Obviously, things are too creepy to hang around here.  Several thousand year-old Satan worshippers’ temples, linked conceptually to a modern off-shoot of the Church of Satan might be entertaining stuff to watch on TV, but not my cup of tea in real life.  Besides, two of Phineas’ graduate students are doing work in Aksum, Ethiopia, and he’s got to go wave some credentials around to get them all set up.  Which means I get to tag along.

Aksum is well-known to Ark of the Covenant enthusiasts all over the world.  The Aksumites’ claim to possess the Ark goes all the way back to the time of King Solomon, even if historical documentation of that claim is far more recent.  (Off the top of my head, I’m going to say 700 years-old.  But don’t tell Phineas I’m spit-balling.  Lord knows how he likes to “be precise.”)

Anyway, the Ark of the Covenant is cool.  They don’t let you peek, but I think it’d be fun to just see the Church of St. Mary of Zion, where they say they’ve got it, and geek out just a little bit.  Also, I’m figuring we’re not likely to be encountering too many temples of Satan, or temples of Set or anything like that in Aksum, since the Orthodox Ethiopian church is pretty hardcore.

Of course I don’t believe that any demonic character Set “came into being” at the site of that mass ritualistic human sacrifice pit.  I don’t believe, as the Egyptians did, that words have any kind of mystic power, capable of summoning entities, scarab beetles or even dingoes from another universe.  What I do believe is that messed up people do horrible things in the name of God, or in the name of Satan, or Set, or any other god-like thingee.  When you see all those bones piled up, or rock that’s still stained red with the blood of ritual sacrifice thousands of years later, you don’t have to believe in a supreme evil being.  Humankind is capable of “evilly” evil all by itself.

Still, I’ll be happy when Phineas hands that rock back to the Yale team and we’re on the jet to Addis Abba.  Just knowing that whoever carved that message was involved in those atrocities in some way or another makes it feel greasy and tainted when I look at it.  And in that, Phineas and I agree.

So no new posts from me for a while.  I’ll have spotty access to the internet for a while, but I’ll be sure to give an update when I can.


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