Friday, June 27, 2008

The Egyptian Enneads (The Nine)

I'm reading the Egyptian Book of Life and Death by Joann Fletcher and decided to let you share in the goodies. Because I seem not to be reading mythology, but some crazy family soap opera. *cough Stargate SG1's Goa'Uld cough*

Order out of Chaos

The most important Egyptian creator diety was Atum, which means "the all" or "complete one". He is portrayed as both a creator and father to the king in the Pyramid texts. His cult centered in the city of Heliopolis (city of the Sun) and in the Heliopolitan Ennead cosmogony established in the sixth dynasty, he was considered to be the first god, having created himself, sitting on a mound (benben) (or identified with the mound itself), from the primordial waters (Nu).
He is usually depicted as a man wearing either the royal head-cloth or the dual white and red (templar, manchester united :p) crown of Upper Egypt, and Lower Egypt, reinforcing his connection with kingship. Sometimes he also is shown as a serpent, the form which he returns to at the end of the creative cycle and also occasionally as a mongoose, lion, bull, lizard, or ape.

Atum was an aspect of Ra, the Sun god. (At sunrise he was the young boy Khepri, at noon the falcon-headed man Harakhty, and at sunset the elder Atum: Atum-Ra.)

Atum was the creator god of the Enneads:
In the beginning Atum rose silently on Nu, the dark waters of chaos, on top of the ancient mound. "The one that existed from himself" contained the universel life power and could create life from his own force, though the Pyramid texts give 2 versions of how that miracle took place.

In the first, Atum took his phallus in his hand, ejaculated and birthed the twin gods Shu and Tefnut, gods of air and moisture. In the other he sneezed out (ha-)Shu and spit out Tefnut. And so the one became three. He embraced them so his Ka (soul) would be in them. (Does that mean he raped them? It's possible in this family :p)

With the power of the creator they could have intercourse in the human way and give birth to children themselves. (Let the inbreeding begin! And we're off! - who'd have known all that inbreeding would culminate into something like George W. Bush)

Seven of nine
members of the Heliopolitan Ennead, as represented in the judgement scene on the Papyrus of Ani. From right to left: Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut and sitting next to each other, Isis and Nephthys.

Tefnut (humping her brother Shu) became the mother of the earth god Geb and goddess of heaven and sky Nut. Atum places Shu (Air) between Geb (Earth) and Nut (Sky) and thus creates the basic structure of the unvierse.

This old solar legend became interweaved by the Heliopolis priests with the myth of the god Osiris to emphasize his descendance from the Sun God. Before Geb and Nut got seperated, they birthed four children: Osiris, Isis, Nephtys and Seth.

That brought the Creation myth from Heliopolis at Nine gods, the Enneads (from the greek word for Nine). (Also interesting if you followed Secret Sun's Nine posts, check this article at redicecreations, and this one from Atlantean Times, obviously from learning about this creation myth I think the Nine channeling is complete bs, the nine to me seem to be just nine wacky deceiving family members with serious greed and other issues). It was their family fued that brought death to the earth. (more about that later, and in later posts).

After the creation of the Enneads loads of other Egyptian gods and the rest of the Universe followed. Human beings were actually kind of an afterthought: who came into being when the Sun god cried (about as positive as Christian original sin, or atheist meaninglessness, lol). The moment his tears touched the earth, they became humans, a change which is a wordplay on the Egyptian words remyt (tears) and remet (humans). [language, the earliest form of mind control? Another fun belief was that if there was no order on the planet, chaos would conquer and water would pour out of the heavens to destroy the Earth.] As soon as humans were born, they 'brought themselves' on the edge of destruction, depicted in the tombs of Tutanchamun. (remember: the priesthood or 'gods' or bloodline themselves wrote this, not the 'people')

The Sun god ruled the world, an idyllic period (for the gods & their priests probably :p) flowered the earth under his rays, but despite all the good that he brought, the humans began to undermine his authority and conspired against him. Out of anger for this betrayal, the Sun god decided to punish the ungrateful humans. He gathered al the gods in his Solar Palace (don't be late!) to tell them of his plan. They all agreed and decided that the "Eye of Ra" - daughter of the Sun god and the most frightening god had to pass judgement. (Judgement Day came quick! When the pesky humans wouldn't worship these charlatans anymore. - Btw nevermind when she came in :p Maybe we'll see that later.)

The eye of Ra is usually the beautiful goddess Hathor. She is usually depicted as the nurturing mother Cow goddess. She could also transform herself into a verocious force of punishment and destruction. Then she became the lionness Goddess Sekhmet (the powerful one); Hathor-Sekhmet was also known as the "lady of drunkenness" - remember that for later in this post. Sekhmet was seen as a powerful warrior goddess, it was her who was seen as the Avenger of Wrongs, and the Scarlet Lady, a reference to blood, as the one with bloodlust. She also was seen as a special goddess for women, ruling over menstruation. (In other words, the family decided to let the crazy bitch of the family - who was on her period at the time even - take care of the pesky humans :p I'm not making this up here, just deducing folks :p)

The 'treacherous' humans ran for their lives and hid in the desert, but the lionness goddess traced them and enjoyed their massacre, wading through their blood. As one papyrus recounts: "When the Eye of Ra appears to you, it devours you, it punishes you."

The terrible suffering that he had committed touched the Sun god deeply (Sure...) and he ended the slaughter before all of humanity was gone ("You idiots, you almost got 'yourselves' all killed!"). At night, when the Eye slept, Ra ordered his servants to go to Aswan in Southern-Egypt "as quick as shadows" and find lots of red Ochre. This was brought to the high priest of the Sun god (oeh the high priest! In charge of alcohol! :p) in Heliopolis and seven thousand pitchers of beer were added to it. Just before sunrise the powerful red liquid was poured over the land up until a height of "3 freaking palm trees."

The goddess awakened, saw what to her was a lake of human blood and started drinking right away (Crazy bitch!). She got so drunk so fast that she forgot her plans to wipe out humanity and returned to the palace of her father to sleep out. And thus humanity was saved.

What a twisted tale of a crazy
family that used deception - and possibly their alien weaponry, if they were alien and/or extradimensional. Or were they just a family that was great at mere deception? - to control the people of this planet. Who were quickly tired of them and tried to rise up, and then got slaughtered, and the only way to stop the crazy bitch of the family who got trusted with all the killing, was to get her drunk, not regular drunk but HUGE LAKE OF ALCOHOLIC BLOOD drunk. The 'lady' of drunkenness!

Still, Ra was saddened about humanity's betrayal. (Poor fella, you try to subjugate a planet and its people aren't satisfied) Exhausted by the ungrateful job to rule Earth, he retreated to the Heavens, with help of his son Shu and granddaughter Nut, the air and firmament. (I guess that meant they helped the old geezer to his coffin, or spaceship, or something). But he didn't leave the humans to their fates completely and named the wise god Toth, "writer of the Enneads", to their keeper and teacher. And on top of that left Hathor/Sekhmet/The Eye of Ra/Horus right here. Humanity has been grateful ever since, lol.
[update: holy crap I ran over Toth after typing this today (the bird headed god), I didn't recognize the bird on the road, I was going "is that a bottle? or a bag? or *BANG + feathers* oh it's a bird, holy crap I killed Toth :p twas an accident!]

More to come from the Egyptian creation myth Soap Opera.
In case you missed the post, this Secret Rulers of the World documentary is excellent and also touches on Egypt. Also check out this post at Daria's blog, for this cool little synch: "Fans at Comic-Con will see game play footage from Stargate Worlds, the MMORPG where you discover thriving alien worlds, explore ancient civilizations … and tell them all the things they are doing wrong."

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