ANCIENT EGYPT THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
THE SIGN-LANGUAGE OF ASTRONOMICAL MYTHOLOGY
(THE PRIMITIVE AFRICAN PARADISE)
It maybe said that the dawn of African civilization came full circle in Egypt, but that the earliest glimmer of the light which turned the darkness into day for all the earth first issued from the inner land. The veriest beginning must have been coeval with the creature that first developed a thumb to wield a weapon or to shape an implement for human use, when in the far-off past but little difference could have been detected between the monkey and the pygmy race of human aborigines. It is improbable that we shall get back any nearer to a beginning for the human being among the types extant than with those forest dwarfs, of whom a recent traveller says: 'They have no records or traditions of the past, no regard for time, nor any fetish rites; they do not seek to know the future by occult means, as do their neighbours; in short, they are, to my thinking, the closest link with the original Darwinian anthropoid apes extant.' These little folk of the forest are still upon the lowest step in the ascent of man. Not because they have retrograded, but because they have never grown. So far as is known, the pygmies have no verbal language of their own, whatsoever words they may have gathered from outsiders. Otherwise, language with them is the same as it was in the beginning, with a few animal sounds and gesture-signs. They have no totems, no signs of tattoo scored upon their bodies, no rites of puberty, no eating of the parent in honour for the primitive sacrament. Judging from specimens of the pygmies that have been brought to England from the Ituri Forest, the foundation of the negroid features, the thick lips and large, spreading nostrils, was laid in the pygmean phase of development, but up to the present time the pygmy has only reached the 'peppercorn' stage of hair, and has not yet attained the 'kinky' locks of the full-blooded negro.
A German traveller lately claimed to have discovered a people in the forests of Borneo who show some vestige of the ancestral tail. He saw the tail on a child about six years old belonging to the Poenan tribe. There was the appendage, sure enough—not very long, but plainly visible, hairless, and about the thickness of a man's little finger. Also the persistent [p.250] rumour that some remains of a semi-simian race are vet extant among the hidden secrets of the old dark land is not incredible to the evolutionist. According to Lady Lugard, there is a tribe in Nigeria who are reputed not to have lost their tails. The African pygmies, however, have not publicly proclaimed the tail.
The one sole race that can be traced among the aborigines all over the earth, above ground or below, is the dark race of a dwarf negrito-type, and the only one possible motherland on earth for these preliminary people is Africa. No other country possesses the necessary background as a basis for the human beginnings. And so closely were the facts of nature observed and registered by the Egyptians that the earliest divine men in their mythology are portrayed as pygmies. Following the zootypes, the primitive human form of Elder Horus was that of Bes, the dancing dwarf. Bes is a figure of Child-Horus in the likeness of a negroid pygmy. He comes capering into Egypt along with the Great Mother, Apt, from Puanta in the far-off south. In reality, Bes-Horus is the earliest form of the pygmy Ptah. In both the dwarf is the type of man in his most primitive shape. The seven powers that cooperate with Ptah are also represented as seven pygmies. Thus the anthropomorphic type comes into view as a pygmy! Moreover, Ptah, the divine dwarf, is the imperfect progenitor of the perfect man in his son Atum. In this way the Egyptian wisdom registers the fact that the pygmy was the earliest human figure known, and that this was brought into Egypt from the forests of inner Africa and the record made in the mythology. In this mode of registering the natural fact the Egyptians trace their descent from the folk who were the first in human form—that is, from the pygmies.
We have now to summarize a few of the pre-Egyptian evidences for the inner African beginnings.
In one of the later chapters of the Book of the Dead—later, that is, in position—there are some ancient mystical names which are said to have been uttered in the language of the Nahsi (the negroes), the Aati, and the people of Ta-Kenset, or Nubia. Dr. Birch thought this and other chapters were modern because of the presence of Amen-Ra. But the later insertion of a divine name or title does not prove the fundamental matter of the chapter to be late. In this the Great Mother is saluted as the Supreme Being, 'the Only One,' by the name of Sekhet-Bast, the goddess of sexual passion and strong drink, who is the mistress of the gods, not as wife, but as the promiscuous concubine—she who was 'uncreated by the gods,' and who is 'mightier than the gods.' To her the eight gods offer words of adoration. Therefore they were not then merged in the put-circle of the nine. It is noticeable too that Sekhet is not saluted as the consort of Ptah. Sekhet was undoubtedly far more ancient than Ptah. But the point is that the outlandish names applied to her in this chapter are quoted from the language of the negroes, therefore parts of the Ritual had been composed in those languages; and if in the languages, then in the lands where these languages were spoken, including the country of the Nahsi, who were so despised by the dynastic Egyptians. This we claim as a partial recognition of the [p.251] southern origin of the Egyptian mythology. In agreement with this, the Great Mother may be identified in chapter 143 as Apt of Nubia, who had a shrine at Nepata on her way to Egypt, Khept, or Khebt. In a text upon a stele among the Egyptian monuments at Dorpat it is said to the worshipper, 'Make adoration to Apt of the dom-palms, to the lady of the two lands.' In this text the old first mother Apt appears as goddess of the mama-tree, that is the dom-palm, which in Egypt is a native of the south. This points to the farther south as the primeval home and habitat of the most ancient hippopotamus goddess, she who thus preceded Hathor in the southern sycamore as Mother-earth or Lady of the Tree, and who in the dom-palm was the 'mama' or mother of the inner Africans.
The King of Egypt as the Suten dates from Sut. The dignity is so ancient that the insignia of the pharaohs evidently belong to a time when the Egyptians wore nothing but the girdle of the negro, and when it was considered a special distinction that the king should complete this girdle with a piece of skin in front and adorn it with the tail of a lioness behind. The oldest and most primitive form of the sacred house in Egypt known from inscriptions of the ancient empire is a hovel dedicated to Sut for a temple. It looks like a hut of wattle-work without daub, and is a prehistoric type of building in the Nile valley, belonging to a civilization immeasurably lower than that of Egypt. Sut the son of Apt was the deity of the first Egyptian nome. Sut is synonymous with the south from which he came with Horus-Behutet, who halted by the way as deity of the second nome. Milne-Edwards has shown the African origin of the ass, and this was preserved by the Egyptians in its pristine purity of form. The serpents of equatorial Africa have their likeness in the huge reptiles portrayed in pictures of the Egyptian underworld. The sycamore fig of Hathor and the palm tree of Taht were imported into Egypt from Central Africa. The burying-places of Abydos, especially the most ancient, have furnished millions of shells, pierced and threaded as necklaces, all of which belong to the species of cowries used as money in Africa at the present day. The hoes and wooden stands for headrests used by the Egyptians have their prototypes among the East Central African tribes. Dr. Peters found various customs among the Wakintu in Uganda which made him think the people were connected with the ancient Egyptians. One of these was the practice of embalming the dead and of excavating the rocks. Also their burial mounds are conical, he says, and look like pyramids.
One might fill a volume with figures from inner Africa that were developed and made permanent in the symbolism of Egypt.
'My lord the lion' is an African expression used by the Kaffirs and others in speaking of the lordly animal, also of the chief as lion-lord. So likewise in Egypt Osiris as king of the gods was 'my lord the crocodile,' and King Assa is also called 'my lord the king,' as a crocodile. Again, the lion of Motoko is a totem with the Kaffirs in the neighbourhood of Fort Salisbury, Mashonaland. They have a priest of the lion-god called the Mondoro, who is venerated as a sort of spirit in lion shape. [p.252] Sacrifices are offered annually to the lion-god at the Zimbabwe of Mashonaland; and it is held by the natives that all true men pass into the lion form at death, precisely the same as it is with the manes in the Egyptian Ritual, who exclaims, on living a second time, 'I am the lord in lion form,' and who rises again when divinized in that image of superhuman power. Such types were inner African when totemic, and, as the lion of Motoko shows, they were also venerated as representatives of spiritual or superhuman powers which were deified in Egypt as the crocodile divinities Apt, Neith, and Sebek, and the lion-gods Shu, Tefnut, Sekhet, Horus, and Atum-Ra.
In the Egyptian judgment scenes the baboon or cynocephalus sits upon the scales as the tongue of the balance and a primitive determinative of even-handed justice. This was an inner African type, now continued in Egypt as an image of the judge. In a Namaqualand fable the baboon sits in judgment on the other animals. The mouse had torn the tailor's clothes and laid it to the cat, the cat lays it to the dog, the dog to the wood, the wood to the fire, the fire to the water, the water to the elephant, and the elephant to the ant; whereupon the wise judge orders the ant to bite the elephant, the elephant to drink the water, the water to quench the fire, the fire to burn the wood, the wood to beat the dog, the dog to bite the cat, and the cat to bite the mouse; and thus the tailor gets satisfaction from the judgment of the wise baboon, whose name is van in Namaqua, whilst that of the cynocephalus is aan in Egyptian. This in the European folktales is the well-known nursery legend of 'the pig that wouldn't go.' How then did this Bushman or Hottentot fable get into the lowermost stratum of the folktales in England? We answer, the same way that 'Tom Thumb' did, and 'Jack the Giant-killer,' the 'House that Jack Built,' and many more which are the poor relations reduced from the mythology of Egypt to become the märchen of the world. Again, the youthful hero who is Horus in Egypt, Heitsi Eibib among the Hottentots, and the redoubtable little Jack in Britain, is also an inner African figure under the name of Kalikalange. The missionary Macdonald says, 'We know a boy who assumed, much at his own instance, the name of Kalikalange, the hero about whom there are so many native tales, reminding one of the class of tales to which Jack the Giant-killer belongs.' This is the hero who slays the giant or dragon of drought and darkness, or cuts open the monster that swallowed him; who rescues the lunar lady from her imprisonment, and who makes the ascent to heaven by means of a tree, a stalk, or, as in the case of Child-Horus, a papyrus reed. In his Uganda Protectorate Sir H. Johnston has reproduced a local legend of creation derived from the natives, which contains certain constituent elements of the nursery tale of Jack the Giant-killer. 'Kintu was the first man. When he came from the unknown he found nothing in Uganda—no food, no water, no animals, nothing but a blank. He had a cow with him, and on this he lived.' The cow represented the earth as giver of food. Kintu is a form of the universal hero, the hero to whom the tests are applied for discovering whether or no he is the real heir. Kintu eats or [p.253] disposes of 10,000 carcases of roasted cows, and thus proves himself to be the man indeed, as does Jack who outwits the giant in a similar manner. The story includes the beanstalk (or the bean), with other fragments found in the European märchen, including the bringing of death into the world through the disobedience of Kintu, the first man, or by his violating the law of taboo. The Wakintu of Uganda or Rhodesia derive their name from Kintu, the first man of the Central African legends.
In a Zulu legend the underworld is the land of cannibals. Here dwells the devourer from whom the youthful hero makes his escape, together with his sister, by climbing up a tree into the sky country, just as Horus climbs the tree of dawn in coming forth from the underworld. We read in the Ritual of a golden dog-headed ape which is 'three palms in height, without legs or arms.' The speaker in this character says, 'My course is the course of the golden cynocephalus, three palms in height, without legs or arms, in the temple of Ptah.' What this means no mortal knows. It is known, however, that the dog-headed ape as Ani the saluter was emblematic of the moon. Now, in the Kaffir story of Simbukumbukwana there is a child born without legs or arms, who obviously represents the moon in its changes. He began to speak on the day of his birth. 'The girl that was first born who grew up in the valley and lived in the hole of an ant heap,' is called his sister. She has the power to give him legs and arms by repeating his name and saying, 'Have legs and arms!' and to deprive him of them by saying 'Shrink, legs and arms!' This, as a figure of waning and waxing, helps us to understand the dog-headed ape of gold as an image of the moon in the waxing and waning halves of the lunation. In 'the story of the glutton' the conquerors of the swallower are the mother and her twins. These, in an Egyptian form of the mythos, are Sut and Horus, the twin brethren, who war against the monster as two lions, the rehu, on behalf of their mother, who is the lady of light in the moon. In this way we can trace some of the oldest of the folktales concerning the deluge and the lost paradise, the hero as the wonder-working child who climbs a tree or stalk and slays the monster of the dark, to inner Africa, and follow these and others in the mythology of the Egyptians on their way to becoming the universal legends of the human race.
The mythology, religious rites, totemic customs, and primitive symbolism of Egypt are crowded with survivals from identifiable inner African origins. The Egyptian ka or image of a spiritual self was preceded by various rude but representative images of the dead. Livingstone tells us that the natives about Lake Moere make little idols of a deceased father or mother. To these they present beer, flour, and bhang; they light a fire for the spirits to sit round and smoke in concert with their living relatives. The Ewe-speaking natives of the Gold Coast also have their kra or eidolon, which existed from before the birth of a child and is exactly identical with the Egyptian ka. It is a common practice with the Bantu tribes described by the author of The Uganda Protectorate for the [p.254] relatives of deceased persons to carve crude little images as likenesses of the dead, and set them up for worship or propitiation. Offerings are made to these in place of the later ka of the Egyptians. The earlier type of the departed was a bodily portrait. Hence the mummy. The ka is a later spirit likeness. But both imply the same recognition of the ancestral spirits that live on after death. The spirit huts provided for the honoured dead in the dense forests of Central Africa, as by the Wanyamwezl for their mitsimo, by the Congo pygmies, and by the Nilotic negroes, which the Portuguese called devil houses, are prototypes of the ka-chambers in Egyptian tombs. Erecting a little hut for the spirits is a recognized mode of propitiation. Lionel Décle, as we have seen, describes his Wanyamwezi as making little huts of grass or of green boughs even when on the march, and offering them to the mitsimo or spirits of their ancestors.
One of the funeral offerings found in Theban tombs is a loaf of bread in the shape of a cone (our pastille), or a model in burnt terracotta that images the loaf. Why the offering should be conical is admittedly unknown. This typical cone is inner African, and in a most peculiar way. The Yao people have the custom of making an offering to the dead in a conical form. They do not know how to make bread, but their offering to the spirits consists of a little flour. This they let fall slowly from the fingers on the ground, so that it may form a pile in the shape of a sugar-loaf. If the cone should shape perfectly it is an omen that the offering is acceptable to the spirits. It may be suggested in passing that the conical shape of the pile in flour and the funerary loaf was derived from that of the grave-mound of earth or stones dropped over the buried corpse as the still earlier tribute offered to the dead. British peasants give the name of 'fairy loaves' to the fossil echini or sea-urchins found in Neolithic graves. Obviously these loaves were representative of funerary food that was likewise offered to the dead. The skeleton of a young woman clasping a child in her arms was discovered in a round barrow on Dunstable Downs, the burial mound being edged round with these fairy loaves.
Again, in the mysteries of the Yao people the young girls are initiated by a female who is called 'the cook,' 'the cook of the mystery' (mtelesi wa unyago). This is the instructress who makes the mystery or is the 'cook' that prepares it, and who is mistress of the ceremony. She is the wise woman who initiates the girls, and anoints their bodies with an oil containing various magical ingredients. She clothes them in their earliest garment, the primitive loincloth, that was first assumed at puberty with proud pleasure, and afterwards looked upon askance as the sign of civilized woman's shame. Now this primitive personage has been divinized as the cook in the Kamite pantheon. In Egyptian, tait signifies to cook, and this is the name of a goddess Tait who is the cook in paradise and the preparer of the deceased in the greater mysteries of the Ritual, where she is the cook of the mystery more obviously than a cook as preparer of food. Deceased, in speaking of his investiture for the garden of Aarru, cries, 'Let my vesture be girt on me by Tait!' [p.255]—that is, by the goddess who is the divine cook by name, and who clothes the initiate in the garment or girdle that here takes the place of the loincloth in the more primitive mysteries of inner Africa.
The Egyptian record when correctly read will tell us plainly that the human birthplace was a land of the papyrus reed, the crocodile, and hippopotamus; a land of the great lakes in Karua, the Koloė of Ptolemy, or in Apta at the horn point of the earth—that is, in Equatoria, from whence the sacred river ran to brim the valley of the Nile with plenty. The track of civilization with cities springing in its footprints is seaward from the south, not upward from Lower Egypt, which was a swamp when Upper Egypt was already the African home of civilization. The Egyptians always gave priority to the south over the delta in the north. Also the south was and is the natural habitat of the oldest fauna and most peculiar of the sacred zootypes. It is in vain we judge of the race by the figures and faces of the rulers portrayed in monumental times. Primary data must be sought for amongst the Fellaheen and corroborated by the skulls. Captain Burton wrote to me in 1883, saying, 'You are quite right about the African origin of the Egyptians, and I have sent home a hundred skulls to prove it.' (Does anyone know what became of these skulls?)
The African legends tell us that the Egyptians, Zulus, and others looked backward to a land of the papyrus reed as the primeval country of the human race, and that on this, as we shall see, the Egyptians founded their circumpolar paradise in the astronomical mythology. There is a widespread African tradition, especially preserved by the Kaffir tribes, that the primeval birthplace was a land of reeds. The Zulus told the missionary Callaway that men originally 'came out of a bed of reeds.' This birthplace in the reeds was called 'Uthlanga,' named from the reed. No one knew where it was, but all insisted that the natal reed-bed of the race was still extant. It was a sign of lofty lineage for the native aristocracy to claim descent from ancient Uthlanga, the primeval land of birth. The Basutos identify Uthlanga the human birthplace with a cavern in the earth that was surrounded by a morass of reeds. They also cling so affectionately to the typical reed that when a child is born they suspend a reed above the hut to announce the birth of the babe, thus showing in the language of signs that the papyrus reed is still a type of the primitive birthplace in which Child-Horus was cradled on the flower of the papyrus plant or reed. The Zulu birthplace in the bed of reeds was repeated and continued in the nest of reeds and the morass that were mythically represented as the birthplace of the child, which was constellated as the uranograph of Horus springing from the reed. What indeed is the typical reed of Egypt, first in the upper, next in the lower land, but a symbol of the birthplace in the African bed of reeds? Lower Egypt, called Uat in the hieroglyphics, has the same name as the papyrus reed. Also Uati is a title of the Great Mother Isis who brought forth Child-Horus on her lap of the papyrus flower. Uat in Egyptian is the name of Lower Egypt; uat is the oasis, uat is the water, uat is wet, fresh, evergreen. Uat is the reed of Egypt, the papyrus reed, and a name of the most ancient mother in the Kamite mythology. [p.256] Seb, the father of food, is clothed with papyrus reeds. The Mount of Earth was imaged as a papyrus-plant in the water of space. Lastly, the Mount of Amenta in the Ritual rises from a bed of papyrus reeds.
Horapollo says of the Egyptians, 'To denote ancient descent they depict a roll of papyrus, and by this they signify primeval food.' This is the same as with the Zulus. The papyrus reed, uat, was turned into a symbol of most ancient descent precisely because it had been the primeval food of the most ancient people, a totem of the most ancient mother of the race when called Uati in Egypt, and a type of the African paradise. As the symbolism shows, people were sometimes derived from and represented by the food on which they lived. Thus the papyrus reed that symbolizes ancient food and long descent would be the sign of the people who once lived on or who ate the shoots of the water plant. The Egyptians continued to be eaters of the lotus and papyrus shoots. Theirs was the land of the reed, and they, like the Zulus or the Japanese or the Pueblos, were the reed people in accordance with the primitive mode of heraldry, just as with the Arunta tribes the witchetty-grub people are those who live on the witchetty-grub as their special totemic food. In later times the papyrus plant was eaten by the Egyptians as a delicacy. Its shoots were gathered for that purpose annually. Bread made from the roots and the seed of the lotus was the gourmand's delight. Lily loaves are mentioned in the Papyrus Anastasi. It is said in the Hymn to the Nile that when food is abundant the poor man disdains to eat the lotus or papyrus plant, which shows that it had been his diet when other food was scarce. The lotus and the papyrus are the two water plants worn as a headdress by the two figures that represent the Nile south and north, and who are often seen binding the flowers to the sam symbol of Upper and Lower Egypt, as if joining the two countries together as the one land of the reed. Uthlanga is not irrecoverable. We glean from other Zulu legends that this was the African birthplace in the bed of reeds, where the two children, black and white, were born of dark and day, and where the race of the reed people broke off in the beginning. This cradle of creation is repeated mythically with Child-Horus in his nest of reeds or bed of the papyrus plant, when the field of reeds was figured in the heavens as the primitive paradise of food and drink.
In the so-called 'cosmogony' of the Japanese it is set forth that the first thing in which life appeared on earth at the beginning was the reed, and the earliest land or 'country-place stand' (Kunitoko tachi) was the land of the reed. Japan was named as the central land of the reed expanse from the fields of reed, whether geographical on the earth or astronomical in the fields of heaven. The 'great reed' of the Japanese mythos is identical with the papyrus reed that represented the mount of earth in Egypt or the lotus of Meru in India. Any country figured as being atop of the reed would be the midland of the world, as Japan is said to be, and the Kamite reed will explain why the land of the Kami should be called Ashi-hara, the place of reeds, when the reed is identified with the papyrus plant. Ashi-hara no naka tsu Kuni, 'the Middle Kingdom of the Reed Plain,' which [p.257] lies upon the summit of the globe, is an ancient name for Japan. This, if mundane, corresponds to the land of the papyrus reed in equatorial Africa, the summit of our earth or, if only mythical, i.e., astronomical, to the reed field of the Aarru paradise upon the summit of the mount in heaven. Again, the great reed standing up out of the water is identical with the typical mount of earth in the Navajo mythology. As the mount grew higher, higher grew the reed. At the time of the deluge all that lived took refuge there, and were rescued from the drowning waters by the reed. This is the papyrus reed which cradled Horus amid the waters, like the infant Moses in the ark of bulrush, applied in a folktale on a larger scale.
It is now proposed to seek for the birthplace of the beginnings in Central Africa, the land of the papyrus reed, around the equatorial lakes, by the aid of the Egyptian astronomical mythology and the legendary lore. In the first place, the kami of Egypt, like the kami of Japan, identify themselves by name as the reed-people. And the goddess Uati is the African great mother in the bed of reeds. For it was thence, in the region of the two lakes and in the land of the papyrus reed, that souls in the germ first emanated as the soul of life from water. The Kaffir tradition thus appears to preserve the natural fact which the Egyptians rendered mythically by means of the reed plant as a symbol of the primeval birthplace on earth with Horus issuing from the waters on the reed, which became the lap of life, the cradle and the ark of the eternal child, who is also called the shoot of the papyrus, the primitive natzer.
A spring of water welling from abysmal depths of earth, that furnished food in the papyrus reed and other edible plants, is the earliest form in which the source of life was figured by the Kamite mystery teachers. This is recorded in the Ritual. It was in the birthplace of the reeds and of the reed people in the region of the reeds that light first broke out of darkness in the beginning in the domain of Sut, and where the twin children of darkness and of light were born. The Mother-earth as womb of universal life was the producer of food in various kinds, and the food was represented as her offspring. Horus on his papyrus imaged food in the water plant as well as in the later lentils, the branch of the tree, or in general vegetation. The stands of the offerings presented to the gods in the Ritual are commonly crowned with papyrus plants, which commemorate the food that was primeval. Thus the doctrine of life issuing in and from the papyrus reed was Egyptian as well as Japanese. Naturally the earliest life thus emanating from the water was not human life, but this would be included sooner or later in the mythical representation. Hence the legend of the first man, or person who issued from a reed in the water of the deluge. In this American Indian version the reed is a figure of the birthplace instead of the Zulu bed of reeds, or Uthlanga, the land of reeds, but the typical origin is the same; and as Egyptian the mythos is to be explained.
The origin of a saviour in the guise of a little child is traceable to Child-Horus, who brought new life to Egypt every year as the messu of the inundation. This was Horus in his pre-solar and prehuman characters of the fish, the shoot of the papyrus, or the branch of endless years. In a later stage the image of Horus on his papyrus [p.258] represented the young god as solar cause in creation. But in the primitive phase it was a soul of life or of food ascending from the water in vegetation, as he who climbs the stalk, ranging from Child-Horus to the Polynesian hero, and to Jack ascending heavenward by means of his beanstalk. Now, of all the lands on earth there is no reed land to be compared with the land of the reeds round the equatorial lakes, where the papyrus grows about the waters in jungles and forests so dense that a charging herd of hippopotami could hardly penetrate the bush, which stands out of the water full fifteen feet in height, and there if anywhere upon this earth Uthlanga, the original reed land or birth land in the reeds, will yet be found. That is the natural fact which underlies the mythical representation when the Egyptians show us Horus 'on his papyrus' rising from his natal bed of the papyrus plant. Child-Horus on his papyrus is the reed-born in mythology who reflects the natural fact of the human birthplace in the field, the bed, or nest of reeds on earth or in heaven—that is, the African oasis of the beginning, whether the offspring represents food or other elemental force. Now the Egyptian Aarru or paradise, established by Ra, was 'a field of reeds' in seven divisions, and these were papyrus reeds which sprang up from the marshes. Thus the Kamite paradise was a land of the papyrus plant repeated on the summit of the mount in heaven at the north celestial pole. According to their way of registering a knowledge of the beginnings, the Egyptians were well acquainted with the equatorial regions, which they designated 'Apta,' earth. This was afterwards reproduced at the highest point above the uppermost point, the mount, or literally the 'horn-point' of the when the primeval birth land was repeated as the land of rebirth for spirits in heaven.
It has now to be shown that much of the sign-language of astronomy which still survives on the celestial globe is interpretable on the ground and for the reason that the fundamental data of the underlying mythos was Egyptian, although the commencement in Africa may have been indefinitely earlier than the fulfilment in Egypt. From the beginning certain types evolved in the Egyptian mythology have been configurated in the planisphere, many of which remain extant on the celestial globe today. As a concept of primitive thought life came into the world by water. Hence in the mysteries of Osiris water is the throne of the eternal. Earth itself was the producer or the mother of the element, the wet-nurse in mythology, and water was her child by whom an ever-renewing source was imaged as a type in Child-Horus, the eternal child. Water, we shall see, was self-delineated as very heaven. Drought was self-delineated as a huge black reptile coiling round the mount of earth night after night and drinking up the water of light day after day. Darkness and light were self-delineated as two immense, wide-winged birds, one black and one white, which overspread the earth. The great squat-headed evil Apap in the Egyptian drawings is probably a water reptile, and possibly represents the mysterious monster of the lakes in the legends of Central Africa. But, wheresoever its habitat in nature, it supplied one of the types that were depicted in the astronomical ceiling of Kam—the types that have now to be followed [p.259] by means of the mythography in the sign-language of the starry sphere, amongst which Apap, the 'hellish snake' of drought and dearth and darkness, still survives as our own constellation 'Hydra,' the enormous reptile imaged in the celestial waters of the southern heaven. The hero of light that pierced the serpent of drought or the dragon of darkness was also represented as the golden hawk (later eagle), and at Hermopolis the Egyptians showed the figure of a hippopotamus upon which a hawk stood fighting with a serpent. Now, as the hippopotamus was a zootype of the Mother-earth in the water of space, the hawk and serpent fighting on her back portrayed the war of light and darkness which had been fought from the beginning, the war that was a primary subject figured in the astronomical mythology. The hawk represented Horus, who was the bruiser of the serpent's head. Thus the same conflict that was portrayed at Hermopolis may be seen in the constellation of Serpentarius as a uranograph depicted in the planisphere.
The Egyptians called the equator Ap-ta, as the highest land or summit of the earth. This, the earthly Apta in the equatorial regions, was then rendered mythically as the Apta or highest point of the northern heavens in the astronomical representation. And naturally the chief facts of the earthly paradise were repeated for a purpose in the circumpolar highland. Hence the Aarru paradise, as a field of papyrus reeds oozing with the water of life that supplied the world, from the two great lakes into which the element divided at the head of the celestial river or the White Nile of the 'Milky Way.' In coming down the Nile from Karua, the lake country, the migrants had to pass through parching desert sands, which made the south a synonym for Sut, as it is in Egyptian. Their future heaven was in the north, whence came the blessed breezes with the breath of healing from the very land of life. And all the time ahead of them was that fixed polar star in the north—fixed, that is, as a centre of rest and peace amidst the starry revolutions of the heavens. Emerging from the wilderness, they saw in Egypt an oasis watered by the river Nile. Cooler breezes brought the breath of life to meet them on the way, and plenty of sweet, fresh water realized the heaven of the African. The kami found their old lost paradise in 'Uat,' the name signifying green, fresh, well-watered. Uat was literally the land of wet as water. Here then was heaven in the north, heaven as the north, heaven in the water and the breezes of the north. And on this they founded a celestial garden or enclosure, which was configurated by them in the northern heaven as the primitive paradise of edible plants and plenty of water. The river Nile was traced back by the Egyptians to a double source. This in later times was localized at Elephantine, but not originally. The Nile was known to issue from the two great lakes which were the southern source of the river according to the Ritual. A tablet discovered at Gebel Silsileh refers to two of the ancient festivals of the Nile which had fallen into disuse in the time of Rameses II. In this, it is said, 'I know what is written in the bookstore kept in the library, that whenever the Nile cometh forth from the two fountains, the offerings of the gods are to be plenty.' The river was timed [p.260] to come forth from its double welling-place on the 15th of Epiphi, and the inundation to reach Gebel Silsileh, or Khennut, on the 15th of Taht. The first of these dates corresponds to our May the 31st; the second to August the 4th. This allows two months and three day's for the inundation to travel from its swollen and overflowing double-breasted source, wheresoever that was localized, to Gebel Silsileh. The length of the river from the Victoria Nyanza to the sea is now estimated at 3,370 miles. It is less than 3,000 to Silsileh, and water flowing at the rate of only two miles an hour would make 3,120 miles in sixty-five days. This seems to afford good evidence that the two fountains were identified with the two lakes, and that the double source was afterwards repeated locally lower down at Elephantine. The Egyptians had tracked the river to its sources 'in the recesses,' called 'the Tuat of the south,' and the inundation to the bursting forth and overflowing of the southern lakes at high flood.
The mother of water in the northern heaven was imaged as the water-cow. Another type of the birthplace was the thigh or haunch of the cow, and one of the two lakes at the head of the Milky Way in the region of the northern pole was called the 'lake of the thigh.' The Osiris, on attaining the divine regions of water, air, and food, or, as we say, heaven, exultingly exclaims, 'I alight at the thigh of the lake.' This was the thigh of the cow that was constellated in heaven at least twice over, as a sign of the birthplace, when the birth was water, or Horus, the child of the inundation. Now the name of Tanganyika, from the African 'tanga' for 'the thigh' and 'nyika' for the water, signifies the lake of the thigh or haunch. But the thigh is only a symbol which in sign-language denotes the birthplace that was imaged more completely by the cow itself; the water-cow of Apt, in Apta, which represented earth as the Great Mother and giver of the water that, according to the legend, burst forth from the abyss in the deluge of the inundation when the lake was formed at first. The lake of the thigh Tanganyika was constellated in the northern heaven by name as a uranograph, and this lake of the thigh or haunch was the lake of the water-cow. Hence we find the cow and the haunch are blended together in one group of stars that is labelled the 'Meskhen,' as the womb or birthplace at the summit of the pole. (See p. 289) And, although this lake in Africa is a little over the line to the south, it is near enough to have been reckoned on it, and therefore to have been the earthly prototype of the great lake at the horn-point of the northern pole which the Ritual denominates the 'lake of equipoise' as well as the lake of the thigh. Amongst the other signs that were configurated at the summit of the northern heaven as object-pictures of the old primeval homeland were the fields of the papyrus reed, the waters welling from unfathomable depths, the ancient mother as the water-cow of Apt, who was the living image of Apta as the birthplace in the reeds. Thus, with the aid of their uranographs the Egyptian mystery teachers showed the birthplace in the fields of the papyrus plant; the reed bed in Uthlanga, where the black and white twins of darkness and day were born; the birthplace of the water flowing from its secret source in the land of the two lakes called 'the [p.261] lake of equipoise' and 'the lake of the thigh,' or Tanga, whence the name Tanganyika. There was the water that for ever flowed in fields for ever fresh and green, which figured now the water of life that has no limit, and the food that is eternal in the Kamite eschatology. In the astronomy Apta was the mount of earth as a figure of the equator, whereas the summit of the circumpolar paradise was the mount of heaven as a figure of the pole. In the final picture to the Ritual the mount of Amenta stands in a morass of the papyrus reed. The cow that represented the Great Mother is portrayed in the two forms of Apt the water-cow and Hathor the milch-cow, as the typical mother amongst the reeds in the place of birth on the earth and thence of rebirth in heaven. Thus, as we interpret it, the imagery of Equatoria was commemorated in the uranographic representation or sign-language of the astronomical mythology.
Sir Harry Johnston sees traces of the Egyptian or Hamitic influence amongst the more primitive dwarfs and negroes of the equatorial regions, but this he speaks of as the result of a returning wave from the Nilotic races. Assuredly the Kamite race of migratory colonizers on the lower Nile did return in later times in search of the old home. Their voyages by water and travels by land had become the subject of popular tales. But this was as travellers, adventurers, naturalists, and miners who explored their hinterland, dug for metals or gems, imported strange animals, and transplanted precious trees to furnish incense for the goddesses and gods. It was not the grown-up, civilized ruti of Egypt, who called themselves 'the men' par excellence, that went back to beget the ape-like race of negroid dwarfs in the central regions of Africa, or to people the impenetrable forests with non-civilized, ignorant, undeveloped manikins. That was not the route of evolution.
It is an ancient and world-travelling tradition that heaven and earth were close together in the beginning. Now the heaven signified in the oldest of all mythologies, the Kamite, was the starry heaven of night upraised by Shu as he stood upon the mount of earth. This was the heaven in which the stars of our two bears revolved about the pole. The writer of the present work has seen in equatorial regions how the Southern Cross arises and the bears go down for those who are going south. The northern polestar dips and disappears, and with it sinks the primal paradise of mythology in general that was configurated in the stars about the pole. On coming north again, the old lost paradise arose once more as paradise regained. At a certain point, in regions of no latitude, the polestar rests for ever on the horizon in the north, or, as the Egyptians figured it, upon the mount of earth in Apta. The heaven of the ancient legends and of the equatorial astronomers was close to the earth, because the polestar rested on the summit of the mount like Anup on his mountain. Such traditions were deposited as the mythical mode of representing natural fact, however much the fact may be obscured. Now, the ordinary heaven of night and day could not supply the natural fact. Heaven is no farther off from earth than ever. Yet there is a starting point in the various mythologies that is equivalent to this beginning, at which time heaven rested on the earth, and was afterwards separated from it by the mythical uplifter of [p.262] the sky. The name of heaven denotes the up-heaven. Nut or Nu, the Egyptian name for heaven, has the meaning and the sign of uplifted. And there was but one starting point at which the heaven could be said to rest upon the earth. This was in the regions of no latitude, where the polestars were to be seen upon the two horizons. As the nomads travelled towards the north, this heaven of the pole, which touched the earth in Equatoria, naturally rose up from the mount, or, as mythically rendered, it was raised by Shu, who stood upon the steps of Am-Khemen to reach the height, and push the two apart with his huge staff that was the giant's figure of the north celestial pole. There were no solstices in Apta. Time, if any, was always equinoctial there. And on this equal measure of day and dark the first division of the circle, the sep or turn-round of the sphere, was founded. When Shu upraised the sky it was equally divided between Sut and Horus, the portion of each being half of the water, half of the mount, or half of the twenty-four hours. And this was the time made permanent in Amenta, where the later register for all such simple mysteries was kept. There are twelve hours light and twelve hours dark in this netherworld, the same as in the equatorial regions. It is the equinoctial time of Shu and Mati. The earth was not an upright pillar in Apta, with the starry sphere revolving round it on a horizontal plane. The risings and settings of the stars were vertical, and the two fixed centres of the poles were on the two horizons, or, in accordance with the Egyptian expression, on the northern and the southern sides of the mount of earth. The sky, as the celestial water, was also divided into two great lakes, one to the north and one to the south of the mount. These survive in the Ritual as the Lake of Kharu and the Lake of Ru to the south and the north of the Bakhu hill 'on which heaven resteth.' The system of dividing the celestial water was apparently founded on the two great equatorial lakes at the head of the Nile, which were repeated in the two lakes of Amenta and in the other pictures of the double source of the great stream now figured in heaven at the head of the Milky Way as 'the stream without end.'
The Egyptians also preserved traditions of Ta-nuter, the holy land that was known by the name of Punt or Puanta. Maspero spells the name Puanit. The present writer has rendered it Puanta. One meaning of anta, in Egyptian, is yellow or golden. Hence Puanta the golden. The name is applied in the Ritual to the land of dawn, or anta, as the golden the land of gold. This was the mythical or divine Anta in Amenta where the tree of golden Hathor grew. In that case, Puanta or Punt is identical with the orient in the mythos. But the land of Puanta is also geographical, and there was an Egyptian tradition that this divine country could be reached by ascending the river Nile. It was reported that in a remote region south you came to an unknown great water which bathed Puanta or the holy land, Ta-nuter. This, we suggest, was that nearest and largest of all the African lakes, now called the Victoria Nyanza, from which the river Nile debouches on its journey north. We gather from the inscriptions of Deir el-Bahari that the inhabitants of that Puanta for which the expedition of Queen Hatshepsu sailed were lake-dwellers. The houses, built on piles, were [p.263] reached by means of ladders, and pile-dwellings imply that the people of Puanta were dwellers on the lake. Further, it is recorded on the monuments that two naval expeditions were made by the Egyptians to the land of Puanta. The first occurred in the reign of Sankh-Ka-Ra, the last king of the eleventh dynasty, long before the expedition to Puanta was made in the time of Queen Hatshepsu (eighteenth dynasty). The leader of this earlier expedition was a nobleman named Hannu, who describes his passage inland through the desert and the cultivated land. On his return to Egypt from the gold land, he speaks of coming back from the land of Seba, and thus far identifies the one with the other. He says: 'When I returned from Seba, or Sebma, I had executed the king's command, for I brought him back all kinds of presents which I had met with in the ports of Puanta, and I came back by the road of Uak and of Hannu.' In the story The Shipwrecked Sailor the speaker says of his voyage: 'I was going to the mines of Pharaoh, in a ship that was cubits long and 40 cubits wide, with 150 of the best sailors in Egypt.' He was shipwrecked on an island, which turned out to be in the land of Puanta. The serpent ruler of the island says to the sailor: 'I am prince of the land of Puanta.' It is not said that this was the land of the mines, but he was sailing to the mines when he reached the land of Puanta. An inscription found in the tomb of Iua and Thua (of the eighteenth dynasty), which tomb was rich in gold, informs us that the gold had been brought from 'the lands of the south.' Also the Mazai tribes are known to have had relations with the people of Puanta. Puanta, as a geographical locality, is said to lie next to the spirit world, or the land of the shades, which is spoken of as being in the south, but as far away as sailors could go upstream; in fact, it was where the celestial waters came from heaven at the sources of the Nile. This surely means that Puanta, the gold land, was at the summit of this world, and therefore closest to the next, where there was nothing but the firmamental water between them and the islands of the blessed.
If Mashonaland should prove to be the gold land of Puantai this would be the geographical Puanta, not Arabia, from which the golden Hathor and the hawk of gold originally came. The symbolism of the ruined cities of Mashonaland, discovered by the explorer Bent, suffices at least to show that the Egyptians of a very remote age had worked the gold mines in that country. Horus on his pedestal or papyrus is a figure not to be mistaken, whether the bird is a hawk or a vulture, for there was also a very ancient Horus of the vulture that was the bird of Neith. The hawk or vulture on the pedestal or papyrus (uat) was indefinitely older than the human type of Horus the child in Egypt. Horus as the hawk or vulture, standing on the column within the necklace zone or cestus, was the child of Hathor; and these two, Hathor and Horus, were the divine mother and child. The gold hawk of Horus is connected with the Egyptian mines, whilst precious metals and stones, especially the turquoise, were expressly sacred to the goddess Hathor. The Egyptian goddess Hathor, as a form of the Earth-mother, was the mistress of the mines, and of precious stones and metals, called mafkat. It was here she gave birth to the blue-eyed golden Horus as her child, her golden calf or hawk of gold. The [p.264] Egyptian labourers who worked the mines of the turquoise country in the Sinaitic peninsula were worshippers of this golden Hathor and the golden Horus. These two are the divinities most frequently invoked in the religious worship of the Egyptian officers and miners residing in the neighbourhood of the mafkat mines. Also the name for a mine in Egyptian is ba or ba-t, and baba, or babait, is a plural for mines, likewise for caverns, grottoes, and lairs underground. Moreover, this district of the Sinaitic mines was designated Baba or Babait by the Egyptian miners. And this name of Baba or Babait, with the plural terminal for the mines, would seem to have been preserved and repeated for the Zimbabwe mines in Rhodesia, the Egyptian word being left there by the Egyptian workers. Lastly, as Mafekh or Mafkhet is a title of Hathor, as mafekh is an Egyptian name for the turquoise, for copper and other treasures of the mines, as well as of Hathor, one wonders whether the name of Mafeking was not also derived from the Egyptian word mafekh. The earliest Ta-Neter or holy land of the Egyptians, then, was Puanta in the south, which was sacred on account of its being the primeval home. But in the mythos the place of coming forth had been given to the sun god in the east, and this became the holy land in the solar mythology which has been too hastily identified by certain Egyptologists with Arabia as the eastern land.
At present we are more concerned with the original race and its primitive achievement than with the return wave from Egypt in the later ages of the pharaohs. The oasis in Africa was a heaven on earth, a paradise in nature readymade in the vast expanse of papyrus reed. Egypt from the beginning was based on the oasis, Uat. We might trace a form of the heptanomis with which Egypt began in the seven oases: the great oasis of Abydos, called Uaht, the great Theban oasis, the oasis of The Natron Lakes, the oasis of El-Kargeh, the oasis of Sinai, the oasis of Dakhel, and the oasis of Bahnesa.
Maspero says the Great Oasis had been at first considered as a sort of mysterious paradise to which the dead went in their search of peace and happiness. It was called Uit or Uat. As late as the Persian epoch the ancient tradition found its echo in the name of the 'Isles of the Blessed,' which was given to the Great Oasis. 'So soon as the deceased was properly equipped with his amulets and formulas, he set forth to seek "the field of reeds."' The 'field of reeds' was the field of Uat, the papyrus reed, which had been repeated in the heavens, from the Uat of Egypt the Uat of the oasis, the Uat of the reed land that was in the beginning. For those who lived on the papyrus shoots, when this was a primeval food, there was a world of plenty in the region of the lakes, which would be looked back to as a very paradise by those who wandered forth into the waterless deserts and suffered cruelly from thirst and hunger midst the arid wastes of burning sand. In seeking 'the field of reeds' the deceased was going back in spirit to Uthlanga, the cradle in the reeds, or to Karua, the land of the lakes; to Apta, the starting-point; to Puanta, the ever-golden; to Merta, the land of the two eyes, or some other form of the primitive paradise, where, as the Ritual has it, he would drink the waters of the [p.265] sacred river at the sources of the Nile. This was the land where food and water had been abundant enough to furnish a type of everlasting plenty for the land of promise in the astronomical mythology and the eschatology.
It is necessary to postulate a commencement in equatorial regions, in order that we may explain certain primeval representations in the land of Egypt. We see a deluge legend originating in the woman's failing to keep the secret of the water source, which was followed by an overwhelming, devastating flood. We see that a legend of the first man—he who brought death into the world by disobeying the law of taboo—is indigenous to the natives of Uganda. A primitive picture of 'the beginning' is also presented in an African story which was told to Stanley by a native of the Bashko on the Aruwimi River, and called 'The Creation of Man.' It is related that, 'In the old, old time all this land, and indeed the whole earth, was covered with sweet water. Then the water dried up or disappeared. No living thing was moving on the earth, until one day a large toad squatted by one of the pools. How long it had lived or how it came into existence was not known, but it was suspected that the water must have brought it forth from some virtue of its own. On the whole earth there was but this one toad'—which in relation to water was the frog. Then follows the legend of 'creation.' The toad becomes the maker of the primal human pair which came into being in the shape of twins (like Sut and Horus, or the Zulu black and white twins in the bed of reeds), and these are said to be 'the first like our kind that ever trod the earth.' The legend we judge to be an African original relating to the primordial water in which the earth was figured as a 'large toad,' or frog, at the time when no other living thing moved on the earth, and there was no human creature known. The frog floating on the water in the act of breathing out of it was an arresting object to primitive man, and this became a type of earth emerging from the water of space. The constellation of Piscis AustraIis was known to the Arab astronomers as the frog. Indeed, the two fish, the southern fish and the whale, were named by them as the two frogs. But, whichever type was first, a monstrous frog or huge fish, a turtle or the water-cow, it was a figure of the earth amidst the firmamental water, in the lower part of which was the abyss. And here the primal pair are also born as twins, like Sut and Horus. In Egypt the north celestial pole was variously imaged as a mountain-summit, an island in the deep, a mound of earth, a papyrus plant or lotus in the waters of immensity, a tree, a stake, a pole, a pillar, a pyramid, and other types of the apex in heaven.
In Equatoria there was neither pole nor polestar fixed on high in the celestial north. On the other hand, there were two polestars visible upon the two horizons, north and south. These, according to the imagery, might be represented by two jackals, two lions, two giraffes, mountains—the mount and horizon being synonymous—two trees, two pillars of the firmament, or by the two eyes of two watchers. 'Heaven's-Eye Mountain' is a Chinese title for the Mount of the Pole. This would [p.266] apply when only one polestar was visible. But in Equatoria there were two poles or mountains with the eyes of two non-setting stars upon the summits, the only two fixed stars in all the firmament. These we hold to be the 'pair of eyes' or merti that were also a pair of jackals in the Kamite astronomical mythology. But first of the two poles as pillars.
Josephus has preserved a tradition concerning two pillars that were erected in the land of Siriad. He tells us that the children of Seth (Egyptian, Set) were the inventors of astronomy, and in order that their inventions might not be lost, and acting 'upon Adams prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of waters, they made two pillars, the one of brick, the other of stone; they inscribed their discoveries upon them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain and exhibit those discoveries to mankind, and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the Land of Siriad to this day.' Plato likewise speaks of these two columns in the opening of Timaeus. The place where the two pillars, or one of them, traditionally stood was in the land of Siriad. Where that is no mortal knows, but Sen in Egyptian is a name for the south. Sen is also the mount that is figured as the twofold rock which is equivalent to the pillars of the two horizons, south and north. Sen is also the name of the giraffe, a zootype of Sut, the overseer. Siriad, then, we take to be the land of the south where the pillar 'remains to this day.' According to John Greaves, the old Oxford astronomer, 'these pillars of Seth were in the very same place where Manetho placed the pillars of Taht, called Seiread.'
It is possible to identify the missing pillar of the two, the pillar of Sut in the south. There was a southern Annu and a northern Annu in Egypt, and possibly a relic of the two poles may be recognized in the two Annus, viz., Hermonthes, the Annu of the south, and Heliopolis, the Annu of the north. The original meaning of Annu appears to have been the place of the pillar, or stone, that marked the foundation which preceded the Å-sign of station or dwelling-place. There was an Egyptian tradition which connected Sut, the inventor of astronomy, with Annu, as the original founder of the pillar, which makes him the primary establisher of the pole. As an astronomical character Sut was earlier than Shu. The Arabs also have a tradition that one of the pyramids was the burial-place of Sut. The pillar of brick, being less permanent, went down as predicted in the deluge as a figure of the southern pole, whereas the pillar of stone remained for ever as an image of the north celestial pole, or of Annu, the site of the pillar, in the astronomical mythology. It is reported by Diodorus that Annu (Heliopolis in the solar mythos) was accounted by its inhabitants to be the oldest city in Egypt. Which may have been mystically meant, as Annu was also a city or station of the pole, the most ancient foundation in the northern heaven, described in the eschatology as the place of a thousand fortresses provisioned for eternity.
The two pillars of Sut and Horus were primal as pillars of the two [p.267] poles thus figured in the equatorial regions as the two supports of heaven when it was first divided in two portions, south and north and the pillar or mount of the south was given to Sut, the pillar or mount of the north to Horus. The typical two pillars are identified with (and as) Sut and Horus in the Inscription of Shabaka from Memphis, in which it is said, 'The two pillars of the gateway of the house of Ptah are Horus and Sut.' The present interpretation is that the typical two pillars or props originated as figures of the two poles, the single pillar being an ideograph of Sut, that these were established in the two domains of Sut and Horus to the south and north of the land in which the veriest dawn of astronomy first occurred, and that the types were preserved and re-erected in the earth of eternity as the two supports of the heaven suspended by Ptah for the manes in Amenta, even as the sky of earth had been uplifted and sustained by the two poles of the south and north in Equatoria. Sut and Horus, then, were the twin props of support twice over, once in Equatoria as the two poles, once in Amenta as the two tats of Ptah. Further, two brothers, Sut and Horus, as the founders of the two poles in building the heavens for the ancient mother, may explain the American story of the two brothers who planted each a cane in the house of their grandmother when they started on their perilous journey to the land of Kibalba. The old mother was to know how they fared by the flourishing or withering of the tree or cane, and whether they were alive or dead. Grimm traced the same legend in the story of the two gold children who wished to leave their home and go forth to see the world. At parting they say, 'We leave you the two golden lilies: from these you can see how we fare. If they are fresh we are well; if they fade we are ill; if they fall we are dead.' Now the reason why this story is told in Central America, in India, and in Europe we hold to be because it was first told in Africa and rendered mythically in Egypt.
It appears quite possible that a form of the two typical pillars which were visible at the equator also survives in the two sacred poles of the Arunta natives in Central Australia. These people 'down under' have no northern pole or polestar of the north, but they carry two symbolic poles about with them, which they erect wherever they go as signs of locality or encampment, both of which are limited to the south and the north. One is called the nurtunja. This, so to say, is the north pole of the two, and is never met with in the south. The other, called a waninga, is always limited to the south. The nurtunja is typical of the northern and the waninga of the southern part of the Arunta tribe. Each of these, like the Egyptian tat-pillar, is a sign of establishing or founding, as is shown from its use in the ceremony of young-man-making. In Greek myth the temple of heaven was raised on high by two brothers, who in one version are Trophonios and Agamedes, the builders of the temple of Apollo. The sinking of Trophonios into the cave also corresponds to the engulfing of Sut in his going down south with the disappearing pole.
One of the two legendary pillars of Seth disappeared, the other remained. And when the nomads of the equatorial regions had begun the movement northward on the way that led them down the [p.268] Nile, they would gradually lose sight of the southern polestar, and whatsoever else had been configurated with it in the nightly heaven would sink below the horizon south, like a subsidence of land in the celestial waters. Thus in astronomical mythology a fall from heaven, a sinking down in the waters called a deluge, and a lost primeval home were natural occurrences as certain stars or constellations disappeared from sight for those who travelled northward from the equatorial plain. And these celestial events would be told of as mundane in the later legends of the 'Fall' and 'Flood' and man's lost paradise of everlasting peace and plenty. It is enough, however, for the present purpose that a star or constellation first assigned to Sut sank down into the dark abysm south, and disappeared from the ken of the observers who were on their journey of three thousand miles down into the valley of the Nile. It is certain that Sut went down south to some sort of netherworld, and so became the power of darkness in Amenta, when our earth had been completely hollowed out by Ptah, and Amenta below became the south to the circumpolar paradise in the celestial north. The ancient Egyptians had no antipodes on the outside of the earth. Amenta in the netherworld was their antipodes. Their two poles were celestial and subterrestrial. The north pole was at the summit of the mount. The south pole was in the root-land of the earth below. The Ritual describes the ways of darkness in the entrance to the Tuat as the tunnels of Sut, which tends to show that a way to the netherworld was made by Sut when his star and standing-ground went under in the abyss of the beginning in the south, where the Egyptians localized the Tuat or entrance to the underworld, which was the place of egress for the life that came into the world by water from 'the recesses of the south.'
Without doubt the contention of Sut and Horus began with the conflict of darkness and light or drought and water when these were elemental powers, and the birthplace of the twin brothers, one black, one white, was in the bed of reeds. This phase was continued by the twins that likewise struggled for supremacy in the dark and light halves of the moon, which imaged the light eye of Horus and the dark eye of Sut. But the war extended to the whole of nature, that was divided in halves between the Sut and Horus twins, who were the firstborn of the ancient mother in two of her several characters. In Central Africa the year is divided into two seasons of rain and drought. These are equivalent to the two opposite domains of Horus and Sut as powers of good and evil. The winds of the north and south follow suit. The wind from the north in the rainy season is warm and wet and beneficent; on the other hand, the wind that comes up from the South Pole is witheringly dry, the wind therefore of Sut, the power inimical to man and animal in physical nature. The desert drought, like darkness, was an element assigned to Sut. As this was the region of drought and sterility and typhonian sands, and Sut the tawny-complexioned was the force that dominated in the south under the same name, we may see how and where he first acquired his character in Egyptian mythology as representative of the arid desert opposed to water, fertility, and food. Thus Sut versus Horus imaged [p.269] the south versus north. Sut was deadly as the drought; Horus was 'right as rain.' This contention of the combatants and of the south versus the north was continued in the stellar mythos until their reconciliation was effected by some other god, such as Shu, Taht, or Seb. When Sut, or his star, went down from the horizon, mount or pole in the south, he gradually sank to the lowermost parts of the abyss which in the eschatology was called the secret earth of Amenta. Here his character as the opener of roads or ways in the astronomy was continued into the Egyptian eschatology by Ap-Uat or the jackal as the conductor of souls. He was the deity of the dark. In the oblong zodiac of Denderahi the two jackals of the south and north, continued in the solar mythos, are figured opposite to each other. These represent the two forms of Ap-Uat, the opener of ways, who was imaged as a jackal, the seer in the dark. One jackal was known as guide of the southern ways, the other as opener of the northern ways. No Egyptologist has gone further than to suggest that this north and south may have been in Amenta—as they also were. But no one has dared to dream of a beginning with the primitive paradise in Equatoria.
Deluded visionaries, lift your eyes,
Behold the truths from which your fables rise
These were realities of heavenly birth,
And ye pursue their shadows on the earth.
'The wisdom of the Egyptians,' said Augustine, 'what was it but astronomy?' The answer is that it was not simply the science of astronomy in the modern sense, but astronomical mythology was the subject of subjects with the ancient 'mystery-teachers of the heavens,' as the Egyptian urshi or astronomers were self-designated. The most puerile report of all which has played false with us so long is the exoteric tradition in the Hebrew Pentateuch.
Professor Sayce has asserted that 'Babylonia was really the cradle of astronomical observation.' To which one might reply with the wise Egyptian, 'Do you really know that, or is it that you only pretend to know?' The author of Researches into the Origin of the Constellations of the Greeks, Phoenicians, and Babylonians also claims a Euphratean origin for these, whilst admitting that 'Egypt was not indebted to any foreign region for her original scheme of constellations, which are entirely or almost entirely distinct.' But it is useless or puerile to discuss the genesis of astronomical mythology with the African originals omitted, and without allowing for the alterations that were made by Greeks and Euphrateans in the course of transmitting a celestial chart. To omit the Kamite 'wisdom' from the reckoning is to dispense with evolution and leave no ground for a beginning—no gauge of time nor data of development. Moreover, the primary question of the origins is not astronomical but mythological. The types of this sign-language had [p.270] been founded in totemism. These were first employed for distinguishing the human motherhoods and brotherhoods. They were reapplied to the elemental powers in mythology, and afterwards repeated in the constellation figures as a mode of record in the heavens which can still be read by aid of the Egyptian wisdom, but not by means of the Semitic legendary lore. The primitive constellations might be described as Egyptian ideographs configurated in groups of stars, with the view of determining time and season and of registering the prehistoric human past.
The principle of representation was similar to that of the modern teachers who draw their diagrams upon the blackboard. In like manner the mystery teachers of the heavens approximately shaped the constellation figures on the background of the dark, to be seen at night and to be expounded in the mysteries. For example, if they were desirous of memorizing some likeness of the old primeval home in Apta at the horn-point of the earth, this would naturally be done by repeating the especial imagery of the equatorial regions at the highest point of beginning in the northern heaven as seen in Egypt. Or, if they wished to show that the river of the inundation issued from an abyss of water in the remotest south, this could be accomplished by constellating the course of the stream in heaven on its long and winding way from the star Achernar to the star Rigel at the foot of Orion. Hence the water of the inundation was depicted in and as the river Eridanus. The contest between Horus the lord of light and the serpent of the dark was made uranographic in the 'Serpent-Holder.' The conflict between Horus who came by water and the dragon of drought was exhibited by the Apap-reptile being drowned in the inundation as the monster 'Hydra.' The scene configurated in the southern heaven where the conqueror Orion rose to bruise the serpent's head or crush the dragon under foot is also represented in the Ritual when Apap is once more put in bonds, cut up piecemeal, and submerged in the green lake of heaven. Other imagery in the planisphere bears witness to the drowning of the dragon Apap in the waters of the inundation. The monster imaged in 'Hydra' is treated as carrion by the crow that is perched upon it, pecking at its dead body. Or, if we suppose the mystery teachers of the heavens wished to constellate a figure of the mount of earth amidst the waters of surrounding space, and that this was in the time of the most primitive mound-builders, when no conical pillar could as yet be carved in wood or stone, how would they figure the object-picture forth as a uranograph? The earth was thought of as a mount amid the firmamental water, and to image this they would naturally raise a mound of earth. At the same time the heap of earth had acquired a sacred character in relation to the dead, and had become a kind of altar mound piled up with offerings of food. And such a figure we find in Ara, the southern altar or the altar mound. The earliest altar raised had been the mound of earth, and this was used to typify the mount of earth. Aratus, speaking of 'the southern altar's sacred seat,' calls this constellation 'a mighty sign.' Manilius says of the constellation, 'Ara mundi templum est.' It is traditionally connected with the war of the earth-born giants or elemental powers which were succeeded by the glorious ones or khuti in the astral [p.271] mythos. The Mesopotamian mound-builders likewise show us that the most primitive type of foundation was the mound, that the earth-mound passed into the foundation of brickwork as the pillar, and the pillar culminated in the Ziggurat. So in Egypt the earth-mound led up to the pyramid with steps, that culminated in the altar-mound of stone. The Chinese still call the altar a mound. Because of its being a figure of the earth amidst the Nun, the altar-mound was raised immediately after the deluge in the Semitic mythos. In this way the teachers who first glorified the storied windows of the heavens, like some cathedral of immensity, with their pictures of the past, are demonstrably Egyptian, because the sign-language, the mythos, the legends, and the eschatology involved are wholly Egyptian, and entirely independent of all who came after them. The so-called 'wisdom of the ancients' was Egyptian when the elemental powers were represented first as characters in mythology. It was Egyptian when that primeval mythology was rendered astronomically. It is also Egyptian in the phase of eschatology. Speaking generally, and it would be difficult to speak too generally from the present standpoint, the Egyptian mythology is the source of the märchen, the legends, and the folklore of the world, whilst the eschatology is the fountainhead of all the religious mysteries that lie between the earliest totemic and the latest Osirian, that were ultimately continued in the religion of ancient Rome. The mysteries were a dramatic mode of communicating the secrets of primitive knowledge in sign-language when this had been extended to the astronomical mythology. Hence, we repeat, the Egyptian urshi or astronomers were known by the title of 'mystery teachers of the heavens,' because they explained the mysteries of primitive astronomy.
For one thing, a later theology has wrought havoc with the beginnings previously evolved and naturally rendered. And we have consequently been egregiously misled and systematically duped by the Semitic perversions of the ancient 'wisdom.' There was indeed 'a fall' from the foothold first attained by the Egyptians to the dismal swamp of the Assyrian and Hebrew legends. In Egyptian mythology compared with the Babylonian the same types that represent evil in the one had represented good in the other. The old Great Mother of evil, called the dragon-horse in the Assyrian version, was neither the source nor the product of evil in the original. The serpent-goddess Rannut, as renewer of the fruits of earth in the soil or on the tree, is not a representative of evil. We hold that moral evil in the mythical domain is an abortion of theology which was mainly Semitic in its birth. The Kamite beginning with the Great Mother and the elemental powers which are definite and identifiable enough in the Egyptian wisdom became confused and chimerical in Babylonian and Hebrew versions of the same sign-language; the dark of a benighted heaven followed day. Elemental evils were converted into moral evil. The types of good and ill were indiscriminately mixed, pre-eminently so in the reproduction of the old Great Mother as Tiamat. Originally she was a form of the Mother-earth, the womb of life, the suckler, the universal mother in an elemental phase. But the types of good and evil were confounded in the later rendering. The creation of evil as a [p.272] mis-creation of theology is plainly traceable in the Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Hebrew remains. The Great Mother, variously named Tiamat, Zikum. Nin-Ki-Gal, or Nana, was not originally evil. She represented source in perfect correspondence to Apt, Ta-Urt, or Rannut in the Egyptian representation of the Great Mother, who, howsoever hideous, was not bad or inimical to man; the 'mother and nurse of all,' the 'mother of gods and men,' who was the renewer and bringer forth of life in earth and water. Nor were the elemental offspring evil, although imaged in the shape of monsters or of zootypes. As Egyptian, the seven anunaki were spirits of earth, born of the Earth-mother in the earth, but they were not wicked spirits. The elements are not immoral. These are a primitive form of the seven great gods who sit on golden thrones in Hades as lords of life and masters of the underworld. Moreover, the seven Nunu or Anunas can be traced to their Egyptian origin.
In the Cuthean legend of creation we are told that the great gods created 'warriors with the body of a bird' and 'men with the faces of ravens.' 'Tiamat gave them suck.' 'Their progeny the mistress of the gods created.' 'In the midst of the (celestial) mountains they grew up and became heroes' and increased in number. 'Seven kings, brethren, appeared as begetters'—who are given names as signs of personality. Now the seven children of the Great Mother as Egyptian were produced as two plus five. The Sut and Horus twins were born warriors or fighters. They are portrayed as two birds, the black vulture or raven of Sut and the gold hawk of Horus. These, the first two children imaged as two birds, one of which is black, will or may account for the two bird races, one of which had the face of a raven and were a black race, or were the 'black-heads' in Akkad. The Sut and Horus twins were succeeded by five other powers, so that there were seven altogether, all brothers, all males or begetters—the seven which constituted a primary order of gods, as fellow-males who were the 'Nunu' of Egypt, which became the Anunas or primordial male deities of ancient Babylonia. But the seven nature powers evolved in the Egyptian mythos were the offspring of the great Earth-mother, not the progeny of Apap. They were native to the nether earth, but were not wicked spirits. They are spoken of in the Ritual as 'those seven Uraeus-deities who are born in Amenta.' The serpent type is employed to denote the power, but it is the good serpent, the uraeus-serpent of life and of renewal, not the evil reptile Apap. These the Euphrateans changed into the seven evil spirits or devils of their theology. The spawn of Apap in Egypt are the sebau, which were numberless in physical phenomena and never were portrayed as seven in number. The Euphrateans turned the evil serpent Apap into Tiamat, the old Great Mother in the abyss of birth, where she has been supposed to have brought forth the seven powers of evil and to have been herself the old serpent with seven heads. In Egypt, happily, we get beyond the rootage of mythology in Babylonia and Akkad. The goddess Rannut was a form of the Earth-goddess as the serpent-mother. The serpent brood or dragon progeny of Rannut are mentioned in the Ritual where they have become a subject of ancient knowledge in the [p.273] mysteries. Elsewhere they are called the seven divine uraei or serpents of life. There are no seven serpents of death, no seven evil serpents, in the Kamite representation. The seven uraei, though elemental, born of matter, and of the earth earthy, like their mother, are not evil powers; neither are they in the same category with the sebau of Apap or the sami-fiends of Sut; whereas in the Euphratean version these have become seven wicked spirits as the evil brood of the Great Mother Tiamat. They are also portrayed as the seven heads or potencies of an infernal snake, which had been Egyptian, but without the seven heads, the types of good and evil being mixed up together as Euphratean. The Kamite elemental powers were just the powers of the elements represented by zootypes. They might be sometimes fearsome, but they were not baneful. The inimical forces of external nature, the evil spawn of drought, plagues, dearth, and darkness, called the sebau or the sami, had preceded these, whereas in Babylonia the two categories are confused and the seven have been reproduced as altogether evil. They are sevenfold in all things evil: seven evil demons, seven serpents of death, seven evil winds, seven wicked spirits; seven in the hollows of the earth, seven evil monsters in the watery abyss; seven evil incubi, seven plagues. But even these seven baleful and injurious spirits of Babylonia originated as powers of the elements, no matter where. Hence the first is a scorpion of rain (compare the curse of rain); the second is a monster with unbridled mouth (thunder); the third is the lightning-flash; the fourth is a serpent; the fifth is a raging dog; the sixth is a tempest; the seventh is the evil wind. Here the whole scheme of evil is meteorological, and is based upon bad northern weather. The theological perversion and the degradation of the type are traceable in Babylonia. The seven serpent powers were originally the same. In Egypt they are the seven spirits of the earth. And of the seven in Babylonia it is said in the Magical Text from Eridu: 'those seven in the earth were born. Those seven in the earth grew up. Those seven from the earth have issued forth.' Only in Babylonia the Great Mother as the crocodile type of water has been confounded with the Apap-reptile of evil, and made to spawn the evil powers in the darkness of later ignorance. We can watch the change in a Babylonian version of the mythos. The seven nature forces here originated as seven evil powers; they were 'rebellious spirits' and 'workers of calamity' that were 'born in the lower part of heaven,' or the firmamental deep. They are called 'the forces of the deep,' for ever rising in rebellion. In short, they are one with the sebau of the Ritual, who were the progeny of Apap, which have been confounded with the 'seven' elemental spirits who were not originally evil. The beneficent great Mother-earth who had been imaged by the sloughing serpent as a type of renewal and rejuvenescence was transmogrified into the serpent of theology, the very devil in a female guise, the author of evil that was ultimately represented as a woman who became the mother of the human race, and who doomed her offspring to eternal torment ere she gave them birth in time. The Hebrews follow the [p.274] Babylonians in confusing the uraeus-serpent of life with the serpent of death. The primal curse was brought into the world by Apap the reptile of drought, dearth, and darkness, plague and disease, but the evil serpent began and ended in physical phenomena. Apap never was a spiritual type, and was never divinized, not even as a devil. The beneficent serpent Rannut represents the mother of life, the giver of food in fruits of the earth or the tree. She is portrayed as the mother both in the form of a serpent and also as the human mother. But good and evil have been badly mixed together in the Hebrew version of the Babylonian perversion of the Egyptian wisdom.
The way in which the Kamite mythos was converted into Semitic legendary lore and finally into biblical history is palpably apparent in the story of the fall. The woman offering fruit as temptress in the tree was previously represented in sign-language as the serpent which was the symbol of renewal in the tree, as is shown when the reptile offers the fruit to the man. Thence came the serpent-woman, who was a compound of the zootype and the anthrotype, and who was damned as Mother Eve, and deified as Rannut, the giver of the fruits of earth. Conclusive evidence of the way that changes were made in the appropriation of the prototypes and their re-adaptation to the change of fauna, and likewise of later theology, can be shown in relation to the primordial Great Mother who is Tiamat in Babylonia. One of her typical titles is the 'dragon-horse,' and as the Egyptians had no horse, it might be fancied at first sight that such a compound type as the dragon-horse, which also figures in Chinese mythology, was not Egyptian. The ancient Egyptians had no horse, and their dragon was a crocodile. The hippopotamus was their first water-horse as male—that is, the water-bull. As female it was the water-cow. Now, the old first genetrix Apt (Khept, or Ta-urt), when represented as a compound figure is a hippopotamus, that is the water-horse, in front, and a crocodile, that is the dragon, behind. The dual type of Tiamat the dragon-horse is based on the crocodile and hippopotamus, which are to be seen combined in the twofold character of the Great Mother Apt, and these two animals were unknown to the fauna of Akkad and Babylonia. Thus as Babylonian they are not derived directly from nature, but from the mythology and the zootypes that were already extant in Egypt as African.
Horus, as Sebek, was the great fish of the inundation, typical of food and water. This great fish is the crocodile, which was applied to Horus as a figure of force in his capacity of solar god, the crocodile in Egypt being a prototype of the mythical dragon—not the evil dragon, but the solar dragon, which was known in relation to Sebek and to Saturn as the dragon of life. In one of the Greco-Egyptian planispheres this dragon keeps its original form and remains a crocodile. It is portrayed as a constellation of enormous magnitude, and is truly the great fish of Horus-Sebek that was first of all a figure of the inundation constellated in the stellar mythosi and reapplied to the power that crossed the waters as the solar Horus of the double horizon. The only form of evil to be found in the abyss was the dark and deadly power of drought, that, as feared, might drink or dry up all the water. This was figured as the Apap-reptile [p.275] or some other form of the monster Hydra, the prototypal serpent of the sea. The mother of life in the abyss was the giver of water as the wet nurse of the world, not the destroyer of the water.
In Babylonia the tree of life was changed into a tree of death. The serpent in the tree that offers fruit for food, as Rannut, the giver of food and representative of Mother-earth, was transformed into the evil serpent that 'brought death into the world and all our woe,' but which had originated as a beneficent figure in the Kamite representation of external nature. The transmogrifying of Tiamat, the mother of all and suckler of the seven elemental powers, into the dragon of evil might be followed on other lines of descent, as in the conflict of Bel-Merodach and the dragon. In the Egyptian representation Apap the dragon of drought is drowned in the water by Horus of the inundation, whose weapon therefore is the water flood. Now in warring with Tiamat the deluge is the 'mighty weapon' wielded by Bel. 'Bel (launched) the deluge, his mighty weapon, against Tiamat, inundating her covering,' or drowning the dragon of drought. Thus Tiamat is destroyed by Bel with the deluge, where Apap was drowned by Horus in the inundation. This again shows that the Great Mother Tiamat, the suckler, as the giver of water, had been converted into the evil dragon of drought. The good crocodile has also been transmuted into the evil dragon and portrayed as falling down head foremost from the starry summit of heaven to be trodden under foot and crushed beneath the heel of Horus, who is Herakles in Greece, Krishna in India, Merodach in Assyria. It was the same with other fauna. The pregnant hippopotamus was changed for the always female bear or the pregnant woman. The two dogs have been substituted for the two jackals of the south and north, the first two openers of the roads in heaven. The eagle of Zeus takes the place of the hawk of Ra, and the raven, the black Neh of Sut; the legend follows, and the conflict between the eagle and the serpent is substituted for that of the warring hawk and serpent in the Egyptian mythos. The huge Apap-reptile of drought and darkness has been supplanted by the chimerical monster that is slain by Gilgamesh the solar god. And when the totemic matriarchate has been followed by the patriarchate, and the goddess of the 'living word' in heaven has been changed in the Euphratean system for the lord who is 'the voice of the firmament;' when the waterman has replaced the multi-mammalian wateress, the cow or sow of an earlier system of signs; when the heroes, or mighty ones, have been superseded by simple shepherds of the heavenly flocks—it becomes a question of very minor import who made the changes and forged the counterfeits, or whether the originals were deliberately disguised by the Akkadians or Babylonians, Phoenicians or Greeks.
In the course of the present inquiry we shall learn that the creation exoterically described in the Semitic legends of the beginning was not cosmogonical. Neither was it what one writer has called it, 'the cosmography of appearances.' It was uranography, not cosmography, and uranography is sign-language constellated in the stars. That which has been called 'chaos' in the 'legends of creation' was a condition in which there was neither law nor order, time nor name, nor means [p.276] of representing natural phenomena. But it does not mean there were no natural phenomena because there had been no mode of expression. Things existed even when they had no name or record in the Babylonian mythology. It was never pretended in the Egyptian wisdom that there was any creation of the elements.
Ground to stand on, food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe, had always been, and were in no wise dependent upon any mode of representation; whereas the mythical representation did depend upon the elements or nature-forces being already extant to be named or to be constellated and become pictorial for the purpose of the mystery teachers. In no land or literature has the mythical mode of representation been perverted and reduced to drivelling foolishness more fatally than in some of the Hebrew legends, such as that of Jonah and the great fish, which is connected with the origin of the fish-man in mythology who was born of a fish mother whom we shall identify with the constellation of the southern fish, and Horus of the inundation. The most ancient type of the fish was female, as a representative of the great Mother-earth in the water. This as Egyptian was the crocodile. She was the suckler of crocodiles in the inundation. She was the bringer-forth as great fish or crocodile in the astronomical mythology. One of her children was the crocodile-headed Sebek, who made the passage of the Nun by night as sun god in the solar mythos. The fish-man was at first the crocodile of Egypt, next the crocodile-headed figure of Horus who is called 'the crocodile god in the form of a man.' The deceased assumes this form to cross the waters in the netherworld, because it had been a figure of the solar god in the mythology. The conversion of the crocodile god in the Nun to the fish-man of Babylonia is thus made plausible. Jonah is a form of the fish-man in the biblical story (which is neither mythology nor eschatology), and therefore a figure of the solar god who made passage of the waters as Horus the crocodile or as Ea the fish-man Nineveh. As usual in later legend, the anthropomorphic rendering re-faces and thus defaces the type. It was the fish itself that the waters of the inundation. It was the typical fish that swam nocturnal waters, or the sun god represented by the mighty whereas, this being 'history,' Jonah is made mere man, and therein needed the great fish to carry him across the Nun or to land him Nineveh. Birth, or rebirth, from the great fish in the Lower Nun is one of the oldest traditions of the race. It was represented in the mysteries and constellated in the heavens as a means of memorial. The great fish that landed Jonah on dry ground may still be seen as 'Ketos' with its enormous mouth wide open at the point of emanation from the Nun, just where the landing-place on earth is represented in the equatorial regions on the celestial chart.
Naturally there would be some changes in the constellations with the change of fauna as the primitive wisdom passed from land to land, but that is a different matter from working the oracle of celestial orrery on behalf of false and therefore all the more virulent theology. It can be demonstrated that the astronomical mythology of Egypt passed into Akkad and Babylonia, with the race of Cushite 'black-heads,' to become the wisdom of the 'Chaldees' and the Persian magi in after ages, including such primary types [p.277] the abyss of the beginning in the lower firmament, the Great Mother as a fish or dragon = crocodile in the abyss, and the fish-man born of the fish-mother from the abyss. According to the legend related by Berosus, a divine fish-man, Oannes, or Oan, who had his dwelling in the Persian Gulf or Erythrean Sea, came forth from thence to teach the Chaldeans all they ever knew, when, as it is said in the native tradition, the people wisely 'repeated his wisdom.' In all probability the instructor as a fish-man in Babylonia was represented by Ea, whose consort was Davki or Davkina, the Earth-mother corresponding to the Egyptian Great Mother, one of whose names was Tef. 'Among the chief deities reverenced by the rulers of Telloh was one whose name is expressed by the ideographs of a "fish" and an "enclosure," which served in later days to denote the name of Nina or Nineveh.' The same sign, i.e., of a fish, and enclosure in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, signifies an, to appeal, to show, to teach, as did the fish-man. An in Egyptian is a name of the teacher, the scribe, the priest. An was the fish in Egypt. An, with the fish for ideograph, is an ancient throne name that was found by Lepsius among the monumental titles on a tomb near the pyramids of Giza. This an, to show, to reveal, An, the fish of the enclosure, An, the teacher, as the fish, is the likeliest original of the Oan or Oannes who issued from the waters to show the Babylonians how to live, as the mythos was reflected in the later legend. Horus-Sebek was the earliest fish-man known to mythology. He calls himself the fish in the form of a man. Yet he issued from the female fish as a fish, the crocodile as son from the crocodile as Apt the mother and not as a man ejected from the mouth of a fish, as the legend reads when ignorantly literalized. The fish-mother also survived in the divine lady Nina, who was represented by the ideograph of a fish enclosed in a basin of water, which has the same significance as the fish-mother in the lake at Ascalon.
But to reach a beginning the bottom must be plumbed in the abyss or nether parts of the firmamental Nun upon the outside of the mount by means of which the earth was imaged in the astronomical mythology. The abyss was known by various names in different versions of the mythos. It is the Phoenician baev or deep. It is the bau of the Hebrew Genesis. It is the bau or bahu as Egyptian. The word bahu is also a name for the god of the inundation called the power of the southern lakes. 'I am Bahu the Great' is said four times over (in the Magic Papyrus) at the breaking forth of the water power from its southern source in the abyss of the dragon, the crocodile, or the Southern Fish. The Egyptian also has an earlier form of the word bahu in 'bab,' for the well or whirlpool as a welling source of water. Another term for this outrance from the Nun is the tepht, which signifies the abyss, the source, the outlet. The Tiavat or Thavath of Berosus is a form of the Great Mother as a type of the watery abyss which is the Egyptian tepht, the abyss, the source, the well, the hole from whence the water issues, the dwelling underground where the dragon-horse gave suck to her brood of monsters in the earth. Tepht or Tept is also an Egyptian name for the old first Great Mother as a [p.278] figure of source. This likewise had been applied to the place of emanation for the waters of the Nile which issued from the well of source, the bahu, tepht, or tuat. But the tepht of source, the lair of the dragon, the 'hole of the snake' had been the outrance of the Nile from the abyss before there was a goddess Thavath or Tiamat in Assyria. So was it with the bau, bahu, or bab. These names had been applied to the source of the inundation itself and localized in Egypt before they were repeated in the astronomical mythology to become a subject of Semitic legendary lore. The bau, the bahu, or bab is Egyptian. The tepht and tuat are likewise Egyptian; and these names had been (already) applied to the source of the inundation and to the facts of earth that formed the mould of the astronomical mythology.
In the later Semitic legend it was said the earth was founded on the flood, as if it were afloat upon the water of the abyss. But according to the primary expression the earth stood on its own bottom in the water, at the fixed centre, with the tree upon the summit as a figure of food and water in vegetation. The mythical abyss of the beginning was the welling-place of water underground where life was brought to birth by the Great Mother from the womb of the Abyss. In the Ritual this is described as the Tuat, a place of entrance to and egress from the lower earth of Amenta. It is a secret deep that nobody can fathom, which sends out light in the dark, and 'its offerings are eatable plants.' It is the birthplace of water and vegetation, and therefore, more abstractly, of life. The bottomless pit is a figure that was derived from this unplumbed deep inside the earth itself. From this abyss the Mother-earth (as womb of life) had brought forth her elemental progeny as the perennial renewers of food to eat, water to drink, and air to breathe.
The Tuat in the recesses of the south is likewise identified in the hymns as the secret source of the river Nile, which is thus traced to the abyss. Such was the birthplace of the beginning, the birthplace of water in the beginning from which the papyrus plants arose as the primeval food, and as the fact is registered in the Ritual. In the Magic Papyrus the abyss is comprehensively spoken of as 'the water's well.' It is the habitat of the dragon called 'the crocodile coming out of the abyss.' It is also the lair of the Apap-monster, of whom it is said by Shu, 'If he who is in the water opens his mouth, I will let the earth fall into the water's well,' being the 'south made north, or the earth turned upside down.' Here the two dragons can be identified together as the crocodile-dragon of water and the Apap-dragon of drought, that were at war from the beginning as antagonists in the abyss. The strife in the abyss was between the crocodile of water and the fiery dragon of drought, the two dragons of good and evil, Sebek-Horus and the dragon or reptile of Apap. Both were born of the abyss; hence the scholia on chapter 17 of the Ritual add, 'The devourer comes from the lake of Puanta,' or the water of the abyss which the Egyptians traced to the 'recesses' in the south. The beginning in heaven, as on earth, was with water. Water was the first thing rendered uranographically, not created, in the southern hemisphere. This when 'gathered into one place' was localized as 'the water.' The [p.279] Egyptians had a huge southern constellation dedicated to Menat the wet-nurse, called 'the Stars of the Water.' The 'Southern Fish' and 'Ketos' are both depicted in this water of the south or the abyss. Aratus, speaking of the stars in the neighbourhood of these great fishes or monsters of the deep, says 'they are all of them called "the water."' Earth, the Great Mother, was imaged as the breeder of life and the bringer forth from this abyssal water in the south. She was represented in two mythical characters. In one she is the mother who brought forth on dry ground, as the hippopotamus (or its equivalent type); in the other she was the mother of life in water who is figured as the Southern Fish low down in the deep of the southern heaven.
In mythology that which has been called 'creation' begins with duplicating by dividing: darkness was divided from light, dry land as breathing-place was divided from water; the north was divided from the south, and earth was divided from heaven, as in the Japanese creation. So the power of the two monsters (in the Book of Enoch) 'became separated on the same day, one being in the depths of the sea and one in the desert'—that is, one in the water, as Leviathan (the crocodile or dragon), and one as the hippopotamus on dry ground. Enoch asks the angel to show him 'the power of those monsters and how they became separated on the same day of creation, one in the depths of the sea, above the springs of waters, and one in the dry desert.' It is said of the two monsters that they had been prepared by the people of God to become food. In this there is a broken ray of the refracted mythos. The two monsters had represented food and drink from the first, one as the mother of life in the earth, the other in the waters. These two monsters were prepared for food in the garden or enclosure of the beginning. The name of one is Behemoth, the name of the other Leviathan. Behemoth is the Egyptian Bekhamut, the female hippopotamus, and Leviathan answers to the crocodile or dragon of the deep. The rabbis repeated a true tradition when they rendered the biblical 'Behemoth' not as a plural of majesty, but as a pair of beasts. They were a pair of beasts in the mythology of Egypt. The female Behemoth was the original Great Mother Kep, or Apt; the male was her son. The crocodile also, as zootype, was both male and female. For his purpose, however, Enoch makes Leviathan a male monster and Behemoth female. Of course the type is or may be differentiated by the sex. The two monsters in the Egyptian starry scheme are both female as two forms of the Great Mother, who was the hippopotamus in her forepart and the crocodile behind, or the crocodile in the south and the hippopotamus in the north. Thus the hippopotamus and crocodile which were natural in the Nile had become two huge, indefinite monsters of legendary lore in the Book of Enoch, and the two survived as the types of dry and wet, for land and water. The suggestion now to be made is that the two monsters of dry and wet, or earth and water, were constellated as the Southern Fish and Ketos, or the whale, but that the whale has been substituted for the hippopotamus by the Euphrateans or the Greeks.
The Southern Fish on the celestial globe is portrayed in the act of [p.280] emaning a stream of water from its mouth, whereas the monster Ketos is depicted as the breather out of the water, the two being representative of the earth as the mother of life in the water called the abyss. In the Sut and Horus mythos the first two children of the ancient mother represent the conditions of dry and wet. They were born twin because the conditions were co-extant in earth and water. In the course of time everything that was dry, desiccative, or of the desert was ascribed to Sut, whereas the products of water were assigned to Horus. Hence the two monsters were continued as types of the twins. The hippopotamus of earth as male was given to Sut. The crocodile of water was given to Horus, to typify the fish as food of the inundation.
The 'abyss of waters' is described by Berosus as the habitat of most hideous beings, which had been produced by a 'twofold principle' that was as yet undiscreted into wet and dry. 'The person who was said to have presided over them was a female named Omoroca.' Then came Belos 'and cut the woman asunder, and of one half formed the earth, and of the other half the heaven or firmament.' This is a mode of discreting the twofold principle of the dry earth and the celestial water. The story told by Berosus is a later legendary form of the mythos. The duplication of the motherhood is the same, but with a change of type. The later woman has taken the place of the cow that was cut in two, divided, or made twain as the water-cow of earth and the milch-cow of heaven. Omoroca is the Great Mother who was one as the representative of earth, and was then divided to become the representative of earth and water. The formation of earth and heaven out of the halves is identical with separating earth and water and distinguishing wet from dry.
The 'creation' with which we are now concerned is uranographic as a mode of fashioning and giving names to the earliest constellation figures, those that were truly primitive. Thus in the beginning of the astronomical mythology there is a figure of uncreated ground that stands in space or amidst the firmamental water.
If we use the word 'creation,' which has been so ignorantly abused, the first creation figured in the astronomical mythology was the birth of water or, more abstractly, of life from the water, the source whence came the inundation with its blessings to the rainless land of Egypt. As Plutarch reports, the Egyptians held that water was 'the beginning and origin of all things'—that was, as an element of life. Hence in the Osirian mysteries the throne of the Eternal rested on the element of water, and Horus the child-saviour, the Messu or Messiah, came by water in the power of the southern lakes. So in the building of the heavens the beginning was with water, or the firmament imaged in its aerial likeness. Thus it might be said the heaven was made from water, as it is said in the Babylonian legends of creation, the water based on being the abyss of source. According to the present reading of the data, water had been recognized as the first and most vital element of life. Hence the beginning of all recorded human thought with water. Water in Africa was life indeed, where drought was very death. Horus on his papyrus as lord of water was the lord of life. One Egyptian name for [p.281] heaven is kabhu, derived from water, or the inundation, as 'the cool,' and that which makes cool. Paradise was where water was plenteous. Hence water was divinized as heaven, and heaven is figured in the hieroglyphics as water suspended overhead, the firmament being held aloft on four sustaining props as water lifted up. There was no such crying want of water in Babylonia, no such devouring dragon of drought in Akkad, therefore no such raison d'étre for the origin from water as in Africa.
The birth of water from the abyss of earth is figured in the 'Southern Fish.' The star Fomalhaut at the mouth of the Fish denotes the point of emergence whence the stream is seen ascending from its source beneath the constellation of Aquarius. A soul of life from the element of water was manifested by the fish as Horus the crocodile, also by Horus cradled on the water-plant. Thus the water element was fundamental in the making of the heavens. This was as the firmamental water. Earth as the mother of life and giver of water was portrayed in the abyss as a great fish emaning water from its mouth, which represents the fact that the earth in the abyss had been already recognized as giver of life because it was the source of water, the primary wateress or the wet-nurse of mythology. She, the Great Mother, as we read the heavenly story-book, was next constellated in the Southern Fish as the producer of life and sustenance from water in the unfathomable abyss.
In various legends there is a beginning with a world all water. This is one with the Egyptian Nu or Nun. In the beginning was the Nun. Thus says the primordial word. Not in the beginning of the heavens and earth, but in the beginning of the uranographic representation or entification in the astronomical mythology. The Nun is a name in Egyptian for the firmament when imaged in the similitude of water, the world that was all water at the intellectual starting-point. There is a relic of the ancient wisdom on one of the Assyrian tablets, the gnosis of which we hold to be Egyptian, and that as such it can be unriddled and read. As it is said, 'the heaven was created from the waters.' The earth was pre-existent. This is called the work of 'Ansar and Kisar,' who 'created the earth,' i.e., when 'creation' had been rendered cosmogonically. But 'the heaven was created from the waters' which were firmamental and uranographic. The non-Semitic legend of Cutha describes the beginning with a condition of nonentity or pre-entity; there was nothing but an amorphous world of water. As it is said, 'the whole of the lands were sea;' 'the abyss had not been made' below, nor was there any seat of the gods above. There was no field of reeds; no tree of life had been planted in the midst of an enclosure. There flowed no stream from the abyss 'within the sea' of the celestial water. This, when bottomed, means that configuration of the signs in the astronomical mythology had not as yet begun. But as space the firmamental water was extant, and dry earth itself had stood for ever in the midst thereof; earth and water were the uncreated substance which had no beginning, any more than they had in the Egyptian Nun. The monsters born of Tiamat had their home in the ground of earth. It was there she suckled [p.282] them. Earth as the natural fact preceded the abyss in the astronomy. As Professor Sayce observes, somewhat naively, 'There was already an earth by the side of the deep.' No Earth was the ground to go upon in the deep, and this was the Mother-earth which brought forth in and from the deep that was depicted as the abyss, or as the Great Fish in 'the water' of the southern heaven. It was in the extreme south that the Babylonians also placed their entrance to the underworld or the abyss. That is where the Egyptians had already localized the outrance from this mysterious region whence the inundation came. Here was the 'Ununait' or place of springing up that was first applied to water in the pre-solar mythos, the water that was pictured in its rising from the fish's mouth.
The abyss or great deep of the beginning was represented in the mysteries as the Lake of the Great Fish. It was related by Ctesias of Knidos that the sacred lake was seen at Bambŷkź or Hierapolis. It was also said that in this lake the life of Derketō, daughter of Aphrodite, was saved by the fish. And as the great fish of Kam was the crocodile, the likelihood is that the Lake Meoris, sacred to the crocodiles in Egypt, was also a form of the lake which represented the place of birth that was commemorated in the mysteries and told of in the legends as the abyss of the beginning, the birthplace or fontal source of water = life. A figure of the 'abyss' or 'deep' survives still in the 'basin.' Large ewers filled with water were used for purificatory rites in the Babylonian temples. These were called apsu, for 'deeps' or 'abysses.' Tanks were used by the Egyptians for their baptistries. The baptismal font still images the fount of source. As a mythical or celestial locality the Gulf of Eridu is a mundane form of the abyss that was in the beginning. This was the birthplace where the Earth-mother brought forth as a dragon or great fish, the mistress in the abode of the fish. Hence it was the place from whence not only the fish-man Oannes, but the seven fish-like men or annedoti, ascended before the time of the Assyrian deluge. The source of water underground most naturally suggested the idea of a primordial deep, an unfathomable gulf, a bottomless pit. This was then applied to the point of beginning in the lower Nun or firmamental water where the abyss was figured in the uranographic representation.
If, as we suggest, the story of the heavens was written by the race here generalized as 'the Egyptians,' and if that race descended from the equatorial regions like the great river flowing from its source, it is to the southern hemisphere we must look for the imagery which first reflects the mythology. The southern constellations are comparatively few, but their character in relation to the Egyptian wisdom is unmistakable. Besides which, these uranographs of the beginning, or the first time, could not all have originated as Euphratean, because so many of the stars were too far south to be seen or constellated in Akkad or Babylonia.
The Southern Fish is figured as the bringer forth of water—that is, of life or of Horus the fish from the abyss. Ketos the monster represents the mother in another character. This, as we suggest, is the mother in the water emaning life upon dry land as did the watercow. The head of the monster is half out of the deep, with jaws agape and gasping like a fish on dry ground, sufficient to show that [p.283] these are a fish-form of the dual motherhood that was imaged as a crocodile and water-cow, as two cows, as two women, or as the woman Omoroca, who was cut in halves by Belos. If the sphere is carefully examined it will be seen that a stream of water is gushing upwards from the fish's mouth and apparently ascending towards the figure of Aquarius on the ecliptic. Hitherto it has been assumed that water in heaven always ran downwards from the northern pole into the abyss of the south; that the water from the urn of Aquarius was being poured into the mouth of the Southern Fish, and the river Eridanus started from the star Rigel at the foot of Orion and came to an end at the star Achernar, its course being from north to south, or from right to left of the sphere. But this reckoning has now to be reversed.
On the celestial globe, then, the life of the world that was born of water and imaged as Ichthus the fish is represented still as issuing from the mouth of 'the Southern Fish.' The word that issued from the fish's mouth is mentioned by the writer of a hymn to Merodach, in which it is said, 'The holy writing of the mouth of the deep is thine.' If this is rightly rendered, the word of Ichthus had then become the written word. Still, it issued from the mouth of the deep, which was that of the fish-mother, or the fish's mouth. Now, the mystical emblem known by name as the vesica piscis is still a form of the fish's mouth, or outrance into life. The present writer once thought the vesica was uterine. And it is such as a co-type, but not in its origin, because the child first born of it was not the human child! It is the emaning mouth of that fish which gave birth to water as the life of the world and to the saviour who came to Egypt by water as the fish of the inundation. In the language of obstetrics, the outrance of birth is called the os tincę or tench's mouth. That is the mouth of the fish, not because the origin in this instance was uterine, but because the fish's mouth was first, and this has been continued as a symbol of the birthplace when that which as prehuman was reapplied to the human organ. In the course of development geometrical and anatomical figures are blended doctrinal in the vesica as a symbol of the womb. It was not so when the Great Mother (of life in water) was imaged in the Southern Fish. It becomes so, to all appearance, when the door of life is figured in the shape of a vesica at the feminine (or western) end of a Christian church. The fish's mouth was figured in the heavens as the primordial door of outrance into life when the soul of life came to the world by water. And although the true meaning may have been suppressed by overlaying the doctrine, enough survives in the symbols to show that the child Christ in the Virgin's arms encircled by the vesica piscis has the same significance as had the figure in the planisphere where the water of life is issuing from the fish's mouth, and the star of annunciation is the star Fomalhaut. Only the water of life, still represented by Ichthus the fish, is personalized in later iconography by the human child as the type of eternal rejuvenescene. The oval being a co-type with the fish's mouth, the Virgin and her child are a later equivalent for the divine mother bringing forth her fish in the lake, piscina, basin, or other water type of the primordial abyss, as in the astronomical mythology. The vesica survives in Freemasonry as well as in the [p.284] Christian Church, which was founded on the fish and font in Rome. It represented an archetypal and ineffable mystery as a geometrical symbol, not one that was simply anatomical. Speaking of the vesica, Dr. Oliver says this mysterious figure vesica piscis possessed an unbounded influence on the details of sacred architecture, and it constituted the great and enduring secret of our ancient brethren. The plans of religious buildings are determined by its use, and the proportions of length and height were dependent on it alone.
The springs of water issuing forth as from the breast of the Mother-earth made her the wet-nurse to her children. As Apt she nursed her hippopotami; as Rerik she gave milk to her young swine; as Neith she was the suckler of her crocodiles; as Hathor, the cow-headed, she was the milch-mother who was said to give the white liquor that the glorified ones love. In each of these forms she was a type of Mother-earth, as we learn from the mythology.
The mundane source of water touches the origin of what has been designated the 'worship of wells and springs', which was at first a propitiation of the superhuman power of Mother-earth by those who needed water, and who, like the Egyptians, sought to be nursed at the dugs of the cow when reborn above as the glorified. In Ireland there could be no religious place without a holy well. St. Columbkille is said to have 'sained three hundred well-springs that were swift [running].' 'Well worship,' so called, is propitiation of the power in the well. This was the spirit of running water, which as an element had the credit of giving life and the power of purifying. The doctrine is extant as Osirian in the Ritual, where the water is a lake of healing at which all defects are washed away and all stains obliterated. The speaker says, 'I am purified at the two great lakes' (the lake of natron and the lake of salt) which purify (or sam) the offerings that living men (on earth) present to the great god who is there—that is, Osiris, who had taken the place of the mother as the source of life in water. The point is that the water purified or sained the offerings that were made to the power in the lake or well or living spring. But the Great Mother was the first to be solicited for water—she who was the wateress in the abyss, the primary Great Mother in mythology, the water-cow as Apt in Egypt, the water-horse as Tiamat in Babylonia.
The primordial abyss had originated as the source of water in the earth. The well-spring underground was the fact in nature upon which the fabled fount of immortality and the subterranean lake of the waters of life were founded in the divine nether-earth. Water generated by the earth was that which came from very source itself thus visualized as wet-nurse of the world. Every spring or bubbling fount of liquid life that issued from this source below was suggestive of a deep without a bottom; the tepht, the bab, or bau of source that was afterwards represented in the astronomical mythology and constellated at the very foundation of the southern heaven as the mystical abyss. The first abyss was in the earth. The abyss of firmamental water is outside the earth; it is figurative because celestial. The Nun was heaven entified as water. But there had [p.285] been two waters actual in external nature, as the waters that rose up in the fountains, wells, and springs of earth, and the water that fell in dew and rain from heaven. This was portrayed as falling from the tree of wet, which is the Egyptian tree of Nut or of heaven as water. Thence water from the well was the water of earth, and water from the tree was the water of heaven. These two water sources in earth and heaven were figured as the abyss or well below and the tree of rain above, with Apt or Hathor the Mother-earth in the abyss, and Nut the heavenly mother in the tree of wet above. And these two types seen in the well and tree are universal signs of so-called 'water worship' with the oldest races in the world. The holy well or water-hole is commonly found beneath the sacred moisture-dropping tree. The stone erected as an altar underneath the tree is almost as common. This was a place of propitiation and appeal to the elemental power. Libations of blood were poured out on the stone. Offerings were suspended on the tree gifts were cast into the well and magical invocations made. The well suffices to establish the fact that the primitive want was water. But the source was dual in the water of earth and the water of heaven. The source in earth was imaged in the well as a form of the abyss. The water that fell from heaven was imaged by the tree of Nut. The altar-stone is representative of earth. Thus it is a meeting-point for the sycamore of Nut (the tree of celestial water, as Egyptian), the altar of earth, and the abyss of water under the earth. The object of the rite is the spirit or power that sends the water from its 'double source' in earth and heaven, with the stone as altar for the sacrificial offering. The Egyptian old first mother, who is a hippopotamus in front and crocodile behind, and who is repeated in the Babylonian dragon-horse Tiamat, still survives in British tradition as the water-horse or kelpie, and also as the dragon. The river Yore near Middleham is held to be haunted by a water-horse. The River Auld Grandt, that springs from Loch Glaish in Ross-shire, is dreaded as the abode of the water-horse. Sometimes the presiding power of the water in the well is indicated by the fish, sometimes by the frog. Once the dragon of drought left his co-type in a northern holy well. At the Devil's Causeway between Ruckley and Acton there is a well in which the animal type is the frog, and the largest of these, which naturally enough appears but seldom, represents the devil Apap. In one instance two old women are said to keep the secret of the water. These are equivalent to the two fish, the two cows, and the woman who was cut in two.
The double source of water having been identified as the water of earth and the water of heaven, the type of duality was applied to the firmamental water in the astronomical mythology, and heaven, as water, was divided into the two waters of the lower and upper firmament, the typical being founded as a figure of the actual. These two waters are also constellated in the two celestial rivers of Eridanus and the Milky Way. The one reflects the river of the inundation, therefore the water of earth below, emaning from the lower Nun or the mythical abyss. The other is the 'great stream' of the Via Lactea. The inundation rose up in the south. Its ebullient superhuman forces in the Ritual are called the powers of the south. These powers [p.286] of the south are in attendance 'at the moment when the lord of his flood is carried forth and brings to its fullness the force that is hidden within him.' And when once we know which way the river runs in heaven, Achernar in Eridanus becomes our guide star from the south. From that the river travels northward to Orion's foot, or rather to the point at which Orion rises up as Horus of the inundation. Otherwise Horus is brought to birth on his papyrus, as depicted in the Egyptian drawingsi.
The two waters of earth and heaven are both recognizable in the double source assigned to the river Nile. In some of the traditions it is described as emanating from the abyss of earth, in others as falling from the skies. Both origins are mentioned in the Hymn to the Nile. In the first stanza the water is said to descend from heaven. In line thirteen we are told that 'the Nile has made its retreat in Southern Egypt. Its name is not known beyond the Tuat.' Thus the retreat of the Nile in the south is identifiable with the abyss as the earthly source of the inundation, and its name is not known beyond the boundary of that other world from whence it issues. In inner Africa the rains came from the cool heaven (kabhu) of the north, and therefore in that quarter (or half) was the creatory and source of the celestial waters, as the fact was figured for ever in the constellation of the Water-Cow. In the hymns of adoration to the Nile the river is addressed as coming forth and bringing all good things to Egypt from the north, whereas the geographical Nile came with the inundation from the south. The Nile that issued from the two lakes of a double source was celestial in the north. The Nile that 'made its retreats in Southern Egypt' was the mundane Nile which came from the north to the south above, and from the south to the north below. As Horapollo shows, two of the Egyptian vases denoted water from a double source, one being the earth as generator of water, the other heaven when the rains fell in the southern parts of Ethiopia. The urn was a figure of the inundation. Aquarius was called the constellation of the Urn by the Arab astronomers. We shall understand the sign of 'Krater' better if we take it is an extra-zodiacal image of the urn, which not only represented the inundation and its bounty, but also the abyss of source from which the welling waters came. The two urns are followed by the two vases at a later stage. Howsoever poured out, water was the primary means of fertilization. When the goddess pours out a libation from her vase—or two divine personages from two vases—on the water plant or shoot of palm, the signification is the same as when the wet-nurse Hathor suckles Horus as a child or Neith the crocodile as a calf. According to the most primitive imagery in Egypt, the waters of the inundation issued from the Mother-earth as the water-cow, the wateress in the primordial abyss or water source. But when the sky was looked to as a source of water, heaven was represented as the milch-cow, and the river flowing from the highest source was imaged as the Milky Way. Thenceforth there were two cows. The cow of earth was the water-cow, and the milch-cow was the cow of heaven. The water-cow of earth was constellated in the stars of the Great Bear, the milch-cow of heaven in the group now known as Cassiopeia, or the Lady in the Chair, which [p.287] was the earlier constellation of the Haunch or Meskhen as a figure of the birthplace when the birth was typical of life in water (see fragment from a Theban tomb, p.289 below).
THE DROWNING OF THE DRAGON
The 'mystery of evil,' about which theologians ignorantly prate, was very simple in its origin. Water, food, and light were naturally good. Their opposites—thirst, hunger, darkness, and disease—were as naturally bad. In this way the origin of evil had its rootage in the conditions of external nature for which man could nowise be held responsible. The rest is mainly the result of a primitive doctrine being developed in the domain of theology. For example, Sut, the anthropomorphic devil of the later Egyptian religion, was previously the pre-anthropomorphic representative of drought, dearth, and darkness long before the type of evil had been personalized in the figure of a satanic Mephistopheles as the tempter of womankind. Thus the representative of evil, 'that old serpent' in mythology, became the author of evil in theology, and the devil was evolved in the moral domain according to the eschatology.
At the commencement of mythical representation in Africa we meet the adversary of man in the shape of a monstrous serpent or devouring dragon. This in Egypt is the Apap-reptile, the dragon of drought or the serpent of darkness. In one phase Apap is the devourer of the moon in her eclipse, in another it is the destroyer of vegetable life, and in a third it drinks or dries up all the water, or there is a mortal fear lest the monster should do so. This was the primal adversary or prototypal Satan. There is a saying that 'the devil is known by his long tail,' and the long tail of Satan may be seen as the appendage of Apap the serpent of evil in the southern constellation Hydra. The Egyptians also have a class of evil beings called the sebau. These were the spawn of the reptile Apap, born of darkness, drought, and other malefic influences in physical phenomena that were found to be inimical to man. The type of Apap, a flat-headed inner African snake, is universal. It is the Bushman all-devourer Kwai Hemm, who swallows the mantis-deity at night and brings him forth again alive by day; it is the Norse dragon or worm, the Greek python, the throttling Ahi or Vrittra of the Vedas. With the Indians of Brazil it is still 'the great serpent who is the owner of night.' It is the snake, toad, or frog in the legends that swallows all the water in the world. Possibly the Apap-monster of Africa may be recognized even by name in Australia. In the centre of the continent whirlwinds occur that lift up columns of dust two or three hundred feet in height. The Arunta call them Apapa. The Warramunga say an unfriendly spirit, an Orantja, travels about in these on the lookout to kill black fellows. Whether this be the old dragon of the desert or not, it is noticeable that the name of the Apap in Egyptian signifies to mount on high, become tall, vast, gigantic, like the swirling dust and darkness of the sandstorm. Here [p.288] begins the war between the evil serpent and the woman, who is the Great Mother in mythology. It was the Apap-reptile who brought darkness, drought, and death into the world. The mother was the earliest slayer of the dragon, and the son of the woman followed as her helper. She may be seen as Isis, a form of the lunar goddess, spearing the head of Apap in the dark waters of night. She may also be heard in this character as the Lady of Light, who exclaims, 'I lighten up the darkness and overthrow the devouring monster.' In the Kaffir folktales we find the original mythos of the monster in three of its phases. In the story of 'The Great Chief of the Animals' the victim swallowed by 'the terrible monster' is the moon-mother. She tears her way out of the monster as the deliverer of herself, and sets free all her children whom the devourer as dragon of darkness had previously swallowed. The bows and arrows with which the twin brothers kill the monster tend to identify their weapon with the lunar bow that was periodically drawn and nightly employed to overcome the power of darkness. There is perhaps a further hint that the mother represents the moon, inasmuch as the children of the woman had been left for safety in charge of the hare, which is a lunar zootype. In another Kaffir tale the woman is mother of the twins who correspond to Sut and Horus as the twin powers of light and darkness brought forth by the mother-moon in her dual lunation. In a third the swallower, called 'the Inabulele,' is slain by the hero Sikulum, who answers to Horus as slayer of the Apap-dragon.
Propitiation of a superhuman nature power for food and drink was the most primitive form of the appeal that ultimately culminated, as we know, in worship. The gods of Egypt from the beginning represented food and drink, not only as givers of sustenance—they were the sustenance in food and liquid. The Great Mother was the suckler or wet-nurse. Hathor offered food in the sycamore-fig and Isis in the persea tree of life. Child-Horus was the shoot, the branch, the calf, lamb, or fish. Seb, god of earth, was the father of aliment. Plenty of food and water first made heaven palpable to primitive or archaic men on earth. Hence the primitive paradise was imaged as a field of food. At one stage seven cows were configurated as the type of plenty that was eternal in the heavens. The tree of life was planted in the midst of the celestial oasis. Upon this grew the fruit as food on which the gods and the glorified were fed. The mother of food in the oasis of the papyrus plant, uat, was divinized in the goddess Uati, as a mother of all things fresh, flourishing, and evergreen. The deity Atum-Ra, who first attained the status of 'holy spirit' in the eschatology, says of himself, 'I am the food which never perishes.' Horus of the inundation was constellated on his papyrus as the ever-coming shoot; he was also the giver of food as the fish, the calf, and the lamb, that were made celestial types in the astral mythology. An infinitude of water was an African ideal of the divine. A spring of water welling from the bosom of the earth made her the mother of life, and life that came by water was then divinized in Horus on his papyrus plant as the food-bringer. Thence came a saviour to the land of Egypt as Horus of the inundation; Horus the shoot or [p.289] natzer, Horus as Ichthus the fish, Horus the mother's child who came by water. It is possible to show that Horus on his papyrus or lotus was the African original of Jack who climbed the beanstalk. It may be premised that the stalk up which the spirit of vegetation climbs to furnish food was an earlier type than the tree of life, and that the fact was preserved in the Egyptian mythos. Also the tree of Tammuz in Eridu was 'a stalk.' Now the lotus in Egypt was literally a beanstalk. Its large seed was known as the bean of Egypt. Thus when the lotus papyrus was employed for the figure of food, and Horus, as the elemental spirit of vegetation, ascended the stalk to take his seat upon 'the flower,' he was the youth who climbed the 'beanstalk' to slay the giant Apap at first in nature, next in the mythos, and lastly in the legends. When water was the life, and Mother-earth was the source, she was imaged as the great fish, and her young one was the lord of life as the food-bringer in the inundation. Horus of the inundation was a real, ever-coming saviour of the world as periodic bringer of water and the food of life, who came in several characters. In one of which he was the fish. In one he climbed the stalk of the papyrus plant as the soul of vegetation. As the young hero it was he who fought and overcame the dragon of drought at one season and the serpent of darkness at another. A power of perennial renewal was perceived in nature. This was manifested by successive births. Hence the child-god of Egypt became a type of the eternal, ever-coming by rebirth in time and season and the elements of life and light, which in the character of Horus was at first by food and water. This was the eternal, ever-coming, ever-renewing spirit of youth.
The Meskhen, or Birthplace
In the illustration from a Theban tomb the Great Mother, who in one form is a crocodile, has just given birth to her child, Horus, Har-Ur, as the young crocodile poised on end in front of her. It is a picture of the young child that was brought forth annually from the water by the mother, who was constellated as the Crocodile or Hippopotamus at the northern centre of the planisphere. The history of Horus is depicted in the heavens as if upon the walls and windows of some vast cathedral of immensity. This was the subject of subjects in the astronomical mythology. He was conceived of a virgin mother in the sign of Virgo. His birth or advent was announced by the star Phact in the constellation Columba. The [p.290] earliest mother who conceived as a virgin in mythology was represented by the sacred heifer of the immaculate Isis. Also by the white vulture in the cult of the virgin Neith. She was the dove of Hathor in the worship of Iusaas, the mother of Iusa. The human only comes in as a challenging element when the mythos is related as history. When the woman took the place of the heifer, the vulture, the dove, or other zootype of virginity—that is when the type was humanized and Horus imaged as a child—the doctrine of incarnation, or the incorporation of a spirit of life in matter, had entered into the human sphere. Thus the mystical virgin and child in human guise, whether in Egypt or in any other land, was a result of doctrinal development, and the doctrine itself could not be understood without a knowledge of the earlier phase. When the type of the Great Mother and her youngling had been changed from the totemic zootype to the anthrotype, and the goddess was imaged as a woman, a child became the figure of a superhuman power that was ever-coming, ever-renewing, ever-repeating, ever-incorporating or incarnating, ever-manifesting in phenomena. Then the youthful god was naturally born as a child. This was Har-Ur, the child of Isis or the virgin Neith. Horus the child or shoot, on the papyrus or on his mother's lap, is representative of the resurrection and renewal of life for another year. Horus came to Egypt as saviour of the people from the dreaded drought. He came, invested with 'the power of the southern lakes,' to drown the dragon in the inundation. In one phase Horus is the saviour as the bringer of the water. In another he is the child of light. In both he comes to wrestle with the enemy of man in various natural phenomena on earth, and likewise in the internecine struggle which is represented by the astronomical mythology as the war in heaven, and which may be summed up as the war of Horus and the dragon. Horus brings the water of the inundation which is the source of life to Egypt. The little one is cradled on the Nile in his ark of the papyrus reed. He is assailed by Apap, the dragon of drought, who lies in wait to destroy the young deliverer when he is born. As bringer of the waters Horus slays the dragon of drought, which would otherwise have drunk the inundation dry. He also treads the serpent of darkness under foot as the renewer of light. Under the name of Iu-em-hetep, Horus came as the proverbial 'prince of peace.' The word hetep denotes peace or rest, plenty of food, and also good luck. His coming in this character had a very tangible significance, for the inundation brought the season of rest to Egypt, which was celebrated by the Uaka festival, when the prince came out of Ethiopia as the giver of rest to the weary, bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, and wine for the periodic wassail. In the solar mythos Horus became the lord of light, but food and drink were first, according to the human needs.
The fabled 'war in heaven' began with the contending elements that strove with each other for supremacy, whether as light and darkness, water and drought, or food and famine. Thus Horus of the inundation came by water as the deliverer when the land was suffering from, the dragon of drought. The picture was then constellated in the southern heaven. Horus the victor was represented by Orion [p.291] rising from the river and wielding the insignia of his sovereignty. His weapon is the club of Herakles in Greece; it was the whip of ruling power as the Egyptian khu. He rises from Eridanus as conqueror of the hydra-dragon that is overwhelmed beneath the waters when the drought was put an end to by the lord of life with the water for his weapon. Here is a motive for the war between the dragon and the infant that was born to universal rule or predestined to be king. Horus also came as conqueror of the dragon of darkness. But it is of more importance to know that the evil reptile Apap represented drought and famine, disease and death. This was the mortal enemy of man that drank up all the water in the world; hence the battle for the water. All the earth round the warfare of the hero with the monster is for water as well as for light, because the monster is representative of drought as well as darkness. At first it is the water-reptile in the African lake; then the 'hellish snake Apap' drinks up the water of the Nile. In Australia it is the monstrous frog that drinks up all the water. It is also the chimerical, malignant wild beast that is slain by Gilgamesh. This struggle, as some of the drawings show, is literally over the water. Lastly, it becomes the sea-monster of the Greek mythology, whereas the original conflict was for drinking water.
When Horus came by water as Ichthus the fish who gave himself for food, he swam the deluge of the inundation when there was no boat or ark to breast the waters. But when the bark was built Argo is constellated as the ark of Horus. This is figured in the planisphere with the child on board and the devouring Apap coiling round it seeking to destroy the babe, the infant saviour of the world, who brings the food and water as the lord of life.
Now Sothis in its heliacal rising was not the only star of annunciation at the birth of Horus the child. Farther south, the Dove, or rather the star Phact, was also a harbinger of the inundation. Still farther was the glorious star Canopus, the pilot of the Argo at the starting-point of the journey by water, which was the river Nile as the terrestrial water imaged uranographically. The Egyptians commemorated the birthday of the world—that is, of the age, the cycle, the beginning of time, as the day when Horus rose up on the lotus, or papyrus, from the waters of the Nun. Otherwise stated, this was the natal day of Horus in the inundation, which was afterwards applied to Atum by the priests of On or Annu in the eschatology. Thus the birthday of the inundation was the birthday of a primordial year, or the birthday of the world. The constellation Hydra represents the Apap-reptile of the Egyptian mythos. This is a monster extending over some one hundred degrees in the planisphere. From lack of better knowledge, this type of evil has been called the 'water-serpent,' which gives no clue to its character. It is figured in the water of the southern heaven, and is that fearsome monster which in various legends drinks up all the water. In the later solar mythos Apap, the enemy of Ra, is the blind devourer darkness. But as the adversary of the elder Horus—he of the inundation—Apap or Hydra is the dragon of drought. Drought in the old dark land was veritably 'the curse,' and the evil dragon as its deadly image was the primitive type of physical, not of moral evil. The inundation was the source [p.292] of life to Egypt. It was her annual salvation, and Horus, or Sebek the fish-man, was her saviour. The earliest saviour ever known was the giver of food and drink to those who were famishing. This is the origin of a saviour as the shoot of a water-plant, the branch of a tree, or a great fish—the bigger the better, as a sign of abundance. This was how a saviour could be represented as Ichthus the fish. This was how a saviour could come by water to the world; hence the subject of subjects was the war of elements, of darkness in conflict with the light, of drought with the waters, of sterility with fertility, of dearth with plenty.
The powers of good and evil, represented in the mythos, were also figured in the stars and portrayed in the religious drama as the eternal conflict of the twins Sut and Horus, of Shu and the impious rebels, of Ra and the Apap-reptile. In the earliest mythos Horus precedes Ra as the eternal antagonist of the dragon or serpent. This is the first Horus who was the seed of the Great Mother, whom the Semites call 'the woman.' He bruised or pierced the serpent's head at one season, and was bitten by the serpent in the heel at another. One was the season of renewal for the waters, for food, for the growing light, and for the breezes of the north. The other was the season of drought, of sterility, of darkness, and for the withering blast of the desert. 'In Upper Egypt,' says Maspero, 'there is a widespread belief in the existence of a monstrous serpent that dwells at the bottom of the river Nile.' This is the Apap-dragon of evil, especially of drought. Hence the crumbling of the banks and the falls of earth in the dry season are attributed to the great serpent which lies at the bottom of the river, where it was drowned by the inundation with great rejoicings of the people every year. It is as the fiery dragon of drought that the Apap is spoken of in an Inscription of Amenhetep III. In this, vengeance is threatened on those royal secretaries who neglect their duties to the Theban god Amen-Ra, and it is said, 'They shall become like the hellish snake Apap on the morning of the new year; they shall be overwhelmed in the great flood.' The morning of the new year was at that time determined by the heliacal rising of Sothis as announcer of the inundation in which the Apap-dragon of drought was drowned. This picture is to be seen in the planisphere with the figure of the fiery Hydra overwhelmed in the water of the inundation. It was represented in the mythology that when Horus had conquered Apap in one of his great battles the reptile sank, pierced with wounds, into the depths of the waters, and this event was said to have occurred at the very moment of the new year. This is the exact position of Hydra in the waters of the south, as still shown on the celestial globe. Thus Hydra, as the drowned, dead reptile, forms a fellow picture in the planisphere to that of Apap drowned in the lake of heaven, according to the description in the Ritual.
That Apap was cut up and drowned in the waters of the inundation is likewise shown by the constellation Corvus, or the Crow. The bird stands on the body of the monster, and, as Aratus remarks [p.293] 'seems to peck the folds' of its prey. Corvus thus plays its part as scavenger of the inundation, and at the same time demonstrates that Hydra is drowned and dead. Thus far we see that certain natural facts were given a celestial setting as object-pictures in the stars. The abyss of the beginning was constellated as 'the water' now down in the south. The birth of water from the Mother-earth was figured in the Southern Fish. Horus, the young deliverer who came by water periodically as the bringer of food, was shown in the shoot of the papyrus plant; he also figures as Ichthus the fish. The river of the water of life was represented by Eridanus, which can be traced back to its birthplace in the abyss, with the inundation rushing from the southern lakes. Various herald-stars of Horus and the waters, like Fomalhaut, Achernar, Canopus, and Phact, can also be identified according to their rising at different stages of the progress made by Horus down into the valley of the Nile.
We will now take a turn round the zodiac, with a view of briefly identifying its signs with the seasons of Egypt and the characters in the mythology, the first and foremost being that of Horus, the eternal, ever-coming child. As represented in the zodiac, Horus of the inundation was conceived by his virgin mother in the sign of Virgo. This was the promised prince of peace who came to rest the weary from their work and to labour for them while they rested, listening to the waters and the welcome word the inundation brought. Then was the message of good tidings sent as if from heaven itself; which was made known by the mother of the babe. She first sang the song of invitation, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' The mother of life was now descending with the waters, or with Horus in utero, as the most blessed among women, the virgin brooding over her conception and inwardly working out the mystery of fertilization and fulfilment. In the mythical rendering of natural fact a child or youngling had been made prime mover of the universe. 'I have set myself in motion,' says Child-Horus. 'I am the heir, the primary power of motion and of rest.' The doctrine is repeated when the Greeks maintained that Eros was the primal cause of all things. Babe-Horus in his coming forth is compared with the lotus or papyrus issuing, from the great stream.
The birthplace of water (and of food) in the abyss of source became the birthplace of Horus in the inundation. This was represented in the later mythos by the swamps and marshes in which Isis hid herself with her babe and suckled Horus in a secret place. The water in which Horus came to Egypt was the inundation of the Nile that burst up from the abyss—the bau, the tepht of source in the recesses of the south. And as we read the signs, the river Nile was constellated in Eridanus as the river of the inundation. The name of Eridanus, like the celestial river itself; is very sure to have had an Egyptian origin. En, later un, was an Egyptian name of the inundation, meaning the great, the mighty; whilst tun or tanu signifies that which rises up in revolt, the bursting forth from the gulf or well of the south. Thus rendered, Eritana or Iarutana would be the mighty river rising up in the inundation and bursting forth from out the birthplace in the abyss, as is depicted in the Ritual. If we [p.294] glance at the river constellated on the celestial globe, we see that Eridanus runs one way, from the foot of Orion to the star Achernar, which has been called 'the end of the river.' But, if looked at the other way, Achernar marks the point of departure from the south towards the north, if this river represents the earthly Nile, the replica would naturally run the way of the original. That alone will explain the course of the water and its ending at the foot of Orion, who rises from the river as did Horus of the inundation coming 'out of Ethiopia' (or Equatoria), or from that ancient south in which the tepht of source was localized at first as 'the water,' and afterwards configurated in the stars that indicate the river of the inundation winding on its northward way. Other stars announced the coming of the Nile, or the birth of Horus in the water of the inundation. The star Phact, says Lockyer, 'so little familiar to us northerners, is one of the most conspicuous stars in the southern portion of the heavens, and its heliacal rising heralded the solstice and the rise of the Nile before the heliacal rising of Sirius was useful for the purpose. In Phact we have the star symbolized by the ancient Egyptians under the name of the goddess Tekhi, whose figure leads the procession of the months.' In the Arabic names of the stars the star Phact is named from a word that signifies 'the thigh,' and the thigh was an Egyptian type of the birthplace, as we shall find it also figured in Egypt as well as in the northern heaven. Here it denotes a place of birth and a goddess in the southern heaven. Now, the so-called sacred year of the Egyptians opened at a certain starting-point on the first of the month Taht, or Tehuti, equivalent to our 20th of July. But this month in an earlier star calendar is called the month of the goddess Tekhi. Tekh or tekhi is an Egyptian word for liquid, to supply with drink, and Tekhi is the month of the inundation. But the month Tekhi, or Taht, was not named from the first beginning of the inundation. The previous month, the last of the twelve in the sacred year, was named Mesore, or Mesuri, from mes, for birth, and uri, later eri, the inundation. Thus the actual birth of the river (in one place or other) is marked in the last month of the Egyptian year instead of the first, the question being: At what point of the course did the actual birth take place? The birth of water, of Horus as Ichthus, had been indicated by the star Fomalhaut at the Fish's mouth; the star Phact was a herald of Horus in the inundation Canopus, the pilot of Argo Navis, showed that Horus was on board the ark, or on his cradle of the papyrus plant; and the dog-star Sothis was the later guide to the watchers of the heavens in Egypt. If the arrival of the inundation at some particular point is dated by the heliacal rising of the dog-star in the month of Tekhi or Taht (July), the name of the previous month shows the birth of the waters was reckoned to be earlier. This is the month Mesore or Mesuni, and Mesore answers roughly to the month of June. In the sacred year the 1st of Mesore corresponds to our June 15th and to July 25th in the Alexandrian year. Obviously the name of Mesore refers to the birth of the waters farther south, which was announced by the herald star Fornalhaut, Achernar, Canopus, or Phact, according to their position and to the stage of high water at the different times along the route.
The seasons in Egypt have been previously compared with the imagery in the planisphere but might have been more closely verified. There were but two in the beginning with the Great Mother and her Sut and Horus twins. These were the seasons of the summer waters and the winter drought. The season of the waters and of rest is as plainly pictured in the southern heaven as ever it was actual in the valley of the Nile. That quarter on the celestial globe is full of the inundation and its signs, as it will be for all time. The inundation was not only pictured in the southern heaven rising from its most secret source in the abyss 'down south,' which was figured with the mouth of the Fish, and continued running northward in the river named Eridanus; it was also constellated in the zodiac, and can be traced there in accordance with the seasons of the year. The earliest hint of the inundation is given zodiacally in the month Mesore. In the Greco-Egyptian planispherei according to Kircheri, Horus is figured in the decans of the Twins, at death-grips with the Apap-reptile which the inundation comes to drown. Thus the battle is portrayed twice over, once as the struggle of Horus (or Ra) and the serpent constellated in the decans of the Gemini, and once on the ecliptic as the contest of the Sut and Horus twins.
Amongst the harbingers of the inundation were the beetles that rolled up their seed in little balls of dung and buried them upon the river bank for safety against the coming flood. The Nile-beetle was figured where the Crab is constellated now. Here begins the imagery of the inundation in the zodiac, with the month Mesore. The beetle, busy on the banks of the Nile, was set above as a uranograph which showed the beginning of the birth of the new inundation at some well known point in time and locality. The figure of the beetle rolling up its seed with its tentacles is apparently repeated in the Akkadian name of this same month, which is Su Kulna, the seizer of seed, with Cancer (or the beetle) for its zodiacal sign. An earlier type of Sirius than the dog was the bennu or nictorax. This was a beautiful water-bird that came to Egypt as a herald of the inundation, and was given the most glorious of extra-zodiacal signs. The bennu was the prototype of the mythical phoenix. The ibis as a bird of passage also came to fish the waters of the inundation. This too was constellated for a symbol. We find it figured in a zodiac attributed to the second Hermes—that is, Taht, the lunar deity. In this the sign of Cancer is the ibis-headed god. The ibis was a typical fisher, and therefore a sign of coming plenty to the fishers waiting for the waters, and their wealth of food. The lion in the hieroglyphics is a figure of great force, and when the sun had reached the lion sign the rushing waters had attained their fullest volume. As Horapollo tells us, the Egyptians portray a lion as a sign of the inundation, 'because when the sun is in Leo it augments the rising of the Nile.' Indeed, he says it happens at times that one half of the new water is supplied to Egypt while the sun remains in that sign. At the same time of year the lion was a figure of the solar force at furnace heat, an image therefore of a double force. In the next sign is the Virgin who conceived the child that represented the food which was dependent on the waters of the inundation. This was indicated by the later ear of [p.296] corn, the green wheat ear of the mysteries, which is held in the hand of Neith or Isis in Virgo, and still survives in the star Spica of this constellation.
The elder Horus came not only in the water. He was also the Kamite prototype of Bacchus as the lord of wine. When Horus came the grapes were ripe in Egypt and ready to be converted into wine. The season of grapes is dated July 13th in the Egyptian calendar. There is but little left upon the modern globe of the ancient constellation of the Vine, but the star Epsilon, called Vindemiatrix, is still the sign of grape-gathering, and as we read in the calendar—'July the 9th: the Nile begins to rise abundantly. July 28th: abundance of grapes.' Vindemiatrix, the sign of grapes being ripe, is described by Aratus as being so large in size and bright in splendour as to rival the stars in the Great Bear's tail, whereas at present it is but a star of the third magnitude. The grape-gathering in Egypt is depicted in or near the signs of Virgo and the Vine. It is said of Horus at Edfu, 'Thou didst put grapes into the water which cometh forth from Edfu.' From that day forth the water of Edfu was called the water of grapes—that is, wine. So anciently was the metaphor of the gospel miracle founded on the natural fact. Uaka is a name of the inundation, and also of the festival at which the deluge of drink was symbolically celebrated by the libation that was correspondingly colossal. The vine was not only set in heaven to denote the vindemia or time for gathering the grapes, the overflow was also figured in the constellation Crater, or the Goblet, as a sign of the uaka that was held in Egypt when the land was full of water and the folks were full of wine. When the constellation Crater rose it showed that the urn or vase, an artificial type of the inundation; was overflowing with the waters that restored the drooping life of Egypt. At that time the Egyptians celebrated a feast in honour of Hathor, at which a deluge of drink flowed freely. It is frankly described in the inscriptions as 'the festival of intoxication,' and was commemorated at Denderah in the month of Taht, the month of the year that opened with the inundation and the heliacal rising of Sothis. Various other fruits were ripe, including dates. Also water-melons were abundant. But Horus is the vine, whose advent was celebrated at the uaka festival with prodigious rejoicings and a deluge of drink of which the vine and cup, or mixing-bowl, were constellated as celestial symbols. The juice of the grape was the blood of Horus or Osiris in the Kamite eucharist. Hence the sacramental cup was figured in the constellation 'Crater,' the Goblet, or it may be the jar, from the Egyptian karau, a jar, the cup having two characters, one in the mythology and one in the eschatology.
In an ancient planisphere reproduced by Dupuis the swallow appears in close proximity to Isis the virgin of the zodiaci. In the Egyptian mythos the swallow represented Isis in her character of the widow, when she was wandering like the bird of passage from one land to another seeking for her lost Osiris. Thus Isis in her two characters of the virgin and the widow was figured in the zodiac and in the decans [p.297] of Virgo, which two characters are only to be found in Egyptian mythology.
Libra, or the Scales, was at one time a figure of the equinox, but its more probable origin is in relation to the supremely important waters of the inundation. The four months of the water-season, the first of the three tetramenes, began with the lion, and ended with the scorpion. The inundation reached its point of equipoise coincidently with the entrance of the sun into the sign that was figured as the Balance or the Scales. The tortoise or abtu of the Nile had been an earlier zodiacal sign than that of the Scales, by which it was superseded. When the Nile-tortoise climbed the banks of the river to give itself for food it naturally became a self-constituted sign of the inundation to be figured in a group of stars. Thus the tortoise = Libra would denote the point at which the earth was emerging like a tortoise or a turtle from the deluge of the waters which periodically overspread the land.
The scorpion was not a type of evil in the zodiac. It represented Isis-Serkh who fought for Horus when the birthplace was in Scorpio. A fragment of the myth survives in the Ritual. It is the merest allusion, but suffices to show that in the wars of the solar god (Horus or Ra) with the enemy Apap, Isis-Serkh joined in the battle and was wounded. The passage is confused but, as rendered by Renouf, it runs: 'Apap falleth; Apap goeth down. And more grave for thee is the taste (tepit) than that sweet proof through the scorpion-goddess (Isis-Serkh) which she practised for thee, in the pain that she suffered.' When the summer solstice was in the sign of Leo the autumn equinox occurred in Scorpio, and it would be then and there the scorpion-goddess gave proof of her sympathy and suffering on behalf of Horus or of Ra in the latter mythos. It is evident that Scorpio was the sign at one of the cardinal points, for it is said of Apap in this battle, 'Apap is in bonds.' 'The gods of the south, the north, the west and the east have bound him.' These include the goddesses as helpers. Hence it is said to Apap: 'Thy whole heart is torn out by the lynx-goddess. Chains are flung upon thee by the scorpion-goddess. Slaughter is dealt upon thee by Maati.' About the time of the autumn equinox the water of the inundation began to subside. At this point the power of Horus in the light was on the wane, and both were represented now by him who was born to die down in the dwindling water and the lessening light. The word Serkhu, which is the name of Isis as the scorpion-goddess, signifies to breathe, and to supply breath. Thus Scorpio is the sign of a breathing-space which followed the water-season. Whilst the sun was in the constellation Libra (or the tortoise) the waters had attained their height and were resting at the equipoise. Then it entered the sign of Scorpio. The scorpion lived in dry earth, and was only to be seen when the waters had subsided.
In some Egyptian zodiacs the Sagittarius, or Archer, is the compound figure of a centaur based on the lion instead of the horse, with the human face of Shu in front and the face of Tefnut the lioness behind. Shu was the elemental power of breathing force, and his twin-sister represents moisture. Her name Tefnut signifies the dew of heaven, and the dew of heaven was now the water [p.298] of earth in Egypt, the breath of Shu and moisture of Tefnut being imaged as the power of the twin brother and sister. Tefnut, the sister of Shu, was joined with him in his battles on behalf of Horus. 'She is like fire against the wicked ones'—the sami and the sebau, 'thundering against those who are to be annihilated for ever,' as it is said in the Magical Texts. When the sun entered this sign the Nile was failing, the day grew shorter than the night; and Horus needed all the help that could be given. Hence Shu the fighting force was configurated as the Archer. Shu, the power of the Air, had been divinized as the warrior-god who fought for Horus as leader of the war against the rebel powers of darkness and of drought now mustering their forces in the netherworld for renewing the assault.
Nowhere is it more necessary to compare the face of the underlying fact with the mask of the mythos to see how closely the mould was fitted to the features of nature by the Egyptians. In Egypt, and in that country only, can the time of drought be absolutely identified with winter. Now the Apap-dragon in Egyptian mythology is the dragon of drought, and the dragon of drought is the fiery dragon. Hence Apap in the form of Hydra is cut in pieces to be drowned in the water of the inundation. In Egypt only did the figure correspond to fact as the image of drought in winter caused by the dragon of darkness. And it is this correspondence of natural fact to the symbolical figure which will account for the fire-breathing dragon of winter in Europe which survives where it does not apply from lack of the necessary climatic conditions. The Norse mythology preserves the fiery dragon as a representative of winter in countries where it cannot be correlated with heat or drought. It survives with us in the pastime of snapdragon sacred to the winter season at Christmas. Here the dragon keeps its character as the representative of drought in relation to the proper season of drought in Egypt as the fire-breathing dragon. Moreover, the dragon of drought and of darkness are one and the same in winter; on that account only did the dragon of darkness apply at winter-time in Europe, and not as the dragon of drought.
Yet, the drowning of the dragon of drought became a European pastime in many lands where there was seldom any lack of water, and never any want of it in winter. According to the seasons of Egypt, at the time when the sun had reached the sign of the sea-goat not only had the fresh water of the inundation ceased to flow, the water from the Mediterranean travelling upwards from the sea was now the stronger current, bitter and brackish and detestable. The sea-goat is a compound type of goat and fish. The fish signifies water; the water was now coming from the sea, and the sea-water was naturally imaged by the sea-goat. Further, it is possible that the salt nature of the water at this point was indicated by the goat, seeing that a young goat is an Egyptian ideograph of the word ab for thirst; or it may be the offensiveness of the goat represented the repellent nature of 'Salt Typhon's foam.'
When the sun was in the sign of Aquarius the moon at full had taken up the leadership by night in heaven, as the mother-moon. This was she who fetched the water of life from the lower regions and gave rebirth to vegetation in the upper-world. The great goddess [p.299] that renewed the light above was also the renewer of the waters from the springs of source in the abyss below. In one legend which, like several others, is common to Egypt and Babylonia, the Great Mother, as Isis, also as Ishtar, descends into the underworld in search of the water of life, otherwise represented as her child, who was Horus or Tammuz according to the cult. The descent of Ishtar is dated in the Aramaic-Akkadian calendar by the month Ki-Gingir-na, 'the errand of Ishtar,' which was dedicated to the goddess with Virgo as its zodiacal sign. This descent in search of the vanished water, the lost light, the disappearing child, was obviously made by the goddess in her lunar character. It was as the moon that Ishtar passed through the seven gates on her downward way when she was stripped of all her glory. This search for the water of life occurs some five months earlier in the Babylonian calendar than in the Egyptian year. Plutarch, in speaking of the mysteries, tells us that 'on the eve of the winter solstice' the Egyptians 'carry the cow seven times round the temple,' which is called 'the seeking for Osiris.' This in the pre-Osirian mythos was the elder Horus as the mother's child. Plutarch adds that the goddess who in one character is the Earth-mother was in great distress from want of water in the winter-time. The lost Osiris of the legend was not only signified by the loss of solar potency that Isis went to seek for, it was also the renewal of water that she sighed for and wept in the first drops of the new inundation. The disappearance of the water in Egypt was coincident with the sinking of the sun in the winter solstice; both were commemorated in the mourning of Isis. The journey of Isis in search of the water of life was about the time of the winter solstice, when the water disappeared from Egypt and the coming time of drought began. The season coincided with the sun in the sign of Aquarius when the lost Osiris or Child-Horus was rediscovered by the weeping mother seeking for the water in the nether-world. The same errand is ascribed to Ishtar in the Babylonian version of the mythos. But in the re-adjustment to the change of season in the Akkadian calendar, the search is given to the month Ki-Gingir-na when the sun was in the sign of Virgo.
The renewer of the water from the beginning was female. At first it was Apt the water-cow. Then Hathor or Nut the milch-cow, then Isis as the weeping-mother who had lost her child. In the legend of Leylet en-Nuktah, or 'Night of the Drop,' a miraculous tear was supposed to fall from Heaven on to the Nile, and, according to Pausanias, it was taught that the rise of the river was dependent on the drops that fell from the eyes of Isis. In the Coptic calendar the 'Night of the Drop' is dated Baouneh 11th = June 17th, by means of which the first drops of the inundation could be traced to the Great Mother weeping for the lost Osiris, or the earlier Horus of the inundation. Now, when the tail of the Great Bear pointed northward and the sun coincided with the sign of Aquarius there was a rebirth of water from the abyss that issued from the mouth of Piscis Australis. The picture of source in the abyss was now repeated, and the wet-nurse or wateress was constellated in the zodiac as the multi-mammalian Menat, who was a later form of Apt the water-cow.
The imagery shows the perennial source of water in the underworld, and that which proceeded from the mouth of the fish now emanates from the numerous mammy of the wet-nurse on the ecliptic. Thus the birth and rebirth of water are represented six months apart with the Great Bear presiding over both. In other words the water (or Child-Horus) that was lost to Egypt in the upper world was now re-found by the Great Mother seeking in the abyss of source from whence she drew the water of renewal for another year. The abyss was founded in the south. Aquarius is a southern sign, and it took six months altogether to bring the water from the abyss to its fulfilment in the inundation. The sun had reached its 'Utat' at the point of southing for the region where the Urn of the waters was to be refilled; the Nile replenished from the abyss of source configurated as the fish's mouth. When the winter-sun was low down in the solstice it was southing slowly through the deep outside the earth. The hidden source of water was the same, when represented by the wet-nurse in the zodiac, as that from which the inundation issued in the south. There was but one abyss, whether this was indicated by the fish's mouth, the dugs of Apt, the female breast of Hapi-Mu, or the multi-mammy of the suckler Menat. At the time when the inundation had run dry in Egypt the February rains were recommencing in the equatorial regions. The lakes began to swell and the waters of the White Nile to rise and rush forth on their joyful journey towards the north. The new flood only reached the Delta just in time to save the country from drought and sterility. 'Krater' was the urn or waterpot of the inundation. This in the south was brimming full. But when the sun had reached Aquarius, behold! the urn was empty. Hence the reversal of the vessel in his hands. The inundation was poured out. The urn needed to be replenished anew from the well of secret source, or the mouth of the abyss. Hitherto it has been conjectured that water from the urn was pouring downward toward the mouth of the abyss. But this would have no meaning in the mythos by which the imagery has to be interpreted. The water comes up from that welling-source depicted low down in the south now looked to for the future inundation. When the uranograph of Aquarius is rightly read, we see the last of the inundation in Egypt. The water poured out from the Urn has come to an end. The urn, or bucket, being at times reversed, is consequently empty. Also the mode of replenishment from the tepht of source, or well of the deep, is indicated in the planisphere. On studying the figure of the 'southern fish' we see a stream of water springing up from its mouth in the direction of Aquarius. And this is met by Aquarius with his empty urn held in position to receive the water of the new inundation from the welling-source in the abyss.
In the Osirian mythos Isis, or the cow-headed Hesi, had become the wateress or wet-nurse to the world in place of Apt the water-cow and Hathor the milch-cow; and now the new Nile was attributed to the tears which Isis shed for the lost Osiris or the earlier Child-Horus, when he vanished with the sinking water in the underworld.
It is possible to take one step further round the zodiac and thus include the sign of the fishes. But it has to be explained that Horus in the zodiac was not simply the lord of life, as the bringer of food [p.301] and water in the inundation. Horus in the zodiac was also the solar god, who was the child conceived in Virgo, as Horus of the inundation, who was Horus of the resurrection, lord of the harvest, in the sign of Pisces. In the Greco-Kamite zodiacs the fish-mother gives rebirth to her child as a fish in the constellation of the fishes. Also in other monuments, the mother, as Hathor-Isis, bears the fish upon her head. Thus the fish-man or fish-god was reborn of the fish-mother in the abode of the abyss or the house of the fish, and the point of emergence for the sun-god in the zodiac was indicated by the sign of the fish or fishes at the time when the crocodile was the fish of Neith as Sebek-Horus. No representation of the inundation or the drought is directly apparent in the sign of Aries and Taurus. But the drama was not limited to the zodiac. The rising Pleiades and the 'rainy Hyades' have ever been the harbingers of water or of spring. One name of the Hyades in Greek is Hues, the sows or suculae, and in Egypt, Rerit the sow was a figure of the Great Mother as the wet-nurse or suckler, who was represented at one time by the seven sows, at another by the seven cows, at another by the many-breasted Menat as the typical provider of plenty.
In certain old Egyptian calendars, the periodic triumph of Horus over the plagues of drought and darkness was commemorated by a festival called 'the wounding of Sut.' The event is referred to as occurring on the first of the month, Epiphi—May 16th in the sacred year June 25th in the Alexandrian year. This was exactly one month previous to the birth of the new inundation dated July 25th. And as the month Mesore agrees with the sun in the sign of Cancer or the beetles, so the month Epiphi coincided with the sun in the sign of the Gemini, who were Sut and Horus as the twins contending for supremacy in the equinox or on the mount. At this point Sut was mortally wounded, and the victory of Horus, the bringer of water and food and the renewer of light, was perfectly complete. Now the worst was over. The long holiday celebrated by the Uaka festival had come at last with its relief. And here the Egyptian holiday was one with a holy day as the time of rest from labour, and the great feast of eating and drinking was a mode of giving thanks as well as of making merry. The fulfiller in the water and the grapes was welcomed in the drink he brought, with the drinking and the eating, at the festival of intoxication, dedicated to the goddess Hathor. The history of Horus the child-hero, the eternal messu who became incarnate as a typical saviour of the world, was thus portrayed and could be repeated by all who understood the mythos which was depicted in the book above. His birth from the water was imaged by the figure of Horus on his papyrus, which is represented astronomically in a scene from the rectangular zodiac of Denderahi. Horus in this is represented by the hawk on the papyrus-plant emerging from the water. By means of this we can identify the birth of the babe who was born 'from between the knees of Sothis' as Horus of the inundation.
The walls and windows of the house on high have been emblazoned like all Italy with pictures of the Virgin Mother and her child; the [p.302] Virgin Mother in one character who conceived, and the Great Mother as bringer-forth in the character of gestator. The planispherei contains a whole pantheon of Egyptian deities. They are the gods and goddesses of Egypt, the mythological personages and zootypes that make up the vast procession which moves on for ever round and round according to the revolutions of the earth or the apparent revolution of the sphere. Taking the same order in which the signs on the ecliptic are read today when Aries has become Princeps Zodiaci, we can identify at least a dozen deities of Egypt with the twelve signs. (1) The ram-headed Amen with the constellation Aries; (2) Osiris, the Bull of Eternity, with the sign of Taurus; (3) the Sut-Horus twins with the Gemini; (4) the beetle-headed Kheper-Ptah with the sign of the Beetle, later Crab; (5) the lion-faced Atum with the sign of Leo; (6) the Virgin Neith with the constellation Virgo; (7) Har-Makhu of the Scales with the sign of Libra; (8) Isis-Serkh, the scorpion goddess, with the sign of Scorpio; (9) Shu and Tefnut figured as the Archer with the sign of Sagittarius; (10) Num, the goat-headed, who presided over the abyss with the sign of Capricornus; (11) Menat, the divine wet-nurse, with the sign of Aquarius; (12) Horus of the two crocodiles with the sign of Pisces. Enough to show that the zodiac was a lower gallery in the pantheon of the Egyptian planisphere. And it is not humanly conceivable that all these gods and goddesses and nature powers of Egypt were constellated as figures in the starry vast by any other than the Egyptian 'mystery teachers' of the heavens.
There may have been some kind of stellar enclosure round the pole of Sut in the south before a circumpolar paradise could have been configurated in the northern heaven by the astronomers in the land of Kamit. But, even so, it is not necessary to assume a knowledge of precession to explain the sinking of the pole and its accompanying stars that went down in the southern deep. To those who travelled northward from the equatorial regions heading for the valley of the Nile there was an actual subsidence and submergence of a human foreworld in the south. This was a matter of latitude determinable by the stars that sank into the abyss, the natural fact that preceded the figure in mythology. The abyss became the grave as it were of some lost world which had once been real on the earth. But the imagery of this far country has been preserved twice over, and is still extant; once in the constellation figures and once in the double earth of Ptah's Amenta. That foreworld of the south was reproduced by the Egyptians of the north when they raised their circumpolar paradise to picture for all time some features of the old primeval home. The southern pole star sank into the blind abyss together with the little bit of foothold that was first established. This, in later legend, would become a fall from heaven, or submergence in a deluge, as the fact was figured in the astronomical mythology. Hence we find the legends of the lost paradise: the primal pair as man and cow, the twin brothers, the fall from heaven, the deluge, and other stories as indigenous products at the centre of the old dark land.
But the grand scheme of uranographic representation was completed in the valley of the Nile where the north celestial pole had [p.303] become the central summit of the starry system. The south was the scene of so-called 'creation.' The creation which as Egyptian literally signifies 'of the first time.' And as we learn from the Inscription of Tahtmes on the stele of the sphinx, the first time goes back to the days and domain of Sut; Sut who is traditionally 'the inventor of astronomy,' and who as such had erected the pillar of the polestar. The domain of Sut was in the south. And it is shown by the ancient legends and the primitive constellations that the beginnings of the astral mythos were in Equatoria looking south. The abyss of water was figured in the south. The earth-mother in the abyss is in the south. The monsters representative of her hugeness were constellated in the south. The tree first planted in the abyss was in the south. The foreworld that sank down beneath the waters of the deluge was in the south, and according to the legend lies today beneath the waters of Tanga, or the Thigh, in the lake of the birthplace, Tanganyika. Egypt was set in heaven as the upper land, and lower Egypt was repeated in Amenta. The name of Egypt is at root Egyptian. It is derivable from Kep, later Kheb, whence Khept, or Khepti, is a plural for the double land. Kep-Kep, another dual form, had been a name of Nubia. Kep, or Kheb, signifies the chamber, the womb, the birthplace. It is likewise a name of the water-cow that was configurated as a type of Egypt in the planispherei. The hieroglyphic 'Khept' is a symbol of the birthplace. This is the Thigh, the Haunch, or Meskhen of the Mother Khept (or Apt). Thus the Egyptian nome of the 'haunch' was the nome of the birthplace in Khept, Khebt, or Egypt. When the anthrotype had succeeded the zootype we find that Egypt was figured as a female lying on her back with feet to the northward pointing in the direction of the Great Bear constellation. This was the motherland in the likeness of the human mother who had taken the place and position of the African water-cow, an image of the birthplace and abode being thus palpably continued as a figure of Egypt thus identified by nature and by name as the birthplace and bringer-forth. The 'haunch' or thigh is an ideographic sign that was constellated in the northern heaven as a figure of the birthplace, and if so in the celestial chart, assuredly it had the same significance for a birthplace on the Libyan bank of the river Nile, hence its elevation to the sphere as a uranographic symbol of locality. A place of settlement is still called the seat, and the 'haunch' in sign-language was the seat. Primordially it was the natural seat of the squatters who sat with heel to haunch. And the same symbol was figured in the northern heaven to denote the astronome of the 'haunch' as a seat or birthplace above, whatsoever the birth and whosoever was the divinized nomarch. We may be certain it was riot without intention that the great pyramid of Giza was founded by King Khufu in the nome of the 'haunch,' the seat of the Great Mother, Khebt, or Egypt. The inhabitants of lower Egypt also remained faithful to the tree as a twofold sign which is the sycamore of Hathor in the south, and the sycamore of Nut in the north. There was a territory of the upper and lower Oleander, also of the upper and lower Terebin tree. As Maspero remarks, 'the principality of the Terebin (tree) occupied the very heart of Egypt, a country well suited to be the cradle of an infant civilization.' [p.304] 'The district of the white wall, marched with that of the haunch' alongside of each other on the Nile, as they were likewise constellated in the northern heaven.
Am-Khemen, the paradise of the eight great gods in the mythology, had its likeness in the nome of the hare, the chief town of which was Khemenu, the present Ashmunein, the town of Taht, who was an eighth to the seven gods in the lunar mythos. It was upon the steps of the mound in Khemenu that Shu stood as elevator of the cow of Nut the heaven of the eight great gods, which shows the priority of the nome in Egypt as the prototype of the astronome that was constellated in the northern stars. Kenset is an Egyptian name for Nubia, and according to the Pyramid Texts there was a celestial locality of the same name in the astronomical mythology which holds the mirror aloft to reflect the Kenset that was prototypal on the earth, as it likewise reflected the nomes of the haunch, the tree, the pillar, or others localized at first below.
Another Egyptian nome was called the Serpent-mountain, which was also repeated above with the great serpent winding round the tree or mountain of the north celestial pole. Thus the beginnings of the race and the environment were depicted for a purpose in the heaven of the north, and the field of the papyrus-reed that furnished the primeval food in the southern birthplace was set in Heaven, as the Aarru-field of peace and everlasting plenty on the summit of Mount Hetep at the pole.
In the Ritual the paradise of plenty, first denoted by the water plants, has become the harvest-field which is surrounded and protected by a wall of steel. The wheat in this divine domain grew seven cubits high and was two cubits long in the ear. The barley, from which beer was brewed, was four cubits in the ear, but the original paradise, the Aarru or Allu, from which the Greeks derived their Elysian fields, was constellated as the land of the papyrus reed, the shoots of which were eaten as the primitive food that grew in the greatest abundance in the region of the two great lakes. The most primitive ideal of paradise was that of an ever-green oasis, in the midst of the African desert, welling with life-giving water, and with the large-leaved sycamore fig-tree or dum-palm or the papyrus plant at the centre as a figure of food. Inner Africa contains the prototype of the Egyptian paradise in a land of welling waters where the food came of itself and was perpetually renewed, and there was little need for labour. And when the outward movements of the wandering nomads began, and thirst and hunger were to be faced in waterless wastes of rootless desert sand, there would be yearnings of regret for the old lost home and birth-land left behind, now glorified by distance and the glamour of tradition. And so the universal legend grew which was not absolutely baseless. The felicity enjoyed in this primeval land of legendary lore is such as was possessed at one time on the earth, the upper paradise being a sublimated replica of a lower or terrestrial paradise. Thus, the primitive paradise of the Egyptians, as a land from which the human race had come, was constellated in the northern heaven as the top of attainment in a world to which they were going for an everlasting home, and in a clime where food and air and water never failed. [p.305] In the North, the Egypt of the Heavens was figured first within the circle of the Greater Bear. This was the land of Khept, as a celestial locality. The circle was then divided into south and north, as double Egypt, upper and lower, and the two halves were described as the domains of Sut and Horus, who were the first two children of the ancient genetrix, the mother of seven offspring altogether.
Thus, according to the present reading of the astronomical mythology, the imagery configurated in the stars was African in origin, and the teachers of its primitive mysteries were Egyptian. The seven astronomes in the celestial heptanomis of the seven Egyptian nomes, we hold to have been figured first on earth, and subsequently imaged in the heavens. Following the totemic sept of the sevens Egypt appears to have been mapped out first in seven nomes, and this heptanomis below to have been repeated in the planispherei. Seven nomes are said to have been, according to a later transliteration of names, those of the Memphites, Heracleopolites, Crocodileopolites, Aphroditopolites, Oxyrhynchites, Cynopolites, and Hermopolites. The great and lesser oases were considered to be parts of the heptanomis. The goddess of the Great Bear, Khebt or Apt, was mother of the fields of heaven when they consisted of the seven astronomes. Those fields of the papyrus reed were figured within the circle made by the annual turn round of the seven stars about the north celestial pole. This, in the mythos, formed the enclosure of the typical tree, which was planted in the midst of the garden—the tree of life or food in the celestial waters, otherwise the tree of the pole in the astronomical mythology. The constellation of the female hippopotamus (or Great Bear) was the mother of the time-circles. It was a clock or horologe, on account of its wheeling round the pole once every four and twenty hours. This, or the 'haunch,' is obscurely referred to in the text from the temple of Denderah, as the clock or instrument by which the moon-god, Tehuti, measured the hours. Hence, the hippopotamus remained a hieroglyphic sign for the hour. The Great Bear was also a clock of the four quarters in the circle of the year, as is witnessed by the saying of the Chinese when the tail of the Great Bear points to the east it is spring; when it points to the south it is summer; when it points to the west it is autumn; when it points to the north it is winter. In Egypt, when the Great Bear pointed to the south, or, astronomically, when the constellation had attained its southernmost elongation, it was the time of the inundation, the birthday of the year, which was also called the birthday of the world. Now, this is the particular point at which apparently the planisphere, or orrery, was set at starting, whether two thousand or twenty-eight thousand years ago. As the celestial globe has come to us it looks as if a starting-point in time might still be made out in the year of the Great Bear and the inundation with the tail-stars of the Bear as pointers to the birthplace of the waters, coming from the south with their salvation, and with Horus in the ark as the deliverer from the dragon of drought and thence doctrinally as the saviour of the world. It is a common assumption that the earliest Egyptian year was a year of 360 days based upon twelve moons of thirty days each. There was such a reckoning, and [p.306] no doubt its origin was lunar. This would be attributed to the moon-god, Tehuti (Taht), who was the measurer, although not only as the reckoner of lunar time; hence he became the opener of the year, beginning with the first month assigned to Taht. But, in an older table of the months found at the Ramesseum and at Edfu, the goddess Tekhi is the opener of the year, and not the moon-god, Taht. Here the first month has the name of Tekhi versus Taht. The word tekhi signifies a supply of liquid, to supply with drink, and the goddess Tekhi is the opener of the year with the inundation. We regard this year of the Great Bear and the inundation (that of Apt, Menat or Tekhi) as primary. Next comes the year of 360 days, to which the five days were added by Taht; this was lunar, or luni-stellar. The inundation was a primary factor in the establishment of time in Egypt and the foundation of the year. The fact is recognized in the Hymn to the Nile when it is said 'Stable are thy decrees for Egypt,' that is, in the fixed periodic return of the waters. Also, as the teacher of time, the Nile is said to be the inspirer of Taht, who was the measurer of time by means of the Great Bear, the moon, and the inundation. Under the name of Tekhi, the Old Great Mother was the giver of liquid and supplier of drink; as Apt or Khept she was the water-cow with a woman's breasts; as Neith she was the suckler of crocodiles; as Rerit she was the suckler in the form of the many-teated sow; as Hesi (Greek Isis) she was the milch-cow, and as Menat she was the wet-nurse. Under all these types she was primordially the Mother-earth, and fundamentally related to the water-source, or in Egypt to the inundation. This is the Old First Mother who was given the Great Bear as her constellation in the northern heaven where she became the maker of the starry revolutions or cycles, and thence the mother of the earliest year in time. It was a year dependent on the inundation and determined by the birth of Horus as the crocodile-headed Sebek who, like Arthur, was the son of the Great Bear, otherwise the crocodile of the inundation. The birth is represented in the astronomical fragment from a Theban tomb. In this the Old First Mother has just given birth to her young crocodile and dropped it in front of her. Thus we behold the birth of Sebek, which according to the sign-language is equally the birth of another year, at the moment when the Great Bear's tail is pointing to the birthplace (see fig., p. 289).
One of the old Egyptian legends, briefly repeated by Plutarch, may afford us a hint concerning this beginning of the year with the annual revolution of the Great Mother in Ursa Major as the hippopotamus or crocodile. According to this the solar god discovered that the Great Mother, Rhea, had been cohabiting secretly with Saturn. He consequently laid a spell upon her that she should not bring forth a child in either a month or a year. Then Hermes being likewise in love with the goddess copulated with her, and afterwards playing counters with the female moon he won from her the seventieth part of each one of her lights. Out of the whole he composed five days, and added these to the three hundred and sixty, which days the Egyptians call the additional days. Who then were the Kamite originals of the Greek Rhea, Saturn and Hermes? Rhea, like Apt, or Nut, was the mother of the gods. [p.307] Saturn the dragon was a form of Sebek, the crocodile-headed Horus, the prototype of the good dragon; and Hermes is the Egyptian Tehuti, the moon-god. The secret connection of the Great Mother with Saturn agrees with the connection between the goddess of the Great Bear and Sebek, who was married to his mother. The year of the Great Bear and the inundation, or of Apt and Sebek, was found to be wrong, and this was righted when Taht-Hermes, the measurer of time by the Great Bear and the moon, had added the five additional days to the earlier year, and thus established the truer cycle of 365 days to the year, by means of his cooperation with the moon. Thus the mother of the revolutions established the earliest cycle of time in the circle of the year which ended when the Bear was pointing to the birthplace of the water in the south, and the festival of 'the Tail' was celebrated for the coming of the inundation. The tail of the Great Bear, as pointer or indicator on the face of the celestial horologe, was obviously still employed and reckoned with for the Set-Heb festival, which was celebrated by the Egyptians every thirty years. This feast, or a section of it, was known by name as 'the Festival of the Tail.' It was the anniversary of some very special year of years. There was a lord of the thirty-year festival, who was at one period Ptah, at another Horus. The birthplace of the inundation when the Great Bear pointed to it in the southern quarter was a point for ever fixed in the region of the waters, let us say (for the moment) coincident with the sign of Leo. That point did not retrocede. But when the place of birth, as solar, was shifted to the vernal equinox and the equinox receded, the birthplace went with it from zodiacal sign to sign. The time of the sun parted company with the time of the Great Bear and the inundation, for a cycle of 26,000 years. A great change was made when the time of the inundation was supplemented by the time of the sun. The birthplace of Horus (of the waters) had been in the south at the season of the year when the tail of the Bear denoted the birthplace in that quarter of the heavens and the Great Mother presided over the birth of the child, the crocodile or the papyrus shoot. The birthplace in the solar mythos was shifted, and the point was determined by the position of the vernal equinox as it travelled from sign to sign in the great circuit of precession from Virgo to Leo, from Cancer to the Twins, from the Bull to the Ram, from the Fishes to the Waterer.
Whether in the pre-solar or the solar mythos, whether as Apt, Tekhi or Hathor, the old genetrix presided over the birth of Horus, on this great birthday that was commemorated in Egypt as the birthday of creation. It was an unparalleled meeting-point. The star Phact, in the constellation Columba, far south, announced the inundation Canopus showed the babe on board the bark, ascending from the south. Heralded by Sothis, his dog, Orion rose up from the river, at the north end of Eridanus, the stellar representative of him who came as Horus of the inundation. This advent is depicted in the monuments.
Thus the Egyptian sacred year is that of the inundation and the Bear. Its opening coincided roughly with the summer solstice—when the solstices had at length been recognized—with the sun in the lion-sign. And of course when the solstice, or the sun, was in [p.308] that sign, the vernal equinox was passing through the sign of Taurus. Now, the earliest year we read of in Babylonia is that which opened with the vernal equinox in the sign of the 'directing bull.' This was the same year or cycle, sign for sign, as the Egyptian sacred year with the solstice in Leo, but with a different point of commencement, the Egyptian starting from the solstice; or rather from what had ever been the fixed point of the inundation; the Babylonian from the vernal equinox. Khebt, the goddess of the Great Bear, was said to 'preside over the birth of the Sun.' In the stellar mythos she had presided over the birth of Horus in the inundation. But when solar time was established the child was solar too, and the sun-god Horus Har-Makhu superseded Sebek of the inundation. His place of birth was shifted to the vernal equinox, and the birth itself was thenceforth timed no longer to the inundation. Horus, the child or messu of the inundation, on his papyrus, was now brought forth by Hathor, with Sothis as the Star of Annunciation. The birth took place in 'Sothis,' the birthday being determined by the heliacal rising of the star, as well as by the tail of Ursa Major. Khebt, or Apt, the Old First Mother, still presided, as great correlator over all, as if she were the midwife or meskhenat in attendance at the birth when Hathor had become the mother. The goddess Hathor was termed the mistress of the beginning of the year in relation to the rising of Sothis; and Hathor was a form of the hippopotamus-headed mother of the beginnings in the Great Bear, with the milch-cow substituted for the water-cow; both being types of the wet-nurse and giver of the precious liquid of life. And when the celestial figures of the astral mythology were constellated in the northern heaven the ancient genetrix had been portrayed already in the three characters of mother-earth, the mother of water, and the mother of breath. But before we have done with the Great Bear constellation in the northern heaven we have to point out a primitive symbol of her who was figured as the mother of beginnings by nature and by name.
A magical implement commonly called the 'bull-roarer' is found in divers parts of the world. It is one of the simplest things that ever acquired a primitive sacredness from being made use of as a means of invocation in the religious mysteries and totemic ceremonies of the past; an implement that is dying out in England today as a toy now called the 'fun of the fair.' The Arunta churinga shows that the 'whirler,' 'roarer' or thun-thunie, originally represented the female. Hence it has the phallic emblem of the vulva figured on it as a device in the language of signs. Others of the churinga are womb-shaped. The ornament of others also indicates the human birthplace. Moreover, life is portrayed in the act of issuing from the wood, as tree-frogs issued from the tree. Enough to show the primitive nature of the symbol. It is used in the mysteries as a means of calling the initiates who are about to be made into men. The special dance of the nude young women, their exhibition of the embellished organ and peculiar appeal to the youngsters, demonstrates that the call is made by female nature at the time for that fulfilment of the male which was the object of the ceremony. These women were making the visible call that was audible in the sound of the bullroarer. In the course of time the implements had changed hands as [p.309] the mysteries became more and more masculine and the women were excluded from the ceremonies. But the Kurnai have two kinds of 'roarer,' one of which represents the inspiring spirit as female; this was primary. At first the 'whirler' used in the mysteries to call the initiates for young-man-making was the voice of the female calling on the male, to become a man; to be brave in fulfilling the laws of taboo and rules of personal conduct; to be true to the brotherhood, and 'not to eat the forbidden food.' The forms of the magical instrument differ, but all are used for whirling round to make the call. Now Khebt, the Old First Mother in Egyptian mythology, who was constellated in the Great Bear, is portrayed with the 'bull-roarer' held in front of her womb. The name of the Egyptian instrument is menait which literally signifies the whirler, from men to rotate, to whirl round. Thus the symbol of the whirling round can be traced to the mother of the revolutions as a figure in the astronomical mythology of Egypt. The Great Bear goddess was portrayed in this position as the 'mother of the revolutions' and the maker of motion in a circle. Hers was the primary power that drew or turned, hurled or whirled the starry system round about the pole, as the mighty hippopotamus in the celestial waters. Her names of Rerit and Menait both indicate the character of rotator, which is signified by the menait in her hands. The goddess of the Great Bear (hippopotamus) was adored at Ombos as the 'living word.' She is configurated in the planisphere with huge jaws wide open in the act of uttering the word, or of roaring. The Egyptian wisdom implies that the menait held in front of the First Mother signified the female emblem, the original instrument of magical power. With the roar of Rerit the water-cow called to her young bulls, and her roar would be imitated by the bull-roarer, menait or turndun, in calling them, and as the voice of the female calling on the males it was continued in the ceremony of young-man-making, in the totemic mysteries. Thus we find the goddess Apt, or Khebt the roarer, as a hippopotamus, the Great Bear, 'rurring' or whirling round, with the 'bull-roarer' as her sign and symbol, at the centre of the northern heaven (see fig., p. 124, also p. 311).
There is a remarkable survival of what may be tentatively termed the cult of the Great Bear amongst the Mandaites or Sabeans of Mesopotamia who are worshippers of the 'living word.' In the performance of their worship the eyes are fixed upon the pointers of the Great Bear. They celebrate a kind of feast of tabernacles annually, for which they erect a tabernacle called the Mishkena or Meskhen. Lastly, the primordial star-cult of the Great Bear is also British. In the ancient Welsh mythology the Great Mother Arth is the goddess of the Great Bear, and Arthur-Horus is her solar son who makes his celestial voyage with the seven in the ark.
Hitherto Egyptologists have been inclined to regard the female hippopotamus (our Great Bear) and the 'haunch' as one and, the same constellation. This premature guess is erroneous. They were both signs of the Great Mother, but in two separate constellations which represented two different characters. In the Egyptian planisphere, as at Denderahi, the female hippopotamus answers to our Great Bear, whereas the sign of the 'haunch' is on the far side of the Lesser Bear, in the position of Cassiopeia, the lady in the chair. If [p.310] we take the tail-star of the Bear as guide, the constellation Cassiopeia is almost exactly opposite. Thus when the tail of the bear is pointing north in winter, Cassiopeia is at its southern elongation. These are two different types of the Great Mother, who was Apt the Earth-mother in one character, as the water-cow, and Nut the Mother Heaven in the other, as the milch-cow. Also in the illustration on a Theban tomb the constellation of the 'haunch' is widely distinct from the hippopotamusi. And it is this constellation that is distinguished by name as the 'meskhen' with the hieroglyphics written on it which read, ?!I, Ms-kh-n, the womb as place or chamber of birth depicted in the constellation of the 'haunch' or 'thigh.' It is noticeable that the head of the milch-cow is portrayed upon the 'haunch.' This distinguishes the one cow from the other, the milch-cow of Nut from the water-cow of Khebt or Apt, or our Great Bear. It also shows that the 'thigh' or 'haunch' belonged to the milch-cow, and represented the same celestial 'seat' and place of origin as the later lady in the chair. But, whether it is figured as the cow or Meskhen, the 'thigh,' 'haunch,' or leg of the cow, it signified the birthplace of the celestial waters in the mythos, and the place of rebirth for souls in the heaven of eternity. Then follows the tampering and retouching process of the Euphrateans, Greeks, or other modern claimants to the ancient wisdom. The place of the 'seat' or 'thigh' was given to a woman sitting in a chair, and the lady of the chair usurps the throne of Isis with her seat and the pre-anthropomorphic type that was constellated ages on ages earlier in Egypt as the cow of Nut or heaven. The 'thigh' in sign-language is a type of birth and thence of the birthplace, when the birth was water, as we find it constellated in the northern heaven. The star Phact (in Arabic, the thigh) shows us that this birthplace had been constellated in the southern hemisphere as the sign of Tekhi the giver of water in the inundation. Thus the 'thigh' was figured both in the south and in the north to signify the birthplace and the birth of water. In the south the water was the river Nile, and in the north it is the river of the Milky Way. These are the two waters of earth and heaven proceeding from the cow that was the water-cow of Apt or Tekhi in the earth, and the milch-cow of Nut in heaven. As before said, one of the two great lakes at the celestial pole is the Lake of the 'Thigh' or 'Haunch,' which is mentioned by name in the Ritual. It is also called the Thigh of Khar-aba, at the head of the canal, or Milky Way. The Lake of the Thigh was the birthplace of the waters above, where the milch-cow or her haunch was a constellated figure of source whence flowed the great white river of the Via Lactea. The leg (thigh, seat, womb, or haunch) of Nut, the celestial cow, once stood where the lady in the chair is seated now. Nut, or the much-cow, was the bringer to rebirth in this region of the pole. The seven powers brought to their rebirth in seven Great Spirits were constellated as her children in the Lesser Bear, as seven stars that never set, but were fixtures for eternity. The two constellations of the hippopotamus and the 'haunch,' or Meskhen, are also found in the rectangular zodiac that was carved upon the ceiling of the great temple at Denderahi.
As may be observed, the two figures of the hippopotamus and the 'haunch' (or milch-cow) are yoked together by a chain, one end of which is held by Apt, and the other is made fast to the 'haunch' or cow. This is in the position of the pole which was the yoke or bond of heaven, and which was known in Babylonia as 'the yoke of the enclosure.' The chain shows that the Great Bear was made fast to the pole for security in its swing round. It also shows that the pole was once imaged either in or by the constellation of the 'haunch,' the seat, or milch-cow in that region. The leg or thigh was an Egyptian figure of the pole, as we find it in 'the leg of Ptah,' a constellation which has been identified with the lady of the seat. Hence, 'above the leg' is equivalent to 'over the pole.'
The Hippopotamus and the Haunch
Heaven as a source of liquid life that dropped in dew and rain upon the earth was likened to a cow, or, in sign-language, was the cow. Apt is the cow of earth and Nut the cow of heaven. Apparently the cow of heaven, or Nut, supplied the earliest foundation for the pole which, as the figure of the cow dislimned, was represented by the leg of Nut (otherwise called the 'thigh,' 'the haunch' or 'seat') as the central figure of support in heaven. The cow being primary, it follows that the 'leg of Nut' was an earlier image of the pole than the 'leg of Ptah,' the staff of Anup, or the backbone of Osiris—which were also figures of fixity whether at or as the pole of Heaven. The leg or haunch of the cow was then left standing in the midst of the Milky Way. The speaker in the Ritual thus addresses it, 'Oh, thou leg in the northern sky, and in that most conspicuous but inaccessible stream,' which is elsewhere termed the canal. In the Pyramid Texts it is called 'the leg (Uarit) of the Akhemu-Seku,' the stars that never set—the eternals, as a type of stability. Cassiopeia, the lady in the chair, also sits in the midst of the Milky Way. Thus the 'seat' remains, if only as a chair; the white river flows, with nothing to account for it; and the lake of milk, the cow, the haunch, thigh or leg of Nut are all dislimned or have passed away.
The Great Bear made her circuit on the outside of the never-setting stars, whereas the 'leg' or 'haunch' was a constellation in the circle of perpetual apparition. It never set below the horizon, nor [p.312] did any of its stars go down through all the period of the long great year. Thus the bit of foothold in the watery vast of space was figured as the 'seat,' the meskhen, womb, or rebirth-place in the heaven of eternity. The deceased, when speaking of his going forth from the tomb, identifies this constellation with the place of rebirth above, saying, 'I shall shine above the "haunch" as I come forth in heaven.' That is, at the point where the 'leg' was constellated to show the upward way upon the starry map to him who lay looking heavenward 'with a corpse-like face.' Deceased in Amenta pleads for his rebirth above between the thighs of the divine cow as a type of heaven. The Old Great Mother, as the hippopotamus, we repeat, was not within the circle of the never-setting stars, in the circumpolar paradise. It was the milch-cow Hesit, not the water-cow, that 'gave the white liquor which the glorified ones love;' the milk that flowed from the cow, whether she was divinized as Nut, or Mehurit the Heaven, or Hathor, or Isis the cow-headed goddesses. The cow Hesit was designated 'the Divine Mother and fair nurse' as giver of the liquid of life when this was represented in heaven by the milk of the celestial cow.
This identification of the 'thigh' as a totally different constellation from the Great Bear will alter the reading of certain inscriptions in which the 'thigh' and 'Bear' have been mixed up together. For example, when the alignment was made for the temple of Hathor to be rebuilt at Denderah, in the time of Augustus, the king tells us that he oriented the corners and established the temple as 'it took place before,' whilst looking to the sky and directing his gaze to the Ak of the 'thigh' constellation. Here the 'Ak' denotes a central point, the axis or middle of the starry group. Also when the temple at Edfu was refounded (about 257-37 BC) the king who 'stretches the measuring-cord' and lays the foundation-stone is represented as saying, that when doing this his eye was fixed upon the Meskhet or Meskhen. which has been supposed to be in the Great Bear. This also was in the constellation of the 'haunch,' as may be seen by the fragment from a Theban tomb (p. 289) where the 'haunch' is labelled the 'Meskhen' or chamber of birth which the constellation indicated the birth chamber of the cow above, that was copied in the temple of the cow-goddess below.
The cow of heaven as the milch-cow was portrayed standing or resting on the summit of the mount which was 'connected with the sky,' as portrayed in the monuments. This, in the Persian rendering, was the cow upon the summit of Mount Alborz. In the Norse mythology it is the cow Audhumla. As the Prose Edda describes it, 'immediately after the gelid vapours had been resolved into drops, there was formed out of them the cow named Audhumla. Four streams of milk ran from her teats, and thus she fed Ymir,' just as the cow of heaven suckled Horus. Heaven, as the cow, is called the spouse upon the mountain. She is the mother of the solar bull, and, as goddess, is described as suckling her child Horus, and as having 'drooping dugs.' The Milky Way was pictured as the celestial water, now called milk, that flowed from the cow of heaven couched upon the [p.313] summit of the mount, the apex of which was at the celestial pole: whether the cow was called Nut or Hesit, the Arg Roud, Audhumla, or the good lady. Now if we take the lady on the seat and the 'haunch' or 'thigh' as a figure of the cow, the position on the globe is this: the lady of heaven the cow, or the mistress of the mount, is constellated in the middle of the Milky Way which runs in two directions downwards from the summit of the pole. If we restore the figure of the cow or its co-type the 'haunch,' this is the exact spot at which the river of milk once issued from the cow of heaven that gave her white liquid to Horus and the glorified; or water to the world in dew and rain. The Milky Way has been disfigured sadly by the Greeks, but still runs visibly as the river of the Nun or great deep, the white river that engirdles all the earth. The river Ganges, issuing from the mouth of the cow, retains the primitive type of a celestial source for the water that fell from heaven, as it was seen by night descending in the river of the Milky Way, or in four streams that issued from the udder of the cow, which supplied a figure of four quarters to the mount. The cow of heaven, or Nut, as giver of liquid life, was the earliest mistress of the mountain, or divine lady of the mound. Then the type of the good nurse, the suckler, was made anthropomorphic and the udder of the cow was superseded by the mammae of the human mother. But it was a long way from the African cow or sow, as the suckler, to the wet-nurse divinized in human form.
Lastly, the cow of earth was the mother of salt water as well as fresh; both fresh and salt water being found in the African lakes. The Albert Nyanza, for instance, is a salt-water lake, and one of the two lakes of the cow or 'haunch' at the pole was evidently a salt-water lake, as the primitive lake of purifying and healing. One of these, repeated in Amenta, is called the salt-water lake. The Zulu form of this celestial source is a young woman who makes the water. 'Leave it to me' says Lu, the Samoan Nut, when there was no water, and she makes the water, which was salt. This may account for the origin of salt water in heaven. To very primitive folk urine was the first salt water used for cleansing, purifying, and healing. The earliest soap was made from the alkali in urine mixed with oil from the human skin. The Inuit, amongst others, still wash themselves with urine. The Banians of Momba wash in cows urine, because, as they say, the cow is their mother. An early type of the mother as wateress in heaven was the cow, and first of all it was the water-cow. Urine was a very primitive form of holy water as a means of purifying. At the present time holy water is yet sained and made sacred by adding the ingredient of salt to water that is fresh. Urine is also a means of purifying when the English schoolboy, about to bathe in the stream, will micturate down his left leg as a protective charm against the raw-head-and-bloody-bones, our form of the Apap monster, lurking at the bottom of the water. Thus, as the pitiful human need was primitively reflected in the African heaven, the earliest water of purification, the salt water, the source of the lake of purification, [p.314] was made by the cow. And so unbreakable is the chain with which the human race, its customs, its theology, and religious symbolism are bound together from the beginning that we may be absolutely certain that this is why salt is put into the baptismal font to make the water holy. This, we think, also touches the origin of the 'salt woman' in the Navajo legend who is described as resting at the top of the reed mountain which rose up beyond the reach of the deluge. When the anthropomorphic type had been adopted the woman that made the water on the summit of the mount took the place of the cow. In such ways the matter of mythology was continued in the heavens on the grand scale of uranographic representation. In this celestial sign-language, the oldest book of wisdom in the world was written by the mystery teachers and can still be read upon the starry scroll of ancient night.
The 'upliftings of Shu,' are spoken of and portrayed in the Egyptian Ritual. The first of these is said in ancient legends to have taken place at Hermopolis, where Shu stood on the mound to raise the firmament. This was the mound by which the mount of earth was imaged in Egypt as the altar of the mound-builders, constellated in Ara. At least two of Shu's upliftings can be identified. In his role of An-hur, Shu was the uplifter of heaven, or Nut, by name. He is portrayed upon the mount or mound in the act of raising up the cow of Nut with his two hands, or pushing up the heaven assisted by his support-gods. And Kepheus standing on the mount with the rod in his uplifted hand remains a representative of Shu, who stood upon the mound to raise the firmament of Am-Khemen. In his character of An-hur he was the uplifter of the sky or firmament in the pre-solar mythos. In the solar mythos he becomes auxiliary to Ra, and is called his son, Shu-Si-Ra. He is now the supporter of the sun-god who uplifts the solar orb upon the mount of dawn, or, as it is also phrased, he brings the eye of light to Ra. In doing this he kneels upon the horizon as the uplifter. He is the helper of the solar god (Horus or Ra) upon the horizon when the great battle was waged against the Apap of darkness, who fought so long and fiercely that the god came staggering upwards fainting from his wounds.
It has been said that all tradition respecting the personage known as 'the kneeler' has been lost. Aratus knew nothing of the character. But in the Egyptian astronomical mythology the god Shu is 'the kneeler' personified. In this form he is portrayed upon the horizon or mount of dawn stooping on bended knee to uplift the solar disk, or to bear it on his head. He who had uplifted the starry firmament with his two hands, or with the forked stick called his rod, now represented the force that heaved up the sun in the position of 'the kneeler.' In the Phainomena Aratus describes 'the kneeler' in an attitude of worship with arms upraised 'from both his shoulders each stretching on its side about a full arm's length.' This is the attitude of Shu, but with the solar disk omitted. 'The kneeler,' then, who is Al Jatha in Arabic and Engonansin in Greek, we identify with Shu, the deity who kneels upon the horizon to support his father Ra, the solar god, in his battle with the hosts of darkness. He also passed into the [p.315] eschatology as the typical kneeler; thence the keeper of the door in the hall of judgment is named after Shu, 'the kneeler.' The keeper says to the initiate in the mysteries, 'I open not to thee, I allow thee not to pass by me, unless thou tellest my name.' The password, given in reply, is 'the knee of Shu,' which he hath lent for the support of Osiris, is the name, that is as the supporter of the sun-god in the character of 'the kneeler.' Shu-Anhur, in his twofold role may still be recognized on the celestial chart in the constellations of Kepheus and Leo, partly by means of the double Regulus. As An-hur in Kepheus he stands upon the mount to lift up heaven with his rod or staff, and as Shu or Regulus in Leo he is the supporter and uplifter of the solar orb on the horizon as 'the kneeler.'
A picture in the constellation Lyra has survived to show us how the stories of the solar god were given a starry setting on the background of the dark. If we refer to this group upon the celestial globe we find a figure of the winged disk or hut which still identifies the constellation with Horus of Edfu, who is now called Horus-Behutet. What then was the story told of Horus in the stars by night which could be read in Lyra when conjoined and illustrated with, the winged solar disk? We are shown a picture of Horus with his lyre, the prototype of Apollo with his lyre, and Orpheus with his lute. Horus with the lyre or harp of seven strings was the sevenfold one as a divine type of attainment, the octave and the height in music as well as in the building of the heavens. This Horus was the first form of the All-One, or Pan, in whom the seven powers were unified in perfect harmony, or in the music of the spheres. It was Horus who tore out the sinews of Sut and by depriving him of power turned the discord of the universe to harmony. He was consequently depicted in the constellation of Lyra as the maker of music that was played on the harp, the lute, the lyre, or the sevenfold pipes of Pan as a figure of the All-One.
The Serpentarius or 'Ophinchus huge' was constellated in the decans of Scorpio as a figure of Horus wrestling with the serpent of darkness. At this stage in the periodical display of the celestial pictures the sun was about to descend into Amenta from the point (say) of the autumn equinox in Scorpio, to grapple with the powers of darkness, decay, and dearth now rising in rebellion and gathering together for the annual assault. The drama could not be rendered in imagery directly solar; hence the representation figured as an object picture in the rising stars that showed the Lord of Light at death-grips with the serpent of the dark, in that sign where Horus or Osiris received his mortal wound. Thus, all along, the gnosis was pictorially portrayed in heaven. Hence when the Osiris obtains [p.316] command over the celestial water he says, 'Collector of souls is the name of my Bark. The picture of it is the representation of my glorious journey upon the canal.' The bark of salvation in which the souls of the glorified were gathered, we repeat, was solar, whilst the picture shown by night was stellar. The canal is the name of the Milky Way, and on this the glorious voyage was made by the manes 'to the abode of those who had found their faces as the glorified.' In another illustration the great ship of heaven, in the solar mythos, is the Ark of Ra. When seen by day, the solar orb is carried on board together with the solar god and the spirits perfected. But the literature of the subject, so to say, was represented, and the story was repeated, nightly in the stars.
The blind god 'hungering for the morn' is a Greek figure of Orion, which explains nothing of itself. But Orion is the stellar representative by night of Horus the solar god in the darkness of Amenta who is An-ar-ef the sightless Horus, or Horus as the blind god whose sight was restored to him at dawn. Several constellations, Orion the hunter, Herakles, Serpentarius, Boötes, are portraits of Horus configurated in his various characters both mythical and eschatological. Amsu-Horus was the husbandman twice over as Egyptian; once in the mythology which sets forth the natural facts according to the seasons in Egypt; and once in the eschatology which figured the same facts typically in relation to the harvest in the after-life. Amsu, we consider, was the original of Boötes. On the celestial globe, high over Spica, Boötes rises with the sickle in his right hand as a symbol of the husbandman. Amsu issues from the tomb as the divine harvester, with the flail in his right hand. He is also the good herdsman, as is shown by the crook, whether as goat-herd or shepherd, and this character of the husbandman as guardian is repeated by Boötes in the character of Bearward.
Some Egyptologists have conjectured that the wars of Horus in the astronomical mythology were historical in Egypt. But this is to follow the will-o'-the-wisp of a popular delusion. The mass of primitive 'history' in many lands has been derived from nursery legends and as folktale versions of the Egyptian wisdom. The lords of light and life that overcame the powers of drought and darkness were converted into ethnical personages and glorified as natural heroes. We are told by Diodorus of Sicily that the Egyptians looked upon the Greeks as impostors who reissued the ancient mythology as their own history; in this they were not alone. But the wars of Horus were fought in heaven and Amenta against the sebau, the dragon, the serpent, with Orion for one of his great stellar figures. If there is any one figure constellated in heaven as the hero par excellence, in various characters, it is pre-eminently that of Orion. This, as Egyptian, is Horus or Heru. The word heru signifies the chief; the one who is the overlord, the ruler, the mighty one, the hero. This hero as Horus of the inundation was pre-solar. He was the annual bringer of food and drink before there was a sun-god, when the stars were the annunciators of the coming times and seasons to the waiting, watching world. Then the character was made solar, and lastly eschatological. Horus the mighty conqueror, the Nimrod, the slayer of the gigantic Apap, is [p.317] the giant-killer of all later lore, not only as the solar god but also as the earlier elemental power, and the various legends are the reliquary remains of his several characters.
They have to go a long way round to work who would understand the scientific grouping of the stars according to the principles of astro-mythology. For instance, Orion as the hunter and Lupus the hare are two southern constellations. But Orion does not mean that a scriptural character was taken out of the Bible and constellated as a typical sportsman, and the mighty hunter of a miserable hare. It is an almost universal representation that the sun or solar god pursues the moon for ever daily and nightly in a never-ceasing chase. This is how the story was configurated by the mystery teachers of the heavens in the grouping of the stars. Such a chase implies the character of the hunter, and Orion, as representative of the solar Horus, is the hunter. The pursuit of the moon is signified by the stellar symbol of the hare. In sign-language, and in many lands, the hare has been a lunar zootype as the wide-eyed leaper that was followed night by night, day after day, by the solar hunter in his perpetual round. Thus the hare, known as a symbol of the moon over half the world, is shown to have been a totemic type of the nome, and a figure of the lunar deity in Egypt. The hare was imaged as a primitive constellation at the feet of Orion, who in one character was the mighty hunter. But he is not the hunter of so insignificant an animal as the hare. Neither was Orion the hunter only a figure of the sun pursuing the moon, or the hare. He was the mythical hunter in other characters. In the stellar mythos he was the hunter of the powers of darkness with the dogs of Horus, Kvon and Prokyon. On coming forth from the darkness of Amenta in the resurrection, the Osiris says: 'I come forth as a bennu (a type of Sothis) at dawn.' 'I urge on the hounds of Horus.' He was the hunter of the powers of darkness on behalf of Horus in the solar mythos, and likewise in the phase of eschatology as Sahu-Orion, or Orion as the Sahu, that is Horus in his glorious body. We may look on Horus, the original of Herakles as the earliest child that ever strangled serpents. He is portrayed in this character as the child standing upon two crocodiles and crushing the serpents with both hands (left, Horus strangling serpents). In later legends told of Herakles the Greeks have added the cradle as a further illustration of the children's story. But, ages earlier, before the figures were humanized, Horus pierced the serpent of evil when he was represented in the form of a hawk fighting with a serpent on the back of a hippopotamus at Hermopolis. He also fought the [p.318] serpent as an ichneumon or mongoose, and as a cat, each of which preceded the anthropomorphic type of an infant in the cradle. The wars of Apap and Horus, or Ra, also of Sut and Osiris in the eschatology, were thus dramatically rendered in the astronomical mythology. The grapple first began with Horus and the reptile Apap. This is repeated by Horus the little hero crushing the serpent in the constellation of 'Ophiuchus,' that is by Horus in the character of conqueror who triumphed over drought, darkness, decay, and finally of death. In a scene copied by Maspero from the zodiac of Denderah, Horus, on his papyrus, rises from the waters, and is preceded by Orion in his papyrus bark. Orion was a figure of the stellar Horus, or Horus of the inundation. But Horus represented by the sparrow-hawk has become the solar god now born of Hathor the milch-cow. All three appear together in this scene. Now if we turn to the celestial globe we find Orion standing club in hand as the mighty warrior with one foot on the waters of the river Eridanus = Horus of the inundation invested with the majesty and power of the solar god. In the Egyptian drawing the two characters are distinct, but in the Greek compound these are blended in the one hero known as Herakles the slayer of serpents as an infant in his cradle.
In very old Egyptian traditions Sahu-Orion was represented as the wild hunter who traversed the netherworld by night and hunted there whilst it was day on earth. The powers of darkness, the sebau and the sami, were the objects of pursuit. They are hunted for food; and the chase, the capture, killing, and cutting up of the carcases are described in the terminology of cannibals—so ancient is the legend of the wild hunter, a form of whom may probably survive with us as Herne Orion the hunter. In the solar mythos the lord of light was Horus, or, later, Ra or Osiris, waging war upon the evil powers in the underworld, and hunting them to death by night and devouring them as the mode of destruction; the drama being represented in the stellar phase with the figure of Orion as the lord of light made visible by night. The cannibalism of the past becomes present in the language of the inscriptions. Eating and drinking were the primary modes of assimilating strength and sustenance. The idea still lives in partaking of the eucharistic meal in which the god is supposed to be assimilated by the eating and drinking of the elements. It is said in the Book of the Dead that the great spirits, the khus, or glorious ones, 'live on the shades of the motionless.' They eat the souls of the undeveloped dead; eating being applied to spirit as well as matter.
It is probable that the giant as the eater of the shades, the as yet unquickened souls of the buried dead, was figured in heaven as the ghoul. The star Beta in the group of Perseus, the hero with Medusa's head, is called Al-Ghul, the ghoul, in the Arabic names of the stars. In Amenta the ghoul was the eater of the shades; and like many mythical characters is the denizen of another earth than ours. 'O eater of the Manes,' says the Osiris, 'I am not a thief.' This is one of those who prey upon the dead; one of the forty-two types of terror which the guilty had to face in the great judgment hall. Thus, the ghoul or [p.319] vampire of another earth that survives as eater of the dead in this world was also figured in the planisphere as a type of terror to evil-doers. Indeed, Amenta is a museum full of such prototypes, and the ghoul secured a starry setting with the rest, though the figure is not extant on our celestial globe. A striking instance of the use of the planisphere in conveying the teaching of the mysteries may be seen in the Ritual. In some recensions of the first chapter, when the manes enters the Amenta, one of the first things he asks is to see the starry ship or floating ark of the holy sahus making its voyage by night in heaven. He exclaims, 'Let me see the Sekhet-Nut of the holy sahus (the ship of heaven) traversing the sky.' He was in the paths of darkness and desirous of seeing the nocturnal sky with its old familiar stars by which he sought to make out his way to the place of rebirth and the region of Mati upon the mount of glory, from this valley of the shadow of death. The constellation of Horus as Orion was the ship of the Sahu and ark of salvation configurated in the celestial waters as a boat that saved the souls from an eternal shipwreck. This was the sign of spiritual resurrection for the completed manes. In another text the speaker prays that his soul may shine as a sahu in the stars of Orion or Horus. It is said of Horus in the Hymn to Osiris the whole earth glorifies him, when his holiness proceeds (on the vault of the sky) 'he is a sahu illustrious amongst the sahus,' that is among the spirits glorified. The sahu is a glorified form in which the soul of the deceased is reincorporated for the life hereafter; this was represented by Orion the conqueror of death and darkness in the phase of eschatology. Now one frequently finds that this secondary stage had been attained by the Egyptian mythos before it went out of Egypt into other lands as the lesser and the greater mysteries. For instance, there is a constellation called the Sah or Sahu in the Babylonian astronomy. This is identical by name with the Egyptian Orion, that is Horus in his resurrection as the sahu or glorified likeness of the risen god or soul; the sahu in the planisphere who represents the manes rising from Amenta to the enclosure on the summit which was paradise above.
The descent of Herakles into Hades to grapple with the triple-headed Cerberus was preceded by the descent of Horus into Amenta, where the devourer is triple-bodied if not three-headed. The speaker in this character says, 'Grant that I may come and bring (to Osiris) the two jaws of Rostau,' the outrance from Amenta. Herakles in the lion's skin is identical with Horus in the lion-sign, and his fight with the Lernean hydra of the Hesperides and the great wild boar is a repetition of the battles that were fought by Horns with the Apap hydra and the black boar Sut. The same speaker at the same time says, 'I have repulsed the Apap reptile and healed the wounds he made,' which is equivalent to the struggle of Horus with the monster hydra. The twelve legends of the solar hero Gilgamesh relating to the twelve signs and the twelve labours of Herakles are, of course, comparatively late, as they are based upon the zodiac of twelve signs which belongs to the final formation of the heaven that was preceded by the heaven in ten divisions, and earlier still by the heptanomis in seven. But the twelve labours of Herakles are zodiacal, and the first of these was at a point of commencement in the lion- [p.320] sign. The Greeks with their accustomed indifference to the facts, and their fondness for figures and fancies, played many pranks with the astronomical mythology. It was fabled by them that 'an enormous crab came to the assistance of Hydra and bit the foot of Herakles when he was doing battle with the dragon of drought.' By retranslating Greek fable into astronomical fact, this statement can be read, only the Greeks have placed the crab on the side of the evil power, which it was not, any more than the beetle. The retouching by the Greeks, like that of the Semites, tended to efface the figures or falsify the meaning of the mythos; and the astronomical facts are of a thousandfold more importance than all the pretty embellishments of irresponsible fancy. The forms and pictures figured in the planispherei are not merely mythical, they are also celestial illustrations for the eschatology of the Egyptian Ritual and the oldest religion in the world. Perhaps the worst perversion of the true mythos made by the Greeks was in their treatment of the polar dragon. This, as already shown, was founded on the crocodile, not on the Apap reptile. The crocodile was the good dragon, the solar dragon, the dragon of life, represented by the stellar Draconis. Apap is the dragon of evil, of negation, and of death. It is not easy to uncoil the dragon, or rather the two dragons, the dragon of light and the reptile of darkness, on Greek ground. The evil dragon was imaged once for all below the ecliptic in the constellation Hydra. But it was the good dragon, not hydra, that coiled by night about the pole of heaven to protect the golden fruitage on the tree of life, the Chinese peach-tree of the pole. So far from Herakles being called upon to make war upon the good dragon, or crocodile, it was a starry image of Horus (Sebek) himself; who is the prototype of Herakles.
Naturally there must have been some mutilation and disfigurement on the palimpsest of the starry heavens, but this has not effaced the African imagery of the celestial signs which proves the ground-plan of the structure to have been Egyptian. The present purpose is to trace the raison d'źtre and meaning of the constellation-figures as types of characters that were pre-existent in the mythology of Egypt. For, as herein maintained, it was Egypt that peopled the planisphere and for ever occupies the celestial globe. The heavens are telling nightly of her glory and her workmanship on high, which is more marvellous even than any that she left upon the surface of the earth. The vast revolving sphere unfolds a panorama of her prehistoric past. The constellations form a long procession of her seasons, her goddesses and gods for ever circling round about a wondering world that sees but cannot read the primitive uranographic signs.
This page last updated: 01/02/2014