No one ever understood the mythology and Ritual of Ancient Egypt so well as Gerald Massey since the time of the Ancient Philosophers of Egypt. This book is one of the best when it comes down to Egyptian mythology, occultism and interpretation. It's a standard work no one wants to miss. Contents: Sign-Language And Mythology As Primitive Modes Of Representation. Totemism, Tattoo And Fetishism As Forms Of Sign-Language Elemental And Ancestral Spirits, Or The Gods And The Glorified. Egyptian Book Of The Dead And The Mysteries Of Amenta The Sign-Language Of Astronomical Mythology Egyptian Wisdom. The Drowning Of The Dragon The Sign-Language Of Astronomical Mythology (Part II) Horus Of The Double Horizon. The Making Of Amenta The Irish Amenta The Upper Mount Of Glory. Egyptian Wisdom And The Hebrew Genesis The Egyptian Wisdom In Other Jewish Writings
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Ancient Egypt- The Light Of The World Vol. 1
A Work Of Reclamation And Restitution In Twelve Books
Ancient Egypt - The Light Of The World Vol. 1
Sign-Language And Mythology As Primitive Modes Of Representation.
Totemism, Tattoo And Fetishism As Forms Of Sign-Language
Elemental And Ancestral Spirits, Or The Gods And The Glorified.
Egyptian Book Of The Dead And The Mysteries Of Amenta
The Sign-Language Of Astronomical Mythology
The Drowning Of The Dragon
The Sign-Language Of Astronomical Mythology (Part II)
Horus Of The Double Horizon.
The Making Of Amenta
The Irish Amenta
The Upper Mount Of Glory.
Egyptian Wisdom And The Hebrew Genesis
The Egyptian Wisdom In Other Jewish Writings
Ancient Egypt - The Light Of The World Vol. 1, G. Massey
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
It may have been a Million years ago That Light was kindled in the Old Dark Land With which the illumined Scrolls are all aglow, That Egypt gave us with her mummied hand: This was the secret of that subtle smile Inscrutable upon the Sphinx’s face, Now told from sea to sea, from isle to isle; The revelation of the Old Dark Race; Theirs was the wisdom of the Bee and Bird, Ant, Tortoise, Beaver, working human-wise; The ancient darkness spake with Egypt’s Word; Hers was the primal message of the skies:
The Heavens are telling nightly of her glory, And for all time Earth echoes her great story.
I have written other books, but this I look on as the exceptional labour which has made my life worth living. Comparatively speaking,“A Book of the Beginnings” (London, 1881) was written in the dark, “The Natural Genesis” (London, 1883) was written in the twilight, whereas “Ancient Egypt” has been written in the light of day. The earlier books were met in England with the truly orthodox conspiracy of silence. Nevertheless, four thousand volumes have got into circulation somewhere or other up and down the reading world, where they are slowly working in their unacknowledged way. Probably the present book will be appraised at home in proportion as it comes back piecemeal from abroad, from Germany, or France, or maybe from the Country of the Rising Sun.
To all dear lovers of the truth the writer now commends the verifiable truths that wait for recognition in these pages.
Truth is all-potent with its silent power If only whispered, never heard aloud, But working secretly, almost unseen, Save in some excommunicated Book; ’Tis as the lightning with its errand done Before you hear the thunder.
THE other day a lad from London who had been taken to the sea-side for the first time in his life was standing with his motherlooking at the rolling breakers tossing and tumbling in upon the sands, when he was heard to exclaim, “Oh, mother, who is it chucking them heaps o’ water about?” This expression showed the boy’sability to think of the power that was “doing it” in the human like- ness. But, then, ignorant as he might be, he was more or less theheir to human faculty as it is manifested in all its triumphs over external nature at the present time. Now, it has been and still is a prevalent and practically universal assumption that the same mental standpoint might have been occupied by primitive man, and a like question asked in presence of the same or similar phenomena of physical nature. Nothing is more common or more unquestioned than the inference that primitive man would or could have asked, “Who is doing it?” and that the Who could have been personified in the human likeness. Indeed, it has become an axiom with modern metaphysicians and a postulate of the Anthropologists that, from the beginning, man imposed his own human image upon external nature;that he personified its elemental energies and fierce physical forces after his own likeness; also that this was in accordance with the fundamental character and constitution of the human mind. To adduce a few examples taken almost at random:—David Hume declares that “there is a universal tendency among mankind to con- ceive all beings like themselves.” In support of which he instances the seeing of human faces in the moon. Reid on the Active Powers (4th Essay) says our first thoughts are that “the objects in which weperceive motion have understanding and power as we have.” Francis Bacon had long before remarked that we human beings “set stamps and seals of our own images upon God’s creatures and works.” (Exp.History.) Herbert Spencer argued that human personality applied to the powers of nature was the primary mode of representation, and that the identification of this with some natural force or object is due to identity of name. (Data of Sociology, ch. XXIV, 184.)“In early philosophy throughout the world,” says Mr. Tylor, “the sun and moon are alive and as it were human in their nature.” Professor Max Müller, who taught that Mythology was a disease of language, and that the Myths have been made out of words which had lost their senses, asserts that “the whole animal world has been conceived as a copy of our own. And not only the animal world,but the whole of nature was liable to be conceived and named by an assimilation to human nature.” (Science of Thought, p. 503.) And “such was the propensity in the earliest men of whom we have any authentic record to see personal agency in everything,” that it could not be otherwise, for “there was really no way of conceiving or naming anything objective except after the similitude of the sub- jective, or of ourselves.” (Ib., p. 495.) Illustration of this modern position might be indefinitely multiplied. The assumption has been supported by a consensus of assertion, and here, as elsewhere, the present writer is compelled to doubt, deny, and disprove the popular postulate of the accepted orthodox authorities.
That, said the lion, is your version of the story: let us be the sculptors, and for one lion under the feet of a man you shall see a dozen men beneath the pad of one lion.
“Myth-making man” did not create the Gods in his own image. The primary divinities of Egypt, such as Sut, Sebek, and Shu, three of the earliest, were represented in the likeness of the Hippopotamus, theCrocodile, and the Lion; whilst Hapi was imaged as an Ape, Anup as a Jackal, Ptah as a Beetle, Taht as an Ibis, Seb as a Goose. So was it with the Goddesses. They are the likenesses of powers that were super-human, not human. Hence Apt was imaged as a Water-cow, Hekat as a Frog, Tefnut as a Lioness, Serkh as a Scorpion,Rannut as a Serpent, Hathor as a Fruit-tree. A huge mistake hashitherto been made in assuming that the Myth-Makers began by fashioning the Nature-Powers in their own human likeness. Totemism was formulated by myth-making man with types that were the very opposite of human, and in mythology the Anthropomorphic representation was preceded by the whole menagerie of Totemic Zoötypes.
The idea of Force, for instance, was not derived from the thews and muscles of a Man. As the Kamite Sign-Language shows, the Force that was “chucking them heaps of water about” was perceived to be the wind; the Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters from the beginning. This power was divinised in Shu, the God of breathing Force, whose zoötype is the Lion as a fitting figure of this panting Power of the Air. The element audible in the howling wind, butdimly apprehended otherwise, was given shape and substance as the roaring Lion in this substitution of similars. The Force of the element was equated by the power of the Animal; and no humanthews and sinews could compare with those of the Lion as a figure of Force. Thus the Lion speaks for itself, in the language of Ideo- graphic Signs. And in this way the Gods and Goddesses of ancientEgypt were at first portrayed as Superhuman Powers by means of living Superhuman types.
If primitive man had projected the shadow of himself upon external nature, to shape its elemental forces in his own image, or if the un- featured Vast had unveiled to him any likeness of the human face, then the primary representation of the Nature-Powers (which became the later divinities) ought to have been anthropomorphic, and the likeness reflected in the mirror of the most ancient mythologies should have been human. Whereas the Powers and Divinities were first represented by animals, birds, and reptiles, or, to employ a word that includes all classes, they were portrayed by means of zoötypes. The Sun and Moon were not considered “human in their nature” when the one was imaged as a Crocodile, a Lion, a Bull, a Beetle, or a Hawk, and the other as a Hare, a Frog, an Ape, or an Ibis, as they are represented in the Egyptian hieroglyphics by means of the zoötypes. Until Har-Ur, the Elder Horus, had been depicted as the Child in place of the Calf or Lamb, the Fish, or Shoot of the Papyrusplant (which was comparatively late), there was no human figure personalised in the Mythology of Egypt.
Primitive or Paleolithic Man was too beggarly poor in possessions to dream of shaping the Superhuman Powers of Nature in the human likeness. There is one all-sufficient reason why he did not; he simply could not. And it is precisely because the Makers of the Myths had not the power to animate the universe in their own likeness that we have the zoömorphic mode of representation as the Sign-Language of Totemism and Mythology. On every line of research we discoverthat the representation of nature was pre-anthropomorphic at first, as we see on going back far enough, and on every line of descent the zoömorphic passes ultimately into the human representation. Modern metaphysicians have so developed the faculty of abstraction and the disease of Subjectivity that their own mental operations offer no true guidance for generalisations concerning primitive or early man, who thought in things and almost apprehended with the physical sensealone.
They overlook the fact that imaging by means of object-picturespreceded the imagining so often ascribed to primitive men. These did not busy themselves and bother their brains with all sorts of vagrant fancies instead of getting an actual grasp of the homeliest facts. It was not “Primitive Man” but two German metaphysicians who were looking out of window at a falling shower of rain when one of them remarked, “Perhaps it is I who am doing that.”“Or I,” chimed in the other.
The present writer once had a cat before whom he placed a sheet of polished tin. The cat saw herself reflected as in a mirror, and looked for a short time at her own image. So far as sight andappearance went, this might have been another cat. But she proceeded to apply the comparative process and test one sense by another, deliberately smelling at the likeness to find out if any cat was there. She did not sit down as a non-verifying visionary to formulate hypotheses or conjure up the ghost of a cat. Her sense of smell told her that as a matter of fact there was no other cat present; therefore she was not to be misled by a false appearance, in which she took no further interest. That, we may infer, was more like the action of Primitive Man, who would find no human likeness behind the phenomena of external nature. Indeed, man was so generally represented by the animals that the appearance could be mistaken for a primitive belief that the animals were his ancestors. But the powers first perceived in external nature were not only unlike the human; they were very emphatically and distinctly more than human, and therefore could not be adequately expressed by features recognisable as merely human. Primitive men were all too abjectly helpless inpresence of these powers to think of them or to conceive them in their own similitude. The one primordial and most definite fact of the whole matter was the distinct and absolute unlikeness to themselves. Also they themselves were too little the cause of anything by the work of their own hands to enter into the sphere of causation mentally. They could only apprehend the nature-forces by their effects, and try to represent these by means of other powers that were present in nature, but which were also necessarily superior to the human and were not the human faculties indefinitely magnified. The human being could only impress his own image on external nature in proportion to his mastery over natural conditions. He could not have figured the Thunder-bolt as a Stone-axe in the hands of a destroying Power until he himself had made and could wield the axe of stone as the weapon of his own power. But he could think of it in the likeness of the Serpent already known to him in external nature as a figure of fatal force.
An ignorant explanation of the Egyptian Sign-Language wasbegun by the Greeks, who could not read the hieroglyphics. It was repeated by the Romans, and has been perpetuated by “ClassicalScholars” ever since. But, as the interpreter of Egypt, that kind of scholastic knowledge is entirely obsolete. Ignorance of primitivesign-language has been and is a fertile source of false belief. For example, Juvenal asks, “Who does not know what kind of monsters Egypt insanely worships?” (Sat., 15, 1.) And having seen or heard of the long-tailed Ape in an Egyptian temple, the satirist assumed without question that this animal was set up as an object of worship. He did not know that the Ape itself was the worshipper, as an image in Sign-Language and as the Saluter of the Gods. Ani, the name of this particular Ape, denotes the Saluter, and to salute was an Egyptian gesture of adoration. The Ape or Cynocephalus with its paws uplifted is the typical worshipper as Saluter of the Light. It was, and still is, looked upon in Africa generally as a pre-human Moon-worshipper, who laments and bewails the disappearance of its night-light and rejoices at the renewal and return of that luminary. (Hor-Apollo, B. I, 14. Also Captain Burton, in a letter to the author.)In the Vignettes to the Ritual, Ani the Ape is the Saluter of the rising Sun, that is of Ra, upon the Mount of Sunrise. One of the most profound perversions of the past has been made in misapprehending this primitive sign-language for what is designated “Worship,” whether as “Sun-Worship,” “Serpent-Worship,” “Tree-Worship,” or “Phallic-Worship.” The Tree, for example, is a type, but the type is not necessarily an object of worship, as misunderstood by those who do not read the types when these are rooted in the ground of natural fact. The forest-folk were dwellers in the trees, or in the bush. The tree that gave them food and shelter grew to be an object of regard. Hence it became a type of the Mother-Earth as the birthplace and abode. Hence Hathor was the hut or house of Horus (Har) in the tree. But worship is a word of cant employed by writers who are ignorant of sign-language in general. Such phrases as “Stock-andstone worship” explain nothing and are worse than useless. The Mother and Child of all mythology are represented in the Tree and Branch. The Tree was a type of the abode, the Roof-tree; the Mother of food and drink; the giver of life and shelter; the wet-nurse in the dew or rain; the producer of her offspring as the branch andpromise of periodic continuity. Was it the Tree then the Egyptiansworshipped, or the Giver of food and shelter in the Tree? On the Apis Stele in the Berlin Museum two priests are saluting the Apis-Bull. This is designated “Apis-worship.” But the Apis carries theSolar Disk betwixt its horns. This also is being saluted. Which then is the object of worship? There are two objects of religiousregard, but neither is the object of adoration. That is the God in spirit who was represented as the Soul of life in the Sun and in theTree, also by the fecundating Bull. In this and a thousand other instances it is not a question of worship but of sign-language.
Nor did Mythology spring from fifty or a hundred different sources, as frequently assumed. It is one as a system of representation, one asa mould of thought, one as a mode of expression, and all its great primordial types are virtually universal. Neither do the myths thatwere inherited and repeated for ages by the later races of men afford any direct criterion to the intellectual status of such races. A mythicalrepresentation may be savage without those who preserve it being savages. When the Egyptians in the time of Unas speak of the deities devouring souls it is no proof of their being cannibals at the time. Mythology has had an almost limitless descent. It was in a savage or crudely primitive state in the most ancient Egypt, but the Egyptians who continued to repeat the Myths did not remain savages. The same mythical mode of representing nature that was probably extant in Africa 100,000 years ago survives to-day amongst races who are no longer the producers of the Myths and Märchen than they are of language itself. Egyptian mythology is the oldest in the world, and it did not begin as an explanation of natural phenomena,but as a representation by such primitive means as were available at the time. It does not explain that the Sun is a Hawk or the Moon a Cat, or the solar God a Crocodile. Such figures of fact belong to thesymbolical mode of rendering in the language of animals or zoötypes. No better definition of “Myth” or Mythology could be given than is conveyed by the word “Sem” in Egyptian. This signifies representation on the ground of likeness. Mythology, then, is “representationon the ground of likeness,” which led to all the forms of sign-language that could ever be employed. The matter has been touched upon inprevious volumes, but for the purpose of completeness it has to be demonstrated in the present work that external nature was primarily imaged in the pre-human likeness. It was the same here as in external nature: the animals came first, and the predecessors of Man are primary in Sign-Language, Mythology, and Totemism.
It is quite certain that if the primitive method had been Conceptual and early man had possessed the power to impose the likeness of human personality upon external phenomena it would have been in the image of the Male, as a type or in the types of power; whereasthe primal human personification is in the likeness of the female. The great Mother as the primal Parent is a Universal type. There could be no divine Father in Heaven until the fatherhood was individualised on earth. Again, if primitive men had been able to impose the human likeness on the Mother-Nature the typical Wet-nurse would have been a woman. But it is not so; the Woman comes last. She was pre-ceded by the Beast itself, the Sow, the Hippopotamus, or Lioness, and by the female form that wears the head of the Zoötype, the Cow, Frog or Serpent, on the body of a divinity. Moreover, the human likeness would, of necessity, have included Sex. But the earliest powers recognised in nature are represented as being of no Sex. It is said in the Akkadian hymns, “Female they are not, male they are not.” Therefore they were not imaged in the human likeness. The elements of air, earth, water, fire, darkness and light are of no sex, and the powers first recognised in them, whether as destructive or beneficent, are consequently without sex. So far from Nature havingbeen conceived or imaged as a non-natural Man in a Mask, with features more or less human, however hugely magnified, the mask of human personality was the latest that was fitted to the face of external nature. Masks were applied to the face of nature in the endeavour to feature and visibly present some likeness of the operative elemental forces and manifesting powers of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Thunder and Lightning, Darkness and Dawn, Eclipse and Earthquake, Sand-storm or the drowning waters of the Dark. But these masks were Zoömorphic, not human. They imaged the most potent ofdevouring beasts, most cunning of reptiles, most powerful birds of prey. In these monstrous masks we see the Primal Powers of Nature all at play, as in the Pantomime, which still preserves a likeness to the primordial representation of external nature that is now chiefly known under the names of Mythology and Totemism. The Elemental powersoperant in external nature were superhuman in the past as they are in the present. The Voice of Thunder, the death-stroke of lightning,the Coup de Soleil, the force of fire, or of water in flood and the wind in a hurricane were superhuman. So of the Animals and Birds: the powers of the hippopotamus, crocodile, serpent, hawk, lion, jackal, and Ape were superhuman, and therefore they were adopted as zoötypes and as primary representatives of the superhuman Powers of the Elements. They were adopted as primitive Ideographs. They were adopted foruse and consciously stamped for their representative value, not ignorantly worshipped; and thus they became the coins as it were in the current medium of exchange for the expression of primitive thought or feeling.
Sign-language includes the gesture-signs by which the mysteries were danced or otherwise dramatized in Africa by the Pygmies and Bushmen; in Totemism, in Fetishism, and in hieroglyphic symbols; very little of which language has been read by those who are continually treading water in the shallows of the subject without ever touching bottom or attaining foothold in the depths. It is by meansof sign-language that the Egyptian wisdom keeps the records of the pre-historic past. The Egyptian hieroglyphics show us the connec- tion betwixt words and things, also betwixt sounds and words, in avery primitive range of human thought. There is no other such a record known in all the world. They consist largely of human gesture-signs and the sounds first made by animals, such as “ba” for the goat, “meaou” for the cat, “su” for the goose, and “fu” for the Cerastes snake. But the Kamite representation by means of signlanguage had begun in inner Africa before the talking animals, birds, and reptiles had been translated into the forms of gods and goddesses by the dwellers in the valley of the Nile. The living ideographs or zoötypes were primary, and can be traced to their original habitat and home, and to nowhere else upon the surface of our earth. The cow of the waters there represented the earth-Mother as the great bringerforth of life before she was divinised as Apt the goddess in human guise, with the head of a hippopotamus. The overseeing Giraffe (or was it the Okapi?) of Sut, the hawk of Horus, the Kaf-Ape of Taht-Aan, the white Vulture of Neith, the Jackal of Anup, and fifty others were pre-extant as the talking animals before they were delineated in semi-human guise as gods and goddesses or elemental powers thus figured forth in the form of birds and beasts or fish and reptiles. The zoötypes were extant in nature as figures ready-modelled, pictures ready-made, hieroglyphics and ideographs that moved about alive: pictures that were earlier than painting, statues that preceded sculpture, living nature-types that were employed when there were no others known to art. Certain primordial types originated in the old dark land of Africa. These were perfected in Egypt and thence dispersed about the world. Amongstthem is the Earth as solid ground amidst the water of surrounding space, or as the bringer-forth of life, depicted as a Water-Cow;possibly the Cow of Kintu in Uganda; the Dragon of Darkness or other wide-jawed Swallower of the Light that rose up from the Abyss and coiled about the Mount of Earth at night as the Devourer; the evergreen Tree of Dawn—pre-eminently African—that rises on the horizon, or upon the Mount of Earth, from out the waters of Space; the opposing Elemental Powers beginning with the Twins of Light and Darkness who fought in Earth and Heaven and the Nether World; the Great Earth-Mother of the Nature-powers; the Seven Children of her womb, and various other types that are one in origin and worldwide in their range.
When the solar force was yet uncomprehended, the sinking Sun could be imaged naturally enough by the Beetle boring its way down through the earth, or by the Tortoise that buried itself in the soil: also by the Crocodile making its passage through the waters, or the Golden Hawk that soared up through the air. This was representing phenomena in external nature on the ground of likeness when it could not be imaged directly by means of words. When it is held, as in Australia, that the Lizard first divided the sexes and that it was also the author of marriage, we have to ascertain what the Lizard signified in sign-language, and when we find that, like the serpent or the Frog, it denoted the female period, we see how it distinguished or divided the sexes and in what sense it authorised or was the author of Totemic Marriage, because of its being a sign or symbol of feminine pubescence. It is said by the Amazulu, that when old Women pass away they take the form of a kind of Lizard. This can only beinterpreted by knowing the ideographic value in the primitive system of Sign-Language in which the Lizard was a zoötype. The Lizard appeared at puberty, but it disappeared at the turn of life, and with the Old Women went the disappearing Lizard.
The Frog which transformed from the tadpole condition was another Ideograph of female pubescence. This may be illustrated by a story that was told some time since by Miss Werner in the Contemporary Review which contains a specimen of primitive thought and its mode of expression in perfect survival. It happened that a native girl atBlantyre Mission was called by her mistress, a missionary’s wife, to come and take charge of the baby. Her reply was, “Nchafuleni is not there; she is turned into a frog.” (Werner, ContemporaryReview, Sept., p. 378.) She could not come for a reason of Tapu, but said so typically in the language of animals. She had made that transformation which first occurs when the young girl changes into a woman. She might have said she was a serpent or a lizard or that she was in flower. But the frog that changed from a tadpole was also a type of her transformation, and she had figuratively become a frog for a few days of seclusion. Similarly the member of a Totem also became a frog, a beetle, a bull or bear as a mode of representation, but not because the human being changed into the animal. The same things which are said at a later stage by the ideographic Determinatives in the Egyptian hieroglyphics had been expressed previously by the Inner African zoötypes or living Beasts, Birds and Reptiles, as may be seen in the stories told of the talking Animals by the Bushmen. The original records still suffice to show that the physical agencies or forces first perceived were not conceived or mentally embodied in the human likeness, and that external nature offered no looking-glass for the human face.
To take the very illustration adduced by Hume. The originalMan in the Moon did not depend upon any fancied resemblance to thehuman face. The Egyptian Man in the Moon, Taht or Tehuti(Greek Thoth), had the head of an Ibis or of the Cynocephalus; both Ibis and Cynocephalus were lunar types which preceded any human likeness, and these were continued as heads to the human figure after this had been adopted. The Man in the Moon, who is Taht (or Khunsu) in Egypt, had a series of predecessors in the Dog orCynocephalus, the Ibis, the Beetle, the Bull, the Frog, and other ideographic figures of lunar phenomena. As natural fact, the Ibis was a famous Fisher of the Nile, and its familiar figure was adopted as a zoötype of Taht, the lunar God. Where the modern saw the New Moon with the “auld Moon in her arm,” the Egyptian saw the Ibis fishing up the old dark orb from out the waters with thecrescent of its curving beak, as the recoverer and Saviour of the Drowning Light. The Moon was not looked upon as having any human likeness when it was imaged as (or by) the Cat who saw in the dark; the Hare that rose up by night and went round the horizon by leaps and bounds; the Ibis as the returning bird of passage and messenger of the Inundation; the Frog that transformed from the tadpole; the old Beetle that renewed itself in the earth to come forth asthe young one, or the Cow that gave re-birth to the child of light as her calf. The sun was not conceived as “human in its nature” when the solar force at dawn was imaged by the Lion-faced Atum; the flame of its furnace by the fiery serpent Uati; the soul of its life by the Hawk, the Ram, or the Crocodile, which are five EgyptianZoötypes and a fivefold disproof of the sun being conceived as or considered human in its nature or similitude.
In beginning ab ovo our first lesson is to learn something of the Symbolical Language of Animals, and to understand what it is they once said as Zoötypes. We have then to use that knowledge in simplifying the mysteries of mythology.
This primitive language is still employed in divers forms. It is extant in the so-called “dead language” of the Hieroglyphics; the Ideographs and Pictographs; in the Totemic types, and figures of Tattoo; in the portraiture of the Nature-Powers which came to be divinised at length in the human likeness as the Gods and Goddesses of Mythology; and in that language of the folk-fables still made use of by the Bushmen, Hottentots, and other Africans, in which the Jackal, the Dog, the Lion, the Crane, the White Vulture and other beasts and birds keep on talking as they did in the beginning, andcontinue more or less to say in human speech what they once said in the primitive symbolism; that is, they fulfil the same characters in the Märchen that were first founded in the Mythos. It has now to be shown how the Mythical mode of representing natural phenomena was based upon this primitive system of thought and expression, and how the things that were thought and expressed of old in this language continue the primary stratum of what is called “Myth- ology” to-day.
In the most primitive phase Mythology is a mode of represen- ting certain elemental powers by means of living types that were superhuman like the natural phenomena. The foundations of Mythology and other forms of the ancient wisdom were laid in this pre-anthropomorphic mode of primitive representation. Thus, to summarise a few of the illustrations. The typical Giant Apap wasan enormous water-Reptile. The typical Genetrix and Mother of lifewas a Water-Cow that represented the Earth. The typical Twin-Brothers were two Birds or two Beasts. The typical twin brother and sister were a Lion and a Lioness. The typical Virgin was a heifer, or avulture. The typical Messiah was a calf, a lamb or Unbu the Branch. The typical Provider was a goose. The typical Chief or Leader is a lion. The typical Artisan is a beetle. The typical Physician is an Ibis (which administered the enema to itself). The typical Judge is a Jackal or a Cynocephalus, whose wig and collar are amusingly suggestive of the English Law-courts. Each and all of these and hundreds more preceded personification in the human image. The mighty Infantwho slew the Dragon or strangled serpents while in his cradle was a later substitute for such a Zoötype as the little Ichneumon, a figure ofHorus. The Ichneumon was seen to attack the cobra di capella and make the mortal enemy hide its head and shield its most vital parts within the protecting coils of its own body. For this reason the lively, daring little animal was adopted as a zoötype of Horus the young Solar God, who in his attack upon the Apap-Serpent made the huge and deadly reptile hide its head in its own enveloping darkness. But, when the figure is made anthropomorphic and the tiny Conqueror is introduced as the little Hero in human form, the beginning of the Mythos and its meaning are obscured. The Ichneumon, the Hawk, the Ibis might attack the Cobra, but it was well enough known that a Child would not, consequently the original hero was not a Child, although spoken of as a child in the literalised marvels, miracles, and fables of “the Infancy.”
It is the present writer’s contention that the Wisdom of the Ancients was the Wisdom of Egypt, and that her explanation of the Zoötypes employed in Sign-Language, Totemism, and Mythologyholds good wherever the zoötypes survive. For example, the Cawichan Tribes say the Moon has a frog in it, and with the Selish Indians of North-West America the Frog (or Toad) in the Moon is equivalent to our Man in the Moon. They have a tradition that thedevouring Wolf being in love with the Frog (or Toad), pursued her with great ardour and had nearly caught her when she made a desperate leap and landed safely in the Moon, where she has remained to this day. (Wilson, Trans. of Ethnol. Society, 1866, New Series, v. 4, p. 304.) Which means that the frog, as a type of transformation, was applied to the changing Moon as well as to the Zulu girl, Nchafuleni.
Sign-language was from the beginning a substitution of similars for the purpose of expression by primitive or pre-verbal Man, who followed the animals in making audible sounds accompanied and emphasised by human gestures. The same system of thought andmode of utterance were continued in mythography and totemism. Renouf says the Scarabeus was “an object of worship in Egypt,” as a symbol of divinity. But this is the modern error. If there was a God, and the Beetle was his symbol, obviously it was the divinity that was the object of worship, not the symbol: not the zoötype. Ptah, we know, was that divinity, with the Beetle as a type, and those who read the types were worshippers of the God and not of his symbolic dung-beetle which was honoured as a sign of transformation. When told that the Egyptians were worshippers of the “Bee,” the “Mantis,” and the “Grasshopper,” we recall the words ofHor-Apollo, who says that when the Egyptians would symbolise a mystic and one of the Initiated they delineate a Grasshopperbecause the insect does not utter sounds with its mouth, but makes a chirping by means of its spine. (B. 2, 55.) The grass-hopper, then, which uttered a voice that did not come from its mouth, was a living type of superhuman power. And being an image of mystery and superhuman power, it was also con- sidered a fitting symbol of Kagn, the Bushman Creator, or Great Spirit of creative mystery. Moreover, the grasshopper made his music and revealed his mystery in dancing; and the religiousmysteries of Kagn were performed with dancing or in the grasshopper’s dance. Thus the Initiates in the mysteries of the Mantis are identical with the Egyptian Mystæ symbolised by the grasshopper; and the dancing probably goes back to the time when pre-verbal man was an imitator of the grasshopper, which was a primitive type of mystery, like the transforming frog and the self-interring tortoise. There is a religious sect still extant in England who are known as the “Jumpers,” and their saltatory exercises still identify them withthe leaping “Grasshoppers” and the “praying Mantis” in the Mysteries of old. They still “dance that dance.” The “Moon belongs to the Mantis,” say the Bushmen, which goes to show that theMantis was not only a Lunar type as the leaper round the horizon, but on account of its power of transformation; and this again suggests the reason why the Mantis should be the zoötype of the Mystæ who transformed in trance, as well as leaped and danced in the mysteries. The Frog and the Grasshopper were earlier leapers than the Hare. These also were figures of the Moon that leaped up in a fresh placeevery night. It was this leaping up of the light that was imitated in the dances of the Africans who jumped for joy at the appearance of the New Moon which they celebrated in the monthly dance, as did the Congo Negroes and other denizens of the Dark Continent who danced the primitive mysteries and dramatised them in their dances. The Leapers were the Dancers, and the leaping Mantis, the Grasshopper, the Frog, the Hare, were amongst the pre-human prototypes.
The frog is still known in popular weather-wisdom as the prophesier of Rain. As such, it must have been of vastly more importance in the burning lands of Inner Africa, and there is reason to suppose that Hekat, the Consort of Khnum, the King of Frogs, was frog-headed as the prophetess, or foreteller, on this ground of natural fact. Erman says the “Great Men of the South,” the “Privy Councillors of the royal orders were almost always invested—I know not why—with the office of Prophet of the frog-headed Goddess Hekat.” (Life in Ancient Egypt, p. 82, Eng. tr.). The Frog was a prophet of Rain insome countries, and of spring-time in others. In Egypt it was the prophet of the Inundation, hence Hekat was a Consort of Khnum, the Lord of the Inundation, and King of Frogs. Hekat was also the Seer by Night in the Moon, as well as the crier for the waters and foreteller of their coming. From her, as Seer in the dark, we may derive the names of the Witch as the Hexe, the Hag, the Hagedisse; and also that of the dark Goddess Hecate, the sender of Dreams. As prophesier of Rain, or of the Inundation, it was the herald of new life to the land of Egypt, and this would be one reason for its relationship to the resurrection. But, in making its transformation from the tadpole state to that of the frog, it was the figure of a still more important natural fact. This, in the Mythology, was applied to the transformationand renewal of the Moon, and to the transformation of the Mortal into an Immortal in the Eschatology, a type of Ptah, who in one form is portrayed as the frog-headed God. Lamps have been found in Egyptwith the Frog upon the upper part, and one is known which has the legendΕΓωΕΙΜΙΑΝΑCΤΑCΙC, “I am the Resurrection.” (Lanzone,Dizionario, p. 853; Budge, The Mummy, p. 266.) In this figure thelamp is an equivalent for the rising Sun, and the frog upon it is the type of Ptah, who in his solar character was the Resurrection and thelife in the Mythology before the image passed into the Eschatology, in a Spiritual sense. The frog was a type of transformation, and theFrog-headed Ptah made his transformation in Amenta to rise againas the opener of the Nether Earth. And as he represented the Sunin Amenta, the frog, like the Cynocephalus of Memphis (Rit., ch. 42),was imaged as Golden. Thus we find the Sun in the lower Earth of two depicted in the Golden Frog, and, as stated by John Bell, the Lamas had an idea that the earth rested on a Golden Frog, and that when the Frog stretched out its foot there was an Earthquake. (“AJourney from St. Petersburgh to Pekin in the year 1719.” Pinkerton’s Voyages, v. 7, p. 369.) Here the frog beneath the earth, like the Tortoise, is Egyptian, and as such we can learn what fact in nature was represented by it as a zoötype of Ptah in the Nether World called the Earth of Eternity, where the typical tadpole that swam the waters made its transformation into the frog that stretched itself out and set foot on land.
It is related in a Chinese legend that the lady, Mrs. Chang-ngo, obtained the drug of Immortality by stealing it from Si Wang Nu, the Royal Mother of the West. With this she fled to the Moon, and was changed into a Frog that is still to be seen on the surface of the orb. (Dennys, Folk-Lore of China, p. 117.) As Egyptian, the Motherof the West was the Goddess who received the setting Sun andreproduced its light. The immortal liquor is the Solar Light. This was stolen from the Moon. Chang-ngo is equivalent to the frog-headed Hekat who represented the resurrection. The frog, in Egypt,was a sign of “myriads” as well as of transformation. In the Moon it would denote myriads of renewals when periodic repeti- tion was a mode of immortality. Hekat the frog-headed is the original Cinderella. She makes her transformation into Sati, the Lady of Light, whose name is written with an Arrow. Thus, tomention only a few of the lunar types, the Goddess Hekat repre- sented the moon and its transformation as the Frog. Taht and his Cynocephalus represented the Man and his dog in the Moon.Osiris represented the Lunar Light in his character of the Hareheaded Un-Nefer, the up-springing Hare in the Moon. These are Egyptian Zoötypes, to be read wherever found by means of the Egyptian Wisdom. Amongst other Hieroglyphic Signs in the Language of Animals, the Head of a Vulture signifies victory (doubtless because of the bird’s keen scent for blood). The sheathen claw is a determinative of peaceful actions. The hinder part of the Lionessdenotes the great magical power. The Tail of a Crocodile is a sign for black and for darkness. An Ape is the ideograph of rage and a fiery spirit, or spirit of fire. The sparrow is a type of physical evil because of its destructive nature in thieving corn—its name of “Tu-tu”signifies a kind of plague or affliction of the fields. (Birch.) The Water-wagtail is a type of moral evil. This bird, as Wilkinson pointed out, is still called in Egypt the father of corruption (aboo fussad). It was regarded as the type of an impure or wicked person,on account of its insidious suggestiveness of immoral motion. The extent to which morals and philosophy were taught by means of these living object-pictures cannot now be measured, but the moralising fables spoken as well as acted by the typical animals still offer testimony, and language is full of phrases which continue the zoötypes into the world of letters, as when the greedy, filthy man is called a hog, the grumpy man a bear, the cunning one a fox, the subtle and treacherous one a snake.
In the Folk-Lore of various races the human Soul takes the form of a Snake, a Mouse, a Swallow, a Hawk, a Pigeon, a Bee, a Jackal, or other animal, each of which was an Egyptian zoötype of some power or soul in Nature before there was any representation of the human Soul or Ancestral Spirit in the human form. Hence we are told that when twins are born the Batavians believe that one of the pair is a crocodile. Mr. Spenser accepts the “belief” and asks, “Maywe not conclude that twins, of whom one gained the name of crocodile, gave rise to a legend which originated this monstrous belief?” (Data of Sociology, ch. 22, par. 175.) But all such representations are mythicaland are not to be explicated by the theory of “monstrous belief.” It is a matter of Sign-Language. The Batavians knew as well as we do that no crocodile was ever born twin along with a human child. In this instance the poor things were asserting in their primitive way that Man is born with or as a Soul. This the gnosis enables us to prove. One of the earliest types of the Sun as a Soul of life in the water is a Crocodile. We see the Mother who brings forth a Crocodile when the Goddess Neith is portrayed in human shape as the suckler of the young crocodiles hanging at her breasts. Neith is the wet-nurse personified whose child was the young sun-god. As Sebek he was imaged by the Crocodile that emerged from the waters at sun-rise. Sebek was at once the child and the crocodile brought forth by the Great Mother in the mythology. And because the Crocodile had imaged a Soul of Life in water, as a superhuman power, it became a representative, in Sign-Language, of the human Soul. We see this same type of a Soul in external nature applied to the human Soul in the Book of the Dead, when the Osiris in the Nether World exclaims, “I am the Crocodile in the form of a man,” that is as a Soul of whichthe Crocodile had been a symbol, as Soul of the Sun. It was thus the Crocodile was born with the Child, as a matter of sign-language, not as a belief. The crocodile is commonly recognised by the Congo natives as a type of Soul. Miss Kingsley tells of a Witch-Doctorwho administered emetics to certain of his patients and brought away young crocodiles. She relates that a Witch-Doctor had been opened after death, when a winged Lizard-like thing was found in his inside which Batanga said was his power. The power being another namefor his Soul.
Mr. Spenser not only argues for the actuality of these “beliefs” concerning natural facts, supposed to have been held by primitive men and scientific Egyptians, which vanish with a true interpretation of the mythical mode of representation, he further insists that there seemsto be “ample justification for the belief that any kind of Creature may be transformed into any other” because of the metamorphosisobserved in the insect-world, or elsewhere, from which there resulted“the theory of metamorphosis in general” and the notion “that thingsof all kinds may suddenly change their forms,” man of course included.(Data, ch. 8, par. 55.) But there was no evidence throughout allnature to suggest that any kind of creature could be transformed into any other kind. On the contrary, nature showed them that the frog was a tadpole continued; that the chrysalis was the prior status of the butterfly, and that the old Moon changed into the New. The transformation was visible and invariable, and the product of transformation was always the same in kind. There was no sign or suggestion of an unlimited possibility in metamorphosis. Neither was there ever a race of savages who did think or believe (in the words of Mr. Spenser) “that any kind of creature may be transformed into any other,” no morethan there ever were boys who believed that any kind of bird could lay any other kind of bird’s egg. They are too good observers for any such self-delusion as that.
Mythical representation did not begin with “stories of humanadventure,” as Mr. Spencer puts it, nor with human figures at all, but with the phenomena of external nature, that were represented bymeans of animals, birds, reptiles and insects, which had demonstrated the possession of superhuman faculties and powers. The origin ofvarious superstitions and customs seemingly insane can be traced to sign-language. In many parts of England it is thought necessary to “tell the Bees” when a death has occurred in the house, and to put the hives into mourning. The present writer has known the housewife to sally forth into the garden with warming-pan and key and strips of crape to “tell the Bees,” lest they should take flight, when one of the inmates of the house had died. We must seek an explanationfor this in the symbolism of Egypt that was carried forth orally to the ends of the earth. The Bee was anciently a zoötype of the Soul which was represented as issuing forth from the body in that form or under that type. There is a tradition that the Bees alone of all animals descended from Paradise. In the Engadine, Switzerland, it is said that the Souls of men go forth from this world and return to it in the form of Bees. Virgil, in the Fourth Book of the Georgics, celebrates the Bee that never dies, but ascends alive into heaven. That is the typical Bee which was an image of the Soul. It was the Soul, as Bee,that alone ascended into heaven or descended from thence. The Bee is certainly one form of the Egyptian Abait, or Bird-fly, which is a guide and pilot to the Souls of the Dead on their way to the fields of Aarru. It was a figure of Lower Egypt as the land of honey, thence a fitting guide to the celestial fields of the Aarru-Paradise. It looks as if the name for the Soul, Ba, in Egyptian, may be identical with our word Bee. Ba is honey determined by the Bee-sign, and Ba is also the Soul. The Egyptians made use of honey as a means of embalm-ing the dead. Thus the Bee, as a zoötype of the Soul, became a messenger of the dead and a mode of communication with the ancestral Spirits. Talking to the Bees in this language was like speaking with the Spirits of the dead, and, as it were, commending the departed one to the guidance of the Bees, who as honey-gatherers naturally knew the way to the Elysian fields and the meads of Amaranth that flowed with milk and honey. The type is confused with the Soulwhen the Bee is invoked as follows, “almost as if requesting the Soul of the departed to watch for ever over the living”:— “ Bienchen, unser Herr ist todt, Verlass mich nicht in meiner Noth.” (Gubernatis, Zoological Mythy., v. 2, p. 218.) In the Ritual the Abait (as Bee or Bird-fly) is the conductor of Souls to the celestial fields. When the Deceased is asked who conducted him thither, he replies, “It was the Abait-deity who conducted me.” He also exclaims, “Hail to thee, who fliest up to heaven to give light to the stars.” (Ch. 76. Renouf.) Here the Bee or Bird-fly is a Solartype, and that which represented the ascending sun in the mythology became a type of the Soul in the eschatology. Thus the inventor of honey in this world led the way to the fields of flowers inthe next.
Modern popular superstition to a large extent is the ancient symbolism in its second childhood. Here is a case in point. The Cock having been a representative of Soul or Spirit, it is sure to be said that the human Soul has entered the Cock by a kind of reincarnation. Hence we read of a legacy left to a Fowl by a wealthy lady named Silva, of Lisbon, who held that the Soul of her dead husband survived in a Cock. (Daily Mail, May 26th, 1892.) So it has been with the zoötypes of other elemental souls that were continued for the human soul, from the Crocodile of the Batavians to the red Mouse of the Germans. Folk-lore is full of fables that originated in this language of signs.
The Jackal in the Egyptian representation is the guide of the Sun upon his pathway in Amenta, who takes up the young child-Horus in his arms to carry him over the waters. In the Hottentot prototype the Jackal finds the Sun in the form of a little child, and takes him upon his back to carry him. When the Sun grew hot the Jackal shook himself and said, “Get down.” But the Sun stuck fast and burnt the Jackal, so that he has a long black stripe down his back to this day. (Bleek, Reynard, p. 67.) The same tale is told of the Coyote or Prairie-dog, who takes the place of the Jackal in the mythical legends of the Red Men. In the Ritual the Jackal who carried Horus, the young Sun-God, had become the bearer and supporter of Souls. In passing the place where the Dead fall into darkness, the Osiris says, “Apuat raiseth me up.” (Ch. 44.) And when the overwhelmingwaters of the Deluge burst forth, he rejoices, saying, “Anup is my bearer.” (Rit., ch. 64.) Here, as elsewhere, the mythical type extant with the earlier Africans had passed into the eschatology of the Egyptians.
The eternal contest betwixt the powers of light and darkness is also represented in the African folk-tales. The Hare (or Rabbit) Kalulu and the Dzimwi are two of the contending characters. The Hare, as in Egypt, is typical of the Good Power, and no doubt is a zoötype of the young up-springing Moon. The Dzimwi is the Evil Power, like Apap, the Giant, the Ogre, the Swallower of the waters or the light. (Werner, “African Folk-Lore,” Contemp. Rev., September, 1896.) It is very cunning, but in the end is always outwitted by the Hare. When the Dzimwi kills or swallows the Hare’s Mother it is the Dragon of Darkness, or Eclipse, devouring the Lunar light. The Moon-mythos is indefinitely older than the Solar, and the earliest slayer of the Dragon was Lunar, the Mother of the Young Child of Light. Here she is killed by the Dzimwi. Then Kalulu comes with a barbed arrow, with which he pierces the Dzimwi through the heart. This is the battle of Ra and Apap, or Horus and Sut, in the most primitive form, when as yet the powers were rendered non-anthropomorphically. Again, the Monkey who is transformed into a man is a prototype of the Moon-God Taht, who is a Dog- headed Ape in one character and a man in another. A young personrefuses several husbands. A Monkey then comes along. The beast takes the skin off his body, and is changed into a Man. To judge from the Egyptian Mythos, the young person was Lunar, and the Monkey changing into a man is Lunar likewise. One of the two won the Lady of Light in the Moon. This was the Monkey that became a Man, as did the Bear in “Beauty and the Beast.” In another tale, obviously Luni-Solar, that is with the Sun and Moon as the characters, a girl (that is the Moon) refused a husband (that is the Sun). Thereupon she married a Lion; that is a Solar type. In other words, the Moon and Sun were married in Amenta. This tale is told with primitive humour. When the wedded pair were going tobed she would not undress unless he let her cut off his tail. For this remained unmetamorphosed when he transformed into a Man.“When she found out that he was a lion she ran away from that husband.” So in a Hindu story a young woman refuses to marry the Sun because he is too fiery-hot. Even in the American Negro stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Wolf, and Brer Terrapin the original characters of the typical animals are still preserved as they were in the Egyptian mythology when divinised. The Turtle or Tortoise, the wise and sagacious one, is the hider; the Fox, like the Jackal, Anup, is the cunning one. The Wolf is the swallower, and the Rabbit equates with the Hare, a type of the Good Osiris or of the African Kalulu.
Any number of current superstitions are the result of ignorance concerning the Ancient Wisdom, and one of the worst resultsbequeathed to us by the past is to be found in our customs of cruelty to dumb animals. These poor victims have had to suffer frightfullyfor the very service which they once rendered to man as primitive types of expression in Sign-Language. In the Persian and Hebrew laws of Clean and Unclean, many of the animals and birds that wereonce held sacred in Egypt for their symbolic value are there condemned as unclean, to be cast out with curses; and so the real animals became the outcasts of the mental world, according to the later religion, in the language of letters which followed and superseded the carven hieroglyphics of the earlier time. The Ass has been a shameful sufferer from the part it played in the primitive typology. Beating and kicking the ass used to be a Christian sport practised up and down the aisles of Christian churches, the ass being a cast-out representative of an old Hebrew, and still older Egyptian deity.
The Cat is another sufferer for the same reason. The cat sees by night, and was adopted as a type of the Moon that saw by night and kept watch in the dark. Now, witches are seers and foreseers, andwhenever they were persecuted and hounded to death the cat suffered with them, because she had been the type and symbol of preterhuman sight. These were modes of casting out the ancient fetish-imagesinitiated and enforced by the priesthood of a later faith. In Egypt, as Hor-Apollo tells us, the figure of a mouse signified a disappearance. Now, see how cruelly the little animal has been treated because it was a type of disappearance. It was, and may be still, an English custom to charm away disease by making a hole in the shrew-ash or witch-elm tree and shutting up a live shrew-mouse in it. In immuring themouse in the bole of the tree, the disappearing victim typified or enacted the desired disappearance of the disease. That which had been a symbol in the past is now made use of alive in performing asymbolical action in the present.
Much misery has been caused to human beings as well as animals through the misapplication of certain mythical, that is symbolical characters. Plutarch tells us how the evil Sut (or Typhon) was humiliated and insulted by the Egyptians at certain festivals, “when they abuse red-haired men and tumble an ass down a precipice because Typhon was red-haired and like an ass in complexion.” (Ch. 30.) The fact is also notorious in Europe that an evil character has been commonly ascribed to red-haired persons, with no known warrant whatever from nature. They suffer for the symbol. Now for the origin of the symbol, according to the Egyptian Wisdom. Sut,the treacherous opponent of Horus (Osiris in the later Mythos), was the Egyptian Judas. He betrayed his brother to his enemies the Sebau. He was of a red complexion. Hence the Red Ass and the red-haired people were his types. But the complexion and red hair of Sut were not derived from any human origin. Sut was painted red, yellowish, or sandy, as representative of the desert. He was the original devil in the wilderness, the cause of drought and the creator of thirst. As the Hippopotamus, Sut, like Apt the Mother, was of a red complexion. As the betrayer of his brother Osiris, Sut was brought on with the Jesus-legend in the character of Judas, the traitor; hence in the Miracle-plays and out-of-doors customs, Judas, true to the Sut-Typhonian tradition, is always red-haired or wears a red wig. Thus, in our pictures of the past the typical traitor still preserves his proper hue, but in the belief of the ignorant the clue is lost and the red-haired people come to be the Viva Effigies of Sut, the Egyptian Judas, as a human type of evil.
Folklore in many lands is the final fragmentary form in which the ancient wisdom—the Wisdom of old Egypt—still survives as old wives’ fables, parables, riddles, allegorical sayings, and superstitious beliefs, consecrated by the ignorance which has taken the place of primitive knowledge concerning the mythical mode of representation; and from lack of the lost key, the writers on this subject have become the sheerest tale-bearers whose gossip is full of scandal against primitive and ancient man. But not in any land or language can the Märchen tell us anything directly concerning themselves. They have lost thememory of their meaning. It is only in the Mythos that we can ascertain their original relationship to natural fact and learn that the people who repeat the folk-tales were not always natural fools. It is only in the Egyptian Wisdom that the key is to be found.
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