The American Research Center in Eygpt

Oregon Chapter Events (Portland)

Oregon Chapter Events (Portland)

October 2017

10/03/2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 238

Chapter: Oregon

Free and open to the public

The blue lotus flower figures prominently in Egyptian religion, art and architecture. As a closed bud or open flower, it appears on the walls of temples, stone carvings and paintings, and it inspired the lines of tall columns. It is indelibly linked to ancient Egypt.

But it was more than an icon. The lotus contains four potent narcotic alkaloids that have been chemically identified. The ancient Egyptians understood their pharmacological properties and utilized the lotus in religious funerary settings.  In the Festivals of Drunkenness, the lotus was used by participants to eliminate all inhibitions and then indulge in gratuitous sex and ultimately pass out, hoping to see the goddess Hathor/Sekhmet/Bastet in the process.

Combining medical science and Egyptology, Dr. Benson Harer will describe the symbolic cultural values of the blue lotus and present evidence that the ancient Egyptians understood the narcotic effects of the lotus and used it in religious settings.

Educated at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Harer practiced medicine in San Bernardino for three decades, eventually serving as Director at Riverside County Regional Medical Center. A Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at Western University of Health Sciences, Dr. Harer was also an Adjunct Professor of Art at Cal State San Bernardino. He has written many articles in both medicine and Egyptology, including medical care in ancient Egypt and the narcotic and biologic properties of the lotus. He analyzed the CT scans of King Tutankhamun, proving that the king was buried without his heart and anterior chest wall, theorizing that Tut was killed by a hippo.  

Dr. Harer has served on the ARCE Board of Governors and was a founding member of ARCE chapters in Orange County, CA and Seattle. He has participated in many archaeological expeditions to Egypt and Sudan and has lectured regularly about medicine in Egypt.

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