Monday, November 29, 2010


At about 2 am a couple of days ago I pulled out a book on Egyptian mythology from the shelf where it sits with many other books about ancient Egypt. As you know if you're a regular visitor here, I feel an intimate familarity with ancient Egyptian culture, art and ambiance, even though I have no actual connection to Egypt. It's one of those déja vu things, if you believe in reincarnation, or simply affinity if you don't. Anyway I suddenly wanted to re-read about the Ka.

In art the ka was portrayed in several ways: a person identical to the person whom it was associated with, as a shadowy figure, as a person with two upraised arms on his head.........The ka is a manifestation of vital energy........The ka could also be seen as the conscience or guide of each individual, urging kindness, quietude, honor and compassion......In images and statues of the ka, they are depicted as their owner in an idealized state of youth, vigor and beauty......The ka is the origin and giver of all the Egyptians saw as desirable, especially eternal life.

EventuaIly I went to bed and had this dream: I was watching a panel of critics discussing a book which was either called SNOW or had that word in the title. The people on the panel were very c0mplimentary about it but one of them began arguing vehemently. She was a gnarled old woman with a prominent nose and mouth and dusky skin colour. She was sarcastic about books and films portraying Jewish subjects in banal ways and I thought she meant that SNOW was one of these. But her tone suddenly changed and she began to praise it warmly, saying it wasn't like any of the others. 

That's all I remember but the dream was extremely vivid, as if I'd been watching a live debate on television. When I woke up I immediately turned on the computer and googled snow to see if there is a book by that name. There is: it's SNOW by Orhan Panuk. I'd never heard of it (shame on me) so I read a summary of the plot:

Pamuk's hero is a dried-up poet named Kerim Alakusoglu, conveniently abbreviated to Ka: Ka in kar in Kars. (The word for snow in Turkish is Kar). 

Though most of the early part of the story is told in the third person from Ka's point of view, an omniscient narrator sometimes makes his presence known, posing as a friend of Ka's who is telling the story based on Ka's journals and correspondence. This narrator sometimes provides the reader with information before Ka knows it or foreshadows later events in the story.

As if that wasn't enough synchronicity, I wanted to find out if there was yet another link in the dream to ponder, so I googled snow together with Jewish . I got Phoebe Snow (real name Phoebe Ann Laub) a jazz/blues singer, best known for her 1975 hit The Poetry Man, a video of which I found here . Pamuk's character in SNOW is a 'poetry man' - Phoebe Snow is Jewish but changed her name (her double, her KA).

What are all those dream and real connections trying to tell me? What do you make of this sequence of serial synchronicities:

1. Ancient Egyptian KA or double> 2. dream: discussion about book called SNOW> 3. dream: old woman with dusky skin dismisses banal Jewish productions>4. in reality SNOW is book by Orhan Panuk >5. main character is poet called KA> 6. in the book KA has a 'double' called Orhan Panuk >7. Turkish word for snow is Kar >8. singer Phoebe SNOW is Jewish, her real ('double') surname is Traub 9. another doubling: she has become a Buddhist> 10. her skin colour is dusky: people have thought she is black>11. her hit song was The Poetry Man

I have, of course, ordered Panuk's book SNOW


Rain said...

That was interesting. I think what I often do when I hear such stories that there is much much more to life than we know. Thanks for sharing this example

Natalie said...

Rain, yes - I sometimes feel that what we do know, regardless of all our advances in science since ancient times, is merely scratching the surface.