Considering the strange times in which we now live, I think we could all use something positive to think about. So let me tell you about the Green Sha of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I first encountered her back in the Fall of 2015. I was just walking home from work to the central bus station downtown, and there she was, right beside the public library, soaking in the sunís golden rays!
Iím pretty certain this topiary animal is intended to be something less arcane than the Sha, such as a moose or a deer (and I will return to this point in just a moment). But whenever I see her, the first thing I always think is, ďLook at that beautiful Sha!Ē For those of you who donít know what Iím talking about, the Sha is Setís most sacred animal and symbol. It resembles a red-haired greyhound with long, rabbit-like ears. No one knows if this animal actually existed and went extinct at some point, or if it is some kind of stylized fox, donkey, hyena, etc. The true identity of this ďTyphonian BeastĒ will likely never be known; but whenever I see itóor anything else that even remotely resembles itóthe hairs on the back of my legs always stand at attention and start receiving satellite signals.
Even if the Green Sha is really a moose or a deer, cervids are members of the order Artiodactyla, which includes many of Setís other sacred animals as well (including antelope, hippos, oryx, and pigs). So the image makes me think of Set either way, but I just canít help it; itís those ears, man. Those are a Shaís ears as far as Iím concerned, and it is hard for me to see it otherwise!
I donít get to visit the Green Sha every day, but whenever I do, I always salute her with the sign of the horns and utter a quick ďDua Set!Ē (the Egyptian for ďHomage to SetĒ) in her direction. People probably notice me doing it and think Iím a weirdo, but I donít much care. I just dig the fact that thereís this big Green Sha right in the middle of my hometown, and that she blooms with pretty flowers every spring. Yeah, itís a little ironic considering that Set is a god of deserts and barren wastelands; but Heís also the Guy who prunes Osiris like a giant rosebush, forcing him to bloom and bloom again. So maybe a Green Sha blooming with lovely flowers is not so out of character for Big Red as non-Setians might think.
Iím very happy to report that after all this time, the Green Sha is still with us here in Ann Arbor; sheís starting to look pretty shaggy, but it still makes my heart glow just to see her and know sheís around. I personally hope she stays in our neighborhood for a good many years.