The Story of King Osiris the Vindicated, the Beloved Enchantress Isis and Horus the Avenger
Written and Illustrated by
Stephen Andrew Missick
Copyright 2011 Stephen Andrew Missick
All rights reserved.
Stephen Andrew Missick
PO Box 882
Shepherd TX 77371
April 13, 2011
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
ISBN 13: 978-1461078821
Many people are fascinated by the ancient Egyptians and yet find them mysterious, distant and alien. Thousands of people visit the pyramids and other ruins in Egypt every year and yet many of these tourists do not understand the people who built these amazing monuments. Who those people were and what they thought and believed seems to be a great, perplexing and unsolvable mystery. The ancient Egyptians had a great diversity of religious beliefs and a diversity of myths. They are even several divergent versions of the story told in this book. And yet, to have a basic understanding of the ancient Egyptians it is necessary to know the Ennead. The Ennead is a group of nine gods (and goddesses) that were worshiped at Heliopolis in ancient Egypt. (The word "Ennead" is derived from a Greek word meaning "nine.") The Ennead is composed of Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys. The story of the Ennead is told in this book and it provides essential basic knowledge that will enable the reader to comprehend ancient Egyptian beliefs, culture, traditions and religious practices. The Ennead is one of the oldest stories in the world going back to around 2,500 years Before Christ. Knowing this story also increases understanding of the Bible. It helps the reader to read the Bible like the ancients did by illuminating the cultural background to the story of the Exodus.
The Ennead of Heliopolis
This is the Great Pesedjet (family of gods) called the Ennead in Greek, meaning the Nine. This is the Ennead of Heliopolis, the city which is called Aunu in Egyptian and On in Judean.
In the beginning there was the formless void. This formless void was the waters of chaos, the primordial sea called "Nun." Atum, the self-engendered one, emerged. Atum, whose name means "the All" and "the Complete One," is the god who came into being of himself. Atum then took upon the form of the Benu bird and he hovered upon the face of the waters of Nun. And then dry land appeared. Out of the waters of Nun emerged the Ben-ben, a mound shaped like a pyramid. And Atum came to rest upon Ben-ben and stood upon Ben-ben as a man. And he cried out with a loud voice-like the honking of a goose and he broke the primordial silence. His cry determined what was to be and what was not to be in the unfolding of creation.
Atum stands on top of the Ben-ben mound.
Atum stood upon Ben-ben and he spat out a son, Shu, the air, and then he spat out Tefnat, moisture, the daughter of Atum. He created Shu and Tefnat of himself. Shu and Tefnut wandered away from their father Atum and became lost in the abyss. And Atum's father-heart longed for his children. He cried out "Let there be light" and thereby he created a great light that penetrated the darkness. He used this light of the Sun as a great eye to search through the abyss for his children. He found them and embracing them he rejoiced greatly. In his joy he gave Shu and Tefnut new names. He named Shu "Ankh" meaning "life" and Tefnut he named "Ma'at," which means justice, order and truthfulness. And Shu knew Tefnat and she conceived and Shu begat a son Geb, the Earth, and a daughter, Nut, the Sky. Geb looked upon Nut his sister and loved her. But it was a love that was forbidden by the elder gods. Nut and Geb were locked together in a loving embrace. And Shu divided Geb, the earth, from Nut, the sky, and formed a firmament between them. (He separated the waters of Nun which were above this firmament from the waters of Nun below the firmament.) Nut is called "the starry one" because the stars shine forth from her body. At night she swallows the sun, which travels through her body to be reborn each morning. In separating Nut from Geb, Shu created an atmosphere in which life could emerge.
Shu divides Geb from Nut.
Atum is Ra, the sun. And he manifested himself upon the earth as Khnum. Khnum is the soul, or "ba," of Atum. (Ba means both "soul" and "ram.") Thus Khnum appears as a man with the head of a ram. Ra as Khnum created all living things that lived upon the earth. He created the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, reptiles, the beasts and all the creeping things of the earth. And Khnum poured out the waters and created the river of life, the Nile. And he called the inundation of the Nile his son and named him Hapi. (The ultimate source of the River Nile is the waters of Nun.) And Khnum took clay from the river mud of the Nile and from this dust of the earth he formed man. And he breathed the breath of life into man, and man became a living soul. And man became fruitful and multiplied and filled the earth. Men behaved like animals. The people of the earth lived like barbarians. There was war and turmoil. Some men were so savage that they were cannibals.
Khnum creates man from earth upon his potter's wheel.
And Geb knew Nut and she bore him two sons and two daughters, Osiris and Isis his wife and Seth and Nephthys his wife. These gods were born on the epagomenal days. The month of the calendar is made of 3 weeks of ten days. It was decreed that these gods were not to be born on any of these days of the year. Shu had forbidden the love between Geb and Nut and yet Geb had impregnated Nut in defiance of his elders. Atum was angry and cursed Nut by commanding that her children could not be born in any day of the 360 days of the year. Thoth, the god of wisdom, felt pity for Nut. He challenged Iah, the god of the moon to a game of Senet. He won from Iah, who is also called Khonsu, five extra days to add to the calendar in order to circumvent the command of Atum. Consequently, five days were added to the calendar. During these days Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys were born. These five epagomenal days were added to the 360 make a year of 365 days. (The week of ten days was set by the gods. For eight days man must labor upon the earth but the ninth and tenth days are set aside to rest.) It is said that Osiris and Isis loved one another and fell in love while still in their mother's womb. Their hearts were bound together in an eternal love. Seth was not born in the natural way. He tore his way out of his mother with his teeth and claws. He was red all over and hairy-like a hairy garment and he had a long snout. These nine Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys are the Ennead. This Ennead created the gods, mankind and the established order. They gave birth to all the people of the land.
Thoth wins five days from Khonsu.
The Love of Osiris and Isis
Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys looked down upon the face of the earth and saw mankind. Osiris, Isis and Nephthys pitied mankind but Seth desired the power to rule over the world of man. These four gods descended from the heavens and came and lived among mankind. Osiris became king among men. He taught the men who lived like savages to become civilized. He ruled from his throne in the city of Busiris. He taught men to farm the land, he gave them a law that was just and fair and taught them how to worship the gods. He taught his subjects how to make bread and wine. He instructed his men and they built temples and cities. He also domesticated cattle. And the land became peaceful and prosperous. For hundreds of years Egypt prospered under the rule of the just and kind Osiris. So Osiris went to teach civilization to the other nations. While he was away Isis ruled Egypt with justice as queen. And Seth secretly hated his brother and was jealous of him. He coveted the throne and desired to rule over the world of man as king. And so he decided to slay his brother. Seth and his seventy-two followers conspired against the great King Osiris. After Osiris had returned from his travels abroad Seth threw a great feast in his honor. After much celebration and festivities Seth brought out a golden chest. Whoever could fit perfectly inside the chest would own this magnificent treasure. Various individuals tried to fit inside it but could not. Seth's servants had secretly measured Osiris and knew that he alone would fit in it. When Osiris stepped inside, the servants of Seth promptly slammed it shut. Then Seth sealed the coffin and threw it into the Nile. A royal visit from the witch-queen Aso of Kush had arrived in Coptos. Seth had Nephthys entertain Isis and the ladies of the court in the city of Coptos so that Isis wouldn't be there to protect her husband. Nephthys had no knowledge of Seth's wicked designs. During the formalities, Isis was told of the attack against her husband and she ran to retrieve the coffin from the Nile. But unbeknownst to Isis and Nephtys, Aso was among the 72 conspirators of Seth.
The golden box decorated with jewels created by Seth.
Aso used her dark arts to restrain Isis. Isis used her enchantments to escape from Aso and then hurried in pursuit of the chest containing the body of Osiris. She saw it disappear into the current as it flowed into the Great Sea, the Mediterranean. Seth had learned that Isis was in pursuit of the body of Osiris so he, as the god of the storm wind and the mighty sea, conjured up a terrible tempest. And so the chest was lost from her view and disappeared among the raging waves of the sea. Isis searched diligently for the body of her beloved. She wandered the earth and flew and searched from the heavens. Nephthys her sister joined her in her search. The coffin had washed ashore at the Kingdom of Phoenicia, at the great city of Byblos. There it lodged in the branches of a tamarisk bush. When it touched the bush it immediately grew into a large and beautiful tree, and it grew around the chest and enclosed it on every side, so completely that it could not be seen. Isis learned of this so she journeyed to the land of Phoenicia. When she arrived she learned that the tree, as it was so large and beautiful had been taken down and had been erected in the palace of the king. So Isis went to a well in the city and sat. Her body emitted a fragrant aroma. The people knew that she was divine. And all the women of the city brought unto her their children and all those who were sick and she healed and blessed them. The king of the city was named Melkarth and his queen was called Nemanoun. And the prince was a child and he was very ill and was at the point of death. And Nemanoun heard of the healer and promised to give her whatever she should desire if she would but heal her child. And Isis healed the child. Thereupon she demanded the pillar within the palace as payment. She took it and split it open and took from within it the coffin containing the body of her husband. She threw herself upon the chest and made loud wailing and woeful cries of lamentation over it. When she opened the chest she discovered that Osiris, who was within it, was dead. Returning to Egypt, she secretly transported the casket containing body of her husband and hid it among the reeds of the Nile.
To rejuvenate Osiris, Isis needed great magic. In fact she needed the greatest of all magic-the magic that comes from knowing the secret name of Ra! She devised a clever plan to gain this ultimate knowledge. Ra would drool as he slept. She took some of his spittle and mixed it with earth and formed it into a snake. She secretly placed the snake in the path of Ra and it bit him. As the venom entered into Ra, he experienced agony and a terrible fever. He cried to the other gods but they were unable to help him. Finally, he called upon Isis, the great healer. When she came to him she feigned amazement and alarm. "Oh, great-grandfather, what enemy has done this to you?" she asked, "Tell me that I might smite him with my terrible magic." Ra answered, "I know not who has done this unto me." She promised him that he would heal him but on one condition, that he would tell her his secret name. He tried to deceive her by telling her many of his names and titles such as "Molder of Mountains" and "Maker of the Bull for the Cow in order to bring Sexual Pleasure into Being." But Isis would not be fooled. Ra's symptoms became worst, he become blind and was sweating and shivering. In desperation he made her swear that she would tell no one his secret name, save the son she was to bear, who would be named Horus, meaning, "He who is above." Ra made Isis swear an oath that she would bind her son to an eternal oath that he would tell no one the secret name of Ra. She agreed to his conditions and she healed him and restored his health.
Isis had hidden the sarcophagus of Osiris among the reeds. She journeyed back and at long last she opened the casket, so as to work her magic and bring her beloved back to life. At that moment however, Seth chanced upon the casket as he was hunting wild boar. He was consumed with fury and he seized the body of Osiris and hacked it into fourteen pieces. He threw the penis of Osiris into the Nile where it was eaten by catfish. (For this reason the Egyptians do not eat the catfish and regard it as an unclean food.)The rest of the body he flung all across the land of Egypt in the hope that Isis would never be able to retrieve the pieces of the dismembered corpse.
Earlier, before the death of Osiris, Nephthys saw the love that Osiris and Isis had for each other. Seth had no love for her although she was his wife. Nephthys desired a son and begged Seth to give her a child but he refused. One day Seth was out hunting Hippopotami. He saw a shapely Hippopotamus and he lusted after her. He brought this Hippopotamus home with him and made love to her and made her his wife and called her name Queen Taweret. Nephthys came to bed and discovered her husband in their chamber with the Hippopotamus. She mourned greatly. While her sister was away, she, by using magic spells, transformed herself to look like Isis. She deceived Osiris into believing that she was their sister Isis. She slept with him and she conceived and bore a son and named him Anubis. Anubis was raised as the son of Seth but he was begotten of Osiris. Nephthys confessed this to Isis. When Isis learned of this she wept. Seth hated Anubis. He beat him and cursed him by transforming his head into that of a jackal and naming him the god of death. Seth banished Anubis to Necropolis-the City of the Dead. Isis and Nephthys sought him out and found him among the tombs. Isis told Anubis that Osiris was his father and that she would consider him as her own son. Isis asked Anubis to help her and his mother to retrieve all the parts of the body of Osiris and to reconstitute and restore his father.
Isis, Nephthys, and Anubis searched all of the land of Egypt for the pieces of the body of Osiris. Finally, they were able find all of his body, except for the penis. Isis erected a monument to Osiris wherever they found a part of his body. They carried the remaining pieces of his body and took them to the holy city of Abydos. It was Anubis who re-assembled the body of Osiris and mummified it. Anubis was able to restore all of the body of Osiris. Using magic he reformed the part of the body that had been lost out of gold. Isis and Nephtys stood over the body of Osiris. They flapped their wings and uttered the incantations. With his body reconstituted and preserved, the spirit of Osiris lived again. But Seth had found them. He tried to disrupt the rituals and desecrate the body again. But Anubis fought with him. Anubis metamorphosized into his jackal form and Seth transformed himself into a beast and the two of them engaged in brutal combat. Then Thoth came and used magic to drive Seth away. Isis, Nephthys, Anubis and Thoth were able to complete the rituals. The spirit of Osiris returned to his body and Osiris awoke. Through the magic of Isis and Anubis he was resurrected. Seeing that he was revived, Atum, Shu, Tefnet, Nut and Geb declared that the Underworld was now to be his kingdom. And Osiris became Lord of the Netherworld. Osiris was now Wenenefer-the Eternally Incorruptible and Beneficent One. He was intimate with Isis and then he departed into the Netherworld to take up his rule there. Through her devotion and perseverance Isis showed that her love was stronger than death.
Horus the Child
The Sojourn of Isis and Horus
Isis had become pregnant by Osiris. With her husband now gone to the Underworld, she wandered across Egypt in sorrow and solitude. Seth's spies learned of this thing and told him of it. He sent them to arrest her. They bound her with ropes and chains and brought her to Seth. Seth said to her, "You are now bereft of your throne. I alone am king over all Egypt." Seth stripped Isis of all her royal robes and jewels. He threw her naked into a pit covered with bars. It was his intention of imprisoning her until she brought forth her son and upon that time it was Seth's design to murder the child. Many of the former subjects of Isis remembered her benign rule and her justice, compassion and mercy. They came by night and opened the pit and released Isis. Seth was enraged and had the guards impaled. Isis went to hide among the marshes and the reeds that bordered the Nile. And Seth hunted for her, that he might kill her child, lest that child grow and claim the throne of Egypt as his own.
The time came for the child to be delivered. The delivery was very painful. In agony Isis cried out, "Help me, O Geb my father. O Nut my mother, assist me!" Her parents heard her cries and sent Hathor and Nephthys to help her. And a son was born to Isis and his name was called Horus. Isis gave birth to Horus in the marshes of Chemmis (called Akh-bit in Egyptian) and hid him there to protect him against the malicious designs of Seth. One day Isis went to gather food. She left Horus in a hiding place. Seth sent enchanted scorpions into the marshes and they stung Horus. Isis found him at the point of death. He was weak and to ill even to nurse. She sought for help. A wise woman of the nearby village came to her and diagnosed the child's illness. He had been stung by a cursed scorpion. Isis cried out to the goddesses Nephthys, her sister, and Serket, the scorpion goddess, but it was beyond their power to heal Horus. Isis cried out to the heavens. Her cries stopped Ra as he was transversing the sky in his solar barge. He came down from the heavens and the earth was plunged into darkness. Ra sent Thoth to heal the child. Thoth is the god of wisdom and medicine and the scribe of the Ennead. He drove the poison out of Horus and gave him the breath of life from heaven. Thoth consecrated Serket as the guardian of Horus. Thoth spoke, "Horus has carried all of the sicknesses and diseases of mankind. Anyone who appeals to Horus can be healed of their suffering." Horus was now invulnerable to any poison or deadly thing. Horus became the divine healer. Those who are sick looked to the holy child Horus for he had the power to heal. Seth sent serpents against the child Horus and crocodiles and other baleful beasts. And Horus tread upon them and crushed them in his hands. (For this reason Cippus stelae are erected. They bear the image of Horus the Child crushing serpents and scorpions in his hands and standing upon crocodiles and other noxious creatures. A person who was stung by a scorpion or bit by a snake would look upon the image and live.)
Horus the Child
Seth himself came into the marshes to kill Horus but Serket attacked him and drove him off. Other goddesses assisted Isis in protecting and guarding Horus. Hathor in the guise of a cow wandered through the reeds watching for Seth and his minions. Renenutet, the motherly nurturing goddess, in serpent form also protected Horus. When Seth or his minions arrived Renenutet would rear up and spit fire and poison at them.
Serket protects Horus and Isis from Seth.
Serkit (or Selkit) the Scorpion Goddess
Seth sent an army of soldiers into the marshes to find the child Horus and slay him. They approached near to where Isis was hiding. Quickly, she took stalks of papyrus reeds and twisted them into a nest and set Horus within it and set it on the Nile. She spoke enchantments over it. It floated away from where Seth's men were searching. Isis transformed herself into a kite and flew away before the soldiers found her. As she flew she watched Horus and the soldiers from above. When they gave up on the search Isis lighted upon the earth, took her form as a woman and the nest magically floated back to Isis.
Seeing that the marshes were no longer safe Isis and the holy child Horus left the marshes of Chemmis and came unto a town called "the Two Sisters." Serket sent seven scorpions to accompany them. As she had emerged from the marshes, a passerby saw Isis that she was naked. She called out to him, "Kind sir, please give me food that I may feed my hungry child." He pitied her and gave her bread and he took out a worn and frayed garment from his satchel and gave it to her that she may cover her nakedness. She blessed him. She then entered the town. The town's people saw that she wore pauper's rags so they refused to help the holy family and despised Isis as though she were a beggar. Isis knocked on the door of the most prosperous family in the town and they slammed the door in her face. Finally, a poor marsh girl named Taha welcomed the lady Isis, the holy mother, into her hut. The next day Isis manifested her glory to the peasant woman. She said, "I am Lady Isis. I am Weret-Hekau-the Great of Magic! I came to you hungry and you fed me although you had but little. You gave me shelter within your home although it is small and humble. Even though you have little you have shown me kindness, compassion and generosity. May you be blessed above all the women of Egypt." The seven scorpions were angry at the insult that had been shown to the great Isis by the richest family in the town, so the six of them gave of their poison unto the seventh and he then crawled into the house of the wealthy family and stung the baby of the lady of the house. The woman, finding that her baby was perishing, cried out for help, but there was no one to help her. As the boy was ready to die, Isis appeared and healed the infant. The lady of the house bowed down before Isis and promised to give her all of her worldly possessions. She cried out praising the holy mother, saying, "The blood of Isis, the enchantments of Isis, the power of Isis are a chief protection against all destroying abominations. Isis is the divine mother, and a savior." Isis gave the estate to Taha the marsh girl and gave the former lady of the house and her family to the marsh girl to be her servants. Taha then granted Isis sanctuary and shared her home with Isis and her son Horus. The next day Isis looked and saw an older boy in the streets bullying Horus. She gave the boy an angry glare and he fell dead. The boy's father picked up to corpse and carried it to Isis. "Have mercy, holy mother," he cried, "for he is my only child. "I shall heal him," she said, "Yet I command you to instruct him in wisdom and with the rod of correction instill in him discipline and drive out his folly, wickedness and iniquity lest an evil fate befall him." She touched the child and life returned to him. And it came to pass that after many days, Taha married Hotep, he who gave food and clothing to Isis the Mistress of Magic. And they were blessed and sounds of joy and happiness were heard from their abode.
The Contendings of Horus and Seth
Horus, when he came of age, was circumcised and shaved off his side-lock of youth. A sickness came upon him as he recovered from the circumcision. As he lay upon his bed in a fever he looked up and there stood Osiris his father. His father spoke to him, "My son, tell me, what is the most noble thing that a man can do?" Horus answered, "To protect the honor of his family and to avenge his father and his mother for all the evil done unto them." Osiris began to fade away. As he disappeared he spoke to Horus and said, "Avenge me. Become a warrior and avenge me." Horus then stood up. He journeyed to the palace of Seth. He then placed upon his head the Khepresh (the blue war helmet) and then boldly approached the throne and cried out unto Seth, who was seated thereon, "I am Horus the Avenger, the son of Osiris the King. I hereby claim the throne of Egypt as my own as his son and heir." Seth roared, "I am going to kill you and cut you into pieces they way I did to your father!" Chaos erupted in the court with half of the people rallying to Horus and half rallying to King Seth. And so began the great war between Horus and Seth and their contesting over the throne of Egypt. And Horus gathered armies unto himself. Men who desired to be free from the tyranny of Seth joined him. Gods who desired to bring about justice and establish balance upon the world joined Horus as well. And Seth also gathered his armies unto himself and he met with Horus upon the field of battle. For eighty years Horus and Seth did battle over the face of all the earth.
Seth sent many warriors against Horus to fight him in single combat. Horus defeated them all. Seth called forth unto himself Neith, the goddess of war. "This man, Horus the Usurper, has risen in rebellion against me. Destroy him!" Neith, she who is the mistress of the bow and ruler of arrows, sought Horus and fought him. She saw his valor in battle and saw within him the glory of his father. She lay down her weapons and swore fidelity to him and said, "I see that you are the son of the Great King Osiris and the rightful heir to the throne." Seth called forth the mightiest and most renown warriors to strike Horus down. He even sent his son Maga, the crocodile god, to fight Horus. Horus and the mighty Maga fought hard against one another but Maga could not prevail against Horus.
In the course of the eighty years Horus conquered that land of Lower Egypt in the north. Geb the earth was pleased. And the land rejoiced and prospered. Geb was not pleased with Seth, who ruled over Upper Egypt in the south. There the earth mourned. And so, Horus became stronger and stronger, while the rule of Seth grew weaker and weaker.
Horus the Avenger
Neith-the Goddess of War
And it came to pass that Isis had descended into the Duat to visit her husband and Seth knew of it. Seth knew that this was an opportunity for him to attack Horus as his mother wasn't there to aid him. One day, while Horus was alone he was waylaid by Seth. Seth seized him and said to him, "I shall use you for a woman." Horus was able to free himself from Seth's grasp. Seth then growled at Horus and said, "Since you have insolently refused to allow me to pleasure myself with your body, you shall pay a heavy price." Then Seth grabbed Horus by the head and gouged out his eyes. Horus struck Seth with a powerful blow and fled away stumbling in blindness. He cried out, "Help me, O my mother Isis, come and see what Seth has done to me!" He collapsed under a sycamore tree and drifted into unconsciousness. The shade of the tree hid him from Seth who had arisen to pursue him. Horus dreamed and was passing from the realm of the living and into the realm of the dead. In his dream his father Osiris appeared to him. Osiris spoke to his son, "You are my beloved son. I have seen your struggles, my son. I shall give you the power of the falcon. You shall be renewed. Your right eye shall be as the sun and your left eye the moon. You shall rule over all." Horus then awoke. The goddess Hathor had found him and had sheltered him in her branches for she is the Lady of the Sycamore, the nehet, which means refuge. (This tree, a tree of life, was the sacred ished tree of Heliopolis.) She knelt beside him and had exposed her breast and dripped her milk from her breast into his right eye which was then healed and his vision was restored. He sucked from her breast and he was nourished and refreshed. And yet his left eye was gone. Hathor called upon Thoth who healed him and he gave unto Horus the magical wedget eye to replace his left eye. (Hathor found Horus without eyes (khenty en-irty). Thoth restored Horus and he was once again with eyes (khenty-irty). Horus' strength was renewed. Now he possessed the power of the sky-falcon and the wedget eye. He arose to do battle with Seth once again. Isis had heard the cries of her son and had returned from the Underworld. She had found that he had been transfigured by the power of the falcon and had manifested his new power by changing the visage of his face into that of a falcon.
Thoth gives Horus the magical Wadget Eye.
Horus the Avenger
The Horus Pharaoh nurses from the breast of a goddess.
Horus, by his divine power, struck Seth down. He then stripped him naked and emasculated him. He threw Seth's phallus aside where it was consumed by wild animals. He then lifted up his mace to strike a death-blow upon Seth. He prepared to hack Seth into pieces. Horus glared at Seth and said, "As you have done unto my father-now I shall do unto you!" Then Isis, the Holy Mother, struck off Horus's hand. "No! Do not kill him," she cried out, "for he is my brother." She then healed the hand of Horus. Then she spoke, "I hereby call a counsel of the gods to determine the ruler of Egypt!" The heavens and the earth shook as the gods descended from the heavens. Geb, the god of earth, presided over the Kenbet, the holy counsel. Geb called the Ennead to assemble. Then Atum called for a counsel of all the gods of Egypt to determine the ruler of Egypt. The gods requested that Isis not attend the proceedings as she favored her son and could use her magic to pervert justice. The ferryman Nemty was commanded not to take Isis to the island where the gods held court. Isis transformed herself magically to appear as an old woman bent over with age and Nemty, not recognizing her, gave her passage.
Isis then transformed herself into the form of a beautiful young woman and seduced Seth. In her altered form she appeared before the divine counsel and appealed to Seth for justice. Seth then held court before all of the gods to hear her case. She began her speech by saying, "I am a free woman of Egypt." She claimed that she was the wife of a cattle driver who had died and left her a widow with a young son. A stranger arrived and attempted to steal their cattle and evict her son from their house. Seth condemned the behavior of the stranger, and in doing so, pronounced judgment against himself in his attempt to rob Horus of his inheritance. After Seth pronounced judgment, Isis manifested herself and proclaimed that Seth had condemned himself by his own mouth.
The gods decreed a series of trials by combat between Horus and Seth. And Seth cried out in fury at his nephew and took his sword and leapt down and did battle with Horus. They raced boats down the Nile and fought with various weapons. (Seth fought Horus with a huge mace that only he could lift.) Horus sank Seth's boat. While they fought, Seth changed himself into a venomous serpent and tried to bite Horus, but Horus was immune to all poisons. Then he wrapped Horus in his coils and attempted to crush him. Horus took his form as a falcon and expanded to 1,000 cubits across and grasped Seth in his talons and took him up into the heavens and threw him upon the ground. Seth then took the form of a cheetah and lunged toward Horus. Horus took the form of a lion. Finally, they did battle in the waters of the Nile. Seth had taken the form of a crocodile and then a hippopotamus but retained his red color. He attacked Horus. Horus took out his spear and drove it through the body of Seth. In all the tests Horus was victorious. (For this reason the Festival of Victory is celebrated every year in the city of Edfu.)
Neith spoke up, "Horus must be granted the throne. Let treasures of gold and the goddesses Anath and Astarte be granted to Seth in compensation. If my counsel is not followed, may the sky collapse upon the land of Egypt and all be destroyed!"
Osiris then spoke up, "I am Osiris, the Resurrected Lord, if my son, Horus, is not granted the throne of the two lands I shall release all the demons and spirits of the Netherworld, the realm of Duat, upon the earth!"
(Shu then whispered to Atum, saying, "These children of Nut could unleash chaos that could destroy the established order and bring about the destruction of all life and all existence.") Geb then spoke, "I declare that Horus shall be king of the black earth, kemet, and Seth shall be king of the red earth, desert. Seth shall be given a special honor. He shall stand upon the prow of the solar barge of Ra and by his strength he shall subdue that vile and twisting serpent, the leviathan Apophis every night as the solar barge passes through the Duat."
The Solar Barge
(Ra descendents into the Duat at sunset. Sunrise is Ra emerging from the Duat. He rides across the sky by day in his day boat called Manjet meaning "Being Strong." During the night as he journeys through the underworld he rides upon Mesektet, the night boat, whose name means "Weakening.") Osiris marched in triumph when he returned to rule over his kingdom, the realm of the dead, as his son Horus sat in triumph over the throne of Upper and Lower Egypt and ruled over the realm of the living. Horus sought counsel from his mother. He said to her, "How can I forgive Seth and live in peace with him seeing all the evil he has done to you, to me and to my father?" Isis answered, "You now sit upon the throne of your father. Justice has been re-established. As king it is your primary duty to establish and maintain Ma'at upon the earth. You must forgive your uncle." Horus accepted the advice of this mother. Isis and Nephthys then proclaimed that the enmity between Horus and Seth was at an end. From then on they would live in peace as brothers.
The double-crown (called pschent) representing the union of Upper and Lower Egypt was placed on the head of Horus by Shu. (Shu crowned Horus because he had been the first king of Egypt. Shu had ruled over Egypt as king for 700 years. During that time Shu and Geb fought together against the armies of chaos that were led by Apophis and that had attacked the earth. Together, Shu and Geb subdued the forces of chaos. After they won a hard earned victory and established order, Geb became angry with Shu his father because Shu had kept him apart from Nut his wife. Geb took the crown of his father and set it upon his own head and named himself as king and he captured Tefnut, his father's wife, and named her as his own queen. Weary of conflict, Shu abdicated his throne. Seeing that Ma'at was held captive, and the earth was in disarray, Osiris desired to re-establish Ma'at and become the savior of mankind. He then came to earth to seize power from his father Geb. Osiris released Tefnut his grandmother from her captivity. Tefnut was grieved by the wicked behavior of mankind so she departed into the wilderness. Shu sought her out and spoke soothing words to her and enticed her to come again with him and stand in the presence of Atum their father. Seeing goodness and virtue in his son, Geb decided to let him rule the earth under his auspices as chieftain of the earth. Thus, Osiris ruled until he was murdered by Seth.) Horus was given the upper world to rule while his father Osiris ruled in the Underworld. To celebrate his ascension Horus erected the djed pillar which represented the spine of his father Osiris and symbolized strength, firmness, stability and steadfastness. The people rejoiced with a great joy and hung garlands upon the djed pillar. The people praised Horus as iun-mutef, the pillar of his mother and Har-nej-itef-Horus, the Savior of his father and Min-Horu-Nakht, Horus the Strong. Horus decreed that every year at Abydos after the inundation of the Nile a festival commemorating the death and resurrection of his father Osiris should be celebrated forever. Horus decreed that every year the month long Khoiak festival should be held to reenact the struggles and victories of his father Osiris so that Egypt would always remember. (In ancient times the Nile would flood annually. The flood was important. Without the annual inundation of the Nile the people would starve. The Egyptians depended on the annual flood. If it failed to flood or if it over-flooded, the results could be catastrophic. The Pharaoh, by his divine power, won the favor of the gods and gave life to all his people by ensuring order, stability and a good inundation through the blessings of the gods.) Horus taught the people to remember this history through the land of Egypt. During the flood Egypt resembled Nun. When the flood recedes land emerges like Ben-ben, the primeval mound. When crops are harvested they are cut down with a scythe which reminded them of Osiris being cut down by Seth. The sprouting of the seed caused them to remember the resurrection of Osiris. The moon was also used to tell the story. When the moon was full it was a symbol of the eye of Horus-or the body of Osiris. It appeared as full and complete. When the moon waned it was divided the same way the body of Osiris and the eye of Horus had been-but only to be restored again, as was Osiris and the eye of Horus.
Isis and Horus erect the Djed pillar for Osiris
And so Horus came to rule the throne of Egypt and became the Lord of the Two Lands, the lands of Upper and Lower Egypt. The fertile lands were given to Horus to rule but the desert regions belonged to Seth. The power of Ra infused Horus and he became Re-Horakhty. As Horakhty, he is "Horus of the Two Horizons." He was known as Shed, the Savior. He became the god of the rising and the setting sun and ruled all the earth. He established a new capital and it was named Hierakonpolis-the City of the Falcon. (Hierakonpolis was called Nekhen in Egyptian.) Ruling by his side as queen was Hathor, whose name means "the Domain of Horus." Horus took the scorpion goddess Ta-Bitjet, the daughter of Serket, as his concubine. The world knew peace, justice and prosperity for tens of thousands of years.
(with Hathor, Isis and Neith)
The Wrath of Hathor
And yet, after many tens of thousands of years, Ra-Horakhty the Aged became weary of the affairs of men and withdrew himself from them. And the earth became filled with violence and men became oppressed. And mankind corrupted his ways upon the face of the earth. And men murmured against Ra-Horakhty and rose up in rebellion against him. And Ra-Horakhty became angry. And Ra-Horakhty saw the wickedness of man and his violence was great upon the earth. And it grieved Ra that he had created man upon the earth and it grieved him to his heart. And Ra said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from upon the face of the earth." Ra-Horakty called the Ennead to appear before him and before them he pronounced his judgment against mankind.
Horus the Aged
And he called unto him Hathor, the goddess of joy and of all love, familial, romantic and motherly love, and told her to work his will upon mankind, to show unto them the wrath of Hathor. And she transformed herself into the great destroyer, Sekhmet. She cried out, "I am Sekhmet, the one who is power. I am the one from whom before evil trembles. I am the Mistress of Dread and the Lady of Slaughter! I am the Great Flood! I am she who dances upon blood!" And Sekhmet went out and slaughtered every human being in her path. On seeing the great slaughter Ra-Horakhty was cut to his heart and was filled with pity and commanded Sekhmet to stay her hand. But she would not. She had become as a wild animal that would not be tamed. Ra-Horakhty called men into his presence and commanded them to make beer and to mix it with a red dye. They poured it out as a lake in her path. Seeing the beer, Sekhmet supposed it to be blood and she stopped and drank it and she became drunk and fell unconscious. When she awoke, she was once again Hathor, with her original benign nature. The destruction of mankind was thus averted. (For this reason the annual beer-drinking festival is celebrated at Heracleopolis.)
Sekhmet the Destroyer
Seeing the devastation wrought upon mankind, Ra-Horakhty mourned deeply and wept many days and would not be consoled. Finally, Hathor came to him. She stood before him and exposed herself to him, and Ra-Horakhty smiled. Joy returned to him but he had determined to depart the world of man and return to the realm of the gods. Many of his subjects mourned greatly. "Leave us not!" they begged. They offered to take up arms and fight the survivors of those who had rebelled against his authority. But Ra-Horakhty stated there had already been enough violence and would not be dissuaded from leaving earth for he could no longer bear to remain upon the earth.
Hathor then became the Heavenly Cow and transcended from this world and ascended into the Sky and fused and became one with Nut. In her cow form Hathor lowered her head. Ra-Horakhty seated himself between her horns as Hathor lifted him up. He mounted her back and ascended into the heavens. He arose and sat with the Great Ennead.
The Heavenly Cow
And so Ra-Horakhty departed from this world. Before he departed he called unto Harsomptos, the son of Horus and Hathor, and named him as Pharaoh. He left his four sons Imsety, Duamutef, Hapy, and Qebeseneuf to assist their brother and to rule over the affairs of men. These four sons of Horus were to guard the kingdom and protect the kingdom from evil men and the forces of chaos. Thoth, the Celestial Scribe, he left to school men in the art of writing the words of the gods (medu netjer). Thoth also invented different languages and gave the different languages to the nations. Ra-Horakhty said unto Harsomptos his son, "Now, my son, the son must become the father. I have given unto you my spirit. You are now Horus on earth. You are the Horus King, He of the two ladies (Wadjet, the cobra goddess of lower Egypt, and Nekhbet, the vulture goddess of Upper Egypt), the Golden Horus, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Son of Ra, Harsomptos, Son of Horus, beloved of the gods. You are Pharaoh- the intermediary between the gods and mankind. You are the great high priest and the representative of the gods to the people of the earth. You are the supreme priest over all the temples, sanctuaries and shrines in Egypt. It is your sacred duty to maintain all religion and you are bound to maintain the balance of Ma'at throughout all the land of Egypt. I bequeath to you my son all of the land of Egypt. You shall establish sema tawy-the unity of the two lands of Upper and Lower Egypt. Every rock and stone belongs to you. Every blade of grass and papyrus reed is yours. The waters of the Nile and all the creatures that dwell within them and all the living things along the banks of the Nile, every plant, every bird, every animal, every human being, all that lives in Egypt belongs to you and is your property to do with what you will."
Horus and Harsomptos
Horus and Seth crown Horsomptos King of Upper and Lower Egypt
The nemes headdress, which represents divine kingship, was given to Harsomptos. The uraeus (rearing cobra) was placed upon his crown showing that he is under divine protection. In his hands were placed the crook and flail. (The flail, or whip, is called nekhekhw in Egyptian.) The crook (or heqa-scepter) symbolized that Pharaoh is the good shepherd. The flail is a representation that the Pharaoh is the righteous judge. Pharaoh is the son of the gods. He lives as Horus upon the earth and at the end of his reign the passes into the world of the gods and becomes one, or merges, with Osiris and rules over the heavenly realm as he had ruled over earth. It is the duty of the Pharaoh, the son of Horus, to establish Ma'at, truth, order and justice, and to subdue the powers of isfet, chaos, and punish gereg, wrong-doing. While he is alive on earth, the king of Egypt is Horus the Vindicator and Unconquered-and when he departs from this earth he becomes Osiris King of the Underworld, Ruler of the kingdom beyond. And each new king becomes Horus incarnate and maintains the delicate balance of Ma'at. Harsomptos ruled in peace for a thousand years.
Horsumptos the King
The Soul's Journey unto the West
Pharaoh is dead. The god ascended to his horizon, the great King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Harsomptos. He penetrated the sky and became joined with the solar disk, his divine body mixed with the one who had made him. The people mourned greatly. After Pharaoh died his body was taken to the holy city of Abydos where the sacred sepulcher of his father Osiris was. Abydos is the sacred city where the Holy Triad of the father, the son and the holy mother, (Osiris, Horus and Isis,) are worshiped. His body was taken in a barge across the Nile to its western shore. Pharaoh is Horus incarnate, a god among men. For a soul to achieve eternal life the body must be mummified. The god Anubis watches over the mummification process. It was a process that took seventy days. The embalmers arrived and erected a tent in which they performed their duty. A long metal hook was placed through a nostril and the brain was mashed and discarded. A slit was cut in the left side of the abdomen through which the embalmer reached in and removed the lungs, liver, intestines and stomach. Another slit was made along the diaphragm from which the lungs were removed. The heart and kidneys were left in the body. The table upon which he operated had a slightly tilted surface so that the fluids could drain off the table and into a container at its end. These internal organs were placed in four containers. Each container (now called Canopic jars) was dedicated to each one of the four sons of Horus. The body was then taken to the ibu-the place of purification.
Anubis mummifies the Pharaoh
Before his ascension into heaven, King Horus called his four sons unto him. He charged then with the sacred duty to ensure that their grandfather Osiris should never suffer hunger nor thirst and to defend the people of the earth from the evil designs Seth and to contain Seth and his wicked followers within their desert realm. He called his son Hapy, who had the head of a baboon, unto him and gave him the duty of guarding the lungs of the dead and the north and named Nephthys as his defender. Then he called Duamutef, who bore the head of a jackal, unto him. He pronounced that he was the guardian of the east and of the stomach and named Neith as his protector. Imsety was his son with a human head. He charged him with the task of guarding the liver and the south. Unto Imsety he spoke, "Isis, who is your mother and mine, shall be your protector." (Isis was counted as mother to these four sons of Horus.) Lastly, he called the hawk headed Qebehsenuef unto him and said, "My son, you shall be the guardian of the west and of the intestines and Serket shall be your guardian." While Horus as Ra-Horakhty ascended skyward towards the heavens his four sons vigilantly stationed themselves to his north, south, east and west and guided him up.
(And this is the story of the birth of the four sons of Horus. During the eighty year war between Horus and Seth, Seth realized that he could not defeat Horus while Isis his mother was aiding him. As the god of strife he developed a plan to divide them asunder. Seth called a truce and invited Horus to a conference where they would discuss peace. As a token of his sincerity he offered Horus a magnificent pectoral. The pectoral was bewitched. Seth had cursed it and put into it his malice, hatred, cruelty and violence. Horus put on the pectoral and came under Seth's magical control. Horus returned to his home and called his mother Isis. Horus, controlled by the dark magic of Seth, beat his mother and raped her. He then took up his sword to behead her. Isis heard the voice of Seth speaking through Horus, "And now you, my older sister, shall die at the hand of your own son!" Isis saw the pectoral and recognized that it was one of Seth's cursed objects and she knew that Horus was under Seth's control. She sent beams of light out of her eyes and melted the pectoral. When the evil talisman was destroyed, Horus came to himself. He had no memory of what had happened and dropped the sword which he was going to use against his mother. Isis then sat by the riverbank and wept. She knew that she had conceived. She went down to the Duat to be comforted by her husband. Seth then saw that he had succeeded in his goal of separating Horus and Isis and it was on this occasion that he attacked Horus and put out his eyes. After Horus was named King of all Egypt and after Harsomptos his son was born to him by Hathor, the holy Isis brought forth the quadruplets that she carried within her womb. And so, Horus had become Kamutef, the bull (meaning menmen-impregnator) of his mother.)
The Canopic Jars bearing the images of the four sons of Horus.
Each organ was placed in a jar decorated with its respective son of Horus. These canopic jars were placed in the tomb near the mummy. Often, an image of the four goddesses was near to the canopic jars. The body was then placed within a mound of natron, called in Egyptian, neteryt, meaning "belonging to the god." The body was left there to dry for forty days and forty nights.
A man's body is made up of five elements. The ha is a man's human body. The ren is the man's name. His shadow which is called the shut is also one of the elements. The ba is a man's spiritual manifestation, his soul. It is his character and personality that survives the death of the body. After death it must return to the body to be united with the ka-the spirit. In order to become an akh, an immortal being, his ba must re-unite with his ka. The ba appears as a bird with a human head. The ka is a person's double. Only when the ba joined with the ka in the afterlife and thus joined became an akh, was a person truly reborn. The ka came into existence at the birth of the individual. It is linked to the physical. (This is the reason Anubis prepares the body for the afterlife. The mummy provides an everlasting body out of the corpse in order to provide the ka with a home in the afterlife.) The ka is the spirit or vital force. The ba is the personality-the non-physical attributes of a personality that makes it unique. The ba, his eternal existence, and the ka, the soul and the body's double, could bring the body back to life.
After the forty days and forty nights had past, fifteen more days are spent wrapping the body in bandages. Neith and Nephthys weave the bandages for the mummy. Anubis appears and presides over the mummification proceedings and procedures. Makeup was put on the face to make it look as lifelike as possible. This was important because the ba would return to its body and it needed to recognize it so that it could continue to live. Among the bandages amulets and incantations are placed to aid the soul in its journey into the west. A mask was placed upon the mummy with idealized features. Before the mummy could be placed in the coffin, one more important ritual had to be performed. This was the "opening of the mouth" ritual. This is the duty of Horus. He who is the new incarnation of Horus, the heir to the throne, must perform this ceremony. The mummy's eyes, nose, mouth and ears were touched with a variety of implements in order the reanimate the person's life force so that he could have possession of his senses again and be able to see, hear, touch, breath and smell in the hereafter. A tool called the pesesh-kesh was used to restore the senses during the opening of the mouth ceremony. After the ceremony is performed the soul speaks, "I am alive. I am strong. I have awaken. My body will not be destroyed in this eternal land." The opening of the mouth ceremony is necessary to achieve rebirth. The ba-the essence of the individual had to return to the corpse.
Horus performs the Opening of the mouth ceremony on the prior incarnation of Horus.
Afterwards the mummy is placed in its coffin. The coffin represented the universe. Inside the lid was a depiction of the stars of heaven. The bottom of the coffin represented the earth. Eyes were sculpted and painted on the outside of the coffin in enable to mummy to magically see out from the chest. If the mummy was destroyed, it is believed that the coffin was also a type of body and could help the soul to live on. The "Book of the Going Forth by Day," also known as "the Book of the Dead," was often buried with the coffin. Upon the coffin were also written a collection of spells called the "Coffin texts." When Pharaoh was buried in a pyramid spells that aided the soul called the "Pyramid texts" were engraved upon the walls inside the pyramid.
The coffin was then placed in the tomb with certain objects that were valuable to the person during his lifetime, his most treasured possessions. The tomb, especially the tomb of Pharaoh, became a temple at which the dead were worshiped. Family members would leave offerings, often food offerings, for the dead. They would also leave messages and give invocations and intercede with the dead. After the internment of the coffin within the burial chamber the ba faced a harrowing journey through the Duat (the Netherworld) to arrive unto the judgment hall of Osiris. In this journey the ba was confronted by hostile demonic beings. By reciting the spells from the Book of the Dead (or "The Book of the Going Forth by Day") the soul cold drive away these monstrosities. The purpose of these spells was to ensure safe passage through the Underworld.
The soul must journey to the land of the west, Imenet, the place of the setting sun, to the land of the just. This is the realm of the gods and of the dead. When a man dies, his soul will go to appear before Osiris, the Great Judge of the Dead. To stand before Osiris he must first pass through the Duat. The journey of the soul through the Duat is one of great danger and peril. A soul could become lost in the Duat or become attacked or imprisoned by demons and other monstrosities that dwell there. In the Duat a soul may prevail and attain everlasting life but the soul could also experience a second death, eternal torment, everlasting fire or to cease to exist forever. The honored dead ride upon barge of Ra as it transverses through the Duat. The solar barge descends into the dark realm as it sails along the River of Wernes in the Underworld. It is a perilous journey through the Netherworld. The barge must face many dangers such as passing over the lake of fire and the regions in which the evil dead and sinners are tormented for their sins. Hiding in darkness of caves and caverns in the Underworld are demons and monsters, giant snakes and centipedes with human heads and multi-headed cobras and flying cobras that spit out flames along with fire-breathing demons and creatures with heads of lions, rats and other beasts. Some of these monstrosities feast on blood. It is necessary to do battle with these creatures. Ra's protectors subdue these monsters and Seth battles with the serpent demon Apophis. Apophis is a very powerful dragon who aims to devour the sun and destroy all existence and to bring about nothingness. The souls of the departed must disembark at the 6th gate of the Kingdom of Osiris and there they arrive at Osiris' house of judgment. Hathor, the mistress of the west, searches for those souls, the righteous dead, who did not ride upon the barge of Ra. Hathor, the nurturer and protector of the righteous dead, finds their souls wandering through the Duat and welcomes them and guides them to Osiris. Hathor welcomes all departed spirits into the palace of Osiris.
Arriving at the palace of Osiris, the soul appears before a tribunal of 42 assessor gods. These are each of the gods of the nomes, or districts, of Egypt. They stand as witnesses as the heart of the soul is placed in the scales of truth. Before the weighing of the heart, they access his trial and interrogate him.
Standing before the forty two deities, the soul then recites what is known as the Negative Confession, in which the soul confesses his innocence. The soul says,
Grant that I may come to you,
For I have committed no faults,
I have not sinned,
I have not done evil,
I have not lied,
I have committed no evil upon men.
I have not oppressed the members of my family.
I have not wrought evil in the place of right and truth.
I have had no knowledge of contemptible men.
I have brought about no evil.
I did not rise in the morning and expect more than was due to me.
I have not brought my name forward to be praised.
I have not oppressed servants.
I have not scorned any god.
I have not defrauded the poor of their property.
I have not done what the gods abominate.
I have not cause harm to be done to a slave by his master.
I have not caused pain.
I have caused no man to hunger.
I have made no one weep.
I have not killed.
I have not given the order to kill.
I have not inflicted pain on anyone.
I have not stolen the drink left for the gods in the temples.
I have not fornicated.
I have not polluted myself.
I have not diminished the bushel when I've sold it.
I have not added to or stolen land.
I have not encroached on the land of others.
I have not added weights to the scales to cheat buyers.
I have not misread the scales to cheat buyers.
I have not stolen milk from the mouths of children.
I have not driven cattle from their pastures.
I have not captured the birds of the preserves of the gods.
I have not caught fish with bait made of like fish.
I have not held back the water when it should flow.
I have not diverted the running water in a canal.
I have not put out a fire when it should burn.
I have not violated the times when food should be offered to the gods.
I have not driven off the cattle from the property of the gods.
I have not stopped a god's image in its procession through the temple.
I have not done iniquity.
I have not robbed with violence.
I have not done violence to another man.
I have not committed theft.
I have not killed man or woman.
I have not lightened the bushel.
I have not acted deceitfully.
I have not stolen what belongs to the gods.
I have not lied.
I have not carried away food.
I have not uttered evil words.
I have attacked no man.
I have not slaughtered sacred cattle.
I have not cheated.
I have not laid waste lands which have been ploughed.
I have not pried mischievously into others' affairs.
I have not foolishly set my mouth in motion against another man.
I have not given way to wrath without cause.
I have not terrified any man. I have not trespassed sacred grounds.
I have not been angry.
I have not made myself deaf to Ma'at.
I have not stirred up strife.
I have made no one to weep.
I have not defiled the wife of a man.
I have not polluted myself. I have committed no acts of impurity nor have I engaged in homosexual behavior with a man. (If the soul is female, she says, "I have not defiled the husband of a woman" and "I have committed no acts of impurity nor have I ever committed lesbian acts with a woman.")
I have not abused anyone.
I have not acted with violence.
I have not judged hastily.
I have not taken vengeance on a god.
I have not spoken too much.
I have not acted deceitfully nor have I performed wickedness.
Therefore let nothing evil happen to me.
I live on Ma'at, and I feed on Ma'at,
I have performed the commandments given to me and have done the things that are pleasing to the gods,
I have made the gods to be at peace with me,
I have acted according to god's will.
I have given bread to the hungry man, and water to the thirsty man,
And clothes to the naked man, and a boat to the boatless.
I have made holy offerings to the gods,
and meals for the dead.
Deliver me, protect me, accuse me not in the presence of Osiris.
I am pure of mouth and pure of hands,
Therefore, let all who see me welcome me,
I am pure.
I am pure.
I am pure.
(As all men sin, who can stand before the judgment seat of Osiris? Thus a talisman was placed over the heart in the mummy, lest the truthful heart testify against itself. The Egyptians believed that the heart was the center of thought, memory and emotion. Inscribed upon these amulets, the heart scarabs, were the words, "O my heart I had from my mother, O my heart that I received from my father, O my heart from throughout my life-do not stand up as a witness against me. Do not condemn or opposed me before this great tribunal and do not be hostile to me in the presence of the keeper of the balance-Anubis. Bring me before Osiris who is khenty-imentiu, the foremost of the westerners and neb-ta-djeser, the lord of the sacred land. Intercede for me, O Anubis, as you interceded for Osiris and Horus.")
Thoth, Anubis and Ma'at then approach the soul. Anubis takes the heart of the soul and places it upon the scale of truth which he operates. Near the scale the creature Ammat waits in anticipation as does Thoth. Thoth is the scribe of the Ennead and he stands ready to record to results of the trial. The heart is weighed against a feather. The feature is "the feather of Ma'at" and is Truth. If the heart is heavy and weighed down with sin, it will be found wanting. If the heart is found wanting, the beast Ammat devours it. She is one third crocodile, one third lion and one third hippopotamus. She is the eater of hearts and is called "great of death." The sinful heart is heavy and is shown to be weighed down with sin when weighed against Ma'at. If Ammat devours the soul the soul is condemned to eternal death. If the heart is in balance with Ma'at, the soul will be granted eternal life.
The Weighing of the Heart Ritual
Horus takes the vindicated soul by the hand and leads him to the throne room where his father Osiris sits upon his judgment seat. He is the vindicator or the righteous and the punisher of the wicked. All, rich and poor, small and great, will stand before Osiris, the Lord of the West as equals. Osiris is king of the Underworld. The Duat, or Underworld, is his dominion. (Ra sails his solar barge above the earth and shines his light upon it during the day. At night, Ra sails his barge across the Duat.) Standing beside Osiris are his two sisters, Isis and Nephthys. Horus announced that the soul has weighed in the balance of truth. He proclaims, "I bring this soul before you. His heart is true and has been weighed in the balance. He has not sinned against any of the gods or goddesses!" The soul then speaks, "Hail to you, you august, great and potent god, king forever. May you grant that I be among the living. There is no wrongdoing in my body. I have not spoken deceitfully." If the heart and feather are of equal weight the soul is declared to be justified of voice (in Egyptian "ma's kheru," "righteous in his voice") and is accorded a portion in the dominion of Osiris the Lord of the West. Horus rewards the righteous dead with a place in the kingdom of his father. The soul is then transfigured. The glorified soul may dwell in eternal bliss in the field of reeds, or ride upon the solar barge of Ra, or become the stars in the sky called the ikhmu-Seky, the "Imperishable Ones." A man who is justified becomes one with Osiris. A woman who is justified becomes one with Hathor. Those who are justified are alive forever.
Horus presents the vindicated soul to his father Osiris and the soul inherits eternal life.
Entering into the realm of Osiris they gained supernatural powers and perpetual happiness. They enter the light of eternal life and live happily ever after with Osiris in the fields of reeds. (Also called the field of Hetep and Iaru-the fields of satisfaction.) But they also live in this world through their mummy, their images, the paintings and the sculptures and through the hieroglyphs that bear their name. They can see us from the dominion of Osiris and bless us or admonish us from that realm and speak to us from the beyond. And thus, the justified soul is at peace and finds rest. Hathor his mother greeted the soul of Horsumptos as he arrived in the palace of Osiris in the Underworld. His father Horus led him by the hand to the scale where his heart was weighed. Horsumptos the righteous king was vindicated. Then Horus brought Horsumptos to the presence of his grandfather Osiris who welcomed him into his eternal kingdom.
The Religions of Ancient Egypt
I wrote my treatment of the story of the Ennead as research as I was studying Moses and the Exodus. My intention is to help people understand the culture of ancient Egypt, which seems to be bizarre and mysterious to many people. There were many religions of ancient Egypt and the Egyptian religions were never unified into one system. I have taken some liberties with the story for two reasons. First, I "bowdlerized" it a little bit. (I also tried to make the story more palatable for a modern audience.) Parts of the story are very sexual graphic. (In certain myths Atum forms Shu and Tefnut by masturbating. The theological idea concept is that Atum alone created Shu and Tefnut without a partner. In other versions he "sneezes" them into existence. When Shu separated Geb from Nut, Geb extended his private part so long that he was able to have intercourse with Nut so that she became impregnated with Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys. (And Shu separated Geb and Shu because they were locked in a sexual embrace.) Also, the attempted rape of Horus by Seth is very graphic in certain accounts. I thought I should leave it in the story but tone it down.The second reason I took creative license was so that I could create a coherent story. There were many different versions of the story of Osiris and Isis. In alternate versions, Osiris begat Horus before he was murdered by Seth. In certain versions of the story Osiris's penis was not consumed by a catfish but was buried at Memphis. (Some people incorrectly believe that the obelisk is a representation of the penis of Osiris. It seems that obelisks are not phallic symbols as many people contend. Most scholars believe that they were symbols of a beam of light. The ancient Egyptians were not squeamish about portraying the male sex organ. The god Men was portrayed with an erection and one of the many hieroglyphs was a penis and it is not an uncommon hieroglyph.) In other versions Osiris's body is not dismembered and he dies by "falling on his side." How many pieces did Seth cut the body of Osiris into? In some versions he didn't cut him into pieces at all. Other versions say 14, 16, 26 and 42. (42- so that each nome of Egypt got one piece.) In some versions Hathor, and not Isis, is the mother of Horus. (But it seems that over time in mythology Isis took upon herself many of the attributes and even the symbolism of Hathor. Although they were two different goddesses, over time Isis and Hathor became more similar in the minds of the people. It is not uncommon in Egyptian religion for different gods to become merged. An example would be Amen-Ra. Amen-Ra was a combination of the gods Ra and Amen. The gods Ptah, Sokar and Osiris were also worshiped as one god called "Ptah-Sokar-Osiris." Other Egyptians continued to worship them as three separate gods. Over ancient Egypt's 3,000 year history certain gods became more important while others became less important. Egyptian religions were very diverse. If you have noticed inconsistencies in this story, then, I must say, "Welcome to the world of Egyptian myth." Egyptian religions and mythologies were constantly evolving.) Scholars believe that there were two different gods named Horus, Horus the Elder and Horus the son of Isis and Osiris. In some versions of the story, Horus the Elder is the brother of Osiris. Note that there were five epagomenal days. In certain versions of the story, five children were born to Geb and Nut and each child was born on one separate day of the five days that Thoth had won from Iah. So, in alternate versions of the myth the children of Geb and Nut were Osiris, Horus the Elder, Isis, Seth and Nephthys. Certain ancient Egyptians viewed Horus the Elder as the same god as Horus the son of Isis and Osiris. I followed this tradition in my retelling of the story of the Ennead. So we see that there were several contradictory versions of this myth. There are many different sources for the story of the Ennead. One important version of the story is found in the writings of Plutarch. There are also versions and allusions to the story in the pyramid texts, the coffin texts, the Book of the Dead (or "The Book of the Going Forth by Day") and many more witnesses scattered across Egyptian art, sculpture and writings. I believe that my version is faithful to the ancient sources and will help people understand a little better how the ancient Egyptians viewed the world.
I also used biblical language to emphasis certain similarities in Egyptian and Hebrew thought. Egypt had so many gods that I tried to avoid overwhelming the reader with a barrage of different gods. As there are different versions of the Osiris legend, there are also alternate creation accounts and alternate creator gods. Different regions in Egypt had different gods and they in a sense competed with each other. Amen was a god worshiped in Thebes. The priests of Amen believed that Amen was the one true god and every other god was merely a manifestation of Amen. (The name Amen means "the Hidden." He was believed to be a transcendent god that existed outside of his creation.) The priests of Ptah in Memphis believed that Ptah was the ultimate god and the real creator of everything, including all the other gods. (The name Ptah is imbedded in the name "EgyPT." The temple of Ptah in Memphis was called Hut-ka-ptah (meaning "Enclosure of the Ka of Ptah") this was rendered in Greek as Aigyptos which is where we get our word "Egypt" from.) We have an ancient Egyptian writing in which the priests of Ptah attempt to subordinate the Ennead under Ptah.
Ptah gave life to every member of the Ennead and to the soul (Egyptian: ka) of each. Each came into being through the thoughts in Ptah's heart and the words on his tongue. Horus came forth, and Thoth came forth from the thoughts in the heart of Ptah and the worlds on the tongue of Ptah. The thoughts of the heart of Ptah and the words of the tongue of Ptah guide all the thoughts and all the words of the Ennead, and the thoughts and all the words of humans, and of all life. Ptah creates the Ennead with only teeth and lips. Atum must create with hands and semen. Atum had to masturbate to bring forth the Ennead. Ptah had only to speak, and the Ennead came forth. Ptah called the names of Shu the wind and Tefnut the rain, who gave birth to Geb the earth and Nut the sky. Just as all the senses of sight, of hearing and of smell, and the tongue speaks what the heart desires to do, so all the members of the Ennead came forth…according to the thoughts of the heart of Ptah and the words of the tongue of Ptah…According to the thoughts of the heart of Ptah and the words of the tongue of Ptah, the innocent are set free and the guilty are punished, life is granted to the pure of heart and death to fools. According to the thoughts of the heart of Ptah and the words of the tongue of Ptah, all crafts came forth, all trades were created. Ptah is the creator of all and the ruler of the Ennead. Ptah gave birth to the Ennead and from Ptah comes forth all things. Ptah is the ruler of the Ennead. Having done all these things, Ptah rested content with his work.
(This "Hymn to Ptah" is from the Shababka Stone and the translation is found in Old Testament Parallels written by Victor H. Matthews and Don C. Benjamin on page 3-5. This hymn asserts to superiority of Ptah over the Ennead.) Obviously, we have here in this "Hymn to Ptah" and attempt by one Egyptian sect, that of the priests of Ptah, to subordinate the Ennead to their god. In this hymn Ptah speaks the world into existence much the same way God (Elohiem) does in Genesis Chapter One.) The story of the Ennead is also alluded to in Hymn to Ra. (Khepri, mentioned below, is considered a form of Ra. He is in the form of a dung- beetle. Egyptians thought that the beetle rolling a ball of dung was similar to the Ra rolling the Sun across the sky. Beetle eggs are laid in the ball of dung and hatch from inside of it and this was a symbol of re-birth to the Egyptians. The Scarab, a symbol of Khepri, was one of the most dominate religious symbols of the Ancient Egyptians. Khepri is the god of the dawning sun. In Egyptian texts Khepri says, "Kheper-i kheper kheperu, kheper-kuy, m kheper n khepri kheperu m sep tepy. "I became, and the becoming became. I became by becoming the form of Khepra, god of transformations, who came into being in the First Time. Through me all transformations were enacted.") The "Hymn of Ra" is as follows:
As the sun dawned, Ra Spoke:
I am Khepri the beetle,
When I come, the day begins,
When the almighty speaks, all else comes to life,
There were no heavens and no earth, There was no dry land and there were no reptiles in the land.
Then I spoke and living creatures appeared.
I put them to sleep in Nun the sea, until there was land where I could stand.
When I first began to create,
When I alone was planning and designing every creature,
I had not exhaled Shu the wind,
I had not spat Tefnut the rain,
There was not a single living creature.
I planned a multitude of living creatures,
All were in my heart, and their children and their grandchildren.
Then I copulated with my own fist…
I exhaled Shu the wind,
I spat Tefnut the rain.
Old Man Nun the sea reared them, Eye the overseer looked after them…
In the beginning, I was there alone,
Then there were three more.
I dawned over the land of Egypt,
Shu the wind and Tefnut the rain played on Nun the sea…
I wept and human beings appeared.
With my tears, I created the reptiles and their companions.
Shu and Tefnut gave birth to Geb the earth and Nut the sky.
Geb and Nut gave birth to Osiris and Isis, to Seth and Nephtys.
Osiris and Isis gave birth to Horus.
One was born right after another.
These nine (Greek: Ennead) gave birth to all the people of the land.
This hymn alludes to the myth that Ra created man (remetj) when his tears (remut) fell to the earth. (This "Hymn to Ra" is from the Papyrus-Rhind, British Museum N. 10188. It is found on page 6-8 in Victor H. Matthew and Don C. Benjamin's Old Testament Parallels.) We see many alternate accounts of the creation story in Egyptian mythology. In addition to the Ennead another group of gods was worshiped. The Ogdoad is believed to have started the creation. The Ogdoad is a group eight gods and goddesses. The four goddesses had heads of frogs and the four gods had heads of snakes. They dwelt in the waters of Nun before the creation. They caused Ra to be born from either a lotus flower or an egg (depending on the myth) that they created.
Certain radical Jewish groups who engage in anti-Christian polemics (and other anti-Christian groups as well) stress parallels that exist between Egyptian religion and Christianity. (But it must be stressed that Christianity emerged from a Jewish and not an Egyptian environment. (Although, Matthew's Gospel does have the Christ-child in Egypt.)) What these Jewish groups should realize is that there are also similar interesting links between Ancient Egyptian religion and the Torah of Judaism. It shouldn't be surprising to see similarities between Jewish and Egyptian religion when Jews themselves claim that they spent their formative years (a period of over 400 years) in Egypt and that the Jewish religion was founded by a man who was raised as Egyptian nobility. Heliopolis is mentioned in the Bible. In the Scriptures the city is called On and Beth-Shamash. (Shamash is the Judean name for "Ra." Beth-Shamash means "the House of the Sun" or "the House of Ra." "Heliopolis" is Greek for "City of the Sun.") The Patriarch Joseph, according to the Bible, married Asenath (meaning in Egyptian "Belonging to the Goddess Neith") who was the daughter of the priest of On. (The name of the Egyptian god Atum also appears in the Bible. The Hebrews in Egypt build a city called Pithom which means translated from Egyptian, "City of the god Atum.") There are some links between Judaism and the religions of Egypt. For instance, in the Torah God created by speaking and saying, "Let there be…" In the Egyptian religion of Memphis, Ptah created the Universe by speaking it into existence. In the Bible, God creates man from the dust of the earth. In the ancient Egyptian religion of Elephantine, Khnum created man from earth placed on his potter's wheel. Also, the Bible teaches that there is one God and forbids idolatry. The Pharaoh Akhenaten taught that there was one god and destroyed idols of Egyptian deities. Like the Jews, the Egyptians circumcised and kept "kosher" style rules regarding clean and unclean foods. Many Egyptians viewed pork as an "unclean" food. (Other ancient Egyptians did keep pigs and eat pork.) Many of the ancient Egyptians strongly looked down upon adultery and homosexuality. Many scholars believe that these ideas that are held in common here are attested earlier among the Egyptians than they are among the Hebrews. Sayings of the Egyptian sage Amenemope were included in the book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible in Proverbs chapter 22 and 24. Psalm 104 seems to be based upon the Hymn to the Aten composed by Pharaoh Akhenaten. Some see similarities between the Virgin Mary and the Christ child and Isis and Horus as a child. But the similarities are, in this case, superficial. Motherhood is a human concept and not a uniquely Egyptian concept. The image of a mother also has a universal appeal to humanity and not only Egyptians. (Egyptians worshiped triads of gods. But this is different from the Holy Trinity of Christianity. A triad is a group of three gods worshiped together. In Christianity, the Trinity is one God revealed in three persons.) C.S. Lewis did note the mythic concepts that are found in Christianity and embraced this fact. He viewed Christianity as "true myth." The Old Testament declares that God has placed eternity in the hearts of mankind (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Paul notes in his Epistle to the Romans and in his sermon on Mars Hill that some basic spiritual truths are found even in pagan religions (Acts 17:22-31, Romans 2:14-15). Some spiritual truths are found in the religions of ancient Egypt. Since there are many shared concepts in Egyptian religion and Christianity (and Judaism as well), the Egyptians were quickly converted to Christianity. The Coptic Christians of Egypt have preserved the ancient Egyptian language in their rituals and have preserved other aspects of ancient Egyptian civilization to this day. Egypt has had a tremendous impact on world history. Ancient Egypt continues to have an enormous influence upon our day to day lives. This alphabet you are now reading was developed by Canaanite slaves in Egypt and is based on Egyptian hieroglyphs. Common names such as Aaron, Mary, Susan and Moses are Egyptian names. (As is the name Isidore (and Isadora), which means "Gift of Isis.") Some scholars believe that the word that we use to close our prayers "Amen" is derived from the Egyptian.
Modern Myths about Ancient Egypt
Our knowledge of Egypt has tremendously increased since Hieroglyphs were deciphered and important archeological discoveries were made and it continues to increase as additional discoveries are continuously being made. Despite this fact, the public has many incorrect ideas about ancient Egypt. There are several reasons for this. Some misinformation comes from sensational claims made by books marketing bizarre and sensational ideas. One "Modern Myth" is that Napoleon's soldiers used the Sphinx for target practice and blew off its nose. Actually, the truth is that instead of destroying monuments Napoleon brought a group of scholars to document, collect and preserve the monuments of Egypt during his expedition there. This scientific expedition created a flood of interest about ancient Egypt in Europe. They also discovered the Rosetta Stone that was instrumental in the decipherment of Hieroglyphs. (Sketches of the Sphinx by the Dane Frederic Louis Norden, made in 1737 and published in 1755, illustrate the Sphinx already without a nose many years before the Napoleonic Expedition.) The one-yard-wide nose on the face is missing. Examination of the Sphinx's face shows that long rods or chisels were hammered into the nose, one down from the bridge and one beneath the nostril, and then used to pry the nose off towards the south. So what happened to the nose of the Sphinx? It suffered the same fate that the giant Buddha of Afghanistan faced-deliberate defacement by Islamic fanatics. Clear textual evidence that the nose of the Sphinx was damaged in 1378 AD by an Islamic extremist. There exists an interesting account written by historian Muhammad al-Husayni Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi (died 1442 A.D.), in a book called al-Mawa`iz wa al-i`tibar fi dhikr al-khitat wa al-athar. Al-Maqrizi states that the face of the Sphinx, specifically the nose and ears, were demolished in 1378 by a Sufi mystic from the khanqah of Sa`id al-Su`ada named Mohammed Sa'im al-Dahar. The Great Sphinx at Giza was intentionally defaced by this fanatical Sufi named Mohammed Sa'im al-Dahar who considered the monument a sacrilegious object. There is a clearly discernible and deep groove gouged into the area of the Sphinx's face where the bridge of the nose would have been, consistent with a crude and deliberate effort to detach the nose by forcing in a metal rod or bar and then prying the nose off. I imagine that it was the Egyptians who came up with the myth about the French firing at the face of the Sphinx so that they could save face because now they are embarrassed by this deliberate defacement. To this day, Muslim fanatics deface ancient Egyptian monuments in Egypt. (Radical Muslims believe that pre-Islamic history is the period of "Jahiliya" meaning the period of "Ignorance" before the dawn of Islam. Many Muslim extremists feel that there is no value in pre-Islamic history.)
Most of the disinformation about ancient Egypt comes from Hollywood. Unfortunately, people really do form their view of ancient Egypt from watching movies. I think this issue needs to be taken very seriously because we should be on a quest for truth and reality. Fantasies from Hollywood set us backwards on this quest. These movies are harmful. They create and reinforce misrepresentations about Ancient Egypt. The worst culprits are the "Stargate" movie and the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns." I initially enjoyed Stargate as a good science fiction movie. But upon reflecting upon the movie it is obvious that it is a hateful attack on organized religion. Some of the very notions of this movie are incorrect. The director seems to be implying that religions try to restrict reading and education. In reality, Ancient Egyptian religions (as well as Judaism, Christianity and Islam) were and are religions that are based on sacred writings. (In the movie in order to control the people, writing is forbidden by Ra. In reality, in ancient Egypt writing was a form of control over the masses. The ability to read and write gave the scribes enormous power. Bill Manley discusses this in "The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt." He says, "Power, land and wealth were increasingly concentrated in the lands of an elite group of men and their families, probably numbering less than two thousand in a population estimated at around 1.5 million…The common factor which set these men apart from the mass of society was their ability to read and write, and so control the function of the administration. The skill was inherited as a right, taught at court and reserved exclusively for those in power." Among the Hieroglyphs are pictures of reeds, rope, rabbits and quail. These symbols obviously originated from daily life in ancient Egypt and are not extra-terrestrial in origin. Also, there are so many hieroglyphs. To be able to read Egyptian hieroglyphs one needs to know at least 200 symbols. A scribe had to know at least 600. There are thousands of symbols. There were so many symbols that Egyptian hieroglyphs are a cumbersome and impractical system. Surely, a higher intelligence would have created a more practical writing system. Our alphabet was derived from hieroglyphs and was greatly simplified.) Stargate is an attack on religion in a similar way with the "Golden Compass" and the re-make of "Clash of the Titans." One of the most dangerous ideas put forth by Stargate is that aliens from outer space built the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Egypt was not the first civilization. Civilizations emerged in ancient Iraq hundreds of years earlier than Egypt. (The idea that ancient Egypt was the earliest human civilization is also a false perception about ancient Egypt among the general public.) Ancient Egyptian civilization emerged around the year 3100 B.C. We know that Khufu (or "Cheops") built the great pyramid. Also, it took the ancient Egyptians several failed attempts before they perfected the art of pyramid building. The first pyramid was the "Step" Pyramid built by Pharaoh Djozer at Saqqara. (Apparently, the word "Pharaoh" wasn't used in the Egyptian language until the New Kingdom period. I decided to use it in my story because regardless of when it was used in Egypt, it is also an English word and carries a meaning in the English language that I thought would help with understanding. Another anachronism in certain Egyptian myths about Horus is the use of horses. I left out horses in this story because the ancient Egyptians didn't start using horses until some time around the Hyksos period.) The problem with the "Mummy" movies is that it incorrectly represents ancient Egyptian religion. Take for instance the Scarab. In ancient Egyptian Religion the Scarab, or dung beetle, was a symbol of resurrection and continual life. In the Mummy movies the Scarabs are flesh eating monstrosities. So, in the film, the Scarab is a horrific image of a ghastly death-while to the ancient Egyptians it was a symbol for the hope of a new life. In the "Mummy Returns" Anubis is depicted as a god of evil and of death. To the Egyptians Anubis was not viewed as an evil god. He presided over the mummification process and stood in judgment with the god Osiris as they judged the souls of the departed. In the "Mummy Returns" Anubis appears with the character of the Egyptian god "Seth," as a god of death, evil and destruction. This does not accurately reflect what the ancient Egyptians believed about their gods. I think the movie should have called the evil god Seth and not Anubis. Both Stargate and "The Mummy" movies distort what the ancient Egyptians actually believed. (Both movies do have dialogue in ancient Egyptian as does the movie "Immortal." You can also attend a Coptic Christian church service to hear ancient Egyptian being spoken.) Also, the Egyptians were not "black." Just because Egypt is in the continent of Africa, it doesn't mean that the Egyptians were "black" Africans. Today's Egyptians, especially Coptic Christians, are the direct descendents of the ancient Egyptians. They may have dark complexions but they are not "black." (I have lived in Egypt. I have seen very light skinned Egyptians. Egyptians with red hair and blond hair who were full blooded Egyptians. That may be rare in Egypt-but these people are full blooded Egyptians.) Egyptian art does show skin tone. The Egyptians did depict "black" Africans in their art. To the Egyptians these were a foreign people. The bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti shows her as a light skinned woman with Caucasian features. Often in Egyptian art men are depicted with a reddish hue (showing that they were tanned by the sun in their being outdoorsmen) and women are depicted with a light yellow hue because they abode indoors away from the sun. Some Egyptians did have dark skin and some "Negro" features but they were not "black." It seems that the ancient Egyptians were racially diverse. Race wasn't important to the ancient Egyptians. I hope that America can reach that high level of civilization some day. I find it disturbing that certain people try to falsify and misappropriate history in order to further a racist agenda. Certain black Africans did settle in Egypt. An example includes the Madjai, who were a type of elite security force. In Nubia and Kush there were black African cultures that were totally Egyptianized. They wore Egyptian clothing and worshiped Egyptian gods but their territory was outside of historic Egypt. The 25th Dynasty of Pharaohs were Africans who conquered Egypt and established their rule over it. Another inaccuracy in how Egypt is presented in movies, in Stargate, The Mummy and even movies such as Charlton Heston's "The Ten Commandments." Usually, Egyptian Temples are portrayed as plain stone buildings. Actually, the Temples were painted with vibrant and dazzling colors. What concerns me is the risk of false ideas impeding the advancement of knowledge. The ancient Greeks incorrectly stated that hieroglyphs were not alphabetic but depicted concepts and ideas with symbols. This fraudulent information set back the decipherment of hieroglyphs many years. Bad research is also a problem. This is seen in the flawed genetic research into the KV55 mummy released in 2010. This mummy is the remains of a man in his twenties. It cannot be Akhenaten as was suggested. I want to see solid research that provides accurate information so that I can understand the Egyptians better. My re-telling of the story of the Ennead is not the authoritative text. (In reality, there was no one authorized text.) The authoritative texts are the original source texts that have survived from antiquity.
Cast of Characters
Atum (Atem): His name means "The Complete One" or "The All." He was believed to be the ultimate creator of the Universe.
Shu (Schu): The firstborn son of Atum. He is the god of the air. He formed the vault of heaven by separating his children Geb and Nut. He ruled as King for 700 years until Geb took his thrown and captured Tefnut.
Tefnut (Tefenet): The goddess of moisture and consort of Shu. She had a feline appearance. She was captured and raped by Geb. Later, she journeyed into the deserts. There Shu searched for her and brought her out and back into the presence of Ra.
Geb (Gebeb): Geb is the god of the earth. (To the Egyptians, the earth was Geb.)In certain myths, Geb is angry with Shu because he has separated him from his beloved. In revenge, he takes Tefnut from his father and either rapes her or names her as his chief queen. Osiris comes to seize power from his father, Geb. However, Geb retains his ultimate power over earth and Osiris rules under his auspices. He leads the forces of Egypt against an attack by the children of Apophis. When the divine counsel is called, it is Geb who presides over it.
Nut (Nout): The goddess of the heavens and the sister and lover of Geb.
Osiris (Usir): Osiris is a vegetation and fertility god as well as being the Lord of the Afterlife.
Isis (Usat) : The sister-wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. She represented the ideal wife and mother to the ancient Egyptians.
Seth (Set): Seth has the head of a beast. Scholars haven't decided what sort of animal this was. Is the head of Seth a pig, donkey, aardvark, dog or ant-eater or perhaps a strange combination of two or more of these animals? Or maybe the Seth animal is an animal that is now extinct. It has been decided that the Seth creature is most likely a mythological creature. Seth was god of the desert and of storms. In a later period he became a god of chaos.
Nephtys( Nebet-hut): "Mistress of the mansion." She was the unwilling partner of Seth. She is the sister of Osiris, Isis and Seth. She associates with Isis and Osiris.
The Seth Animal
Other Egyptian Gods
Khnum (Chnum): The ram headed creator of mankind.
(Hapy): A god of the Nile inundation. (Not to be confused with the son of Horus with the same name.)
(Hor): Sky god and model king. As a child called Harpocrates (Hor pa Khered in Egyptian) meaning Horus the child in Greek. Also known as Harsiese, meaning, Horus, son of Isis and Harendotes, Horus, avenger of his father. The Pharaoh was believed to be an earthly incarnation of Horus.
Horsomtus (Hor-sema-tawy): Horus the Younger. The son of Horus and Hathor.
(Hwt-Hur): The "House of Horus," Hathor was the goddess of love, sex, sensuality, and motherhood.
Ra (Re): The Sun god. Usually merged with another god such as Atum or Amen.
Thoth (Djehuty): The scribe of the Ennead and the inventor of writing. He appears in two forms, that of an ibis and that of a baboon.
Neith (Neit): A warrior goddess. In certain other traditions she is a creator goddess.
(Serqet, Selket, Selkis): The scorpion goddess.
Renenutet (Renenet, Ernutet): Serpent goddess and goddess of the nurturing mothers.
Sekmet (Sakhmet): Lioness headed goddess of wrath.
(Khons): A moon god.
The Four Sons of Horus: The four sons of Horus and Isis include the baboon headed Hapy, the jackal headed Duamutef, the human headed Imsety, and the hawk headed Qebehsenuef. These four sons of Horus were the guardians of the mummified internal organs.
For additional information:
Richard H. Wilkenson The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (Thames and Hudson, London 2003)
Geraldine Pinch Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses and Traditions of Ancient Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2002)
I hope that my treatment of the story of the Ennead sends you, the reader, out on an adventure of learning. Original source accounts have been published and are available.
Victor H. Matthews and Don C. Benjamin Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East (Paulist Press, New York, 1997)
John H. Walton Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2006)
James K. Hoffmeier Israel in Egypt and Ancient Israel in Sinai
Joyce Tyldesley The Egyptian Trilogy:
Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Ramesses the Great
Geraldine Pinch Magic in Ancient Egypt (University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas 2006)
David P. Silverman, Ed. Ancient Egypt (Oxford University Press, 1997)
Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Reference to the Myths, Religions, Pyramids and Temples of the Land of the Pharaohs (Barnes and Noble, New York, 2007)
William Kelly Simpson, Ed. The Literature of Ancient Egypt (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2003)
Peter A. Clayton Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign by Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt (Thames and Hudson, LTD., London, 1994)
Aiden Dodson The Hieroglyphs of Ancient Egypt (Barnes and Noble, New York, 2001)
Barry Kemp and Simon Critchly How to Read the Egyptian Book of the Dead (WW Norton & Company 2008)
Craig B. Smith How the Great Pyramid was Built (Smithsonian Books 2004)
Barbara Mertz Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt (William Murrow, 2008)
Rosalie David Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt (Penguin 2003)
Rosalie David Handbook to Live in Ancient Egypt (Facts of File, Inc. 2003)
Bob Brier and Hoyt Hobbs Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians 2nd Edition (Greenwood Press, 2008)
Lewis Spence Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends (Barnes and Noble, 2005)
Ra: The Path of the Sun God: A Vision of Ancient Egypt an animated film by Lesley Keen
Pyramid hosted by David Macaulay
The Mystery of Egypt hosted by Omar Sharif
Building the Great Pyramid by BBC
Ancient Egyptians narrated by Jeremy Sisto featuring The Battle of Megiddo, Tomb Robbers, The Priests of Amen and The Apis Bull
Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World BBC (This DVD features dramatizations of the lives of Howard Carter, Giavanni Belzoni and Champollion. I found the program about Champollion a very offensive and hateful attack on Christianity. It is a disturbing attempt to create a hostile climate of hatred and intolerance against Christians. The other videos in this set are recommended including The Nile: Crocodiles and Kings.)
Philipp Glass Akhnaten
The Coptic Mass
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I began working on this project when I was in Iraq in 2009 and 2010 serving as a chaplain in the United States Army. I had done a Bible study based upon my book on the life of Christ entitled Christ the Man. After completing the Bible study on the life of the Messiah, I wanted to begin a study on Moses. I wanted to explore the Egyptian cultural background to the Exodus story. According to the Bible, while the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, they worshiped the gods of Egypt (Joshua 24:14, Ezekiel 20:7-8). They had no knowledge of the name of God (Exodus 3:13-14, 6:2-3). God first revealed himself to the Israelites in Egypt through Moses (Exodus 4:30-31). In many places in the Bible it is stated that God (Yahweh or "Jehovah") first revealed himself to Israel when they were slaves in Egypt (1 Samuel 2:27, Ezekiel 20:5, Hosea 11:1, 12:9, 13:4). Archeologists have discovered a significant amount of evidence that proves that there was a large minority of Semitic people who lived in ancient Egypt. I believe the Hebrews were among this population of Semites in Egypt. Since there were so many Semites in Egypt, not only did these Semites worship the gods of Egypt (as the Bible says the Hebrews did) the Egyptians worshiped the gods of the Semites. Egyptians worshiped the Semitic gods Baal, Hauron and Reshep and the goddesses Anat, Astarte, Baalat and Qadesh. (Seth was often identified with the Semitic god Baal.) I believe that knowing about cultures and beliefs of biblical times deepens our understanding of the Scriptures.
I believe that the theme of the story of the Ennead is that love is stronger than death. We find a similar statement in the Bible:
Set me as seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm, for love is strong as death, and jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are the coals of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it. Song of Solomon 8:6-7
(In the Hebrew the phrase "a most vehement flame" could also be translated as "the very flame of Yah" meaning the Lord God Yahweh.)
This book is dedicated to the loving memory of my dear friend Bobbi Jo Anne.
I have been deployed to Iraq twice (the first time as a combatant) and have traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. I have lived with the Coptic Christians in Egypt and with Assyrian Christians in Syria. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from Sam Houston State University and I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master's of Divinity. I have written several books on Aramaic as the language of Jesus Christ, who is my Lord and Savior. I have also written and illustrated a comic book series about the Hanukkah story and the Battle of Tours called "The Hammer of God" (available from www.comixpress.com). The Ennead is part of my extensive Bible study on Moses. "The Art of the Ennead" featuring my full color illustrations is also available.
Contact me at www.youtube.com/aramaic12 or PO Box 882, Shepherd TX, 77371