Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World
A Work of Reclamation and Restitution in Twelve Books
Book Twelve - The Jesus-Legend in Rome
THE JESUS-LEGEND IN ROME
Before it could be for the first time understood, the story outlined so elusively in the canonical Gospels had to be retold in accordance [Page 757] with the astronomical mythology, and more especially in terms of the Osirian eschatology. The legend was so ancient in Egypt that in the time of Amen-hetep, a Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, it was humanly applied to his child and to his consort Mut-em-Ua in the character of the divine woman, the mother who, like Neith, was ever-virgin. A passage and a picture from the “Natural Genesis” (vol. II, p. 398) may be repeated here. The story of the Annunciation, the miraculous conception (or incarnation), the birth and the adoration of the Messianic infant had already been engraved in stone and represented in four consecutive scenes upon the innermost walls of the holy of holies (the Meskhen) in the temple of Luxor (which was built by Amen-hetep III. about 1700 B.C., or some seventeen centuries before the events depicted are commonly supposed to have taken place. In these scenes the maiden queen Mut-em-Ua, the mother of Amen-hetep, her future child, impersonates the virgin-mother, who conceived and brought forth without the fatherhood.
The first scene on the left hand shows the god Taht, as divine word or logos, in the act of hailing the virgin queen and announcing to her that she is to give birth to the coming son. (That is, to bring forth the royal Repa in the character of Horus or Aten, the divine heir.) In the second scene the ram-headed god Kneph, in conjunction with Hathor, gives life to her. This is the Holy Ghost or spirit that causes conception, Neph being the spirit by nature and by name. Impregnation and conception are apparent in the virgin’s fuller form. Next, the mother is seated on the midwife’s stool, and the child is supported in the hands of one of the nurses. The fourth scene is that of the Adoration. Here the infant is enthroned,
receiving homage from the gods and gifts from men. Behind the deity, who represents the holy spirit, on the right three men are kneeling offering gifts with the right hand, and life with the left. The child thus announced, incarnated, born and worshipped was the [Page 758] Pharaonic representative of the Atensun or child-Christ of the Aten-cult, the miraculous conception of the ever-virgin mother imaged by Mutem-Ua. (The scenes were copied by Sharpe from the temple at Luxor.) Thus the divine drama was represented humanly by the royal lady who personated the mother of God, with her child in this particular religion.
And here a dogma of “historic personality” may be seen in the germ. Indeed, when the Pharaoh first assumed the vesture of divinity and a doctrine of historic personality for the Messiah could be and was established, Ra was the representative of God the Father and the Repa was a type of God the Son, as heir-apparent for the eternal. The father was the ever-living and the son the ever-coming one. These, in the cult of Annu, were Atum-Ra the father, and Iusa, the Egyptian Jesus, the coming son. The eternal existence of the father was thus demonstrated by the ever-coming of the son. These divine characters of the Ra and Repa, so to say, had become historical in Usertsen First according to a record of the twelfth dynasty. In this the king says of his God, the double Har-makhu, “I am a king of his own making, a
monarch long-living, not by the Father. He exalted me as lord of both parts; as an infant not yet gone forth; as a youth not yet come from my mother’s womb”. This was in the character of the unbegotten Horus, the Virgin’s child, who had no father (Records, vol. 12, pp. 53-4), and who as Har-makhu was earlier than God the Father, Ra. We learn from a still older document that the Son of God may be said to have become historical in Egypt early in the fifth dynasty; that is, as the Son of Ra. The earlier Pharaohs were not the sons of Ra, they were Horus-kings. The “Son of Ra” then gave historic personality to the god who was first imaged in the human form of Atum-Iu. Thenceforth the Repa, or heir-apparent, was the representative of that ever-coming son who was the child of IusГЈas in the cult of Annu, and who was, in fact, the Egyptian Jesus or Iusa, the coming son in historic personality as the royal representative of Ra.
Another version of the ancient legend that was at length converted into Christian history has recently been discovered in Egypt. This was written in Demotic, but however late the copy, the internal evidence shows that it is an Egyptian folk-tale containing matter of the indefinitely more ancient mythos. That is the all-important point. The story is told of one Si-Osiris, the son of Khamuas, a famous high priest of Ptah at Memphis who was head of the hierarchy of his time, about 1250 B.C. The tale of Khamuas, so far as it goes, is a perfect parallel to the story of the marvellous child that is told in the Gospels, canonical or apocryphal, which contain some portions of the mythos reduced to the status of the Märchen. There was one origin for all — that is, Egyptian. The mythos is the parent of the Märchen, and the unity of the Märchen is traceable to the Egyptian mythology and eschatology — there, and nowhere else. It is the story that had been dramatized and narrated by the Egyptians during many thousand years in the cult of Ptah-Sekari at Memphis; of Aten and of Atum-Iu at Annu, and of Osiris in Egypt generally. Only minds completely crazed or fatally confused [Page 759] by the current Christomania would suppose that the details of the story, which is as old at least as the cult of Ptah in Memphis, were derived from the “historic” version that was canonized at last as Christian. The Ritual is a permanent reply to all such false assumptions. At least the “Book of the Dead” is not a forgery of post-Christian gnostics.
The folk-tale here is told of Si-Osiris, son of Setme-Khamuas, who was incarnated as the human representative of Horus the divine. It is said of Horus, son of Pa-neshe, “he being in the shape of Si-Osiris made an effort of written magic against the man of Ethiopia”. Moreover, this Horus comes up from Amenta on purpose to contend against the black art of Hor, son of the negress, and in doing this assumes the shape of the human Si-Osiris. As the translator remarks, “the end of the story shows that Si-Osiris is really Horus, son of Pa-neshe, who had obtained leave from Osiris to revisit the earth”.
Setme-Khamuas, the son of Pharaoh Mer-ma-ra (King Rameses II) took to wife his sister Meh-wesekht, whom he loved devoutly, but they had no child, and their hearts were grieved because of it. The childless wife is spoken with one night, by superhuman visitants, in a dream. They tell her (or words are spoken to the effect) that she shall conceive and bear a child. Khamuas, her husband, is also informed in a dream that his consort, who is called his sister, just as Isis is the sister of Osiris, has conceived and will bear a son. “The child that will be born, he (shall be named) Si-Osiris (Osiris’ son); many are the marvels that he shall do in the land of Egypt” (Griffith, Stories, p. 43). Meh-wesekht is told that she will find a melon-vine, which shall be to her for medicine, and she is to give of it to Khamuas. Then “she lay down by her
husband and she conceived seed of him” (Stories, p. 43).
In this account of conception the melon-plant, its gourd or its flower, takes the place of the papyrus, lotus or lily presented to Isis the virgin and to Mary. This is referred to after his birth by the child Si-Horus, who, in speaking of his coming forth, says, “I grew as that melon-vine, with the intent of returning to the body again that I might be born into the world” for a purpose variously described in the different texts. In this he becomes incarnate to combat the power and influence of evil in the form of black magic (Stories, pp. 43-65). Si-Osiris is really Horus, the son of Osiris in Amenta. This he leaves to visit earth and become the son of Meh-wesekht, the sister and consort of Khamuas. He says, “I prayed before Osiris in Amenta to let me come forth to the world again. It was commanded before to let me forth into the world. I awoke; I flew right up, to find Setme, the son of Pharaoh, upon the Gebel of On and the Gebel of Memphis, the place of burial in the desert”. Si-Osiris, like Jesus in the “history”, has the power of suddenly becoming invisible; as it is said, “Si-Osiris passed away as a shade or spirit out from the land of Pharaoh and Setme, his father, nor did they see him” (Stories, p. 65). Like the young Jesus in the Gospel (Luke II. 40), the child grew and waxed strong. The exact words are, “The child grew big; he waxed strong; he was sent to the school. He rivalled the scribe that had been appointed to teach him”. “The child, son [Page 760] of Osiris, began to speak with the scribes of the House of Life (in the temple of Ptah); all who heard him were lost in wonder at him” (Stories, p. 44). “Now when the royal Si-Osiris had attained the age of twelve years it came to pass that there was no good scribe (or learned man) that rivalled him in Memphis in reading or in writing that compels”; that is, in uttering the Ur-hekau or mystical words of great magical power. As the translator remarks, it is curious to find that linguistically the tale is somewhat closely related to the new Egyptian of the twelfth century B.C.; that is, to the time of Khamuas, one of the chief characters, as the date of the original document.
But not only in Egypt was the divine hero, the Prince of Eternity, represented by the royal child born heir apparent to the throne. It was the same in Rome. For instance, the birthday of Augustus Caesar was hailed in Rome as that of the Messianic Prince of Peace. In a well-preserved Greek inscription of eighty four lines, in which an ancient account is given of the introduction of the Julian calendar on the birthday of the Emperor Caesar Augustus, September 23rd, it is written: —
“On this day [i.e., the birthday of Augustus] the world has been given a different aspect. It would have been doomed to destruction if a great good fortune common to all men had not appeared in him who was born on this day. He judges aright who sees in this birthday the beginning of life and of all living powers for himself. Now at last the times are passed when man must regret that he has been born. From no other day does the individual and all humanity receive so much good as from this day, which has brought happiness to all. It is impossible to find words of thanksgiving sufficient for the great blessings which this day has brought. That Providence which presides over the destinies of all living creatures has fitted this man for the salvation of humanity with such gifts that he has been sent to us and to coming generations as a saviour. He will put an end to all strife and will restore all things gloriously. In his appearance, all the hopes of the ancestors have been fulfilled. He has not only surpassed all former benefactors of mankind, but it is impossible that a greater than he should ever come. The birthday of this god [i.e., Augustus] has brought out the good news of great joy based upon him. From his birth a new era must begin.
The Egyptian Repa or the Roman Caesar was enacting on this earth, approximately, the character assigned to the son of God in the Egypto-gnostic mysteries. The world would have been doomed to destruction but for the rebirth in time of the Messu or Messiah, the Repa or divine heir, who represented the eternal as the child, the ever-coming prince of peace, who is also imaged as the living link which connects and unites the past and future in the present, by means of him who became the representative of the deity on earth, whether in Egypt or in Rome, in India or Japan (Rit., ch. 42, 4, 5). But the man whose coming changed the world, and saved it by renewal, was mythical, and his advent was aeonian
from age to age, under whatsoever name. Thus, in Rome the Emperor Augustus personalized the coming prince of peace in an historical character.
The repetition of this as Christian legend in the Gospels is no mere replica of “heathen” sentiments, images, types, and phrases. It is a reproduction of the Egyptian astronomical mythology and eschatology in the disguise of a pretended history.
In Egypt the Pharaoh and his son for ages had represented Ra and [Page 761] the Repa, the divine heir apparent or the prince. As Egyptian the fatherhood and sonship of the one god were founded on the Pharaoh and the heir-apparent, the Ra and Repa, who constituted the King that never died. The son of God was born as manifestor for the eternal, and the ruler as Pharaoh, emperor or king, was the earthly representative of the God with whose divinity the new historical ruler was invested as the Anointed, the Repa, the Prince, the Caesar, the Mikado, the Cyrus, or the Christ. This birth of the eternal in time was astronomical. But it was humanized for the birthday of Amen-hetep in Egypt, for Alexander in Greece, and for Caesar-Augustus in Rome before the era that was designated Christian. The virgin-mother in mythology, and there never was any other, is she who made her proclamation in the Temple of Neith at Sais that she proceeded from herself and bore the child without her peplum being lifted by the male. The myth reflects the matriarchate from a time when the fatherhood was not yet individualized. The mother with child, the great or enceinte mother, is at the head of the Kamite Pantheon as the mother of life and a figure of fecundity. This type of the mother and child retains its position in the Christian iconography when the child Jesus, like Kheper, is exhibited in the Virgin’s womb surrounded by the seven spirits as doves (Didron). The mother with her child in utero or in her arms was indefinitely earlier than the typical father and son whose worshippers were opposed to the more primitive representation of nature. Horus, at first, is the child of Isis only, with Seb as putative or foster-father, who was not the begetter.
Thus the mother might remain a virgin. Horus, the child, was an image of the god, made flesh in human guise. He is the mortal Horus, very imperfect, sometimes sightless, at others a cripple, but divine; the divine victim in a human shape, which was now the manifesting mask of the deity or superhuman power, instead of the totemic zootype. And naturally the divine child thus humanly featured involved the mother of the god in a human effigy. The child assigned to the earth-father Seb=Joseph is Horus up to twelve years of age, and then he passes from the mortal sphere.
A virgin mother in the ancient wisdom is she who was fecundated by her own child as bull of the mother in the moon, in the earth, or in other phenomena that were at first entirely non-human. But the doctrine survived when the divinized mother and her child were rendered anthropomorphically. Thus the gnostic Jesus in the Pistis Sophia says, “I found Mary, who is called my mother, after the material body; I implanted in her the first power which I had received from the hands of Barbêlô, and I planted in her the power which I had received from the hands of the great, the good Sabaoth” (Mead, B. 1, 13). That is in the character of the mythical child who fecundates his own mother. And here the overshadowing of Mary by “the power of the Most High” (Luke I. 35) is suggestive of another overshadowing of the Virgin who conceives. This is described in the magic papyrus (Records of the Past, vol. 10, p. 141) as a “concealment” of the mother in the process of generation.
“On Horror’s head horrors accumulate” in manufacturing history from the mythos. Horus, the fatherless, was the fecundator of his own virgin mother, but neither as the human Horus nor the divine [Page 762] Horus was it presented that he was other than the typical figure in a mystery, or that the doctrine came the human way. Jesus in the same character, called the Mamzer SANSKRIT by the Jews, is the same fatherless fecundator of the virgin mother when the two are Jew and Jewess. To the truly religious sense this is a most profane parody of the sacred Osirian drama. Thus the fragments of a great complex in dogma and doctrine were collected together in relation to the conception of the Messianic child. First, the virgin mother was the insufflator of a soul. Secondly, there is a begettal in which the offspring fecundates the mother — this of course is in the mythical representation. Thirdly, according to Matthew, the divine child was either conceived or begotten of the Holy Ghost.
It is the type that tells so many secrets of the non-historical beginnings: and nothing has been bottomed, nothing could be fundamentally explained with the Egypto-gnostic wisdom still unknown. The dove that laid the egg is pre-eminent as a type in the conception and the birth of Jesus. At first the insufflating spirit of life, whether called holy or not, was female. This was demonstrated by the Mother-nature. In the Gospels the Holy Spirit as female suffices for the miraculous conception of the child-Jesus who is generated without a father. But Pistis Sophia witnesses that the gnostic Jesus proceeded from the father in the likeness of a dove. And that the mystery of all mysteries, the first and final mystery, was this of the dove, considered to be the bird of God the Father. By this means the Holy Spirit is portrayed as male, whereas according to the secret wisdom the dove had been a female type of spirit from the first. The gnosis was so ancient as Egyptian that the dove had been succeeded by the hawk as the bird of Ra, the Holy Spirit as male. The hawk was now the symbol of the father and the son, that is, of Ra and Horus.
Whereas the dove as mother-bird was primary. The female nature of the mystic dove is also shown by its co-type the pigeon, still employed in modern slang as a survival of sign-language. Thus the earliest human soul was insufflated by the mother, and the mother divinized was represented by the Dove, the bird of soul when soul was first attributed to female source. Lastly, the same bird was given to the Holy Spirit as God the Father, and as a type of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with the mother veiled and hidden by the dove. It may be noted in passing that the dove was not necessarily a type of sensual desire although it became associated with Venus in Greece. There was nothing licentious in Hathor or IusГЈas. The earliest Venus was a personification of the enceinte mother, not a goddess
Lubricity provocative of lust, but in all simplicity and seriousness a type of tenderest maternity. The dove had been the bird of Hathor as the insufflator of a soul of breath. In this character it is portrayed with brooding wings extended on the bosom of the mummy as quickener of the spirit for a future life. On the tomb of Rameses IX the dove appears in place of the hawk as a co-type of Horus at the prow of the solar boat. Also, in a statuette of the 19th dynasty there is a human-headed dove which takes the place of the hawk as a zootype of the soul. It is seen hovering over the bosom of a mummy. The divine Horus rises again in the form of a dove, as well as in the shape of a hawk. “I am the [Page 763] Dove: I am the Dove”, exclaims the risen spirit as he soars up from Amenta, where the egg of his future being was hatched by the divine incubator (Rit., 86, 1). Here the bird of Hathor is also the bird of Ra, and thus the dove became the bird of the Holy Spirit, female in the mother, and male in the divine child Horus, and finally in the Father. In the Councils of Nice and Constantinople, the fathers condemned Xenora, who derided the imaging of the Holy Spirit by the dove. And to show how the type will persist, in The Catholic Layman for July 17th, 1856, there is a Papal picture of the Christian Godhead that was extant in that same year, as the trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In this, God the Father and God the Son are represented as a man with two heads, one body and two arms. One of the heads is like the ordinary pictures of Jesus, or Serapis, the other is the head of an old man surmounted by a triangle. Out of the middle of this figure is proceeding the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove (Catholic Layman, July 17th, 1856).
The dove, then, as an emblem of the Holy Spirit, also shows the gnostic nature of the beginnings in the Gospels termed Canonical. “Now the birth of the Christ was on this wise. When his Mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost”, or, as rendered in sign-language, with the dove as emblem of the Holy Spirit. Hence, in the Iconography, child-Jesus is represented in the Virgin’s arms or womb, surrounded by the seven doves as symbols of the Holy Spirit (Didron, fig. 124).
We might say that the dove of Hathor-IusГЈas came to Rome on board the papyrus-boat, in which the mother Isis crossed the swamps to save her little one from the pursuing dragon (Plutarch, Of Isis and Osiris, 18). For the papyrus-boat is obviously the bark of Peter in the Roman Catacombs (Lundy, Mont. Christ, fig. 139). IusГЈas, the mother of Iusa=Iusu, the Egyptian Jesus, was a form of Hathor-Meri, and was brought on in the cult of Rome as Mary, the mystical dove and mother of Iusu, now believed to have become historical. A dovecote was the dwelling where she brought him forth in Rome. As Cyprien Robert says, “The first basilicas, placed generally upon eminences, were called domus columbae, dwellings of the dove, that is, the Holy Ghost” (Didron, 1, 439, Eng. tr.).
Now Atum was the holy spirit in the eschatology of Annu; the first who ever did attain that status in theology. His consort was IusГЈas, who, in the character of Hathor, was the female holy spirit, as the dove. Their child was Iusa, the Egyptian Jesus. This was he who says, on rising from Amenta as a spirit, “I am the dove, I am the dove” (The “Menat”. Rit., ch. 86). Thus, the gnostic mystery of the dove is traceable to Atum as the holy spirit, and to IusГЈas-Hathor as the Mother of the Coming Son (Iusa), he who emanated from them as the dove. This mode of incarnation is followed by a second descent of the holy spirit in the baptism of Jesus. “Lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens saying, This is my
beloved son in whom I am well pleased”. Thus, the child that was conceived of the virgin in the first descent of the spirit is authenticated as son of the father at the time of the second [Page 764] descent of the holy spirit as the dove. And this, as Egyptian, is the doctrine of the dual Horus, who was born of Isis, the virgin, and afterwards begotten in spirit as the beloved son of Ra, the holy spirit. Jesus when mothered by the virgin-dove, whether at On or Bethlehem, is Iusa the coming child of Hathor-IusГЈas; and Jesus when authenticated by the bird from heaven is Iusa as the son of Atum-Ra, the holy spirit who is fathered by the dove. This fatherhood of Jesus in his baptism is vouched for by the writers of the
Canonical Gospels. And in “the Gospel according to the Hebrews”, Jesus speaks of His “Mother, the Holy Ghost”. He says, “the Holy Spirit, my mother, took me and bore me away to the great mountain, called Thabor”. Which can be understood as a saying of Iusa, the Egyptian Jesus.
Iusa of Annu went to Rome as Ichthon of Annu. Jesus went to Rome as Ichthus, the fish. The black Iusa went to Rome as the Bambino. He went to Rome as the ass-headed Iu, and also is the dove as bird of resurrection in the Catacombs. He is found there in the several characters of Horus, Serapis, Mithras, and under various types. But nowhere is the “historic” personage discoverable, living or dead, in subterranean Rome.
According to the Osirian eschatology in the Ritual, Horus, the son of God, was with his father in heaven before he descended to our earth as the bringer of peace and goodwill (hetep) to men. In coming forth from heaven, he is said to reveal himself by disrobing himself to present himself to the earth. He issues forth as Horus, the son of Isis, the child of the Virgin Mother, saying, “I am Unbu”. That is, “I am the Branch”. He also describes himself as the mortal Horus who was born blind and dumb in “the abode of occultation”, En-arar-ef (Rit., ch. 71). Jesus is born at Bethlehem, in the house of bread. Horus comes forth in Annu, the place of bread. The vesture of Horus is girt on him by Tait, the goddess of food. This answers to the swaddling-clothes in which the child was wrapped when the mother laid him in a manger.
Offerings were made to the child who is received by the worshippers with “bendings of the head in Annu” (Rit., ch. 82). The reason why the divine child should be born in a manger is not because there was lack of room in the inn, but because the child had been previously born as a lamb or a calf before the type was humanized, and when the crib, or manger, was the earliest cradle of the little one. The birth of the babe in a manger was anciently exhibited in Egypt, and the origin is traceable to-day. The mother can be identified with the cattle-shed and the manger. For instance, Hathor was the hat or hut; Nephthys is the house; Isis, the seat; the old first mother Apt was the crib; and Apt the crib is also the manger which was a type of the cattle-shed when her offspring was a calf. The Apt was the birthplace when this was the womb of Apt, the water-cow. The name was then applied to the manger, the crib, the hold of a vessel, and to the city of Apt, or Thebes, in Egypt, which is the city of the manger by name. The child born in a manger or Apt=crib is the wise way of showing a continuity of type which survived in Egypt down to Ptolemaic times. The child was incarnated to live and eat the bread of Seb=Joseph beneath the tree of Hathor — one of whose names is Meri. In various legends, the child was brought forth beneath the tree, and in our ancient carols the tree, as a cherry-tree, [Page 765] bows down for Mary to eat of its fruit at the command of the child, who is yet in the mother’s womb. The oblations offered in Tattu and the adorations made in Annu are the same as in the story of the Magi, who bring their presents and bow down before
the babe in Bethlehem. This rebirth is referred to in the tale of Sanehat: “Thou shalt see thyself come to the blessed state, they shall give thee the bandages from the hand of Tait, the night of applying the oil of embalming” (Egyptian Tales, p. 114, Petrie); where the making of the Karast-mummy is a type of the birth of the Christ or Anointed. Horus comes to record the words of God the father with his mouth; the same mouth that draws to it the spouse of Seb as wet-nurse for the child. Like Jesus in the Christology of John, he is the Word made flesh; and the spouse of Seb is the prototype of Mary, the spouse of Joseph, who is portrayed as the suckler of Jesus in the Christian version of the legend. At his coming there are cries of adoration in Suten-Khen, the royal birthplace, and of exultation in An-arar-ef, the city of the blind. The whole cycle of the gods is filled with satisfaction at seeing Horus inherit his throne to rule over the earth.
There are bendings in Annu where the different generations of the Rekhet, the Pait, and the Hamemmat bow down before him. The evil Sut is filled with consternation at what has taken place. This reception of the child in Annu, the house of bread, as a celestial locality, is the prototype of the jubilation heard in Bethlehem when, “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke II. 13). These are the acclamations uttered in Annu, on the divine babe making his appearance there (Rit., ch. 125), and being declared the heir of Seb, the god of earth, from whom he issued in the character of Iusa, the child of IusГЈas. At his advent Horus says the gods come to him with their acclamation, and the female deities with jubilation, when they see him. Horus, in the litany of Ra, is called
the son of Ra, proceeding from Tum. “He has placed your offerings before you; he accords you the favour of receiving your portion as his father Ra commanded. He is his darling. He is his descendant upon the earth”. “ Show the way to his spirit. Show him his dwelling in the midst of the earth”. What we may term the human history of Horus is passed in the earth of Seb, his foster-father on earth, whose bread he eats, and in whose house he dwells with Isis, the virgin mother. There is neither date nor history of Horus betwixt the age of twelve and thirty years. The child-Horus quits the house of Seb and the virgin to reappear in the house of his father Osiris in the earth of eternity. This will explain why the youthful Jesus leaves his mother and his earthly father Joseph to be about his heavenly father’s business when
he is twelve years of age. Also, this fact in the mythical representation will account for there being no further mention of Joseph in the Gospels after the journey to Jerusalem (Luke II. 43, 50). Seb ceases to be the foster-father and protector of Horus, who disappears from the earth of time (or Seb) to reappear in the earth of eternity.
The infant Horus was suckled by Isis in solitude. She is said to have nursed him in secret. No one knew the hiding-place, but it was somewhere in the marshes of Amenta, the lower Egypt of the mythos. As an earthly locality, the place where Isis hid herself to suckle her [Page 766] child was identified in the marshes of the Delta. This part of the programme is fulfilled in the Gospel according to Matthew, and there only, by the flight into Egypt. So soon as the babe was born, “an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt”. And the child was there until the death of Herod, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord, through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt did I call my son” (Matt. II. 13, 16). The child of the mother had to be taken down into Egypt in order that the Son of God might be brought up out of it, and for the mythos to be fulfilled as biblical history.
At the birth of Horus the life of the young child was sought by the evil Sut. The mother was warned of the danger by Taht, the lunar god, called the great one. He says to her, “Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child” ; and he tells her it is well to be obedient. She is to take the child down into the marshes of lower Egypt, called Kheb, or Khebt. There, says Taht, “these things will happen: his limbs will grow; he will wax entirely strong; he will attain the dignity of prince of the double earth, and sit (or rest) upon the throne of his father”. Then the child and mother make their way to the papyrus-swamps. It is said that the plants were so secret that no enemy could enter there. “Sut could not penetrate this region, or go about in Kheb”. Nevertheless the child was bitten by the reptile, as the story is rendered in the sorrows of Isis, the pre-Christian mater dolorosa (Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, vol. II, ch. 14). “Horus in Kheb” (Egypt) was a title of the divine child. Kheb was in the north of Egypt, and it was there that Horus passed his early days, and was reared in secret by his mother Isis. Horus lands upon the earth of Seb at eventide. He sits upon the seat of Ra, which is on the western horizon, and receives the offerings upon the altars. He says, “I drink the sacred liquor each evening, in the form of the lord of all creatures” (Rit., ch. 79). The descent of Horus, as a child, to earth was daily or yearly according to the mythos. Every night the sinking sun was received by the mother in the breeding-place, or Meskhen, of the western mount, where she prepared him (or he her) for his new birth daily in the East. The point at
which the god descends to earth at evening is well portrayed in the oblong zodiac of Denderah. In this the child-Horus is seated on the mount of the western equinox in the sign of the Scales. The sign of the Scales, Makhu, was once the sign of the autumn equinox, and at that point child-Horus touches earth for his descent from heaven. In this sign the child is portrayed sitting on the mount in the disc of the full moon. As seen by night, the mount of earth, or the horizon, is the mount of the ecliptic, the meeting-point of earth and heaven. The full moon is the mother who is Virgo in the previous sign, and in the sign of the Scales she has brought forth the child.
In the Gospel of pseudo-James (ch. 22) it is John, the child of Elizabeth, who is sought for by Herod.
“And Elizabeth groaned and said with a loud voice, Mount of God, receive a mother with her child. And suddenly the mountain was divided, and received them. And light shone through to them”. It is the same story of the mother and child when applied to the infant John instead of Jesus. [Page 767] The opening of the mount is in the equinox, and it is there the pursued ones attain safety by entering the earth to escape from Apap, the devouring dragon. Seb is the Egyptian Joseph, as consort of Isis, the earth-mother and foster-father of the child; and at this point in the western equinox where Horus enters the earth or the earth-life, Seb, as god of earth, takes charge of the child and mother to convey them on the way to the lower Egypt of Amenta.
Going down into Kheb or lower Egypt, as rendered in the Ritual, is descending to the secret earth of Amenta, where the mother hid her infant in the marshes, when they were pursued by Sut, otherwise the crocodile. Now it is related in the Gospel of pseudo-Matthew (ch. 18), that when Joseph and Mary were on their way to Egypt with the child-Jesus they came to a certain cave, and “Behold there suddenly came out of the cave many dragons, seeing which the youths cried out with excessive fear. Then Jesus descending from the mother’s lap stood on his feet before the dragons, and they adored Jesus”. In this scene, Jesus saves his father and mother from the dragons, which obey him; and the dragons we may consider to be crocodiles in accordance with Hebrew use and wont. In the Ritual, there is a chapter on repulsing the crocodiles in which Horus saves his father from the four crocodiles (these are eight in the Turin text of the Ritual). “I am the one”, he says, “who saves the great one from the four crocodiles. вЂњI am the one who delivers his father from them”. ‘I am the one who cannot be overthrown by the principles and powers of evil” (Rit., ch. 32), or, as it is otherwise rendered by Renouf: “O son who conversest with thy father, do thou protect this great one from these four crocodiles. I know them by their names and their way of living, and it is I who protect his own father from them”. He orders the crocodiles to go back, one by one, to their quarters, and they obey him with docility. Ra has given him possession of lower Egypt, in which the living are destroyed, and the crocodiles or dragons of the waters do not triumph over him (ch. 32, 9). Coming, as Horus, to make ready the horizon, he repulses the crocodiles of darkness (ch. 136, 8,
9). The dragons of a “certain cave” that is found upon the way to Egypt are an Egypto-gnostic version of the crocodiles of Amenta in the Ritual. Thus, the animals in attendance on the child-Jesus in the apocryphal Gospels are witnesses for the child-Horus. Horus, as the youthful sun-god on the horizon, is accompanied by the two lions, Shu and Tefnut. He is attended by the two lions. He is lighted in their recesses by the two lions (ch. 3, 1, 2). The power of two lions is represented by the head-dress of Horus.
He is strengthened by the double force of the two lions. He arrives each day in the dwelling of the two lions (ch. 78, 20-22), with the two lions who are his protectors. It is also said of the Osiris, “He is furnished with two lions” (ch. 144).
The lions are likewise in attendance upon Jesus in the Gospels of the Infancy. The lions adored him, and kept him company in the desert. They walked along with the child; bowed their heads before him, and showed subjection by wagging their tails (Gospel of pseudo-Matthew, chs. 19 and 35).
The “apocryphal” Gospels are not a mere collection of “foolish traditions” or fables forged or invented to supply an account of that [Page 768] period in “our Lord’s” history, respecting which the accepted Gospels are almost silent. They are disjecta membra of the original matter; the mythos reduced to the state of Märchen; the story of the miraculous child told as a folk-tale which was at last repeated as a history in the Gospels with matter like the above omitted because it was too naturally incredible, and could not be utilized by the most desperate expedient of miracle.
When, or where, the mythos was no longer interpreted astronomically, from lapse of the necessary knowledge, the folk-tales and legendary lore began to take the place of the ancient wisdom that was scientifically verifiable. Celestial localities were made geographical. The descent of the little sun in the lower hemisphere is described as the journey of the child-Horus into lower Egypt, accompanied by the Virgin Mother and Seb, or Joseph, the earthly father. It is observable that in an Egyptian planisphere, according to Kircher, the god Seb is figured, on a large scale, in the Decans of Scorpio, with the symbolic goose of earth upon his head. This, at one time, marked the western equinox; the point at which the earth of Seb, or the mountain, opened to protect the mother and child, when they sought refuge from the dragon, the scorpion, or serpent that stung the infant on the way to Egypt in the nether earth, and where “earth helped the woman” (Rev. XII. 16) in her flight.
The origin of the “Holy Family” can be traced to this initial point of the journey down to Egypt. The moon at full was the mother with the child who rode upon the ass attended by the old man Seb. This was the “woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars”, who was persecuted by the crocodile of darkness. At the autumn equinox the Apap-reptile reared its loathly form from out the abyss to pursue the mother and destroy her Babe. But the earth opened and helped the woman, or Seb protected her as foster-father to the child of light. According to the astronomical mythos, the Pool of Putrata, or lake of darkness, lay upon the western side of the mount.
This was the habitat and lair of the dragon, “eternal devourer is its name” (ch. 17, 40, 44). Here the reptile lurks and watches the “bight of Amenta” for its prey. With wide-open jaws of the crocodile it swallows the sinking stars (in the mythos), and the souls that fall into darkness (in the eschatology).
Above all, the dragon of darkness lies in wait for the virgin mother and her forthcoming child, who is the saviour of vegetation and preserver of the light. The journey into Egypt can be followed a little further in the Gospels of the Infancy. The Arabic Gospel says the mother and child remained three years in Egypt, and the Lord Jesus wrought very many miracles in Egypt, which are not found written either in the Gospel of the Infancy or in the perfect Gospel (Cowper, H. B., The Apocryphal Gospels, p. 191). The child-Jesus in Egypt is the child-Horus in Egypt, and the traditions of Horus have been assigned to an “historic” Jesus. “These”, as Wiedeman puts the cart before the horse, “have affected a series of Coptic texts which, in making use of the well-known apocryphal account of Christ’s journey through Egypt as a child, describe the triumphal march of the Saviour along the valley of the Nile, and relate how he drove his foes from place to place, [Page 769] destroying them as he went” (Religion of the Ancient Egyptians, p. 77, Eng. tr.).
According to the Gospel of pseudo-Matthew, the Holy family, fleeing from the murderer Herod, came into the borders of Hermopolis and “entered into a certain city of Egypt which is called Sotinen”. Nothing has been made of this statement geographically. But Sotinen evidently represents the Sutenhen (earlier Suten-Khen) of the “Book of the Dead” (ch. 17). This is a celestial locality of great importance to the legend of Horus in Kheb. In “the childhood of Jesus, according to Thomas”, one year is thus accounted for. “Now when they had come into Egypt they found a lodging in the house of a certain widow, and they lodged one year in the same place” (ch. I). It may be remembered that in one of her characters Isis is the widow of the dead Osiris. In a small papyrus now at the Louvre there is an incantation against the evil serpent that stung the infant, in which the goddess Isis is the speaker. She says, “I am Isis the widow,
broken with sorrow” (Deveria, Catalogue des Manuscrits Eg. Du Louvre). Isis is the original widow who has an only son, and it is she who seeks the lost Osiris, and brings him to rebirth as Horus, her child, in the house of the widow. In the Kamite version of the journey into Egypt the Herrut-reptile takes the place of Herod, and the child-Horus is bitten by the serpent, though not stung to death. This event occurred when Isis was about to go down into Egypt for the safety of her child. M. Revillout (in 1881) described a Demotic papyrus at Leyden, which gives an account of the attack made on Horus by the serpent. This text corroborates the statement of Plutarch and Aristides (Apology, par. 12) that the scene of the serpent’s attack was in Syria. It occurred when Isis was about to go down into Egypt, for Horus, the divine heir, to take possession of his father’s kingdom. When Isis and the child were setting out, Horus began to weep and cry because the serpent had stung him (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archy., May, 1892, p. 372). Isis protects her child and heals his wound. This is the journey of the virgin mother from Syria down into Egypt, as represented in the mythos. The massacre of the Innocents is a common legend. In the Jewish traditions there is a massacre of the little ones at the time of Moses’ birth, in which the Pharaoh plays the part of the monster Herod. So universal was this murder that no distinction was made betwixt the children of the Egyptians and the Jews. On the day that Moses was born the astrologers told Pharaoh they had seen in the stars that the deliverer of the Jews had been born that day, but they could not tell whether his parents were Egyptian or Jewish. Therefore Pharaoh kills not only all the Jewish boys born that day, but also all the Egyptians (for authorities see Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, December 4, 1888). It is the old, old story of the child that was born to be king in defiance of all obstacles.
The origin of the innocents that were massacred by the monster Herod can be traced in accordance with the ancient wisdom. A primitive soul of life was derived from the elements; the soul of Shu from wind or air; the soul of Seb from the earth; the soul of Horus, son of Ra, from the sun, which became the supreme source of the [Page 770] elemental souls that preceded a human soul. When the solar force was looked upon as the highest soul of life in nature, the souls of future beings were considered to be emanations from the sun as a source of life in external nature that was superhuman. This gave rise to the class of beings known as the Hamemmat, which originated as germs of soul that issued from the sun.
They are described as circling round the solar orb in glory. The word hamemmat signifies that which is unembodied or not yet incorporated. We might say the hamemmat were pre-existing souls when souls were derived from the elemental forces in the germ, and the highest of these was solar. They are the germ-souls of future beings which originate as children of the sun portrayed in a human form. As offspring of the sun, they are called the children of Horus, who, as the child-Horus, is one with them; and if they can be destroyed in the germ, or, as the Ritual has it, in the egg, the devourer of souls may succeed in slaying the divine heir himself, who is destined to bruise the serpent’s head and win the victory over all the powers of evil as the lord of light and link of continuity of life. Being at enmity with the sun, the reptile of darkness seeks to devour the new-born child of light. For that purpose he lies in wait till the woman clothed with the sun shall bring forth. He seeks the life of the young child-Horus, and other lives are involved in taking this. For Horus is the head of the solar race, the hamemmat or future beings that issue from the Eye of the sun. These future souls are called the “issue of Horus”. They are the Innocents of the legend that are supposed to suffer, whereas the child of light, the divine offspring of the solar god, is sure to escape from the coils of the monster who has been rendered anthropomorphically as the ruling tyrant — the monster Herod in a mortal guise. Thus, if any little children were murdered by the Apap-monster, the dragon of darkness, these would be the offspring and issue of the solar disk in the
domain of physical phenomena — little ones that were neither human nor spiritual beings, but the seed or germs of souls about to be. The parallel to the slaughter of the innocents can be traced in what is termed “the slaughter which is wrought in Suten-Khen” ; that is, in the khen or birthplace where the young child-Horus was reborn as the royal Horus. Each one of the manes or the “younglings of Shu” had to pass through this place of rebirth where the Herrut-reptile lay in wait. Chapter 42 is the one “by which one hindereth the slaughter which is wrought in Suten-Khen”. Here the manes speaks in the character of Horus the babe. “I am the babe” is said four times. As human manes, he is one of those who may be destroyed, but is safe so far as he has become assimilated to Horus. He tells the reptile, the herrut=Herod, that he is not to be seized or grasped by him, and that neither men nor gods, neither the glorified nor the damned can inflict any injury on him who is Horus the divine child, born and bound to fulfil his course as the ever-coming One, who “steppeth onward through eternity” (ch. 42). Sotinen, “a certain city on the borders of Hermopolis”, is the dreaded place in Amenta, where the slaughter of the innocents was periodically wrought. The would be destroyer of the child is addressed in one of his reptileforms, “O serpent Abur!” (the name rendered “great thirst” is [Page 771] equivalent to that of the dragon of drought), thou sayest this day “the block of execution is furnished (Rit. ch. 42), and thou art come to contaminate the Mighty One”. In another chapter Horus exults that in making his descent to the earth of Seb for putting a stop to evil his nest is safe. ‘Not to be seen is my nest. Not to be broken is my egg. I have made my nest on the confines of Heaven” (Rit., ch. 85). He rejoices on account of his escape from the slaughter of the innocents which followed his descent into the earth of Seb. Thus in the Osirian mythos the child-Horus was with the widow in Suten-Khen, and in the Gospel of the Infancy it is the child-Jesus with the widow in Sotinen.