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Myth and Culture Connected to the Golden Reed

Posted by on August 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Myth and Culture Connected to the Golden Reed

Golden reeds play an important role in our book, The Black Angel of the Lord. I suspect most people know very little about this plant in the grass family; it grows in several wide spread areas of the world near wet habitats such as swamps and marshes. Perhaps the oldest and best known sites where the reeds grow are in Northern Africa. The giant reeds have a thick stalk similar to the corn plant and may reach heights of 20 to 25 feet, sporting a loose plume at the top. The rare and highly sought after Golden Reed is the crown jewel of all reed plants. When the sunlight strikes it at a given angle in conjunction with a gentle breeze, the plumes display a brilliant golden sparkle, making it a beautiful sight to behold. Thousands of years ago the reed plant became a vital part of African culture. Through a multitude of generations the elders told the creation story of their original ancestor in which the first human being emerged from a primordial reed that split lengthwise in a bed of golden reeds, and mated with the native virgin girls he found dancing in the wild, thus creating mankind as we know it today. All reeds symbolize the power that is vested in nature, but the golden reeds reflect a deeper spiritual connection with nature. This story seems to have originated somewhere is North-East Africa and has traveled with the people hundreds of miles across Africa through the centuries. Today the Swazi Zulu nation holds an annual festival celebrating this ancient ritual. One of the unmarried daughters of the king, or a high ranking elder’s daughter, is chosen as queen of the ceremony. She selects many virgins and leads them to where the reed plant is known to grow. The young virgins harvest long reed stalks and carry them to the wedding site to be placed at the feet of the queen. Several tribesmen may pick the queen for their bride but she will have the final say of whom she will marry. Singing and dancing follows and the virgins who participated in the harvest will all be chosen in marriage before the ceremony ends. It is considered a supreme achievement if the ceremony queen can locate the golden reeds. Golden reeds not only promise a happy marriage, they also foretell good luck, eternal happiness, excellent health, fertility, and they drive away evil spirits. In The Black Angel of the Lord, Carnabrara’s intense desire to obtain the blessings only the golden reeds promise, serves to push our story toward its closing...

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Up-Coming Speaking Engagement at SchulerBooks, Grand Rapids

Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Up-Coming Speaking Engagement at SchulerBooks, Grand Rapids

Come see us at Schuler Books and Music on 28th Street in Grand Rapids, September 30, 7:00 p.m.

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Nubian Influence Seen in Egyptian Art

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Nubian Influence Seen in Egyptian Art

Did the once powerful nation of Nubia leave its mark on Egypt? We do not have to look far for evidence but we do need to look closely. The Egyptians were not shy when it came to hieroglyphics and art work disclosing their history so perhaps that is where we should start our investigation. The Egyptian method for expressing themselves did not change over the centuries so nearly all Egyptian art has the same general appearance and style. For example, human figures are consistently represented as brown to darker complexioned people. However, when examining this aspect of Egyptian art closely, we see that the pattern changed significantly in the 25th dynasty (800 B.C.-700 B.C.). People are depicted with dark to jet black skin, often wearing gold-hooped earrings, and with braided or extended hair featuring a long feather protruding from the top of the head. The usual depiction of art work in the 25th dynasty shows Negroid features with big lips, wide nose and prognathic in profile, a style very different from the customary Egyptian figures but one which more accurately reflects the Nubians’ African connections. Scientists can determine the period or dynasty in which various Egyptian art forms and hieroglyphics originated. Archaeologist Timothy Kendall discovered the name “Alara” on a fragmented hieroglyphic stela from the temple of Amun while studying ruins at Kawa near Upper Egypt, the location of many Egyptian temples. Kendall believes this is the same Alara who unified all of Upper Nubia from Meroe to the third cataract (one of six shallow-water locations in the Nile) and established Napata as the religious capital of Nubia. Though Alara himself was not a 25th dynasty Nubian pharaoh since he never controlled any region of Egypt, his two immediate successors, Kashta and Piye, were Pharaohs of Egypt. The historical records clearly identify the 25th dynasty in Egypt as being ruled by the Nubians, and recognizing the change in Egyptian art at the time of Nubian domination has shed new light on Nubian...

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Who Were the Nubians, Part 2

Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Who Were the Nubians, Part 2

In Who Were the Nubians, an earlier post dated 05/19/2014, we briefly discussed the arrival of the Hebrew people into Egypt and their experience there which eventually led them into slavery. After many decades of forced labor under the ruling Hyksos, the Hebrew Moses led his people on an exodus out of Egypt, but the entire population could not accompany him. Many Hebrews lived in Goshen and were not part of that expedition. Over time, they intermarried with local African tribes and formed a rising nation. They called themselves Nubians. The Libyans were one of the original ancient Egyptian tribes, and they challenged the Hyksos for power in 1570 B.C.E. Ahmose, a Libyan leader, pacified the Nubians and encouraged them into boycotting the shipment of cargo headed for Lower Egypt. His main manpower source came from Nubian mercenaries with their superior archery skills and the use of deadly poison arrows; this turned out to be a factor in his victory over the Hyksos. When Ahmose became Pharaoh following his victory, his policy toward their southern neighbors, the Nubians who helped him come to power, returned to the manner the Hyksos had treated them. Soon the Libyan Pharaohs, Thutmose III and Ramses II, led armed campaigns into Nubia for gold and ivory. Eventually the Nubian resistance grew stronger and after a period of time they built a capital city, Napata, and used their resources to assemble a massive army. Without the support of the south, Egypt was fractured and open for the taking. King Pianky led his Nubian forces north into Upper Egypt to create the largest Nile based empire to exist until the 19th century A.D. By 750 B.C.E., the Nile valley and some Asian Minor territories were under Nubian control. The Greeks came to trade with them and called them Kush, which means ‘men with burnt skin.’ Upon Pianky’s death, his son, Shabaka, became Pharaoh over Upper and Lower Egypt and Ethiopia. He moved his capital from Napata to Thebes in 716 B.C.E. With wealth, power, and control over Egypt, the Kushites (or Nubians) established the 25th Egyptian dynasty. The Nubian expansion did not just spread to the north. Colonies of Nubians went south, west, and northwest, covering most of Northern Africa. The Kushites who settled in these areas were mostly farmers who journeyed into vast unsettled regions with green vegetation and much wild life. Unlike their Nubian/Kush brothers who formed a strong community of cities and towns to the north and east, they did not have the luxury of nearby cities and towns. They had only limited physical contact with one another.  However, they shared a common heritage and developed a drum system that allowed them continuous communication. They had little knowledge of the geographical changes taking place, but were certainly impacted by increasing drought conditions. In our blog post of 04/09/2014 concerning the Saharan Desert, we discussed the earth’s rotation on its axle as the primary reason for the desert expansion, but the people who lived in the region did not understand why the rains lessened each year and crops started to fail in some areas. Were the gods angry with them for some unknown reason? What would a people with highly superstitious beliefs think as they bore witness to their world slowly beginning to collapse...

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Upcoming Speaking Engagement

Posted by on June 2, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

We are scheduled to share our story of co-authoring The Black Angel of the Lord Tuesday, July 8, 2:00 p.m. at the Gary Byker Memorial Library of Hudsonville, 3338 Van Buren Street, Hudsonville, MI. We will revisit the inspiration for the story and talk on the successful writing and production of our first novel. The Black Angel of the Lord provides an intriguing fictional account of details surrounding a biblical miracle where thousands of Assyrian soldiers were killed overnight. This event is open to the public. Refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase and...

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Who Were the Nubians?

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Who Were the Nubians?

A thousand years before the 701 B.C.E. siege of Jerusalem, the Black African world experienced new growth and development. The makeup of the population changed dramatically with the introduction of the Hebrew culture. During this millennium, the Hyksos came to power in Lower Egypt. The Hebrew Jacob and all his family were given refuge in the Nile Delta area by the ruling Hyksos. The Hebrews thrived and became highly skilled in iron working and the production of wheeled vehicles. The Hyksos did not share ancestry with the ancient Egyptian tribes. Rather, they arrived to Egypt via the Mediterranean Sea and had Canaanite names. They received credit for bringing new weapons of warfare to Egypt such as horse drawn chariots, horseback riding, and especially the composite bow and arrow.  Seeing the talents of the Hebrew people, the ruling Hyksos sought to recruit them to serve their end against invasions coming from the Babylonian and Hittite nations. They moved a number of Hebrews to the land of Goshen below Upper Egypt along the great Nile River with the intent that they produce and deliver the greatly needed raw materials necessary for trade and wealth to Lower Egypt. Goshen was already occupied by Black Africans. The mixing of the two groups may account for the accelerated growth in population. The children of Israel multiplied from a few to a nation of over three million people in a relatively short period of time.  Eventually, the Hebrews and Africans coalesced and began to build a shared culture. They became displeased with the treatment showed them by the Egyptians. This led to a failed rebellion against the Hyksos, and they found themselves in the dilemma of force labor. Decades passed. Thousands escaped, finding new homes in the North African territory where green vegetation remained plentiful. Much of this area today is covered by the Sahara Desert.  Moses led the main tribes of Hebrews living in Upper Egypt on the exodus out of Egypt, they worked in the quarries excavating stones, rocks, and marble used to build and create monuments, temples, and statues. When Moses called for his people to follow him to the Promised Land, those Hebrews who never had the opportunity to move further south followed him and crossed the Red Sea. However, the vast majority of Hebrew people living in Goshen were not part of that expedition. Later, the people of Goshen establish their own kingdom and called themselves Nubians.  The Nubians play a critical role in our story of The Black Angel of the...

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Local Authors Discuss their Novel

Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Local Authors Discuss their Novel

Norman and Lynn (Kamara) Reed revisit their inspiration to write a biblical historical novel on Wednesday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m. at Howard Miller Library, 14 S. Church Street, Zeeland. The event is open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Books are available for purchase and signature. The Black Angel of the Lord, provides an intriguing fictional account of details surrounding a biblical miracle where the entire army of Assyrian soldiers were killed overnight. Exploring the larger themes of culture, politics, love and religion, the Reeds offer readers a creative story woven around II Kings 19:35. “That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning – there were all the dead bodies!” – The Holy Bible, New International Version,...

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What Happened to the Magnificent Assyrian Army

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

What Happened to the Magnificent Assyrian Army

Was there an Assyrian siege on Jerusalem in 701 B.C.E.? The Holy Scripture, in II Kings 19, tells the story of King Sennacherib and his mighty Assyrian army laying siege on Jerusalem that ended in their death. This account has intrigued some members of the Christian world for generations, and its physical proof or disproof has eluded and baffled archeologists for many decades. The Sennacherib Prism was discovered in Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire, in 1830. It records the Annals of Sennacherib and indicates that Jerusalem was approached but never destroyed because King Hezekiah surrendered. The prism also tells of countless towns and villages conquered and plundered by King Sennacherib, taking 200,150 into captivity. It is interesting to note that the Assyrian record differs from other accounts of the event while the Old Testament account is corroborated by the historians Herodotus (Greek), Berosus (Chaldean) and Josephus (Jewish). However, none are independent witnesses. In 1838 Edward Robinson discovered the tunnel of Hezekiah. This tunnel was built to supply water to the city of Jerusalem. In the 1970s, Nahman Arigad uncovered a massive, defensive city wall. Scientific evidence dates both the tunnel and wall back to the 8th century B.C.E., leaving little doubt the people of Jerusalem expected a siege on their city. Had it not been for those two major finds supporting the siege idea, perhaps archeologists would not have been so enthusiastic about finding more proof. In 1976, five arrowheads were found by archeologists near Jerusalem. Three were identified as Assyrian, one was Hebrew, but the fifth proved to be a puzzle. It was not Assyrian, Hebrew, or any other neighboring culture. Assyrian weapons were made of iron, but this arrowhead was made of copper and appeared primitive. Still, the whole group lay buried within the same timeline of around 700 B.C.E. What was its origin? This leaves us with plenty evidence of a siege but no real answer as to what happened. Which account is correct? Do we believe the Sennacherib Prism account or what is told in II Kings 19? Discover the thrilling story as it is told in The Black Angel of the...

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Tim’s Gift of Time and Skill

Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Tim’s Gift of Time and Skill

“What? You’ll be at the festival this weekend and you have no website?” Tim seemed a bit alarmed on our behalf. I said, “No website and no FB page for the book. Plus, what I know about FB could fit in one brain cell.” We were talking on the phone and Tim said, “Meet me at Big Apple Bagel tomorrow and we’ll set up a site.” Norman and I met him at the bagel place and Tim spent four and a half hours with us, setting up a webpage, teaching as much as we could absorb. We still have more to learn so we can maintain the site ourselves, but, as you can see, we are posting on our blog, sharing thoughts and some back story of our book. Tim Burns, we thank...

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CCFFW – 5 Stars

Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

CCFFW – 5 Stars

These days, my Medicare miles, I get a ripple of delight when a first happens. It happens when someone uses a word I have never heard, or when I see a flower or a bird for the first time. I accept these firsts as reminders that life keeps going until death arrives, so I keep living it. And we lived it splendidly last week Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing. It was an imposing three days for us, filled with readers, writers, publishers, agents and many others, all lovers of words and books! Norman had never been in such an environment and I had attended only one small writers’ conference. Being new authors and sickeningly thrilled with our newly released book, The Black Angel of the Lord, we spoke to almost all who crossed our paths. We even waylaid a few of our favorite presenters to relay how much we enjoyed their sessions. Tracy, I apologize if you missed your friend due to my exuberant interruption. What can I say? The festival ignited us. The two lovely women in this photograph hold a copy of The Black Angel of the Lord between them. They each bought our book and to them and all who read our blogs or view our website, “Thank you!” We are happy to share the story of Ramtouse s, Holofernes and Judith with...

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