihilation in the Hindu pantheon. This figure of annihilation has its opposing Divine Mother, the ‘redeemer of the universe’ role. She destroys only to recreate and it is sin, ignorance, ego and decay that she annihilates. It is Rudra-Shiva that destroys creation and Kali is the power or energy on which the Lord Acts. Thus she is Shiva-Shakti without which Shiva could not act. In their ‘kala’ they both assume dark formlessness. In their void they are yet full of potential.
History Of Kālī
“The name Kālī first appears in the Atharva Veda, a collection of hymns and mantras published between 1200 BCE and 1000 BCE. However she is not a goddess but rather a fierce black tongue, one of seven belonging to Agni, the god of fire. It is another 400 years before Kali is described as an individual in her own right, when she appears around 600 CE in the Devimahatmya as a battlefield goddess personifying the wrath of Durga.”
“While Kali was well integrated into the Vedic, or orthodox, Hindu tradition from the first, she also developed a parallel relationship with Tantra. Tantric teachings are a collection of ancient magical stories and folk practices that exist alongside the Vedic tradition, and could be considered to hold to the wild tribal origins of Kali more faithfully than the Vedic. One of the meanings of Kali’s name is “force of time”. In this aspect she is considered to stand outside of the constraints of space-time and have no permanent qualities; she existed before the universe was created and will continue to exist after the universe ends. Limitations of the physical world such as colour, light, good and bad do not apply to Kali. She is a symbol of Mother Nature herself – primordial, creative, nurturing and devouring in turn, but ultimately loving and benevolent. In this aspect of goodness she is referred to as Kali Ma, Mother Kali, or Divine Mother, and many millions of Hindus revere and worship her in this form.”
“Today, her image reflects her duality. Kali is depicted in the act of killing but smiles engagingly. Her protruding red tongue signals both modesty (a Bengali tradition) and her thirst for blood. Her dishevelled hair hints at unrestrained blood lust and alternatively the metaphysical mystery of death that encircles life. Her three eyes represent omniscience, her voluptuous breasts both sexual lust and nurturance. Her nakedness simultaneously represents carnality and purity. Her necklace of severed heads and girdle of severed arms signifies her killing rage but are also tantric metaphors for creative power and severance from the bonds of karma and accumulated deeds. Even her stance is imbued with dual meaning. The respectable, right handed path of Tantra (Dakshinamarga) is emphasised by her right foot forward stance, while the infamous left-handed path (Vamamarga) followed by “degenerate” Tantric practitioners such as the Aghori is down-played. While her right hands are generally associated with positive gestures, her left hands hold weaponry – depending on the number of arms she is portrayed as having, a bloodied sword or trident, a freshly severed head and a skull cup to catch the blood. However, even these are symbols of greater purpose. The sword symbolises higher knowledge, the head the human ego that must be severed in order to exit from the cycle of life and rebirth.”
“In the 20th and 21st centuries, many western feminist scholars have adopted Kali as a mascot of female empowerment, or have politicised her as a symbol of the supposed former matriarchal golden age that came before our present state of patriarchal control and decline. New Age Tantric practitioners adapt her obvious sexual manifestations as a therapeutic tool, while Hollywood employs her as a convenient symbol of malevolence. But Kali, the true Kali, will continue to defy all attempts to tame and domesticate her, as she has since the beginning of time.”
Similarly complex is the Ancient Egyptian concept of the Ka. The Ka can be said to be “the fire that has the dual power to destroy or illuminate.”
The Ka, known as the Double, is one of the spiritual and physical components of the individual person. Some other parts are known as the Form or Body ( Khet ), the Personality/Soul ( Ba ), the Intellect ( Akh ), the Heart ( Ib ), the Name ( Ren ) and the Shadow ( Sheut ).
Simply put, the Ka is the spiritual entity, the vital essence aspect of the individual, believed to live within the body during life and to leave it and survive at the time of death. The exact significance of the Ka remains a matter of controversy, chiefly for lack of a clear Egyptian definition. The translation, “Double,” is not universally accepted.
It was believed that everyone was born with a Ka that was uniquely theirs. Each Ka was a life force. The Ka is sometimes represented in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics by a drawing of a little person standing next to a picture of the same person drawn much larger. Sometimes the Ka was represented by two arms, outstretched. This was to ward off evil.
When a person died, their Ka continued to live. The Ka needed the same nourishment that a person needed, even after they died. That’s why the ancient Egyptians painted pictures of food on the walls of their tombs. They believed the Ka did not actually eat these paintings, but rather absorbed the life giving force they represented, so the Ka could live forever. The Ka, it was believed, flew happily off each morning to enjoy the afterlife and in the evening it rejoined the Khet and the Ba. Egyptian culture believed the body was home in the afterlife to a person’s Ka and Ba. Without it they would be condemned to eternal wandering.
Embalming In Egypt
The actual process of embalming as practiced in ancient Egypt was governed by definite religious ritual. A period of seventy days was required for the preparation of the mummy, and each step in the procedure was co-ordinated with relevant priestly ceremonies.
Removal of those parts most subject to putrefaction was the initial step in preparing a corpse for mummification. The embalmers placed the body on a narrow, table-like stand and proceeded to their task. The brain was removed through the nostrils by means of various metal probes and hooks. Such a method necessarily reduced the brain to a fragmentary state, and, as no remains of it are associated with mummies, we may assume that it was discarded. An incision was then made in the left flank of the body to permit removal of the viscera, with the exception of the heart, which was left in the body.
The liver, the lungs, the stomach, and the intestines were each placed in a separate jar, the Canopic Jars, and consigned to the protection of a particular divinity. Next came the preservation of the body itself. This was accomplished in a manner somewhat similar to that of drying fish. But instead of common salt, Natron, a mixture of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, with sodium chloride (common salt) and sodium sulphate as impurities, was used. The body was then ready to be bound into that compact bundle we know as a mummy.
The emptied body was covered in natron, to speed up the process of dehydration and prevent decomposition. Natron dries the body up faster than desert sand, preserving the body better. Often finger and toe protectors were placed over the mummies fingers and toes to prevent breakage. Small parcels of natron wrapped in linen were placed inside the body.
After that, they were wrapped in a sheet of canvas to further protect them. Many sacred charms and amulets were placed in and around the mummy and the wrappings. This was meant to protect the mummy from harm and to give good luck to the Ka. Once preserved, the mummies were laid to rest in a sarcophagus inside a tomb, where it was believed that the mummy would rest eternally.
sourced from Crystalinks
“In Sumerian the word Zi signified “life” and was denoted by the picture of a flowering reed. It was the life on which was imprinted the form of the body that was for a time its home, and its separation from the body meant the death of the latter. The Sumerians never advanced to the further stage of making the vital principle itself a separate quality; perhaps the original signification of the word which it never lost would have prevented this. But they did go on to transform the Zi into a spirit or demon, who, in place of being the counterpart of some individual person or thing, could enter at will into any object he chose. Even in Egypt, traces of the same logical progress in ideas may perhaps be found. If professor Maspero is right in his interpretation of certain passages in the Pyramid texts and Ptolemaic papyri, “The double did not allow its family to forget it, but used all the means at its disposal to remind them of its existence. It entered their houses and their bodies, terrified them, waking and sleeping, by its sudden apparitions, struck them down with disease or madness, and would even suck their blood like the modern vampire. Such a conception of the Ka, however, if ever it existed, must have soon passed away, leaving behind it but few vestiges of itself.
I have dwelt thus long on the doctrine of the Ka or double on account both of its importance and the difficulties it presents to the modern scholar. Its discovery by Professor Maspero and Sir P. Le Page Renouf cleared away a host of misconceptions, and introduced light into one of the darkest corners of Egyptian religion. And however strange it may seem to us, it was in thorough accordance with the simple logic of primitive man. Given the premises, the conclusion followed. It was only when the Egyptians came to progress in knowledge and culture, and new ideas about his own nature were adopted, that difficulties began to multiply and the theory of the Ka to become complicated.
Among these new ideas was that of the Khu or “luminous” part of man. On the recently discovered monuments of the early period, the Khu holds a special place which it lost after the rise of the Memphite influence with the Third Dynasty. We find it depicted on the tombstones of Abydos embraced by the down-bent arms of the Ka. The Khu, therefore, was conceived of as comprehended in the human Ka, as forming part of it, though at the same time as a separate entity. It was, in fact, the soul of the human Ka, and was accordingly symbolised by the crested ibis. It may be that it was in the beginning nothing more than the phosphorescent light that emitted by decaying vegetation which the belated wayfarer took for a ghost; the ginn (jinn) of the modern Egyptian fellah are similar lights which flash up suddenly from the ground. But the earliest examples of its use on the monuments are against such an ignoble origin, and suggest rather that it was the glorified spirit which mounted up like a bird in the arms of its Ka towards the brilliant vault of heaven. It is not until we come to the decadent days of the Greek and Roman periods that the Khu appears in a degraded form as a malignant ghost which enters the bodies of the living in order to torment them. No traces of such a belief are to be found in older days.”
“The Khu thus forms a link between men and the gods, and participates in the divine nature. It is the soul regarded as a godlike essence, as coming down from heaven rather than as mounting up towards it. It is not only disembodied, but needs the body no longer; it belongs to the Ka, which still lives and moves, and not to the mummified corpse from which the vital spark has fled. It waits on the god [goddess] of the dead, not the dead themselves.”
Archibald Henry Sayce
excerpts from The Religions of Ancient
Egypt and Babylonia: The Gifford Lectures on the Ancient Egyptian and Babylonian Conception of the Divine
“Listen to me, Death!
Listen to me, Death!
You must leave here immediately.
How can you touch me?
I have captured Goddess Kali.
I have bound her hands and feet
with adamantine strands of pure love.
Her intimate presence alone
now shines from the stronghold of my heart.
The twelve-petal lotus that floats in my chest
is surrounded by her fierce flames.
I contemplate with awe
the thousand-petal lotus at my crown
where the golden honey of mystic union
is flowing eternally.
O Mother Kundalini,
my entire being is swept upward continuously
by your current of wisdom energy.
I have taken precautions so that Goddess Kali
cannot escape from within me.
Single-minded devotion guards her with every breath.
These two eyes are her gatekeepers.
My third eye has become her own clear vision.
Suspecting that the fatal fever of egocentricity
would attack my mind and body,
I have taken the ancient remedy
prescribed by my illumined master.
The medicine Om Kali, taken four times daily,
cures the chronic illness of me! me! me!
Emboldened by the indwelling of the Mother,
this warrior poet calls out:
“Listen to me, Death, so your insane pride
will at last be humbled.
You can take away only this form.
I have already begun my deathless journey,
chanting Kali! Kali! Kali!”
8th century Sufi poet Ramprasad Sen
translated by Lex Hixon
Mother of the Universe:
Visions of the Goddess and
Tantric Hymns of Enlightenment
Alkaline, Kali and The Ka.
It would seem that there has long been a connection between things alkaline, Kali and the Ka.
Growths malignant. Growths benign.
Great risk. Great reward.
Spirits mundane. Spirits divine.
Sacred ash. Sacred fire.
Without the salt water there would no minerals and no fire. Without the reeds there would be no life and no ash. As long as nothing strays from balance, as long as nothing gets carried away, Kali creates, destroys, recycles and helps the Phoenix rise.
Alkaline diets may not effect the blood pH of the individual or be a miracle cure, but perhaps alkaline diets can effect change in the world through the way we grow our food, conduct our agriculture, impact the environment and harmonize with each other and the world.
Go have a Good Time.
Go with ‘Effortless Ease,’ not disease.
Try some Himalayan salt on a banana.
Meditate and medicate under a coconut tree.
Climb a date palm with Phoenix dactylifera.
Go dance around the fire and through the ash.
Chant “Om Kali” a few times.
Try using some vinegar and baking soda when cleaning the house.
Try mixing some Kali Mirch, also known as black pepper, with some honey for a sore throat.
Nurture your body.
Nurture your soul.
Get your Kali Yuga
And your Kali yoga on.
Strike a Kalyasana.
Proclaim your Sovereignty.
Do no harm, but take no shit.
Be excellent to each other,
But do know harm.
Drink your alkaline water.
Jai Kali Maa!
Kali Maa Shakti De!