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Egyptian Book of the Celestial Cow

Egyptian Book of the Celestial Cow


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The Book of the Celestial Cow is one of the classic pieces of Egyptian funerary texts from the New Kingdom - the story of Re, Hathor, and the near destruction of humanity by the Eye of Re (Hathor-Sekhmet).


The Infinite Ogdoad: The Creation Pantheon of Ancient Egypt and Predecessor Gods of the Old Kingdom

The Ogdoad, also called the Hehu or Infinites, were the celestial rulers of a cosmic age. Considered to have come long before the Egyptian religious system currently recognized, the Ogdoad were concerned with the preservation and flourishing of the celestial world, and later—as well as indirectly—the formation of the human race.

Though their power among the Egyptian people was most widely recognized between 2686 – 2134 BCE—in the Old Kingdom settlement of Hermopolis (so named by the Greeks as they equated Thoth with messenger god Hermes)—traces of their pantheon permeated down to the next set of gods, correlating the formation of the human race with the hands of the Ogdoad.

As stated above, the Ogdoad predate the more commonly known Egyptian gods, such as Osiris, his sister wife Isis, and the emissary of the underworld, Anubis. Considered to have come into creation before the world did, the Ogdoad consist of four couples—eight individual deities—who balance one another and the nature of the cosmos. Each pair correlated with one of the primary elements of the universe in the Egyptian belief system, i.e., water, air, light, and time.

In the early Christian era, the idea of Ogdoad also appears in Gnostic belief. The planetary spheres were thought to be planes of existence in between the earth and the heavenly regions. ( Public Domain )

In the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, it was believed Nu and Naunet were responsible for the development and continued renewal of the primordial waters of the universe. Amun and Amaunet were the care takers of air, while Kuk and Kauket were the harbingers of darkness. And finally, Huh and Hauhet, the last pair, were weighted with the responsibility of maintaining eternity and infinity. Each first name in these sets is the male avatar, while the second is the female, thereby creating an equal balance of genders as well.

Detail, Relief in the temple of Hathor at Dendera showing the four couples of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis. ( CC BY 3.0 )

These celestial couples existed before the creation of man, and were considered by the ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom to have been directly responsible for the creation of the new world as well as its upkeep. However, because of the distance between the Old Kingdom and the present, the record of their time as creators of the universe is inconsistent and contradictory—as most ancient tales are.

There are at minimum three different views from the Egyptians that succeeded the time of the Ogdoad as to how the world as they knew it came into creation. The first was that the Ogdoad created an egg from which the world was born. It was considered to be invisible at the time, because before creation there was no sun, until the day that it hatched when from it exuded the brilliant golden light that they had been waiting for. This form of the sun was called Ra, one of the only Egyptian deities to have surpassed the laws of time to be accepted by both the followers of the Ogdoad and the later religion, and thus the world was born.

Artistic interpretation of the World Egg of the Ogdoad. (Pallina60Loon/ CC BY 2.0 )

Another belief is that the universe was created from a lotus flower that "rose from the Sea of the Two Knives". Within the petals was the same sun god as mentioned above, Ra, who then forged the cosmos.

And finally, the third opinion begins in the same way—a lotus flower rising from the sea—however, within the flower was not Ra but one of the sacred scarab beetles representing the sun. This beetle then transformed into a boy whose tears made humanity, and went by the name Nefertum ("young Amun").

What these tales all have in common, besides the creation of the world through some sort of hatching, is the persistence of one god from the later Egyptian religion planting his roots in the Ogdoad. It makes perfect sense from a secular standpoint, as new religions often crop up through some deity linking the two together. However, all three versions mention the sun god Ra, as the scarab beetles were representative of the rising sun. The Ogdoad, then, were considered primarily responsible for creating the universe whether they birthed an egg or nursed the lotus flower, the "credit" of the future of the Egyptians handed off to their succeeding "son" Ra after the completion of their "Golden Age."

Ra is the sun-god of Heliopolis in ancient Egypt. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Though the Ogdoad eventually died out as the official pantheon in ancient Egypt, their names lived on in oral and written legends. It is believed that they failed to maintain the balance of the universe through their failure to maintain their own balance, thus Ra came into being to salvage what they forged. The Ogdoad, of Infinites, continued to be acknowledged as Osiris' and his pantheon's predecessors, and it was believed for a time that the Ogdoad themselves continued to thrive in the Underworld, keeping the rivers of the Nile flowing and the sun forever rising.

Featured image: Ogdoad - The Place of Truth. Relief at Deir el Medina. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )


Egyptian Book of the Celestial Cow - History

The Book of :
The Hidden Chamber
ca. 1426 BCE
or :
the Twelve Hours of the Night
and
the Midnight Mystery

AMDUAT

Book of What is in the Duat

Book of the Hidden Chamber - Sixth Hour
The five-headed serpent "Tail-in-Mouth" :
"the mysterious image of the Duat, unknown and unseen"
Tomb of Pharaoh Tuthmosis III (ca. 1479 - 1426 BCE)

This book is the pinnacle of Ancient Egyptian state-funded research into the workings of the netherworld or "Duat" ("dwAt", netherworld, "Unterwelt", "monde inférieur" or Rilke's "Weltinnenraum"). The Duat is the inner (dream) world, existing in parallel with the Earth (of the living) and with the skies (of the justified and the deities). It is before life and after death. This realm is entered by everybody during the hours of sleep and at death. It is the home of the deities and the spirits (of the noble, justified ancestors) in the retinue of Osiris . In a mysterious way, the undifferentiated inertness of the primordial waters runs through it (cf. the water hole filled with Nun of the 6th Hour). In Nun, the autogenetic power floats .

Atum is the "soul of Nun" and hence the capacity to self-create eternal repetition and therewith the forces of the universe (Ennead), creation (Horus, Re) and its order (Maat). At midnight, as a result of his union with the mummy of Osiris, Re taps into Atum's precreational power by projecting himself out of the created order and returning regenerated & rejuvenated.

The Amduat (ca. 1426 BCE), the book of what is "in the Duat", divides the nocturnal journey of Re into 12 Hours, starting at dusk. The presence of this remarkable book, with its unseen fusion of visual and textual meanings, also underlines the accessability of the Duat by those still living on Earth. Although found in royal tombs and belonging to the privilege of the divine king, these texts are not exclusively funerary, but speak of a this-life ritual of rejuvenation (regeneration - cf. Osiris) & (royal ?) illumination (Re).

Repeatedly, the Amduat states :

"It is good for the dead to have this knowledge, but also for a person on Earth a remedy - a million times proven !"

The first speculations on record go back to the Middle Kingdom (ca. 1938 - 1759 BCE), if not earlier (First Intermediate Period). Even in the Old Kingdom, the movement of the "sah" (the mummy), from sarcophagus (buria-chamber or "Duat") to the transfigurating horizon (antechamber or "Akhet"), and from there to the circumpolar stars as a spirit (or "Akh"), reflects complex preoccupations with ecstatic & postmortal conditions.

In the Pyramid texts of Unas , the earliest, complete and authorative corpus of Heliopolitanism, the Osirian rebirth and Solar illumination of the divine king are described. It is clear ascension to Re is impossible without passing through the kingdom of Osiris.

In the Old Kingdom, this journey was the privilege of the divine king. Indeed, in this period of Ancient Egyptian history, his position was still absolute. But after the Middle Kingdom, when personal responsibility (everybody had a Ba) & the role of the deities (in particular Re) became more important than the presence of Pharaoh, the journey had to be undertaken by Re himself.

Treatise of the Hidden Chamber,
the positions of the Ba-souls,
the gods,
the shadows,
the Akh-spirits,
and what is done.

The beginning is the horn of the West,
the gate of the western horizon,
the end is thick darkness,
the gate of the western horizon.

To know the Ba-souls of the Duat,
to know what is done,
to know their spiritualization for Re,
to know the secret Ba-souls,
to know what is in the hours and their gods,
to know what he calls to them,
to know the gates
and the ways upon which
the great god passes,
to know the courses of the hours
and their gods,
to know the flourishing and the annihilated.

In the first six Hours of the journey, the differentiation of conscious awareness (represented by the soul of Re), started at noon, ends with depletion. At midnight, a conjunction happens between this Solar awareness and the divine substrate or ground of consciousness. At this point of singularity, or unity between the soul (Re) and the body ( Osiris ) of consciousness, awareness spontaneously ascends to the ultimate autogenic cause of consciousness (Atum), situated at the beginning of time ("zep tepi"), outside the natural order of the observable universe ( Nun ).


Animal Headed Figures of Ancient Egyptian Gods

Bat
—–
The chief deity of the 7th nome of upper egypt known by sheshet means sistrum.Bat is a very ancient goddess,the early evidence of her dates to the late pre-dynastic period.In the pyramids texts ,she was called “Bat with her two faces”,she seemed to be the original personification of the sistrum.
During the middle kingdom,she was superseded by Hathor.she is depicted with heavy inward curving horns .she was a celestial cow.

Hesat
———-
The earthly cow goddess,the white cow and the one who create all the nourishmenet.Milk was said to be the beer of Hesat,she was depicted as a cow carrying a tray of food on her horns.she was the wife of Menvis bull and the mother of Anubis of Imiut.she was worshipped in the reigon of the modern Atfih.

Mehet weret
—————
The celestial cow,the great flood,the goddess of the waterways and the primeval waters of Nun and the yearly inundation of the Nile.She was also goddess of creation and rebirth in the afterlife and goddess of the necropolis of Thebes.She was depicted lying on a reed mat or as a cow standing in papyrus plants at the foot of the mountian of the west only her head poking out .It seems likely that her original cult was related to the region of Sais .

Ihet
———–
mentioned in chapter 162 of book of the dead,” I`m the Ihet cow,your name is in my mouth and I shall utter it….”.She supposed to have suckled the young sun upon his emergance from the primveal waters.In a second myth,the cow Ihet give birth and suckled the infant Hours in the marshes of north.

Sekhat Hor —————— A local cow goddess in the 3rd nome of lower egypt the modern kom el-hisn in the province of el-behara.Her name means “she who remembers hours “and in the pyramid text,she suckles him.she is usually depicted as a cow either standing or lying with a feather often appears between her horns. she was like HEAST The provider of the milk offered by the king in rituals.One of the texts from the temple of DANDRA mentions her role as a nourisher of the king ” life to the good god,the replica of Shu……..created by Renenut, suckled by Skhat Hor “.

Shen tait
————-
Her name means “the widow “,she was closely related to Isis.the early image of her shows her as a girl with long hair holding a child.she was also depicted as a recumbent cow.Her seat of worship was Heliopolis or Abydos .

Hathor
———–
The greatest of all the cows and the 2nd important goddess in ancient egypt next to Isis.she was the chief goddess of the 6th nome of upper egypt.she was the goddess of sky,fertility,motherhood,childbirth,love ,beauty,dance,
music,joy,mistress of turquoise,lady of the green stone and malachite,lady of gold,lady of Iunet,lady of Imentet,lady to the limit”of the univere” and the lady of the southern sycamore.she was the mother and doughter of Ra,mother and wife of HOURS,a wife of Thoth and Sobek and a mother of Ihy.She was associated with several goddessess (over 40).She was worshipped throughtout egypt in Dandara,Thebes,Memphis,Heliopolis
,Hermopolis,Philae,Abu-simbel, Sinai,Edfu,Kom-ombo,Atfih and Qusey
She was also worshipped in Syria,Lebenon and Punt,the Greeks equated her with their own goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite.

– A ll of the these cow-headed goddessess were long horn cows,both of the short horns and the hornless cows never worshipped as goddessesss .
-All of the cows goddessess were associated with God RA and god HORUS as mothers ,wives or doughters.
-four of them were celestial cows,Bat,Mehet weret,Ihet and Hathor.
-Two of them were earthly cows,Hesat and Sekhat hor.
– one of them was closely related to Isis. Shentait.
-It seems likely that Bat was the oldest one of them.
-All of the them were different aspects of Hathor,the most important of all.

Hershef
—————
The local god of Ihnasya el madina, the capital city of the 20th nome of upper Egypt on the west bank of the Nile near Bani suef.Refrences for his cult are mentioned as early as the first dynasty on the palermo stone.He was worshipped as a creator god rising from the Nun.He was the ba of both
OSIRIS and RA,that`s why he wore the atef crown of osiris decorated with the sun-disc of Ra .

Ba or Banebdjed
————————
The original god of Mendes, the capital city of the 16th nome of lower Egypt
the modern Tell el-Rabaa near el-simbellawin in el-manswra.His wife was goddess Hat mehyt the fish goddess.the coffin text suggests that the soul of god osiris took refuge in Mendes when the body was killed by Seth,The
book of the heavenly cow stats that the ba of osiris is the the ram of Mendes.One of Banebdjed epithets was the lord of the sexual pleasure.
A stela from the Ramessum records that the god Ptah took the form of Ba
nebdjed to sleep with a mortal woman,the result was the future phoraoh
Ramses the second.

Andjety
—————
The original local god of the city of Busiris the modern Abusir bana in the 9th
nome of lower Egypt in the eastern Delta.He has a close relationship with the
job of the king which is evident from the references in the pyramid texts.He
was depicted holding two sceptors,wearing high conical crown decorated withTwo feathers like the atef crown of osiris.His cult was replaced by that of osiris.

Kherty
—————-
The local god of letopolis or Khem ,the modern Ausim northwest of cairo,the
capital city of the 2nd nome of lower egypt.He was an earth god act as the guardian god of the royal tombs.In the old kingdom,he was taken as a partner of osiris .

The ram-headed gods with curvy inwords horns
—————————————————————
Amun
————
The god (not the original) of the 4th nome of upper Egypt,originally god of the air and the wind together with his female partner Amunet in Hermopolis
the modern el-ashmonien.In the middle kingdom,he was moved to the 4th nome where his cult was replaced that of Montu and in the new kingdome he became the most powerful god ,considered as the king of all the gods.
Actually,god Amun is not an original ram-headed god but during the new kingdom and after conquereing the kingdom of Kush the ram was
considered as one of the sacred animals of god Amun,that`s why he was depicted as a ram.The chief god of Kush was a woolly ram with curved horns
so,when they identified their god with Amun,the later became assoicated with the ram and the egyptians come to believe that the original image of Amun was the ram and in this form Amun was worshipped in the western
desert moreover,in the Greek tale of Nectanebo ,the last king,having by magic visited OLYMPIAS and become the father of Alexander,he come as the
incarnation of Amun wearing the ram`s skin.

The hieroglyphic word for ram is ( ba ),the same for the soul,that`s why the ram was considered as the ba of some of the gods such as..
Ra
——
The soul of god Ra was a bird with head of a ram and in the under world god
Ra took the shape of a ram-headed god known by AUF,which means the flesh or the body.On one of the walls of qUeen Nefertari tomb god Ra is depicted as a ram-headed mummy in front of god osiris.In his form as sunset
Ra known as Atum is depicted as a man with head of a ram.

OSIRIS.
———–
The two rams known by Banebdjed and Andjety were manifestations of the soul of god osiris.

HOURS
————
In his form as Horemakhet, sometimes he was depicted with a ram head.


Emergence.

Somehow from the watery darkness, a hill of mud emerged. This hill provided a resting place for the creator. The Egyptians based this hill on the reality of the way that the earth emerged from the annual flood. Firm ground separated from the watery mass and created a place where the god could work. Here the god separated into four pairs of divinities including primeval flood, the hidden ones, endlessness, and the undifferentiated ones. The sun then emerged from these beings. The first sunrise signaled the beginning of creation. Many Egyptian symbols refer to this emergence on a hill. The pyramid shape is a model of the hill but also points toward the sun. The lotus blossom that floats on the water comes to symbolize the birth of the sun god. A cow goddess can also emerge from the water with the sun between her horns. The best-known form of this goddess is Hathor. All these symbols were another way for the Egyptians to state that emergence was the beginning of creation.


Contents

Bear Edit

There is evidence that connects the Greek goddess Artemis with a cult of the bear. Girls danced as "bears" in her honour, and might not marry before undergoing this ceremony (Thomas 1911, p. 51). According to mythology, the goddess once transformed a nymph into a bear and then into the constellation Ursa Major.

The existence of an ancient bear cult among Neanderthals in the Middle Paleolithic period has been a topic of discussion spurred by archaeological findings (Wunn, 2000, p. 434-435). Ancient bear bones have been discovered in several different caves and their peculiar arrangement are believed by some archaeologists to be evidence of a bear cult during the Paleolithic era. (Wunn, 2000, p. 435).

The Ainu people, who live on select islands in the Japanese archipelago, call the bear "kamui" in their language, which translates to mean god. While many other animals are considered to be gods in the Ainu culture, the bear is the head of the gods (Kindaichi, 1949, p. 345). For the Ainu, when the gods visit the world of man, they don fur and claws and take on the physical appearance of an animal. Usually, however, when the term "kamui" is used, it essentially means a bear (Kindaichi, 1949, p. 345). The Ainu people willingly and thankfully ate the bear as they believed that the disguise (the flesh and fur) of any god was a gift to the home that the god chose to visit (Kindaichi, 1949, p. 348).

Whale Edit

Whales were little understood for most of human history as they spend up to 90% of their lives underwater, only surfacing briefly to breathe (Bird 2007). Many cultures, even those that have hunted them, hold whales in awe and feature them in their mythologies.

A prevalent whale cult in Japan occurs around the coastal area. There are cemeteries with memorial stones dedicated to the whales which were hunted and killed to feed the people (Naumann, 1974, p. 4). Buddhist epitaphs mark these stones which implore that Buddha be reborn as a whale (Naumann, 1974, p. 4). Along with these memorials, there is evidence that whale embryos, found in a deceased mother's womb, were extracted and buried with the same respect as a human being (Naumann, 1974, p. 5). For certain shrines, the bones of a perished whale were also deposited in the area (Naumann, 1974, p. 5).

In Alaska, there are cultures that have ceremonial tributes whales after they are captured in a hunt (Lantis 1938, p. 445). Some tribes bring the hump, the fins, or the nose of the whale into their camps or the whaler's house. These parts are meant to represent the entirety of the whale and are honored as such during the festival (Lantis 1938, p. 445). The bones of a whale are also given ritual treatment. The Alaskan tribes that participate in such acts believe that their ceremonies protect the whale's soul from injury and the soul can then be free to return to the sea (Lantis 1938, p. 445).

In China, Yu-kiang, a whale with the hands and feet of a man was said to rule the ocean (Siebert 2011, pp. 15–16).

In the Tyrol region of Austria, it was said that if a sunbeam were to fall on a maiden entering womanhood, she would be carried away in the belly of a whale (Frazer 1913, p. 72).

Paikea (also maori name for humpback whales [1] ), the youngest and favourite son of the chief Uenuku from the island of Mangaia, in the present day Cook Islands, was said by the Kati Kuri people of Kaikoura to have come from the Pacific Islands on the back of Tohora (maori name for southern right whales [1] ) a whale many centuries before. [2]

The whale features in Inuit creation myths. When 'Big Raven', a deity in human form, found a stranded whale, he was told by the Great Spirit where to find special mushrooms that would give him the strength to drag the whale back to the sea and thus return order to the world (Siebert 2011, pp. 15–16).

The Tlingit people of northern Canada say that the orcas were created when the hunter Natsihlane carved eight fish from yellow cedar, sang his most powerful spirit song and commanded the fish to leap into the water (Heimlich & Boran 2001, p. 7).

In Icelandic legend a man threw a stone at a fin whale and hit the blowhole, causing the whale to burst. The man was told not to go to sea for twenty years, but in the nineteenth year he went fishing and a whale came and killed him. [3]

In East African legend, King Sulemani asked God that he might permit him to feed all the beings on earth. A whale came and ate until there was no corn left and then told Sulemani that he was still hungry and that there were 70,000 more in his tribe. Sulemani then prayed to God for forgiveness and thanked the creature for teaching him a lesson in humility (Siebert 2011, pp. 15–16).

Some cultures that associate divinity with whales, such as some Ghanaians and Vietnamese, coastal Chinese except for southernmost region, [4] Japanese (also known as Ebisu), [5] [6] occasionally hold funerals for beached whales a throwback to Vietnam's ancient sea-based Austro-Asiatic culture. [7] [8] (Viegas 2010) [9] See also the below-mentioned Ebisu in fish part for more details. In some lore, whales have been told to work for Ryūgū-jō as well.

Indigenous Ainu tribes on Hokkaido refereed killer whales as Repun Kamuy, "God of Sea/Offshore" in their folklore and myths that the deities will bring fortunes (whales) to coastal people.

The Bible mentions whales in Genesis 1:21, Job 7:12, Ezekiel 32:2. The "sea monsters" in Lamentations 4:3 have been taken by some commentators to refer to marine mammals, in particular whales, although most modern versions use the word "jackals" instead (Lamentations 4:3). The story of Jonah being swallowed by a "big Fish" is told both in the Qur'an (Quran 37:139–148) and in the Bible. The Old Testament contains the Book of Jonah and in the New Testament, Jesus mentions this story in Matthew 12:40 (Jonah 1-4).

Cattle and buffalo Edit

Many religions have considered cattle to be sacred, most famously Hinduism from India and Nepal, but also Zoroastrianism, and ancient Greek and Egyptian religion. Cattle and buffalo are respected by many pastoral peoples that rely on the animals for sustenance and the killing of an ox is a sacrificial function (Thomas 1911, p. 51).

The Toda of southern India abstain from the flesh of their domestic animal, the buffalo. However, once a year they sacrifice a bull calf, which is eaten in the forest by the adult males (Thomas 1911, p. 51). The buffalo plays an important part in many Toda rituals. These buffalo are currently endangered.

The Ancient Egyptians worshipped a great number of deities who were either depicted entirely as cattle, or incorporated cattle features in their appearance. Hesat, a goddess of milk and motherhood, was depicted as a full cow, as was Mehet-weret, a sky goddess, identified as the Celestial Cow whose body made up the sky, and whose four legs marked the four cardinal directions. Bat (goddess), a goddess of music and dance, was depicted as a woman with bovine ears and horns, as was Hathor, a very major goddess who borrowed a lot of her attributes from Bat. The great antiquity of the worship of Bat is evidenced by her appearance on the Narmer Palette, made by the very first of the dynastic pharaohs. When identified with the Celestial Cow Mehet-weret, the sky goddess Nut may also take the form of a cow, as in the Book of the Heavenly Cow. When acting in her role as a heavenly goddess, the mother goddess Isis may also be shown with bovine horns, adopting the traditional headdress of Hathor.

As well as these female cow goddesses, the Egyptians also had a number of male bull gods. Conspicuous among these was the bull god Apis, who was embodied in a living bull kept at the Temple of Ptah at Memphis. Regarded as Ptah's herald, the Apis bull was distinguished by certain marks, and when the old bull died a new one was sought. The finder was rewarded, and the bull underwent four months' education at Nilopolis. Its birthday was celebrated once a year when oxen, which had to be pure white, were sacrificed to it. Women were forbidden to approach it once its education was finished. Oracles were obtained from it in various ways. After its death it was mummified and buried in a rock-tomb. A similar practice was in place at Heliopolis with the Mnevis bull, the herald of Ra, and at Hermonthis with the Buchis bull, the herald of Montu. After their death, all these sacred bulls were considered to become part of Osiris (Thomas 1911, p. 51).

Similar observances are found in our own day on the Upper Nile. The Nuba and Nuer revere cattle. The Angoni of Central Africa and the Sakalava of Madagascar keep sacred bulls. In India respect for the cow is widespread, but is of post-Vedic origin there is little actual worship, but the products of the cow are important in magic (Thomas 1911, p. 51).

While there are several animals that are worshipped in India, the supreme position is held by the cow (Margul, 1968, p. 63). The humped zebu, a breed of cow, is central to the religion of Hinduism (Margul, 1968, p. 63). Mythological legends have supported the sanctity of the zebu throughout India (Margul, 1968, p. 64). Such myths have included the creation of a divine cow mother and a cow heaven by the God, Brahma and Prithu, the sovereign of the universe, created the earth's vegetation, edible fruits and vegetables, disguised as a cow (Margul, 1968, p. 64).

According to Tadeusz Margul, observations of the Hindu religion and the cow has led to a misunderstanding that Hindi have a servile relationship with the zebu, giving prayers and offerings to it daily. Typically, however, only during the Cow Holiday, an annual event, is the cow the recipient of such practices (Margul, 1968, p. 65). Margul suggests that sanctity of the cow is based on four foundations: abstaining from cow slaughter, abstaining from beef consumption, control of breeding and ownership, and belief in purification qualities of cow products (milk, curd, ghee, dung, and urine) (Margul, 1968, p. 65-66).

Sheep Edit

The Ancient Egyptians worshipped several gods with the head of a ram, including Khnum, Heryshaf, Banebdjedet, Ra (sometimes) and Kherty. Amun, the god of Thebes, Egypt, was also associated with the ram, and in later periods was sometimes represented as ram-headed. His worshippers held the ram to be sacred, however, it was sacrificed once a year. Its fleece formed the clothing of the idol (Thomas 1911, p. 52).

Goat Edit

Silenus, the Satyrs and the Fauns were either capriform or had some part of their bodies shaped like that of a goat. In northern Europe the wood spirit, Leszi, is believed to have a goat's horns, ears and legs (Thomas 1911, p. 51). A deity known as the Goat of Mendes is associated with the pentagram.

In Greece, Italy, and Egypt, the goat was worshipped in both goat form and phallic form (Neave 1988, p. 8). This type of worship has sometimes been said to have originated from the goat's increased sex drive. One male goat was capable of fertilizing 150 females (Neave 1988, p. 8). The Greek god Pan was depicted as having goat characteristics, such as hooves, horns, and a beard. Along with Pan, the goat was closely related to Dionysus during the Roman era (Neave 1988, p. 8). To honor Dionysus, Romans would tear apart a goat and eat it alive. [ citation needed ] The goat was commonly associated with dark arts and the devil. This association was amplified in Egypt during the Middle Ages (Neave 1988, p. 8). [ citation needed ]

Excavations in Central Asia have revealed ancient ritual goat-burial that show a religious significance of the goat predominantly in the area (Sidky 1990, p. 286). These findings have been used as evidence for a goat-cult of Asia originating either in the Neolithic or Bronze Ages (Sidky 1990, p. 286).

Dog Edit

Dogs have a major religious significance among the Hindus in Nepal and some parts of India. The dogs are worshipped as a part of a five-day Tihar festival that falls roughly in November every year. In Hinduism, it is believed that the dog is a messenger of Yama, the god of death, and dogs guard the doors of Heaven. Socially, they are believed to be the protectors of our homes and lives. So, in order to please the dogs they are going to meet at Heaven's doors after death, so they would be allowed in Heaven, people mark the 14th day of the lunar cycle in November as Kukur-tihar, as known in Nepali language for the dog's day. This is a day when the dog is worshipped by applying tika (the holy vermilion dot), incense sticks and garlanded generally with marigold flower.

Actual dog worship is uncommon. The Nosarii of western Asia are said to worship a dog. The Karang of Java had a cult of the red dog, each family keeping one in the house. According to one authority the dogs are images of wood which are worshipped after the death of a member of the family and burnt after a thousand days. In Nepal it is said that dogs are worshipped at the festival called Khicha Puja. Among the Harranians dogs were sacred, but this was rather as brothers of the mystae (Thomas 1911, p. 51).

Horse Edit

Horse worship has been practiced by a number of Indo-European and Turkic peoples. In the nomadic tradition, the horse is one of the mythological animals, embodying the connection with the other world, with the supernatural. The horse, exceptionally white, has always been associated with the sun, with daytime clarity, with fire, air, sky, water, solar heroes, as an expression of good human aspirations in daily work and struggle against difficulties. The white sun horse is an attribute of divine forces that are constantly fighting against evil — an opposition to death.

In the beliefs and rites of the nomads, first, the horse itself, second, its separate parts — the skull, cervical vertebrae, skin, hair, and third, objects associated with it — bridle, clamp, sweat, reins, whip, fallen horseshoe, image, etc., act as the patroness and protector of people. The horse is seen to have the ability to drive out evil forces from the human body.

A vivid evidence of this is an artifact found in the Northern part of China in the early twentieth century, finished in the form of a horse. Dating of the artifact revealed that it was created in the period between 4th and 1st century BC. It is the only one in the world that was found in the entire territory of the Eurasian steppes — a bronze top with the image of a horse, which was used in rituals dedicated to the cult of Heavenly Horses. [10]

There is some reason to believe that Poseidon, like other water gods, was originally conceived under the form of a horse. In the cave of Phigalia Demeter was, according to popular tradition, represented with the head and mane of a horse, possibly a relic of the time when a non-specialized corn-spirit bore this form. Her priests were called Poloi (Greek for "colts") in Laconia. The mule and the horse are sacred to the Roman god Consus. In Gaul we find a horse-goddess, Epona. There are also traces of a horse-god, Rudiobus. Hayagriva is a horse-headed deity that appears in both Hinduism and Buddhism. The Gonds in India worship a horse-god, Koda Pen, in the form of a shapeless stone, but it is not clear that the horse is regarded as divine. The horse or mare is a common form of the corn-spirit in Europe (Thomas 1911, p. 52).

Among the Balkan culture, swaddling an unmarried person in a horse-girth is a typical ritual. It is thought that the sexual potency of the horse is passed to the individual wrapped in its girth (Vukanović 1980, p. 112). Along with the Balkan swaddling, Virgil's Aeneid bases the founding of the great city of Carthage upon a horse (Qtd. in Brown 1950, p. 32). When the Phoenicians dug up a horse head from the ground they decided to build their city (Carthage) upon that spot because the horse was a sign of success (Qtd. in Brown 1950, p. 32). Thus, Brown argued that the horse was sacred to the Phoenician people (Brown 1950, p. 32).

Horses are godlike beings to Romani people. [11]

Elephant Edit

In Thailand it is believed that a white elephant may contain the soul of a dead person, perhaps a Buddha. When one is taken the capturer is rewarded and the animal brought to the king to be kept ever afterwards. It cannot be bought or sold. It is baptized and fêted and mourned for like a human being at its death. In some parts of Indo-China the belief is that the soul of the elephant may injure people after death it is therefore fêted by a whole village. In Cambodia it is held to bring luck to the kingdom. The cult of the white elephant is also found at Ennarea in southern Ethiopia (Thomas 1911, p. 51). In India, the popular Hindu god Ganesha has the head of an elephant and a torso of a human.

In Surat, unmarried Anāvil girls participate in a holiday referred to as Alunām (Naik, 1958, p. 393). This holiday is to honor the goddess Pārvatī. During this celebration, a clay elephant is prepared (most likely to celebrate Pārvatī's creation of Ganesha from a paste of either turmeric or sandalwood). Every day, the unmarried women worship this elephant by dancing, singing songs, and abstaining from eating salt. On the final day of Alunām, the clay elephant is immersed in some body of water (Naik, 1958, p. 393).

Certain cultures also used elephant figurines to display the animal's importance. There was evidence of an ancient elephant cult in Sumatra (Schnitger, 1938, p. 41). Stone elephant figurines were built as "seats of the souls" in the Sumatran culture (Schnitger, 1938, p. 41). In North Borneo, however, wooden elephant figurines were placed on the top of a bamboo pole. This bamboo pole was only erected after the tribe chief had collected a certain number of human heads (Schnitger, 1938, p. 41).

Hare Edit

In North America the Algonquian tribes had as their chief deity a "mighty great hare" to whom they went at death. According to one account he lived in the east, according to another in the north. In his anthropomorphized form he was known as Menabosho or Michabo (Thomas 1911, p. 51).

The Ancient Egyptians also worshipped a hare goddess, named Wenut. She was associated with the city of Hermopolis, and her image appears on the standard of the Hermopolitan nome.

Deer Edit

The deer is important in the mythology of many peoples. To the Greeks it was sacred to the goddess Artemis, while in Hinduism it is linked to the goddess Saraswati. The deer also held spiritual significance to the pastoralist cultures of the Eurasian Steppe. The golden stag figurine found in the Pazyryk burials is one of the most famous pieces of Scythian art.

Wolf Edit

In the story of Rome's foundation, wolves are used in totemic imagery. The founding brothers Romulus and Remus are raised by a mother wolf, making the wolf the symbolic mother of Rome.

Among the Ancient Egyptians, the gods Anubis and Wepwawet both took the form a wolf, jackal or wild dog, or a man with the head of such a creature. Anubis was a funerary deity, considered the patron of the mummification process and a protector of tombs. In the afterlife, it was he who performed the crucial role in the Weighing of the Heart ceremony that decided the individual's post mortum fate. In earlier times Anubis was the supreme god of the underworld, but he was later replaced in that role by the human-formed Osiris. It is possible that the Egyptians originally conveived of Anubis as a wild dog because of the animals' location on the outskirts of towns, near the tombs of the dead, or possibly because of their scavengeing of corpses, which led them to congregate near tombs. Wepwawet was a deity more focussed on the world of the living, whose chief role was to 'open the way', whether this be opening the way of the pharaoh to victory in battle, opening the way for the priests in a ritual procession, or any other application. The great antiquity of Wepwawet's worship in Egypt is evidenced by the Narmer Palette, made by the very first of the dynastic pharaohs, including the image of a wolf on a standard as a part of a ritual procession. It has been suggested that Wepwawet's depiction as a wolf stems from the animal's keen sense of smell, allowing it to 'open the way' to find something important.

Big cats Edit

The cult of the leopard is widely found in West Africa. Among the Ashanti people a man who kills one is liable to be put to death no leopard skin may be exposed to view, but a stuffed leopard is worshipped. On the Gold Coast a leopard hunter who has killed his victim is carried round the town behind the body of the leopard he may not speak, must besmear himself so as to look like a leopard and imitate its movements. In Loango a prince's cap is put upon the head of a dead leopard, and dances are held in its honour (Thomas 1911, p. 52).

In Ancient Egypt, there were several feline-shaped deities. The earliest attested of these was the goddess Mafdet. During the First Dynasty 2920–2770 BC, Mafdet was regarded as the protector of the Pharaoh's chambers against snakes, scorpions and other evil. She was often depicted with the head of a cheetah, leopard or lynx(Hornblower, 1943). In later periods, other feline deities were more dominant. There were several lion-headed deities, included goddesses such as Sekhmet, Tefnut, Bastet (early form), Pakhet, Mehit and Menhit, and gods such as Maahes. All of these were fierce deities, dedicated to destroying the enemies of the gods and the pharaoh. Sekhmet, the most famous Egyptian lion-goddess, was considered a daughter of the chief god Ra and was worshipped as a beneficent goddess who protected Egypt from pestilence and misfortune(Engels, 2001), though at the same time was greatly feared due to her destructive capabilities, as demonstrated in the Book of the Heavenly Cow. Bastet, formerly called Bast, was originally worshipped as a fierce lioness, though in later times was 'tamed' and worshipped as a gentler domestic cat. During the Late Period of ancient Egypt from 664 BC until the 4th century AD, the practice of mummifying small cats in Bastet's honour grew in popularity. Cat mummies were used as votive offerings to the goddess, mostly during festivals and by pilgrims (Ikram, 2015). Hundreds of thousands of cat mummies were excavated at cat cemeteries in Bubastis, Saqqara, Speos Artemidos and Gizeh (Conway, 1891 Herdman, 1890 Zivie & Lichtenberg, 2005).

There was a lion-god at Baalbek. The pre-Islamic Arabs worshipped the lion-god Yaghuth. In modern Africa we find a lion-idol among the Balonda (Thomas 1911, p. 52). The lion was also sacred to Hebat, the mother goddess of the Hurrians. [ citation needed ]

In Judaism the patriarch Jacob refers to his son Judah as a Gur Aryeh גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה, a "Young Lion" (Genesis 49:9) when blessing him. Thus the Lion of Judah started to be reverenced in some others abrahamic cults, symbolising their prophets, as such as Jesus and Haile Selassie I, the ras Tafari.

In Mesoamerica the jaguar was revered as a symbol of fertility and warriorship among the Aztec, Maya and Olmec, and had an important role in shamanism.

Tiger Edit

Of great importance in Chinese myth and culture, the Tiger is one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. Also in various Chinese art and martial art, the tiger is depicted as an earth symbol and equal rival of the Chinese dragon- the two representing matter and spirit respectively. The White Tiger (Chinese: 白虎 pinyin: Bái Hǔ ) is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is sometimes called the White Tiger of the West (西方白虎), and it represents the west and the autumn season (Cooper 1992, pp. 226–27).

The tiger replaces the lion as king of the beasts in cultures of eastern Asia, [12] representing royalty, fearlessness and wrath. In Chinese children stories, it is often depicted that the stripes on a tiger's forehead represent the character 王 (a term for "king" in Chinese nobility) (Cooper 1992, pp. 226–27).

Some cultures that celebrated tiger worship are still represented contemporarily. In the suburbs of Kunming, China, there is a tourist attraction where the tiger worship of the Yi people is displayed for visitors. This attraction called the Solar Calendar Square is complete with a growling tiger statue, measuring to be five meters high (Harrell & Yongxiang 2003, p. 380). In Chuxiong of China, a similar attraction exists. A tiger totem is presented for tourists the totem portrays the Yi belief of the tiger setting the entire world in motion. A tiger dance of the Shuangbai County is also performed at such places explaining the history of the Yi and their worship of tigers (Harrell & Yongxiang 2003, p. 380).

Along with these tourist attractions that display historical practices of the Yi, there is also additional evidence for tiger worship. Tigers were found depicted on small stones. These stones were pierced and worn as amulets, suggesting that the tiger had a certain power of protection for its wearer (Waterbury 1952, p. 76). The Queen Mother deity of the west, Hsi Wang Mu, sometimes possessed a tail of a tiger in her depictions and, like the tiger, was associated with the mountains (Waterbury 1952, p. 76). The tiger was also a deity for both the Tungus and the Black Pottery people (Waterbury 1952, p. 80).

In Korean history and culture, a tiger is regarded as a guardian that drives away evil spirit and a sacred creature that brings good luck – the symbol of courage and absolute power. It appears in not only the Korean foundation mythology but also in folklore, as well as a favorite subject of Korean art such as painting and sculpture. For example, the 19th-century painting named “Sansindo” (산신도) depicts the guardian spirit of a mountain leaning against a tiger or riding on the back of the animal. The animal is also known to do the errands for the mountain's guardian spirit which is known to wish for peace and the well-being of the village. So, the tiger was ordered by the spiritual guardian of the mountain to give protection and wish for peace in the village. People drew such paintings and hung them in the shrine built in the mountain of the village where memorial rituals were performed regularly. In Buddhism, there is also a shrine that keeps the painting of the guardian spirit of the mountain. Called “Sansintaenghwa”, it is depiction of the guardian spirit of the mountain and a tiger. [13]

In many parts of Vietnam, the tiger is a revered creature. In each village, there might be a tiger temple. This worshiping practice might have stem from the fear of tigers used to raid human settlements in the ancient time. Tigers are admired for their great strength, ferocity and grace. Tiger is also considered a guardian deity. Tiger statutes are usually seen at the entrance of temples and palaces, keeping evil spirits from entering those places.

The tiger is associated with the Hindu deities Shiva and Durga. In Pokhara, Nepal the tiger festival is known as Bagh Jatra. Celebrants dance disguised as tigers and "hunted". The Warli tribe of Maharashtra, India worship Waghia the lord of tigers in the form of a shapeless stone (Thomas 1911, p. 52). In Vietnamese folk religion and Dongbei folk religion tiger-gods are also found. [ citation needed ]

Monkey Edit

In Hinduism the monkey deity, Hanuman, is a prominent figure. He is a reincarnation of Shiva, the god of destruction. In orthodox villages monkeys are safe from harm (Thomas 1911, p. 52).

Chinese religions and mythologies give monkeys and apes cultural significance as metaphors for people. Chinese deities sometimes appear in the guise of monkeys, for example, Sun Wukong or "Monkey King" is the main protagonist in Wu Cheng'en's picaresque novel Journey to the West. In traditional Chinese folk religion, monkeys are supernatural beings that could shape shift into either monkey-demons or were-monkeys, and legends about monkey-human interbreeding are common. In Daoism, monkeys, particularly gibbons, were believed to have longevity like a xian "transcendent immortal", and to be innately adept at circulating and absorbing qi "breath life force" through the Daoist discipline of daoyin "guiding and pulling". Similar to Daoism, Chinese Buddhism paradoxically treats monkeys as both wise and foolish animals. On the one hand, the Jataka tales say that Gautama Buddha was a benevolent monkey king in an earlier incarnation and on the other hand, monkeys symbolized trickery and ignorance, represented by the Chan Buddhist "mind monkey" metaphor for the unsettled, restless nature of human mentality.

Monkeys are said to be worshipped in Togo. At Porto Novo, in French West Africa, twins have tutelary spirits in the shape of small monkeys (Thomas 1911, p. 52).

The hamadryas baboon was sacred to the Ancient Egyptians, and often appeared as a form of a deity. Egyptian deities depicted as baboons include Hapi (Son of Horus), Babi (mythology) and Thoth, although the latter is more often shown with the head of an ibis. A group of 6 or 8 baboons were also a common feature in scenes showing the sun god at dawn as he rose over the horizon, with the baboons raising their hands to him in praise. This is probably inspired by the observed behaviour of baboons, as they are known to 'chatter' at sunrise, as if greeting the sun.

Hippopotamus Edit

In Ancient Egyptian religion, the hippopotamus had both positive and negative associations. On the one hand, the strong maternal instinct of female hippos led to the worship of several female hippo goddesses, usually as goddesses of pregnancy and motherhood, and protectors of women and children. The most famous of these hippopotamus goddesses is Taweret, who was a very common household deity among the common people of Egypt, and many amulets were made in her form. Others included Opet or Ipet, who was similar to Taweret but a little more stately, as well as Reret, who personified the constellation of Draco. On the other hand, the destructive capabilities of the hippopotamus towards useful boats led to it also being seen as a force of chaos, and so it also became associated with the god of disorder, Seth. Though normally depicted as a man with the head of the mysterious "sha" animal, in scenes of the battles between Seth and Horus, Seth can sometimes be shown in hippopotamus form, with Horus standing on a papyrus raft and spearing him with a harpoon. This victory of Horus over Seth was symbolically re-enacted during royal hunting expeditions, with the king taking the role of Horus, and a wild hippopotamus embodying Seth. The king's successful slaughter of the hippopotamus thus connected his martial prowess to that of Horus himself, demonstrating his right to be king.

Rodent Edit

In some countries, e.g. India, a small number of temples are dedicated to the worship of wild mice. Whilst widely regarded as a creature to be avoided, for pestilential reasons in such temples the animals are actively encouraged. It is frequently associated with Ganesh. As a creature capable of survival, it is to be revered and respected.

Crow/raven Edit

The Raven is the chief deity of the Tlingit people of Alaska. All over that region it is the chief figure in a group of myths, fulfilling the office of a culture hero who brings the light, gives fire to mankind, and so on (Thomas 1911, p. 51). A raven story from the Puget Sound region describes the "Raven" as having originally lived in the land of spirits (literally bird land) that existed before the world of humans. One day the Raven became so bored with bird land that he flew away, carrying a stone in his beak. When the Raven became tired of carrying the stone and dropped it, the stone fell into the ocean and expanded until it formed the firmament on which humans now live.

In the creator role, and in the Raven's role as the totem and ancestor of one of the four northwest clan houses, the Raven is often addressed as Grandfather Raven. It is not clear whether this form of address is intended to refer to a creator Raven who is different from the trickster Raven, or if it is just a vain attempt to encourage the trickster spirit to act respectably.

Together with the eagle-hawk the crow plays a great part in the mythology of southeastern Australia (Thomas 1911, p. 51). Ravens also play a part in some European mythologies, such as in the Celtic and Germanic Religions, where they were connected to Bran and the Morrigan in the former and Woden in the latter.

Hawk Edit

North Borneo treated the hawk as a god, but it was technically the messenger of the people's Supreme God (Waterbury 1952, p. 62). There were rituals that involved the hawk when the natives wished to make decisions about certain events, such as journeys from home, major agricultural work, and war (Waterbury 1952, p. 62). In North Borneo we seem to see the evolution of a god in the three stages of the cult of the hawk among the Kenyahs, the Kayans and the sea Dyaks. The Kenyahs will not kill it, address to it thanks for assistance, and formally consult it before leaving home on an expedition. It seems, however, to be regarded as the messenger of the supreme god Balli Penyalong. The Kayans have a hawk-god, Laki Neho, but seem to regard the hawk as the servant of the chief god, Laki Tenangan. Singalang Burong, the hawk-god of the Dyaks, is completely anthropomorphized. He is god of omens and ruler of the omen birds, but the hawk is not his messenger. For he never leaves his house. Stories are, however, told of his attending feasts in human form and flying away in hawk form when all was over (Thomas 1911, p. 52).

According to Florance Waterbury, hawk worship was universal (Waterbury 1952, p. 26). This particular bird was "a heavenly deity its wings were the sky, the sun and moon were its eyes" (Waterbury 1952, p. 26).

The hawk is commonly associated with the Egyptian god Horus. As a god of the sky, divine authority, war, victory and civilisation, Horus became the patron deity of the pharaohs. The souls of former pharaohs were said to be the followers of Horus and therefore, the hawk (Waterbury 1952, p. 26). Horus was originally depicted by the Egyptians as a full hawk, but after the Fourth and Fifth Dynasty depictions with a human body and a hawk head became more common. (Waterbury 1952, p. 27). Other Egyptian deities shown in the form of a hawk or hawk-headed man include Qebehsenuef, Sopdu, Ra (not always) and Sokar.

Egypt was not the only location of hawk worshippers. There were several other cultures which held the hawk in high regard. The hawk was a deity on the island of Hawaii and symbolized swift justice (Waterbury 1952, p. 62). Along with the lone island from the Hawaiian archipelago, the Fiji islands also had some tribes who worshipped a hawk god (Waterbury 1952, p. 62). Furthermore, although animal worshipping is not a part of Sikh culture, a white falcon bird is mostly regarded in Sikhism as it was associated with the sixth guru and especially the tenth guru. The tenth guru would always carry a white falcon perched on his hand when going out to hunt. The tenth guru was known as the Master of White Hawk. Many people believe that the bird carried by Guru Gobind Singh was a hawk, however historians believe that the bird was a gyrfalcon or a saker falcon.

Frigatebird Edit

On Easter Island until the 1860s there was a Tangata manu (Bird man) cult which has left us Paintings and Petroglyphs of Birdmen (half men half frigatebirds). The cult involved an annual race to collect the first sooty tern egg of the season from the islet of Moto Iti and take it to Orongo.

The Frigate Bird Cult is thought to have originated in the Solomon Islands before immigrating to Easter Island where it became obsolete (Balfour 1917, p. 374). The Frigate-Bird was a representation of the god Make-make, the god of the seabird's egg on Easter Island (Balfour 1917, p. 374).

Ibis Edit

In Ancient Egypt, the ibis was considered sacred as it was viewed as a manifestation of Thoth, a god of the moon and wisdom. In art, Thoth was usually depicted as a man with the head of an ibis, or more rarely as a baboon. Sacred ibises were kept and fed in temples in his honour, and mummified ibises were given to him as votive offerings. It is thought that the association of the ibis with Thoth may have originated from the curved shape of the bird's beak, which resembles a crescent moon.

Vulture Edit

Another species of bird that was considered sacred in Ancient Egypt was the Egyptian vulture. At the city of Nekheb in Upper Egypt there was a temple dedicated to the goddess Nekhbet, who was depicted in art as a vulture, sometimes wearing a royal crown. Nekhbet was closely associated with the Egyptian royal family, and was considered a personal protector of the Egyptian king. She was often portrayed or invoked alongside a similar goddess named Wadjet, who was depicted as a cobra and had her main temple at Buto in Lower Egypt. Nekhbet and Wadjet thus often featured together on temple reliefs and stelae, representing in heraldic format the union between Upper and Lower Egypt. These two goddesses were considered so important that they could be referred to by the simple title "nebty" ("the two ladies") without any confusion as to their identity. Out of the five names that made up the Ancient Egyptian royal titulary, one of them, the "nebty name" was dedicated to the Two Ladies. This great honour of patronage over one of the king's names was shared only with such major gods as Ra and Horus. Egyptologists have theorised that the association of Nekhbet with the vulture may have originated from observations of a mother vulture's behaviour as it protects its chicks by "mantling" them with its wings, leading to its association with a protective and maternal goddess. In fact, the Egyptian word "mut" ("mother") is spelt in hieroglyphs with a picture of a vulture. Due to the vulture's maternal connotations and its early use in the iconography of Nekhbet, in later periods a vulture headdress came to be worn by a large number of Egyptian goddesses, as well as by human queens. The goddess Mut, worshipped at Thebes, Egypt alongside Amun and Khonsu, was written in hieroglyphs with a picture of a vulture, and would be indistinguishable from the common noun "mother" except for the fact that in the goddess's name the vulture bears a royal flail. Goddesses who wore the vulture headdress in later periods included Mut, Hathor, Isis and Wadjet, although only Nekhbet appeared as a vulture in its entirety.


Relationships

Hathor

“Myth of the Heavenly Cow” by Nadine Guilhou tells the story of a separate goddess that is related to Mehet-Weret who is named Hathor. Hathor is seen as more troublesome than Mehet-Weret, because she creates chaos in the human world. The title of the story of the “Myth of the Heavenly Cow” is also known as “The Destruction of Mankind” because Hathor was sent to kill the rebels who acted against the sun god Ra and his plans to rearrange the cosmos. While Hathor is the bloodthirsty warrior cow, focused on the destruction of humankind, Mehet-Weret is responsible for creating some of the most basic needs for humankind: sun and water. Ε]


Hatshepsut's Divine Birth

Hatshepsut’s Divine Birth and Coronation can be found at the Temple of Deir el Bahari, Egypt. In this, Amun calls upon a meeting of gods to announce the coming of a great and powerful queen. Amun asks the gods to bestow upon her protection and riches. As for Amun, he promises to grant her power, “I will join for her the two lands in peace… I will give her all lands and all countries.”

Amun is told by the god Thoth that queen Ahmose is to have the divine child and introduces him to her. Upon this meeting, Amun causes Ahmose to “inhale the breath of life”. Thoth leads Amun to Ahmose’s chamber where he has taken the form of her husband, Thutmose I. Amun in disguise, presents to her the ankh of life in her hand and nostrils. They both sit on a couch supported by two goddesses, Neith and Selk. Afterwards, Amun informs Ahmose that she is to give birth to a powerful queen and she is to rule both lands of Upper and Lower Egypt.

After the encounter, Amun instructs Khnum, the potter, to construct Hatshepsut’s body and ka out of clay. Khnum bestows onto Hatshepsut “with life, health, and strength, and all gifts, I will make her appearance above the gods, because of her dignity of king of Upper and Lower Egypt.”[3] Once finished, Khnum offers Hatshepsut and her ka to the god Heket, who presents them the ankh of life. After, Khnum again bestows more gifts of “offerings, all abundance.” as he praises the new queen with given divine power.

Thoth relays the message to Ahmose that Hatshepsut is given “all the dignities which will be bestowed upon her, all title which will be added to her name, since she is to be the moth of such an illustrious offspring.” She is also given an important royal title of “the friend and consort of Horus”. Ahmose is led into a chamber by Khnum and Heket, along with 12 gods and goddesses to help the birth and to protect Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut is born and held by her mother Ahmose, and is shown suckling from the other gods, giving her life and divinity.


Widespread Pre-Aryan Civilizations

In the seventh century AD, Saint Isidore of Seville, wrote in his encyclopaedia of knowledge, Etymologiae (IX,2.128) of Ethiopians, that ‘they came in ancient times from the River Indus, established themselves in Egypt between the Nile and the sea’. From the Horn of Africa they spread up the Nile valley. Modern researchers of linguistics understand that the languages of this part of Africa and all those that are spoken to the north and west, are Afro-Asiatic, not indigenous to the continent. Furthermore, research into the genetics of North Africans reveals that what Saint Isidore had written about 1400 years ago, based on the wisdom of long forgotten ancient chroniclers, is not so far from the mark.

There is evidence that suggests that people of Dravidian stock arrived in east Africa, bringing their language and culture, each of which over time has metamorphosed, giving the ancient civilizations that we have come to know their culture. It was from the Afro-Asiatic language group that the Semitic languages evolved, the spoken and written languages of today’s North Africa and the Middle East, Arabic and Hebrew among others.

By the time that the Aryans had arrived on horseback in India, many of the ancient world’s civilizations and the languages spoken there, had been extinguished, their knowledge lost, remaining only to be debated by interested minds. The Sanskrit that they spoke, from then on became the language that would express the ideas of the Hindu cultural outlook.

However, had that world view not eons before been created, refined, exported and developed across the seas to far-off lands? From Indonesia to India and to the isthmus at Panama, the culture is coherent and continuous in so many facets of the higher thinking necessary in advanced civilizations, that perhaps the horse was needed only to have to pull the carts, that carried the nails for the coffin of any theory advancing the notion of an Aryan supremacy. Euro-centric ‘origin of civilization’ theorists have often put the cart before the horse, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate whether or not the horse needs to be in the metaphor at all?

Top image: A Pazyryk horseman from the Asian steppe in a felt painting from a burial around 300 BC. ( Public Domain ). Krishna with cow. ( CC BY 2.0 ) Hathor as a cow, Papyrus of Ani ( Public Domain )


Egyptian Book of the Celestial Cow - History

The civilization of Ancient Egypt lasted longer than the entire span of what we have come to accept as 'recorded history': over three thousand years. During these millenia the Egyptians developed a multitude of gods and goddesses, as well as esoteric practices that we are still unravelling the meaning of. Besides this, Egypt was the source of the first true monothestic religion, under the pharaoh Akhenaton. This rich tradition was mostly unknown until the early nineteenth century, when the Egyptian language was finally deciphered.

Texts

The Pyramid Texts
Samuel A. B. Mercer , translator [ 1952 ].
The oldest sacred text in the world that we know of, dating back to 3100 B.C.E.
The Pyramid Texts are funerary inscriptions from the early pyramids. This was the first translation of the Pyramid Texts into English, and this etext is the first time it has appeared on the Internet.

Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt
by James Henry Breasted [ 1912 ].
Millennia of Egyptian religious evolution as seen through their literature, including extensive quotes from the Pyramid Texts.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead
E. A. Wallis Budge , translator [ 1895 ].
The best known Ancient Egyptian sacred text, which describes the journey into the afterlife.

The Egyptian Heaven and Hell
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1905 ]
A journey through the night side of the Ancient Egyptian cosmos.
Vol. I: The Book of the Am-Tuat
Vol II: The Book of Gates
Vol III: The Egyptian Heaven and Hell

The Liturgy of Funerary Offerings
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1909 ].
Also known as "The Book of the Opening of the Mouth", this book contains a large extract from the Pyramid Texts, the oldest known Ancient Egyptian sacred text.

The Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden
by F.Ll. Griffith and Herbert Thompson [ 1904 ]
A late Egyptian magical text originally written in Demotic.
Reprinted by Dover as 'The Leyden Papyrus.'

Legends of the Gods: The Egyptian Texts
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1912 ]
Translations of key Ancient Egyptian myths. Includes the De Iside et Osiride of Plutarch

The Burden of Isis
by James Teackle Dennis [ 1910 ]
A translation of a set of hymns to the goddess Isis.

The Wisdom of the Egyptians
by Brian Brown [ 1923 ]
Coverage of the history of Ancient Egyptian religion, with some important texts included: the Ptah-Hotep and the Ke'gemini
the Wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus
the Story of the Book of Thoth

The Rosetta Stone
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1893 , 1905 ]
The famous monument which opened up the Ancient Egyptian writing system: with extensive background material and a full translation of the text.

The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo
translated by Alexander Turner Cory [ 1840 ]
An attempt in late antiquity to explain Egyptian Hieroglyphs as pure symbols (very unsuccessfully). Noted for its influence on later occultists.

Records of the Past
ed. by A. H. Sayce [ 1888 ]
Translations of mythological and historical texts from the Ancient Near East.

General

Tutankhamen: Amenism, Atenism and Egyptian Monotheism
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1923 ]

Egyptian Myth and Legend
Donald A. Mackenzie [ 1907 ]
Thousands of years of tales of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.

Ancient Egyptian Legends
Margaret Alice Murray [ 1920 ]
A taste of Ancient Egyptian mythology, by the trailblazing scholar Margaret Murray.

Legends of Babylonia and Egypt
by Leonard W. King 396,030 bytes


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