Part One -Annunciation "Magic" of Ancient Egypt
From my reading and understanding (not comprehensive by any means), Egyptian theology actually paralleled Christian concepts which would later develop. Long before the heretic king, Akhenaton, who attempted to change Egypt's polytheistic viewpoint to emphasis on the one god, that of the sun = the Aten, the region of Memphis broke through with a theology of its own. The "Memphite Theology" called upon the creative forces of nature much akin to the highly skilled artists/architects/artisans of ancient Egypt. Their chief god's name was Ptah, and he is considered Father-god to all subsequent deities.
Ptah's power lay in the power of the spoken word. Some sources compare his power of creation with the Hebrew book of Genesis = "Let there be light and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). This power is called by scholars "annunciation". In John 1:1,2 we find the same annunciation "magic" if you will = "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Ptah put the Word into creative action.
Atum is the term the Memphite theologians used to describe the raw material of creation whereas Ennead was similar in function to the potter's hands in forming the angles and curves of an artistic piece. Ptah's tongue articulated the magic words pushing the sound and the glory of creation between his teeth into the heavens and earth. Through Ptah's heart, pulses the spirit of the gods followed by mankind and the lesser but not less important life forms. Ptah's heart thinks the Father-god's divine thoughts, while his tongue expresses the forms he wishes to create. All identifying features and life processes were then built with Atum, the material of creation, sculpted with god-like meticulousness by Ennead, interpreter of Ptah. Formation in the god's mind, his ideation of what he would create and its purpose is termed as "perception" and Ptah's articulation, the Word, which enters the world by divine will as creative speech, is "annunciation". Though not unique to the ancient world, within Egyptian theology, these ideas remain exclusive to Memphis.
The Greeks had similar creation myths which scholars believe to be partly translatable into early Christian mythos.
Part Two: Hathor, protectress of women
In our Mystical Christianity lessons, much emphasis is given to the feminine side of Christed individuals. In researching various sources for this concluding essay, I came upon Hathor who figured prominently as the goddess of joy and feminine love. She is depicted at various times in ancient Egypt as both the wife and mother of the god, Horus. Since both Horus and Hathor were sky-deities, they are usually pictured with either solar disks (Horus-a sun god) or in Horus' case, a falcon head which kept careful watch on the activities of humankind. Hathor, however, had the distinction of being seen in either the role as wife or mother, wearing the countenance of several "grounded" animals: the cow who nourished pharaohs and children (and hid Horus every evening in her breast as the sun set),a ewe, and during playful moments could assume the head dress of male animals as well. Her symbol or fetish was the sistern, a musical instrument which had the power to soothe and drive away evil spirits. Hathor often entertained herself with dance and music, wine and wild love-making. In the later era of the great Egyptian dynasties, Hathor became associated with the journey of the dead. This became so wide-spread that a dead person, previously known as an "Osiris", became supplanted in title to a "Hathor".
Hathor, at this period of time, was known also as the "Lady of the Sycamores". The story is told that the goddess hid in a grove of these trees at the edge of the desert to startle, then welcome, the newly dead and assist in guiding them on their final journey. She was also known to hold the ladder which the dead would climb on their path to Paradise. Hathor was present frequently in funeral processions in various roles as protectress of the deceased's living children, a symbol of new beginnings which for the Egyptians was very true, and venerated along with her husband (or whatever relation that region attributed to her) Horus. Images or statuary of both were present during the processions and in their shared sanctuaries.
At Dendera, large celebrations were held in honor of Hathor where her most famous sanctuary was located. Even worship of her husband, Horus, could not eclipse the participant's joy at these festivals where Hathor was the center of attention. Her birthday was New Years which added to the occasion. Songs were sung and composed and wine was abundant. Party-goers left happy and intoxicated.
Various stories are told concerning Hathor. The most famous is about the time Hathor disguised herself as the Eye of Ra. She was about to use the power of Ra's Eye to destroy the human race when Ra himself intervened by pouring beer (blood red in color) over the field where her deadly vision was fixed. Hathor saw herself reflected in the liquid and then with a godly thirst, drank all the beer. She became so inebriated that she forgot about her murderous mission and mankind was spared.
Worship of Hathor was wide-spread and she was known by various titles according to region. In Phoenicia, she was called "the Lady of Byblos"; in Somaliland, her name was "Mistress of the Land of Punt.." In the Sinai, her title was "Mistress of the Land of Mefket".
EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY by Paul Hamlyn, Westbrook House, Fulham Broadway, London, Copyright 1965
WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE ON THE BANKS OF THE NILE: Egypt 3050-30 B.C .by the Editors of Time-Life Books, Alexandria, VA, USA, Copyright 1990
ANCIENT EGYPT, General Editor David P. Silverman, Oxford University Press, New York & London, Copyright 1997
TIMEFRAME 1500-600 B.C.,: Barbarian Tides, by the Editors of Time-Life Books, Alexandria, VA, Copyright 1987
Rev. Judith Lichtenberger
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