A BOOK OF THE BEGINNINGS
BRITISH SYMBOLICAL CUSTOMS AND EGYPTIAN NAMING
To 'clear oneself by an oath' was a recognised form of speech with the Egyptians, and a mode of covenanting. The word ark, for oath, means to bind. To clear oneself by an oath is a common form of speech with English boys; one of these being 'By Goll.' This is the holy Cornish oath. The hand is held aloft whilst the oath is taken. Goll means the hand, or rather the fist, for the hand is clenched in token of covenant. The equivalent ker (Eg.) is the claw, to claw hold,* to embrace; and in Suffolk golls are large, clumsy, claw-like hands. The Irish swear this oath in the form of be-gorre. The custom denotes the making of a covenant and swearing by the hand, in the primitive condition of claw, when laying hold was literally seizing with the claw. By hook or by crook was then by the fingers in the talon stage. Ark (Eg.), to bind, is symbolised by a tie, which is later than the claw. Goll is a worn down form of gafael (Welsh), the grasp, grip, hold and gaffle a hook; Gaelic gabhail, for seizing and holding as a tenure, whence to gale a mine is to hold it on lease, to rent it; and one form of holding land is by the law of gavelkind. The Languedoc gafa, to seize or take, is the Egyptian kefa, to seize with the hand, or claw, as the first instrument for laying hold. In a following stage the claw, ker, or goll, as hand, is the tat, or tut, and the word means to image, typify, unite, and establish. We still covenant in shaking hands or daddies, as the fists are called, and the vulgar 'Give us your fist,' or daddle, is equivalent to 'Give us your tat' (Eg.), that is, the hand, as a type of establishing a covenant.
* This name of the claw is also that of the hand in various languages, especially the African and Indian, as the kere in Mano; kora, Gio; koara, Basa; ekarowo, Eafen; kara, Mobba; khur, Dhimal; kar, Sokpa; gala, Mantshu; khal, Tobolsk; kaliock, Lopcha; karam, Malabar; kar, Hindustani; khur, Dami; ghar, Mongol; cheir, Greek; cior, Irish; and kiers, the finger, in Gura; akartj, the finger, Biafada; agra, the finger, in Sanskrit. In the earlier form of ker, the claw, we recover khepr, the beetle-type of laying hold.
[p.250] 'By Gigs,' is a common oath or exclamation, as in Gammer Gurton's Needle, 'Chad a foule turne now of late, chill tell it you, by gigs.' As an oath is a form of covenant, this is probably the Egyptian keks, which means a binding, to entreat, to bind, with the noose determinative of a bond or covenant.
There is an English custom still extant of touching the seal of a deed with the finger on signing the document. Sydney Smith said the ancient family of his name did not bear arms, but sealed with their thumbs. The Statutes of Akkad decreed that, if a son had said to his father, 'Thou art not my father,' and had executed a form of deed and 'Made a mark with his nail to confirm it,' he was to pay a fine. The clay tablets or duppi, still show the print of a fingernail on them in place of a seal. In the Egyptian word teb we have the name of the seal-ring, the brick, and the finger, and teb means to answer, be responsible for. Taf (Eg.) means attention. To tap is a sign of calling attention. The tabor is played by tapping. The teb (Eg.) is a drum. To tap is the same as to dab or to dub. To dub a man a knight is done by giving him a tap. The ancient method was to tap him on the side of the head or give him a box on the ear. Thus a box is synonymous with a tap. So, in Egyptian, teb is a box. The teb are the temples of the head. To dub is to clothe, ornament, equip, as the knight is dubbed. Teb (Eg.) is to clothe and equip. The box on the ear, or blow given in dubbing, is explained by teb (Eg.), to answer and be responsible for. Teb, to place instead, be the substitute, shows that the person dubbed was to be henceforth representative of the king or queen, and be responsible for any blow aimed at them. Teb (Eg.) is to seal, and by the process of dubbing the knight was sealed to the royal service. Tebn (Eg.) is to rise up, and the one who is dubbed is told to rise up a knight. The oneness of a box and a tap leads up to the meaning of the Christmas Box and Boxing Day. The teb, as box, is a sarcophagus, the sign of an ending. Teb, or tep, is a point of commencement of the teb or movement in the circle of the year. Boxing Day is the first day of the solstitial new year. The meaning of teb, the box, is to close, shut, seal. Teb is a recompense; and on the first day of the new cycle gratuities were given for past service, and to secure and seal it for the future. The box comes in as the type of inclosing, closing, sealing, whether delivered on the ear, or in a gift of money.
The cow's tail is an emblem worn behind by the male divinities of Egypt. This was their queue, in Egyptian khef, for the hinder-part. The tail was a type of the goddess of the hinder-part, and when she was put back by the male, the tail or queue was worn behind the male, who represented the front. Hereby hangs a tale. For the tail, at last, deposits the q as the letter with the tail, which is still an image of khep or kefa, the Goddess of the Hind Quarter. [p.251] The tail was formerly extant, as in France, in the thongs of hide called queues to which seals were attached in legal documents; also the end of a document where the seal was attached was called the queue, and when the deed was witnessed and sworn to, the finger was laid on the queue—a mode of sealing modified from that adopted in the initiatory rites of the 'Sabbath,' and the worship of the goddess of the north, which is still retained, however, in 'kissing the book.' The queue is also extant as the qopo of the Zulu Kaffirs, a tailed girdle worn round the loins, after the manner of the gods of Egypt. When the Zulu messenger of a court of justice is sent on official business as an Um-sila, he carries the white tail of an ox as his sign and Um-sila of authority. The Zulus still make a notch or tally, in scoring, called i quopo, the same in name as the Peruvian quipu or knot, a figure of ten in reckoning. The present cue, however, was only to point out the survival of a type of the old genetrix (called the 'Living Word') in our tail-letter q.
A game is played in Gloucestershire with a ball, which, the two parties ranged on opposite sides endeavour to strike to the two ends of the course to secure the goal. It is called not; supposed to be from the knot of wood of which the ball is made. But nut (Eg.) means the limit, the goal, the end, all. This is the likelier derivation of the name of the game.
Handy-dandy is an ancient game played with the two hands. Cornelius Scriblerus says handy-dandy is mentioned by Aristotle, Plato, and Aristophanes. It depends on a thing being changed from hand to hand for the guess to be made as to which hand the thing is in. Hanti (Eg.) is the returner, from han, to turn back, return, pass to and fro; tenti is to reckon, how, where, which one; tenti also means separate, in two.
When money is given by a newly wedded pair for the poor to drink their healths, it is called hen. This may be interpreted by han (Eg.), tribute, to bring; and han, young.
In shelling peas at a peascod wooing it was a great object to be the finder of a pod containing nine peas. That is a hieroglyphic of the put circle of nine gods and the nine months of gestation. The kitchen-maid who finds this pod of nine will place it on the lintel of the kitchen-door, and the first man who enters is to be her husband. When a youth had been jilted, it was a Cumbrian fashion for the lasses to rub him down with peas-straw, the lads doing the same to a girl deserted by her sweetheart.
In the marriage service of the English Church, printed in the York Manual, the bride pledges herself to be buxom to her husband. In the Sarum Manual she engages to be 'bonere and buxom in bedde and at borde.' These are explained in the margin [p.252] by 'meek and obedient.' Buxom and bowsome came to mean obedient and pliant, but that is not the primary sense. The earlier spelling is bucksome, to be blithe and conjugal, and this reaches the root. Bukh (Eg.) means to conceive, engender, enfanter, fecundate, be fecund; sam means similitude, likeness of; bucksome is bukhlike, and the promise is related to fertility and ensuring of offspring. Of this we can adduce a remarkable ideographic custom. One form of pet in Egyptian is a foot and to stretch. Pet and pesh also mean the same thing, to stretch out. So in English the game of put-pin is likewise called push-pin. The root meaning of pet is to stretch, to reach, to attain, no matter what the mode may be. Hence pet, the foot, is stretched forth in walking. Pet, the bow, is stretched in shooting. Pet, no. 9, is the full stretch of the measure by months in gestation. The pot-belly is at full stretch of roundness. Anything putrid has gone to the utmost verge. The putting-stone used in curling is that which stretches the player's capacity to the utmost in putting. Hutchinson, in his History of Durham, speaks of a stone cross near the ruins of a church in Holy Island, which was called the 'Petting Stone.' When a marriage took place, it was customary after the ceremony for the bride to step upon this stone cross, and if she could stride to the end of it, the marriage was supposed to be fortunate. To be lucky and fortunate in marriage always meant child-bearing. And this petting or stretching stone was the means of divining or prefiguring the future with regard to the woman's fertility and willingness to be fertile. The promise to be bucksome was represented by the act of stretching or petting. Every one of these primitive meanings has been turned to male account. This has been taken for a promise to bend and be yielding in the servile sense. It was not so. The woman simply pledged herself to motherhood as well as wifehood.
The sign of the Sut-Heb festivals, held every thirty years, is the double-seated boat. It was, as the name implies, the Heb of Sut, although given to Tum in a later system of myth. Heb means a festival. The double-seated boat is a form of the neb (basket) sign, which indicates the whole, all, composed of two halves. Our symbolic custom of hob-nobbing repeats this festival of conjunction. Hob-nobbing is celebrating. Moreover, the ancient hob of the chimney corner actually reproduces the image of the Sut-Heb, the double-seated Heb of Sut. It was called the hob, and on either side of the fire there was placed a settle, the double seat or Set of the Heb, where people could hobnob together. Grose says, 'Will you hob or nob with me?' was a question formerly in fashion at polite tables, signifying will you take wine with rue, and if the party challenged answered nob, they were to choose whether white wine or red. These were the two colours of the two crowns, upper and [p.253] lower, of the two halves of the circle which was symbolised by the double-seated boat, and neb, as before said, is a twin-total.
The Essex labourers divide a jug of beer into three 'pulls' at it. These three draughts are called neckum (1), sinkum (2), and swankum (3). Khem (Eg.) means to have power over, potency, prevail over, possess by force. Nek (Eg.) denotes the first, as the I or 'A one.' Nek-khem is equivalent to 'My first pull.' Neked (Eng.) is a small quantity. Nakhn (Eg.) is a little one. Sen (Eg.) means second; sen-khem, the second strong pull. Skhen (swan) is to imbibe, multiply, and render victorious, therefore the finishing draught.
A tea-drinking among Oxford students is called a 'bitch-party,' but the designation does not imply any slur on the sex; it is rather an apology for the beverage. It is at root a sign of modesty and bashfulness. It is true that bitch is a term of reproach or worthlessness, and is generally limited to one sex. But a bitch-party is simply a name for the poor-thing-ness, the humble status of the celebration. In like manner the German swipes are bosch. A small beer, or mead, made in the North is botchet. Botch, a failure or shortcoming, is a form of the word. Budge is a Suffolk term for dull and poor. Batch-flour is coarse flour. Batchworth is the low-lying place, or hinder-part. To budge is to give way, succumb, accept the inferior station. The badge is a token of this inferiority; it was the sign of slavery, the mark of the serf, the brand of possession, as much so as the brand on the sheep. Hence the term, the badge of slavery. Its true survival is yet on the livery button. Later, it was elevated to a place of dignity in heraldry, and worn as a trophy by the conquering superior instead of by the conquered inferior. But even there it keeps its humbler station; badges being a subsidiary kind of arms. The batcheler (Anglo-Norman) was a young man who had not attained the honours of knighthood; the bachelor is one who has not reached the dignity of marriage or mastership. He too is a bitch-party, and of lowly estate. A bitch-party, then, is so called because it is a poor thing of humble status, where the drink is weak and the proceeding slow. The total meaning may be found in the Egyptian word betsh, weak, slow, lazy, lowly, and humble. The betsh or bitch party has a divine origin, and a primordial form of it is found in Egyptian mythology as the 'Children of Inertness,' who dwelt in Am-Smen, before the firmament was lifted, as the first eight gods, and did not keep correct solar time, as there are 366 days in the sidereal year; whence the 366 bells attached to the robe of the Hebrew High-Priest. They consisted of the seven stars of Typhon (Ursa Major) and the Dog-star Sut. These same Children of Inertness are described by Taliesin as the 'sluggish animals of Sut' or Satan; the primal bitch-party being typhonian, and belonging to the lower region of the hinder-part in [p.254] the north. By aid of the Swabian petz, we can recover the bear, the type of the original betsh or bitch, the Lap Pittjo, the genetrix of the betsh-party, or 'Children of Inertness.'
Lightfoot says that in the Scottish Highlands, when an infant is born, the nurse takes a green stick of ash and thrusts one end of it into the fire, and as it burns, she receives the sap oozing from the other in a spoon, and administers the liquid to the child as its first sustenance.
One writer suggests that the reason for giving ash-sap to newborn children is, first, because it acts as a powerful astringent, and, secondly, because the ash was potent against witches.
Another affirms that it was because some thousands of years ago the ancestors of Highland nurses knew the fraxinus ornus in Arya, and had given its honey-like juice as divine food to their children.
We need not go so far, however, to derive the sacred character and living virtue of our symbolic ash. The ash was the Egyptian tree of life, the Persea fig-tree named the ash. Ash signifies emanation, emission, the creative substance of life. The rowan tree is the typical ash, with its sap within and red berries without. Ruhan in Egyptian is a shrine, therefore a synonym of sacredness. The rowan is named the quicken tree, from quick, alive, pregnant. It is therefore our tree of life called the ash, precisely the same as the tree of life in Egypt.
Sap in Egyptian is to spit, evacuate, as does the ash wood in the fire; to make, create. Saba is food and aliment. The ash-sap was a form of the essence of life in Egypt as in England.
In Germany it was a custom to tap the ash tree in spring, and drink the sap as an antidote to the venom of snakes. The serpent having become a type of the inimical power, the ash was in every way fatal to it. The common belief was that snakes could not rest even in the shadow of an ash tree, and that a single blow struck with an ashen wand would prove fatal to the adder.
Baakabaka in Egyptian signifies upside down, topsy-turvy, with a man standing on his head (@). This sense of reversal is extant in the Hebrew 'bakbuk,' a bottle or pouring out of a bottle. Buge and beck in English mean to stoop; baka (Eg.), is to squat down, also to pray.
Still more primitive is the survival in the boy's game of 'Buck buck, how many horns do I hold up?' in which one boy stoops with face down in a reversed position to guess the numbers. He bucks and sets a back at the same time. This is probably the game which we see played in the monuments with one prostrate figure face downwards, the others holding up their hands as if pounding his back, which is permitted when the guess goes wrong, and may have been called [p.255] Baakabaka, now rendered by the English 'Buck-buck.' Puka (variant of huka) means magic, conjuring, divining, i.e., the object of the game. Another mode of this divining is played by children in Devonshire, and is called buggy bane, or bucka bene; the following rhymes are repeated by one of the players:
'Buggy, buggy, bidde bane,
Is the way now fair and clean?
Is the goose y-gone to nest,
Is the fox y-come to rest,
Shall I come away?'
Bug or Puck is a supposed hobgoblin. Bugan is a title of the devil. In the hieroglyphics pukha is a name of the infernal locality. In Jersey the cromlechs or tumuli are called puck-lays, or places of Puck. This, name identifies them with the Egyptian pukha, of the underworld, the pit-hole or Sheol, as the place of the dead.
The name pukha is probably from p-uk-ha, the dead-house. Uk or akh (Eg.) is the manes, or the spirit, whence the uk or puck, bug or bogey. The rhyme, like the questioning of Buck-buck, denotes conjuring or divination; the game being played in the dark. The goose of Michaelmas and the fox (jackal, apheru) of the vernal equinox, symbols of Seb and Anup, witness to the astronomical allegory. Between these two lies the locality of Pukha, the infernal region. Pukh or pekht as cat-headed goddess was stationed there to look after the Apophic monster. The appeal is apparently made to the Puck, as spirit of the dark extant as Shakespeare's sprite of the night.
Bidde formerly meant to require, and bane to proclaim or make known publicly. 'Buggy, buggy, bidde bane,' is thus a demand made to the spirit or hobgoblin of the dark, the underworld, to answer the questions propounded, and the chant is a magical invocation.
The present writer, when a boy, was taught that a typhonian monster lurked in the dark places of deep waters, called 'Raw head and bloody bones.' The name should assimilate the monster with the Apophis or red dragon in the Pool of Pant, the Red Sea. Raw-head is a name of the devil. Also, when bathing it was considered the correct thing to urinate on the leg before wading in the water; a supposed antidote to cramp or the lier-in-wait in the water. Now in the eighty-sixth chapter of the Ritual in which the deceased is crossing the valley of the shadow of death and the waters, and the pool of fire, we read: 'What do I say I have seen? It is Horus steering the bark. It is Sut (Typhon), the Son of Nu, undoing all he has done.' The allusion is to the evil enemy of the sun and of souls, who lurks under the waters. Then follows the statement, 'I am washed on my leg. Oh, Great One! I have dissipated my sins; I have destroyed my failings, for I have got rid of the sins which detained me on earth.' He has performed an act of lustration and purification by the washing on the leg before entering the water, and this is symbolical of getting [p.256] rid of his failings or in the eschatological sense of dissipating his sins which detained him on earth. It does look as if the bather did the same thing, although unconscious of the symbolism.
In the parish of Altarnun, Cornwall, the people had a singular method of curing madness by placing the patient on the brink of a square pool filled with water from the Nun's Well; he was plunged suddenly and unexpectedly into the water, where he was roughly baptized, and repeatedly dipped until the strength of the frenzy had forsaken him; he was then carried to church, and masses were sung over him. The Cornish people called this immersion boossenning, from beuzi, in the Cornish-British and Armoric, signifying to dip or drown.
In Egyptian we find bes (mau), inundator; besa, an amulet, protection, and besi to transfer. San means to heal, save, charm, immerse. Bes-san therefore agrees with boossenning as a process of immersion for healing, charming, protecting, and preserving.
The Egyptians were accustomed to enrich their tombs with valuable writings: Mariette, who recovered the Serapeum from its burial-place, an ocean of fluid sand, says, 'On certain days of the year, or on the occasion of the death and funeral rites of an Apis, the people of Memphis came to pay a visit to the god in his burial-place. In memory of this act of piety they left a stele, that is, a square-shaped stone, rounded at the top, which was let into one of the walls of the tomb, having been previously inscribed with an homage to the god in the name of the visitor and his family.' These documents were found to the number of 500. The custom was not confined to the tomb of Apis.
With this we may parallel the practice of the ancient Britons of depositing in their burial-places a wooden rod with Ogham letters on it. This also was shaped four-square, and called a fe. A ve, in Icelandic, is a sanctuary; the fai, a painted figure; the pei, in Chinese, is a stone tablet erected to the dead in a tomb or temple; pei is also divine, or inexplicable; pe denotes eternal life; bai, in Irish, means death; fay, English, doomed to die; fei, Chinese, is to be grieved, to mourn, bewail; pei, Manchu Tartar, is to cry 'alas!' boiye, Galla, is to cry, howl, weep. The Carib boye is an invoker of the gods. In Egyptian fua means life, full, large, dilating life; ba is to be, to be a soul. Fe also has the sense of to bear, or be borne by the genetrix who was typified by the tomb, and or faii signifies to raise up. Fe is no doubt a form of fay and faith, and some of the sarcophagi of the Eleventh Dynasty contained the writings which especially embody the Egyptian faith as found in chapter 17 of the Ritual.
Possibly the name of the Ogham represents the Egyptian aukhem. [p.257] The Ogham is a monument with the letters cut in stone, and figured round a circle. Aukhem (Eg.) means indestructible. Akh (Eg.) denotes a circle and to turn round. Am means belonging to. The akh are the dead, manes. Khem also means the dead, and the Oghams are found as the monuments of the dead.
In Egypt it was the ceremonial custom to cast sand three times on the remains of the deceased, and with us this survives in the 'Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,' and the earth cast thrice upon the coffin lid. It is likewise popularly supposed that, wherever a corpse has been carried, the way becomes thenceforth a public thoroughfare. And although no extant statute may now warrant such a belief, the writer does not doubt that such was once the custom from the stress laid by the Egyptians on everything concerning the road of the dead, the eternal path.
According to Chief Justice Hale, the sources of the common law of England are as hidden as were those of the Nile. It was for so long an unwritten tradition, whose sole record was the proverbial memory of mankind, when priests and lawgivers were instead of books, and through them tradition spoke in the living tongue. This has bequeathed to us an inheritance of use and wont, the larger liberties of which crop up continually as an unwritten tradition, not verifiable by the Roman or Norman code of laws.
The Curfew Bell is a suggestive example of ancient things retained under the mask of later customs and names which often conceals the face of the past altogether. There is no doubt that a couvre-feu law was enforced by William I, having the meaning of cover-fire. But the custom was neither of Norman origin nor enforced as a form of servitude, nor had it the only meaning of cover-fire. The ordinance directed all people to put out their fires and go to bed; noble and simple alike. Nor was the curfew solely an evening bell. A bell was formerly rung at Byfield Church at four in the morning and eight in the evening; also a bell was rung at Newcastle at four in the morning. In Romeo and Juliet we read:—
'The second cock hath crow'd,
The curfew-bell has rung, 'tis three o'clock.'
A cover-fire bell tolled at three in the morning!
Again, in King Lear:—
'This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet;
be begins at curfew, and walks to the first cock.'
In Peshall's History of Oxford it is said the custom of ringing the bell at Carfax every night at eight o'clock was by order of King [p.258] Alfred, who commanded that all the inhabitants should, at the ringing of that bell, cover up their fires and go to bed.
The curfew, then, was pre-Norman, and it was rung in the morning as well as at night. As pre-Norman, curfew is earlier than couvre-feu, and if the word signified cover-fire, it would have to apply in a double sense, as we find in cure, to cover, and kere, to recover, the fire covered at night being recovered in the morning. But cover is not the earliest sense. The bell was rung night and morning, the beginning and end of the course; that is, the char or karh in Egyptian, the course of the night. Karh is night. Kar, the lower, under of the two courses of time; hru being the upper, the day. In this sense the curfew applied to fire is the bell that announced the beginning and end of the kar of darkness, or fireless time. But the cur-few is not limited to the meaning of fire. 'Few' also denotes quantity and measure, therefore cur-few, or char-few, may have primarily indicated the length of the char, or kar, or course of the night; and the bell may have announced the sunrise and sunset, like the morning and evening gun, before ever it was the Couvre-feu Bell.
The Welsh had an ancient cooperative custom called the cymhortha, in which the farmers of a district met together on a certain day to help the small farmer plough his land or render other service in their power. Each one contributed his leek to the common repast, and the leeks for the occasion were typical, for they were the sole things so contributed. In Egypt the mert were persons attached or joined together for a common purpose, such as a community of monks. Ka is labour and land. Now in the old quarto Hamlet the word comart occurs, and is usually understood to mean a joint bargain. Co-mart (mert) is co-attached, co-bound, hence the covenant and the co-agreement. If this be the origin, comart is at root the same word as the Welsh cymhorta, explained by the co-merti. It also follows that the name of conrade is a deposit of both, the comrade being the co-attached person, fellow, one of the merti. The form of this primitive commune is yet extant as the ka-merti (Eg.), the merti on the land, in the Russian mir. The leek answers to the onion, the Egyptian hut, and it was the express token of the co-mart or cymhorta. Huter (Eg.) means to join together, as did these men of the hut (leek). 'A regular huter' is a vulgar phrase applied to a common woman. The word hut (Eg.) also means to bundle, or a bundle, with the 'ter,' determinative of time, and to indicate; and this same word for bundling means to touch, to consecrate. Whether the leek (hut), a form of the 'had,' is emblematic of the Welsh bundling, the present writer knows not, but this same word hutu signifies onehalf; and in the Guernsey custom of 'flouncing,' and other forms [p.259] of betrothal, the practice denoted that the lovers were half-bound, in token whereof, if the man changed his mind, the woman could claim one-half (hutu) of his property, and vice versa.
Many popular and hitherto inexplicable customs relate to the keeping of time and period. A complete year-book of the heavens might be made from these celebrations; the larger number of them belong, however, to the time of the vernal equinox. It is now intended to take a 'run round' the year, in the order of the seasons, the illustrations being limited to what is here called the Egyptian naming, following the philological and ideographical clue.
An old custom was extant in the Isle of Man when Train wrote, called the quaaltagh. Young men went from house to house on New Year's Eve singing rhymes and wishing the inmates a Merry New Year. On these occasions a dark-complexioned person always entered the house first, as a fair person, male or female, was considered unlucky for bringing in the New Year. The quaaltagh signifies the first foot that crosses the threshold on New Year's morning. In Egyptian the kar is the lower half of the solar circle out of which the sun begins to ascend with the New Year: also karh means night. Takh means a frontier, and to cross. The kar-takh (quaaltagh) is therefore emblematic of the sun's crossing from Hades. This sun of the night and winter was the black god, Kak or Hak, who must be represented by a person of dark complexion to complete the symbolical significance of the custom. Persons with dark hair are in the habit of going from house to house in Lancashire to bring in the New Year auspiciously. Light persons are as good as prohibited. And so in keeping with the dark is the feeling that the most kindly and charitable will refuse to give any one a light on New Year's morning lest it should bring ill-luck on the giver. The nature of the black god here represented by the dark-complexioned man has to be expounded in this work, the present volumes of which are limited to the comparative matter.
A grotesque manorial custom was extant in the time of Charles II. At Hilton, Staffordshire, there existed a hollow brass image representing a man kneeling in an indecorous position known as the Jack of Hilton. The image had two apertures, one very small at the mouth, another larger at the back. When filled with water and put to a strong fire, the water evaporated as in aeolopile, and vented a constant blast from the mouth, blowing audibly, and making a sensible impression on the fire. There was an obligation upon the lord of Essington, the manor adjoining, to bring a goose to Hilton every New Year's Day and drive it three times round the hall-fire which the Jack of Hilton was blowing all the while with his steam. The goose was then handed over to the lord paramount of Hilton. One wonders if this was related to the Chase of the Goose, a great [p.260] mystery with the Egyptians. The Jack, we may be sure, was a representation of Kak, the god of Darkness, and sun of the Underworld. Ru-ton, read as Egyptian, is the upper seat, and hes (Eg.) means the captive subject, ordered to obey.
Among the Scottish peasantry the first Monday of the year—Handsel Monday—is a great day for 'tips.' The young people visit the old for tips. The tips of Handsel Monday are the equivalent of Christmas boxes in England. Tep is the Egyptian word for the first, and for commencement of the circle. The tip, however, is unknown by name in the North. Handsel Monday was the day on which labourers and servants changed their places, and were engaged by new masters. Those who stayed on were treated by the farmers to a liberal breakfast. It is in short the labourers' day, and in Egyptian the hanuti are the labourers. This plural is the equivalent of 'hands.' Sel (Eng.) is self. The equivalent ser (Eg.) is private, reserved, and sacred. Thus Handsel is sacred to the Hanuti's self, or the labourer's own day, as recognized.
To han'sel money is to spit on the first that is received—a custom still common. The spitting is a mode of consecrating or anointing. Hant (Eg.) is the name for a rite of consecration, which in han'selling is the spitting. The word sel (ser), in addition to sacred, private, reserved, sole, also denotes some kind of liquid, cream, or butter, and is evidently connected with anointing. If we take the word to mean 'han' rather than hant, then han (Eg.) signifies to bring, contribute. Han is the divinity of bringing called the Bringer, and as the money thus han'selled is consecrated to the bringing of more, the han'sel may be devoted expressly to Han the Bringer. The deity is all the more probable as we have old ounsel as a name for the devil, the final status of the earlier god.
New Year's gifts in England were formerly called xenia. Khen (Eg.) is the act of offering, and some kind of festival. Kennp means plenty, abundance, wealth, and khent is to supply; it also denotes the circumstances of a festival.
The boosy or boosig is a trough out of which cattle feed; commonly it is the manger in front of them. In some counties it is called the booson, which in the earliest form would be boosigen. The sekanu (Eg.) is a trough. Buh signifies in front or before. Buhsekhanu is the trough in front. Sekhan abrades into sen. At the wassailing on the vigil of Twelfth Night a large cake with a hole in the middle used to be made by the farmers' wives in Herefordshire, and with much ceremony placed on the horn of the finest ox. The ox was then tickled to make him toss his head. If he threw the cake behind, it became the mistress's perquisite, and if before, in what was termed the boosy, the bailiff claimed the prize. This adds the [p.261] Apis Bull to the boosig, and an illustration of the Two Truths of Egypt, male and female, before and behind.
In Cumberland and other northern parts of England, Twelfth Night, which ends the Christmas holidays, is devoted to dancing and sport. The supper concludes with the eating of a large flat oaten cake, which is baked on a griddle, and sometimes has plums in it. This is called a tharve-cake. In Egyptian terf is the word for sport, dancing, being lively; and terp is not only the name of a cake, but of certain ceremonial rites of Taht, the reckoner and recorder of the gods. The English festival ends with the burning of a tar-barrel, a common mode of terminating popular rites. Ter, in Egyptian, means to indicate, the end, extremity, finis.
The image of winter was burned on the 12th of January, 1878, at Burghhead, near Forres, where there is an ancient altar locally known as the douro. A tar-barrel set on fire was borne round the town, blazing, and then carried to the top of the hill and placed on the douro. When the barrel crumbles down, the fish-women try to snatch a lighted brand from the remains, with which the cottage fire is kindled, and it is lucky if this fire can be kept alive the whole year through. The ceremony is called a clavie. The douro answers by name to teriu (Eg.), the two times, and the complete circumference of the round of the year. Clavie is a form of kherf (Eg.), first, chief; consecrated, to pay homage, the primary form and model figure of a thing, the typical ceremony.
The Plough is a name of the Great Bear constellation. In the Fool-plough performances the characters are seven in number, six males and Bessy, or six males and Cicely, the Fool, Cicely, and the Fool's five sons, the number of stars in the constellation. Cicely is also a form of the Irish sheelah-na-gigh. Lort-Monday is a name of Plough-Monday, on which day the mummers and Morris-dancers used to go round and entertain the people with shows and plays. Lort in Egyptian is rert, to go round, make a circuit. Amongst other characters exhibited, as we gather from an old song of the mummers, was the hobby-horse, a dragon, and a worm or snake. In the hieroglyphics rert is the name of a snake, a sow, and the typhonian water-horse, the hippopotamus. Thus the old typhonian genetrix and goddess of the Great Bear or Plough is identified by five of her types with Lort-Monday, and by the going round. The bear and unicorn were forms in which the mummers were sometimes disguised, and both were types of Sut-Typhon. The fox's skin was worn in the shape of a hood, the fox being a symbol of Sut. The fox (jackal) and bear are Sut-Typhon. The great character in the 'fool plough' is the Bessy, who used to wear the skin of a beast. The bes or basu was a skin worn by the priests in Egypt. The besau was also a sash with ends [p.262] behind, as Bessy wore the calf's tail and the fox's tail. The basu is some kind of beast, as the leopard. Bes in Arabic is the cat or lynx. The cat-headed Pasht was a feminine form of the bessy or beast.
In a Yorkshire representation of the Fool Plough the character of the bessy is taken by a commander-in-chief called Captain Cauf's Tail, who is the orator and dancer, and one of the titles of Ta-urt of the Great Bear is Bosh-Kauf (ape), in which we find the bessy and the cauf are identical, as they were in the mumming. As we read the matter, the Bessy is primarily the goddess of the Great Bear. Bessy's tail denotes the hinder-part; the pes (pest) in Egyptian and English is the back, and the goddess of the Great Bear represented the hinder quarter. The word bes signifies to bear and transfer, pass from one place or shape to another, be proclaimed and exhibited. In the Ritual the sun is said to transform into a cat, that would be, into the Bessy. The meaning is that the sun was reborn of the genetrix represented by the beast, whether as Rert or Pasht, Hathor, the Beast, or Bessy. This may account for the death of Bessy, who is killed by the six youths in white for interfering while they make a figure of 6 with their swords. The hexagon was a figure of the four corners and the upper and lower heaven, possibly connected with the Pleiades as the typical six. Bessy represented the no. 7. At Hollstadt, near Neustadt, a plough-festival is still held in the month of February once in seven years, and the plough is drawn by six maidens corresponding to our six youths in white.
The cat was one of the Druidic types. The 'Paluc Cat' is spoken of, and was thought by Owen to be a tiger. So the basu kind of beast may be cat, tiger, or leopard. Again it is called 'Cath Vraith,' the speckled cat. Taliesin says the spotted cat shall be disturbed, together with her men of a foreign language, i.e., her priests.
The cat was both male and female, Cath Vraith, and Cath Ben Vrith, and the sun-god became female in making his transformation into the cat. The Druidic cat was likewise a symbol of the sun, and Taliesin, who is assimilated to the solar divinity, recognises the suns transformation into the cat type, just as we find it in the obscurest, most remote, and rarest matter of the Ritual. Speaking of one of his transformations in the solar character, he says, 'I have been a cat with a speckled head on a tripod'—'Bum Cath Benfrith ar driphren' (or on something with three branches). The spotted cat denoted the double nature. The Welsh were in possession then of the Two Truths, with all that the fact implies, which has yet to be explicated.
'Ploughing the fields' was one of the things to be done in making the 'working figures of Hades.' In the Ritual we [p.263] also find the 'Festival of ploughing the earth (khebsta) in the land of Suten-Khen,' which answers to Bubastes, the abode of Pasht, the cat-headed, a form of the basu, bessy, beast, or bosh kauf. The men who follow the plough on Plough-Monday are called Plough Jags. Jag is khakh (Eg.), meaning to follow. In Norfolk the ploughman is a plough-jogger.
In many churches a light was set up before an image, and termed the 'Plough Light,' maintained by the husbandmen, old and young, who went about and collected the money on Plough-Monday. The image, no doubt, represented the lady of lights, whose first type was the constellation of the seven stars, from which was derived the typical seven-branched candlestick. That was as Typhon, the old beast, who gave birth to the son as Sut, and who was the Sabean type of the genetrix. She was followed by the cow-headed type of the beast in Isis-Taurt, the lunar genetrix, and lastly by Pasht, the lioness type of the beast, as the solar genetrix. The death of Bessy, while interfering with the hexagon, probably represented her supercession in a later chart of the heavens and the bringing in of the six Pleiades.
A custom was formerly observed at Ludlow on February 3rd. The corporation provided a rope thirty-six yards in length, which was given out at a window of the market-house as the clock struck four. A large number of the inhabitants then divided into two parties—one contending on behalf of Castle Street and Broad Street wards, the other for Old Street and Corve Street wards; both strove to pull the rope beyond the prescribed limits; when this had been done, the contest ceased.
This is a mystery. The measure of thirty-six yards relates the rope to the thirty-six decans of the zodiacal circle, and four o'clock to the four quarters. The game of pulling the rope was the drama of the two lion-gods of the horizon. The equinox was imaged by the scales or balance, and two powers were described as contending for the victory up or down at the level place. We read in the Ritual that the day of contending of the two lion-gods was the 'day of the battle between Horus and Sut, when Sut puts forth the ropes against Horus, and Horus seizes the gemelli of Sut.' It is the battle of north and south, darkness and light, evil and good. The Osirian, using the same imagery in the Ritual exclaims, 'I make the haul of thy rope, O sun. The Apophis is overthrown! Their cords bind the south, north, east, and west. Their cords are on him.' The cords of the four quarters. The same conflict occurs between the lion and the unicorn (the type of Sut), 'a-fighting for a farthing,' or for the circle imaged by that coin. Kherf is a title of the majesty of the sun-god, and one of the streets is named Carve Street, that is, in Egyptian, the street of his majesty the Horus. In support of this, the lion-gods who contend are called the ruti, the [p.264] Twins of the Ru, the horizon. Ludlow also has its rock of the horizon, the place of the ruti, castle-crowned, and, in Welsh, llewod is a name of the lions. The ceremony has the look of being belated from the day of the winter solstice, and of belonging to the division by north and south which preceded that of the east and west.
On Shrove-Tuesday the Highlanders make bannochs called the bannich bruader or dreaming bannochs. These are eaten for the purpose of divination, the eater being supposed to see the beloved one in his sleep. At (Eg.) signifies sleep, image, type. Pru (Eg.) means to see, appear. Pru-at is to see, appear in sleep, and bruader is dreaming.
On Shrove-Tuesday, at Westminster School, a verger of the Abbey in his gown, bearing a silver baton, issues from the college kitchen followed by the cook of the school, in his white apron, jacket, and cap, carrying a pancake. On arriving at the schoolroom door, he announces himself as 'the cook,' and, having entered the schoolroom, he approaches the bar which separates the lower from the upper schoolroom, twirls the pancake in the pan, and tosses it across the bar into the upper schoolroom among the boys, who scramble for the catch, a reward being dependent on securing the cake whole. The hieroglyphic cake is the sign of the horizon, the place of the equinoctial colure, the line of the crossing. The pancake is tossed across the line. The line separates the lower from the upper of the two halves of the solar course in the two heavens. The sun in crossing the colure completes the circle of the year and the symbolical cake must be secured whole. To toss a thing up is to cook it or chuck it up. This is done by the cook. Moreover, the balance or equinox is the khekh (Eg.). Tossing the pancake across the line is also an Irish custom. A fine is imposed if the cake be broken in the process.
The Jack-o'-Lent was a puppet set up to be thrown at for sport. In a ballad called 'Lenten Stuff,' Jack-o'-Lent wears the 'headpiece of a herring.' On Easter Day at Oxford the first dish brought to table was a red-herring depicted as riding away on horseback, set in a corn salad. There used formerly to be held on Shrove-Tuesday, at Norwich, a festivity in which the seasons were represented, and Lent was clothed in white and in herring-skins, and the trappings of his horse were oyster-shells. The fish had been adopted into the Christian iconography, but the symbol is not to be understood there. The Messiah, Son, was born in the Fishes; born of the goddess with a fish on her head (Athor), or a fish's tail (Derketos and Ichton), when the sun was in Pisces at the time of the spring equinox, 27,000 years ago; at least the imagery belongs to that time, not to the sun's entrance into Pisces, 255 BC. When the sun passed forward into the sign [p.265] of the Ram, the fish was done with, as it ceases to be eaten at the end of Lent. It was rejected and made a mockery of; a puppet to throw sticks and stones at, or set on horseback to ride away. It was a fish in April, a fish out of water, a geck, the khekh which in Egyptian had modified into kha, the fish.
In France the April fool is called the April fish. This can be read astronomically. It would still hold good if the custom only dated from 255 BC; but it more probably belongs to the fixed year of the zodiac, in which the spring equinox occurred with the sun in the sign of Pisces. When the sun had left that sign, the fish was the type of the past, the passed-time, synonymous with pastime, and the fish of April was out of date.
In Lancashire, May-eve was at one time celebrated by all kinds of mischief and practical jokes. One of these consisted in exchanging the sign-boards of different tradesmen. They were representing the sun in his exchange of signs. Formerly there existed the following custom at Frodsham and Helsby. The bourne of the two parishes of Frodsham and Durham was a brook, and in walking or beating the parish boundary the 'Men of Frodsham' handed their banner across the brook which divided them from Helsby, in the parish of Durham, to the 'Men of Helsby,' who in their turn passed over the Helsby banner. This also enacted the change of signs by an exchange of banners. Helsby shows the place (by) of the kar or circle completed at the crossing.
The phenomena of the seasons were followed and reflected in this way seriously, religiously, at first, and at last in fun and frolic. This was so in all lands; in none was it more faithfully followed than in ours, and although the Christian re-adapters of the past have obscured much of its imagery as with a coating of lampblack or a whitewash of new names, it could not be obliterated. The Jack-o'-Lent is another symbol connected with the fish.
In the Egyptian mythology the region of the Eight Gods is named Sesennu. The lunar deity Tahuti is lord of this region, which is also called Smen, the Hebrew Shmen, no. 8, and Hermopolis. It was the place of return or facing round for both sun and moon. Sesennu also reads the eight nu or gods. In the zodiac Smen was the locality where the solar son was established in place of the Father, hence the solar and lunar birthplace. The region of the eight great gods was in the sign of the Fishes in An. The fish in Egyptian is the rem.
Now Hasted, in his History of Kent, describes an ancient custom of the fishermen of Folkestone, who used to select eight of the largest and best whitings out of every boat when they came home from that fishery; these eights were sold apart from the rest of each 'take,' and the money was devoted to make a feast on every Christmas [p.266] Eve, called a rumbald; the fish were likewise named Rumbald Whitings. The custom is extinct, but Christmas Eve is still called Rumbald Night. It has been suggested that this usage was in honour of St. Rumbald. Saints in general are modern signposts put up in place of the ancient symbols on purpose to mislead. The Rumbald connects itself with the fish and the number 8. In Egyptian rem-part, the equivalent, means proceeding, emanating from rem, the fish-region of the Ritual, where it is plural as 'rem-rem,' our fishes. The number 8 connects the fishes with Sesennu, the eight gods, and their region of the same name. The institution belongs to the passage of the sun in the Fishes, or out of that sign, at the time of the spring equinox, shifted to Christmas when christened anew. A rum-duke, the name of a grotesque figure, some faded symbol or other, is older than the saint, whilst rum-fustian is a drink made with the yolks of twelve eggs, and therefore zodiacal, but with no rum in it. Bale is a pair; the sun in the Fishes would be rem-baled. 'Rumbalow' belongs to an old refrain, sting no doubt at the Rumbald. There is a broth called Balow or Ballok made from two fish, the eel and pike, i.e., the jack, obviously connected with the sign of Pisces. Ballow is a goal, and the Fishes were the goal of the sun, and rem-ballow would signify the goal attained in the Fishes, the twelfth sign, hence the number of eggs in the rum-fustian. Ballow, the goal, is likewise called 'Barley' in children's games. Ber (Eg.) denotes the goal as the summit. The eight whiting correlate the Rumbald with the region of the eight great gods.
Ash Wednesday begins the penitential season, of Lent, when the devout mourned their sins in dust and ashes. How ancient is the name may be judged from the word ash (Eg.), a cry, plaint, answer, turn, invert, with the sign of a man praying, or invoking heaven. Asha is also applied to a festival.
The rectorial tithes of the parish of Great Witchingham were held (in 1835, by P. Le Neve Foster) under a lease from the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford, and a bond of covenant to provide and distribute to the poor inhabitants two seams of peas, containing in all sixteen bushels. These were distributed on Ash Wednesday amongst all the people, rich and poor, who happened to be in the parish on that day.
In the ancient reckoning one kind of measure ran into another, and each was a part in the total combination. In the present instance, the two seams are equivalent to the half-year or circle, if we consider the measure in time belongs to the equinox as it does, peas and pasch being identical; the peas are typical of the division, and were divided because they divide in opening, and pasch (Eg.) or pekh is the division which divided the year into two halves. The seam is a quarter, and there was an Egyptian goddess of the western quarter named Sem. [p.267] The seam is a quarter of corn, also the quarter of an acre. Two seams are a half of some unknown total, like the quarter of corn, which has no whole in our corn measure. Sem (Eg.) means a total, and here the quarter which is a total in itself is a seam.
The churchwardens of Felstead in Essex were accustomed to distribute, as the gift of Lord Rich, seven barrels of white herrings and three barrels and a half of red, on Ash Wednesday and the six following Sundays, amongst ninety-two poor householders of the parish, in shares of eight white herrings and four red a-piece. The number twelve correlates the twelve herrings with the twelve signs, and the ninety-two with the number of days in the three months, as in March, April, and May. Also the number 91-92 would be the divisor of the year into four quarters. Such a custom belongs to the times when reckonings were enacted like other forms of symbolism, and facts were recorded by means of acts which were a mode of perpetuating remembrance to supply the want of letters.
The Bornouese in Central Africa are tattooed with twenty cuts or lines on each side of the face; these are drawn from the corners of the mouth towards the angles of the lower jaw and cheekbone; six on each arm, six on each leg, four on each breast, and nine on each side above the hips, with one cut in the middle of the forehead. The total number is ninety-one. These groupings also correspond to the one year with its twelve months and four quarters of ninety-one days to the quarter.
A Cororado woman described by Spix and Martius wore a circle on the cheek, and over this were two strokes. Down her arms the figure of a snake was depicted. The serpent signifies renewal, and the two strokes obviously denote reduplication of the circle or the Egyptian two times, and these were true hieroglyphics. The name of tattoo in Egyptian (tattu) means the Eternal. Tattu in An was the place of eternizing or establishing for ever.
The wife of a Beetuan chief was seen by Lichtenstein wearing seventy-two brass rings, the number of demi-decans in the zodiac. What did they symbolize? Why, that she impersonated the whole circle of the heavens, as did the ancient mother who embraced and gave birth to her solar lord, her Ra, or Har. Such customs did not originate in the mere ornamentation of human bodies, but were the means of reckoning, and of registering facts for use. Picture-writing was precious because of its purpose. No amount of suffering was considered too great. The significance had to be branded into the memory. When the boundaries of certain parishes are beaten, and the boys are bumped against the stone, they are told it is to make them remember. These customs contain the earliest acting drama on the world's stage. The players were bringing on to us what they [p.268] knew with no other means of preserving and communicating their knowledge.
The herrings connect the reckoning with the sign of Pisces. When the sun emerged from this sign in the fixed year, it was the place of the spring equinox, the point of issue from the three water-signs. One wonders whether the Lord Rich was one of the rekhi, the knowers, the mages, whose name of rekh means to reckon, keep account of, and to know?
Three Egyptian words will tell us more about the customs of Valentine's Day than all the falsehoods concerning the saint.
It is, says Bourne, a ceremony never omitted among the vulgar to draw lots which they term Valentines on the eve before St. Valentine's Day. The names of a select number of one sex are, with an equal number of the other, put into some vessel, and after that every one draws a name, which, for the present, is called their Valentine. Va (Eg.) or fa means to bear; ren is the name and to name; ten means to determine. Thus the day of Va-len-tine is that of determining whose name shall be borne by each person in this mode of marriage by drawing lots. Valentine's Day is the day of coupling, and the custom points to the time when chance rather than choice was the law. Marriage is still said to be a lottery. The custom of sending caricatures on Valentine's Day is probably based on asserting the freedom of choice, and making a mock of chance.
St. David's Day is observed by the officers and men of the Royal Welsh (23rd) Fusiliers, by the eating of the leek, every man in the regiment wearing a leek in his busby. The officers have a party, and the drum-major, accompanied by the goat, marches round the table carrying a plate of leeks. Each officer or guest who has never eaten one before is bound to mount a chair, and, standing with one foot on the table, eat a leek while the drummer beats a roll behind his chair. Hut, the name of the onion, is not only applied to that type of the sun-god, the goat is also hut or hutu in Egyptian. St. David has now taken the place of Hu, and all the toasts are coupled with his name. But the onion, hut, is the sign of Hu, and the step from chair to table identifies the act with the worship of the ascending sun, the winged disk or tebhut. Tebhut is likewise a name of the table in Egyptian. The goat, designated a hut or hutu, like the onion, is a symbol of Hu. This name of the goat and onion, hutu, signifies one half-circle, and in the solstitial year which commenced with the sun's entrance into the sign of the Crab the ascending half of the year began with the sign of the Goat. It looks as though the name of David were a modernised form of Tebhut or Tevhut, the lord of heaven and giver of life, the great solar type of commencement in a circle.
Simnel or Mothering Sunday is the mid-Sunday in Lent. On this [p.269] day a cake called the simnel cake was eaten. It was the custom for apprentices to visit their parents especially on this day, and the practice was termed going a-Mothering. The simnel cake is also known as the mothering-cake. In the Dictionarius of John de Garlande, compiled at Paris in the thirteenth century, it appears thus: 'Simeneus-placentae-simnels.' In the fifteenth century the form of the word is symnylle. The placentas were signed with the image of the Virgin Mother or of the child. Now sem (Eg.) is a representative sign, and nel (ner) means the mother and the vulture. Sem-nel is the mother-sign. The mother-sign was the Fishes in the Hermean zodiaci. In this sign the mother as the fish-goddess (Athor-Atergatis) brought forth the child. In this sign (in An) was the tree of life from which Athor poured out the waters, holding the cake in her hand, the mother-cake, the placenta-symbol of birth, the simnel cake of our Mothering-Sunday.
Another derivation, however, is the more probable. Smen (Eg.) was the place of establishing the child in the seat of the father. Smen means to prepare, set up, constitute, in the region of the eight gods, where the son was established. The cake was a symbol of this establishing, the type of the land attained by the youthful sun-god. The son or child is the el (ar), and the simnel cakes with the Christ on them would be the sign of the newly-established soil, whence their connection with Mothering-Sunday, and the festival of the young people who went to see their mothers. At Bury, in Lancashire, from time immemorial, thousands of persons from all parts assemble to eat the simnel cake on Simnel Sunday. And this practice of meeting en masse in one town is confined to Bury. The origin of the custom is entirely unknown. Bury is evidently a representative of Para, the sacred name of An (Heliopolis), the birthplace of the solar god, where we find the cake, the mother, and the child.
Pa is written with the open house or the bird with open mouth. And in Bury nearly every shop was formerly kept open on this day in the most unaccountable defiance of the law respecting the closing of shops during religious service on Sunday.
Passion Sunday, the Sunday preceding Palm Sunday, was formerly known as Care or Carle Sunday, as may be seen in some old almanacs. On this day carlings were eaten, carlings being explained as peas boiled on Care Sunday. Careing Fair was held at Newark, 1785, on the Friday before Careing Sunday. it is also called Whirlin Sunday in the Isle of Ely, and cakes were eaten called Whirlin Cakes. Whir and kar are interchangeable. Carling and Whirlin cakes were provided gratis at the public-houses, and rites apparently peculiar and sacred to 'Good Friday' were celebrated on this day, which the Church of Rome called Passion Sunday. Yet it [p.270] was an ancient popular festival in England, having no relation to a mourning. In the old Roman calendar a 'dole of soft beans' is set down for this day. This is the same as the dole of peas boiled soft called Carlings. 'Our Popish ancestors,' says Brand, 'celebrated, as it were by anticipation, the funeral of Our Lord on this Care-Sunday, with many superstitious usages.'
Lloyd, in his Dial of Days, observes that 'on the 12th of March, at Rome, they celebrate the Mysteries of Christ and His Passion with great ceremony and devotion.' They celebrated many mysteries in Rome undreamt of in Protestantism; this of Careing Sunday being one.
What with the beans in Rome and the beans and peas in England, we may call it the Feast of the Lentils.
The festival of the lentils was Egyptian, and consecrated to the elder Horus, the child that died, not the Horus who rose again. Isis, according to Plutarch, either conceived or was delivered of Harpocrates about the winter tropic, he being in the first shootings and sprouts very imperfect and tender; which is the reason, they say, that when the lentils begin to spring up, they offer him the tops for first-fruits.
Plutarch, however, has mixed up the two Horuses. Har-p-Khart was conceived in the month Mesore—in the African Galla language the lentil is named mesera, and masura in Sanskrit—and a sort of pulse was presented to his image in that month; his death occurs about the time of the winter solstice, when Isis made search for him, and the sacred cow was led seven times round about her temple. This was in the seventh month of the sacred year, Phamenoth (Pa-Menat, the month of the wet-nurse). The reason for this, says Plutarch, is because the sun finishes his passage from the winter to the summer tropic in the seventh month. In the Alexandrian year the feast of Phamenoth had receded to February 25, and about this time was the feast of lentils, brought on by Rome, and celebrated on the 12th of March. The tender shoots of the lentils offered to Har-ur are imitated by the peas being steeped until they were soft and tender in making carlings.
Gregory says there is a practice of the Greek Church to set boiled corn before the singers of those holy hymns which were sung in commemoration of the dead, or those which are asleep in Christ, and that this rite denoted the resurrection of the body, and he quotes Paul, 'Thou fool! that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.' The parboiled wheat, the steeped beans and peas, and the tender shoots are all one as types.
The hymns also were identical in their character with that song of Linus heard by Herodotus in various lands sung in memory of the divine victim; the song of the rennu or nursling, the child Horus, who in death was Maneros. The child and seed are identical as sif [p.271] (Eg.), and the first Horus as the seed was buried in the earth, during the typical three or the forty days, when the seed quickened and the transformation took place by which he became the Horus-Khuti of the resurrection. In India it is yet held to be the most propitiatory of all good works to personate the buried seed by entering alive into a vault and remaining there whilst a crop of barley, sown in the soil overhead, springs up, ripens, and is harvested, which takes about the length of the forty days of the Mysteries and of Lent, rich Hindus usually perform the forty days' rite by proxy.
In going 'a-souling' on 'All Souls Day' in Herefordshire, the oat-cake, called soul-mass cake, used to be received with the acknowledgement,
'God have your saul,
Beans and all.'
The oats had superseded the beans, but this type of the seed survived. The lentil takes its name from that of the renn (Eg.), the nursling child and tender shoot.
The feast of the lentils, then, belonged to the elder Horus, he who was born of matter, and was always the elder, the sufferer, and the child, because the type of the dying sun. Har-p-Khart is har the child, the crut, the dwarf or puny weakling, in short, our carling. Carline is a name of a woman that does not bear. The carling is the foundation beam of a ship or the beam on the keel. Har-pKhart corresponds to both. He was the basis, but also typified the infertile sun. The truth is the adapters of the ancient festivals and celebrations to the new theology were hard put to it in adjusting the times of the two Horuses to the one Christ. For the Egyptian messiah was double, as will be demonstrated. And the feast of the lentils was dedicated to the firstborn Horus, whereas the Easter festival was consecrated to the younger, the god who rose again.
This is the one of whom Plutarch observes in continuation of the account of the lentils offered to Harpocrates: 'They also observe the festival of her (Isis) afterbirth, following the vernal equinox.' The afterbirth was the younger Horus, the god of the Easter resurrection. The suffering messiah was represented as passing through a feminine phase, and as weeping tears of blood. This was signified by the wound of Tammus, and the kenah image used by the women of Israel in their lewd and idolatrous mourning for Adonis. Apis was passing through this period during the forty days of Lent when he was visited by the women alone, who stood before his face and raised their clothes to show him their secret parts; they who were forbidden to enter his presence at any other time. The action was [p.272] symbolical of the feminine nature of the mystery of the biune being of whom so much has to be explained.*
* In the worship of the biune being called Venus-Barbatus, 'Videre est in ipsis templis cum publico gemitu, miseranda ludibria et viros muliebria pati, et hanc impuri et impudici corporis labem gloriosa ostentatione detegere.'
The lentils are identified by name with the season of Lent, just as the carlings are with the French name of Lent, caréme. Lent itself is named from the Egyptian renn (len), the nursling child. Lent is the time of the great mystery of the transformation of the child Horus into the young hero of the resurrection. Hence the Mothering Sunday of mid-Lent. The renn, so to say, becomes the renpu. Pu adds the masculine article to renn, and renpu means the young shoot, plant, or branch. The first Horus (the renn) was of a feminine, dwarfish kind of nature, the type of the winter sun. This, in a feminine form, would be the ren-t, our runt, a dwarf. He was a deformed dwarf, hence the child. In his transformation he is the renpu, the renewed and renewing youth.
The branch or shoot of the palm is the renpu, and this, too, is an extant type in our palm branches of Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday follows Car Sunday, and the palm shoot follows the carlings, the tender shoots of the lentils in Egypt, the ideograph of a new cycle of time.
Care Sunday was the ancient Passion Sunday. The passion, which lasts seven days, was the transformation of the god or the soul; 'he is transformed into his soul from his two halves, who are Horus the sustainer of his father and Horus who dwells in the shrine,' as it is written in the Egyptian gospel. The seven days correspond to the cow being led round the temple seven times.
Tahin is the Turkish name of an oily paste still made use of for food by Eastern Christians during Lent: that is, during the time when the eye of Horus was being formed which was called the tahn, and was made of tahn, a substance typical of preservation or salvation. This was in the place of preparation and of reuniting the Osiris from his two halves, the two Horuses. The process of preservation by the tahn is described in the seventeenth chapter of the Ritual as that of being steeped in resin or tahn.
A very ancient form of the genetrix who gave rebirth to the Child-Horus, the runt as the renpu, the fresh shoot of eternal life, was Rennut, and her name is that of the season during which the mothering, the passion, and the transfiguration take place, the Romish Lent.
The day before Good Friday is called Shere Thursday and Maundy Thursday. Shere Thursday is the last day, the day selected for the Last Supper of the Lord, and sher (Eg.) signifies to close, to shut. Sheri also means a rejoicing, and to breathe with joy. Maundy [p.273] interpreted by menti (Eg.) tells the same tale of the ending. Menat means the end, repose, death, or having arrived.
In Northumberland and Yorkshire Shere Thursday was known as Bloody Thursday, and in Egyptian tsher is blood, gore, red blood, bloody, also the name of the red calf or heifer of sacrifice, the lower of the two crowns, and the desert land. The 'red calf in the paintings' is alluded to in the chapter of transforming into a phoenix. In ancient times, we are told, the people clipped their beards and polled their heads, and the priests shaved their crowns, on this day. The hair-symbol is important. The Child-Horus, the carling, wore a single lock of hair, the type of childhood. This was put away on arriving at maturity, when he transformed into the fully pubescent god. As the child, he was the non-pubescent Horus, as the second Horus he became the sher. Share in English denotes the pubes of a man; in Egyptian sher denotes pubescence. Sheru (Eg.) is barley, because it is bearded, and the word signifies the adult, the youth of thirty.
The Child-Horus was the beardless youth, the mere carling with the curl of childhood, either boy or girl. The sun of Easter is the virile, pubescent, full-bearded, no longer the wearer of the Horus lock, but the adult sher, represented as a youth of thirty. Sher has an earlier form in kher, to be due; kher, the word or logos. Passion Week is called Char or Care Week; the Char, as in Egyptian, is a completed course, and on Char-Thursday the circle clasped on Good Friday was completing, and being charred. Khar (Eg.) also signifies the animal destined for the sacrifice; and in England, on Shere-Thursday, the altars were washed (for the new sacrifice). Khar modifies into far, the lord, who was the hairy or full-bearded solar god, represented as being buried for three days in the underworld, and mourned with the same ceremonies as those of our Shere-Thursday, or rather as those of the three days. Thus we have the two types in the kar (shere) and the carling, the one being the diminutive of the other; and as that modifies into mar, we have the two Horuses in their right relationship by nature and by name. This will explain why the Christian ritual traverses the same ground twice over. The Church of Rome continued both Horuses and all their symbols faithfully enough. For example, the time was, as late as the year 1818, when Bloody or Holy Thursday was celebrated by the typical burial of the Christ on that day and in the Sistine Chapel and other churches the Host in a box, i.e., the real flesh and blood of Christ, was laid in the sepulchre the day before the rite of the crucifixion was performed. 'I never could learn,' says the eyewitness, 'why Christ was to be [p.274] buried before He was dead.' They were worshipping the double Horus of Egypt, as will be proved in a later part of this work; and this necessitated the beginning on Thursday, for the fulfilment in three days, as it was in mythology, and as it was in Rome, where the resurrection took place on Saturday.
The mystery of the Child-Horus, who always remained a child, is also the mystery of St. Nicholas and of the boy-bishop. Nicholas is the chosen patron of children, and is himself the child. In the English Festival it is said, 'he was christened Nicholas, a man's name, but he keepeth the name of the child. Thus he lived all his life in virtues with his child's name, and therefore children do him worship before all other saints.' His child's name! the name of the child! and yet a man's name! In Egyptian neka is the typical male, virile power, the bull. Ras (las) is suspended. The suspended virility marks the child, the unvirile, infertile sun, the Child-Horus of Egypt. Nicholas was a survival of the Child-Horus, who was the neka-las in person. In cathedral churches in Spain, when the boy-bishop was elected, there descended from the vaulted roof a cloud that stopped midway and opened, whereupon two angels issued from it with a mitre and placed it on the boy's head. This is a replica of the crowning of the Child-Horusi by the two divine sisters Isis and Nephthys. The Child-Horus is Har-Skhem, lord of the shut-place, the secret shrine. The mouse was one of his emblems. And this character of secrecy and of working in secret is extant in the child's Saint Nicholas.
The writer is forced to confess that every great day of festival and fast and every popular ceremony and rite pressed into the service of the Christian theology were pre-identified in these islands. No true account of many of these has ever been given; of others we have nothing but downright lying, as needs must be in a thorough course of systematized fraudulence and imposture such as was practised by the Romish Church.
The return of Palm Sunday has, from time immemorial, been celebrated in a peculiar manner at Hentland Church, Herefordshire. The churchwardens presented the minister and congregation with a bun or cake, and formerly a cup of beer. This is partaken of within the church, and the act is understood to be one of good-fellowship, implying a desire to forgive and forget all animosities in preparation for the Easter festival. Hent-land suggests an Egyptian name. Hent (Eg.) signifies rites, consecration. Hen is one's neighbour or familiar friend; an equivalent of our 'forgive and forget.' Hen also means to bring tribute, and hent is the priest; here the church is called Hent-land.
A singular custom existed for ages at Caistor Church, Lincolnshire, and Sir Cullen Eardley, in 1836, petitioned the House of Lords for its abolition. The estate of Hundon appears to have been held by the lord of the manor subject to the performance, on Palm Sunday in every year, of the ceremony of cracking a whip in Caistor Church. The whip was taken every Palm Sunday by a man from the manor of Broughton to the parish of Caistor, and while the minister was reading the first lesson, the whip was cracked three times in the church porch. At the commencement of the second lesson the man approached the minister whip in hand, with a purse at the end of it, and kneeling opposite to him, he waved the whip and purse three times, and continued in a determined attitude until the end of the chapter. After the ceremony, the whip was deposited in the pew of the lord of Hundon in Caistor Church. There is no reference to the subject in the title-deeds. The estate was held under the ancient tenure of demesne. These dateless customs have all been Christianized and dated; the present one has been supposed to refer in some way to Peter's repentance and the cock crowing thrice. With this we parallel certain facts derived from Egyptian which may possibly throw some light on the mystery. The whip is a most important hieroglyphic. Hun (Eg.) means to rule and to flog, also territory. Hun then is rule-of-whip. Ten (Eg.) is place, seat, or land. Hunten is the seat or land of whip-rule. Khi is the whip. It is the sign of rule, and means to rule, govern, screen, protect, and cover. Ster is a name of the dead laid out and lying together. Khi-ster then signifies 'Protect, screen, cover the dead laid out together.' From this we may suppose the land of Hundon (the whip-land) was held on condition that the owner protected and gave shelter to the buried dead. Hence Caistor Church was built and named as the latest place of protection for the dead. Ster, the couch of the laid-out dead in the monuments, becomes our Min-ster. Mena (Eg.) is the dead. Mena-ster, the couch of the laid-out dead, is our Minster, cockneys persist in calling Westminster 'Westminister,' and that represents the Mena-ster, the Egyptian couch of the dead. The whip is as good a hieroglyphic in Caistor Church as the ideographic khi, to rule over, screen, cover, and protect.
So interpreted, the tenure of demesne is obviously typical. Temesu (Eg.) is the name for the division, or a division of land, and nu is a divine or sacred type; temes-nu is literally demesne, the Egyptian e having been an earlier u. The oldest tenure of land was typical of service to be rendered to the dead.
At a place named Stoole, near Downpatrick, a ceremony is performed at midnight. Crowds of worshippers assemble to do penance, kneeling and crawling on their knees. The men, without coats or hats, ascend St. Patrick's Mount by steep and rugged paths, on their bare [p.276] knees, many holding their hands at the back of their heads. This they do seven times over. At the top is St. Patrick's Chair, formed of two large flat stones set upright on the hill. There sits an aged man who, while they repeat their prayers, turns them round three times. The penance is concluded by the devotees going to a pile of stones called the altar. The name of the place, 'Stoole,' is identical with the ster (Eg.), a couch or seat, and the other meanings of the word, coupled with the nature of the ceremonies, suggest that this must have been a most ancient form of the ster or burial-place of the dead. The seven times also appear to connect the Mount with the goddess of the seven stars, the Great Bear, who was the first form of the seat, and abode of the living and the dead. According to Polwhele, there used to be on Start Point, in South Devon, the visible remains of a temple that belonged to the goddess Astoreth, and he connects the Start with her name. In Egyptian, ster-t is the participial form of ster, to be laid or stretched out. The Start might be named from the way in which it is stretched out. It is the Start Point, and the ster was the couch of the dead. Start or stert may include the as (chamber, resting-place) of Ta-ur or Ta-urt. These high places were burial-places, and the dead used to be carried long distances to be interred on the headlands, where the stone sanctuaries once stood. Caistor Church had taken the place of the Stoole and the Start.
Although out of date here, it may be mentioned that in Northumberland it was customary on the 24th of June, to dress up stools (the seat) with a cushion of flowers. A layer of earth was placed on a stool, and various flowers were planted in it, tastefully arranged, and so close together as to form a cushion. These were exhibited at the doors of houses and at the crossings of the streets and corners of lanes, where money was solicited from the onlookers for a festival in the evening. The stool was a form of the ster, the seat which represented the genetrix.
In the witches' Sabbath the eyewitnesses tell us how they joined hands and formed a circle standing face outwards, and how, at certain parts of the dance, the buttocks were clashed together in concert, in the worship of the goddess of the hinder quarter; and at one time a ceremony was observed at Birmingham on Easter Monday, called 'clipping the church,' when the first comers placed themselves hand in hand with their backs to the church, and thus gradually formed a chain of sufficient length to embrace the building. In our Easter and Pasch we have the same season doubly derived from Hest and Pasht, two Egyptian goddesses. The term Easter denotes the division (er) of Fest, the British Eseye and Egyptian Isis, who was the earlier [p.277] Ta-urt, whence Hes-ta-urt, Astarte, Ishtar, and Eostre. She was the Sabean-lunar genetrix. Pasht is the later solar goddess, whose types were the cat and lioness. Her name denotes the division of Easter. Both Hest and Pasht, as well as the earlier Typhon, were typified by the seat, the hind-quarter, which became the seat of worship, as the Church, just as Stonehenge had been the seat of Eseye.
The gammon of bacon and leg of pork, which are still eaten at Easter, are typical of the goddess of the hinder thigh, who brought forth the son, whether as the typhonian Khepsh or the lioness Kheft. The pig however identifies Rerit, the sow, the goddess of the North Pole and Great Bear, the oldest form of the genetrix in heaven, whose son was Baal, and whose bringing forth was solstitial, whereas the solar time of birth was equinoctial.
About the end of the sixth century it was discovered that the difference in point of time between the British Pasag, as celebrated by the natives, whether we look on them as Christians or pre-Christians and the Easter ceremonies as observed in Rome, was an entire month. This means that the festival had been kept in the British Isles for 2,155 years previous to the sixth century, and the people were behind solar time to that extent, on account of their not having readjusted the times of the feasts, fairs, and fasts, by which the reckoning was kept.
It was a popular superstition in England that the sun danced on Easter Day. In the middle districts of Ireland, says Brand, the people rise on Easter morning about four o'clock to see the sun dance in honour of the resurrection. He also mentions a mode of making an artificial sun dance on Easter Day in a vessel full of water set out in the open air, in which a reflected sun was seen to dance. This custom was practised by the present writer's mother, who little knew what a good heathen she was! We read in the Ritual, 'I do not dance like thy form, oh sun! borne along in the river of millions and billions of moments.' 'Thou hast lodged dancing,' is said of the sun of the horizon, that is of the level, the sun of the equinox, who was called Har-Makhu. The dancing may be interpreted by the scales or balance (makha), and the nodes of ascent and descent. The sun dancing on Easter Day is at the poise of the equinox. Maka (Eg.) means the dance, and the makha-level was the place of dancing, and khekhing up and down.
'Apheru dandles me,' says the Osirian. Ap-heru is the equal road, that is, the equinoctial level, and dandling is the same as the dancing of the sun on Easter Day; the image being founded on the scales of balance figured as going up and down and dandling the child newborn as an immortal at this the place of rebirth into the higher life.
Two farms in the township of Swinton, belonging to Earl Fitzwilliam, change their parish every year. For one year from Easter Day at twelve noon till the next Easter Day they are in the parish of Mexborough, and then till the Easter Day following, at the same hour, they are in the parish of Wath-upon-Dearne, and so on alternately.
This is the same dancing at the time of the vernal equinox. Mak (Eg.) is mixed; maka, to dance; makha, the balance or level. Mexborough may be named from this, and the alternation marks a boundary line answering to the boundary, in time, of Easter. Buru (Eg.) means the cap, tip, roof, the eye, which was made at this place in the planisphere. Swinton equates with shen-tun (Eg.), the seat, throne, high-place of the circuit (shen) which was clasped at the equinox.
Cole, in his History of Filey, says, on Easter Day the young men seize the shoes of the females, collecting as many as ever they can. On the next day the girls retaliate by getting the men's hats. Both are redeemed afterwards at a meeting held for the purpose. These shoes and hats correspond to the Two Truths of the lower and upper heaven.
Changing of clothes or signboards, and mixing of the sexes is a form of mak-ing from mak (Eg.), to mix, and has the same meaning as the two farms changing their parishes. A form of this mak-ing is made use of by Hamlet in his 'Miching Malecho,' an evil Miching, or double-faced performance. The mak-ing or mix-ing had strange illustrations in the ancient religious festivals, as may be gathered from the Hebrew practice of לבת or לב־לב in מילבד־תב.
One form of the makha and mak-ing is to be found in the sport called hocking.
The meaning of the word hock or hoke in the ceremony of hocking is, according to Chambers' Book of Days, totally unknown, and none of the derivations hitherto proposed deserve consideration. It is an Easter festivity in which the men hock the women on Monday, and the women hock the men on Tuesday; hocking consisting in binding or stopping people with ropes. Tuesday appears to have been the principal day, and on this the women bore the rule. The Egyptian hok, hek, or hak, denotes a time of festival. The hakr is shown by the twin lions to be the equinoctial festival. Hek signifies rule, dominion, and is a form of hooking and holding. In hocking the men rule one day, the women the other, by binding them. But it was an essential part of the ceremony that the men should lift the women up in their arms, and the women in their turn should lift the men. This alternate heaving was the analogue of the dancing sun, and the balance of the equinox, and the change from the lower to the upper hemisphere. It is represented on the monuments by the 'Kabat,' a [p.279] legend of two dancers doing the mill by raising each other up and down. The gavot dance is an extant form of the kabat.
The imagery and place of the equinox can be identified as Egyptian. The cake is an ideograph of the horizon and the cross figured on it of the crossing (¤). The cake then is a symbol of the equinox.
Honey-fairs are celebrated in Cumberland and other parts of the North, with no relation to honey. They are a kind of wake, with dancing and other sports, held a week before Christmas. The honey, or hinny, called a 'singing hinny,' is a cake. The fair marks a repeating period. Han (Eg.) is the cycle. Hani means to turn and return. Hani is the solar bark; hannu, the scales. If the Honey-fair had got belated from the time of the autumn equinox to the week before Christmas, that would calendar the lapse of over five thousand years. The cake, however, as the pancake, belongs to the horizon of Easter. Khekh (Eg.) is the balance, level, equinox. In English the cock is the tongue of the balance, as is the khekh in Egyptian. Making cockledy bread is related to the equinox. Aubrey and Kennett describe the game. 'Young wenches have a wanton sport which they call moulding of cockle bread, by getting upon a table-board and gathering up their knees as high as they can, and then, wobbling to and fro as if they were kneading dough, they say these words:
"My dame is sick and gone to bed,
And I'll go mould my cockle bread,
Up with my heels and down with my head,
And that is the way to mould cockle bread."'
A Westmoreland version reads:
'My grandy's sick, and like to be dead,
And I'll make her some cocklety bread.'
This, however, was not the only way. The present writer, when a child, was received by a group of country girls as one of their own sex, and initiated into the mysteries of their games, which retained relics of the most primitive symbolical customs. Making cockledy bread was one of these. 'Up with my heels and down with my head' shows the reversal or transformation to be found in what we term khekhing. It also denotes the bringing of head and heels to the level or khekh. And that this was the significance is shown by the other practice of lying down flat on the floor and rolling to and fro. Each one of the party did this in turns whilst the rest sat round in a ring. The ring was zodiacal, and the wobbling to and fro was the ascending and descending motion of the balance. They were doing their scales. It was the same thing as the Cabiric custom of doing the mill by two persons raising each other up and down as in a pair of scales, called the Kabat, the same as the Kapat of the Abipones, [p.280] who danced all night first on one foot, then on the other, swinging round a half-circle on each. The Kabat survived in the Easter custom of lifting. The dame or granny who is sick represents the Great Mother as the bringer-forth.
There is an endowment in the parish of Biddenden, Kent, of ancient but unknown date, for making a distribution of cakes to the poor every Easter Day in the afternoon. The source of the benefaction was twenty acres of land in five parcels. The cakes made for the purpose were impressed with two female figures, side by side and close together. An engraving of one of these may be seen in the Every Day Book. It was believed among the country people that the figures were those of two maidens named Preston who had left the endowment, and it was said they were twins born in bodily union and joined together. The gift being on Easter Day tends to identify the cakes with that of Easter, and it may be with the two characters of the motherhood, the two divine sisters, who, as Isis and Nephthys, bring forth the Easter child. At Easter the two houses of the sun were twinned, forming the beth or both. It may also be that Biddenden derives its name from this origin. Pet-ten-ten (Eg.) would denote the region or place of the division of the circle of heaven. Also the Egyptians made a kind of cake called the baat or boths.
At Bury St. Edmund's on Shrove Tuesday, Easter Monday, and the Whitsuntide festivals, twelve old women form two sides for a game at trap and ball, which is kept up with great spirit till sunset. This is the same contention in another form, and still more interesting because doubly feminine. Bury (Eg. bun) means the top, cap, roof, supreme height.
The Egyptian name of the balance would seem to have given the title to Magonia, a mythical region once believed to exist in cloudland. Agobard, Bishop of Lyons in the ninth century, says there were people in his time insensate enough to believe that there was a region called Magonia, whence ships of cloudland came to take on board the fruits which had been beaten down by tempests as the wrecks of earth. The sailors of that upper deep were fabled to be in league with wizards who had power to raise the wrecking storms, the fruit of which was shipped off to Magonia. This ascension and declension of the scales between the two solstices is evidently at the bottom of such a tale of upper and lower as is told by Gervase of Tilbury, who relates that a native of Bristol sailed from that port for Ireland, and his ship was driven out of its course to the remotest parts of the ocean. It chanced one day that he dropped his knife overboard, and it fell through the skylight of his own house at Bristol and stuck in the table in the midst of the family dinner, so directly did it descend [p.281] from where his ship was sailing overhead. This would originate in some astronomical teaching, just as we might say if the knife fell straight through the earth, it would come out at a given point in Australia. It was a mode of describing the antipodal positions of the solstices and the sailing of the sun's bark through the upper signs, in relation to makha or the equinoctial plane and the region of Magonia. Magonia as the place of the scales would, at the time of the autumn equinox, be the landing level during the season of the equinoctial gales and typhonian tempests.
The Egyptian makha, and the Irish maghera (County Down), where the maypole was formerly erected at the crossing; the Moslem mecca, and the Greek makaria, an abode of the Blessed, and the makaron nesoi, or Islands of the Blessed, were each and all based on and named from the makha of Magonia, as the landing-stage of the sun and the souls from the passage of the underworld. Meigh is an Irish name of the balance or scales.
We find the cake also under this name. When Dulaure wrote his work it was the custom at Clermont and Brives in France to make Easter Cakes in the image of the female, and these were popularly known as miches. The mkate in Swahili is a cake, and in English a micher is a cake or peculiar kind of loaf.
The Guising Feast, or Gyst Ale, was commonly held in the spring about the time of Lady Day, when rents were paid and servants were engaged for the year. The gyst is really the hiring or covenanting, and the ale was the periodic festival. Kes (Eg.) is to bind and be bound, to envelop with slight bands, and khes is a sacred rite. The gyst was the binding or covenanting at the most hallowed time of the year still known as Lady Day. The marlocking, or frolic, and rough horse-play of the same season, supposed to illustrate the manuring of the fields with marl, is more probably derived, like gyst from kes, from mer (Eg.), to bind, attach (marry), will, and lekh (rekh), to reckon, know, relationship. The marlock is the periodic merriment and celebration of the newly made covenant or binding; a form of the statute fair.
Amongst other Hocktide customs kept at Hungerford, in Berkshire, is one connected with the Charter of the Commons for holding the rights of fishing, shooting, and pasturage of cattle on the lands and property bequeathed by John O'Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The day is known as Tuth Day. The tything or tuth men proceed to the high constable's house to receive their 'tuth,' poles, which are commonly bedecked with ribbons and flowers. These tuth men visit all the schools and ask a holiday for the children. They call at various houses and demand a toll of the gentlemen. The tithe levied on the ladies is a kiss, and in the streets they distribute oranges all day to the children. The high constable [p.282] is elected at the annual court held on this day, and one of the customs is for the constable's wife to send out a plentiful supply of cheese cakes to the ladies of the place. The tut, or tat, was an Egyptian magistrate; the tut is also a symbolical image, a type, and a ceremony. Tat means to establish and to signify.
The palm with us is the sallow or willow, and this serves for the same symbol as the palm-shoot of Taht or Tekh, on which he marked another year (renpa). It was the custom on Ascension Day for the inhabitants of parishes to perambulate and beat the bounds. At the commencement of the procession willow wands were distributed, especially among the boys; at the end of each wand there was a handful of 'tags,' as they were termed, and these were given away in remembrance of the event, and as honorary rewards for the boys to remember the boundaries. It was a practical mode of tecch-ing or teaching. Tek (Eg.) means to fix and attach. Tekh was the name of the divine teacher who registered the years and cycles on the branch of palm, which was thus represented in England by the slip of sallow. The peeled willow wands were called gads, and the gad is an English measuring rod; thus the wand with the tags was another emblem of tekh, the measurer of earth and heaven and preserver of boundaries.
At Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, the children of the township, bringing green boughs in their hands, assemble each year at the market cross on Rogation Monday. There a procession is formed, headed by the town crier, and usually accompanied by the guardians of the charity lands. They proceed to a number of different stations situated on the boundary of the land belonging to the poor, and at each of these a boy is made to stand on his head with legs extended. A book is held over this figure of the cross or crossing, and a reader recites, in a loud voice, a description of the benefaction, its purpose and extent. The children receive one cake each, and the boy who is inverted and bifurcated receives two. Here, again, is the cake and the crossing with the beating of the ancient boundaries, the double cake corresponding to the Dual Truth.
A festival called Bezant, so ancient that no authentic record of its origin or meaning exists, was formerly held at Shaftesbury or Shaston on the Monday in Rogation week. The borough stands on the brow of a high hill, and, owing to its situation, was, until lately, so deficient in water that the inhabitants were indebted for a supply of this necessary of life to the people of the hamlet of Enmore Green, lying in the valley below. The water was taken from two or three tanks or reservoirs in the village and carried up the steep ascent on the backs of horses and donkeys, and sold from door to door. The Bezant was an acknowledgment of the privilege made on the part of the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses to the lord of the manor of Mitcombe, of which [p.283] Enmore Green forms a part. The Bezant was represented by a kind of trophy consisting of a framework about four feet high. On. this were fastened ribbons, flowers, peacocks' feathers, and it was also hung with coins, medals, and jewels and plate. On the morning of Rogation Monday a lord and lady of the festival were appointed, and these, accompanied by the mayor and aldermen and the mace-bearers carrying the Bezant, went in a procession to Enmore Green. The lord and lady performed, at intervals, a traditional dance to the sound of violins, as they passed along the way. When the steward of the manor met them at the green, the mayor offered for his acceptance, as the representative of the Lord, the Bezant, a raw calf's head, a gallon of ale, and a pair of gloves edged with gold lace. The steward accepted the gifts, but returned the Bezant, and permission was accorded to use the wells for another year. No charter or deed exists among the archives to explain the ceremony. The calf's head is presented as an offering to the steward on account of the water privilege. The calf, in Egyptian, is named behs, and ent (or lit) signifies to be indebted and bounden, to present tribute, or make an offering. Behs-ent is the offering of a calf. The hieroglyphic of the calf's head is the sign of breath. Water is one of two life-principles; breath the other. The calf's head is the typical acknowledgment that they were indebted to the folk of Enmore Green for very life. Only an Egyptologist can know how aptly the two are juxtaposed according to Egyptian symbolism. An (en) means a valley, and mer is a pool, trough, cistern, or reservoir of water. An-mer answers to Enmore. Shau (Eg.) is the high dry place, and this is an abraded shaf; tes is the dense, hard rock. Thus shautes, or shaftes, is the waterless rock. Shaston is apparently Shafteston, corresponding to Shaftsbury. Ton equates with bury, and throws light on it. Ten (Eg.) means the elevated seat, and burui is the cap, height, summit.
At the Beltane celebration of the 1st of May in the Highlands of Scotland it was customary to make oatmeal cakes, upon each of which nine nipple-like nobs were raised, each one being dedicated to a different being supposed to be the preserver of their herds and flocks.
The Egyptian put was the festival of the 9th or nine. Put is the company of nine gods. The Baal-fire belongs properly to the summer solstice, coincident with the beginning of the inundation, when three months overflow and nine dry months made up the year. A cake is the ideograph of land, and the nine nobs, like the nine bubu of Isis the gestator were equivalent to the nine months of dry land.
What is the origin of the belief that there is a peculiar virtue in the dew of the first day of May? It was at one time religiously regarded like the fabled fount of living waters, that made the bather young [p.284] or renewed the beauty for ever. One of the commonest English customs was for people of both sexes to rise early and wash their faces in May-dew to make them beautiful. The present writer was one of a faithful few in his boyhood who performed the ceremony without attaining the supposed result.
Our English dew is probably the Egyptian 'tuau,' some kind of liquid. But if the u be a modified v, 'dev' still represents the Egyptian 'tep,' a drop, the dewdrop, 'tep' seed, 'tef' the divine source; tef to drip. One of the earliest observations enshrined in mythology was that of the condensation of breath into dew. Dew is both breath and spirit. In Toda div is breath, in Zend it is spirit, both meet in the Egyptian tef, seed, source, and this was the first dew, the dew of life, dew of heaven, dew from above. One Egyptian name of this dew of source is mai, the semen; our English May, the seminal month of the year. The may or hawthorn is one of the first trees to blossom as the first fruits of Spring. Our word haw is the Egyptian 'Hau,' signifying first-fruits and rustic or countrified. Thus interpreted the dew of May is an external emblem of the mai of masculine source considered as the fount of life and water of immortality.
This, however, was later, the first water of life was assigned to the female nature, and poured out of the tree by Nupe or shed by the wet-nurse Mena, Maka, or Ma, our May, and by Tefnut.
On May-day in the Isle of Man, there was a Queen of the May elected, likewise a Queen of the Winter. Each was supported by their respective followers who marched and met on a common where they fought a mock battle. It was a celebration of the turning back of winter in presence of summer. There was a procession of summer, sometimes composed of little girls, locally called the Maceboard—an assumed corruption of May-sport! The 'Maceboard' went from door to door with a small piece of green ribbon, asking if the inmates would buy the Queen's favour, the token of triumph over the winter. Now mesh (Eg.) is to turn back or the turning back, pert is the name of winter, and mesh-pert, the equivalent of maceboard means the turning back of winter. Green was the symbol of rebirth. Our May customs, games, rites, and ceremonies belong mainly to the equinox, and this contention of summer and winter equates with the battle of Horus and Sut at the crossing; the proper date would be the 25th of March.
In Hasted's History of Kent, it is related that a singular and most ancient May custom was extant at Twyford in that county, although nothing was known of its origin or meaning. Every year the people elected a 'Deputy to the Dumb Borsholder of Chart,' as it was called. This dumb Borsholder was always first called at the Court-Leet holden for the hundred of Twyford, when the keeper of the [p.285] image for the year held it up to the call, with a neck-cloth or handkerchief run through a ring fixed at the top.
The dumb Borsholder was made of wood, about three feet and half an inch long with iron ring atop, four more at the sides, and a square iron spike at bottom, four and a half inches long to fix it in the ground. It was made use of to break open, without the warrant of any justice, either of a certain fifteen houses in the precinct of Pizeinwell, on suspicion of anything being unlawfully concealed there. The dumb Borsholder claimed liberty over these fifteen houses, every householder of which was formerly obliged to pay the deputy one penny yearly. This Borsholder of Chart and the Court-Leet was discontinued and the Borsholder put in by the Quarter Sessions, for Wateringbury, afterwards claimed over the whole parish.
Chart represents the Egyptian karti, the dual kar or circle which was divided equinoctially at the pool of the Two Truths. The plural chart exists in Kent where we find the two charts called the Great and Little Chart.
The place of the Leet was Twyford, the double crossing, an equinoctial name. At Twyford the river Medway receives two of its affluents, one rising in Kent, the other in Sussex; and here the pool of the Two Truths (in An) is represented by the Pizein Well.
Pi-shin is in Egyptian the circuit, the twin-total of the Two Truths typified by the two waters or by the Pshent Crown and Apron; it is the equivalent of Twy-ford. The mapping out is astronomical and identifiably Egyptian.
At the place of the well of the two waters, was the ball of double justice. And at Twyford was held the Leet. A Leet is a meeting of crossroads, a type of the equinox, and the Leet in the legal sense is the hall of Justice.
Lambard says that which in the West Country was at that time, and yet is, called a Tithing, is in Kent, termed a borow. A borowe (Anglo-Saxon) is a surety, to be a pledge for another; the (Anglo-Saxon) borgh, a pledge. Borwehood is suretyship, and the Ealdor of this Tithing, who is also known as the Borsholder in a Tithing of ten families, was the Borow-Ealdor, Borgh-Ealder, the surety and Pledge-Ealdor, who was responsible for the security of his borh, borge, or borough. The Borowe-Ealdor became the Borsholder and finally the Bosholder.
He was the one who gave pledge and surety as a substitute for the rest. A doctrine of the messiahship is bound up with this suretyship. Horus, in one character, was the pledge and substitute for others. In the chapter of coming forth justified the Osirian says, 'I come forth ... I have crossed the earth at the feet of spirits, a substitute, because I am prepared with millions of charms.' The sun-god, who descended into the Hades or crossed the earth, was represented as the suffering substitute, the one who pledged himself [p.286] or his word for the safety of all. When he went down he promised to rise again, and when he re-ascended he was as good as his word, the word made truth, the justified makheru.
The kart or orbit of the sun was divided into upper and lower heaven, and in the nether kar, the 'bend of the great void' are the fifteen gates of the House of Osiris, through which Horus, as 'Tema' the justicier, has to pass, and issue from the fifteenth gate on the 'day of the festival of the adjustment of the year,' that is, of the spring equinox. These fifteen gates were probably lunisolar, fourteen belonging to the half-circle of the moon, the fifteenth being added in the luni-solar half month of fifteen days. These correspond to the fifteen houses over which the Borsholder claimed lordship and liberty in his half of the kart in the precinct of Pizein Well. Horus Tema was but the deputy of his father, and he breaks his way through the fifteen gates, 'correcting the fugitives,' 'chasing the evil,' and 'slashing the enemies of Osiris,' as the deputy of the Borsholder had the right to break into the fifteen houses without warrant of any justice. The Bors was lifted up in court by a handkerchief or neck-cloth passed through a ring fixed at the top of it. Amongst other identifications of himself with things, Horus, in the fifteenth gate, says, 'I am the strap of the hole (or ring) which comes out of the crown,' evidently to lift it by.
The image called the 'Dumb Borsholder' was the deputy's sign of rule, and probably represents the Tum sceptre, the sign of strength. Every year in the Hundred of Twyford they elected the deputy to the dumb Borsholder. The deputy impersonated the solar son. Every year in the myth the father, as Atum or Osiris, was represented by deputy in the suretyship which became the messiahship of eschatology. This deputy was the son, the neferhept, the Prince of Peace, called in Egyptian the repa, or heir-apparent, the governor for and in the place of the father. Also, in accordance with this are the other facts that one of the titles of Horus is 'Lord of Khent-khatti,' that khent-katti is a designation of the Har Sun, as 'Lord of Kem-Ur, dweller in Katti;' that the 'Stone of Ketti,' one of the three vast labours of the Cymry was erected in Kent, and the Cymry were the first known inhabitants of that county. The custom being equinoctial had, like so many more, got behind with the lapse of time.
So inseparable are the cross and circle that, at Northampton, the ceremony of beating the bounds is termed 'beating the cross.' The crossing and the four quarters are synonymous. The four quarters, in Egyptian, are named Fetu or Fatu. The 'Furry Festival,' celebrated from time immemorial, at Helston, in Cornwall, on the 8th of May, was an equinoctial festival, as shown by the illustrations of crossing. It was held as a general jubilee. People who were found [p.287] working on that day were compelled to leap across the river Cober, or fall into it. The cober answers to the Egyptian khepr, the transformer and god of the crossing where the transformation occurred. We have the mount of transformation of the one water into two rivers in the Irish Kippure; the image of transformation in the Cyfriu, and here the Cober, the river of the crossing, supplies another type of the passage and change of Khepra. At Helston the people danced what was called the Fade dance, claiming the right of crossing and passing wherever they chose, up and down the streets, and through and through the houses. This answers to fetu (Eg.), the four quarters, and it is suggested that that is the meaning of the Fade dance. Fudu, in Zulu Kaffir, denotes a peculiar kind of dancing: a vithi in Sanskrit, is a sort of drama. The festival is called the Furry, supposed to have the same meaning as the fair. The word and its true significance are probably represented by peru (Eg.), to go out, go round, show, appear, see, sight, manifest, explain, with the ideograph of the year. Michael is the patron saint of Helston, and he is the British form of Har-Makhu or Khepra-Tum, the sun of the double horizon, and equinox.
Helston has a tradition which shows the place is named as the stone of Hel, that is Har (Eg.) the solar lord. The stone placed at the mouth of hell is contended for, as was the body of Moses by Michael and Satan, or the advantage in the scales by Har-Makhu and Sut. This marks the annual conflict of the mythos localized at Helston, the Furry festival and Fade dance being held in commemoration of Michael's or Har-Makhu's victory. The 8th of May is 3,000 years behind the correct date.
An old distich says:—
'Shig-shag's gone and past,
You're the biggest fool at last,
When Shig-shag comes again
You'll be the biggest fool then.'
Shig-shagging belongs to the time and motion of the equinox, the khekhing already expounded. It is here coupled with the fool, the gouk, or khekh, but is now applied to Oak-apple day. At Tiverton on 'Shig-shag Day,' the Black God or Black Jack, has been transformed into Cromwell dressed in black with a blackened face, and called 'Master Oliver,' who is made sport of. After him follows a young child, borne on a kind of throne made of green oak-boughs. These now represent, but did not originate with Cromwell and the Second Charles. They are but a survival of imagery readapted to a later purpose, just as the whole masquerade of so-called heathenism has been rechristened and continued. We shall find the young [p.288] child in the tree, as the messianic branch, is one of the oldest types in the world, and in the solar allegory it belongs to the time of the vernal equinox.
Croker chronicles a custom observed in the south of Ireland on the eve of St. John's Day, and some other festivals, of dressing up a broomstick as a figure, which is carried about from cabin to cabin in the twilight, and suddenly thrust in at the door or window to startle the people of the house. The fright caused by this apparition was productive of merriment. The dressed-up figure was called a bredogue. Prut (Eg.) denotes manifestation, appearance, and ukhu or akhu is a spirit, the manes. Prut-ukhu is a spirit-manifestation or apparition of the dead.
The festival of the solstitial division, or ten, is celebrated in the Isle of Man on the 24th of June, which is termed Tynwald day. The ceremony of the Tynwald Hill is described in the Lex Scripta of the Isle, as given for law to Sir John Stanley in 1417. 'This is the constitution of old time, how ye should be governed on the Tynwald day. First you shall come hither in your royal array, as a king ought to do by the prerogatives and royalties of the Isle of Mann, and upon the Hill of Tynwald sitt in a chair covered with a royal cloath and quishions, and your visage to the east, and your sword before you holden with the point upward.' The Barons beneficed men, deemsters, coroners, and commons were to be ranged around the royal seat, according to their degrees. This was on the one side to hear the causes of crime and of complaints, and on the other to hear the government of the land and the royal will annually proclaimed. Wald is an English word, which signifies government. The Tyn we interpret by Egyptian. Ten is the royal seat, cabinet, or throne-room. To ten (ten-t) is to take account, reckon, each and every. The hill was the ten, elevated seat, or throne, said to have been built of earth brought from each of the seventeen parishes of the island, just as to ten (Eg.) means to fill up and complete the total. The ten, with the article suffixed, is the ten-t, the throne, royal chamber, or other room of the king; and to the present time a tent is erected on the top of the Tynwald Hill on the Tynwald Day, and arrangements for the rites are still made according to the ancient custom. The ceremony belongs to a time when the year began with the summer solstice, and the king turning to the east shows his assimilation to the solar god.
The 'Blue Peter' is a flag with a blue ground and white figure in the centre; it is hoisted as the signal when a ship is about to sail. It notifies to the town that any person having a money claim may make it before the vessel starts, and that it is time for all who are about to sail to come on board. Peter is supposed to be a corruption of the French partir. The Blue Peter is a time-signal. [p.289] The present suggestion is that Peter is the petar (Eg.) meaning time, to explain, show, regard, look at. Pru (Eg.) the equivalent of blue, means go forth, come forth, proceed. The petaru, a slip of papyrus, is extant with us as the slip or broadside of the street patterer. Petar-er is Egyptian for announcing by word of mouth. Petar (Eg.) is some form of measuring and reckoning, and has the palm-shoot for determinative, a symbol of time and period. We have a third form of the petar.
At Nun-Monkton, Yorkshire, on the Saturday preceding the 29th of June, called Peter's Day, the villagers at one time mustered together and, headed by musical instruments, went in procession to Maypole Hill, where an old sycamore stands, for the purpose of 'rising Peter,' who lies buried under the tree. The effigy is a rude one carved in wood—no one knows when—and clothed in a ridiculous fashion. This was removed in its box-coffin to the public-house near, and there it lay on view. Then it was thrust into some outhouse and no more thought of till the first Saturday after the feast, when it was taken back to the tree and re-interred with all honour. The ceremony was designated the burying of Peter. In this way the risen Peter presided at his own feast. This also is now claimed as the petar, an image of time, the time being the summer solstice when the sun begins descending to his burial.
A bundle of reeds tied up is an ancient ideograph of tur, a time, and to indicate, and of rut to repeat. Bundles of reeds, rushes, and flags, were tied up and carried in procession at our old country English rush-bearings and wakes. On the Sunday next after the feast of St. Peter the parish church of Farnborough, Kent, is annually strewn with reeds. The day is called by the inhabitants of the village Reed day, and the local tradition affirms that a Mr. Dalton was once saved from drowning by reeds. A mural tablet in the church sets forth that this gentleman left a perpetual annuity of 13s. 4d. chargeable upon his lands at Tuppendence; 10s. to be given to the preacher of a sermon on that day, and 3s. 4d. to the poor. But the tablet does not corroborate the tradition. Now to go no farther back than the canonized Peter, the hieroglyphics enable us to see that Reed Day may have been connected with his escape from drowning, if not with Mr. Dalton's. The bundle of reeds tied up is the symbol of a time and a repetition. With the article p prefixed it is Peter by name, meaning to show, explain, the time. The time is that of the Midsummer solstice, the crown and climax of another year, when the new year in Egypt was announced by the inundation. Rut (the reed) is our word reed, and the reeds are the sign of tur, petur, or putar, to regard, look at, explain, show, the time of repetition, i.e., the solstice. The whole matter may have been connected with the Dalton name. Dal represents tar (Eg.), and ptar the interpreter of time and period, whilst [p.290] ton (tun) means to fill up, terminate, determine, as was done by the reeds. Tr-tun also reads the high time or tide of midsummer.
We also have the petar or betar candle. At the festival of St. Giles, whose day is September first, betar candles were burned in his church at Oxford. These are mentioned in the Proctor's accounts so late as the early half of the sixteenth century. They are called Judas Betars and Betars for Judas' light. This apparently associates them with the lights at the betrayal ascribed to Judas, which would be in keeping with the meaning of petar, a time, to discover, show, explain, reveal. In Egyptian symbolism the candle, ar, was a type of the Eye-of-Horus and is called the Ar-en-Har. The betar was made so as to give forth a strong smell in burning. A form of this candle used in the Coventry Mysteries was made of resin and pitch. Also the eye or candle of Horus was made of tahn or resin. The first Horus, the khart or khar, was the cripple deity, and Giles or Gele, as his name is also spelt, was the patron saint of cripples. He was a cripple himself who refused to be cured of his lameness. His church in Cripplegate, London, still represents the idea. Now it seems to me that the betar or petar candle tends to show, reveal, explain, that it was an extant form of the Ar-en-Har candle, and eye of resin, and that the cripple Gele or Giles was the cripple khar (or khart), who was also the kherp as the first form of the child Horus.
On July 25th, St. James's Day, it is the custom for the rector of Cliff; in Kent, to distribute at his parsonage, annually, a mutton-pie and a loaf, to as many persons as choose to demand them. The amount expended in costs is about £I5 a year. Nothing is known of the origin of the gift. But it happens that the name of the living, Cliff, corresponds to the Egyptian kherf or kherp, which means to supply a sufficiency, an offering of first fruits, the first or model form of a thing. Kherp also means to steer. And this would apply to the first day of the oyster-fishing, as on St. James's Day it is customary in London to begin eating oysters. The Egyptian sacred year opened about this time, the date given being July 20th. With this custom of Cliff we may compare that of the 'Clavie,' in Morayshire, where we find the procession used formerly to visit all the fishing-boats in making the circuit of the boundaries.
The upper crown of Egypt is white, the lower red. When the sun entered the abyss, the white crown, put on at the time of the vernal equinox, no longer applied. One name of the abyss, the deep, is the tes, and at Diss, in Norfolk, it is the custom for the juveniles to keep 'Chalk-back day on the Thursday before the fair day, held on the third Friday in September, by marking each other's dresses behind with white chalk.' At this time the sun, the enlightener or whitener, entered the region called the hinder-part of the circle. The [p.291] upper crown is the hut, of Hu, the white god, and the red is the crown of the lower sun. In the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, whit-sunday was especially observed as a scarlet day. Further, we shall find that Thomas is a representative of Tum, the wearer of the red and white crown, and to him has been assigned the onion of Hu, and one of the old cries of London was 'Buy my rope of onions; white St. Thomas's onions,' the white (hut) Hu being a form of Tum or Tomos. The chalking on the back denoted that the rule of the White God of the White Crown had ended.
The peasantry in the parish of Bishop's Thornton, Yorkshire, object to gathering blackberries after Michaelmas Day, because, as they say, the devil has set his hoof on them. The triumph of Typhon, the Egyptian Satan, began with the autumn equinox, when the sun entered the lower signs, and Osiris was shut up in the ark of the underworld. The black fruit then passed into the possession of the dark power, the Apophis-serpent of evil, who, as Satan, made his trail over the berries. The berries thus rejected are often the ripest and finest, yet the superstition holds its ground against the temptation of selfish gain.
In Suffolk the harvest men have a custom called ten-pounding, the origin of which term is unknown, but it has nothing to do with the number ten. The reapers who work together agree to a set of rules by which they are governed during the time of harvest. When any one breaks them, a mode of punishment is practised called ten-pounding. The culprit is seized and thrown down flat, and stretched out at full length on his back and held down. Then his legs are lifted, and he is pounded on his posteriors. Ten (Eg.) means to extend, spread, and stretch out. This describes the signification of both ten-pounding and tunding.
The Welsh had a symbolical play on Allhallows Eve, in which the youth of both sexes sought for a sprig of ash that was perfectly even-leaved, and the first of either sex that found one cried out 'Cyniver,' and was answered by the first of the other sex that succeeded, and this was an omen that the two were destined to become man and wife. The meaning of the word is unknown. Kab (Eg.) signifies two or double. Nefer means good, beautiful, perfect. Kab-nefer (cyniver) would express the meaning of the cry when the two perfect leaves are found. Nefer (Eg.) also signifies a crown, the youth, puberty, and to bless. Nefer is a divine title, expressive of the highest good and absolutely perfect one. The 'Un-nefer' is the good or perfect being. It may be the word cyniver is an abraded form of ken-nefer. Ken (Eg.) is to accompany, go together. Ken-nefer means that perfect match sought for in even leaves. This cyniver suggests that the name of the beautiful Gweniver is derived from Khen-nefer, the [p.292] beautiful khen, queen, accompanier or mate. Khen (Eg.) is the boat, the ark, the feminine abode of the waters, and Gweniver is the lady of the summit of the water in the triad of Arthur's wives.
The festival of Hallow Eve is observed in the Isle of Man by kindling of fires with all the accompanying ceremonies to prevent the baneful influence of witches. The islanders call the festival Sauin. Sahu (Eg.) means to assemble and perambulate, to set up, charm, drive away the evil, and the island was perambulated at night by young men who stuck up at each door a rhyme in Manx, as the charm against the evil influence.
We learn from Martin that the inhabitants of Lewis worshipped a deity known by the name of Shony. On 'All Souls' Eve' of each year, the people round the island gathered at the church of St. Mulvay, and brought their provisions with them. Each family furnished a peck of malt, which was brewed into ale. One of their number was chosen to wade into the sea up to his waist, to carry a libation to the god. He then cried, with a loud voice: 'Shony, I give you this cup of ale, hoping that you'll be so kind as to send us plenty of sea-ware for enriching our ground the ensuing year,' and then threw the cup of ale into the sea. This act was performed in the night time, and at his return to shore the company assembled in the church, where a candle was kept burning on the altar. They stood silent for a little while, then the light was put out, and they all of them went into the fields and spent the rest of the night in merriment.
Shony presided over the tides that deposited the sea-weed and drift on the land, and shennu (Eg.) is to fish and gather from the waters. Num (nef), the god of the inundation, was likewise the Lord of Shennu. Shony, interpreted by Egyptian, was a deity of the tempest and the tide answering to the Lord of Shennu and the inundation. The sacrifice was offered to Shony on the eve of 'All Souls',' and sheni (Eg.) signifies the crowd, myriads, the million or millions, and also the region beyond the tomb.
A modern writer has advanced the theory that religion began in the worship of dead ancestors. Unquestionably the image of the dead did take its place sooner or later as the object of sacrificial offerings, and in the case of the tenf (Eg.), the ancestor, which is determined by the mummy figure, we cannot dissociate the human ancestor from the wave-offering or tenuph of the Hebrews. Yet, according to the system of thought and theory of things unfolded in mythology and symbolism, and enforced by the imagery of the Egyptian Ritual, the sun as father, he who descended into the grave or the lower heaven every year, and was renewed in the person [p.293] of the son, was the first ancestor whose death had any sacred significance. He is the old man, the Ancient of Days, the past of the two Janus-faces in the images of Time, whose place was on the inner side of the closing door whence issued the radiant youth for universal welcome. And while the tenuph or typical corn was waved to and fro in token of the waving wheat, and in welcome to the sun ascending from the lower signs, it was the wave of welcome and farewell; welcome to Horus and farewell to Osiris, the father, the ancestor, who had passed away in giving birth to the offspring; whether the transformation was imaged by the sun or the grain, it was the dead ancestor who had reproduced himself in the offspring now waved and offered to the manes. This belongs to the genesis of ancestor-worship, according to the data now collected and correlated.
At least it is certain that the solar, lunar, and stellar imagery furnished the types by which the primitive men expressed their feelings and intimated their hopes. The first ancestor of the fifty claimed by Tahtmes III in his ancestral chamber is Ra, the sun-god. Solely on this foundation was the throne of the monarch built and the name of Ra as monarch conferred. Ra was the first ancestor worshipped because the earliest type of the fatherhood. Ancestor-worship applied to the fatherhood could not have existed when men did not know who their fathers were. Long before that time the bones covered with red ochre, and the embalmed body, the mummy, represented the ancestor of the soul in the primitive cult. The mystery of Semsem (Eg.) applied to the re-genesis of souls is based on the solar myth, and this is related to the ceremonial celebration of 'All Souls' Day.'
In the course of our explorations we shall find that 'All Souls' Day' is common to the various mythologies, as the one day of the year on which the ghosts of those who have died during the year assemble together, and prepare to follow the sun through the underworld as their leader into light. In the Mangaian version of the myth, if some solitary laggard fails to join the crowd of 'All Souls' at the time appointed for the annual gathering and exodus, the unhappy ghost must still wait on and wander until the next troop is formed for the following winter, dancing the dance of the starved in a desert place where desolation seems to be enthroned.
On 'All Souls' Day' a solemn service is held for the repose of the dead by the Church of Rome. The 'Passing-Bell' used to be rung on this day, or, as it is sometimes called, the Noaning Bell. Nun (Eg.) means negation, not, is not, without, and in English to noan is to toll the bell. In some counties they say 'the bell noans,' when the knell is rung; it proclaims that the person is not (nun), and the living are bereft (nun), and the bell noans. 'Old Hob' was carried round from All Souls' Day to Christmas; the head of a horse (the grey mare) enveloped in a sheet. The Irish [p.294] kept the festival of Samhan, called Oidche Samhan, when it was believed that all the souls which had passed away during the year were assembled together and called before the god Samhan to be judged, and then passed on to their reward in the abodes of the blessed, or, according to the modern report of the Druidic cult, to be sent back into re-existence on earth to expiate their sins in the flesh.* Samhan and samana, in Sanskrit, mean to bring, unite, and join together. Samana is coming, meeting together, collection, and union. Samyana denotes the carrying out of a dead body. Somen in English, samyn in Scotch, and samen in Low Dutch have the meaning of assembling and joining together. Sem (Eg.) is to combine, join together, unite, go in, a total, the 'All' Souls; sem, to conduct a festival, to traverse and pass. Smen (Eg.) signifies to determine, constitute, make durable, fix, and establish. The smen were the primordial eight gods, the ogdoad of mythology, founded on the seven stars of the Great Bear (our Old Hob) and the Dog-star, the 'Children of Inertness,' the 'Betch-party' in Am-Smen who ruled before the firmament of Ra was uplifted. In the solar mythos the son was annually established in place of the father in smen, the place of preparation of 'All Souls,' and their regeneration in the mystery of Sem-sem followed, and was founded on that of the sun and earlier stars.
* It is doubtful whether the doctrine of transmigration and reincarnation of souls is not a Hindu and Greek misinterpretation of the Egyptian doctrine of transformation, and a misrendering of the typology. In the Egyptian eschatology of the Two Truths of flesh and soul, blood and breath, the sen-sen still dominated in their expression, and if the first soul, the mummy, that represented the flesh body of earth, did not transform into the second or pure spirit, was not regenerated, it was resolved in the place of dissolution just as if the flesh were resolved again into blood, and the blood formed the Red Sea, the Pool of Pant or primordial matter. Now, in their 'Abred' the Druids possessed this same region of source and dissolution. This subject will be pursued in a chapter on the ka image and the mummy type.
'The Osiris lives after he dies like the sun daily, for as the sun died and was born yesterday, so the Osiris is born,' or the soul is reborn. In the same way the annual sun was the type of the soul in the gathering of 'All Souls,' that assembled on the day appointed to pass from earth to heaven along the shining track. To recur for a moment to the mummy type of transformation, the shabti or double shape, it can be shown that this figure also represented the risen Christ of mythology.
The Christ is said to mean the anointed, but it cannot be that grease is the root-meaning of so mystical a name. It is so, however, for all that has hitherto been expounded. Chriso, chrisei, christes, chriesthai denote an anointing with oil or unguents, and the Christ in this sense is literally the greased. Various languages show the same result. But the root which yields grease supplies kr worn down in Egyptian to ur for oil, and to anoint. Ir, in Welsh, is oily, unctuous matter; ira, Cornish, to anoint; uro, Fijian, fat, grease; [p.295] ewiri, Oloma, palm-oil; horu, Maori, red ochre; korae, Maori, to anoint with red ochre and oil; guhr, English, a kind of ochre; ochra, Greek, coloured earth; geru, Hindi, a kind of red ochre; ichira, Manyak, oil; gira, Kra, palm-oil; kira, Basa, palm-oil; ekuro, Ako, palm-oil; ukara, Bela, palm-oil; gelr, Gaelic, to anoint with grease; chrio or chriso, Greek, to rub over with colour; chresthai (Greek), to rub over with colouring matter; christes or christou, one who colours, smears, or bedaubs.
Anointing the living with oil was a mode of consecrating, but the dead were consecrated first, and red ochre was one of the earliest substances employed, as in the Maori custom of preserving the bones of the dead, which were exhumed periodically, scraped, and re-anointed or rather re-clothed with horu, or red ochre. So the Hurons celebrated their feast of 'All Souls' once every ten years, when the dead were taken out of their graves, no matter in what condition of corruption, cleansed from worms,* and carried once more to their homes. They were collected from near and far for the ceremony, and then were all laid in the earth together.
* Rabbi Isaac declares that a worm in a dead body is as painful as a needle in a living one.
The human bones in the British mounds of Caithness were found to have been coated over with red earth. This, which was practised by other races, was the earliest mode of embalming and anointing the dead, who were karast in their covering of ochre; the red earth, being an image of the flesh, preserved a kind of likeness to life. These were the men of the later Palaeolithic age, who had rudely begun the art of embalming the dead, which culminated in the production of the Egyptian mummy, as the karast, in the karas. Karas denotes the burial and embalmment, and the corse embalmed (anointed) becomes the karast. Karas is equivalent to the English corse for the dead body; Gaelic and Irish cras, the body; Greek chros, the body.
The karas as the place of the mummy embalmed is extant in the Irish creas, a shrine; croisee, French, transept of a church; the crouste (French Rom.), Arabic kursiy; Turkish kyursi for the pulpit; Irish creas and cres (French Rom.), for a grave.
The kar-as is the sepulchre as resting-place below. And because the circle and cross, as in the ankh, were typical of life, the karas and ancient graves were often cruciform, and the dead were laid there with their arms crossed, hence the identity of the karas and the cross; also of the karast and the crossed with the Christ, in the sense of the crucified.
The mummy image is the reduplicated shape, as the shabti, the alter ego, other self, or literally the double of the dead. It was a type of transformation, and as such stood up in the karas as the re-arisen image of the corse that lay below. It was the risen karast. [p.296] Chrestos is a Greek term applied to the sacrificial victims, denoting them to be auspicious, and signifying good luck. This was the chrestos or karast, the Maneros of the Egyptians, the divine victim who, 'in the likeness of a dead man,' was carried round at the festival, not, says Plutarch, to commemorate the disaster of Osiris, but by way of wishing that things might prove fortunate and auspicious.
In the African Pepel language kristo means an idol or divine image, and in this the worshippers had their Christ independently of the Greek or of Christianity. It represented the primitive type of the mummy or mamit, as did the figure of the deceased in Egypt or Assyria, the one that was embalmed and anointed as the krast, the Egyptian original for the name of Christ. But, to return.
On St. Leonard's Day each tenant of the manor of Writtel paid to the lord for every pig under a year old a halfpenny, for every yearling pig one penny, and for every hog above a year old two pence, for the privilege of pawnage in the lord of Writtel's woods. The ament was called avage, or avisage. Aph, in Egyptian, is the hog or boar, and aph-age would be boarage. Also, sekh is to remember, remind, memorize, and sak, to bind, direct, order, execute. So read, Aphisak is the tenure of pawnage in the woods. As many of these payments show that the tenure was religious, the name of Writtel may denote an ancient religious house or lands.
A belated equinoctial custom is apparent in the hundred of Knightlow, where a certain rent is due to the lord called Wroth (or Warth) money, or the Swarff Penny, payable on Martinmas Day in the morning, at Knightlow Cross before sunrise. The person paying it has to 'go thrice about the Cross and say "The warth money," and then lay it in the hole of the said Cross before good witness'; the forfeiture for non-payment in the prescribed manner being 30s. and a white bull. The cross is a certain sign of the equinox.
Wrath is the name of a pillar, a prop, ergo the cross, as the Hindustani urut is a cross-beam, the Irish uired, a pillar, column, or stone cross. The Egyptian ruti are cross-shaped, as gates, and the horizon, or crossing, is also the ruti. The same word rut means to engrave in stone, figure, retain the form, the earliest writing, and it passes into the name of writing. But this custom of payment at the Wrath or Cross must have been a survival from the Stone age, when there were no written documents. The cross is a sign of the kart (Eg.), the orbit, or circuit of the two heavens, and wrath is equivalent to kart. The payment was made at the cross because the course was completed, and cross and course are synonymous. Also the stone cross served the same purpose as the making of the cross for a signature of covenant. The 'swarff [p.297] penny' probably denotes the kherf penny (Eg.), an offering of first-fruits by which homage was paid, now represented by the glebe. The Scottish wrath for food and provender tends to identify the offering as the provision penny.
The four cross-quarter days of Whitsuntide, Lammas, Martinmas, and Candlemas are doubtless the most ancient quarter-days, or gules, as witnessed by the rents still paid on them, especially in Scotland; and as these were markings of the solstices and equinoxes, they are now some 3,000 years behind time. Lammas, for example, preserves the Egyptian rem, or measure of extent. The determinative of rem is the arm as type of the extent; and the charter for Exeter Lammas Fair is perpetuated by the sign of an enormous glove, which is stuffed and carried through the city on a long pole decorated with flowers and ribbons. It is then placed on the top of the Guildhall as a token that the fair has begun, and when the glove is taken down the fair terminates. The glove takes the place of the hand or arm, the sign of rem (lim-it), the measure, and the hieroglyphic is the same whether on the top of the Exeter Guildhall or the Tower of Anu, or in the caves of Australia. One form of the rem (Eg.), measure, is a span, that is, a hand, used as we measure by the foot. The human body supplied the first hieroglyphics, and these were afterwards supplemented by the productions of man. So the glove follows the arm and hand. It was customary, at one time, to give glove-silver to servants on Lammas Day, but this was not the only limit in time thus marked. Gloves were likewise given on New Year's Day, as well as glove money. The word glove still retains the value of kherf (Eg.), a first form, a model figure, a primal offering.
Tander and Tandrew are Northamptonshire names given to St. Andrew, supposed to be corruptions of the Christian name. St. Andrew's or Tander's Day used to be kept with ancient rites and ceremonies, amongst which was the exchange of clothes, the men being attired as women, the women habited as men. The day has receded to November 30, but the change of raiment identifies the custom as belonging to the equinoctial crossing. The type of the 'Saint' Andrew is the cross. An (Eg.) means to repeat, to renew the cycle, and is the name of the crossing where the cycle was renewed. Teriu (Eg.) is the two times, the circumference. Andrew, like so many more saints, is an impostor, a personification of the cross, which has been assigned to him as his symbol. Hence it comes that the Maltese Cross, called by the name of 'Saint' Andrew, is found to be the ideograph of the old god Anu of Assyria; and neither he nor his emblem, nor the Egyptian two times (teriu), represented by the cross, could be derived from the Christian Andrew. The singed and blackened sheep's head that used to be borne in procession before [p.298] the Scots in London on St. Andrew's Day was probably the antithesis to the ram of the spring equinox, just as the black bird of autumn is opposed to the bird of light. Tander's Day regulates the commencement of the ecclesiastical year. The nearest Sunday to it, whether before or after, constitutes the first Sunday in Advent, and Tander's Day is sometimes the first, sometimes the last festival in the Christian year. This, again, relates the day to the equinox, and keeps up the dance of the crossing, but at the beginning of the lunar year, still kept and correctly adjusted by the Jews about the time of the autumn equinox.
Shau, in Egyptian, is the English sow. The word sha also denotes all forms and kinds of commencement, beginnings, and becomings. Now the people in the parish of Sandwick, in Orkney, kept what they termed Sow-day on the 17th of December, upon which day every family that had a herd of swine killed a sow. The Egyptians, according to Herodotus, held the swine to be impure, but they had their sow-day. One day in the year (at the full moon) they sacrificed swine to the moon and Osiris. He knew why they did it, but thought it becoming not to disclose the reason. The sow was a type of Typhon, and the time of Typhon began at the autumn equinox. Anent this time we learn that from 'Michaelmes to Yule was the time of the slaughter of Nairts.'
It appears to me that the nairt here slain in the typhonian time was an infertile animal named from its not breeding. Narutf (Eg.), the variant of anrutf, is the barren, sterile, infertile region in the Ritual. Neart also is an English name of night. Nai-rut (Eg.) denotes the negation of the race, or non-fertility. Sow-day was so ancient that there was no tradition concerning its origin, and if the 17th of December represented by the natural lapse of time that 17th of Athyr (September in the sacred year) on which Typhon shut up Osiris in the ark, the custom was, indeed, most ancient.
The tinners of the district of Blackmore, Cornwall, celebrate 'Picrous Day,' the second Thursday before Christmas Day. It is said to be the feast of the discovery of tin by a man named Picrous. There is a merry-making, and the owner of the tin stream contributes a shilling a man towards it.
Tin in Egyptian is tahn, which is also the eye of Horus, and the halfway of heaven, that is, the equinoctial division where the eye constellation is found. The division is peka (Eg.), our Pasch or Easter. Res (Eg.), to raise up, is also determined by the same sign, the half-raised heaven. Pekh-res (Eg.) is the halfway heaven [p.299] of the equinoctial division. As before said, many of the equinoctial festivals were transferred to the time of the solstice, as the initial point of the uprising.
St. Thomas's Day is observed in some places by a custom called 'Going a Gooding.' The poor people go round the parish and collect money from the chief people for the keeping of Christmas. Formerly a sprig of holly or mistletoe was presented to those who bestowed alms. Going round, peregrinating, is the essential meaning of gooding. The good-time is the periodic festival. Khut (Eg.) signifies to go round, travel circularly, make the orbit, circuit, circle, cycle.
Har-Khuti, god of both horizons, is the deity of going round, the good or khut god. The devil has the character of the goer round, and he is called the good man. The fairies go in circles, and they are the 'good folk.' Going gooding is the same as going gadding round about. Khut is to shut and seal, to catch and keep hold. And in the customs of Valentine's Day, catching and clasping of the person is a salute equivalent to the salutation 'Good Morrow.' The going round from house to house to sing the 'Good Morrow, Valentine,' is identical with the going a-gooding. One form of Har-Khuti, the god of going round, is Tum, whom the Greeks called Tomos. Gooding is based on going round, making the circle as a symbol of a completed cycle of time. In this sense the last Sunday in Lent is designated 'Good-pas Day;' the six Sundays being called Tid, Mid, and Misera, Carling, Palm, and Good-pas day. Khut-pesh (Eg.) is the extent of the circle-making. The khut as place was the horizon of the resurrection. And the 'Good' Friday is the Khut Friday. Nor is the hieroglyphic missing.
The khut-ring is a seal and sign of reproduction, restoration, and resurrection, and the kings of England, according to Hospinian, had a custom of hallowing rings with great ceremony on Good Friday to be worn as an antidote to sickness.
The greater number of popular customs and festivals belong to the vernal equinox, although some of these have been shifted to the winter solstice to celebrate the later new year, and others have got belated through not being readjusted in the course of time.
Train, in his History of the Isle of Man, relates that the Christmas waits go round from house to house at midnight for two or three weeks before Christmas. On their way they stop at particular houses to wish the inmates 'Good morning.' The fiddlers play a piece called Andisop. Anti (Eg.) is to go to and fro. Sop (or sep) is a time, a turn, as is midnight and the turn of the year, the solstice. But the true time of to and fro was equinoctial. The dancing, mocking, and mixing were all connected with the vernal equinox and the sun's ascent from the underworld.
Formerly it was a custom in Somersetshire for the youth of both [p.300] sexes to assemble beneath the thorn-tree at midnight on Christmas Eve or on old Christmas Day, and listen for the bursting of the buds into flower. It was said by one village girl that 'as they came out, you could hear 'um haffer.'
The word haffer has been given by Halliwell and others as meaning to crackle, patter, make repeated loud noises. But it is more likely a derivative from hfa (Eg.), to crawl like the snake or caterpillar. Thus hearing them haffer would be to hear their stealthy movement in opening, their heaving. A form of the word hâu (hfau) means first-fruits, and yields our name of the haw or thorn-tree. The ceremony had doubtless been put back to Christmas.
In the Scilly Isles the young people had a pastime on Christmas Day called Goose-dancing, in which the sexes changed clothes with and wooed one another; vying with each other in politeness and gallantry.
In Egyptian kes is to dance, also to bend and sue, entreat pronely, abjectly. Khes is a religious rite, and means to reverse, turn back, and is connected with the turning back of the sun from the lower solstice.
Not long ago the festivities of Christmas commenced at Ramsgate, Kent, with a strange procession, in front of which was carried the head of a dead horse, affixed to a pole four feet long; a string was attached to the lower jaw and pulled frequently, so that the head kept snapping with a loud noise. The people who accompanied the horse's head were grotesquely habited, and carried hand-bells; the procession went from house to house with the bells ringing and the jaws snapping, and this was called going a-hodening.
Our word head is the Egyptian hut, head and height. Hutr (Eg.) is the going horse. The winged hut was a symbol of the sun, and the horse was also adopted as a type of the swift goer. Hutu (Eg.) means one-half or halfway round the circle. One huti image is the demoniacal head on a staff, the ideograph of throat and swallowing. The action of the horse-jaws suggests that of swallowing. Huter is a ring, and they made the ring in going round a-hodening. The hut (Eg.) is the good demon. And the horse-head was typical of the hut and of the horse constellation, Pegasus, which the sun at one time entered at the turn of the winter solstice some five thousand years ago. Uttara-Bhadrapada is the twenty-seventh lunar mansion in the Hindu asterisms, partly in Pegasus. This was the point at which the sun began to mount, hence the winged horse.
The horse-head was the hut (hutr), the good demon threatening and terrifying and overcoming the powers of darkness. The horse was a substitute for the ass of Sut-Typhon, which was condemned at a very early period in Egypt, so early as to be almost absent from the monuments except as the symbol of Typhon. If for a moment we [p.301] restore the ass, then this 'hodening,' with the horse's head and snapping jaws is the exact replica of the jawbone of the ass with which the Jewish solar hero slew the Philistines. The Hebrew mythology made use of the ass instead of the horse; the ass on which the Shiloh rode, the Shiloh being the young hero, the avenger of his father; in the Hebrew myth Shem-son. The singing of carols at Christmas is still called hodening.
It is not known why our ancestors chose the 26th of December, called St. Stephen's Day, for bleeding their horses, but people of all ranks did so. Aubrey says, 'On St. Stephen's Day, the farrier came constantly and blooded our cart-horses.' Tusser refers to the same custom. The Pope's stud were also bled and physicked on this day. Now in Egyptian stefu means to sacrifice, to purge, purify, and refine; this includes bleeding and physicking. Stefu is also a name of the inundation, which in the mystical aspect was the periodic flow of blood. The blood-letting was probably a comminated form of sacrifice, hence we find it is called 'sacrificing.'
The game of 'Snap-dragon,' played by children at Christmas, belongs to the solar allegory. Raisins are snatched out of the blue flame of burning spirits or from the keeping of the dragon. The word snap is the same as snhap (Eg.), to take hastily, but snab (Eg.), fire, sparks, to burn, is the more appropriate, and it renders snap-dragon as the fiery dragon. Snab (Eg.) also signifies configuration, and snab, to retreat and flee, expresses one part of the performance.
The yule log in Cornwall is called a mock; in English the mock is a stump or root of a tree. This is the old stock of the symbolical tree of the old year, which was renewed from the branch annually. Log or rek (Eg.) is time, reckoning, rule. Mak (Eg.) is to regulate, and the Christmas Eve was regulated and reckoned by the log, in this instance by burning it. But the mock is more than the stump or root of a tree. It is the name of the wake or watch; the children being allowed to sit up to watch the log a-burning and drink to the mock, and keep up 'Mag's diversion.' Makh (Eg.) means to watch, think, consider, and this was the watching. Also the name shows that the festival was removed from the equinox to the time of the solstice, as the makha (Eg.) is the balance, scales, the emblem of the equinox. The Christmas tree will be especially treated in the 'Typology of the Tree,' but it may be necessary to say a word here in season.
A writer in the Revue Celtique, David Fitzgerald, has lately argued that the tree Baal, and not the divinity, is the origin of the name of 'Beltane' for May. He says: 'The theory that the first element is the name of an old solar or fire god has many adherents yet, not by any means confined to the class of the superficial and half educated. The following, however, would seem to be the true explanation. First, the northern antiquaries seem to have been quite accurate in [p.302] seeing a representative of the world-tree in the may-tree, or may-pole, and the Christmas tree. The usage yet survives in Galway, Donegal, Westmeath, and elsewhere of planting a may-tree or may-bush (CrannBealtain, Das-Beltain) on the dunghill or before the farmhouse door, and eventually throwing it into the bonefire. The name of the festival, Lá Beltene, was the same as Lá Bile-tenidh (or Bele-tenidh), Day of the Fire-Tree, and came from the bonefire and may-tree usage.'
Philology by itself can settle nothing from lack of the ideographic determinatives, hence the eternal wrangle over words when divorced from things. Baal may denote the god or the tree, the star (Sothis) or the pyramid, or several other variants.
La Beltene, to begin with, is the day of the Baal-fire, and lá (rá) is the Egyptian name for day. The tree is earlier than the sun-god, who was born anew at the time of the vernal equinox, and Beltane applied to May is but a belated equinox. The log of the old year is now burned at Christmas, when the birth of the branch, shoot, or divine Child is celebrated. This festival belongs to the end and re-beginning of the equinoctial year, the 25th of March. The god then reborn was the solar son, the new branch of the old tree. But there was a still earlier solstitial beginning and ending of the year determined in Egypt by the heliacal rising of Sothis the Sabean Bar, or Baal, who was born as the Child of the Mother, one of whose types, we shall find, was the tree. This time corresponded to our midsummer.
The boundary of each Cornish tin mine used to be marked by a tall pole with a bush at the top of it, and on Midsummer's Eve these were crowned with flowers. The tree of the year and the boundary had typically blossomed anew at the time of the summer solstice. And at Whiteborough, a large tumulus with a fosse round it, near Launceston there was formerly a bonfire on Midsummer Eve, with a large pole in the centre surmounted by a bush, round which the fuel was piled up for burning.
The tree as Bar, Baal, Bole, or Fur, is a symbol of the god Baal which can be bottomed in Egypt only, where the imagery is yet extant.
The tree was a type of Baal before pyramids were built, and there the pyramid had superseded the tree, as the symbol of Baal or Bar, that is, Sut, Sebt, or Sothis. Bet, the supreme height, the roof, determined by the pyramid, and star, is identical with Bel or bole for the tree, and the tree as Baal is a type of the god Baal whose other type is the pyramid. In proof of this the tree-type still interchanges with the pyramid for the Christmas symbol. In Germany the pyramid is a form of the Christmas tree, and in England small pyramids made of gilt evergreens used to be carried about in Hertfordshire at Christmas time.
In the neighbourhood of Ross, Herefordshire, it is customary for the peasantry to carry about a small pyramid on New Year's Day built up of fruit and leaves, which takes the place of the tree.
The pyramid is an ideograph of ta, to give, and the pyramidal tree is loaded with gifts for the children. The fir-tree is pyramidal, named from the same root, and chosen for its shape as a Christmas tree, or a fire-tree.
This permutation of tree and pyramid shows we have both types of Baal. The fir-tree adds another application of the name, and it agrees with afr (Eg), the name of fire. The fire-tree adds another type of Baal, the fire-god, who has at least three names signifying fire, the fire of the Dog-star. The Baal-fire then, it is repeated, belongs to midsummer and the rising of Sothis, visible as the Dog in the tree, and the emblems imply the cult to which they belong in whatsoever land they may be found. The log now burned at Christmas was represented by the tree, or fire-wheel, or besom once burned at midsummer, not because the sun was then about to descend in the circle of the year, but because the star had risen that opened the new year; the fire in heaven was once more rekindled, the time and tide of plenty had come again, another branch had sprouted on the eternal tree, and the merry-makers wore the young green leaves, and burned old brooms, and relighted the sacred annual fire, the Need-fire, as it was called, which can be interpreted by the Egyptian nat, to compel or force, as in the Old German not-feur; nat, to salute, address, exhort, bow, incline, hail, help, and save. Nat is also a name of the heifer-goddess Isis, and in the year 1769 a heifer, the type of Nat (Neith), was sacrificed in the Need-fire kindled at that time in the Island of Mull. This was the offering and tribute likewise called nat (Eg.).
For years it was a subject of wonder to me why Egyptian offered no explanation of the name of fire found as tan, in Welsh; teine, Irish; teine, Gaelic; teen, or thun, Chinese; danu, in Hindustani; tena, Soso; teene, Salum, firewood; teine, Irish, a fire-brand; tine, Cornish, to light a fire; tine, English, to kindle a fire; and tindling, for firewood. Each of these is a worn down form of a word represented by the Welsh tewyn, in which the w stands for a k, and the full word is found in the Persian tigin for fire. In Egyptian the root akh means fire, and in the African languages, akan, Bode; ikan, Anan; agun, Udom; ogon, Akurakura; ugoni, Rungo; ekang, Haraba, denote fire; and ukuni, in Swahili; ikuni, Matalan; ekuni, Meto; oguno, Egba; tegena, Soso; iginio, Aku; ekuan, Afridu, are the names of firewood. Akh is an abraded kakh, as in chechi (Swahili), a spark; koka (ibid.), to set on fire; chik (Uraon), fire; kagh (Persian), fire; and t'jih or t'kih (Bushman), fire, the t being a click. With this click, or the [p.304] Egyptian article prefixed to the akh, fire, we obtain tek, a spark, to spark, and sparkle. Kar-tek is a title of the goddess of the Great Bear and mother of Baal, meaning the spark-holder. Now, the Baal-fire, the Need-fire, was always sacredly reproduced from the spark in the annual ceremony, and tek-en means the fire at the spark. The word tekhen is extant in Egyptian for winking with the eyes—that also sparkle. Teken accounts for the Persian tigin, and Welsh tewyn, on the way to teine, tine, tin, or tan, for the fire of Baal which was kindled from and was representative of fire as the divine spark. The dawn of the Druids and Barddas was the divine spark of inspiration, the fire from heaven, and tane in Japanese is the creative fire, ferment, cause, origin.
It was a custom formerly and not many years since in Leeds and the neighbourhood for children to go on Christmas Day from door to door, singing and carrying a 'Wesley-bob.' This was made of holly and evergreens, formed like a bower, with a couple of dolls placed inside, adorned with ribbons. The Wesley-Bob was kept veiled or covered until they came to a house-door, when the two dolls in their leafy niche were exhibited during the singing of a ditty.
At Huddersfield the children carry what is there termed a 'Wessel-Bob,' consisting of a large bunch of evergreens, hung with fruit, and decked with coloured ribbons. They sing a carol of 'Wassailing.'
'Here we come a wassailing
Among the leaves so green.'
Wassail is said to mean wish-health or wholeness. The 'Bob' in the Wesley-Bob answers to beb (Eg.), a niche, to go round, circulate. Beb-t (Eg.) is a branch, and a place. Ba means wood, leaves, and b, a place. The bab or bub, is a place or niche made of green leaves, carried round.
But the form Wes-ley may denote another origin than wassailing. Uash (Eg.) is to invoke, call; English, wish. Lui (rui) is the door. The Wesley-bob is carried from door to door, and the good wishes are there expressed. At Aberford, near Leeds, the two dolls were borne about in the same way, but the bob was called the Wesley-box. Box is the bekh (Eg.), the birthplace. It was a name of the solar birthplace in which the genetrix brought forth the child. The two dolls, no doubt, represented the mother and the child brought forth at Christmas instead of at the equinox. Elsewhere the Wesleybob appears as the 'vessel' called the 'vessel-cup,' which merely reduplicates the name. When the vessel or box is uncovered, the carol of the 'Seven Joys of the Virgin' is sung. The cup, vessel, bekh, and beb, each typified the womb of the genetrix.
The Christmas-box and Boxing-day are supposed to be named [p.305] from the begging boxes in which gifts were deposited on Stephen's Day. Boxing-day is begging-day. In Bedfordshire there formerly existed a custom of the poor begging the broken victuals of the rich the day after Christmas. It is still the day on which the annual begging is done on a national scale.
In Egyptian beka means to pray, solicit—that is, beg. Bak is a name of the servant, the labourer, the menial. Boxing-day is the servant's day. The x represents an earlier k, and bek-ing is identical with begging. Back, to bow, is a cognate of the same group answering to beka (Eg.), to pray. The boxes used by the Romans for receiving the contributions at rural festivals were called Paganalia, the box being a type of praying or begging. Bak is the variant of pag, and the pagan is not only the peasant in the country, but the servant, the labourer, the bak. The Latin pagus is a division the same as pek-ha (Eg.), and the bak-ing, or beg-ging-day, commemorates the solstitial division of the year, the pekha of Christmas, which had been removed from the time of Pekh, or Pace, our Easter. The name of baksheesh is in use from Egypt to India, and is doubly connected with the name of the gifts sacred with us to the Boxing-day. Egyptian will tell us why. Shus is the name of the servant and follower. The Shus-en-Har were the servants and followers of Horus in pre-monumental Egypt. Baka (Eg.), to beg, pray, and shus (shish) the servant, yield baksheesh as the present solicited by the servant and follower. Shus (Eg.) also means food, and bak-shus will read the servant's food. With us the gift is given at Christmas under the Christian dispensation. But in the hieroglyphics the bak hawk represents the har of the resurrection, who was brought forth from the bekh at the time of the spring equinox, hence the Egyptian Boxing-day was equinoctial.
Hogmena, or Hogmanay, is the Scottish name for the last day of the year. The Hog, or Hock with us, as in Egyptian, denotes a time and a festival. Hak (Eg.) is a time, a festival, and the double lion shows it was at the end of a year, the equinoctial year, whereas our Hogmena is solstitial. The Hog-Colt, or Sheep, is the one-year old. The Hock-Cart is the last, the harvest-home load. A shilling is a hog, twelve pence, as the year consists of twelve months. Mena (Eg.) denotes the end and death. Hogmena is the end or death of the year, the time, the completion of the cycle. Hence the festival; and because it is the death of the old year, the festival is pre-eminently a celebration by the young.
In Scotland the children go round begging food, oatcake being the principal offering. Each child used to be presented with one quadrant section of oatcake, which identifies the corner of the circle. The [p.306] cakes were expressly prepared beforehand. The Egyptian hak-ing, so to say, is begging. Heku, is to supplicate; hekur, to hunger; hekau is food. The children cry—
Give us your white bread,
and none of your grey.'
Hekau equates with kamhu as the name of some kind of bread, and kam-hu reads black-white, the equivalent of grey. Tru-reru-ra (or tru-lelu-lay) means time, children (or companions going round), to give, and the whole may be rendered—'Hogmenay, the end of the year, is the time for gifts to the children who go round.' The giving of gifts to the young is emphasised with an appropriate moral in these words:—
'Get up, gude wife, and binna sweir,
And deal your cakes and cheese while you are here;
For the time will come when you'll be dead,
And neither need your cheese nor bread.'
The demand is compulsory, and the bread and cheese are termed nog money. Nog is the Egyptian nek, to force compliance.
In a Derbyshire masque at Christmas, the mummers perform a play St. George, in which he fights with and slays a character named 'Slasher.' The doctor is called in and applies his bottle to the fallen Slasher's mouth, which brings him to life again. Then the Slasher is addressed 'Rise, Jack, and fight again; the play is ended.'
They had a custom at Ashton-under-Lime of shooting the Black Lad on horseback. He was supposed to represent a black knight who formerly held the people in bondage, and treated them with great severity.
The Scotch 'Quhite Boys of Yule,' perform a drama of St. George, in which Black Sambo is the opponent of the good divinity. The black knight and Sambo are reliquary representatives of the akhekh of darkness, the oldest personification of the typhonian monster. Horus the George of Egypt, as the opponent of darkness, was the white god. These contests are forms of the battle between Horus and Typhon in the eschatological phase, and of light and darkness in the earlier time.
The 'Quhite Boys' represent spirits, and in Egyptian akhat, the equivalent of Quhite, means white and a spirit, the white sun-god, Horus, or Hu, into whom the black Kak transforms.
Mummers disguised as bears and unicorns were particularly prominent in the grand scene of Christmas mumming, and the [p.307] unicorn and bear are the types of Sut and Typhon, the oldest form of the mother and son in mythology.
Christmas mummers in Hampshire are called Tip-Teerers. Tipter (Eg.) means the commencement of the season. Tep is the first and ter a time loaf-stealing was one of the practices of the Tip-Teerers, and teb (Eg.) is a loaf. They were dressed up fantastically and danced. Teb is to dress up, clothe, crown, and tep means to dance. It was necessary that the mummers should be transformed as the winter solstice (or spring equinox) was the time of transformation. This was effected by the two sexes exchanging their clothes.
This scene of transformation is as sacredly preserved in the Christmas pantomime. And the exchange of sex illustrates the same transformation as is illustrated in the Book of the Dead when Osiris goes into tep, and is transformed into his soul, from the two halves, who are Horus the sustainer of his father and Horus who dwells in the shrine, or 'the soul of Shu (male) and the soul of Tefnu' (female); these two constitute the one, and are symbolised by the mummers change of dress and blending of sex.
The going from house to house to partake of Christmas cheer indicated the going forth of the sun or Osiris from the lowest sign. The blackened faces were symbolic of the dark depths in which the sun had been buried. Masking, disguising, blind-man's buff, blackening, bowing, and bobbing, all forms of suppression and effacing of self; were characteristic of the Christmas mummeries, in keeping with the lowly and benighted state of the sun. It was a common superstition, that at twelve o'clock on Christmas Eve the oxen in their stalls would be found on their knees, all things preserving the lowliest attitude. In antithesis to these, the summer solstice was the sign for carrying about the giants in the midsummer pageants. The giants were represented on stilts. In Marston's The Dutch Courtezan, one of the characters says, 'And yet all will scarce make me so high as one of the giants' stilts that stalks before my Lord Mayor's pageant.' The Morris dancers are raised upon stilts. Their chief time is Mayday. The celebrations of the equinox are for the sun that rises up from the water boundary. Some of these have got belated so far as May. Mur (Eg.) is the water limit of the land, and res is to raise or be raised up; also it is the name of the south toward which the sun is ascending.
Our transformation scene at the Christmas-tide is merrily made to call up the light of laughter in the young-eyed. The Aleuts in their cold north region took theirs more solemnly in terrible earnest. Their traditions tell of certain mysterious dances held by night in the month of December. They divided the sexes, the men being placed far [p.308] apart on one side, the women on the other, this being the solstice. In the midst of each party a wooden figure was set up. Then they all stripped naked, except for the wearing of a huge mask which limited their sight to a small circle about their feet. It was death to lift the mask, or for the one sex to look on the other, and they danced on the snow naked to the arctic night, before the image. This was their mode of mumming, this was their celebration of the transformation of the sun in the passage through the meska. It was the incarnation of the child, for even while they danced it was held that a kugan descended and entered the symbolic figure. This was the spirit of the renewal often figured as the Messiah and Saviour Child of other mythologies.
In Egyptian khu is a spirit, and khen, to alight, rest, reveal. This was the significance of the kugan. When the pantomime was over the image was destroyed, the masks were broken and thrown away. The kugan is the transforming spirit, who, in Egypt, was the beetle-headed Khepra, and it is noticeable that in the Xhosa-Kaffir dialect a peculiar kind of sacred beetle is called a qugane. The mask was also used by the Thlinkeets to place over the face of the dead.
Our English pantomime still preserves the imagery of the Egyptian Ritual, and scenery of the meska, the place of rebirth. The meska is our mask, and the mask plays a great part in the pantomime. The meska was the place in which the mum (the dead) transformed. The mime in the mask represents the mum or mummy. In the Bask the mamu is the ghost or hobgoblin, and to main or mum is to mask in a hideous manner, in fact, to personate the dead, as was done by the African mumbo-jumbo. In German the ghost or bugbear is the mummel. The 'masks' of the pantomime are the mummels, or mummers of the underworld, who undergo their change or transformation. The two worlds, lower and upper, are represented, and the change from the one to the other is portrayed in the transformation scene with its emergence from the domain of gnomes, fairies, giants, sprites, into the upper world of common day or daylight, the fun and frolic, dancing and feasting of which are symbolical of heaven. And the gods are still there in person. The Great Mother in her ancient type of the dove (Columbine) and the Ancient of Days, the old father or pantaloon; the clown and harlequin are the two brothers Horus, the clown, kar-nu (Eg. inferior type) is the elder or child Horus, and harlequin is har, the younger, the spiritual type; har of the resurrection with the power of becoming invisible, or a spirit among mortals.
A few things in common at starting may be sufficient for the [p.309] foundations of languages, colonies, and civilisations, which grow up unlike in their surface features. What they had originally in common may be either outgrown or mossed over. If they grow at all there will be divergence amongst the branches, although they spring from the same rootage. Here, however, the supreme surprise is the amount of Egyptian material still extant as English; but more than enough will have been produced in illustration of the 'hieroglyphics in Britain,' the Egyptian 'origins in words,' and the Egyptian naming of our 'personages' and symbolical customs.
Aye keeping their eternal track,
The Deities of old
Went to and fro, and there and back,
In boats of starry gold.
For ever true, they cycled round
The Heavens, sink or climb;
To boundless dark a radiant bound,
And, to the timeless, Time:
Till, mortals, looking forth in death
Across the deluge dark,
Besought the Gods to save their breath
In Light's celestial Ark.
To the revolving Stars they prayed,
While sinking back to Earth;
'In passing through the world of Shade,
Oh, give us thy rebirth!'
And, ever a Sun, beyond the Sun,
Quickened the human root
With longings after life, that run
And spring with heavenward shoot.
Their yearnings kindled such a light
Within them, so divine,
That Death encompassed them with night,
To show the starrier shine.
This page last updated: 27/03/2010