trees and plants are verdant,
birds fly from their
lift up their wings in praise of Aten.
Animals frisk upon their
winged things fly and
coming to life with
the rising of Aten.
Papyrus barque sail upstream and
papyrus barque sail
rises thoroughfares open.
Before the face of Aten
up from the river,
reach the green ocean.
places the male seed in
Aten quickens the Son in the
soothing him so that he shall not cry.
in the womb Aten is his
Aten gives breath to all Aten's
opening the mouth of the
and giving him nourishment.
from Pharaoh Akhenaten's 'Hymn to Aten'
Egypt had one
river of significance, the Nile, and small villages grew up alongside its
Each of these villages manifested a mythology, but these
mythologies did not create
tensions among the villages.
The Hermopolis theological system
declared that in the beginning there was nothing but immense Chaos, Nun -
an ocean of shapeless magma
containing the potential for life surrounded by
primordial watery abyss of
Within this Chaos
consciousness eternally existed.
This Heliopolitan System, the
Ogdoad, morphed gods until
eight gods had sprung forth from within the Chaos.
Four males came
wearing the heads of toads, and the four females came wearing the heads of
They form the pairs of:
Nun and Naunet (primordial
matter and ether);
Kuk and Kauket (illimitable and boundless);
Huh and Hauhet (darkness and obscurity);
Amon and Amaunet
(hidden and concealed ones).
These eight bring forth Ra, the
The Memphite theology presents the teachings
of Menes, who establishes a new capital at Memphis.
theology all local and former mythological traditions are brought to their
theological goal in the god Ptah,
architect of material
Creation was first a spiritual and intellectual activity,
facilitated by the divine heart (emotion) and
tongue (speech/word) of
Creation became a strenuous physical activity carried out by Ptah,
the Father of the Sun, who produced the Ennead from his a fragment of
heart, sliver of tongue and seed.
Ptah had two children,
Shu and Tefnut.
Shu and Tefnut had two children, Geb and
days before Ptah left Earth, before he had grown old, great wisdom predicted if
the goddess Nut bore children, one of them would end his reign among
So Ptah laid a
curse upon Nut - that she should not be able to bear any child upon any day
during the year.
with Sorrow, Nut went to Thoth, the thrice-great god of
wisdom/magic/learning, architect of Reality.
Thoth knew the curse of
Ptah, once spoken, could never be recalled, but in his wisdom he found a way to
Thoth went to Khonsu, the Moon, and challenged him to a
contest of draughts.
Game after game they play
and Thoth always won.
The stakes grew higher and higher.
wagered his own light and lost.
Khonsu could play no more.
Then Thoth the thrice-great in
wisdom/magic/learning gathered up the light and made five extra days between
the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.
Since his match
with Thoth, Khonsu the Moon has not enough light to shine throughout the month,
but dwindles into darkness and then grows to full glory again; for he had lost
the light needed to make five whole days.
On the first of these five new
days Osiris (grandson of the Sun), the eldest son of Nut, is born.
the 2nd day the 2nd son of Nut, Horus (Day), came.
On the 3rd day the 3rd
son of Nut is born, Seth (Night).
On the fourth
Isis saw the light.
Nephthys was born on the night
of the fifth.
In this way the unbroken curse of Ptah was defeated:
the days the children of Nut were born belonged to no year.
her craft, learned the secret name of Ptah leaving Osiris to become sole ruler
of lands of the Nile.
Osiris reigned on Earth as Ptah had done before
Osiris and Isis found the people savage brutes fighting among
themselves, even killing and eating one another.
It was at this time
Isis discovered barley and
Osiris taught the people
how to plant the seeds in the yearly inundation leaving fertile mud over the
fields; how to tend and water the crops; how to cut the millet when it was
ripe; how to thresh the grain on the threshing floors, dry it and grind it to
flour and make it into bread.
Osiris then showed them how to plant vines
and make wine from grapes; they knew already how to
brew beer out of the
barley as their
grain had gotten wet before.
understanding the difference between death and awakening into life can be
played out only if we maintain an active role in the continuing struggle
between preconception and
So rapidly are fleeting moments of clarity lost by
habitual preoccupation that continual reminders are needed.
people of Egypt had learned to make bread and cut only the flesh of the dead animals Osiris
went on to teach them Law, how to live peacefully together by delighting
themselves with art,
soon as Egypt was filled with contentment, Osiris set out across the land to
bring blessings upon other nations.
While Osiris was away he left Isis
to rule over the land, which she did both wisely and well in his absence.
Seth envied Osiris, jealous of his
relation with Isis.
Seth's desire to kill Osiris and rule in his
When Osiris returned Seth was the first to welcome him and
kneel in reverence before "good Pharaoh Osiris".
Seth chalked the
height of Osiris on the temple floor to obtain the exact measurements of the
body of Osiris.
Seth had a beautiful chest crafted that fit only Osiris.
It was fashioned of the rare costly woods: cedar from
Lebanon, ebony from Punt at
the south end of the Red Sea for only soft and useless palm grows in
Seth gave a great
feast in honor of Osiris.
When Osiris was glad with feasting and
song the chest was brought in. All were amazed at its exquisite beauty.
Osiris marveled at the rare cedar inlaid with ebony and ivory, with
less rare gold and silver, painted inside with brilliantly colored figures of
gods in animal forms.
Osiris envied its possessor.
"I will give
this chest to whosoever fits!" cried Seth.
"Let me try," said Osiris,
and he laid down in the chest!
"It is yours indeed, and shall be so
forever!" hissed Seth as he banged down the lid and
sealed it with molten
Seth took the chest with Osiris and cast it in the Nile.
As the chest floated toward the great green sea it became hung in the
reeds of an island in the marshes of the delta.
Seth came hunting by
night wild boars with his dogs.
By the light of the moon he saw the
chest of cedar wood inlaid with ebony
and ivory, with gold and silver.
At the sight anger overcame him in a
red cloud, Seth flew into a rage and rendered like a panther of the south.
Seth tore open the chest, took the body of Osiris, and chopped it into
pieces scattering them up and down the Nile so that the crocodiles might eat
Isis missing Osiris begin to search for him.
husband Seth and joined her sister, Isis.
Anubis, the son of Osiris and
Nephthys, took the form of a jackal, assisted in the search roaming along the
As Isis searched along the Nile and among the streams of the
delta she made her way in a boat made of papyrus.
The crocodiles, in
their reverence for the goddess, touched neither the rent pieces of Osiris nor
Afterwards anyone who sails the Nile in
a boat made of papyrus is safe from crocodiles, for they
think it is Isis still questing after the pieces of her husband's body.
Isis gathered the pieces together, rejoined them by magic, caused the
body to be embalmed and hidden away in a tomb of which she alone knew.
After this the spirit of Osiris passed into Amenti to rule over the
dead until the last great battle, when Horus would slay Seth and Osiris return
Horus grew in this world the
spirit of Osiris visited him often and taught him all that
a great warrior
should know - how to fight Seth in both body and spirit - a final battle
between good and evil.
When Osiris knew that the time had come for Horus
to declare war on Seth he bade him gather together a great army and sail up the
Nile to attack him in the desert.
This theological system began in the
Delta, at Heliopolis not far from the head of the Delta.
It was accepted
because Amun, Ra, Amun-Ra, or
Ptah could easily be made the chief god in any local area.
local goddess could become his consort, which eventually increased the Egyptian
the Babylonian, added gods of local surrounding tribes just as the Egyptians
Later, following the same model of empire building
the Roman Catholics
added a pantheon of Saints.
The acceptance of the sun god, Amum/Ra,
fit the mindset of tribes living along the Nile as Amum/Ra was seen everday in
a papyrus barque crossing the ocean of sky.
Apollo, Greek sun god, drove
his chariot across the sky.
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religion based on reason which requires no leap of faith, accepts no
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individual is encouraged to develop a personal relation with the Creator and
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