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Monday, June 6, 2011

The Story of Geb



Below is the text of the Egyptian story that Mrs. Leonard read to our children.  I feel that it is every parent's right and responsibility to know what their child has been exposed to so that they can address issues or be watchful for problems with regard to their child.  Accordingly, it is the school's responsibility to make this information available to the parents.  Yet Highland Hall's administration has kept this information from me even though I requested it on five different occasions.  I finally received a copy of this story from another parent, not from Highland Hall.  It occurs to me, especially after reading the March 4th letter from the Evaluation committee and the March 5th letter commending Mrs. Leonard on her fine work, that other parents may not have had the opportunity to read the story below. 


Geb, the grandson of Atum, was the Earth God; his sister, Nut, was his counterpart as the Sky Goddess.  He was often depicted as a recumbent male figure lying beneath a woman, who is Nut.  Sometimes he appears as a goose; at other times, as a goose-headed man, or a man carrying a goose on his head.  In predynastic times, he was probably worshipped in the form of a sacred goose.
            It is perhaps surprising that Geb, the Earth God par excellence, should be male in gender.  In most cultures, the earth, the bringer forth of vegetation and living things, is regarded as female: Mother Earth.  In at least one place, his shrine at Bata in Heliopolis, Geb was worshipped as a bisexual god and credited with having laid the Great Egg from which the sun emerged at the dawn of time in the form of the Benu Bird (p. 47).  One of Geb's epithets was 'The Great Cackler', a reference to the cackle he gave as he produced this Egg.
            The Phakussa Stele (p. 52) tells of how Geb fell in love with his mother, Tefnut.  He yearned for her and wandered about the land in great distress until the day that his father, Shu, departed the earth.  On that day, Geb came upon his mother, Tefnut, in the palace of Shu at Memphis.  He seized hold of her with great violence and raped her.
            Geb does not seem to have been punished for the rape of his mother.  Instead, he became King of Egypt in his father's palace, and reigned successfully for many years.  He was given the title, unique to him, of Iry-paat-neteru or 'Heir of the Gods'.  Geb named as his heir his eldest son, Orisis, who thus became the first of many Kings, both mythological and human, to sit upon the Egyptian thrown, known as 'the Throne of Geb'; and the first to hold the title 'Heir of Geb', which was later borne by the mortal Kings of Egypt.

I can see now why my daughter felt so violated by Mrs. Leonard after being exposed to this story which is clearly not meant for children.  As I read it for the first time, I too felt violated - that Mrs. Leonard, a trusted person would not have the good sense to stop reading this to my child.  Clearly, during the reading of the story above, there were many places where anyone reading it to children might have taken pause to read ahead.  That someone of responsibility could read this in its complete form to 11-year-olds one day and be commended by the school on the next day is beyond belief.  Two years ago, after the Wendy Wilkins incident, I came to terms with the fact that Jeffrey Wilkins was a disturbed teenage boy who could and should be forgiven for his verbal sexual abuse of our children.  But Mrs. Leonard is not a disturbed 15 year old, she is an influential adult teacher at this school who is entrusted with the wellbeing of our children.  I do not easily forgive her for this, the most recent of many lapses of judgement.  I also hold Highland Hall  accountable for why this issue is not being dealt with more severly AND why covering up the incident is still the primary focus of their behavior.  Perhaps it's time for a lesser-known quote from our friend, Rudolf Steiner:

"We tried to be aware how far our present civilization is removed from the search for the truth.  We may say that the times are crying out for the spirit but that people are too arrogant or narrow-minded to search for the true spirit with a real will.  The degree of truthfulness which is essential if we are to perceive what the spirit has to say needs to be taught and developed.  Such truthfulness is not to be found in the educated world today, and, what is worse, people do not realize that it is lacking."  Rudolf Steiner - The Fifth Gospel

Here's one not by Steiner:

The Devil's greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn't exist.

Friends, please join me in calling for light in the darkness that has, once again, shrouded Highland Hall.  Truth and openness are nothing to be feared.  Deceit and misdirection are not the tools of honest people.

Pete Karaiskos