Monday, May 24, 2010

In the Beginning – Part Four

This story of creation and the early pre-history of ancient Egypt, reflects the basic tenets of the belief system of the ancient Egyptians. The legend has been embroidered by the author Anthony Holmes in his book “Pharaoh Ay Remembers” from which it is taken. In the previous three parts of this imaginative version of the ancient Egyptian creation myth we read of the creation of the universe by’ The Complete One’ and the manner in which his daughter Ma’at formed a beautiful world in which to place a worshipful human being. Ma’at created man and woman with freedom of choice and a spiritual aspect to their existence that might live on after their death. However all was not well among the gods…

In the Beginning part four of five

In the first period of creation, the god of the air, Shu had become jealous of the attraction between his son Geb and his daughter Nut. He had separated them by placing himself between the earth and the sky. He recognised that his daughter, with her vibrant blue colour in the day and the twinkling stars across her body at night was extremely attractive and he was very jealous of her beauty. Shu realised that a liaison with Nut would become the aim of every male in the totality of creation. He feared that Nut’s beauty would lead her to conceive a child and that her pregnancy would cause her belly to swell downwards as she arched over the world, bringing the stars within the reach of the earth. Shu therefore placed a spell on his daughter. The enchantment declared that she would not bear a child on any day of the year.

Nut was not to be denied motherhood by her jealous father. She challenged the god of time to a game of chance. Nut won five days from Thoth; five extra days that were additional to the year of three-hundred and sixty days defined by Ptah. The spell of Shu could not apply to the extra five days because they were not “in the year”. Nut conceived and gave birth to five children, one on each of the extra days she had won.

The first child was male and was called Osiris. He was beautiful of countenance and powerful of physique, a golden god-child with light brown hair and gold flecked eyes.

The second child was a boy called Haroeris. He was gifted with remarkable intelligence. He was pale, almost translucent in his lack of pigment. He had pink eyes and white hair.

The third child was male and his name was Seth. He was dark with eyes like chips of obsidian and hair like the darkest night. He was handsome and strong, but he was belligerent of character.

The fourth child was a girl. She was gloriously fair with hair like spun gold and eyes of the finest sapphire. Her beauty was beyond compare and her nature was as sunny as her appearance.

The fifth and last child was a daughter. She was voluptuous with auburn hair that cascaded beyond her shoulders. She was kind and caring, destined to be the lady of the mansion. Her eyes were full of the promise of the evening and her skin was kissed by the sun.

The five children were presented to ‘The Complete One’, but the creator of the universe was disturbed and he said to Nut their mother,

‘Although you did not break your father’s spell, you thwarted your father’s wish, a thing no child should do. Because of this I will penalise you. You may only keep four of your children in your world. Those four children will not inherit every divine attribute, but will be part mortal and part divine. The fifth child will become a deity and join me in my realm and you will not see that child again. It is for you to choose.’

Nut considered her five children and after deliberation she chose to surrender the pale skinned Haroeris to ‘The Complete One’ where he might live more comfortably than on the sun-drenched world below.

The four children of Nut grew to maturity on the earth. Osiris was blessed with an open countenance and a bronze complexion. Seth on the other hand was dark and brooding. Isis was the complete antithesis of Seth. Where he was dark, she was wonderfully light. Everything about Isis spoke of purity. The last of the siblings, Nephthys was a little shorter than Isis but sensuous and warm. Like her brother Osiris she was clearly a child of the earth.

They were magnificent demi-gods exhibiting all the wonderful aspects of their parentage. It was natural that mankind should look to them to provide a leader.

Ma’at heard the plea of the people that a leader should be appointed, but in the eyes of the goddess of justice all four of the children were equally deserving of the role of leader. In the balance of her mind could not determine whether one had better qualifications than the other. She therefore called on her father for help.

‘The Complete One’ made the decision. The first leader of mankind would be Osiris because he was the first-born of Nut’s children. He would reign for a period to be chosen by Thoth. After the period had elapsed, Seth would become leader for an equal time, followed by Isis and finally Nephthys. Thereafter the cycle could be repeated.

‘Osiris became the first ruler of the combined land that included both Upper and Lower Kemet (Egypt). (Upper Egypt was the southern part – the upper waters of the Nile. Lower Egypt was the delta region where the Nile flowed into the Mediterranean Sea). Osiris was both a demi-god and a good king. Mankind was taught by Osiris to use the benefit of the flood to plant and reap food. He taught men about the justice and order of Ma’at and his rule lasted for a thousand years. When it came time for Osiris to step down from the throne his father Geb vacillated. Osiris had been such an outstanding king that Geb was reluctant to change the status quo. He decided to extend the rule of Osiris.

Seth was furious at being denied the right to rule the land and he and many of his followers left the land of Kemet and journeyed to the south, where they lived in Nubia, (Sudan) awaiting the day that Geb would recall Seth to take the throne.

It was at this precise time that Ptah loosened one of his bandages without being instructed by the creator so to do. For a short moment he was free to say a word that was not the will of ‘The Complete One’. Ptah spoke the word ‘heir’ and for the first time the concept of a child who would take over a function from his father came into existence. Ptah instructed Osiris to take his sister Isis to be his wife and produce a child to be the heir to throne. This was against the order of Ma’at because the goddess of justice required that Osiris’s twin brother Seth should rule for the same length of time as Osiris. Balance would be disturbed if Osiris should produce an offspring before Seth had his allotted time on the throne, but the word ‘heir’ had been spoken by Ptah and the concept had come into the world…

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