A Pioneer Mother

Matriarchal primacy in Egypt was traced by the Egyptians to a certain great Lady who came to the Nile Valley immediately after the flood and established herself and her sons as rulers in the land. Since this is the same story that is told in Abraham 1:21—27, it is fortunate that the Egyptian sources are both abundant and specific. It was Hermann Junker who first called attention to them in the early 1900s; in short order the eminent Egyptologists Sethe and Spiegelberg joined in the hunt, and by 1917 the most important sources had been brought together and published. More recently, however, even more impressive texts have come to light, in particular the great Leiden Book of Breathings, Leiden Papyrus T32.1

Question: What is the nature of the original documents?

Answer: They are mythological and ritual papyri and include numerous temple inscriptions; some of the accounts are quite long and detailed. The record stretches from the Palermo Stone and the Pyramid Texts at the beginning of Egyptian history to pronouncements of Roman emperors and scholars at the end of it, and it is safe to say that any major mythological or ritual text in Egyptian is almost bound to refer somewhere to the circumstances under which the woman came to Egypt and established her son on the throne. Though that may seem like a sweeping statement, it is here made with confidence, though it must necessarily be the subject of a somewhat ambitious special study hereafter. Sethe wanted to discount some of the later texts purely because of their lateness, but since they were found to tell the same story as the very oldest writings, the early and late documents impressively support each other.2

Question: How old is the story?

Answer: All are agreed that it goes back to prehistoric times; Sethe would place it one thousand years before Menes, the founder of the First Dynasty.3 Naturally, German scholarship began by designating the whole thing as “a wild exotic growth of popular religious fantasy.”4 Yet all soon recognized two clear-cut episodes as the archaic nucleus of the epic profusion: (1) the story of the “Sun’s Eye” and (2) the story of the Great Trek across the desert to Egypt. Both tales climax in the arrival of the Lady in Egypt, and both stories are inseparably joined as early as the Pyramid Texts, which confirm their great antiquity.5

Question: Do you think these accounts have any value as history?

Answer: Yes. For one thing, from the beginning to the end of their history the Egyptians dramatized the events of the story in uncomplicated and unchanging “Founder’s Day” ceremonies that appear singularly detached from the great cults of Re and Osiris and were regarded as strictly historical.6 The claim of one particular spot to be the original place of arrival was never challenged; though Egyptian temples are notoriously competitive in their claims to precedence, no one ever questioned the traditional spot where the Lady landed, and Junker is puzzled by the “unearned celebrity” of a shrine that was celebrated for no other reason than its being the Egyptian Plymouth Rock, to which nonetheless, as the holiest spot in the land, all the gods and the faithful of Egypt were required to make an annual pilgrimage.7 The literary texts confirm “what stands independently in a thousand different places on the same theme,” and the investigators are agreed that what all the texts boil down to is a single straightforward story, singularly devoid of abstract, symbolic, or mystical content, of how once long ago a great Lady came from far away and settled in Egypt.8 But we must not oversimplify; though the scattered sources agree on a remarkably consistent story, it is nonetheless quite a detailed one.

Question: How does it begin?

Answer: The story opens with Re in heaven commissioning his daughter, regularly designated as his “Eye,” to go down and finish up the liquidation of the human race in the flood.9 As in the book of Enoch, we hear a good deal of comings and goings between heaven and earth in preparation for the flood; we see Shu, the inspired contact man between the two worlds, depart from earth in disgust.10 So does Re himself, who up until then had consorted with men on earth; now he withdraws his presence from them and calls a council in heaven to decide what is to be done with the unruly human race.11 He tells the assembly that he is about to send a flood and that all things are to return to the primal ḥuḥu of the great waters of Nun, even as it was before the creation, in the beginning.12 Ḥuḥu is the primordial chaos, the tōhû-wā-bōhû of Genesis 1:2. So even as in Abraham 1:24, the Egyptian story of earthly dominion begins with the flood. And there can be little doubt that it was the flood, and not the seasonal inundation, that even so was regarded as but a repetition of the original.13

As the curtain rises we see all nature in upheaval as the skies darken and the waters descend.14 The turmoil of nature is ritually represented as the work of Seth, who throws all things into confusion.15 The personification of violent atmospheric disturbances and world disorder, his thunderbolt emblem, the belemnite (fig. 79), which is found at prehistoric shrines throughout the land and in many other parts of the world, attests the reality of those early catastrophes.16 But human depravity contributes its full share to the vast calamity, for mankind had turned against its loving creator (Moses 5:28—34). It sounds very much like the Enoch literature, and Shu, in order to accomplish his mission between heaven and earth, must move through the same cosmic storms as those faced by Enoch and the other holy messengers.17

The end of the age in the utter dissolution of all things is signified in the fatal illness of its ruling deity (reminding us of Aeschylus’s Prometheus). Re, no longer the supreme god but called “the son of a greater one,” declares: “My limbs are sick, weak, shaking, just like the other time; but this time I will not return again—everything is changed; I will leave my son Shu in charge.”18 In the famous Turin Papyrus, the lamentable condition of Re, combining extreme senility with a deadly serpent’s sting, sets all the gods to weeping, until his daughter Isis heals him in return for his transmitting to her the secret of his name, and handing over his Eye to her son Horus; since she is his Eye, this guarantees that the authority of the rulers of Egypt in the new age will be kept in the matriarchal line.19 It is interesting also that almost every Egyptian king, as Ferdinand Wüstenfeld observed, is remembered in tradition as “the first after the flood,” indicating that the end of the flood is indeed the legendary beginning of the dynastic history of Egypt.20

Question: What was Shu’s mission?

Answer: To repeople the earth after the flood, taking Re’s place among men. To perform that office, his companion is Tefnut, the Daughter of Re, the Sun’s Eye.21 “The individual character of Tefnut,” according to Anthes, remains a mystery. Though they have a “relation with moisture,” Tefnut and Shu “apparently refer to human society and not to a myth.”22 In most tales dealing with the repopulation of the earth, the primal pair are Shu and Tefnut, the parents of Atum, whose mating marks the separation of earth and heaven in a new creation.23 Let there be a garden, a field of rest, says Re as he plants a new Eden. The story is told in the Book of the Cow (fig. 80), the Cow being the Flood-Lady herself, who first took the ailing Re from earth up to heaven on her back and then brought the flood; for she was both Hathor the Cow and Mut the Mother in her capacity of a cosmic personification of the primal waters of the Heliopolitan Nun. “The Great Flood and the first living thing to emerge from it are represented as a cow, called Methyer, ‘the Great Flooding.'”24 In the very ancient Salt Papyrus, Shu and Tefnut in establishing a new race on earth also set up their primal shrine at the caves of Elephantine (fig. 83), the source of the waters of the flood. Their doings are presented not as the first creation, but the end of one dispensation and the founding of another.

Question: But why Re’s daughter?

Answer: She cannot very well be the founder and ruler of a kingdom on earth and still remain by his side in the sky. She is his comfort and counsel, his aide and nurse; it is to her that he reveals the weariness of his heart, the failing of his strength.25 As she wept with him and for him, “her eye poured forth like a cloudburst, like the sky dark with storm,” a familiar “Enoch” motif (cf. Moses 7:28).26 “At the time when the Daughter of Re entered heaven, he called her the Eye of Re (the apple of his eye), the diadem on his brow, . . . because he loved her.”27 As the diadem as well as the Eye, she is his defender and protectress, the uraeus serpent on his brow who terrifies all who stand in his way.28 And yet the main theme of the prologue in heaven is how the girl cooperated with a deceitful serpent to force Re to divulge to her his true name, the ultimate secret of his power and authority.

Question: And that is a loving daughter?

Answer: That shows us what it is all about: By getting her father mortally ill of a serpent bite that only she can cure, she forces him to give her the key to the supreme patriarchal authority, so that she will be able to hand it on to her earthly son.29 Thus in Egypt is “preserved the curse in the land” (Abraham 1:24), that equation and confusion of patriarchal and matriarchal authority that forever plagued the pharaohs, never able to be sure of their lineage. We shall discuss this matter further on.

The Daughter of Re is not all sweetness and light—there is a sinister side to her nature, for she is terrible in her wrath, all the more terrifying for its being righteous wrath.30

Question: Couldn’t Re have found someone else to do the dirty work?

Answer: The council of gods advised him: “Send down your Eye to deal with them!” So “down went Hathor (the Cow) and smote the human race upon the desert places; then she returned and reported to Re, who said, ‘It is well.'”31 Though “her majesty came as the excellent Wdjat eye,” to establish a glorious order of life on the emergent land, she arrived first “in her form of Sekhmet,” the terrible lioness of the desert.32 Re explained to her that this was the only course open to him because of the horrible depravity and rebellion of the human race; violent intervention is an act of kindness, since “my purpose is to reduce them to some semblance of reason!” So her mission is a double one, both tragic and joyful. As the prehistoric Seth and Min were “gods of the blessed yet dangerous storm,”33 so Hathor, their inseparable female companion, appears in a First Dynasty ivory carving “flanked by a pair of thunderbolts,”34 while her counterpart “Neith the sky- and warrior-goddess,” with her own thunderbolt, brings her red crown to Min’s capital in predynastic times.35

Question: But deserts at the time of the flood?

Answer: Not as paradoxical as it seems. In ancient flood literature, as in present-day experience, the alarming occurrence—side-by-side and rapid alteration between the wildest extremes of weather, hot and cold, wet and dry—is a commonplace. The perceptive Budge saw in the pair Shu and Tefnut the personification of alternative drought and flood respectively,36 and as Isis, the Lady brings forth both deadly drought and deadly flood.37 Thus the weeping Eye of Re extinguishes the Flaming Eye and “cools the ways.”38 The same Eye of Re goes forth as a flame, driving away the flood serpent and taking possession of heaven and earth amid mighty thunderstorms and deluges of rain.39 Chaos still prevails on earth,40 as it does in all the earliest accounts of the “separation” of the people (the Tower of Babel story) after the flood.41 The coming forth of the Sun’s Eye represents the passing (overcoming) of the great cloud serpent who had darkened the sky and swallowed the sun.42 Fire and water mix in the flood traditions, and the tears of the Lady came from a blazing Eye to overcome the wicked.43 As mistress of both fire and water she has ambivalent functions: As the Eye of Re, the life-giving Sun, she causes the waters to subside.44

A Coming-Out Party

Question: Why both tragic and joyful?

Answer: Because she is coming to put an end to one race and establish another.45 She arrives to find the land still under water, the slaughter of mankind in its final stages, and proceeds to finish them off in a ceremonial orgy of blood.46 For the ritual she orders red ochre to be mixed with beer, “looking like the blood of humans,” and seven thousand jars of it to be poured out to cover the earth to a depth of three spans.47 Assisted by her handmaidens, she treats the red beer mash and brews a “victory-drink of beer and blood” by order of the high priest of Heliopolis, or makes red pomegranate wine to celebrate the completion of her task. Beer mixed with ochre concludes the great debacle of the flood: “It was the blood of mankind.”48

Plutarch, commenting on these Egyptian rites, says that “wine makes men wild because the vine was fertilized in soil rich with the blood of the wicked victims of the flood,” for which reason, he observes, Egyptian priests may not touch wine, and Pharaoh himself may drink it only on this particular day.49 For drunkenness renews the guilt of the ancestors. Seth, the ever-violent and abominable storm-god, is also the prehistoric god of drunkenness.50 Five hundred years earlier, Pindar gives us the Greek version. The festival of Deucalion (Noah) was celebrated in wine with songs about the great storms and the destruction of the world by the force of the black waters, and about how Zeus suddenly dried up the waters and the race of Japetus (Japheth) came forth to repeople the earth.51 Recall that Noah right after the flood “planted a vineyard” and also “drank of the wine and was drunken,” not without a hint of scandal (Genesis 9:21—24), which resulted in the cursing of Canaan. And it was Canaan’s line “which preserved the curse” in Egypt (Abraham 1:24). Just what that curse was can only be explained after we have looked into the role of the woman. So much for the grim side of her mission.

Question: And the bright side?

Answer: The wine not only whets her orgiastic rage—it also puts an end to it. It brings release; Hathor of the wine jar soon finds her wrath appeased.52 Indeed, the wine was drugged to make all forget the terrible things they had just been through—it was a blessed cup of Lethe,53 a cheering cup, to celebrate the New Year and forget the past, looking forward to a happy future. Re also gives his weeping son Horus the red pomegranate wine for consolation. Shu, like Deucalion, “caused the heavens to shine after darkness, it was the hue of the sky the hue of wine” when the sky was black “amidst storms and gloom.”54 But when the sky brightens, “you see Hathor bringing the mother of her mother on the day of the Feast of Intoxication; . . . you hear the castanets at the Illumination of the ‘Iw.t, (with) the dancing of the sweet-voiced singing girls . . . at the Floodhouse when his Majesty goes to the Shrine of the Waters.”55 The mixing of water and wine, which was the destruction of the race by the flood, becomes the bringing of life and happiness: “On the day of Everlasting Time, water is brought to your Ba . . . on the Day of Intoxication, . . . on the day when the flood-waters were everywhere.”56 “You praised the Great Lady at the primal Hill of Jars.” She is again beautiful to mankind as she joins with the Ennead in holding back the waters at the end of the period. On the night before the New Year she hears the cry of the slain before the dawn, but with the new day comes joy.57 The changing nature of the wine definitely relates our Egyptian story to the biblical flood. In the very old Christian Apocalypse of Baruch, we are told that Noah after the flood hesitated to plant the vine, “for Adam was destroyed by it”—the grape being the forbidden fruit in many old Adam accounts; so he prayed for forty days with tears streaming down (an Enoch motif), until an angel appeared to reassure him: “Arise Noah, plant the vine; its bitterness shall be changed to sweetness, and its curse shall be changed to a blessing. What it yields shall be the blood of God.”58

Question: You referred to her as Hathor. How is she related to Pharaoh?

Answer: She is designated by countless names to indicate her various functions. Before all else she is the Great Mother; she was also the consort, hierodule, Lady of Carousing and Intoxication, even before she was called the Sun’s Eye, according to some.59 But all these roles go together naturally in the flood story, and in that situation her special name is Tefnut. At the beginning of the flood story Re summons “my Eye, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, . . . Nut and all the preexistent parents who were together in the Nun, and all those who preside over the primeval waters.”60 These are divine primal parent couples, with Shu and Tefnut leading the parade,61 while the Eye is Tefnut herself in her capacity of special emissary of Re. Since she had two offices to perform, one of destruction and one of inauguration, and since she found the land inhabited though she was its discoverer, there has been some doubt as to whether she made one trip to earth or two. Spiegelberg always inserts an “again” in passages telling of her coming to the valley overland, and the Egyptians explained that she had been in the land formerly but had forgotten all about it when she finally crossed the desert to settle the land for good.62 She had already played Eve to Shu’s Adam.

The Itinerary

Question: Where did she come from on the journey?

Answer: The first thing to notice is that she comes from a far-off mysterious place, “from the land of the gods,”63 a place far removed.64 She is, in fact, most commonly referred to as “the Lady from Afar,” and, as such, is a stranger to the land.65 Her escort is Onuris, that being the Graecized form of ‘In.hr.t, “Bringer of the Distant One,” or “He who brought the Lady from Afar,” sometimes shown in the hieroglyphic as a walking man bearing the “far” (Hr), or sky-symbol, in his right hand.66 The distant place in the sky is here deliberately vague, but all are agreed that her mysterious homeland lay to the east.67

While Junker, who always insisted on an African origin, put her homeland in the far southeast, the African Punt, the consensus of opinion favors the northeast. The trouble is that certain key names may be found in either Asia or Africa. Punt itself would seem to be not in Africa but in Canaan, and when “her majesty came . . . to see the Nile of Egypt and all its wonders, turning her back on St.t,” St.t may be Nubia but is more properly Asia.68 The women of Thebes venerated their patroness, Hathor the Sun’s Eye, as the carousing hierodule of Canaan.69 But if she came from the east, it was by a roundabout way, for all are agreed that she entered the Nile Valley by the Wadi Hammamat, far to the south.70 Some sources tell of her long detour through Arabia, and all hark back to her trip through the desert.71 “She comes through eastern desert by El Kab as an authentic desert woman,” writes Junker, “plodding along with her crooked staff.”72 As Hathor, she comes smelling the earth, “advancing along the ways,” as cattle do on a long hot drive.73 Her companion is shown as Horus bearing a plainsman’s spear and lasso.74 The situation is vividly depicted in two ritual texts edited by Schott. The Victory over Seth begins with the depravity of the human race and the council in heaven (almost identical with the Shabako and Pyramid Text versions),75 after which we follow the Lady as she meets the challenge of the journey in her various forms, terrible and benign, overcoming the evil opposition in the desert and on the waters.76 The other text, the Secret Ritual for Overcoming Evil, tells the same story. At the sight of human wickedness the Great God hides his face in anger on that day and drinks blood,77 for the human race has rebelled against him.78 Thot “appeases the Eye after its rage, he who fetched the Great Lady from afar, who embraced the Eye of Re on the day on which it was exalted,”79 who pacified the combatants after the battle and put an end to conflict.80 The rebels would defile the Great Mother’s settlement at Khemmis as she comes as Hathor to Egypt81 to end the abominations of the ancients.82 “The Mistress of Life in the head of her Creator (as his Eye) afflicts those who would do evil. . . . O Lord of Brawling at the waters of the Valley-mouth (ʿndty), he who is above the Floodwaters of the Sea . . . come and protect me from the death and destruction of this day and the terror of one who comes and seizes!”83 “Woman, yield not before the storm!”84

As Sekhmet, the lioness of the desert, she arrives with her nomad company to overwhelm and bind the evil ones; the Eye becomes established at the holy mound or complex, prevailing against the evil powers that had tried to establish themselves there, who “tried to trick the Mother, . . . who have rebelled against the breasts,”85 who have rejected the lotus.86 In the story of Astarte, in which we have already seen Egypt and Canaan sharing a tradition with the Abraham legends, what we deliberately passed over was that in the Egyptian version, when “the daughter of Ptah” who is Astarte “is fetched from the land of the ‘Asiatics‘. . . we find the goddess in tears,” writes Gardiner, and “it seems legitimate to conclude that she did not find her task an agreeable one.”87 Yet just three lines later we find her singing and laughing!88 What is going on? In this document she was viewed as a wrathful and furious goddess—why in this particular context is not clear. However, it is clear that the sea is demanding tribute and is ready in a damaged passage “to cover the earth and the mountains“; “to what can the allusion be,” asks Gardiner, “except to a threatened submergence of the world by the sea?” What follows is almost entirely unreadable, but “perhaps the dénouement of the story consisted in a description how an end was finally put to the sea’s interminable exactions.”89 The main motifs of the text itself as they emerge are a scene in heaven, a general embracing, great upheavals of earth, sky, and especially sea; Astarte is summoned, she weeps about something, then suddenly she “sang and laughed at him . . . as she sat on the shore of the sea,” after having passed through a terrible journey. “Then he said to her: Whence comest thou, O daughter of Ptah, thou angry and furious goddess? Hast thou ruined thy sandals which were (beneath) thy feet, and hast thou rent the clothes which were upon thee, through this going and coming which thou hast made in the sky and the earth?” She goes back and reports to the Council in Heaven, which does her obeisance. Thus the Canaanite version confirms the picture. “The general situation in this Egyptian tale,” writes Gaster, “accords perfectly with that implied in the Ugaritic poem.”90 In the latter, the sea Yamm is in complete domination “as lord and master of the gods and perhaps also of the earth.”91 “Baal, [in heaven] however, inspired by ‘Anat’ [the Lady]” fights and finally overcomes the waters.92 Gaster concludes that both these stories “simply mythologize seasonal conditions at the time when the rivers became swollen and the sea is beset with autumnal squalls. Not until the waters abate or are confined is the earth released from their oppressive domination.”93 Certainly such seasonal events were dramatized, but always in terms of a much greater world catastrophe.

There is much more material that would trace the Lady’s journey to Egypt by the short route from, or at least through, Canaan.94 “Let us frankly admit our ignorance,” wrote Gardiner, warning against any attempt to “adjudicate between those who advocate the line of approach from the Red Sea through the Wâdi Ḥammâmât and the town of Coptos, and those who favor the northerly route from Palestine.”95 In either case the immigrants, whether led by Horus or Hathor-Nebet-Hetepet, come from the same far and mysterious place.

For the Canaanites to lay claim to the Egyptian mysteries, it was necessary to reverse the direction of her journey. In a famous story told by Plutarch, Isis, coming from Egypt, arrives at Byblos, exhausted after the long journey, and sits sorrowing by a spring.96 She pays no attention to anyone but the young girls who come from the court of the queen, and she celebrates with them, braiding their tresses and endowing them with divine fragrance. She then becomes the nurse to the young prince, feeding the child, as the infant Abraham was fed, by letting it suck her finger. But when the queen interrupts the ordinances of the Mysteries that would make the babe immortal, the offended Isis departs from the land, sailing back to Egypt and taking with her the oldest son of the king, who became Maneros, the first heir to the throne of Egypt and patron of bibulous festivities.97 There are many variations on the theme, but the shifting directions of the journey between Egypt and Canaan are not without historical foundation. There is, for example, much evidence to identify Qadschu, Ksh.t, Kn.t, the great hierodule goddess of Canaan, with Hathor; for she not only became extremely popular with the women of Thebes, who identified her with Hathor Mistress of Punt and Mafkat,98 but also enjoyed among them special esteem as the Sun’s Eye. As early as the Coffin Texts,99 Hathor is designated as the Mistress of Byblos, and inscriptions found in Palestine equate Isis with Hathor and with the local Baalat Gebal as well as the Lady Astarte, in which role she is shown holding the child Horus.100 The inevitable mix-up of Horus with Osiris as Isis’s companion in Canaan is explained by Aristides, a contemporary of Plutarch, who says that Isis took to wandering after the death of her husband Osiris, fleeing with her son Horus and first settling in Byblos; but when Horus slew Typhon (Apepi the serpent occupant of the land) in Egypt, she found it safe to settle there permanently.101

These unmistakable variants of the Sun’s Eye story—the demise of the divine parent, the long journey, the exhausted Lady by the water, cheered and comforted by a celebration of local damsels, the overcoming of the serpent, the establishing of the youthful companion as king of the land—are confirmed by the Greek version of the same tale, acquired from Egypt by way of Canaan; it is this particular story, according to Hermann, that shows us how “on Syrian soil Egyptian tradition meets the Greek mind with which it enters into a happy symbiosis.”102 It is no less than the foundation of the great Eleusinian Mysteries. The story is told in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, in which the goddess comes as a stranger from afar, wandering in desperation at a time when the earth is blasted with drought. Arriving at Eleusis, she sat down by a stream, exhausted and sorrowing; there she was met by the crone Iambe, who was able to cheer her up with her lively dancing. In gratitude she founded her temple there and established her mysteries and then proceeded to set up other such shrines and mysteries in various places throughout the land, to celebrate the victory and rule of her daughter Kore.103

The mystery cult is not the main point of the thing, Hermann finds, being a secondary element, while the ladies themselves were in the earliest times not great goddesses, but rather pitiful suffering figures.104 The three leading motifs of both the Canaanite and Greek myths, according to him, are (1) the blight of nature, (2) the settling of the woman in the land, and (3) the establishment of the mysteries. In reference to the last named, in Byblos, Osiris is to Isis as the maiden Kore is to Demeter, the lost child who sits enthroned in the dark underworld from which he or she must be liberated by the mysteries.105 The confusion of Osiris—both husband and child of Isis106—with Horus is inevitable and has led to many suggestions by way of explanation, but it does not change the story. The predominance of the female element may well be responsible for Kore supplanting Horus in the role of the child; indeed, the Homeric Hymn opens by announcing that Adonis, i.e., the Syrian Osiris = Horus, has stolen the honors of Kore.107 The tension between male and female is apparent in Plutarch’s account of how Horus became so resentful of his mother’s tolerance of his rival and brother Typhon that he snatched the crown from her head only to have Thoth (Hermes) replace it with a Hathor mask—she was still number one.108

These myths became a plaything for all sorts of irresponsible poets, priests, and quacks to kick around, but behind them, Plutarch assures us, lies the core of historic events that really took place if we could only get back to them.109 Recall that when the waters of the flood subsided, Noah was in a desert world—kharbu (Genesis 8:13)—and soon came the terrible winds that dried everything out, nature quickly reverting from one extreme to another even as mankind just as quickly reverted to their old wicked ways.110

It is a depressing picture; during the crossing to Egypt things could not have been worse. The long Demotic account of the Sun’s Eye tells all about it. In order to survive the ordeal, the traveler must turn herself into a raging lioness; her mane smokes with fire; her back has the color of blood; her face becomes a blazing solar disk, withering and searing all before it like the noonday sun; “the desert was enveloped in a vast cloud of dust by the beating of her tail; tornadoes spun out over the desert when she snapped her teeth; fire shot out of the ground when she whetted her claws. The forests withered and clouds of gnats rode on the smoke of her breath, . . . then the desert opened its mouth, stone spoke to sand, and the hills shook for two hours.”111 The woman’s form of Hathor-Tefnut the Lion-Lady simply reflects, Bonnet observes, the terrible times in which she was living.112 While they are crossing the desert, her guide, who has taken the form of an ape for survival, tries to maintain her sanity and his own by telling her animal fables, all of which deal with the utter treachery and depravity of the human race so richly deserving of what has befallen it.113

Question: Then the flood had no beneficial moral effect?

Answer: On the contrary, even in her fiercest form the Lady brings good as well as bad news. Her face and her word are a consuming fire to the wicked, but a blessing to the righteous,114 even as the flame of Tefnut is a cooling north wind to her beloved.115 If the lion-headed Hathor-Tefnut is death, the lion-headed Hathor-Isis is birth and life.116 To the rebellious, she is the Lady of Slaughter, pleased with blood, the Queen of Fire who burns up Apophis the serpent enemy of Re.117 But to her followers, she is the rising sun that leads the way, Sothis the guiding star, who brings joy wherever she passes.118 Her grim mission accomplished, the Sun’s Eye again takes up her proper position in the heavens, where something had plainly gone wrong.119

As she nears Egypt, she chooses a milder form for survival in a less savage desert; her welcoming hymn says, “Come to me [Mother], we desire to see thee in Egypt, thou gazelle of the desert!”120 The dwellers of the wadis along the Nile bring her presents of gazelles and greetings: “Be happy! Do not be angry with us when you come!”121 Here a word more about the wine is in order. As Brunner explains it, Re sent out his Eye as Sekhmet, the lioness of the desert, to destroy everything, but presently it is no longer blood but beer that delights her; the Blutrausch is turned into a Bierrausch, as the healing waters of the Nile cool and appease her rage.122 The wine not only was an escape valve to release the tension and wrath, but wiped out any feelings of guilt and remorse for the excesses of her anger. “Her daily requirement of intoxication with music and dancing” is no longer orgiastic, as she changes from the flaming lioness Sekhmet to the good-natured cat Bast.123 While her companion “cools her glow” in an affectionate embrace,124 she is crowned as the “Mistress of Intoxication.”125 Everywhere along the river the women let down their hair in unrestrained fun and games to greet the Lady to her domains.126 “At the time her Majesty came from Bwgm, when she was permitted to look upon the Nile of Egypt . . . Dendera was drenched with liquors, with choice wines.”127 The motives are all intermingled in the Leiden Papyrus T32: Here comes Hathor the Mother “on the Day of the Feast of Intoxication, . . . the Night of the Coming of the Cow.”128 She “enters into the presence of Re . . . on the day when his children carry him; . . . on the Day of Everlasting Time, water is brought to you when you take possession” of the land,129 “setting out for your estate . . . on the Day of Intoxication.”130 “Hathor brings the cake to the party on the Wag Festival (the New Year’s Day) . . . on the Day of bringing in the liquors.”131

Question: Isn’t this simply the old familiar vegetation rite of the year?

Answer: In Egypt it is doubtful if anything is simply one thing. Plutarch says Osiris is not only the god of wine on the occasion, but also represents all life-giving liquids (e.g., the water and the milk that are also so prominent), his trees and springs being equally sacrosanct.132 The unmistakable elements of the bizarre wine story appear in almost all of the many ritual combat texts from every period.

In the “Fending Off of Evil” we read: “The Mistress of Life on the head of her Creator [i.e., as the Eye of Re] does damage to those of evil mind. . . . O Lord of the Slaughter beside the ʿndty-water, who is above the Flood of the Sea, . . . come and protect me from dying on this day, and from the terror of one who comes and seizes!”133 In this the dreaded evil is the evil of the flood, sent by an angry god: the Great God hides his face in anger on that day and drinks blood as a consuming fire whose hand holds life while death is in his footsteps.134 For the human race has rebelled against him. 135 But after her wrath, the Eye of Re, the Lady who was brought from afar, is pacified with the destruction of the rebels.136 In the piece called Victory over Seth, Seth is the primordial storm-god, and the story begins with Isis complaining, sending her voice to Re in heaven: “Turn thy face to me, Lord of the Gods! Behold thy commandments are held in contempt. I am Isis the daughter of thy daughter! I have been turned from laughter: the Evil One has returned to his ways, running rampant in the world.” So the gods were in consternation, and in the Great Council Thoth pronounced a curse on Seth, forbidding him to enter Egypt.137 So the Lady goes down and wades in the blood of Seth and his beheaded followers, in which capacity she is the Mistress of Slaughter, wielding her deadly knives, Sekhmet the raging lioness coming across the desert, as the Flaming one, the Fire-serpent!138 In the prehistoric rite of sacrificing the oryx, she is “Nekhbet, the White Lady, the Eye of Re, . . . whose countenance is terrible to the enemies of her father, until she has satisfied herself and is appeased with drinking their blood. It is the Eye of Re, the great Flame . . . Sekhmet, mighty against her enemies,” etc.139

The drama of Edfu is a later text but a very ancient rite: “Rejoice O ye women of Busiris, . . . behold Horus (her champion) . . . drunken with the blood of the enemy which his lance has shed! . . . He has poured forth a river the color of blood, like Sekhmet in the midst of carnage. . . . Come, let us celebrate with a dance (ballet) on this theme. . . . Drink the blood of the enemy and also that of their women-folk! . . . Take your places for the dance with him!” A description of a woman’s antiphonal chorus in the manner of the “Maiden choruses” of Alcaeus or Alcman follows.140 Perhaps the oldest of all is the drama contained in the Ramesseum Papyrus, Scene 22: The king’s children bring in a shpn.t jar of wine which is designated as the Eye, represented soon after by a string of red carnelian beads.141

The New Home

Abraham 1:24: “This woman discovered the land.”

Question: Then the whole tradition may be of ritual origin?

Answer: The reverse is more likely true. Her story is a remarkably human one, singularly free of theological complications. Led by the “hearing-bird” and the “seeing bird”—the two scouting birds of omen that fly before the leaders of all great migrations to spy out the country when they move into unknown territory, she discovers a new land: “I found no god; . . . no goddess was there,” she announces; it was she alone who “opened the land.”142 Her toilsome journey across the desert was, moreover, anything but the effortless progress of a goddess, and her arrival in the valley is depicted in the most convincingly human terms. As the troupe approach their goal, becoming ever more exhausted, the ape encourages the Lady to one last effort, surpassing himself in describing the beauties of the land that lies ahead; “after many days,” he says, “only four days more!”—and all are greatly heartened.143 As he promised, the first trees soon begin to appear—palms with delicious dates and oil for anointing, then the papyrus and the fruits of the kuki palm, mulberry, and sycamore as the delighted ape leads on.144 The whole company urge her on: “Come down into Egypt, O Gazelle of the Desert, mighty one of Bwgm. . . . when you arrive in Bwgm, at the Abaton, in Philae, all Egypt will rejoice!”145 The desert finally behind her, she rests in the shade of trees by the water, enjoying their fruit while a paean is sung to the glorious greenness of the valley.146

Question: Where is Bwgm?

Answer: It has been variously located at El Kab, Ombos, and Bigge, but whatever its exact location, one thing is certain, as Sethe points out: “Bwgm is plainly designated as the place of arrival, where the goddess coming from afar first settled down.”147 It is very near the mouth of the wadi, arroyo, or ravine down which the company descended into the valley of the Nile.

Question: Couldn’t they see the river long before they reached it?

Answer: No. The view opened out to them suddenly when they reached the pga, which Sethe renders “Öffnung, Engpass, Eingangsschlucht, Mündung,” i.e., the abrupt opening out of the canyon,148 down which the Lady’s approach, “taxing on the heart” (šms ib=s), is described as a beating through the brush (a Puerschgang), written with a jackal making its way through the underbrush.149 Nothing is more exhausting and exasperating than fighting one’s way through the gnats, thickets, and heat at the bottom of a desert canyon.150 The woman is officially welcomed to Egypt as “Hathor Mistress of the Mouth of the Desert Canyon,” and as “Mafd.t the Lady of the Turquoise route at the head of the Canyon of Bwgm,”151 while her companion is “Lord of the Land of the Gods, Ruler of Punt, who passes through the gorge and goes by Bwgm.” She is “the virgin whose heart relaxes in the Valley of the Myrrh-road, on the trek with Punt behind her.”152 In the dramatic rites, she is first received by a priest who represents Ptah the Creator himself, and who finds her sitting at the mouth of a ravine while the apes who live in the cliffs sing and dance to amuse her and the desert-dwellers bring her baby gazelles as presents.153 A recent geological study of Egypt at the beginning of its civilization contrasts the vast river filling the floodplain with the immediate proximity of “the entire high desert of Egypt, . . . exceptionally arid and almost certainly drier than today,”154 and notes the “frequency of gazelle at the floodplain sites.”155

Abraham 1:24: “When this woman discovered the land it was under water.”

Question: Wasn’t the Nile more than a river at that time?

Answer: Geological studies by Arkell and others of the high benches bordering the river show that it was then a moving lake like the Amazon, filling the valley.156 Quite apart from the annual inundation, large parts of Egypt would have remained permanently under water were it not for the elaborate system of dikes and canals maintained since the days of the first pharaoh, Menes.157 The inundation itself, however, was regarded by the Egyptians as a repetition of the great flood, the waters of Nun; and they believed that it issued forth from the very spot, the Abaton, where the Lady settled in Egypt, i.e., she is the Flood-Lady and arrives during the flood, but as it is subsiding:158 “You land as a Ba, you fly as a Ba . . . above the rushes, above the primal sea.”159 That was “on the day when the Flood waters were everywhere.”160 Recall also the belief that the waters of the flood dried up everywhere in the world except at her new home, the caves of the Abaton, where they still remained.

Question: What did Tefnut do when she got to the river?

Answer: Exactly what you would expect. She took a bath. Hot and dusty, after the briefest salutation and a breather, she wasted no time in jumping in: “You kiss the ground beneath the glorious Ished-tree . . . and sit in the shade.”161 “You leap ashore at the Lotus Bank of Nejt. . . . You wash yourself at the Valley-mouth of Andjet; you wash off your limbs in the pool of Ḥqɜ.t (the frog-goddess).”162 Here the name of the valley Andjet is written with the symbol of a Bedouin on the march. The bathing rite is a very important one, and Junker sees in it the normal procedure of bathing the goddess in the Nile as she emerged from the hot and dusty desert.163 But the rites always belong to the Abaton, her final destination on the island.

Question: Why the island?

Answer: The muddy, marshy, brush-entangled, varmint-infested, ill-defined margin of an inundated floodplain is no place to set up housekeeping.164 It was the natural habitat, as we read in the Harris Magical Papyrus, for lions, crocodiles, and snakes, who posed a real threat to the pioneer Mother and her company.165 But there out on the broad bosom of the flood—high, dry, and inviting—lay the rocky islands of Philae and Bigge (figs. 83—83), side by side, offering security and rest. Forthwith a “lotus bark decked all over with greenery” was put together for the crossing.166 In just this part of Egypt are found those prehistoric “Abaton,” meaning that the place is off-limits to mortals, recalls familiar classical legends of dire punishment suffered by human intruders on the bathing of a goddess. At all times any priest pictures of leaf-bedecked ceremonial ships in which “what is remarkable,” according to Westendorf, “is the predominance of feminine figures,” in the dancing position; a damsel of heroic size stands in the midst of the bark while gazelles and ostriches of the desert line the shore.167 To match this, we read: “Sekhmet (the traverser of the desert) arrives and settles down at the Abaton, the Landing place, bathing herself on the island, which is therefore called the Pure Island, the holiest spot in all Egypt.”168 It was Hathor the Great who came from Kns.t and Bigge as the Great Wps, and “washed her limbs at the Abaton.”169 An inscription on Bigge identifies that island as “the place where Wps stopped when she came out of Kns.t with the flame all about her; . . . the Goddess came and her heart was glowing—but at this locale (it includes the neighboring island of Philae), her flame was cooled; Thoth washed the goddess. Therefore the district is called Abaton to this day.”170 or scribe who would rehearse the story was required to be first washed off with a washing of floodwaters in a washing of nine days—no ordinary inundation.171 Incidentally, the Lady’s son also inaugurated his career in Egypt with a bath, the subject of a special ritual in the temple of Memphis. The bath, supervised by his mother, was in preparation for his royal progress to take over the rule of the land, and took place at the immemorial starting place for such ceremonial cruises, Coptos,172 or in its rival shrine to the north, the Field of Rushes or the hidden “Bee-marsh of Chemmis.”173

Question: And what did she do after the bath?

Answer: What she needed most, having already eaten on the other shore, was a complete rest; on the island she slept—blacked out in the arms of her beloved companion. Philae is called “the place where Shu and Tefnut came to rest as they sailed down the river from Bwgm.”174 After a formal welcoming to the island by a full chorus and orchestra, total silence was enjoined on all.175 The public was strictly barred from the island; a ritual hush was enforced as long as the Lady was in the temple, and the priests performed their offices in whispers.176 “No drum, harp or flute could be heard there, and no mere human could set foot on the spot at any time.”177 Since the island was a little Eden with a tree of life, serpent, and the rest (for repeating the beginning of the race), “no bird or fish might be hunted or caught” near the island.178

On the great ceremonial cruise about to be discussed, the queen repeated her island routine wherever she landed. Thus at Denderah, stepping from her boat, “she enters the great hall rejoicing and rests there on the holy sh-bed, especially prepared for her.”179 “When the Lady of Heaven comes to her house . . . you lie down to rest and spend the night in the Temple of Mut; . . . you awake by night in the Temple of Rest.”180 In the hour when she rests you see “the Great Lady when she sets foot on the river-bank on the night on which she rested her domain.”181 As she sleeps, the faithful ape sits guard at her head and sings her aubade when she awakens on her first day in Egypt.182

The Holy Regatta

A predynastic ivory tablet from Naqada shows the guardian goddess of the South making her triumphal entry into the land by ship (fig. 84).183 She comes from the far south and floats down the stream; the southernmost festival, which was at Esneh, where she is called both Sekhmet and Tefnut, was repeated at Edfu, celebrating in “festival cruises on the river Re’s eternal memory of the arrival of his daughter.”184 All down the river a line of local festivals “commemorate the great river journey which the goddess once undertook when she first . . . came to Egypt.”185

The situation is recalled in the famous Westcar Papyrus. Behold King Snofru being rowed over the waters of the temple lake by the fair virgins of the court, each dressed in the accoutrements of the cruising Hathor. Some scholars see in each of them a representation of one of Hathor’s handmaidens.186 The experts are also in disagreement as to whether the king in the boat is supposed to be Re in his solar bark or simply the king himself.187 Elisabeth Staehelin lays the greatest emphasis on the extreme antiquity of the tale: The “palace lake has an atmosphere of the primitive marshes, the swampy domain of Hathor,” the “Hathor-Atmosphaere,” which recalls the Lady in her double capacity of Mistress of Heaven and Lady of the Two Lands—”Mistress of Women.” Essential to the picture is the idea of the rebirth or regeneration of the land with Hathor preeminently the “Patroness of Love, of Joy, of Fertility, of birth and rebirth”—it is Hathor bringing life to the land. Need we say that the lotus figures prominently in the picture?188 Here, then, going back to the earliest times we find in a firmly founded mythological account, preserved in popular tales as well as public ceremonies, the figure of the Lady sailing on the flood with the king himself to establish a rebirth of life in the land amid rites of joyful and amorous celebration among the women.189

Some splendid though damaged bas-reliefs from the tomb of one Kheruef at Thebes (fig. 85), a steward of the famous Queen Tiye (imi-r pr n ḥm.t wr.t or nyswt = “Overseer of the House of the Great Wife of the King”), contains scenes showing the establishing of the order of the land at the Sed festival, with the setting up of the Djed-pillar (A) and the dancing of Oasis women (B). “It is impossible to say with certainty,” writes A. Fakhry, “why these dancers were brought from the Oases and not from other parts of Egypt as well.”190 Need we recall that it was the Oasis people who danced for the Lady when she had crossed the desert as Sekhmet?

Most important is the southern side of the wall. The king sits enthroned as the archaic Horus-Hawk in his Sed robe (C), the abstract symbols of life and power acting as his fan bearers, givers of the breath of life (D). Hathor (not Tiye) is enthroned beside him (E), her right arm around his shoulder, the arm wearing a large and conspicuous image of Ḥeḥ while her left hand holds a palm-rib scepter resting on an identical Ḥeḥ figure (F).191 Queen Tiye stands behind the couple wearing a Hathor crown combined with Min feathers (G). Beneath the throne, instead of the usual bound foreign captive, as on the opposite side to the north (H), we see fourteen Rekhyt birds, symbolic of the native people of Egypt, crouching over archaic palace-facades (serekh) housing symbolic lotus and papyrus plants (I)—it is the settlement of Egypt that is being celebrated rather than foreign conquest.192 Before the throne, Kheruef, the tomb owner, is being awarded the “gold of honor” (J). Likewise lively festivities are in progress—a throng of singers and dancers, all women, are putting on a show.193 Eight crowned princesses hold up as many open jars, while more jars of the same two types await sealed in stands before them (K). Behind them “we find 15 girls performing different dances,” one mournful and downcast, others with upward looks as if in glad surprise (L).194 The dance dramatizes events explained in an inscription above the dancer’s heads. Next we see the king and queen passing through the palace gates to initiate the royal progress (M): “He wears the crown of Upper Egypt and instead of the Uraeus at his forehead he has a falcon standing with a Uraeus on its head” (N).195 It is Horus going forth to claim his own. The couple are preceded by the standards, first in the upper register of Wep-wawet (O), the faithful dog of the hunt and the migration, opening the ways, then of the king’s double (P), then the archaic boomerang of the primitive nomads of the desert (Q). In the lower register Thoth (R) and the Horus hawk (S) march ahead, exactly as in our story. The king is seen striding forth under the protection of his Mother, the Great Vulture-Goddess, who spreads her sheltering wings over his head (T) while the uraeus serpent holds the life-sign before his face.196 Next the company take to the water: “The King wears the jubilee robe and is together with the queen standing inside a booth in a boat [U] at whose prow sits the child Horus; the boat is drawn by twenty persons who . . . are the high officials of the palace.” Kheruef himself is at the front of the boat followed by three busy functionaries—as the tomb owner he belongs in this ceremonial celebration of the Great Regatta.197 “The last scene of these ceremonies shows three male figures whose bodies resemble the Nile god, the first of them has a lion’s head and holds a wand in the shape of a hand” (V); the heads of the others are destroyed, but the first figure certainly suggests the taming (by the restraining hand) of the wild (lion-headed) waters, which was the occasion of the original celebration.198

Question: In those passages in which “you” do so-and-so at each stage of the ceremony, who is the “you”?

Answer: The initiated, ritually identified with the victorious, divine king in his funeral text. Thus, “you travel over the earth; . . . you alight upon the earth at the temple of the god: You receive the deed of your inheritance. . . . O, Osiris, do not keep away from your temples; come to every shrine which is thine, . . . Great Bull, Lord of Love.”199 The primal acclamatio is the hnw-rite,200 the welcoming of a king or god to a community, the happiest and holiest of occasions. “Its sense,” writes Gutbub, “is always equivalent to that of the apparition of a god”201—a parousia, a “joyful meeting” with divinity.202 And it is always a navigation rite, requiring the carrying of an oar to mark the arrival.203 It was an all-out festivity, with much shaking of the Hathor-sistrum and general drunkenness.204 At Edfu, Hathor arrives to such a greeting “not in the usual processional bark . . . but in a Flood-boat . . . rowed by the Ennead.”205

Frequently the migration drama meets us in a funerary context: “The earth trembles, . . . countries and regions weep for thee. . . . Come to thy temple; be not afraid. Thy son Horus avenges thee. . . . Life is given to thee by the most excellent wife. . . . Thou drivest off rain in storms, thou grantest that the earth may be lighted by the radiance of light. . . . O thou that proceedest from the body of the Uraeus which is upon thy head [i.e., Wrt as the mother of the king].”206 Here the funeral procession of Osiris becomes the dark journey through the calamity of the deluge with only Osiris added to the usual characters in the ship, which ends up in victorious light.207 As early as the Pyramid Texts the phraseology of the Eye of Re story was being transferred to the sufferings of Osiris. When Osiris appears in the role of the new king, claiming the land for himself under the aegis of his mother,208 he is really a latecomer upstaging Horus-Min with his funerary fixtures.209 The same applies to Sokar, who in turn, with his great ceremonial cruise, shares Osiris’s act. Anthes has suggested that because of Sokar’s very early association (possible identity?) with Horus in the Ship of Maat, which was a celestial as well as an earthly vessel, “the idea that Sokar was originally a god of the dead may have to be basically changed.”210 It is the ship of the fearful passage of the Amduat, the royal ceremonial bark, the processional bark of Sokar, the funeral vessel that takes people to heaven, the ship that sails down the river on the royal progress, the Neshmet bark that must battle the monster Apepi on the water; it is all one. If there is resting by the way, it can be rest in the palace, drifting on the sacred lake of palace or temple, dalliance in the Golden Room at the shrine of the Lady, rest beneath a shady festive bower at harvest time, rest in the tomb, rest in the womb anticipating birth. And birth is at one and the same time the rising of the sun daily, seasonally, or yearly, the emergence of the king at his birth or his coronation or his funeral “when he flies to heaven” (eliciting another burst of parallels), of the lotus, of the light, of the corn, of the god, etc.

Inevitably Osiris appears in the context of the royal cruise, since cruising was part of a funeral, but his epithets on the occasion betray the nonfunerary origin of the event. The hero in the boat is the Lord of Love, the Lady’s consort; the Great Bull is Ka-mut.f, “Bull of his Mother,” and Ka-nakht, the Victorious Bull—titles the new king takes at his coronation. Note how male and female cooperate in every operation. The new king is the darling of the people, the cynosure of all eyes, “the youthful Adored One, the Opener of the Roads,” yet it is the powerful presence of the goddess that dominates throughout—”Hathor has overpowered the rebel against Re in her name of Sekhmet; Hathor the embodiment of every queen.”211 It is significant that the title of queen does not exist in Egypt—it is always as the mother, the sister, the wife, or the daughter of the god that the woman exercises her power, which is for that reason all the more pervasive: The king can never escape her; she is always right at his side, as his closest relative, bound by perfect ties of love; the matriarchy is there to stay. On her original tour, “the Lady speaking from the river” brings life to Egypt; “what joy is with her coming!”212 From El Kab, where she is received as Nekhbet the Mother, she proceeds to Thebes as Mother Mut for her seven-day festival; thereafter in her human form of Tefnut she goes the length of the land, ending up at Heliopolis in the north, where Re receives her as his daughter. Then the whole company goes to Memphis for the grand winding-up of the journey, where the faithful ape is given his discharge and resumes his proper form of Thoth the Great.213

The best account of the whole operation is found in our ever-informative Leiden Papyrus T32: After rest and refreshment she goes forth with her companion Sokar, visits the House of Life and flies to the temples of Busiris and Abydos, thence to the temple of Horus and Seth, where she eats in the House of the Victor (contest for the throne between Horus and Seth—pacification and victory). Then she visits all the shrines and temples in the land, and the Caves of the Nile, where the king embraces her in her own Temple of the Cow. Both then go to the West Bank on the Day of Crossing the Waters; the crew lift up the bark with joyous shouts and set it down carefully in the water—and so they are off to assert their dominion: “The White Crown is the pilot and the Red Crown is the helmsman!” We are here referred back to the two cooling themselves in the breeze at the Mouth of the Canyon, slaking their thirst with water, then crossing the water to the Hill of Djeme, where they join with all of Egypt in a great picnic on the Day of the Feast of the Rowing; they visit the Benben Temple of Heliopolis for the New Year’s rites, and see the King of the Gods rowing the sacred bark of Sektet (the Lady), going to the city of the Two Sisters in the holy place; Hathor bringing the mother of her mother on the Day of Drunkenness on the Night of the Arrival of the Cow (Hathor) to receive water at the altar of the Sun-goddess (Re’s Eye). On the day of Everlasting Time water is brought to your Ba when you take possession of the land, taking your place in the ship, setting out for your domain on the Day of Intoxication. 214

There is much more to the same effect. One of the purposes of the Sun’s Eye is to establish the worship of Re in the land, centering in Heliopolis: “The Eye of the Sun has come to his city, refreshing herself on the Day of Sailing to Edfu, to Msn, to Denderah,” and many other places.215 At each place she is greeted with joyful hymns of welcome, as “Shu dances and Thoth waves his arms.”216 As she, all in gold, enters the great hall for her refreshment and rest, her arrival is like fulness after famine, light after darkness, life after death.217 As all the gods must make their ritual pilgrimage cruises to her shrine every year,218 so all mortals must celebrate her coming in ceremonial regattas at their local shrines.219 There were lighted barges with songs and revelry on the waters by night and sham battles by day.220 It was before all else a gay time for the women—it was their festival. It was called “The Festival of the Water-Journey of the Goddess,” established by order of her father Re when she came from Bwgm to see the Nile of Egypt.221 At Denderah it was dramatized on a sacred lake where she rested “in the hall upon the lake,” which represented the floodwaters.222 Her flood bark rides on the subsiding flood: The sea is quiet (one can sail upon it); all its enemies are annihilated. Even their corpses exist no more, they will be no more upon this earth.

Question: One quotation said her companion was Sokar?

Answer: Since Sokar also cruises in a solar ship, the fusion was inevitable. He sails through the Underworld, you will recall, but it is the same sort of royal progress: “Thebes rejoices when Sokar appears in his holy ship. . . . Welcome! Welcome! say the crew when you sit in glory; . . . your footsteps will not be turned away from his secret places, you visit them in procession.”223 “You enter the cave beneath the Ished tree [both found on the Lady’s island!]; you ascend to the god Ḥtp [the Resting One] in the arms of his pyramid [the embracing mother of heaven]; . . . you cross over in the bark of the Lady Shabty; . . . you leap ashore at the Lotus-bank of Ndjty;224 . . . you follow the Great Lady wherever she sets her foot on the riverbank on the night she rests in her domain; you have escorted her when she went to the landing-place on the night of illumination of the gods through the Way of Darkness.”225

There the whole thing is adapted to the funeral situation to which, as Junker notes, it does not originally belong: This is not a typical funeral text.

Question: You think it commemorated a real cruise?

Answer: After all is said and done, the experts agree that it boils down to the real coming of a real princess from a distant land to Egypt long, long ago. A king of the Thirteenth Dynasty recalls in his autobiography how “the Majesty of this god entered the Neshmet-ship to make his cruise. . . . The banks were overflowing. . . . The king himself appeared on the Lake to unite himself with the god.”226 And we have an account of how the famous Pharaoh Tirhaqa, a thousand years later, made the great ritual cruise the whole length of the Nile from Nubia and back again to announce to the Egyptians his assumption of royal power; significantly, it was his mother who was especially honored in the ceremony as the New Hathor, installing her son on the throne.227 Especially enlightening is the very ancient routine in the Dramatic Papyrus from the Ramesseum, which rehearsed the coronation play at points along the river, the king himself taking roles in every scene as “the new ruler after his coronation progressed through his dominions,” repeating the drama of his coronation in many places: “Everywhere the King appears in the play standing upright in a ship.”228 This is supported by an ivory comb from the First Dynasty, which shows the king as the Horus-falcon as “he stands in a boat beneath which two wings representing the sky are spread” (fig. 86).229 Here it is only fair to note that Joseph Smith explains Facsimile 2, figure 4, the outspread wings over the boat, as “signifying expanse, or firmament of the heavens.” As Horus-falcon he is the victorious new king. Victorious against whom? Against Seth, the storm-god who brought the flood.230 The four canopic figures restrain Typhon in the north, Typhon being Seth, and guide the ship safely by its rope or chain.231 “Rejoice Ladies of Buto and river-people of the lagoons!” says the Edfu dramatic text. “Horus appears at the head of his ship” as the new king in the glory of his coronation, with “Sekhmet (the Lady) standing before him,” as he comes “in his capacity of the victorious king taking possession of the throne of his father.” His mother, Isis, is the real leader of the expedition, even directing the fighting, while all the great shrines along the river rejoice together in celebration, especially the women, hailing the youthful hero as their darling.232

The same romantic excitement breathes in the famous Festival Songs of Isis and Nephthys, where the Ladies hail the young king with endearing terms on his royal progress, which is also a triumphal march of conquest through the land: “Thou art proclaimed mighty in thy circuit.”233 The Evil One (Seth) floods the earth, but Nut (the mother) drives him away, under darkened skies.234 All the great hymns in the Bremner-Rhind Papyrus touch upon the themes of the great migration and the royal progress: “Come to thy temple and be not afraid, . . . O ye gods in the watery deep, ye gods amidst the followers of the deep. We follow after the Lord of love. . . . Messenger from heaven to earth, hail! . . . Re is avenged, disasters are no more,” etc.235 The familiar elements appear in proper order: the flood,236 the combat,237 the pacification of the land,238 the mother taking charge of the operation,239 the royal progress240 with its marriages at the shrines along the river,241 and the epithalamiums (wedding songs) on the way.242 The Ritual of Bringing in Sokar is an archaic boat procession in which we see Hathor, “the Traverser of the Ways,” on her journey, overcoming as Sekhmet the last opposition in the land, coming in peace, and duly resting.243 The prominence of the heavenly ship throughout reminds one of the Ark and the Babylonian “Magur-boat,” suspended between the waters from above and the waters from below (as earth) and heaven mingled in one catastrophic deluge.244 The situation is a familiar one, but is it historical? Is it only, as Santillana avers, the transfer of observations of the starry heavens to a mythical earthly setting? Egyptologists have always asked whether the old rites and stories are descended from historic or cosmic nature myths.245

Three Is a Crowd

Question: Just what is the relationship of the king to the Lady in all this?

Answer: She has two males escorting her—one her guide, the other her intimate. The guide was Thoth, the god of wisdom himself, serving for the occasion in the form of an ape, which he often takes in his lunar capacity; here the moon-god as the faithful satellite of the Sun’s Eye, vicar and lieutenant of the Re himself, is able to represent the Sun in nocturnal regions where the Sun does not go.246 As the ape, he is also most fit to survive in the desert and to watch by night. But while Thoth is her escort, her consort is Shu: Thoth only “prepares a place for her on the island beside her brother.”247 During the journey Shu keeps a very low profile;248 her son follows and fears her, while it is Thoth, the Lord of Knowledge, who pacifies her and keeps up her spirits.249 Even in Egypt he still takes charge until they reach their final destination in the presence of Re.250 But never does Thoth appear as the Goddess’s consort or relative.251

Question: Shu is her brother?

Answer: Yes, the Lady “came from Kns.tt with her brother, . . . stopped in Snm.t with her brother, [and] . . . came out of Bwgm with her brother.”252 To Shu is said: “You came to Egypt with your sister Tefnut and rejoiced the heart of your father Re.”253 He is Haroeris, “who came with his sister and did not go far from his father; who made his children mighty against his enemies.”254

Question: But you have said that Shu and Tefnut were the couple who repeopled the world after the flood?

Answer: As Zandee has noted, flood and creation motifs are mingled in Shu and Tefnut’s “Ship of a Million,” and their work is to establish (smn) the world order both in the beginning and after the cataclysm.255 “They rejoiced in the Nu (the flood), and became the parents of this earth,” opposing the flood dragon Apophis.256 They were husband and wife: It is common for the royal couple in Egypt to address each other as brother and sister, and often they actually were. When Tefnut rests in the Abaton, it is in the arms of Shu, whose loving embrace cools her anger,257 as he clasps “the Good Sister” to his bosom. Then “came Tefnut,” says an inscription, “with her brother Shu to this place, the Abaton. . . . Re was with her and Thoth behind her to bless her union with her brother.”258 “Her Majesty came out of Bwgm while Shu went ahead as the image of Re, overcoming the opposition of the waters with the aid of the Wdjat-Eye.”259 The picture is painted on a vast celestial canvas in the Pyramid Texts, as rendered by Faulkner:

     O Re, recognize me. . . . She who excludes whomsoever she should exclude opens the doors of the horizon at the ascent of the Day-bark. I know the Hall . . . from which you go forth when you go aboard the Night-bark; . . . commend me—four times repeated—to the four blustering winds . . . who contend with fierce roaring. . . . May they not make opposition . . . when I come to you and tell you this name of yours of “Great Flood which came forth from the Great One.” . . . Take me with you, . . . who away storms for you, who dispel the clouds for you, and who break up the hail for you. . . . Set me over the Vulture-goddess [Mut, the Mother].260

Shu sails over to the island with her, and there he never leaves her side.261 While she stays in Bigge as “the center of radiance,” he goes forth to subdue the land for her262 and returns to report his successes.263 But almost always they conquer as a team:

     Rejoice women of Busiris, Horus has overcome his enemies! Exult ye dwellers in the Edfu nome, Horus has overcome the enemy of his father! . . . How good it is to appear in your bark, Horus of Edfu, . . . wearing the Double Crown of Horus! Sekhmet prevails against your enemy [Seth], and Thoth the Great assures your protection!264

Sekhmet, as we have noted, is the Lady coming as a lioness out of the desert to occupy the valley and subdue all opposition to her rule. It is her flame that goes ahead of them over the waters,265 driving the prowling lions from the riverbank, forcing the crocodiles to stay in the water and the snakes to keep in their holes so that the land may be safe for people.266 It also clears the land in all directions and subdues the rebellious and unconverted.267 After her first night’s rest she goes forth to inspect the land, beginning with a tour of the fields and a bounty to the poor,268 after which she graciously receives ambassadors from the western lands and listens to their eulogies, and then “goes forth rejoicing.”269

But the real fighting is left up to her son in his capacity of Horus the Hawk, the youthful hero who proves his powers by overcoming the opposition in combat before he mounts the throne under his mother’s auspices. Even when he fights, it is under her aegis as she advances “with red face against the enemies of her son, destroying his opponents,” so that he can rule.270 They plan their campaign against the rebels together on the first night in their palace. He goes forth to suppress all opposition “on the day of inspection and [takes] possession with a feather on his head and Maat in his heart,”271 Maat being at one and the same time the Lady who “unites with her lord with cries of Joy,” the ship that bears him, and the embodiment of law and order which he brings to the land.272

Question: If they found the land empty, why did they have to fight, and whom?

Answer: For one thing, the hero had to conquer an evil opposition in order to rule, since a contest for the inheritance was a virtually indispensable condition of oriental kingship. Geologists and archaeologists are agreed that when the real authors of Egyptian civilization arrived, no one was living in the valley, but there were prior occupants in the deserts immediately adjoining on either side, and Horus’s perennial opponent is Seth, the god of the desert and desolation. It is interesting, however, that the unfailing opponent of the Lady and her son is the amphibious monster snake Apophis, who does all he can to arrest the progress of their cruise; it is not at all surprising that those who disputed the occupancy of the land should be identified with other troublesome beasts as well.273

Question: As you tell it, sometimes the hero is Shu and sometimes he is Horus; sometimes he is Tefnut’s brother and sometimes he is her son.

Answer: Yes, and he is also the husband of Tefnut and her twin, though as the husband of Tefnut the royal person of the Father is utterly negligible. And we must not forget Thoth, for already in the Pyramid Texts “Horus and Thoth appear to supplement each other.”274 This should not surprise us by now. In the same spirit Ikhnaten and his wife, the celebrated Nefertiti, cruise together on their solar barks where “the manner in which they are paired suggests indeed, that they are assimilated to Shu and Tefenet.”275 Schafik Allam has found that “the Hathor-bark and the Solar-bark stand in close relationship to each other,” in fact, “Sie gehen in einander über (“They go over one another).”276 So when the Lady in her heavenly capacity of “Sothis of Heaven gives the kingship to her Son,” it is when the land is flooded and the Temple of Denderah is decked and prepared for the great wedding ceremony when Sirius (Sothis) and the Sun (Re) unite in their rising.277 Thus, we see how motifs and properties of the play can be mixed, as heavenly things reflect the earthly, at least in the case of the boats,278 while the familiar outlines of the drama remain unmistakably recognizable.

A section of Brugsch’s thesaurus is devoted to the Periplus or ritual cruise,279 which begins at the New Year,280 the king coming in the royal ship and laying him down to rest,281 hence funerary motif, on his wedding day, the Lady cruising with him.282 The Periplus of Hathor is later the navigium of Isis when she came from Phoenicia following the conquest of the land;283 yet it is our old friend the Daughter of Re, for she arrives at Bwgm,284 and is received by “a very great festival . . . when the women dance”;285 trying to match this with local festivals leads to conflicting dates as attempts are made to match the event with the calendar.286 Yet in the end the Lady stands forth as none other than the Daughter of Re, the Sun’s Eye.287 As heir to the throne, Horus is ex-officio the son, making him also her son, “her warlike Son Horus,” who conquers the challenger at Bigge and thereby earns the throne.288 Her son takes over the rule of his father at the New Year, as Horus of the Strong Arm; he is hailed as he returns to his dwelling on the day of Apportioning the Fields.289 The Mother’s first stop on her grand cruise is the Temple of Horus and Seth, the combatants, where she comes to feast in the House of the Victor, the new king.290

However confused the family relationships seem to us, the main object seems always to preserve a perfect balance between the claims and the importance of the male and female. As a mother, she does it all for him—and seems quite patronizing (or rather matronizing) about it; “Words of Hathor, Lady of the Valley, Eye of Re, companion at Edfu, Isis the Great, Divine Mother: I give thee (Horus) the power to smite thine adversaries. . . . I make all mankind love thee and submit to thee.” Thus we see her in the Sokar chapel at Denderah as she “installs her son [the son of Osiris] on his eternal throne.”291 “Come in peace, O hero of the mighty arm,” she tells him; “I have made all thine enemies submit, I have caused the antelopes of the desert to obey thine orders. Thou art the master of Egypt and of the desert!”292 It is she who summons all the world to bow the knee to her son,293 she who protects him in the palace,294 as she did in the tent during the migration. He is hailed at his coronation as “the god beloved of his mother,” and it is she who brings to him the “patriarchal Crown . . . of the Father of the gods,”295 taking matriarchal charge of the patriarchal offices. It is she, “the Mother of the God; the Mistress of Philae, by whose command every king mounts the throne.”296 The conqueror occupies the land for his mother; in the Pyramid Texts he invites her to come and take over after he has put everything in readiness for her.297 Recognizing him as her favorite, she makes him king; through her he becomes the protector of Egypt,298 and upon his coronation after putting the wealth of the land at her disposal, he is conducted immediately into the Temple of Neith, his mother.299 The story of Re and the Sun’s Eye, which begins with the Daughter cleverly capturing the supreme secret and key to her father’s power, ends when Nun commands Re himself to share his throne equally with his Eye—that is what the whole thing has been getting at, equality of authority between male and female.300

As the first settler, the Lady was designated throughout Egypt as (Hathor)-Nebet-Hetepet, “the Lady who rests,” or “settles down,” or “is appeased.”301 This title has been the subject of a long and exhaustive study by J. Vandier, which agreeably confirms the story we have been trying to tell. It deserves a brief summary here.

Our heroine is “(Hathor)-Nebet-Hetepet,” also called Iousaas. Her name Nebet-Hetepet means at first sight “Mistress of Peace,”302 both making it and receiving it: “Thoth has appeased her in this her name of Hetepet”;303 “Thoth appeases the Eye in his [!] name of Hetepet.”304 Punning on her name, she says to the king, “I give thee the Two Lands in Peace.”305 It also signifies peace in the sense of satisfaction;306 the root meaning includes to rest, occupy (the throne), settle down.

Originally one lady only,307 she was in Egyptian fashion with the greatest freedom identified with a number of roles,308 being assimilated to no less than twelve other goddesses,309 mostly with Hathor,310 hence with the cow Mehet-Quret, the Great Flood,311 taking also her form from Hathor.312 By far her commonest epithet is Eye of Re: She is “Hathor the Great, . . . Eye of Re, . . . daughter of Re as his Left Eye, . . . Eye of Tum, . . . Living Eye, Pupil of the Wdjat-Eye.”313 She is “Hathor . . . the Eye of Re, who gives the King the lifetime of Re in the sky.”314

Her second most common epithet is Mother of Shu and Tefnut,315 her name being invented by Egyptian theologians to give Atum a mate in the conception of that pair.316 She is often identified with Tefnut herself,317 thanks to her participation in the Onuris cycle. She comes with the ceasing of the tempest, as the Powerful One who protects Re; she is Iousaas the Eye of Re on her arrival, hence the uraeus serpent.318 Her name, Iousaas, “emphasizes the mysterious character of the place from which she comes” under circumstances closely associated with the (re)creation of the world.319 Kees renders her name Iousaas as meaning “When she arrived she was already great.”320

The name Hetepet denotes a place as well as a woman—the place where she rested, or settled down, or both.321 Kees suggests that Iousaas was the tamarisk tree of Hathor that bowed to the new arrivals in Egypt, or was the tree or thicket under which the king was born.322 Nebet-Hetepet was a willow tree, growing at the water’s edge; willows and flowers (lotuses?) grew at her temple.323

Ritually,324 Hetepet is the place where the initiate bathes and rests, along with the crew of the Sun-ship.325 Horus is nourished in Hetepet, loved by the golden Hetepet-Hathor.326 She arrives by water, takes the king in her arms, establishes the fear of him in the land, protects him, exalts him in her House of Nebet-Hetepet, and makes his name known.327 She brings the produce of the earth, the gifts of the higher ground in the region of the New Lands.328

In her capacity of Mut (mother) she is Sekhmet, the lioness of the desert.329 She comes from afar as the lioness, but after being appeased is transformed into the genial cat Bast.330 Hence in her lion-headed form she is Sekhmet-Bastet-Nebet-Hetepet,331 and is called “the Mother of the Two Lions (Shu and Tefnut).”332 Her great celebration is the Pioneer Day, 19th of Thoth, the Festival of Shu and Tefnut, the day “when the Sister arrived.”333 At that time Nebet-Hetepet and Iousaas are commingled and identified with Hathor, who says to the king: “I make you drunken; I renew the intoxication and the happiness.”334 She is praised as the Eye of Re, illuminating the land on her arrival.335 The king offers wine to Hathor-Nebet-Hetepet, Lady of Intoxication, “who makes rejoicing.”336 Presenting the wine to her and Re-Harakhti-Atum, he hails her as “Wife of Re-Harakhti, Lady of Hetepet, Eye of Re whom his heart loves.” Upon receiving the wine, she says: “I sanctify thy Majesty in the capacity of Horus, Lord of Rejoicing, that you might overcome your enemies.” As the king gives her the Wdjat-Eye, she speaks as “Hathor the Great, Mistress of Denderah, Eye of Re, . . . Sekhmet the Great, Mistress of all the Sekhmets, the Great Neseret (fire-breath of Sekhmet) who burns the enemy, Hetepet the Mistress of Hetepet.”337 It is Hetepet who made the beer when she ordered the Nile to flow.338 Her great festival is the wine celebration of the south;339 she is Mistress of Intoxication and of the Lotus.340

As Hathor, she bestows kingship at the Sed festival;341 she is Wrt-ḥkɜw and Wsrt, the Power of the Crown, supreme authority.342 Her main insignia are the Hathor crown and sistrum,343 though she wears all the Mother crowns,344 mostly the Hathor crown (cf. Facsimile 3, figure 4) and the Hathor-Maat crown.345 At Medinet Habu the king calls Nebet-Hetepet “his Mother,”346 and on his statue-inscription Pharaoh Nimrod implores her protection.347

As Hathor = Iousaas-Nebet-Hetepet, the ceremonial bark is made for her.348 At Philae, wearing a full-sized Hathor mask, she is “at the head of Bigeh . . . at the head of Philae.”349 She is “Ruler of Gods and Goddesses, . . . the Eye of Re, the Mistress of Heaven,” who dwells at Philae.350 There her name Hetepet is found curiously written with a house-sign signifying settlement.351 It is she who commands at Bigeh, who founded Thebes.352 At Philae she is the sustainer of the universal order, head of Bigeh; listed officially between Tefnut and Maat as “The Eye of Re,” “Mistress of Heaven, Queen of all Gods,”353 intimate of the famous God of the Abaton.354 She is “at the same time mother and daughter”;355 identified with both Hathor and Tefnut, she appears “sometimes as the mother and sometimes as the daughter of Re.”356 In Ptolemaic times she appears in the Onuris cycle as Mehet and Flood-Cow,357 and at the same time as Tefnut and Bastet.358 Significantly, though she is related to Shu on every level of family ties, never is she linked with her traveling companion Thoth as a divine family couple.359 Her annual cruise was the most popular of Egyptian national celebrations.360

Vandier has considerable difficulty placing her origin in On, since the legends concentrate heavily in the south: She makes her cruise either to bring the cult of the north to the south or, what is far more likely from the evidence, to import the cult of the south to the north.

Unintentionally Vandier has brought together the main themes of our story all in proper context. One may find the various episodes turning up in ritual dress in countless texts; but more significant are the many substantial sources in which the same motifs are set forth in the same sequence, from cataclysm to coronation, with the great river procession as the central theme.361

Abraham 1:25: “Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus . . .”

Question: What is the relative authority of mother and son here?

Answer: There is a mingling of identities, male and female. “Atum says, ‘This is my living daughter Tefnut, who is ever with her brother Shw. His name is Ankh [life, oath, covenant]; her name is Maat [truth, legitimacy]. . . . Behold, I stand between them and they are joined after the manner of the [lit. my] flesh. . . . As I stand their arms embrace me. As for my son, he lives begotten in my name. . . . The human race came forth from my Eye whom I sent forth when I was alone and exhausted with Nun. . . . Atum, exalted in his glory, begot [lit. made] Shw and Tefnut . . . before the first mortal was born.'”362 Or take this passage: “The Good Sister Tefnut Lady of Ombos . . . Eye of Re, the Good Wife to Her Brother Shu . . . I take thee into my arms [says Re?], O Mistress of all wives, my Daughter.”363 During her great cruise, “Hathor, originally Horus’s mother, must, as the mother also of Re, so distribute herself,” as Junker puts it, “that she is also the daughter of the Sungod, the wife of the older Horus, and the mother of the younger Horus.”364 Hence, the cruise is variously interpreted as (1) the cruise of the Sun’s Eye to join the Sun, (2) a daughter visiting her father, and (3) a bride visiting her fiancé for the nuptials.365 In every case she formally hails the other as king. Jéquier suggests that the purpose of these various relationships was to mingle the male and female lines so inextricably as to forestall any questions of priority.366

Inevitably, this sort of thing leads to serious complications and shocking family scandals367 that figure in the earliest legends of other ancient people as well (Moses 5:53). That is the curse behind the mingling of patriarchal and matriarchal succession in the Book of Abraham. Note the queen’s exuberant behavior in the Leiden Papyrus T32: She circumambulates the flood house of Thebes with His Majesty; comes to her house when the children rejoice to call him their father; spends the night with him in the Temple of Mut on her festival; as Mut in the Temple of Rest, she gives birth to the child Shu, the reborn Sun amidst great rejoicing; she shows the babe to His Majesty, who comes hurrying to behold his new offspring, is joined by Ka-mut.f, the new heir to the throne at the Feast of all the Gods; then receives a present on the Day of Biting the Fruit in the temple of Iat Wr.t; as Mut, she bears the child every year, thus renewing youth; and goes forth as Sothis the (time-measuring) Mistress of the Beginning of the Year; receives a formal address from the king and the praises of all the gods at the End of the Year. As the Eye of Re, she is also the Eye of Horus, the daughter and yet the mother of both of them.368 The ritual silence of the Abaton is to allow the Lady to rest from her labors both of travel and travail, for she has just given birth to Harpocrates, “resurrected and reborn at every New Moon, the revived and reborn Osiris,”369 to whom she says: “O, Osiris, take water from my hands; I am thy Sister, thy Great Wife,” and, of course, his Mother!370 It is the rebirth of nature with the year, her tears in labor refreshing and reviving all animal and vegetable life.371 Shu and Tefnut repair to the Caves of the Nile, the life-giving waters of the great flood, to inaugurate a new age, rebuild the shrine, and bring forth the god again. It is the day of conception, birth, and coronation all at once,372 on which “you see the Old One coming forth from the womb [!] of his mother . . . on the Day he appears in glory, . . . the Day of the Festival of the Eternities.”373 In the same day’s ritual at Edfu she debarks, enters the chamber to rest “on the Day of Embracing,” celebrates her wedding, mounts the throne, and gives nourishment to the reborn Osiris.374

Question: Why all the emphasis on family?

Answer: Because family ties are stronger than any legal declaration. The title of queen, as we have noted, does not exist in Egypt, the one royal title being that of king’s mother, spouse, or daughter;375 in all three roles the woman may be designated as royal sister. This was no mere legal fiction either; at all times one of the most striking features of the palace portraits, as we have seen, is the loving intimacy between royal parents and children, for all their majestic aloofness from ordinary mortals.

This was later expressed in the Isis cult with its double obsession with both mother love and romantic fervor. When Tirhaqa’s mother sailed from the far south to the north and back again to establish her son on the throne, she identified herself with Isis sailing with her son Horus: Every land “paid homage to this king’s Mother; . . . even as Horus liveth for his mother Isis, thou art elevated on the throne of Horus.”376 Here Mama gets top billing, and if we go back to the beginning it is still the same, as in the earliest Pyramid Text, where Nut the Mother declares, “The King is my beloved son, my first-born upon the throne of Geb, with whom he is well-pleased, and he has given to him his heritage in the presence of the Great Ennead.”377

Even earlier, an inscription of King Khasakhemhui of the Second Dynasty unites Horus and Seth in his own royal person, while the real uniter of the lands is the Lady in her travels through the country. 378 Aha, whom some equate with Menes, the first king of a united Egypt, has left us a picture of himself making a triumphal progress through the land on a ship with Mother Mut, the protecting goddess of the South, beside him.379 How persistent the matriarchal priority was appears in Augustine’s report that Isis of the South was the bringer of Egyptian civilization, “ruling a great empire with justice, so that today it is a capital crime for any one to say that the first ruler of Egypt was a man.”380 “I am called the Mistress of the Land,” says the Sun’s Eye, “the daughter who is in the land. . . . After Re made me mistress over the Two lands he also made me queen over the whole earth.”381 Thus the Lady keeps hitting back right to the end, finally triumphant in the worldwide cult of Isis, the White Goddess.382 If the king was to inherit from Hathor, she had to be “en quelque sort comme sa mère,” as Jéquier puts it, “somehow to be his mother.”383

Question: Can’t the Tefnut epic have belonged to the Osiris cult, that is, the funeral rites, from the beginning?

Answer: Of course, it got involved in the religion, as everything else in Egypt eventually did. Osiris and the Lady were brought together at the Abaton in two capacities—as mother and child, and as husband and wife. Osiris sleeps in the Abaton preparatory to his glad awakening, and, as at other shrines in Egypt, the Lady, as Isis, watches over her sleeping spouse, but as the Abaton she watches with Tefnut, showing how the two motifs are brought together.384 Both Osiris and Tefnut slept in anticipation of a glad awakening at the same spot,385 and upon awakening, both set forth on a joyful, triumphal progress through the land.386 How the two celebrations are fused and confused is apparent from an inscription telling how Soker, who is Osiris in his most underworld aspect, is received with rejoicing in Thebes as he arrives in his holy ship after traversing the desert with Her Majesty, who then rows the soul of Re (!) across the water to Thebes.387

As to the mother and child, the caves from which the Nile is born at Philae are also the caves where Osiris sleeps to be reborn as the new pharaoh;388 the milk jars of the Lady make him a child again at the Abaton festivities, thus giving the king an eternity of lives.389 Resurrection is rebirth, and though the relics of the dead Osiris were distributed among many shrines of Egypt, the most important one, the thigh, which held the key to the resurrection, was kept at Bigge, the Egyptian “Plymouth Rock,” and to it all the gods made their yearly pilgrimages.390 But just before their arrival at the place, Isis would have to make the ritual crossing to keep the soul of Osiris alive.391 Even the mysteries cannot efface the stubborn memory of that historical event.

The cosmic connections of the Abaton as the place of Creation, the first land, to which Chnum the Creator would come down every year to visit the garden and revive both Osiris and the life of the land by causing the Nile to flow,392 are properly proclaimed by its famous appointments. On the island was a ring of 365 altar stones, covered with vegetation and ritually drenched with water, tended to by priests in monthly shifts, three times each day.393 There also the original nilometer regulated the flow of the Nile to the life of the land and correlated it with the times and seasons on a scientific basis.394 The whole complex belongs to the cycle of creation and rebirth, with special reference to the flood: “You renew your youth every year at the child-bearing of Nut, receiving millions of years . . . on the Day of the Going-forth of Sothis the Mistress of the Beginning of the Year.”395 “You establish yourself in the land at the feast of the Fixing of Times, on the Day of the Great Coming Forth [tr.t, the first day of winter, the solstice].”396 “You go down to the Holy Land when the trees are planted on the Day of the Queen’s Visit.”397

In a study of the earliest recorded ceremonial ships of the Egyptians, Rudolf Anthes has brought together various elements of our story and offered explanations of their interrelationships. His conclusions are these: (1) The Lady’s ship is the “Maat-boat,” since very possibly “the name of the ship was originally Maati, ‘[the ship] belonging to Maat,’ which was at an early time reinterpreted as a dual,” as it is usually read today. “The boat represented in prehistoric times the embodiment of Maat throughout the entire land, as the source [Sitz] of kingly authority and tribute.”398 (2) Yet it is called the king’s Maat-boat, which Anthes finds puzzling, “since it belongs to Re and not to Horus-the-King.” He decides that this refers perhaps to an archaic rite in which the king brought Maat to Re in a boat ceremony taking place on the last day of the year, in which “the King was either Re in the Maat-boat” himself, or else functioning as leader of the Maat-boat brings Re with him.399 (3) In these rites the trio Re, Maat, and Horus is everything, and Horus was to begin with simply “the form of the living king of the prehistoric period”;400 also the ship was at first a real boat belonging to the king, but by the Old Kingdom “existed only in rituals as representing the heavenly bark.”401 (4) Is the sacred wjɜbark, which persists throughout Egyptian history, the same as the old Maat-ship? Anthes thinks it was, the “parallel forms of boat” matching the parallel appearance of the king as either Re on the last day of the year402 or Horus on the first day of the year.403

(5) The longest Pyramid Text on the subject is most enlightening: “N [the king] mounts up with the rain-cloud [ygp = cumulo-nimbus] [then] he descends. . . . Maat is in the presence of Re on this day of the Festival of the Beginning of the Year. The heavens are calmed [htpw], and the earth rejoices, for they have heard that N [the king] has deposed Maat [Anthes reads wdd, instead of isft = repelled] . . . by virtue of the true pronouncement [ts mɜ] which has come from his mouth by which he has petitioned [db.nN] to be confirmed in the rule.”404 (6) This surprising downgrading of Maat refers, Anthes suggests, to “the aspiration of the king to speak as ruler with the authority of a king” [das Bestreben des Königs, als Herrscher königlich Recht zu sprechen].405 Whatever the reason, it points to the unmistakable prehistoric rivalry between the two, and the fact that it is mentioned at all in the Pyramid Texts is clear indication that the woman had the prior right to rule.

Though “no clear picture has emerged” from all this, in Anthes’s opinion, the generous sampling of prehistoric Egyptian ritual boat pictures that he supplies with his article leads to further speculation.406 For they show a type of vessel that was early recognized, e.g., from the famous Gebel-al-Arak knife-handle (fig. 87), as being not Egyptian riverboats, but Mesopotamian seagoing vessels, the “Magur-boats” described as the archetype of the ark of the Babylonian and Sumerian flood stories.407

Egypt . . . Egyptus: Who’s in Charge Here?

Question: What about the name Egyptus?

Answer: Verses 21 through 25 in Abraham 1 must be read carefully to get straight a number of specific propositions:

1.   Egypt is the “Chaldean” name for the land: “Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt” (Abraham 1:23). Here the Book of Abraham is right: Egypt is not the Egyptian name for the land,408 but was first applied to it by the Canaanites (“in the Chaldean”), making its first known appearance in Ugaritic as kpt, that being an adaptation of the old Egyptian name for Memphis, Ḥw.t-kɜ-ptḥ, which the Egyptians did not apply to the land as a whole, but only to the city.409 It was the “Chaldeans” who gave it to the land. Such is the prevailing, but by no means only, explanation of the name among scholars.

2.   The Egyptians, like Pharaoh himself, were of mixed stock, being partakers “of the blood of the Canaanites” (Abraham 1:21—22). Unhindered by natural boundaries, the Canaanites at all times filtered into Egypt by the oldest road in the world, presenting a recurrent menace throughout all her [Egypt’s] history, according to Gardiner.410 The Delta that attracted them was like the garden of the Lord, offering tempting grazing and farming lands from the earliest times. Examination of skulls from Canaan shows “an array of cranial characteristics surprisingly similar to those of ancient Egypt.”411

Question: Who were the Canaanites?

Answer: “The title ‘Canaanites,’ if it be used at all, must be reserved for the third-millennium Semitic inhabitants of Syria-Palestine and their second-millennium descendants.”412

3.   There has been a great deal of hair-splitting on the subject of Egypt and Canaan, but one sure thing is that Canaanite blood was shared one way or another by almost every pharaoh whose line can be traced:413Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham” (Abraham 1:25) “and Egyptus” (Abraham 1:23). The name Egypt is a title, as was Pharaoh (“which . . . signifies king by royal blood“—Abraham 1:20), and was given to the land, just as the title of Pharaoh (like that of Caesar) was given to all who ruled after him. As in the Old Testament, “father” can mean ancestor, or “son” or “daughter” can mean “descendant”;414 this is clear from Abraham 1:26, where Noah is called Pharaoh’s father.

4.   Pharaoh’s claim to the priesthood was invalid, because he insisted with great force that it was the patriarchal priesthood of Noah, received through the line of Ham (Abraham 1:25—27). His earthly rule was blessed (Abraham 1:26), but he could not, of course, claim patriarchal lineage through his mother. There is an interesting parallel here with the case of Job, who, according to a newly found Testament of Job, though the most righteous of men and a direct descendant of Jacob or Israel, cannot claim a place among the patriarchs of the line because it is through his mother that he relates to Jacob, while his father’s line, through Esau, was invalid because Esau had forfeited the priesthood.415 Pharoah finds himself in exactly that situation: The male line of Ham had become rebellious, while the female line was not patriarchal.

Question: But Ham was a righteous man and, like his father Noah, even “walked with God” (Moses 8:27).

Answer: The tradition was widespread and persistent among the ancient Jews that the royal and priestly succession of Ham was made void through the transgression of his male descendants, Cainan, Cush, Nimrod, all of whom broke the covenant and forfeited the priesthood by laying unworthy claims to it. Some accounts say it was Ham himself who sinned (the story of the stolen garment); some say it was Cush, some Ham’s younger son Canaan, some Nimrod (this is the commonest); but all agreed that something went wrong that broke the line.416

Question: But why the curse on the land? (Abraham 1:24).

Answer: It means, exactly as in the Book of Mormon, that those who dwell in the land will be cursed if they do not follow God’s counsels and blessed if they do.417 As Noah was apportioning out the lands, according to the book of Jubilees, he pronounced a curse on any of his descendants who should defile the land given him by God through iniquity;418 most explicitly he warned Canaan—a bull’s-eye for Abraham (Abraham 1:21—24). This is the standard curse on any promised land (Alma 37:28, etc). There is one element of the Old World curse, however, that we should mention. In the traditions of Ham, Canaan, and Cain, which are connected in various ways, there is constant reference to sexual promiscuity, which definitely has something to do with the curse. Thus we are told that Nimrod slew his father Canaan and married his mother Sachlas, thus launching his rule on a matriarchal footing and introducing that fatal triangle which is the abomination of the ancients. “The seed of Noah,” says a recently found source, “followed after the sons of Sachlas, going against the will of Noah in their pride, and so perverted the whole population.”419 Another recent discovery tells us that Satan himself rested his claim on a matriarchal line, as do his followers, “Canaan and Cain, who is also Re (the Sun).”420 This surprising equating of the Hebrew Cain to the Egyptian Re in a writing attributed to John points to some very old traditions. Whether or not the story of “Re and the Sun’s Eye” is of Canaanite origin, as Cyrus Gordon maintains,421 the Egyptian story of Astarte establishes definite connections and seems to go back even to distant Hurrian and Hittite flood legends.422 In Abraham 1:21—27 we certainly see something of that confusion that results from the mingling of patriarchal and matriarchal claims that left the pharaohs forever in doubt as to just where they stood on authority.

     Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations [the pawt], in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham (Abraham 1:26—27).

Question: Why could they not have it?

Answer: Because, as noted, it came through a matriarchal succession, the first pharaoh being “the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal” (Abraham 1:25). Pharaoh was of a more righteous line than the sons of Ham, but daughters do not transmit patriarchal succession. In all of this, please note, there is no word of race or color, though that has been the main point of attack on the Book of Abraham by the enemies of the Prophet.

More of Pharaoh’s Misgivings

Question: You mean the pharaohs really were in doubt about their glory?

Answer: Desperately. We have touched on this touchy theme already. As Kees points out, these inscriptions, hymns, prayers, and rites are only outer form—actually Pharaoh was always unsure of his authority.423 Recently Georges Posener noted that Pharaoh’s claims to divinity are pure metaphor, without content, never taken literally. The royalty is divine, but the king? Nobody was fooled, according to Posener; the people viewed the king “with lucidity and detachment” as an ordinary human being.424 The frequent reassurances in Egyptian autographies from the king on down, that the subject is not merely boasting, indicated to François Daumas that he is doing just that, “that the writers of the official texts were conscious of their boasting [forfanterie].” Pharaoh searched in the archives personally for confirmation of his divinity; he was not a god but the servant of the gods; he could not heal the sick; and even in popular tales he performs no miracles. And yet he was conceded a sort of theoretical divinity.425 No wonder he was impressed when, according to the Genesis Apocryphon, Abraham laid hands upon him and healed him! Here was a man he could truly honor. Hear how a great pharaoh of the glorious Eighteenth Dynasty betrays his misgivings by protesting much too much: “I am his son; he commanded that I be upon his throne while I was still in the nest. He begot me right willingly. This is no fiction, there is no deception in it—ever since my majesty was a small child, while I was still a nursling in his temple, before my invitation [bs] as a priest, . . . I was raised up to the exalted place of the Lord. . . . [This is no] fiction.”426 Then follows a heavenly journey and theophany very much in the manner of the theophanies in the testaments and the apocalypses of the Hebrew patriarchs and prophets: “The gates of heaven he opened to me, the doors of the horizon. I flew to heaven as a divine hawk to behold his majesty. I saw the forms of transition [prw] of the glorious one of the horizons upon the secret ways of heaven. Re himself confirmed [smn] me; I was enobled with the glory [ḫɜw] that was upon his head. . . . I was fitted out with all his brightness [ɜḫwt]; I received a fulness [s.saa] of the perfection of the gods, even as Horus received his enlightenment [ip d.t] in the Temple of my father Amon-Re. I was [endowed] with the authority [sɜḫw] of a god.”427 The formula “this is no lie or trick” (nn grg nn iw-ms) lives on in the claim of the Hellenistic pharaohs that the king of Egypt is uniquely incapable of lying and emerges in a moving tale of Alexander the Great and Darius, who were both pharaohs, Darius by conquest and inheritance, and Alexander, according to our source, by birth.

Question: Alexander the Great?

Answer: The same. His mother, so the story goes, consorted with an Egyptian soothsayer visiting the land of Macedon, who was really the refugee Pharaoh Nectanebo in disguise.428 The source of that tale provides us with the other. Darius, it tells us, through the proper rites had been recognized as legitimate king of Egypt; his rival Alexander had been declared the legitimate Son of Amon—he too was Pharaoh.429 Alexander found the defeated Darius on the point of death in his tent, and with characteristic nobility laid his hands upon his head to heal him, commanding him to arise and resume his kingly power, and concluded his blessing: “I swear unto thee, Darius, by all the gods that I do these things truly and without faking [periplasmenos].” To which the great king replied with a gentle rebuke: “Alexander my boy [teknon mou], . . . do you think you can touch heaven with those hands of yours?” Whereupon he died.430 Here Alexander used the Egyptian formula, “truly and without deception,” but it still did not work; Abraham hits it on the head when he says: “Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom, . . . seeking earnestly to imitate that order” (Abraham 1:26). Listen to this from another great pharaoh: “Hear ye Fathers-of-the-god of this temple, ye priests, etc. [these are priestly titles], make libations at my pyramid and sacrifice at my altar. Reverence [smnkh] the monuments of my majesty; pronounce my name, recall [recite] my titles, give praise to my image [statue], honor the likeness [hnty] of my majesty; cause my name to be in the mouth of your servants and my memory to be before your children. Because I was a one deserving [mnkh] to be king because of what he did to make his name worthy of remembrance even for his singular courage, and what I did in this land, whereof ye all know. This is not fiction—it is before you; it is no mere boasting.”431

Question: What is he worried about?

Answer: Legitimacy. “The Pharaohs, who insisted on divine nativity, were all suspected of not having the purest solar blood in their veins,” wrote Moret, who makes much of the Canaanite contamination of that blood.432 Professor Gerhard Fecht has shown that it was the ruling class of Egypt that supported the sacred person of Pharaoh, while the common people took a fatalistic and pessimistic view of things—it was not popular superstition that established and maintained the divine monarchy, but the political and economic interests of the aristocracy.433

Question: Then the pharaoh was not so all-important after all?

Answer: As a king there was no better. Recall the text: “Pharaoh, being a righteous man, . . . judged his people wisely and justly. . . . [He sought to imitate the priesthood order of] Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood” (Abraham 1:26). What a number of studies point out is that it was specifically his claim to divinity that was denied him. Peter Kaplony’s long study demonstrates the legal and moral insecurity of the pharaoh, citing a newly discovered text showing that the Egyptians of the Fifth Dynasty had serious doubts about the divinity of Pharaoh.434 Kees shows that a state “cant” was necessary to defend Pharaoh’s pretensions to sanctity, which were always doubted.435 We learn of great kings spending their days in the archives “trying to learn about God in his true form,” to be sure of their own divine callings.436 What is perhaps the oldest of all Egyptian ritual texts, used at the installation of Menes, the first king of the First Dynasty, tells how Horus was blessed with the blessings of the earth by Geb the earth-god, the wise first parent, to be his heir and successor, “born on the day of the Opening of the Ways,”437 the beginning of history. But the claim was challenged by Seth, to whom originally Geb had assigned an equal portion of the earth with Horus.438 The Beatty Papyrus 1 recounts that when all the Council in Heaven approved Horus as king, the Most High God was silent and angry with the assembly for slighting Seth. The issue was never settled, and we shall return to it again.439

Abraham 1:23: “which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt.”

Question: Is there any evidence that the land got its name from such a person?

Answer: There are plenty of ancient legends dealing with the subject. One of the oldest, certainly unknown to Joseph Smith, was reported by Herakleides: “It was first a woman named Aegyptia who established her son and introduced weaving. Because of her, the Egyptians set up an image of Athena, as Ephorus says in his work on Europa.”440 Athena is none other than Neith, by which name the Lady is often designated in the north of Egypt. In classic times when the Greeks and Egyptians rivaled each other in learned philological and historical speculations about the origin of Egypt, a great many conflicting stories circulated. “They say,” Diodorus writes, “that the people with Osiris (when he came to Egypt) built a city in the Egyptian Thebaid . . . which they named after the Mother, but which later generations changed to Diospolis (city of Zeus-Re), and which some call Thebes. . . . But there is much disagreement about this, both among the historians and the priests.”441 From Isocrates, a diligent researcher of the fourth century B.C., we learn that a granddaughter of Zeus, being the mother of both Busiris of Egypt and his brother, the terrible Antaeus, who ruled the desert immediately west of the Nile, “was, they say, the first woman to rule, after whom the country was named.”442

A commentator to Plato explains how the Lady could come from Canaan but still arrive through the Wadi Hammamat far in the south by a detour: “Egypt was named after Egyptus the son of Belus [the Canaanite Baal] and Anchirhoea, the daughter of Nile, who was king of Egypt [there is your mixed blood again!]. This Egyptus was sent by his father to settle in Arabia, but returned and named the land of Blackfeet ‘Egypt’ after himself.”443 “Some say that Osiris was a cultivator in Arabia, and that the city [Thebes] was not built by Osiris but by a much later king. And some say that Osiris was a cultivator in Arabia Felix, and is the same as Dionysus, the father of the vine and of civilized living.”444 There is the wine motif again, going with the founding of Egyptian civilization. According to others it was not Osiris but Isis who first brought agriculture and letters to the valley, “for which reason the land was named after her,” while “the Egyptian people were named after a former king of Egypt called Egyptus, they having been formerly called Aerii [Re-people?].”445 More juggling with the name is found in the Pseudo-Plutarch account: when the Nile refused to rise, a king of Egypt found himself forced to sacrifice his daughter. Grieving, the king, whose name was Egyptus, cast himself into the river Melana (Black), whose name was accordingly changed to Aegyptus river.446 Diodorus tells us that the Nile “was known as Aegyptus after a former king of the land.”447 Josephus bestows the name on the founder of the great Nineteenth Dynasty: “Sethos was another name for Aegyptus,” who was also called Rameses.448

Question: And where does all this get us?

Answer: All this is only the beginning. We have just scouted a few off-hand possibilities—merely scratched the surface. By all means let us keep the door open. For example, the entering of the Lady from the north is certainly a possibility that must be considered; if ever there was a flood figure it was Ptah of Memphis, that one whose name, most scholars think today, gave the name to Egypt through Canaanite editing. His good Semitic name makes him Ptah the Opener—of what?—of TaTenen, the newly emergent land. Before the learned began to favor the Ptah name for Egypt, the universal consensus was that the name was derived from the Egyptian word Kemi, meaning the Black Land. Kem means black and is easily interchanged with khm, meaning hot and dry, that being also the name of Khem-Min, as Lefébure argues.449 Certainly the ancients called Egypt, as in the Genesis Apocryphon, “The Land of the Children of Ham.” In the oldest manuscript copy of the Book of Abraham, the name Egyptus appears in Abraham 1:23 as Zeptah. Isidore says that the pharaoh of Joseph was called Zaphanath, which the Egyptians interpreted as “salvator mundi,” since he saved the land from famine; but its original meaning, says Isidore, was absconditorum repertorem—he who searches what is hidden or forbidden.450 This comes near enough to Abraham 1:23, rendering “Zeptah” as “that which is forbidden.” During the throne controversies of the Nineteenth Dynasty, a successful aspirant through the lineage of his wife, the “Great Daughter of the King” and “Wife of the God,” Ta-wsrt, took the name of Siptah. It was in 1912 that G. Daressy discovered “a hitherto unknown king” by the name of Si-Ptah, and pointed to a relief at Sehel showing Seti I standing “worshipping the names of Si-Ptah” who was a pharaoh at the time.451 Maspero identified Ramses-si-Ptah with Merenptah-si-Ptah, whom others identified with Seti I himself.452 The point is that the Ramessides, who were half Canaanite, adopted the name of Si-Ptah to “placate” the Egyptians by resting their alien dynasty on the oldest and most respected title to the land, the name of Si-Ptah.453

A more serious candidate is presented in the name of Koptos or Coptos. Coptos was the oldest settlement of Egypt, marking the spot where the main route from the East comes upon the Nile Valley right where the great bend in the river makes a broad plain—the ideal place for a settlement. “We do not know where Nakada II people (the bringers of classic Egyptian civilization) came from,” wrote Elise Baumgartel, but “we find their earliest remains in that part of Egypt where the Wadi Hammamat joins the Nile Valley. Koptos is situated at this junction, and at no great distance across the river are Nubet, the Capitol, and Diospolis Parva.”454 “It is via Koptos that the Asiatic conquerors entered the Nile Valley in prehistoric times and founded historic Egypt,” Raymond Weill asserts.455 “From the earliest times Koptos was a very important entrepâ„¢t; it could not be otherwise with its location. All the roads converge on Koptos, including the great trade and mining roads.”456 Egyptian civilization really began with the arrival of the “Second Civilization,” according to Moret, coming “from Elam by way of the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and the route that goes from Qoseir to Koptos = Wadi Hammamat.”457 Pliny finds it significant that Philae, “the island sacred to Isis,” the second Eden, was juxta oppidum Copton, “right next to Coptos town.”458

Now some have maintained that this place, Coptos, with the oldest temple and the oldest settlement in Egypt, gave its name to the country. “There existed in Egypt from prehistoric times a nome which bore the still obscure name of Kebti (Koptos). . . . [The name was] derived from [the] . . . pre-Misraim inhabitants who called their capital Kebti and the land and even their river probably by the same name.”459 Where the early inhabitants got the name, Phythian-Adams does not say, but since it could be applied to river, land, nome, town, and temple, there is no reason why a person couldn’t bear it, and good reason for supposing that a person did. It is interesting that there are many Coptos legends having to do with the beginnings of the Egyptian kingdom, whereas the name of Memphis, Ḥt-ka-Ptah, which most scholars favor as the original, is never mentioned anywhere in that connection and is only applied to Egypt as a whole, as we have seen, by the Canaanites.460 The Egyptians always remembered what happened at Coptos: “At Coptos,” says Aelian, writing at the very end, “they worship Isis . . . and the same Coptites [note the name!] reverence female oryxes while sacrificing male oryxes, in the belief that the female oryxes are Isis’ pets.”461 Which reminds us how the desert dwellers brought baby oryxes to the Lady as she sat in view of the plain of Coptos, and of the oryxes that regularly accompany the dancing goddess on the ceremonial bark. Derchain has shown us that the very oldest sacrifice in Egypt was the slaying of a male gazelle by the goddess in honor of her son Pharaoh, usually at Philae and always near there.462 The key to the whole history is the venerable figure of the god Min of Coptos, to which we shall return.

Abraham 1:23: “Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden.”

One thinks also of Egypt as the land forbidden to the saints in early Christian and Jewish literature, cursed for its fleshpots and its stews. But this passage definitely has a philological thrust. It tells us that the “Canaanite” or common old Semitic root *GPT (the vowels change constantly, but the root meaning of the consonant combination always remains the same) designates something forbidden. Well, if you take that combination of a guttural, a labial, and a dental in that order in any Semitic language, what do you get? In Arabic, the commonest meaning is to conceal, cover over, tuck, crouch, usually with the basic idea of concealing with the hand; thus kafata, conceal, forbid; kabata, conceal out of shame; qabada, cover, shrink from; qabut, our word capuchin, all-enveloping cloak, modesty, shame; khabith, impure, taboo; khafata, to maintain a holy silence, keep a secret; khafada, lower the voice, abash, humble; hafitha, to keep secret, and so on for over one hundred examples. Or Hebrew and Aramaic: kabah, cover or hide; qafdah, shrinking, horror; qafats, draw together, close; khaba, wrap or hide, etc. In Babylonian and Assyrian khpt means hidden and forbidden; in the Book of the Dead the khebt-chamber is the forbidden place where all is hidden.463 For that matter, the suggested name Ht-ka-pta, the secret name of Memphis, can mean the hiding place of Ptaḥ. The island of the Abaton is not only, as its name shows, forbidden to all mortals, but the Lady of Bigge was called that “very hidden, very secret one,” in her caves of the Nile, in her hiding place, where was at once the secret source of the Nile and the dark mountain of the Duat.

Before all, however, came Kh.b.t, the hidden marsh where Isis, according to some accounts, bore, and, according to all accounts, nursed the infant Horus—the most secret place in the world and the only place where Seth could not find him; the nest hidden in the bullrushes was the most forbidden place on earth. So we have no shortage of candidates for the original form of “Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden” (Abraham 1:23).


1.   Editor’s note: Although we cite the pages for the translation of T32 used by Nibley, a newer, more accurate translation is to be found in François R. Herbin, Le livre de parcour l’éternité (Leuven: Peeters, 1994).

2.   Hermann Junker, Die Onurislegende (Vienna: Hoelder, 1917), v.

3.   Kurt H. Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage vom Sonnenauge das in der Fremde war,” vol. 5, part 3, in Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde Aegyptens, 15 vols. (1912; reprint, Hildesheim: Olms, 1964), 5.

4.   Wilhelm Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge in einem demotischen Papyrus der römischen Kaiserzeit,” Sitzungsberichte der königlichen preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-historische Klasse 15 (1915): 888.

5.   Junker, Onurislegende, iv.

6.   Ibid., v—vii.

7.   Hermann Junker, Das Götterdekret über das Abaton (Vienna: Hoelder, 1913), 87—88; Wilhelm Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge (Strassburg: Schultz, 1917), 53.

8.   Junker, Onurislegende, vii, 11—12, 115.

9.   Adriaan de Buck, The Egyptian Readingbook (Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1963), 123—26.

10.   Georges Goyon, “Les travaux de Chou et les tribulations de Geb, d’après le Naos 2248 d’Ismaïla,” Kemi 6 (1936): 14, 31—32.

11.   Book of the Cow, col. 16, in Charles Maystre, “Le livre de la vache du ciel dans les tombeaux de la Vallée des Rois,” BIFAO 40 (1941): 68 (text from the tomb of Seti I); cf. Alexandre Piankoff, The Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon (New York: Pantheon, 1955), 27; de Buck, Egyptian Readingbook, 123—24.

12.   Book of the Dead 175, in E. A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead (The Papyrus of Ani), 3 vols. (New York: Putnam, 1913), 2:563—64, 3:plate 29, lines 17—18; Coffin Text 79—80, in The Egyptian Coffin Texts, ed. Adriaan de Buck, 7 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1935—61), 2:24—25, 34—35.

13.   Günter Lanczkowski, “Ägyptische Prophetismus im Lichte des alttestamentlichen,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 70 (1958): 35.

14.   Philippe Derchain, Le Papyrus Salt 825 (British Museum 10051), rituel pour la conservation de la vie en Égypte, 2 vols. (Brussels: Palais des Academies, 1965), 1:1—7; Goyon, “Travaux de Chou,” 13—17, 32; Jan Zandee, “Sargtexte, Spruch 75,” ZÄS 99 (1972): 48, 50; Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 16:4—14, in The Papyrus Bremner-Rhind (British Museum no. 10188), ed. Raymond O. Faulkner, vol. 3 of Bibiotheca Aegyptiaca (Brussels: Fondation Égyptologique Reine Elisabeth, 1933), 29—30.

15.   H. te Velde, Seth, God of Confusion (Leiden: Brill, 1967), 25; Siegfried Schott, ed., “Das Buch vom Sieg über Seth,” in Urkunden mythologischen Inhalts, vol. 6, part 5, in Urkunden des ägyptischen Altertums, ed. Kurt Sethe and Heinrich Schäfer (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1929).

16.   Te Velde, Seth, God of Confusion, 25; Gerald A. Wainwright, “The Origin of the Storm-gods of Egypt,” JEA 49 (1963): 13—17; Hugh W. Nibley, “The Arrow, the Hunter, and the State,” Western Political Quarterly 2 (1949): 341; reprinted in The Ancient State, CWHN 10:16; Hugh W. Nibley, “Tenting, Toll, and Taxing,” Western Political Quarterly 19 (1966): 599—603; reprinted in The Ancient State, CWHN 10: 33—35, 41.

17.   Coffin Text 80, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 2:28—31.

18.   Cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 29; E. A. Wallis Budge, Legends of the Gods (London: Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1912), 14—41.

19.   Eugène Lefébure, “Un chapitre de la chronique solaire,” ZÄS 21 (1883): 27—31.

20.   Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, “Die älteste aegyptische Geschichte nach den Zauber- und Wundererzählungen der Araber,” Orient und Occident 1 (1862): 332—33.

21.   Coffin Text 80, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 2:32—34; Rudolf Anthes, “Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.,” JNES 18 (July 1959): 198.

22.   Anthes, “Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.,” 198—99.

23.   Book of the Cow, cols. 37—38, 42—43, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 79—82; cf. Alexandre Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, ed. Natacha Rambova (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), 29—30, 35.

24.   Papyrus Salt 825 3/6—7, in Derchain, Papyrus Salt 825, 2:3—4; Hermann Kees, Der Götterglaube im alten Aegypten (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1941), 75.

25.   Book of the Cow, cols. 26—27, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 74—75; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 29—31, 35.

26.   Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 883.

27.   Hermann Junker, Der Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien (Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaft, 1911), 21.

28.   Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 877; Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythus vom Sonnenauge, 27.

29.   Lefébure, “Chapitre de la chronique Solaire,” 28—31.

30.   Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage,” 17.

31.   Book of the Cow, cols. 12—14, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 65—67; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 30.

32.   Alan H. Gardiner, “Hymns to Amon from a Leiden Papyrus,” ZÄS 42 (1905): 20—21.

33.   Wainwright, “Origin of the Storm-gods of Egypt,” 19.

34.   Ibid., 15.

35.   Ibid., 17.

36.   E. A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians or Studies in Egyptian Mythology, 2 vols. (London: Methuen, 1904), 2:87.

37.   Bremner-Rhind Papyri 7:1—8:27, in E. A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1910), 3, plates 2—3.

38.   Zandee, “Sargtexte, Spruch 75,” 52—53.

39.   Siegfried Schott, “Das Buch von der Abwehr des Bösen,” in Urkunden mythologischen Inhalts, 63, 69.

40.   Schott, “Buch vom Sieg über Seth,” 38—39, 55—57.

41.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 55; Coffin Text 79, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 2:23—27.

42.   Junker, Onurislegende, 2; Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage,” 18, 38.

43.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 3:1—10, in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 5—6.

44.   Cf. Pyramid Text 439 (§812), in Raymond O. Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (Oxford: Clarendon, 1969), 146; Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage,” 9.

45.   Book of the Cow, cols. 25—26, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 73—75; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 30—31.

46.   Schott, “Buch von der Abwehr des Bösen,” 67, 69.

47.   Book of the Cow, cols. 18—19, 22, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 69—72; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 28; de Buck, Egyptian Readingbook, 125.

48.   Book of the Cow, cols. 15—19, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 67—70; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 28; Schott, “Buch vom Sieg über Seth,” 49.

49.   Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride VI, 8.

50.   Te Velde, Seth, God of Confusion, 5—7.

51.   Pindar, Olympian Odes IX, 43—55.

52.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 83.

53.   Book of the Cow, cols. 22—23, 25—26, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 72—75; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 28—29.

54.   Coffin Text 80, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 2:30; Zandee, “Sargtexte, Spruch 75,” 52—53; Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 35.

55.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 3/10—20, in Bruno H. Stricker, ed., “De Egyptische Mysteriën: Pap. Leiden T32 (Vervolg),” OMRO 34 (1953): 18—19, 26 (Nibley’s translation adapted from Stricker’s).

56.   Ibid., 5/1, 29; 6/11, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 22, 24; and “De Egyptische Mysteriën: Pap. Leiden T32 (Slot),” OMRO 37 (1956): 56.

57.   Ibid., 4/22—28, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 21—22.

58.   3 Baruch (Slavonic), 4:13—15 (emphasis added).

59.   Hans Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1952), 282.

60.   Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 27.

61.   Ali Radwan, Die Darstellungen des regierenden Königs und seiner Familienangehörigen in den Privatgräbern der 18. Dynastie (Berlin: Hessling, 1969), 16, 55a; Heinrich K. Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionem Aegyptiacarum (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1883—91), 9, 38; Anthes, “Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.,” 198, 210.

62.   Junker, Onurislegende, 115; Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 876.

63.   Junker, Onurislegende, 119; Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage,” 31.

64.   Book of the Cow, cols. 37—38, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 79—80; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 29; Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 281.

65.   Junker, Onurislegende, 114, 163—64.

66.   Wb, 1:91.

67.   Junker, Onurislegende, 73, 78, 119; Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 12.

68.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 31, 77; Wb, 4:327—28, 348; 3:488.

69.   Rainer Stadelmann, Syrisch-Palästinische Gottheiten in Aegypten (Leiden: Brill, 1967), 119, 122; Pierre Montet, Le drame d’Avaris (Paris: Geuthner, 1941), 27, 35.

70.   W. M. Flinders Petrie, “The Geography of the Gods,” Ancient Egypt 4 (1917): 110.

71.   Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage,” 34.

72.   Junker, Onurislegende, 163—64.

73.   E. A. Wallis Budge, “On the Hieratic Papyrus of Nesi-Amsu, a Scribe in the Temple of Amen-Rā at Thebes, about B.C. 305,” Archaeologia 52 (1890): 147—48.

74.   Junker, Onurislegende, 49.

75.   Schott, “Buch vom Sieg über Seth,” 7—9.

76.   Ibid., 1—2, 31—33.

77.   Schott, “Buch von der Abwehr des Bösen,” 69, 117.

78.   Ibid., 73.

79.   Ibid., 101.

80.   Ibid., 103.

81.   Ibid., 113.

82.   Ibid., 117.

83.   Ibid., 67.

84.   Ibid., 63.

85.   Ibid., 133—35.

86.   Ibid., 139.

87.   Alan H. Gardiner, “The Astarte Papyrus,” in Studies Presented to F. Ll. Griffith (Oxford: Milford, 1932), 79.

88.   Ibid., 82.

89.   Ibid., 80.

90.   Theodor Gaster, “The Egyptian ‘Story of Astarte’ and the Ugaritic Poem of Baal,” BiOr 9 (1952): 82.

91.   Ibid.

92.   Ibid.

93.   Ibid., 85.

94.   Stadelmann, Syrisch-Palästinische Gottheiten in Aegypten, 110—23; Coffin Text 61, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 1:261.

95.   Alan H. Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford: Clarendon, 1961), 397—98.

96.   Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 15.

97.   Ibid., 15—17.

98.   Montet, Drame d’Avaris, 35.

99.   Coffin Text 61, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 1:261.

100.   Siegfried Hermann, “Isis in Byblos,” ZÄS 82 (1957): 54.

101.   Ibid., 53—54.

102.   Ibid., 55.

103.   Ibid., 52.

104.   Ibid., 51.

105.   Ibid., 52.

106.   Ibid.

107.   Hesiod, Homeric Hymn 2 (to Demeter), 1—3.

108.   Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 19.

109.   Ibid., 20.

110.   Nibley, “Tenting, Toll, and Taxing,” 599—600; in CWHN 10: 33—34.

111.   Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 884; Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 35.

112.   Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 281.

113.   Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 880—81.

114.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 33.

115.   Ibid.

116.   Gustave Jéquier, Considérations sur les religions Égyptiénnes (Neuchatel: Baçonnière, 1946), 241, 243.

117.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 23:17—24:8, in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 47—49.

118.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 31—32.

119.   Junker, Onurislegende, 133, 143, 146.

120.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 53.

121.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 11—12.

122.   Hellmut Brunner, “Die theologische Bedeutung der Trunkenhert,” ZÄS 79 (1954): 82.

123.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 31—32.

124.   Ibid., 38—40.

125.   Ibid., 46, 60.

126.   Ibid., 75; Schafik Allam, Beiträge zum Hathorkult (Berlin: Hessling, 1963), 123.

127.   Junker, Onurislegende, 113.

128.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 3/10—12, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 18.

129.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 4/26—5/1, in ibid., 22.

130.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 5/5, in ibid.

131.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 5/29—30, in ibid., 24.

132.   Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 36.

133.   Schott, “Buch von der Abwehr des Bösen,” 65—67.

134.   Ibid., 69.

135.   Ibid., 73.

136.   Ibid., 101—3.

137.   Schott, ” Buch vom Sieg über Seth,” 25—27.

138.   Ibid., 49—53.

139.   Philippe Derchain, Rites égyptiens (Brussels: Fondation Égyptologique Reine Elisabeth, 1962), 53.

140.   Etienne Drioton, Le texte dramatique d’Edfou (Cairo: BIFAO, 1984), 40—43.

141.   Kurt H. Sethe, Der dramatische Ramesseumspapyrus, vol. 10, part 2, in Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde Aegyptens (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1928), 177, 180.

142.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 37.

143.   Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 886; Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 41, 43.

144.   Ibid., 49.

145.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 46.

146.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 23, 49.

147.   Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage,” 22.

148.   Ibid., 34.

149.   Ibid., 23.

150.   Drioton, Le texte dramatique d’Edfou, 58—59 give specific pages

151.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 34.

152.   Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage,” 23—24.

153.   Ibid., 34.

154.   Fred Wendorf et al., “The Use of Barley in the Egyptian Late Paleolithic,” Science 205 (28 September 1979): 1342.

155.   Ibid., 1343.

156.   Ibid., 1342.

157.   Herodotus, History II, 99; Kurt H. Sethe, “Menes und die Gründung von Memphis,” in Beiträge zur ältesten Geschichte Ägyptens (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1905), 123—24.

158.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 37; Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 513—14.

159.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 4/17, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 21.

160.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 6/11—12, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Slot),” 56.

161.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 3/13, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 19.

162.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 4/13—15, in ibid., 21.

163.   Junker, Onurislegende, 127.

164.   See Drioton, Texte dramatique d’Edfou, 53—62; Wendorf, “Use of Barley in the Egyptian Late Paleolithic,” 1341.

165.   Harris Papyrus 6:1—7:12, in Budge, Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, plates 25—26.

166.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, p. 35, col. XIII.

167.   Wolfhart Westendorf, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture of Ancient Egypt (New York: Abrams, 1969), 13.

168.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 45.

169.   Ibid.

170.   Source not found, see preface.

171.   Book of the Cow, cols. 78—80, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 98—99; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 32—33.

172.   Siegfried Schott, “Die Reinigung Pharaos in einem memphitischen Tempel (Berlin Papyrus 13242),” Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen. Philologisch-historische Klasse 3 (1957): 45—52.

173.   Ibid.

174.   Junker, Onurislegende, 96.

175.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 23.

176.   Ibid., 23, 31, 45—47.

177.   Ibid., 45—47.

178.   Ibid., 31.

179.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 76—77.

180.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 3/21—23, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 19.

181.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 5/14—15, in ibid., 23.

182.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 51, 53.

183.   Vladimir Vikentiev, “Les monuments archäiques: la tablette en ivoire de Naqada,” ASAE 33 (1933): 208—34.

184.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 74.

185.   Ibid., 72—73.

186.   Elisabeth Staehelin, “Zur Hathorsymbolik in der ägyptischen Kleinkunst,” ZÄS 105 (1978): 76—77.

187.   Ibid., 77.

188.   Ibid., 77—78, 81.

189.   Ibid., 80—81.

190.   Ahmed Fakhry, “A Note on the Tomb of Kheruef at Thebes,” ASAE 42 (1943): 483.

191.   Ibid., 489.

192.   Ibid., 490.

193.   Ibid., 496—99.

194.   Ibid., 496, plate xl.

195.   Ibid., 492.

196.   Ibid., 493.

197.   Ibid., 494.

198.   Ibid., 500.

199.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 5:12—24, in Budge, Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, plate II (author’s translation).

200.   Hugh W. Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975), 202.

201.   Adolphe Gutbub, Textes fondamentaux de la théologie de Kom Ombo, 2 vols. (Cairo: BIFAO, 1973), 1:62—63.

202. Ibid., 64.

203. Ibid., 65.

204. Ibid., 67.

205.   Junker, Onurislegende, 116.

206.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 14:1—16:15, in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 25—30.

207.   Schott, “Buch von der Abwehr des Bösen,” 67.

208.   Joachim Spiegel, Die Götter von Abydos (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1973), 67, 69, 71.

209.   Ibid., 66.

210.   Rudolf Anthes, “Die Sonnenboote den Pyramidtexten,” ZÄS 82 (1958): 89.

211.   Schott, “Buch von der Abwehr des Bösen,” 133—44; Raymond O. Faulkner, “The Bremner-Rhind Papyrus II,” JEA 23 (1937): 13; Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 2:1—23; 3:9—14; 19:29—30, in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 3—6, 39.

212.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 19:13—15; in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 38; cf. Faulkner, “Bremner-Rhind Papyrus II,” 12—13.

213.   Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 887.

214.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 2/2—7, 18—21, 2/30—3/2, 5, 9—12, 5/1—3, 11—15, in Bruno H. Stricker, “De Egyptische Mysteriën: Pap. Leiden T32,” OMRO 31 (1950): 56—58; Stricker “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 18, 22—23.

215.   Sethe, “Zur altägyptischen Sage,” 4—5.

216.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 44—46.

217.   Ibid., 76.

218.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 39.

219.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 72—73.

220.   Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History I, 22, 2.

221.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 74—76.

222.   Ibid., 77—79.

223.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 3/15, 4/8—9, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 19—20.

224.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 4/12—14, in ibid., 21.

225.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 5/14—16, in ibid., 23.

226.   Pieper, Grosse Inschrift des Königs Neferhotep in Abydos, lines 15—16.

227.   Cf. Francis L. Griffith, “A Stele of Tirhaqa from Kawa, Dongola Province, Sudan,” Mémoires de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 66 (1935—38): 426—27; Montet, Drame d’Avaris, 203.

228.   Sethe, Der dramatische Ramesseumspapyrus, 96.

229.   Anthes, “Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.,” 171.

230.   Te Velde, Seth, God of Confusion, 74, 146—48.

231.   Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionem Aegyptiacarum, 121—23.

232.   Drioton, Texte dramatique d’Edfou, 40—41, 77—78.

233.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 14:13, in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 26.

234.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 5:5—10, in ibid., 9.

235.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 12:1—13:30, in ibid., 22—25.

236.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 5:6, in ibid., 9.

237.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 9, in ibid., 125.

238.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 17, in ibid., 125.

239.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 19, in ibid., 125.

240.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 23, in ibid., 125.

241.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 27, in ibid., 125.

242.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 6:1—2, in ibid., 12.

243.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 32:1—54, in ibid., 86—92.

244.   Hugh W. Nibley, “There Were Jaredites,” IE 59 (August 1956): 566—67; reprinted in CWHN 5:350—64.

245.   Siegfried Schott, Mythe und Mythenbildung im alten Ägypten (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1945), 28.

246.   Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 806.

247.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 66.

248.   Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 879—80.

249.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 30.

250.   Spiegelberg, “Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge,” 887.

251.   Jacques Vandier, “Iousâas et (Hathor) Nebet-Hetepet,” RdE 18 (1966): 87.

252.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 33.

253.   Ibid., 29.

254.   Junker, Onurislegende, 133.

255.   Zandee, “Sargtexte, Spruch 75,” 57.

256.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 28:26, in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 70.

257.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 38—39, 58—60.

258.   Ibid., 55—58.

259.   Source not found, see preface.

260.   Pyramid Text 311 (§495—500), in Faulkner, Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, 97A.

261.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 24.

262.   Junker, Onurislegende, 96.

263.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 6/27—28, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Slot),” 57.

264.   Drioton, Texte dramatique d’Edfou, 116—17.

265.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 81; Harris Papyrus, cols. 1—7, in Budge, Egyptian Hieratic Papyri, 23—26.

266.   Harris Papyrus, col. 6, in Budge, Egyptian Hieratic Papyri, 25.

267.   Papyrus Salt 825 10/1—11/7, in Derchain, Papyrus Salt 825, 1:141.

268.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 1/28—2/1, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën,” 56.

269.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 3/17—18, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 19.

270.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 32.

271.   Coffin Text 8, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 1:24—27.

272.   Bremner-Rhind Papyrus 32:10—11, in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 88.

273.   Nibley, “There Were Jaredites,” 390—91, 460—61; in CWHN 5:343—49.

274.   Anthes, “Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.,” 187.

275.   Julia Samson, “Nefertiti’s Regality,” JEA 63 (1977): 91 (emphasis added).

276.   Allam, Beiträge zum Hathorkult, 120.

277.   Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionem Aegyptiacarum, 9—10, 110.

278.   Anthes, “Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.,” 193.

279.   Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionem Aegyptiacarum, 492—94.

280.   Ibid., 492.

281.   Ibid., 493.

282.   Ibid., 494.

283.   Ibid., 500—501.

284.   Ibid., 502.

285.   Ibid., 503.

286.   Ibid., 504.

287.   Ibid., 505.

288.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 29.

289.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 6/27—28, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Slot),” 57.

290.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 2/1—4, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën,” 56.

291.   Philippe Derchain, “La pêche de l’oeil,” RdE 15 (1963): 18.

292.   Derchain, Rites égyptiens, 1:44.

293.   Alan H. Gardiner, The Library of A. Chester Beatty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1931), 15, 17, 26, plate XXI, line 27.

294.   Junker, Onurislegende, 44.

295.   Philippe Derchain, “La couronne de la justification,” CdE 30 (1955): 256.

296.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 59.

297.   Pyramid Text 356 (§581), in Faulkner, Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, 114.

298.   Adolf Erman, “Die Naukratisstele,” ZÄS 38 (1900): 127—28.

299.   Ibid., 129—30.

300.   Book of the Cow, cols. 11—12, in Maystre, “Livre de la vache du ciel,” 64—65; cf. Piankoff, Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon, 27.

301.   Vandier, “Iousâas,” RdE 17 (1965): 120.

302.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 83.

303.   Ibid., 85.

304.   Ibid., RdE 18 (1966): 104.

305.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 92.

306.   Ibid., RdE 17 (1965): 109.

307.   Ibid.

308.   Ibid., 112.

309.   Ibid., 115—17.

310.   Ibid., 119—20.

311.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 86.

312.   Ibid., 129; ibid., RdE 17 (1965): 117.

313.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 143; cf. George Daressy, “Ramsès-Si-Ptah,” RT 34 (1912): 39—52.

314.   Vandier, “Iousâas,” RdE 16 (1964): 93.

315.   Ibid., RdE 17 (1965): 124.

316.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 60.

317.   Ibid., RdE 18 (1966): 125—29.

318.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 70.

319.   Ibid., 57.

320.   Ibid.

321.   Ibid., 56.

322.   Ibid., 58.

323.   Ibid., 68—69, 72—73.

324.   Book of the Dead 125.

325.   Vandier, “Iousâas,” RdE 16 (1964): 62—63.

326.   Ibid., 63.

327.   Ibid., 66.

328.   Ibid., 65.

329.   Ibid., 98.

330.   Ibid., RdE 18 (1966): 81.

331.   Ibid., RdE 17 (1965): 103.

332.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 139.

333.   Ibid., 131.

334.   Ibid., 132.

335.   Ibid., 133.

336.   Ibid., 138.

337.   Ibid., 134—35.

338.   Ibid., 136.

339.   Ibid., RdE 17 (1965): 158.

340.   Ibid., RdE 18 (1966): 107.

341.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 96.

342.   Ibid., RdE 17 (1965): 127.

343.   Ibid., 135—36; ibid., RdE 18 (1966): 76.

344.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 88.

345.   Ibid., 91, fig. 5.

346.   Ibid., 95.

347.   Ibid., 107.

348.   Ibid., 74.

349.   Ibid., 140.

350.   Ibid., 143—44.

351.   Ibid., 144.

352.   Ibid., RdE 18 (1966): 129.

353.   Ibid., 115.

354.   Ibid., 117.

355.   Ibid., 104.

356.   Ibid., RdE 16 (1964): 142.

357.   Ibid., 86.

358.   Ibid., RdE 18 (1966): 79.

359.   Ibid., 87.

360.   Ibid., 99.

361.   Pyramid Text 217 (§152—60); 248—49 (§262—66); 254—59 (§276—315) (cf. el-Arish inscription); 263—66 (§337—63); 271 (§388—91) (the Flood Cow); 311 (§495—500); 338—39 (§551—53) (crossing the desert); 412 (§721—33); 470 (§910—19); 473 (§926—38); 483 (§1011—19); 496 (§1065—66); 504 (§1082—83); 508 (§1107—19); 510—11 (§1128—61); 548 (§1343—48); 554 (§1370—72); 577 (§1520—30); 581 (§1551—57); 610 (§1710—23); 627 (§1771—85); 676 (§2007—17); 685 (§2063—70); 690 (2092—119); 697 (§2169—75). The events are described as seen through the eyes of the new king. Joachim Spiegel, “Das Auferstehungsritual der Unaspyramide,” ASAE 53 (1955): 339—439, describes the funeral rites of the Pyramid Texts in terms of a cruise. Derchain, Papyrus Salt 825 is the primal Shu and Tefnut story. Coffin Texts 1, 3, 14, 40, 50, 75—76, 80, 83—84, 91, 96, 126—27, 129—30, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 1:7, 10, 44, 173, 227, 317, 325—26, 328, 331—32, 334—35; 2:3, 36, 48, 50, 62, 75—76, 80, 148, 150, etc., esp. no. 77. Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën,” tells the story in detail with the deceased participating in every episode. Book of the Dead 125, 175: the Flood Story. Sethe, Der dramatische Ramesseumpapyrus, passim: performed during an actual cruise, everything in terms of a ritual feast. The Flood and Migration themes are found in Raymond O. Faulkner, “The Bremner-Rind Papyrus-I,” JEA 22 (1936): 121—40, and Raymond O. Faulkner, “The Bremner-Rind Papyrus-III,” JEA 23 (1937): 166—85. The romantic side of the story is found in Faulkner, “Bremner-Rhind Papyrus-II,” 10—16. Jan Zandee, “Book of Gates,” Liber Amicorum (Leiden: Brill, 1969), 282—324: migration, cruise, conquest, and reception from shrine to shrine. Constantin E. Sander-Hansen, Die Texte der Metternichstele (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1956): Osirification of the cruise. Étienne Drioton, L’Écriture énigmatique du livre du jour et de la nuit (Cairo: BIFAO, 1942): the cruise in earthly terms. Jean-Claude Goyon, Le Papyrus du Louvre N. 3279 (Cairo: BIFAO, 1966), 8, 34, 48: full cast of flood and migrations figures. Constantin E. Sander-Hansen, Die religiösen Texte auf dem Sarg der Anchnesneferibre (Copenhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, 1937), 139—40, 148—50: the festive progress. Gustave Lefébvre, Le Tombeau de Petosiris (Cairo: IFAO, 1923—24), 1:88—102: the cruise and progress; 104: cruise is given a “spiritual” interpretation by his son. Walter Wreszinski, “Das Buch von Durchwandeln der Ewigkeit nach einer Stele im Vatikan,” ZÄS 45 (1908): 111—22: the cruise is the subject of the whole story. Hermann Junker, Die Stundenwachen in den OsirisMysteriën (Vienna: Hoelder, 1910), passim: an interesting variation. G. Nagel, “Un papyrus funéraire de la fin du Nouvel Empire,” BIFAO 29 (1927): 1—27, also an interesting variation.

362.   Coffin Text 80, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 2:32—33, 39.

363.   Junker, Auszug der Hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien, 65—66.

364.   Junker, Onurislegende, 118.

365.   Ibid., 118, 121—22.

366.   Jéquier, Considérations sur les religions Égyptiénnes, 198.

367.   Gardiner, Library of A. Chester Beatty, 13—26.

368.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 3/20—4/4, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 19—20.

369.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 44—45.

370.   Ibid., 59 (emphasis added).

371.   Source not found, see preface.

372.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 6/1—4, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Slot),” 56.

373.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 4/25—5/1, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 22.

374.   Junker, Onurislegende, 116.

375.   Montet, Drame d’Avaris, 198.

376.   Griffith, “Stele of Tirahaqa from Kawa,” 426—27.

377.   Pyramid Text 3 (§2—3).

378.   Siegfried Schott, Hieroglyphen (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1950), 34—35.

379.   Vikentiev, “Monuments archäiques,” 208—34.

380.   Augustine, De Civitate (The City of God) XVIII, 3, in PL 41:563.

381.   Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythos vom Sonnenauge, 29.

382.   Robert Graves, The White Goddess (London: Faber and Faber, 1959), 64—67, 247—48.

383.   Jéquier, Considérations sur les religions Égyptiénnes, 198.

384.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 34—35, 39.

385.   Ibid., 28.

386.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 6/16—20, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Slot),” 57.

387.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 3/15—16, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 19.

388.   Junker, Götterdekret über das Abaton, 46.

389.   Ibid., 11.

390.   Ibid., 45.

391.   Ibid., 55.

392.   Ibid., 40.

393.   Ibid., 18—20.

394.   Ibid., 44.

395.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 4/2—3, in Stricker, “Egyptische Mysteriën (Vervolg),” 20.

396.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 4/22, in ibid., 21.

397.   Leiden Papyrus T32, 5/31, in ibid., 24.

398.   Anthes, “Sonnenboote den Pyramidtexten,” 86.

399.   Ibid., 87.

400.   Ibid.

401.   Ibid., 89.

402.   Pyramid Text 627 (§1785).

403.   Ibid. (§1774).

404.   Ibid. (§1774—76).

405.   Anthes, “Sonnenboote den Pyramidtexten,” 87; cf. Pyramid Text 627 (§1774—76).

406.   Pyramid Text 627 (§1774—76).

407.   Nibley, “There Were Jaredites,” 566—67, 602, 630—32, 672—75; in CWHN 5:350—80.

408.   E. A. Wallis Budge, The Nile: Notes for Travellers in Egypt (London: Cook, 1890), 27.

409.   William F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan (London: Athlone, 1968), 137 n. 69.

410.   Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs, 36.

411.   Arthur Keith, “The Men of Lachish,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly 72 (1940): 9.

412.   J. C. L. Gibson, “Light from Mari on the Patriarchs,” Journal of Semitic Studies 7 (1962): 51.

413.   Alexandre Moret, Histoire de l’orient (Paris: Presses universitaires, 1929), 269—70, 503.

414.   Anthes, “Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.,” 194—95.

415.   Frederick C. Conybeare, “Testaments of Job and of the XII Patriarchs,” JQR 13 (1901): 111—13.

416.   Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, 7 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1909—13), 1:177—78, 318—19; Bernhard Beer, Leben Abraham’s nach Auffassung der jüdischen Sage (Leipzig: Leiner, 1859), 7, 105; Micha bin Gorion, Die Sagen der Juden, 5 vols. (Frankfurt: Rütten & Loening, 1913—27), 2:20, 33, 40—41, 52.

417.   Wolfgang Richter, “Urgeschichte und Hoftheologie,” Biblische Zeitschrift 10 (1966): 99.

418.   Jubilees 8:11—15, 22, 28; 9:14.

419.   Apocalypse of Adam 74:1—75:30, in Nag Hammadi Library in English, ed. James Robinson  (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981), 259.

420.   Apocryphon of John, texts in Martin Krause and Pahor Labib, Die drei Versionen des Apokryphon von Johannes (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1962); Walter C. Till, Die gnostischen Schriften des koptischen Papyrus Berolinensis 8502, vol. 60 in Texte und Untersuchungen (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1955), 43.

421.   Cyrus H. Gordon, Before the Bible: The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), 127.

422.   Albrecht Götze, “Kleinasien,” in Kulturgeschichte des alten Orients (Munich: Beck, 1933), 3:1:3:82—85.

423.   Hermann Kees, “Kulttopographische und mythologische Beiträge,” ZÄS 64 (1929): 100.

424.   Georges Posener, De la divinité du pharaon, Cahiers de la société asiatique, vol. 15 (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1960), 103.

425.   François Daumas, “Le sens de la royauté égyptienne à propos d’un livre récent,” RHR 160 (1961): 131—43.

426.   Kurt H. Sethe, Urkunden der 18. Dynastie, vol. 4 of Urkunden des ägyptischen Altertums, 1:157.

427.   Ibid., 159—60.

428.   Pseudo-Callisthenes, Historia Alexandri Magni II, 21; Anthony J. Spalinger, “The Reign of King Chabbash: An Interpretation,” ZÄS 105 (1978): 145—47.

429.   Ilse Becher, “Augustus und Dionysus—ein Feindverhältnis,” ZÄS 103 (1976): 94.

430.   Pseudo-Callisthenes, Historia Alexandri Magni II, 21.

431.   Sethe, Urkunden der 18. Dynastie, 1:100—101.

432.   Alexandre Moret, Du caractère religieux de la royauté pharaonique (Paris: Leroux, 1902), 61—62.

433.   Gerhard Fecht, “Schicksalsgöttinnen und König in der ‘Lehre eines Mannes für seinen Sohn,'” ZÄS 105 (1978): 14—42.

434.   Peter Kaplony, “Eine neue Weisheitslehre aus dem alten Reich,” Orientalia 37 (1968): 343.

435.   Kees, Aegypten, 172.

436.   Pieper, Grosse Inschrift des Königs Neferhotep in Abydos, 12—13, lines 4—6.

437.   Kurt Sethe, Die dramatische Texte zu altägyptischen Mysterienspielen, vol. 10 in Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde (Leipzig: Heinrichs, 1928), 28.

438.   Ibid., 23, 27.

439.   Gardiner, Library of A. Chester Beatty, 14.

440.   Etymologicum Magnum 352, 50 s.v. “epoichomenen” in Hopfner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 51.

441.   Diodorus Siculus, Library of History I, 15, in Hofpner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 1:96.

442.   Isocrates, Busiris 10, in Hopfner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 48.

443.   Scholiast to Plato, Republic, in Friedrich Dübner, Platonis Opéra (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1856—73), 3:25b.

444.   Pseudo-Plutarch, De Fluviis, in Hofpner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 99.

445.   Isidore, Etymologiae VIII, 84—85, IX, 2, in Hofpner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 724—25.

446.   Pseudo-Plutarch, De Fluviis, XVI, 1, in Hofpner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 397.

447.   Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, I, 19, in Hofpner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 99.

448.   Josephus, Against Apion I, 102; cf. I, 231.

449.   Eugène Lefébure, “Le Cham et l’Adam égyptiens,” BE 35 (1912): 9—10.

450.   Isidore, Etymologiae VII, 7, in Hopfner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 724.

451.   Daressy, “Ramses-Si-Ptah,” 49—50.

452.   Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs, 249.

453.   Ibid., 250—51.

454.   Elise J. Baumgartel, The Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1947), 44 (emphasis added).

455.   M. Raymond Weill, “Koptos,” ASAE 11 (1911): 103.

456.   Ibid., 99—100.

457.   Moret, Histoire de l’orient, 62.

458.   Pliny, Natural History X, 49, line 94.

459.   W. J. Phythian-Adams, “Aiguptos: A Derivation and Some Suggestions,” Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society 2 (January 1922): 95—99.

460.   Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, 137 n. 69; cf. 94—100.

461.   Aelian, De Natura Animalium X, 23, in Hopfner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae, 420.

462.   Derchain, Rites égyptiens, 38—62.

463.   Book of the Dead 125, lines 21.