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A Biographical Novel of the Female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut-Maatkare.
The most powerful woman of all time, Hatshepsut, the ancient Egyptian queen who was crowned king and for more than twenty years ruled on the Horus Throne of the Living as the Female Falcon, Maatkare. The name she chose for herself can be read as Maat is the Ka of Re, which translated means The True and Beautiful Manifestation of the Sun’s Divine Life-force. A more poetic but still accurate rendition is Truth is the Soul of the Sun.
Maatkare’s reign was one of the most innovative and prosperous in ancient Egypt’s long history. Art and culture flourished and religious beliefs grew more personal through the worship of Amun-Re, the god hidden in the human heart. Before she became Pharaoh, Hatshepsut served as God’s Wife of Amun, an important economic and spiritual office created by her grandfather that holds the key to her mysterious and unprecedented power. Maatkare was not only a charismatic political leader, she was a mystic who inspired the wholehearted devotion of brilliant men. One of them was Senmut, a commoner she elevated to unparalleled heights of authority. But her most influential advocate was Hapuseneb, the High Priest of Amun and the Governor of the South. Hapuseneb served under three pharaohs and yet only Maatkare is represented in his tomb.
Hatshepsut’s life is a passionate story of love—for her beliefs, her country and two of its most fascinating men. Rich in sensual and meticulously researched detail, Truth is the Soul of the Sun is a uniquely compelling biographical novel. The 565 page book includes a reference section and more than one-hundred footnotes.
Shortly before Hatshepsut, translated as Foremost of Noble Women, was crowned Pharaoh she took the throne name Maatkare. The concept of Maat—depicted as a goddess—is one Egyptologists still struggle with but it can essentially be summed up like this: Maat is the Divine force or energy that manifests through the sun and flows through the world. Maat is the spirit of beauty and order. Maat also represents truth and justice when, through human beings, she becomes the conscious exercise of faith in the transcendent creative power embodied in the solar disc. Because Maat breathes life into everything, the more someone opens their heart to Maat the healthier and happier they are as circumstances seem almost magically to favor them. Hence the famous scene from The Book of the Dead (actually entitled The Book of Coming Forth By Day and Opening the Tomb) where a human heart is shown balancing on a scale with the feather Maat always wore in her hair. Everyone possesses the mysterious ability to enrich the world with joyful flights of the imagination. The ancient Egyptians recognized that “Life, health, strength” was the reward for what they called “Cutting Maat” with their every thought, word and action. Immortality could only be achieved through “the intelligence of the heart.” Maatkare means Maat is the Ka of Re, i.e. The True and Beautiful (proper) Manifestation of the Sun’s Divine Life-force. A more poetic but still accurate translation of Hatshepsut’s throne name is Truth is the Soul of the Sun.
For more than three years I immersed myself in all the available information to date about Hatshepsut-Maatkare (inevitably there are gaps in the physical evidence Egyptologists fill with various theories) then I let the “intelligence of my heart” lead the way along the mysterious currents of a life lived thousands of years ago in a time and place very different from our own. And yet, I will admit, writing this book felt like finally going home.
Maria Isabel Pita