Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World


BOOK 9 of 12


[Page 545] AT first sight the general effect of the innumerable deluge-legends is to suggest the existence of a primitive kind of catastrophobia resulting from fear of the water-flood. The arkite symbolism originated in the mount and tree, the cave or enclosure being a natural place of refuge when the waters were out upon the earth; and these were followed by the raft, the boat, or ark that swam the waters as a means of human safety. Before the legends of a deluge could have been formulated, the deluge as an overwhelming flood of water had become a figure used in sign-language to express the natural fact in a variety of phenomena to which the type might be and was applied. It is expressed in English still by what is termed a “flooding”. But a deluge is not only an overflow of water. There is a deluge of blood (both Egyptian and Polynesian). Night brings its deluge of darkness, and dawn lets loose the floods of day. The so-called deluge-legend comprises a hundred legends and a hundred applications of the same type, from one single origin in sign-language as the primitive mode of representing a fact in nature. The deluge is universal because it was not local. The human race spread out over all the earth would not have been greatly troubled about an excessive overflow of water once upon a time in Mesopotamia. The legend is coeval with all time, and current amongst all people, because the deluge did not occur “once upon a time.” On the grand scale it was the mythical representation of the ending and submergence of an old order of things in the astronomical mythology; but there were various distinct deluges with that meaning, and not merely one. The Egyptian deluge in the so-called “destruction of mankind” is described as continuing for three nights and days. The time is measured by three days’ length in navigation through a deluge of blood (Records of the Past, 6, 103). Now, three nights and days is the length of time that was computed for the monthly absence of the moon in the nether-world. Hence there was a deluge of darkness on that scale in mythology. But the deluge occurred in at least four categories of phenomena.
There was a deluge of blood and a deluge of darkness, as well as a deluge of water. There is also the deluge that was a type of periodic time; and by no black art of bibliolatry can these four kinds of deluge be combined in one.
A deluge being an ending of a cycle in time, we can understand the [Page 546] language of the Codex Chimalpopoca (translated by the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg) concerning the flood, when it says, “Now the water was tranquil for forty years plus twelve.” “All was lost. Even the mountains sank into the water, and the water remained tranquil for fifty-two springs.” In this account, the well-known Mexican cycle of fifty-two years is measured by means of a deluge at the end of the period. In Inner Africa the year was reckoned by the periodic great rain; in Egypt by the inundation; and a deluge, we repeat, became the natural type of an ending in time in the uranographic representation. In India, a solar pralaya, in which the waters rise till they reach the seven Rishis in the region of the pole, is of necessity kronian, and applies solely to the keeping of time and period astronomically. The Assyrian deluge is described as lasting seven days. This agrees with the seven days’ silence in the Wisdom of Esdras, by which the consummation of the age, or ending of the period, was to be commemorated “like as in the former judgments,” deluges, or endings of the cycle or age in time. The flood of Noah is on the scale of the year or thereabouts. The deluge of time, as it was called by the Chaldean magi, is a breach of continuity, a phase of dissolution. It was a period of negation that was filled in with a festival as a mode of
memorialising the dies non or no time. It was a condition of the lawlessness of misrule, of promiscuous intercourse, of drunkenness, that characterized the saturnalia by which it was celebrated.
There is a Kamite prototype in “the destruction of mankind” for the woman who is the reputed cause of a deluge in the Egyptian mythos. This is Sekhet the avenger. She is the very great one of the liquid domain. No one is master of the water of Sekhet, which she lets loose as an element of death and destruction. She was the great mistress of terror in fire and flood. In “the destruction of mankind” it is said, “There was Sekhet, during several nights, trampling the blood under her feet as far as Heracleopolis.” Ra, the solar god, “ordered the goddess to slay the evil race in three days of navigation.”
“And the fields were entirely covered with water through the will of the majesty of the god; and there came the goddess (Hathor) in the morning, and she found the fields covered with water, and she was pleased with it, and she went away satisfied and saw no men” (i.e., none of the exterminated evil race).
This is a form of the Egyptian deluge designated a great destruction, but with no earthly application to the human race. In the African legend relating to the origin of Lake Tanganyika, that was told to Stanley by the Wagigi fishermen, it was a woman, to whom the secret of the water-spring had been entrusted, who was the cause of the deluge. Possibly this woman was the earth as mother of the waters, seeing that Scomalt is the earth-mother of the Okanagaus, and that she also was charged with letting in the deluge. Scomalt is a form of the primordial genetrix, equivalent to Apt in Egypt. Long ago, they say, when the sun was no bigger than a star, this strong medicine-woman ruled over what appears to have become a lost continent. Her subjects rose against her in rebellion. Whereupon she broke up the land, and all the
people but two met with their death by drowning. A man and a woman escaped in a canoe and arrived on the mainland, and from this pair the Okanagaus are descended (Bancroft, vol. III, 149). [Page 547]
A starting-point in various deluge-legends is from the world all water. This originated with the firmament as the celestial water that was called the Nnu, or Nun. Now one meaning of the word Nun in Egyptian is the flood. Thus the water of heaven is synonymous with the deluge. In one aspect the deluge, as a figure in the sign-language of the astronomical mythology, was a mode of representing the sinking of the pole in the celestial ocean which was figured as the world of water. This is the world all water in the legendary lore. The flood upon which Jehovah sat as king was no other than the firmamental Nun (Ps. XXIX. 10).
So the throne of Osiris was based upon the flood, that is upon the Nun. In the vignettes to the Ritual Osiris sits upon the throne in Amenta as the great judge and ruler, and his throne is “balanced” as it is described, upon the flood. Water being the primary element of life, it was also based on figuratively; and Osiris with his throne resting on the water takes the place of the earlier Nnu, or later Noah, resting in his ark as master of the deep. Nnu was god of the celestial water. The wateress in one form was the goddess Nut. This, then, and nothing short of it, is the root of the matter when, as in the Navajo-Indian legend, certain persons, who are so often one female and one male, make their escape from the
overwhelming waters by climbing up a reed to the land of life which, as a land of reeds, was the primal paradise, or the fields where the papyrus was in flower above the waters of a universal deluge, as represented in the veriest drawing of mythology.
We have to learn the sign-language before we can understand the nature of mythology. When it is said that Horus inundates the world like the sun each morning, that is with the light as the deluge of day.
There is a white water and a black, equivalent to the white bird of light and the black bird of night, as opposite figures of Sut and Horus for the dark and the day. The evil Apap, who drinks the water cubit by
cubit at each gulp as the sun goes down, is slain by Horus at daybreak, when he once more sets free the waters of light which are designated the waters of dawn. In like manner, the waters of day rush forth when Indra slays the serpent of darkness, who was thought of as the swallower of the light = water of heaven. Osiris is called the “over-flower,” the “great extender,” the “shoreless one,” who in this imagery of the deluge “brings to its fulness the divine force which is hidden within him” (Rit., ch. 64, 13-15, Renouf).
Thus, in continuing the primitive mode of thinging the concept, Osiris is the water-force personified, instead of being represented as a crocodile, which was also one of the primal types of water.
“The deluge” is only single as a type. There are various deluges known to mythology, and various agents who are held responsible for causing them. In one legend or folk-tale it was the mischievous monkey. In another it was the tortoise, who sank in the waters and drowned the people who had their dwelling-place upon its back. In another it is caused by the killing of a sacred bird, which might be the vulture or cygnus.
In a fourth the fountains of the great deep are opened by the taking out of the star, whereupon the deluge follows. A cause of the deluge is attributed to the star-gods, Sut in Egypt and Bel in Babylonia. It was caused by a failure in keeping time, and the failure is followed in a number of legends by the [Page 548] new heaven, in which the supreme time-keeper is the moon or the lunar divinity who is Taht in the Kamite representation.
Some most precious remains of the primitive wisdom now extant outside of Egypt are preserved by the oldest races of the world. Much of the matter is found amongst the people of the Polynesian islands, far more to the purpose than anything to be found in the Hindu or the Hebrew sacred books. The Samoans have what may, in a symbolical sense, be termed a deluge legend. Tangaloa, the originator of the heavens, was the builder. Of old the heavens were always falling down when they consisted of water without any bulwark or embankment. To put a limit, to build or make any firm enclosure, was to circumscribe the waters and secure a place of refuge from the dreaded deluge. In the time of Ptah, their great architect, the Egyptians were advanced enough in craftsmanship for the enclosure formed by him to keep out the waters of the deluge in Amenta to be made of either iron or steel, called the ba-metal. An ark was a primitive enclosure formed in the celestial water. This, as Egyptian, is the ark of Nnu, and Nnu is heaven, as water, also a name for the deity of the celestial water. In the Samoan legend, an ark is built before there was any water or water-flood, or before the firmament had been figured as water. ”Tangaloa of the heavens and his son Lu=Shu built a canoe or vessel up in the heavens.” When the vessel was finished there was no water to float it. Gaogao, the ancient mother, told her son Lu to have the vessel ready and she would make the water. She then gave birth to a lake, or the water of life, and also to the salt water, as it is said there was no sea at that time.” The lake we identify with “the lake of the thigh,” or
the meskhen of the water-cow. Sea and lake imply both salt and fresh water, the two waters of earth and heaven that were repeated in the two lakes of Amenta. The Samoan deluge lasted until the seventh day, like the Babylonian. As it is said of Lu, “He was not many days afloat, some say six, when (on the seventh) his vessel rested on the top of a mountain called Malata” (Turner, Samoa, p. 12). In a papyrus at Turin the god who claims to be self-existent says, “I make the waters and the Mehura comes into being. ” That is heaven as the celestial water. In a hymn to Ptah it is said, “The waters of the inundation cover the lofty trees of every region.” These, however, are the waters of Nnu or the Nun (Renouf, H. L., pp. 221-2), and not the overwhelming flood of water on the earth. When the mehura first came into
existence it was a heaven imaged as the water that was undivided by the astronomers, the islands or other land-limits that were figured in the aerial vast; and heaven as the celestial water was the Nnu or Nun. A “true explanation of the world-wide deluge myths” no longer need be sought for in the book of Genesis or in the tradition of a great flood that swept the plains of Mesopotamia; nor in any vast cataclysm that might have been caused by the melting of the ice at the close of the glacial period (Huxley, Nineteenth Century, 1890, pp. 14-15). We find by the Egyptian wisdom that “the deluge,” as it is commonly termed, belongs neither to geography, nor geology, nor history. Geology, the latest of the
sciences, was comparatively unknown to the early world. Geology did not furnish the kind of fact with which the ancient science was concerned. Whatsoever [Page 549] the Egyptian “mystery-teachers of the depths” may have known of mines and metals, mythology was not geological in the least degree. Neither did the Kamite chronology include the computation of geological time.
It was confidently asserted by Bunsen that the deluge legend was unknown to the Egyptians. But they had all the deluges that ever were, as the Hir-Seshta informed Solon, including the “great deluge of all,” whereas the Greeks could only muster two. But in no case were these geological catastrophes. M. Lenormant asserted that the story of the deluge was unknown to the black race, and that “while the tradition holds so considerable a place in the legendary memories of all branches of the Aryan people, the monuments and original texts of Egypt, with their many cosmogonic speculations, have not afforded one even distant allusion to this cataclysm.” The statement sounds authoritative, but it is not true.
Professor Sayce, following Lenormant, asserts that “no tradition of a deluge had been preserved by the Egyptians” (Fresh Light from the Monuments, p. 47). This comes of raking for human history, and for nothing else, in the Semitic débris of the Kamite astronomical mythology. Both are wrong, and both were equally misled through looking for the deluge with the Semitic versions for their determinatives. Bibliology has gone perilously near to ruining Assyriology and Egyptology for the first generations of students in this country. It is fortunate for genuine scholarship that there are livers out of Bible-burdened Britain.
To identify the deluge-legend in Egypt you must know how to look for it; no use in peering through the Semitic spectacles. The legend of Atlantis re-told by Plato in Timaeus was Egyptian, and no doubt with the legend came the name of lost Atlantis, transliterated through the Greek. As Egyptian, the word atr = atl has several meanings in relation to water. Atru is the water, the water-flood, the water-boundary, limit, measure, frontier, embankment. Egyptian in the early stages had no sign of     . But by substitution of the later letter      for r the word atr becomes atl, the root of such names as Atlantis and Atlantic. With this change of letter the Atarantes of Africa become the Atalantes. The word antu or anti signifies a division of land. Thus Atlanti, whence Atlantis, as a compound of two Egyptian words, denotes the land divided by the waters, or canals of water. Now the earliest nuit or nomes of Egypt were seven in number, and these
were seven territories marked out, limited, and bounded by the atlu (atru) as river, canal, conduit, or water-boundaries. In the valley of the Nile, the land was bounded first by water as the natural boundary, and seven nomes would be enclosed by seven atlu, long before the land limit was marked out by the boundary-stones or stelae. And atl-antu, we suggest, is the original for the names of Atlantis and the Atlantic Ocean. It is noticeable that in the Nahuatl vocabulary atl is also the water name, and that atlan denotes the border or boundary of the water (Baldwin, Ancient America, p. 179). Atlan thus becomes a name for the mound, island, or tesh that was placed as a limit to the water in Egypt. This would be the land of Atlan, as we find it both in Africa and America. There were seven such water limits to the land in
Egypt when it was [Page 550] divided into seven nomes. And seven astronomes named after these become the seven islands of the lost Atlantis, which sank in the celestial waters, the heptanomis of the seven lands below having been repeated in the mapping out of heaven in seven astronomes. The heptanomis above, like the one below, was formed of seven lands that were divided by the seven waters, canals, or atlu (atru), and both together constituted the Atlantis of uranography, the only one that could ever be lost by the celestial waters overflowing the celestial lands. The seven rulers of the astronomes attained the status of divine princes in the celestial heptanomis. And among the nomes of Lower Egypt we find the nome of the Prince of Annu; the nome of the prince of Lower Egypt; the nome of Supti (Sut);
the nome of Samhutit (Horus); the nome of Sebek; the nome of Shu; the nome of Hapi. Here then, if anywhere on earth, we find a geographical prototype for the Atlantis that was lost in seven islands, according to the records kept by the astronomers, which are preserved in the mythography. Among the many types of the heptanomis and its septenary of powers and stations of the pole may be enumerated: — A mount with seven caves; seven islands in the sea; the seven-headed serpent whelmed beneath the waters; a tree with seven branches; a fish with seven fins; a pole with seven horns; a cross with seven arms; the seven supporting giants; the ark of seven cubits; the boat with seven kabiri on board; the group of seven cities.
It is not necessary to suppose that the Egyptians were the helpless victims of their own symbolism, who lived in mortal dread of the celestial waters falling down and overwhelming them in a deluge once for all.
But there can be no doubt that the water-flood on earth against which the early race was powerless produced a profound and permanent impression, so that the deluge idea became associated with the firmamental water. This can be proved by the mythical deluge dramatically represented in the Ritual. “I am the Father of the Inundation,” says Anup at the northern pole, whence the waters issued in the deluge of the Milky Way, or White Nile of the Nun. The Egyptian Ritual affords a study of the deluge mythos in the phase of eschatology. The passage for the soul in death has long and universally been likened to a river or some dark water flowing betwixt the two worlds of earth and heaven. This in Egypt was the Nun.
The way of the gods in their ascent and descent to earth was by water. The way of souls in their ascent to heaven is equally by water, whether in the ark of the moon, the bark of Orion, or the boat of the sun.
The manes on entering the other life thus addresses the sailors of the solar bark, “O ye seamen of Ra, at the gloaming of day let me live after death, day by day, as doth Ra.” That is by means of the boat which keeps the sun or the soul of the deceased afloat upon the drowning element (ch. 3). In the chapter for travelling on the road which is above the earth (ch. 4), the speaker says, “It is I who voyage on the stream which divideth the divine pair.” These are the two sisters Isis and Nephthys, whose stations in the Osirian solar mythos were at the western and eastern sides of the river which ran north and south in heaven as in Egypt. Some prophetic tableaux show the deceased in his funeral bark, speeding [Page 551] before the wind with all sail set, having started on his way to the next world the very day that he took
possession of his new abode in death (Maspero, Egypt. Arch., p. 120). Amongst the words that are said on the day of burial to bring about “the resurrection and the glory,” the deceased asks that he may see the ship of the holy Sahus traversing the sky; that is, the ark of souls represented in the constellation of Orion. He also pleads, “Let the divine vessel Neshemet advance to meet me.” The Osiris tells us that the name of his bark is “Collector of Souls.” “The picture of it is the representation of his glorious journey upon the canal” (ch. 58). Safe in the ark, he crosses the waters in which the helpless souls are wrecked.
In the chapter by which the ship is sailed in the nether-world, the speaker not only sails across the water of Nnu, for he says, “I come from the lake of fire and flame, from the field of flame,” and he stands erect and safe “in the bark which the god is piloting, at the head of Aarru,” that is, on the summit of the mount, or final resting-place of the ark (Rit., ch. 98, Renouf), which the deceased had safely reached through fire and flood. On entering the solar bark the Osiris says, “I have come myself and delivered the deity from the pain and suffering that were in the trunk, in shoulder, and in leg. I have come and healed the trunk and fastened the shoulder and made firm the leg. And I embark for the voyage of Ra.” The leg of Osiris, like the leg of Nut or the leg of Ptah, imaged the supporting power of the pole. The manes pleads, “Let not the Osiris Nu be shipwrecked on the great voyage” (ch. 130). ‘Let not disasters reach him.” “May the steering be kept clear from misadventure.” “Let me come to see my father Osiris” (ch. 99). “O, thou ship of the garden of Aarru, let me be conveyed to that bread of thy canal as my father, the great one, who advanceth in the divine ship” (ch. 106, Renouf). “Lo, I sail the great bark on the stream of the god Hetep.
I took it at the mansion of Shu” — the starry heaven (ch. 110, Renouf). “I sail upon its stream and range within the garden of Hetep” (ch. 110). When about to enter the bark of Ra, the speaker says, “O great one, let me be lifted into thy bark. Let me make head for thy staircase. Let me have charge of those who convey thee, who are attached to thee, and who are of the stars which never set “ (Rit., ch. 102). These are the seven that pull at the rope, or as we should say, that keep the law of gravitation and equipoise; the seven arms of the balance, or the seven bonds of the universe; the seven tow-ers that became the later seven rowers, sailors, or Kabiri. These are sometimes called the seven spirits of Annu, that is at the pole, the mount of glory in the stellar mythos. Four of the seven can be identified as Amsta, Hapi,
Tuamutef, and Kabhsenuf (Rit., ch. 97). “Said at the bark: Staff of Anup, may I propitiate those four glorified ones who follow after the master of all things?” These are four of the seven that pulled the bark up to the landing-stage upon the summit with the primitive rope, who are afterwards stationed as the four oars at the four cardinal points, in a later heaven, and also as the children of Horus, who had previously been his brothers. There is a great bursting forth of the floods in Amenta, described in the Ritual as a vast and overwhelming inundation. This [Page 552] passage of the waters shows the deluge-legend in the Kamite eschatology. The Osiris calls upon the lord of the flood, “the great one who is shoreless,” to save him. “Do thou save me!” “I who know the deep waters” is my name. But “I am not one who drowneth.
Blessed are they who see the bourne. Beautiful is the god of the motionless heart who causeth the stay of the overflowing — or the flood. Behold! there cometh forth the lord of life, Osiris thy support, who abideth day by day.” “The tunnels of the earth have given me birth.” This overflow of the great waters called the flood also occurs in Sheol amongst the other trials and tribulations of the sufferer represented in the Hebrew book of Psalms. “The channels of waters appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare” (ch. 18). “He drew me out of great waters.” As one means of salvation from the overwhelming waters the manes clings to the sycamore-tree which standeth in the lake of Akeb. He exclaims, “I embrace the sycamore, I am united to the sycamore-tree.” That is, to Osiris in the tree, the tat or pole, the type of fixity to be clasped for safety amid the waters rising round the soul in death and in the darkness of the nether earth. Sufficient mythical matter for a legend of the deluge and the ark may be found in the 64th chapter of the Ritual. It is recorded in the rubrical directions appended to the chapter that it “was discovered on a plinth of the god of the Hennu-bark by a master-builder of the wall in the time of King Septi the victorious.” Septi, or Seti, was a king in the first dynasty who lived and ruled in Egypt from 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. At that time the chapter was rediscovered as an ancient writing. We learn from this that the bursting forth of the waters in an overwhelming flood was based upon the natural fact of the inundation in Egypt. The imagery had been reproduced in heaven, and also in Amenta, the lower
Egypt of the nether-world. A great catastrophe caused by the waters that have broken out of bounds is more than once referred to in the Ritual. The Osiris says to the powers, “Grant ye that I may have the command of the water, even as the mighty Sut had the command of his enemies on the day of disaster to the earth. May I prevail over the long-armed ones in their (four) corners, even as that glorious and ready god prevailed over them” (Renouf, ch. 60). The bursting forth of the waters is described as a great disaster. In this chapter there is an application of the deluge imagery to the sun in the mythos and the departed soul in the eschatology. With the Egyptians, the supreme type of helpfulness and charity, or of love to the neighbour, was an ark or boat that offered safety to the shipwrecked amidst the waters.
Hence, when pleading in the Hall of Judgment the speaker claims to have “done the right thing in Tamerit” (Egypt), he clinches it by saying, “I have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and a boat to the shipwrecked” (ch. 125).
The subject-matter is very ancient. It belongs to that early time when Sut was a pre-Osirian form of the Good Being, in relation to the pole, the dog-star, and the inundation of the Nile. Here the deluge of the inundation is a deluge of destruction directed against the workers of evil. In short, it does what the [Page 553] inundation did for Egypt in washing away the result of drought, in cleansing from corruption and restoring a healthy new life to the land. Hence the deceased desires to have the same command over the waters in Amenta that Sut had when they burst forth in a drowning flood. Thus, 6,000 years ago the so-called “deluge legend” was ancient in Egypt, and it belonged to the time when Sut, in command of the waters, had not lost his place in glory; and his deluge was employed to destroy the Sebau, the Sami, the Apap-dragon, the long-armed ones, and other evil enemies of God and man who were not human beings. In the same chapter Osiris has superseded Sut as lord of the flood. Further, the two divine sisters Isis and Nephthys were imaged as two birds. The ark of Nnu described in the Ritual is conducted over the Nun by two birds which represent the two sister-goddesses Isis and Nephthys. It is said to these in relation to the inundation, “Ye two divine hawks upon your gables, who are giving attentive heed to the matter, ye who conduct the ship of Ra, advancing onwards from the highest place of the ark in heaven.” It is also said to Osiris, “Thy two sisters Isis and Nephthys come to thee, and they convey to thee the great extent (of the waters) in thy name of the great extender as lord of the flood (Teta, 274).” These allusions show that there was an ark to which the two birds were attached as conductors. They are represented as hawks, but as the birds of east and west, or the earlier south and north, are equivalent to the dove of day and the raven of night in Semitic tradition. Isis was the lady or bird of dawn, and Nephthys the lady of darkness. In this, the solar phase, the passage of the ark was from west to east, where it was conducted by the two birds or goddesses of the west and east. Heaven was flooded with a deluge of light at daybreak, and the nether earth was inundated with a deluge of darkness. The ark conducted through the waters by the two birds of light and darkness, or east and west, is described in a twofold character as the shrine of Osiris in the centre of the earth, and also as the ark of Ra that reaches the highest point in heaven (ch. 64, lines 5-8). It is the ark of the “lord of resurrections, he who cometh forth from the dusk and whose birth is from the house of death,” or, from Amenta, as the re-arising solar god. The ark that rested on Mount Nizir in the Babylonian legend, or Mount Ararat in the Hebrew version, and on Mount
Manu in the Hindu account, is described in the Ritual as the “ship of Ra” which attains “the highest place of the ark in heaven,” with the mount of glory for anchorage and the pole for mooring-post. The deceased in the character of Nnu repulses the water of the deluge. “He is the image of Nnu, lord of the inundation and father of the gods” (Rit., ch. 136A). He manoeuvres the ark or bark with which he voyages in heaven.
“He turns back the deluge” that “devastates the leg of Nut,” and “brings back strength to the fainting gods” by such means of dealing with the waters. In this chapter of the Ritual the devastating deluge is also alluded to (in line 1) as a mode of judgment. It is directed against the rebels. Those who are in the ark or the solar bark are saved from the great cataclysm which “devastates the leg of Nut” or sweeps away the support of the celestial waters, whilst the rebels are overthrown and reduced to non-existence.
The rebels against Ra are identical with the “men” or the “race” that spoke and plotted [Page 554] evil against him in another version of the deluge myth. After the deluge of devastation there is a renewal, rejuvenescence, and rebirth. Seb and Nut (earth and heaven) are pleased at heart; they grow young again. The leg of Nut, which the deluge devastated, was a very early type of the celestial pole, as the bulwark, prop, or mainstay against the waters of the firmament. In one phase the ark of Nnu is the ark of the Nun as the celestial water. It is depicted in chapter 44 crossing the water of Putrata, the lake of darkness, and cutting its way through the coils of the Apap-dragon. The speaker is one of the manes in Amenta about to embark on board the boat of souls. He says, “O thou who sailest the ship of Nnu across that gulf which is void, let me sail the ship; let me fasten the tackle in peace, in peace. Let me fasten my tackle and come forth.” “The place is empty into which the starry ones fall down headlong upon their faces and find nothing by which they can raise themselves up.” The ship of Nnu is facing the west, where it has to cross the lake of darkness, or the great gulf of the waters, by night, the lurking-place of the devouring dragon, into which the setting stars go down, also the human souls that have not attained salvation on board the ark. We learn previously that the deluge is imminent. In other words, the waters of the Nun are traversed by the ark at night with the rescued souls on board. The shrine at the centre of the earth is one with the shrine in the ark of earth, and the ark of earth in one character is the ship of Nnu in
the other; it is the ark of Osiris or Ptah in Amenta, and the ark of Ra in heaven, when “it comes forth in the east.” But whether in the depth or height, the bark of inert Osiris or the living Ra would still be the bark of Nnu, the ark that swam the deluge of the celestial water. It is said that the bark of Ra is in danger of the whirlwind and storm, which affords a glimpse of the tempest commonly associated with the deluge in the legends and traditions of the great disaster. But the Osiris-Nu, or Nnu as god of the inundation, turneth back the water-flood, the deluge that has nearly overwhelmed the “leg of Nut” (or the pole) which supports the firmament; and he keeps the companions safe who are on board the bark until the restingplace is finally attained upon the summit of the mount. The land that is reached at last by the mariners in the ark of Nnu is called the “tip of heaven,” at the place of “coming forth from the swathings in the garden of Aarru,” and the “coming forth in exultation. ”These are the names of that celestial country for which the bark or ark of Nnu was sailed (ch. 99). It is also called the ship of the garden of Aarru (ch. 106). The speaker in chapter 98 says, “I stand erect in the bark which the god is piloting . . . at the head of Aarru.”
This is the Aarru of spirits perfected in the eschatology, the summit of which is in the region of the neversetting stars at the highest point of heaven. In the various deluge legends the ark was stranded on the top of the mount, as it was on Ararat and Nizir, Manu and Malata. Here the ark of Nnu becomes the bark of the blessed, whose landing-place in heaven is called Mount Hetep, at the summit of the pole. The pole is the mooring-post to which the cable of the vessel was made fast. The voyage cometh to an end, and praise is uttered to the gods who are in the garden of everlasting peace and [Page 555] plenty. When the passengers approach the landing-stage, Heaven opens its embracing arms; the lamps of heaven are lighted, the Khabsu gods rise up to offer acclamations. The “old ones” and those who have gone before are said to welcome the voyagers at their arrival on the mount of assembly and reunion. These are the two classes of spirits, superhuman and human, elemental and ancestral, otherwise called “the gods and the glorified.” There was no need for an altar to be raised at this landing-stage upon the summit at the moment of debarkation to complete the parallel with the landing on Mount Ararat or Nizir in the Semitic versions.
The Ritual preserves the astral mythos in the form of drama. The voyagers who land upon Mount Hetep are souls of the departed, and not human beings. The rendering in the Ritual is not historical, not merely mythical, not simply astronomical. Sacrificial ceremonies are performed upon the altar and offerings made at the moment of debarkation. These are in two categories. In one Noah, Nnu, or the Osiris-Nu presents the oblation in propitiation to the gods upon the mount. In the second, those who have gone before as the ancestral spirits make offerings of the sacred cakes and other forms of food to the newcomers whom they welcome as their fellow-citizens to the eternal city (ch. 98, Renouf) on their landing from the ark of Nnu. Thus far we trace the deluge-legend and the ark of Nnu in the phase of eschatology
by means of the Ritual.
We now turn to representations of the subject in the astronomical mythology which in earlier ages preceded those of the eschatology.
In several chapters of the Ritual a breaking forth of the celestial waters in a typical deluge is alluded to or described. In chapter 136A it is said of the god who has the mastery over the inundation, “He turneth back the water flood which is over the thigh of the goddess Nut at the staircase of Seb.” The overwhelming water has here ascended to the summit of the mount or staircase, which, like the leg of Nut, was a figure of the pole. Thus the deluge is portrayed as submerging the pole when this was figured as the leg of Nut, and the water flood was then turned back by Nnu, the lord of the celestial water, whose ark of salvation from the deluge is the ship of heaven by name. Howsoever constellated, the bark of Nnu was the ark of heaven on the celestial water. Now when the change was made from a heaven of seven divisions to one of eight, as described in the very ancient papyrus containing the hymn to the god Shu, it is portrayed as superseding the ark of seven cubits with an ark of eight cubits, or the heptanomis by the octonary. This also indicates a change of pole, the pole that was imaged by the staff of Shu the giant.
The hymn to Shu includes the legend of a deluge. It is called “a chapter of the excellent songs which dispel the immerged,” that is, those who were drowned in the deluge as the evil creatures of darkness (Magic Papyrus, Records of the Past, vol. X, p. 137). It is said, “Those who are immerged do not pass along. Those who pass along do not plunge. They remain floating on the waves like the dead bodies on the inundation of the Nile, and they shut their mouths as the seven great dungeons are closed with an eternal seal.” Now, there is reason to suppose that these seven great dungeons, sealed with an eternal seal, were a form of the superseded heaven in seven divisions answering to [Page 556] the seven caves in the Mexican mount, and to the book of seven seals in Revelation. In the same papyrus there is “a book of magical spells for remaining as dwellers in the country” where the great catastrophe occurs; it is said that “Horus has given the warning cry,” ”subsidence of the country!” This, as we interpret the text, is at the cataclysmal ending in time and space that was mythically dramatized as a deluge or inundation which overwhelmed the land above and effaced certain landmarks in the celestial waters. The cubit may stand for a general measure. Four measures or cubits typified an ark of the four quarters in space. Seven cubits were a fourth of twenty-eight measures in the circle of twenty-eight lunar signs. Thus seven cubits or measures in an ark, shrine, or tabernacle formed a figure of heaven in seven divisions. And when the heptanomis was followed by the heaven of Taht, the ark of eight cubits superseded the shrine of seven cubits, and the ape became the type of Taht in the octonary instead of in the heptanomis. The ark of seven cubits was continued as a sacred type in the religious ceremonies. For instance, it is commanded by the rubric to chapter 133, Papyrus of Nnu, that this chapter shall be recited over a boat four cubits in length on which the divine sovereign chiefs of the cities have been painted and a heaven with its stars portrayed. But in the Papyrus of Ani the boat is ordered to be made seven cubits in length. This, then, is a figure of the ark of seven cubits which preceded the ark of eight cubits and the heaven of four quarters that was imaged by the boat of four cubits. The heptanomis had been figured as an ark of seven measures in the waters of heaven, and this was followed by the ark of eight measures as the shrine of the kaf-ape, a zootype of Taht the lunar god, after there had been “a subsidence of the country” and the
“secret abysses of the Nun” and the foundations of the deep had been laid open at the time of the deluge.
There had been no moon established in the stellar mythos. Otherwise stated, time was not yet computed by the lunar reckoning, or by Taht, the reckoner of time. In this sense the moon was not created until after the deluge. Thus, in some of the legends the moon becomes a resting-place or ark of safety riding on the waters. At Hawaii the typical deluge was called “the flood of the moon.” Meru is likewise shown to be a form of the mythical mount that reached up to the moon. Also it is related in one of the Hebrew legends that paradise was exempt from the deluge or was preserved from the great disaster because it was planted on the summit of a mountain reaching to the moon.
In the Egyptian inscription called “the Destruction of Mankind” there is a rebellion against Ra, the sungod, followed by a great destruction and a deluge. Atum-Ra had been established as the king of gods and men, the god by himself. There is a revolt against his supremacy. He calls the elder gods around him for consultation, and says to them, “You ancient gods, behold the beings who are born of myself; they utter words against me. Tell me what you would do in these circumstances. Behold, I have waited, and I have not destroyed them until I should hear what you have to say.” The elder gods advise that they may go and smite the enemies who plot evil against Ra, and let none remain alive. The rebels are then destroyed “in [Page 557] three days of navigation.” When the deluge of blood is over it is said by the
majesty of Ra, “I shall now protect men on this account.” “I raise my hand (in token) that I shall not again destroy men.” The rebel powers, headed by the coiling and constricting Apap-reptile vomiting the deluge of the dark by night, were always in revolt against the lord of light, and this legend commemorates their overthrowal in a deluge of blood. The chief agent in the work of vengeance is Hathor, the lunar goddess, who is aided by the solar goddess, Sekhet, in executing the commands of Ra. The goddess started; she smote the enemies over all the land because they had plotted evil against the majesty of Ra. These enemies are drowned in the deluge then poured out; “the fields were entirely covered with water through the will of his majesty the god. And there came the goddess (Hathor) in the morning, and she found the fields covered with water; and she was pleased with it, and drank to her heart’s content. She saw no more of the enemies, who were sunk in the waters that represented the flood of light which was now poured forth by Ra at dawn, and in which the creatures of the dark were drowned. It is said by his majesty, living and well, to his followers, “ I call before my face Shu, Tefnut, Seb, Nut, and the fathers and mothers who were with me when I was yet in the Nun, and I prescribe to Nnu, who brings his companions with him”; these are the instructions given by the god to Nnu: “Bring a small number of them (his companions), that the beings may not see them” — these beings are the creatures about to be destroyed in the coming flood — “and that their heart may not be afraid, thou shalt go with them into the
ark or sanctuary until I shall go with Nnu to the place where I stand,” or to the summit of the mount on which the legendary ark at last was safely landed. The ark or sanctuary here indicated is the figure of a newly founded heaven which follows the deluge by which a previous world was wrecked. The inscription is very dilapidated, nevertheless it obviously contains a creation of “the men,” as in the Assyrian revolt in heaven in the place of the creatures thus destroyed. When “his majesty arrived in the sanctuary,” “the men” were going forth and bearing their bows and shooting their arrows against his enemies. These were not the enemies but the defenders of Ra. Hence it was said to Ra by “the men,” “Let us smite the enemies, the rebels.”
The celestial water was primarily assigned to the female Nu or Nut. Her heaven was imaged as the cow.
At first it was the water-cow, and afterwards the milch-cow. And there was Nut (with) the “majesty of Ra on her back”; she was carrying the god in her form of the cow. This mode of locomotion on the cow’s back or between the cow’s horns (see the pictures) is now to be superseded by the building of the solar bark. “Said by the majesty of the god, I have resolved to be lifted up.” “Who is it that Nut will trust with it?” i.e., with the new ark or sanctuary of the god. “Carry me, that I may see.” Said by the majesty of the god, “Let a field of rest extend itself,” and there arose a field of rest. “Let the plants grow there,” and there arose the Sekhet-Hetep, or fields of the papyrus-reed. The beings who were destroyed were Sebau and Sami, representatives of the plagues of Egypt. The men who are created in their place are of the starry race. “The majesty of the god saw the inner part of the [Page 558] sanctuary in which he had been lifted up” (or the ark in which he made his voyage over the celestial waters), and he said, “I assemble and give possession of these multitudes of men, I establish as inhabitants all the beings which are suspended in the sky, the stars,” and Nut began to tremble very strongly. “I assemble there the multitudes that they may celebrate thee,” and there arose the multitudes. These are stars in one category, and in the other souls that were collected in the ark of salvation (Rit., ch. 58) or the ark of Nnu — that is, the ark of heaven and of the god of the celestial water. “Said by the majesty of Ra, My son Shu, take with thee my daughter Nut, and be the guardian of the multitudes which live in the nocturnal sky. Bear them on thy head, and be their fosterer. This is an allusion to his raising overhead the beautiful creation of the starry
firmament which Shu sustains, whether in the form of the cow of Nut, the water of the Nun, or the ark of Nnu. After the destruction there is to be a new creation, and Ra is in need of support from Nnu and his companions. “Said by the majesty of the god (or his majesty) to the majesty of Nnu, My limbs have suffered long; I cannot walk without support, or have others to support me.” This will show that Nnu occupies the place of Noah in relation to the building of the ark or sanctuary, and in accordance with the instructions received from Ra. Ra informs Nnu that he needs some other means of supporting himself than the back of the cow. He calls upon Nnu and his three sons to assist him against his enemies the rebels. Thus the cow of Nut was to be superseded by the ark of Nnu when he became the representative of the heavenly water and master of the inundation. Nut says dutifully that she will act as it seems good to her father Nnu (l. 30). There had been various kinds and forms of the celestial or astronomical ark that was at first necessitated as the means of carriage for the gods, because the heavens had been imaged as the firmamental water. The great mother Apt, who was the image of all firstness both by name and nature in the likeness of the pregnant hippopotamus, was a kind of ark, and possibly the earliest that ever crossed the waters of the Nun. She carried her young ones in the cabin that was uterine. Child-Horus on his papyrus-reed was in the ark that saved him from the waters, as the sign was constellated in the planisphere of Denderah. The Pleiades formed an ark as constellation for the Khuti; the Lesser Bear for Anup and the seven voyagers round about the pole. Orion was the ark of the holy sahus, with Horus at the look-out. The ark of Taht was in the crescent moon that sailed the azure deep by night. Then Ra, the solar deity, resolved on being lifted up as god alone, the only one, who superseded all the elder powers.
A new heaven was to be his tabernacle. This was the ark of Nnu. The change from one heaven to the other implied a great destruction of the rebels. A deluge was the modus operandi, and the ark the means of safety for the few just men and true, together with their consorts, who were saved from the catastrophe. As a symbol in sign-language the ark was built by Nnu, the master of the firmamental water, for the means of safety in the world all water against the coming flood and the subsidence of land, which was the land of Nnu. [Page 559]
In space it was the ark of the four quarters that was propelled by the four paddles of Hapi, Tuamutef, Kabhsenuf, and Amsta. Hence Seb (or the earth) “abideth stably” by means of the four rudders or oars (Rit., ch. 99). Hence also the four-square box that imaged the ark of Noë on the well-known Apamean coin. In Akar, or Amenta, it was the ark of Osiris; in earth the ark of Seb; in heaven the ark of Ra. Its mainmast was the pole. The nightlight on the masthead was the pole-star. In the myth it was the ark of Ra, “the bark of millions of years”; in the eschatology it is the ark of salvation, the refuge for eternity.
The sinking ones had looked for their deliverance from the waters to the bark of Anup, voyaging round the pole; also to the crescent-shaped arc of Taht seen in the new moon; then to the ark of Horus and the “holy sahus” constellated in Orion; and finally they sought salvation in the ark which Nnu and his three sons, Shu, Taht, and Seb, were now to build for Ra, the solar god.
The Egyptian ark or ship of Nnu is the ark of heaven, or, conversely stated, the ark of heaven is the ship of Nnu; and the ark of heaven was the revolving sphere configurated as a sailing vessel with two masts as we have found it figured by the mystery-teachers in their uranographic imagery of the celestial deluge.
The ark is portrayed in the act of sailing over a vast, unfathomable, hollow void of formless space; as it is said, “the place is empty.” Into this the helpless ones fall headlong unless they are saved on board the ark. In a vignette to the Papyrus of Anhai, it is Nnu that is seen uplifting the boat of the gods with seven persons on board, besides the beetle and the solar disk. The figure of Nnu in this drawing is both male and female, Nnu and Nut in one figure (Budge, Papyrus of Anhai, pl. 8). Among the Assyrian fragments there is reference to a legend which has not come down to us. In this it is said that Ishtar counselled the destruction of mankind, whereas in the extant account of the deluge the goddess bewails their destruction and grieves bitterly over the loss of her children. Now Ishtar is an Akkado-Assyrian form of the goddess Hathor, who in the Egyptian mythos counsels the destruction of the beings, and executes the judgment passed upon them by the gods, with no wailing or weeping afterwards. This points back to the Egyptian original of another Akkado-Assyrian version.
According to the Hebrew reading of the legend, the deluge was provoked by the sins of men. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,” and he determined to blot out and obliterate the race; . . . . “but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. VI. 5-8). The Chaldean and Hindu legends know nothing of human sin as a cause of the deluge. The sin against the gods, however, is described as the cause of a deluge in the so-called “destruction of men.” Ra says to Nun and others of the elder pre-solar gods, “Behold the beings who are born of myself; they utter words against me.”That is, they are in rebellion against the one true god. But these beings in this case were elemental, not mortal, and the sin was not human. When the deluge or destruction is over and past, Ra swears that he will not again destroy men. “Said by Ra: I now raise my hand that I shall no more destroy men.” [Page 560]
“I shall now protect men on account of this.” So the Hebrew deity promises that he “will not again curse the ground any more for the sake of men: neither will I again smite any more any living thing,” as in the “deluge of destruction.”
This is the same thing, only written out large and told as if it were a human history, whereas the original is mythological. It relates to the superseding of the earlier gods, Nnu, Seb, Shu, and Taht, by Ra as the supreme being, or rather these old gods and elemental powers are to become the servants of his majesty Ra in the new heaven now established for the keeping of perfect time, with Ra as the head over all.
Ra had resolved to be lifted up in an ark or sanctuary. Nnu and his small number of companions who enter the ark or sanctuary are eight in number, four male, Nnu, Seb, Shu, and Taht, and four female, Sekhet, Nut, Hathor, and Tefnut, who can be paired thus:— (1) Nnu with Sekhet, (2) Shu with Tefnut, (3) Seb with Nut (4) Taht with Hathor. Nnu was the deity of the heavenly water, and Sekhet is in possession of the water on the night of the great disaster or the deluge (Rit., 57, I, 2); Sekhet is also called the “very great one of the liquid domain” (149). These are certainly a pre-Semitic form of the eight in the ark, and as Nnu was the first-born of these gods, he may be called the father of the other three in the ark as represented in the biblical version. The whole world, however, that was divided between the three sons of
Nnu, Shu, Seb, and Taht, was not on our earth; was not in Africa, Asia, or Europe. Shu was to be the guardian of the multitudes in the nocturnal sky, Seb of the serpents in the cycles of time, and to Taht were assigned the nations of the north. Taht had a double portion. Ra says, “I shall give thee to raise thy hand in the presence of the gods. I shall give thee to embrace the two parts of the sky. I shall give thee to turn thyself toward the northern nations.” This looks as if Taht were the prototype of Japheth. Shu, whose name signifies shade, and who was to be the guardian of those who are in the sky of night, agrees with Ham, the dark of colour or black. It was Shu who might have seen his father Nnu by night with his person exposed, as it was his work to lift up the nocturnal heaven or Nnu. This leaves Shem as the
representative of Seb. Seb is the father of Horus on earth, and, as it was supposed, the Hebrew Messiah was to descend from Shem. Thus it is possible to identify the new point of departure for the threefold human race derived from Shem, Ham, and Japheth, considered to be the fathers of three different and diverse races of mankind. Ra describes the group of elder gods who preceded him as the fathers and the mothers. “Said by his majesty, I call before my face Shu, Tefnut, Seb, Nut, and the fathers and mothers who were with me when I was still in Nun,” or previously to his issuing from the lotus in the bosom of the heavenly water. Here we have the “fathers and mothers” of the new race or races in the new world that followed the flood ready to the hand of the “sacred historian.” These fathers and mothers are eight in number all told, who are mentioned by name: Nnu and Sekhet, Seb and Nut, Shu and Tefnut, Taht and Hathor. These are eight persons in four pairs of consorts, exactly the same as the eight consorts in the ark of Noah. [Page 561]
The moon-god Taht becomes the enlarger of the domains of Ra, as his lunar representative by night. Ra calls Taht before him: “Said by the majesty of the god (or his majesty) to Taht, Come, let us leave the sky and my abode, because I wish to make a luminary in the inferior sky and in the deep region where thou inscribest the inhabitants, and thou art the guardian of those who do evil . . . . . the followers whom my heart abhors. But thou art my abode, the god of my abode: behold, thou wilt be called Tehuti, the house of Ra. I shall give thee to send (lacuna) . . . . and there arose the ibis of Taht. I shall give thee to raise thy hand in presence of the gods, and there arose two wings of the ibis of Taht. I shall give thee to embrace the two parts of the sky with thy beauty and thy rays, and there arose the lunar crescent of Taht. I shall give thee to turn thyself towards the northern nations, and there arose the cynocephalus of Taht which is
in his escort. Thou art under my dominion.” This was written in the Book of Atum-Ra, who was also the god Huhi=Ihuh. Thus, in this new creation of Ra which was established after the old heaven had been overwhelmed by the deluge, the moon-god Taht was made the enlarger of the domains of Ra. As we read in the texts, “Ra created him a beautiful light to show the name of his evil enemy,” the Apap-dragon of darkness. This enlargement turns on the moon-god becoming the ruler for Ra by night and establishing his sovereignty over the black race in the domain of Sut and in the inferior hemisphere. The “enlarging” in the Hebrew version is at the expense of Ham (=Kam, the black): “A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren,” but “God enlarge Japheth.” Ham is treated in the märchen as the “evil enemy” Apap, or the black Sut in the mythos, thus making the legend ethnical by this perversion of the meaning. Enlargement of the world denotes the formation of a heaven on a larger scale. Thus Taht, like Japheth, was the enlarger or the enlarged. Also one mode of the enlarging was by Taht becoming a luminary in the inferior sky and in the region of Amenta. And here we come upon the probable origin of the cursing of Canaan in the Semitic travesty. Ham=Kam represents the power and the people of darkness. Taht is to enlarge the borders of light at the expense of the domain of darkness. It is said to Taht by Ra, “In the deep region where thou inscribest the inhabitants, thou art the keeper of those who do evil, the followers whom my heart abhors.” These were the darkies and the “black-heads” in the dark land of Amenta, who are to be subject to the rule of Taht by night, which has been converted in the Semitic perversion of the mythos into the servitude of Canaan and the children of Ham.
When it had been discovered that the moon derived its light and glory from the unseen sun there was a change of status for them both. The moon was previously a mother to the child of light whom she was unable to affiliate. And now, as it was mythically rendered, she learned that she was a wife (hemt) as well as a mother, and that her infant was begotten by the solar god. The transaction is portrayed as one of the mysteries of Amenta in the Ritual (ch. 80). The lady who gives light in darkness by night and [Page 562] overthrows the devouring monsters describes herself as a kind of ravisher to Hu the solar god. She retires with him to the vale of Abydos when she goes to rest. She seized upon the sun-god in the place where she found him. The result of this is that the twins Sut and Horus, the powers of darkness and light, that were previously born of the mother alone, are now attributed to the sun-god Hu or Ra as his children.
Hathor had been the lunar lady, the slayer of the evil powers of darkness, and now the male god Taht is equipped in the house or ark of the moon as the teller of time for Ra. He is designated the “teller of decrees which Ra hath spoken in heaven” for Horus to execute on earth and in Amenta, with Taht and Anup as his two chief witnesses.
After the deluge in “the destruction of mankind” the god Ra establishes a covenant with those who have escaped from the flood. He says that what he commanded is well done, and that the destruction of his enemies removes destruction from themselves. “Said by the majesty of Ra, It is well done, all this. I shall now protect men on account of this. Said by Ra, I now raise my hand that I shall not destroy men” i.e. not again. The making of this covenant after the deluge is followed by the establishment of the New Year’s festival under the direction of the young priestesses of Hathor. “Hence comes it that libations are made under the directions of priestesses at the festival of Hathor through all men since the days of old,” (line 25). When the lunar orb has been converted into the abode of Ra by night it is said, “And there arose the crescent moon of Taht.” Now the lunar crescent is the mythological bow (Proc. Soc. Bib. Arch., vol. VI, p.
131). The speaker in the character of the solar god issuing from the crescent moon exclaims, “ I am the lion-god issuing from the bow, and therefore I shot forth.” (Rit., ch.132) When this was written it had been apprehended that the moon derived its light from the hidden sun, and shot the arrows forth with the growing, stretching crescent that was drawn bow-like to the full with all the force of the young lion-god. It was for this that Taht the lunar deity was wanted by Ra as his bowman by night to shoot the arrows of his light with the crescent of the monthly moon for his bow. For this the bow was set in the nocturnal heaven by Ra: “And there arose the crescent moon of Taht”=the bow. The crescent moon was figured as the bow in heaven for a sign that there should be no further deluge of destruction, because the keeping of time and season did not now depend upon the setting or non-setting stars. When time was reckoned by Tehuti the teller, by means of the dual lunation, a power was established that no flood which had submerged the pole or drowned the heptanomis, or the heaven in ten divisions, could in future overwhelm. Thus the deluge in the stellar mythos being over, and the powers of darkness being defeated and destroyed, chiefly through the direct agency of the lunar goddess Hathor, the bow of Taht was set in heaven with its promise that the waters of the wrath of Ra should not again cover the earth. This, like all that is Egyptian, was true mythos, not false explanation of natural fact. It does not mean that the moon was actually created there and then to give light for the first time.[Page 563] That would not be mythology, but fictitious history. The Kamite account of this ancient wisdom is mythological; the biblical is pretended history.
It has now to be shown that the bow in the Kamite mythos, which we look upon as the original, was not the rainbow, which was afterwards substituted as more natural by those who knew no better. The lunar crescent was not only the bow of the deluge and sign of promise for all future time, it was also an ark of safety from the waters of the Nun, in which the young child of light was bosomed and reborn of the lunar virgin mother. In the Osirian cult Osiris was reborn in an ark of crescent shape which was a figure of the crescent moon. It is said to Osiris in the preparatory pangs of birth, “Taht is a protection for thee. He placeth thy soul in the lunar bark in that name which is thine of god Moon” or god An, another name of Osiris (Records, vol. II, p. 119). The ark of the new moon was a means of resurrection for Osiris on the
third night after his death, if we count the 17th Athyr as one. The priests brought out the sacred coffer containing a little golden ark. They also modelled a little image of the crescent moon.
The lunar mythos followed the stellar and preceded the solar, and in this the lunar crescent was an ark.
In relation to which, the twin birds of light and darkness meet as it were in one when the black and white ibis is the typical bird of the dual lunation, because, as Plutarch says, its feathers resembled the halves of the moon as the bird of light in one half and in the other half the bird of darkness. Now the ibis or hebi in Egyptian is the messenger by name, and the crescent moon was the ark of the lord of light upon the waters of night. In the “Destruction of Mankind” Ra says to the moon-god, “Thou art my abode (his lunar ark), the god of my abode; behold, thou art called Taht, the abode of Ra. And there arose the ibis. I shall give thee to raise thy hand (Taht is also the hand of the gods) in presence of the gods. And there arose the two wings of the ibis of Taht. I shall give thee to embrace the two parts of the sky.” The one white and black bird, as representative of the moon in the Egyptian rendering, was the white bird of the new moon and the black bird of the old moon, equivalent to the dove of light and the raven of darkness in the other legend. The moon was the ark on the waters as the abode of Ra by night or during the deluge of the dark. The bird that was given by Ra for Taht to send forth from the ark was the bird of light and the bird of darkness. In the latter half of the lunation, when the moon was renewed in its crescent shape, out flew the bird as messenger of light across the waters of the Nun, and in the dark half of the disk, the bird was of raven hue. Such, we suggest, was the genesis of the two birds, or the double-feathered one, that issued from the lunar ark in the original mythos, which preserved the representation of the deluge and the ark and the two birds of day and night in the cult of Osiris or of Atum-Ra and Nnu. In the Chaldean account of the deluge the swallow is sent forth from the ark in addition to the raven and the dove. This also is a bird of the two sisters. In ch. 86 the manes makes his transformation into the swallow, when Horus is in [Page 564] command of the bark (line 5). But in the Vignette (Pap. of Ani) the bird called a swallow is a martin, another type of the white and black bird in one, like the ibis of the lunar ark. There is a chapter of the Ritual to be recited “when the moon renews itself on the first day of the month,” the day, therefore, on which the lunar ark was launched upon the waters of the Nun and had to face the deluge.
As it is said, “Osiris is enveloped in storm and rain; he is enveloped. But the beautiful Horus lendeth succour daily. He driveth off the storm from the face of Osiris in the moon. Behold him coming. He is Ra on his journey. He is the four gods who are over the upper region.” The Osiris arriveth at his own time, and by means of his ropes is brought to the light of day (Renouf, ch. 135). The ark of Osiris on the waters is described as a kind of house-boat with gable ends, and the gable ends suggest that from this particular form of the house and boat in one may have descended the well-known children’s toy of Noah’s ark, as the ark of Noah in which eight souls, four males and four females, were saved from the deluge, and the ark of Nnu in the Kamite astronomy.
The new heaven was established on the four quarters that were founded upon the solstices and equinoxes by the great architect Ptah. Thus the teba or square box is a figure of the heaven that was based upon the four quarters which followed the ark of seven cubits, the ark of eight cubits, and other types of the ark that floated on the celestial Nun or is said to be carried on the back of the cow (Nut). The eight on board were not human beings, but four gods and four goddesses, or eight heavenly bodies. It is not the Hebrew Noah, as such, who will account for several other Noahs in different countries, but the Kamite Nnu, the “lord of the primordial water” — Nnu who is designated the father of the gods. By aid of the Kamite Nnu we can more fully identify the Hottentot Noh, who, as they told Kolben (in 1713), “had
entered the world by a sort of window.” The god Nnu of the Egyptian mythos will explain why the hero of Polynesian legend has the same name. The story is told by both Ellis and Fornander. The survivors from the deluge of Raiatea were saved on an island or mount called the tree reaching to the moon. In this version the mount and tree of the Ritual are identical, the island being named after the tree, whilst the tree that reaches up to the moon corresponds to the mount of Am-Khemen and the establishment of lunar time. In the Hawaiian version, when Nnu had left his vessel, like Noah and Xisuthrus, after the flood, to offer sacrifice to the god Kane, he looked up and saw the moon in the sky, and he thought this was the god, saying to himself, “You are Kane, no doubt, though you have transformed yourself to my
sight!” so he made his offering and adored the moon. Then Kane descended on the bow and spoke reprovingly to Nnu, but, on account of it being a mistake, Nnu was forgiven by Kane, and the bow was left above in token of the god’s forgiveness.
It was natural for those who knew nothing of the Egyptian wisdom to suppose that the deluge, the ark, and the character of [Page 565] Nevid, Nav, or Nevion, in the British mythos, was derived from the Hebrew records. But the true and final explanation is that both were derived from the Egyptian on separate lines of descent. The Druids were teachers of the wisdom of Egypt in the British Isles ages before the Bible was heard of in Europe. The ark of Nnu, Noë, or Noah was the ark of the celestial waters. An ark with the Ali, or Ari, was an ark with the seven on board who were rulers in the heptanomis. This is extant as the ark of the seven Kabiri and the seven Hohgates, the seven who in Britain were the companions of Arthur in the ark. When we understand that the Hebrew ark of Noah (or ) was the ark of Nnu in Egypt, and is the ark of heaven by name in the astronomy, we are on the track for the first time to learn how certain
later races of mankind could be said to issue from the ark of Noah after a particular form of the deluge in which the heaven in ten divisions was superseded by the heaven in twelve divisions, the birthplace as an ark being a geometrical figure of the contemporary heaven. The deluge legend in the book of Genesis can be directly traced to its Egyptian origin. Nnu was the master of the celestial water. Under the same name, and also as Num, lord of the inundation, he was master of the water in the Nile on earth. The deluge, all the deluges, and the whole of the arkite imagery, together with Noah himself in very person, are dependent on the beginning of creation with the water of the Nun or Nnu, and on heaven being the celestial Nnu by name in the Egyptian language. In the Adoration of the Nile it is Nnu the deity of the
heavenly water that is invoked as mythical source of life and not simply the flowing river. The object of religious regard as element or place or person was the celestial Nnu or Nun, who when personified was the giver of the Nile and all its gifts. Nun or Nnu was the inundator of Egypt by means of the Nile.
Moreover, the god Num who is lord of the earthly inundation was preceded by the ancient deity Nun (or Nnu), who had an ark or shrine, but was not worshipped in any temple hitherto discovered. It appears from inscriptions of Tahtmes III at Thebes that Nnu the deity of the deluge and the ark had been continued in the character of Num as the lord of the inundation of the Nile, with his ark or teba represented by the city of Thebes, that “heaven on earth,” as it was designated by the Queen Hatshepsu.
From these inscriptions we learn that Tahtmes rebuilt the sanctuary of Nnu, or rather that he built the temple of Amen-Ra at Thebes on the site of the ancient shrine. This, we are told, had a circuit wall of brick, and a canal which conducted the water of the inundation “to the shrine of the god Nun (Nnu) on the arrival of his season,” which shows that Nnu was one with Num as the elder pre-solar god, and that Nun (Nnu) passed into the god Num as a solar god associated with the inundation. The temple built by Tahtmes was a shrine of Nnu and Amen, as in “No-Amen,” the name of Thebes. In laying the foundation stone of the new temple Tahtmes records the fact that he had to remove the older shrine of the god Nun (or Nnu), and divert the course of the water that flowed to the shrine of the god Nnu, because [Page 566] it
was in the way (inscription cited by Brugsch, Egypt under the Pharaohs, p. 178, Eng. tr.). Brugsch calls this shrine of Nnu the temple of the god; other Egyptologists tell us that no temple was ever raised to Nnu or Num. But whether termed a temple or not, this ancient sanctuary was an ark-shrine and a type of protection from the waters. The ark of Num is called his lordly bark. It is said that with the inundation “he brings once more his lordly bark” (verse 5). Also, “Thou art the august ornament of the earth, letting thy bark advance before men and lifting up the heart of women in labour” ; “All is changed by the inundation; it is a balm of healing for mankind” (verses 9 and 11). Thus Nnu as deity of the heavenly water was represented by the Nile as river and by Num as divinity when the sun-god was united with the water-god in Num or in Amen-Ra at Thebes. But the main point here is the ark of Nnu that comes again with the
inundation once a year to Egypt. And if no temple of Nnu is known, he was expressly associated with a shrine which originated in an ark that was a means of safety to the ancient lake-dwellers of Africa. In the Papyrus of Nefer-uben-f (Budge) the god of the inundation is described as “the old man Nnu.” Deceased is standing in the water and holding the sail of breath in his left hand. He prays that he may have power over the seven divine princes who dwell in the place of the god of the inundation — that is, of Nnu the lord of the celestial water as builder of the ark. He says, “I have power with my father, the old man Nnu.
He hath granted that I may live.” This is the father Nnu as Egyptian who became father Noah in the Hebrew version.
Noah was a just or righteous man, and perfect in his generations. This statement is put in the forefront of the Hebrew deluge legend. In the Ritual it is granted to the Osiris Nnu that he shall “carry maat at the head of the great bark and hold up maat among the associate gods.” Maat stands for justice and rightfulness; and this is borne aloft upon the bark by the spirit of the just man made perfect, right up to the summit of the mount which is the landing-place for those who are in the ark. “And so it cometh that the Osiris-Nnu hath reached every one of his stations” in the ark that rests at last upon Mount Hetep, Mount Nizir, Mount Meru, or the Mount of Ararat. Nnu is identified with Noah by the Arab writer Murtadi (1584), who related that Num-Kufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, dreamed of a coming deluge, and
built the Pyramid as his ark of safety. He then “made his abode in the maritime pyramid along with Noah” (Nat. Gen., vol. II, p. 226). That is along with Nnu, the god of the ark and the inundation, who was earlier than Num, and who had his teba in Thebes. This points to the pyramid of Num-Kufu being also a form of the ark, or rather to the ark of earth and heaven in several of its successive forms that were ultimately combined in one consummate figure of the heavens and earth as a stupendous monument and imperishable register of the astronomical mythology. And, if so, it becomes apparent that the sarcophagus at the centre was a co-type with the coffin, shrine or ark of Osiris in the midst of Amenta.
This may help to show how fragments of the astronomical mythology have been [Page 567] put together in the book of Genesis without key or clue, and the old dark sayings of the ancient wisdom repeated minus the necessary knowledge for enlightening the world.
Earlier deluges than this of Noah are alluded to in one of the Jewish Haggadoth, which relates that in the time of Enos, as in that of Cain, a great tract of land was flooded by the sea. Which is but the end of a patriarchate described in terms of the deluge. (Encyclopaedia Biblica, col. 1297.) Items from several deluges are included in the Hebrew versions. For instance, the animals are said to enter the ark seven by seven, and also two by two. Here the numbers belong to two entirely different deluges, the one from which the seven (or eight), the other from which the pair, were saved. There is no such incongruous mixture in the Avesta. In this version Yima the shining is commanded by Zarathustra to “make a circle to all four corners as a dwelling-place for all mankind,” and stock and store it against the deluge, which is the evil work of the destructive serpent of darkness. All forms of life that enter this enclosure do so in imperishable pairs. A lofty wall is to be made around it, and a window that gives light within. The one window we take to be the pole-star. The lofty wall answers to the high white hall of Ha-Ptah-Ka. It is lighted with self-created and eternal lights that shine above, and the created lights below (Farg. II, l. 131).
These correspond to the Kamite Urtu-Seku, the setting stars, and the Akhemu-Seku, or stars that never set, the everlasting self-created lights. The window of Yima’s enclosure in heaven is repeated in the one light of Noah’s ark (Gen vi, I) It is related in a Jewish legend that after the deluge two animals came out of the ark which were not among the twos or sevens that went into it. These two were the cat and the pig.
And they belonged to the new creation of Atum-Ra. The cat, as solar type, is a symbol of Atum-Іu. It is said in the Ritual (ch. 17) the cat is Ra himself. It was in that form of the seer by night that the sun-god overcame the evil Apap in the darkness of Amenta. The pig or boar in the Osirian mythos is a type of the evil Sut, the opponent of the Good Being in Amenta. Amenta is the lower deck of an ark in which the pig of Sut was present. This is in an ark that could not be built until Amenta had been hollowed out by Ptah, the father of Atum-Ra, who was represented by the cat. Thus the addition of the cat and pig to the previous denizens will help to identify which ark it was they came out of after the deluge of Noah. As Egyptian, it was the ark in which Ra had resolved to be lifted up as “god alone,” and the cat and pig were types belonging to the new creation that followed the “destruction of mankind.” This was the ark of Nnu.
The description of Noah’s deluge is an agglomerate compounded from the mythical data and the actual inundation. The waters flowed in Egypt during a certain number of days. It is probable that the fullest flow was reckoned at forty days and nights (see Hor-Apollo). In a fragment of the Melchizedekian literature, found by Professor Sokolov, and appended to the Slavonic book of Enoch, the ark of Noah “floated forty days.” And it is added, altogether they were in the ark 120 days. This is the exact length of the water season in the Egyptian year of 360 days, which was first divided into three [Page 568] tetramenes of 120 days each. It may also be noted that outside of Egypt rain took the place of the inundation, and the deluge of Noah consists of forty days and nights of rain. Fifteen cubits of fresh water constituted a good if not a perfect Nile, and this is the measure applied to the flood of rain-water in the book of Genesis.
Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail, and the mountains were covered (ch. VII, 20). Fifteen cubits of water, however, could be no measure for a flood that covered all “the high mountains that were under the whole heaven” (ch. VII, 19). The waters that prevailed on the earth for 150 days are also equal to an abundant inundation of the Nile, but these have been mixed up with the waters of the celestial Nun. Also the fifteen cubits of measure on the earth would be confused with the fifteen cubits, measures, or days in the half-circle of the luni-solar month of thirty days, in which the lunar crescent was the ark that is entered by Osiris, on the third day, to spread the actual water of life and light, not that deluge of destruction which was entirely mythical.
After the deluge, according to the euhemerizing of the mythos in the book of Genesis, Noah began to be a husbandman, and planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent, and Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment and covered the nakedness of their father (ch. IX, 20, 24). “And their faces were backward, and they saw not the nakedness of their father.” Now in the mysteries of Amenta, Osiris is covered by his son Horus to conceal his nakedness. “I am with Horus,” says Taht, “on the day of covering Tesh-Tesh,” one of the names of Osiris (Rit., ch. 1). It is also said to Horus, “O thou who coverest (or clothest) Osiris and hast seen Sut, O thou who turnest back” (ch. 28).
Here the adversary of Osiris is present with Horus in this scene of concealing the father’s nakedness, and the bad character of the black, evil-minded Sut appears to have been given to Ham as a son of Noah. In the Chaldean account of the deluge a sacrifice is offered at the coming forth from the ark.
Hasisadra says, “I poured out a libation. I built an altar on the peak of a mountain. Seven jugs of wine I took. At the bottom of them I placed reeds, pines, and spices. The gods collected at its burning, the gods like Sumbe gathered over the sacrifice.” (Deluge, Tab., col. 3, Smith.) The basis of the oblation in the Kamite sacrifice is the blood of the beings that have been destroyed. “Said by the majesty of the god, Let them begin with Elephantine, and bring to me the fruits in quantity. And when the fruits had been brought they were given . . lacuna.” The sekti (miller) of Annu was grinding the fruits, while the priestesses poured the juice into the vases; and those fruits were put into vessels with the blood of the beings, and there were seven thousand pitchers of drink. “And there came the majesty of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, with the gods, to see the drink after he had ordered the goddess to destroy the beings in three days of navigation.” Instead of the Assyrian seven jugs of wine the Egyptian has 7,000 pitchers of drink, and this is brewed from the blood of the massacred beings mingled with the juice of the fruits of the earth; and here, as in the later version, the gods gather over the [Page 569] sacrifice “to see the drink.”
Shedding the blood of the wicked, in this great slaughter of the evil beings, was a mode of offering the oblation to the Good Being. Blood and the fruits of the earth were the two primitive forms of the offering, and these are blended together in a deluge of intoxicating drink.
A most primitive representation of this sacrifice which followed the deluge is made by the Ovaherero, an African tribe adjoining that of the Bushmen. They claim to have issued from the typical tree of the beginning, which is said by the missionary Reiderbecke to be a kind of Ygdrasil. The Ovaherero say that the sky was once let down in a deluge, by which the greater part of mankind were drowned. This they attribute to the Old Ones in heaven, whose wrath was appeased by the sacrifice of a black sheep (South African Folk-Lore Journal, vol. II, pt. 5, p. 95). When the deluge of darkness had passed away at dawn, the black sheep was offered to placate and pacify the power of darkness, which exhibits the deluge and the deluge-legend in their most primitive forms. The sacrifice does not merely celebrate the return of light, as in a later phase, but is also a petitionary offering for future protection from the deluge of the dark.
Before ever man appeared on earth, a feeling of joy and thankfulness had been expressed by the apes at the return of the light, whether lunar or solar; and when man came he followed on the track of the monkey in feeling thankful for the return of day. In the Egyptian hieroglyphics the word tua, to adore, is figured as a salutation to the dawn or morrow-day, and the typical adorer is the Kaf-ape, the saluter of the gods. Primitive worship signified salutation and sacrifice from the beginning. In various traditions, Babylonian, American, Hebrew, and others, the deluge is followed by a sacrifice, and this sacrifice after the flood has been configurated in the stars of heaven in a picture of the far-off past, with the offering laid upon the altar at a point where the actual inundation in Egyptian annually came to an end. In the Hebrew
account of the thanksgiving sacrifice it is said, “Noah built an altar unto Jehovah, and took of every clean beast and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings upon the altar, and Ihuh smelled the sweet savour.” The typical imagery derived from the actual seasons in Egypt, repeated in the planisphere, will also account for the Hebrew story concerning Noah’s planting the vine and getting drunk immediately after the inundation. The vine that Noah is said to have planted may be seen in the decans of Virgo, where the star Vindemiatrix denotes the time of vintage in Egypt. It is a version of the mythos in which the water of the deluge was turned into wine by Horus, the ripening soul of the sun, that has been most pitifully vulgarised in the story of Noah’s intoxication after the deluge. According to the planisphere Noah was on the water of the inundation, or he might have just landed when the grapes were ripe, and he got intoxicated apparently for the purpose of cursing Ham and consigning the dark race to the doom of never-ending slavery. Hebraists tell us that the name of Noah signifies rest, which leads to nothing in Hebrew. Whereas, in Egyptian, the same word Nnu is a name of the inundation, the deity of the celestial waters, and also for rest or repose. As natural fact this was the season of rest or of Nnu because of the deluge, during which the [Page 570] god was resting in his ark upon the waters, or, as might be, in his Teba of the Southern Apta at Thebes. The natural fact was formulated in a legend such as that of Nnu, Num, Noah, or Vishnu resting on the waters during a deluge in the course of a new creation; that is, during the Hindu period of Pralaya, when this was figured on the grand scale as described in the Puranas. For instance, Vishnu is said to repose in slumber during four months of every year, borne up by the seven-headed Naga-serpent Sesha (Kennedy, Hindu Mythology, p. 228; Moor’s Hindu Pantheon).
The four months of the inundation is historical in Egypt; the deluge in mythology is typical, and the type was variously applied to a natural phenomenon as a mode of measuring time. Nnu or Nu had become an Egyptian personal name. There is a papyrus of Nu in the British Museum containing various chapters of the Ritual. In these the speaker calls himself the Osiris-Nu, and, as the subject-matter shows, the manes here combines the two characters of Osiris and Nnu. Moreover, he is Nnu in the ark or bark, as lord of the inundation and victor over the deluge (Rit., ch. 36 A). The Osiris-Nnu is the speaker; not merely Nnu of the papyrus, but Nnu of the celestial water, or Nnu as THE Osiris. He says the Osiris-Nnu is strong to direct the ship of the gods, here called the boat of the sun, in which he comes forth from Amenta into heaven. Nnu saileth round about the heaven and “voyages along with Ra.” Thus the mythos merges into the eschatology of the Ritual.
The water of the deluge in the Assyrian legend was not terrestrial. It is said in the opening lines:
Then arose the water of dawn at daylight;
It arose like a black cloud from the horizon of heaven.
It was a deluge feared by the gods themselves because the waters were celestial. Hence they sought refuge in the highest heaven. “They ascended to the heaven of Anu,” the enclosure at the Pole. This was the heaven of the stars that never set; the heaven, the enclosure or ark of refuge, which is said to have rested on the mount when the flood subsided. It was Bel, the wise one, the counsellor of the gods, who caused the deluge, and he is a pole-star god, equivalent to Sut or Anup the judge, whose seat was above the summit at the north celestial pole. The deluge here was evidently the result of a change in the polestars; hence the tree re-planted in a circle by the gods. If Bel made the deluge when he represented the pole-star a change in the pole-star would be as the letting in of waters, otherwise called the flood. The ark was built against this contemplated change. The Greek tradition included two legends of the great
deluge or cataclysm by which the race was destroyed. One of these was the flood from which Ogyges escaped with a few companions in a vessel. The other is known as the deluge of Deucalion, from which he escaped with Pyrrha his wife. Ogyges with his few companions are equivalent to Horus with the seven great spirits who were saved from the deluge in the ark of Orion. Deucalion and Pyrrha are equivalent to Atum and his consort Hathor-Iusâas. Among the Californian Indians they tell of a great flood (i.e., heaven all water) from which only a coyote survived and a feather that was seen floating on the vast expanse of water. As the coyote looked at it the feather became an eagle which [Page 571] joined the coyote on the “Reed-Peak,” and these two were the creators of men (Bancroft, vol. III, pp. 87, 88). The reed-peak also answers to the Kamite field of reeds upon the summit of Mount Hetep and the Japanese “mid-land of the reed-expanse.” The papyrus-reed or lotus-flower is a cradle or ark in which the Child-Horus was uplifted from the water of the Nun and saved from drowning. This becomes the mythical reed in various legends, which is a co-type with the tree as a means of emergence from the flood. The Navajo Indians have piously preserved an account of the ascent from the waters of the deluge, not by means of the tree or tower, but by building a huge mound of earth to make a tall mountain in the north. Their tradition is that the men of a world before our own, on being warned of an approaching flood, resolved to build a place of refuge. “They took soil from the four corner-mountains (quarters) of the world, and placed it on the top of the mountain that stood in the north; and thither they all went, including the people of the mountains, the salt-woman and such animals as then lived in the third world. When the soil was laid on the mountain the latter grew higher and higher, but the waters began to rise and the people climbed upwards to escape from the flood. At length the mountain ceased to grow, and they planted on the summit a great Reed, into the hollow of which they all entered. . . . At the end of the fourth night from the time it was planted the reed had grown up to the floor of the fourth world, and here they found a hole through which they passed to the surface” and were saved. The great reed evidently imaged the celestial pole. It grew by night and did not grow in the daytime. The turkey was the last to enter the reed, and the deluge rose and rose until the water wetted the tip of his tail (W. Matthews, American Antiquarian, 1883, p. 208). The tree had been an actual refuge for the human race. Hence it became a typical refuge that was figured in the astronomy
and eschatology. Salvation from the deluge by means of both the reed and the tree is a mode of escape from the waters in the Ritual. The deceased is one who knows the deep waters. But he is not to be drowned. He exclaims, “I embrace the sycamore-tree. I am united to the sycamore” (Rit., ch. Ixiv). The sycamore is the tree of dawn, and the speaker escapes from the waters just as the young sun-god escaped from the deluge of darkness by climbing the tree or mounting his papyrus-plant; the one as solar in the mythology, the other as a soul in the eschatology. This mode of ascent goes back to the time when there was neither a bridge of heaven nor a boat upon the waters of earth, nor a tower that was built to reach to heaven. In the Norse mythos the ash-tree is called “the Refuge of Thor,” because it caught and saved the young god when he was being swept away by the overflowing waters of the river Vimur. This is the same typical tree as in the Ritual, where it is the mainstay of the Osiris, who is well-nigh drowned by the deluge of the inundation, but who escapes by laying hold of the tree. We need to know in what sense the reed or tree in heaven was a type of safety during the deluge before we can interpret the Arawak version, in which it is said the waters had been confined to the hollow bole of an enormous tree by means of an inverted basket. The mischievous monkey saw this basket, and thinking it covered something good [Page 572] to eat he lifted it up, whereupon the deluge burst forth from the tree. The monkey is charged with being the culprit in several of the legends and märchen that we show to be survivals of the Kamite mythos, in which Hapi was the ape that brought the deluge of the inundation, and was also in command of the celestial water in the mythology (Rit., ch. 57). In a Red-Indian story of the deluge, Manabozho escaped from drowning by climbing to the top of the tallest pine-tree on the highest mountain in the world and waiting till the flood subsided. It is related in a Taoist legend that “one extraordinary antediluvian saved his life by climbing up a mountain, and there and then, in the manner of birds plaiting a nest, he passed his days on the trees, while all the country below him was one vast expanse of water. He afterwards lived to a very old age, and could testify to his late posterity that a whole race of human beings had then been swept away from the face of the earth” (The Chinese Repository, v. 8, p. 517). In this legend we have both the tree and the mountain used as means of escape in the same
ascent. They were distinct as Egyptian types, but afterwards were sometimes fused in one, as the tree or reed upon the summit of the mount. The Indian tribes of Guiana say that when the great waters were about to be sent forth the chief Marérewána was informed of the coming flood, and he saved himself and his family in a large canoe. In order that he might not drift over the ocean far from the ancestral home he prepared a long cable of “bush-rope” and made his vessel fast to the trunk of an enormous tree, so that when the waters subsided he found himself at no great distance from his former abode. His canoe had been tied up to the pole, here represented by a tree. The reed-type also takes the form of the canoe as well as the tree. It is related in a Mexican tradition that the coyote, a co-type with the jackal and the dog,
got wind of the coming deluge. To save himself from drowning he gnawed down a large cane that was growing on the bank of a river. This he entered, and then stopped up the end of it with a kind of gum to keep the waters out. Thus, at the time of the Chaldean deluge it is said that the great god Nera “tore up the Stake” — that is, the pole or mooring-post which is here represented by a stake, and a change of pole-star by the uprooting of the stake. Nera is a form of Nergal, the great Nera.
The legends of the deluge show that the primal paradise was an enclosure on the summit of the highest mountain, that of the pole, as a place of safety midst the celestial waters, which was typical of the refuge sought for on the hill-top when the floods were out on earth. The enclosure might be an ark, or palisade of wicker-work, a nest of reeds, or a city, walled and fortified, an island, a group of seven islands, or ten, or a zodiac, the idea of the deluge was ever present. And this had been the dominant idea in the burial of old Egypt’s dead amidst the waters of the inundation. Every figure of the ark and every mode of arking or enclosing are extant somewhere or other in the astronomical mythology. Take the cave for example. In the Mexican version the seven who are saved from the deluge found safety in the seven caves of the celestial mount, the mount which toppled over at the summit with the changing of the pole. The cave was one of the natural types of the ark that preceded any form of refuge made [Page 573] by the hand of man.
And there were seven of these altogether as a figure of the celestial heptanomis. The Welsh Barddas ascribe the building of an ark to Menwyd, who is called the dragon-chief of the world in the ancient British mythology. Menwyd is described as forming the ark by means of serpents joined together (Nat. Gen., vol. 2, p. 253). An ark is the means of safety amidst the waters whatsoever its formation may have been.
Such an ark may be seen in the Sesha Nag-serpent with seven heads that bears up Vishnu during the deluge. This is a figure of the fore-world which preceded a great flood. Here the seven-headed serpent is likewise a figure of the heptanomis, or heaven in seven divisions, which sank in the celestial waters. The same great serpent in the waters with seven heads is also Akkadian.
A principle of arking, so to call it, was established when the great Bear, as the mother of the revolutions or time-cycles, and mistress of the waters, made the circle of the year in turning round “the Atlantean Pole.” She, as the pregnant water-cow, was herself an ark of life that might be looked to as a divine type of safety by the sufferers from the water-floods on earth. The mother of time and station was the mistress of the firmamental waters; the mistress therefore of the enclosure in the waters which in the later rendering is a park, a garden, a paradise, or a harvest-field. In the Uganda legend it was a palisade of reeds around a spring of fresh water, the secret of which the women knew, but failed to keep. When the circle of the bear was found to be untrue, and time was more correctly measured by the moon-god Taht, she, the mother of time and the mistress of the waters, was accused of being unfaithful to her trust, of letting in the deluge and losing the primeval home. As we have seen, she philandered with the moon-god Taht, who superseded Sut in her affections and in keeping time. The twins as Sut and Horus were reborn of her as lunar in the dark and light halves of the moon — the light eye of Horus and the dark eye of Sut. Apt had been the mistress of the waters in the stellar mythos from the first, and when it was found out that she was keeping time unfaithfully and incorrectly she was charged with betraying the secret to her lover, with overthrowing the bulwark and with letting in the deluge. This supplied the matter of sundry deluge-legends.

Ancient Egypt - The Light of the World Part III

Ancient Egypt - The Light of the World Part II

Ancient Egypt - The Light of the World

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