Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World
BOOK 1 of 12
SIGN-LANGUAGE AND MYTHOLOGY AS PRIMITIVE MODES OF REPRESENTATION
THE other day a lad from London who had been taken to the sea-side for the first time in his life was standing with his mother looking at the rolling breakers tossing and tumbling in upon the sands, when he was heard to exclaim, "Oh, mother, who is it chucking them heaps o"water about?" This expression showed the boy's ability to think of the power that was "doing it" in the human likeness. But, then, ignorant as he might be, he was more or less the heir to human faculty as it is manifested in all its triumphs over external nature at the present time. Now, it has been and still is a prevalent and practically universal assumption that the same mental standpoint might have been occupied by Primitive Man, and a like question asked in presence of the same or similar phenomena of physical nature. Nothing is more
common or more unquestioned than the inference that Primitive Man would or could have asked," Who is
doing it?" and that the Who could have been personified in the human likeness. Indeed, it has become an axiom with modern metaphysicians and a postulate of the Anthropologists that, from the beginning, man imposed his own human image upon external nature; that he personified its elemental energies and fierce physical forces after his own likeness; also that this was in accordance with the fundamental character and constitution of the human mind. To adduce a few examples taken almost at random:
David Hume declares that "there is a universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves". In support of which he instances the seeing of human faces in the moon. Reid on the Active Powers (4th Essay) says our first thoughts are that "the objects in which we perceive motion have understanding and power as we have". Francis Bacon had long before remarked that we human beings "set stamps and seals of our own images upon God's creatures and works". (Exp. History) Herbert Spencer argued that human personality applied to the powers of nature was the primary mode of representation, and that the identification of this with some natural force or object is due to identity of
name. (Data of Sociology, chapter xxiv, 184.) "In early philosophy throughout the world", says Mr. Tylor, "the [Page2] sun and moon are alive and as it were human in their nature". Professor Max Müeller, who taught that Mythology was a disease of language, and that the Myths have been made out of words which had lost their senses, asserts that "the whole animal world has been conceived as a copy of our own. And not only the animal world, but the whole of nature was liable to be conceived and named by an assimilation to human nature". (Science of Thought, page 503.) And "such was the propensity in the earliest men of whom we have any authentic record to see personal agency in everything", that it could not be otherwise, for "there was really no way of conceiving or naming anything objective except after the
similitude of the subjective, or of ourselves". (Science of Thought, page 495.) Illustrations of this modern position might be indefinitely multiplied. The assumption has been supported by a consensus of assertion, and here, as elsewhere, the present writer is compelled to doubt, deny, and disprove the popular postulate of the accepted orthodox authorities.
That, said the lion, is your version of the story: let us be the sculptor's, and for one lion under the feet of a man you shall see a dozen men beneath the pad of one lion.
"Myth-making Man" did not create the Gods in his own image. The primary divinities of Egypt, such as Sut, Sebek, and Shu, three of the earliest, were represented in the likeness of the Hippopotamus, the Crocodile, and the Lion; whilst Hapi was imaged as an Ape, Anup as a Jackal, Ptah as a Beetle, Taht as an Ibis, Seb as a Goose. So was it with the Goddesses. They are the likenesses of powers that were super-human, not human. Hence Apt was imaged as a Water-cow, Hekat as a Frog, Tefnut as a Lioness, Serkh as a Scorpion,. Rannut as a Serpent, Hathor as a Fruit-tree. A huge mistake has hitherto been made in assuming that the Myth-Makers began by fashioning the Nature-Powers in their own human likeness. Totemism was formulated by myth-making man with types that were the very opposite of
human, and in mythology the Anthropomorphic representation was preceded by the whole menagerie of Totemic Zootypes.
The idea of Force, for instance, was not derived from the thews and muscles of a Man. As the Karaite Sign-Language shows, the Force that was "chucking them heaps of water about" was perceived to be the wind; the Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters from the beginning. This power was divinised in Shu, the God of breathing Force, whose zootype is the Lion as a fitting figure of this panting Power of the Air. The element audible in the howling wind, but dimly apprehended otherwise, was given shape and substance as the roaring Lion in this substitution of similars. The Force of the element was equated by the power of the Animal; and no human thews and sinews could compare with those of the Lion as a figure of Force. Thus the Lion speaks for itself, in the language of Ideographic Signs. And in this way the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Egypt were at first portrayed as Superhuman Powers by means of living
If primitive man had projected the shadow of himself upon external nature, to shape its elemental forces in his own image, or if the un-featured Vast had unveiled to him any likeness of the human face, [Page 3] then the primary representation of the Nature-Powers (which became the later divinities) ought to have been anthropomorphic, and the likeness reflected in the mirror of the most ancient mythologies should have been human. Whereas the Powers and Divinities were first represented by animals, birds, and reptiles, or, to employ a word that includes all classes, they were portrayed by means of zootypes. The Sun and Moon were not considered "human in their nature" when the one was imaged as a Crocodile, a Lion, a Bull, a Beetle, or a Hawk, and the other as a Hare, a Frog, an Ape, or an Ibis, as they are represented in the Egyptian hieroglyphics by means of the zootypes. Until Har-Ur, the Elder Horus, had been depicted as the Child in place of the Calf or Lamb, the Fish, or Shoot of the Papyrus-plant (which was comparatively late), there was no human figure personalised in the Mythology of Egypt.
Primitive or paleolithic Man was too beggarly poor in possessions to dream of shaping the Superhuman Powers of Nature in the human likeness. There is one all-sufficient reason why he did not; he simply could not. And it is precisely because the Makers of the Myths had not the power to animate the universe in their own likeness that we have the zoomorphic mode of representation as the Sign-Language of Totemism and Mythology. On every line of research we discover that the representation of nature was pre-anthropomorphic at first, as we see on going back far enough, and on every line of descent the zoomorphic passes ultimately into the human representation. Modern metaphysicians have so developed the faculty of abstraction and the disease of Subjectivity that their own mental operations offer no true
guidance for generalisations concerning primitive or early man, who thought in things and almost apprehended with the physical sense-alone.
They overlook the fact that imaging by means of object-pictures preceded the imagining so often ascribed to primitive men. These did not busy themselves and bother their brains with all sorts of vagrant fancies instead of getting an actual grasp of the homeliest facts. It was not "Primitive Man" but two German metaphysicians who were looking out of window at a falling shower of rain when one of them remarked, "Perhaps it is I who am doing that" "Or /," chimed in the other. The present writer once had a cat before whom he placed a sheet of polished tin. The cat saw herself reflected as in a mirror, and looked for a short time at her own image. So far as sight and appearance went, this might have been another cat. But she proceeded to apply the comparative process and test one sense by another, deliberately smelling at the likeness to find out if any cat was there. She did not sit down as a non-verifying visionary to formulate hypotheses or conjure up the ghost of a cat. Her sense of smell told her that as a matter of fact there was no other cat present; therefore she was not to be misled by a false appearance, in which she took no further interest. That, we may infer, was more like the action of Primitive Man, who would find no human likeness behind the phenomena of external nature. Indeed, man was so generally represented by the animals that the appearance could be mistaken for a primitive
belief that the animals were his ancestors. But the powers [Page 4] first perceived in external nature were not only unlike the human; they were very emphatically and distinctly more than human, and therefore could not be adequately expressed by features recognizable as merely human. Primitive men were all too abjectly helpless in presence of these powers to think of them or to conceive them in their own similitude. The one primordial and most definite fact of the whole matter was the distinct and absolute unlikeness to themselves. Also they themselves were too little the cause of anything by the work of their own hands to enter into the sphere of causation mentally. They could only apprehend the nature-forces by their effects, and try to represent these by means of other powers that were present in nature, but
which were also necessarily superior to the human and were not the human faculties indefinitely magnified. The human being could only impress his own image on external nature in proportion to his mastery over natural conditions. He could not have figured the Thunder-bolt as a Stone-axe in the hands of a destroying Power until he himself had made and could wield the axe of stone as the weapon of his own power. But he could think of it in the likeness of the Serpent already known to him in external nature as a figure of fatal force.
An ignorant explanation of the Egyptian Sign-Language was begun by the Greeks, who could not read the hieroglyphics. It was repeated by the Romans, and has been perpetuated by "Classical Scholars" ever since. But, as the interpreter of Egypt, that kind of scholastic knowledge is entirely obsolete. Ignorance of primitive sign-language has been and is a fertile source of false belief. For example, Juvenal asks, " Who does not know what kind of monsters Egypt insanely worships?" (Sat. 15.1.) And having seen or heard of the long-tailed Ape in an Egyptian temple, the satirist assumed without question that this animal was set up as an object of worship. He did not know that the Ape itself was the worshipper, as an image in Sign-Language and as the Saluter of the Gods. Ani, the name of this particular Ape, denotes the Saluter, and to salute was an Egyptian gesture of adoration. The Ape or Cynocephalus with its paws uplifted is the typical worshipper as Saluter of the Light. It was, and still is, looked upon in Africa generally as a pre-human Moon-worshipper, who laments and bewails the disappearance of its night-light and rejoices at the renewal and return of that luminary. (Hor-Apollo, B. i, 14. Also Captain Burton, in a letter to the author.) In the Vignettes to the Ritual, Ani the Ape is the Saluter of the rising Sun, that is of Ra, upon the Mount of Sunrise. One of the most profound perversions of the past has been made in misapprehending this primitive sign-language for what is designated "Worship", whether as "Sun-Worship", "Serpent-Worship", "Tree-Worship", or "Phallic-Worship". The Tree, for
example, is a type, but the type is not necessarily an object of worship, as misunderstood by those who do not read the types when these are rooted in the ground of natural fact. The forest-folk were dwellers in the trees, or in the bush. The tree that gave them food and shelter grew to be an object of regard. Hence it became a type of the Mother-Earth as the birthplace and abode. Hence Hathor was the hut or house of Horus (Har) in the tree. But worship is a word of cant employed by writers who are [Page 5] ignorant of sign-language in general. Such phrases as "Stock-and-stone worship" explain nothing and are worse than useless. The Mother and Child of all mythology are represented in the Tree and Branch. The Tree was a type of the abode, the Roof-tree; the Mother of food and drink; the giver of life and shelter; the wet-nurse in the dew or rain; the producer of her offspring as the branch and promise of periodic continuity.
Was it the Tree then the Egyptians worshipped, or the Giver of food and shelter in the Tree? On the Apis Stele in the Berlin Museum two priests are saluting the Apis-Bull. This is designated "Apis-worship". But the Apis carries the Solar Disk betwixt its horns. This also is being saluted. Which then is the object of worship? There are two objects of religious regard, but neither is the object of adoration. That is the God in spirit who was represented as the Soul of life in the Sun and in the Tree, also by the fecundating Bull.
In this and a thousand other instances it is not a question of worship but of sign-language.
Nor did Mythology spring from fifty or a hundred different sources, as frequently assumed. It is one as a system of representation, one as a mould of thought, one as a mode of expression, and all its great primordial types are virtually universal. Neither do the myths that were inherited and repeated for ages by the later races of men afford any direct criterion to the intellectual status of such races. A mythical representation may be savage without those who preserve it being savages. When the Egyptians in the time of Unas speak of the deities devouring souls it is no proof of their being cannibals at the time.
Mythology has had an almost limitless descent. It was in a savage or crudely primitive state in the most ancient Egypt, but the Egyptians who continued to repeat the Myths did not remain savages. The same mythical mode of representing nature that was probably extant in Africa 100,000 years ago survives today amongst races who are no longer the producers of the Myths and Marchën than they are of language itself. Egyptian mythology is the oldest in the world, and it did not begin as an explanation of natural phenomena, but as a representation by such primitive means as were available at the time. It does not explain that the Sun is a Hawk or the Moon a Cat, or the solar God a Crocodile. Such figures of fact belong to the symbolical mode of rendering in the language of animals or zootypes. No better definition of "Myth" or Mythology could be given than is conveyed by the word "Sem" in Egyptian. This signifies representation on the ground of likeness. Mythology, then, is "representation on the ground of likeness", which led to all the forms of sign-language that could ever be employed. The matter has been touched upon in previous volumes, but for the purpose of completeness it has to be demonstrated in the present work that external nature was primarily imaged in the pre-human likeness. It was the same here as in external nature: the animals came first, and the predecessors of Man are primary in Sign- Language, Mythology, and Totemism.
It is quite certain that if the primitive method had been Conceptual and early man had possessed the power to impose the likeness of human personality upon external phenomena it would have been in the image of the Male, as a type or in the types of power; whereas the primal human personification is in the likeness of the female. [Page 6]The great Mother as the primal Parent is a Universal type. There could be no divine Father in Heaven until the fatherhood was individualized on earth. Again, if primitive men had been able to impose the human likeness on the Mother-Nature the typical Wet-nurse would have been a woman. But it is not so; the Woman comes last She was preceded by the Beast itself, the Sow, the Hippopotamus, or Lioness, and by the female form that wears the head of the Zootype, the Cow, Frog or Serpent, on the body of a divinity. Moreover, the human likeness would, of necessity, have included Sex.
But the earliest powers recognised in nature are represented as being of no Sex. It is said in the Akkadian hymns, "Female they are not, male they are not" Therefore they were not imaged in the human likeness. The elements of air, earth, water, fire, darkness and light are of no sex, and the powers first recognised in them, whether as destructive or beneficent, are consequently without sex. So far from Nature having been conceived or imaged as a non-natural Man in a Mask, with features more or less human, however hugely magnified, the mask of human personality was the latest that was fitted to the face of external nature. Masks were applied to the face of nature in the endeavour to feature and visibly present some likeness of the operative elemental forces and manifesting powers of Air, Fire, Water, Earth Thunder and Lightning, Darkness and Dawn, Eclipse and Earthquake, Sand-storm or the drowning waters of the Dark. But these masks were Zoomorphic, not human. They imaged the most potent of devouring beasts, most cunning of reptiles, most powerful birds of prey. In these monstrous masks we see the Primal Powers of Nature all at play, as in the Pantomime, which still preserves a likeness to the primordial representation of external nature that is now chiefly known under the names of Mythology and Totemism. The Elemental powers operant in external nature were superhuman in the past as they are in the present. The Voice of Thunder, the death-stroke of lightning, the Coup de Soleil, the force of fire, or of water in flood and the wind in a hurricane were superhuman. So of the Animals and Birds: the powers of the hippopotamus, crocodile, serpent, hawk, lion, jackal, and Ape were superhuman, and therefore they
were adopted as zootypes and as primary representatives of the superhuman Powers of the Elements.
They were adopted as primitive Ideographs. They were adopted for use and consciously stamped for their representative value, not ignorantly worshipped; and thus they became the coins as it were in the current medium of exchange for the expression of primitive thought or feeling.
Sign-language includes the gesture-signs by which the mysteries were danced or otherwise dramatised in Africa by the Pygmies and Bushmen; in Totemism, in Fetishism, and in hieroglyphic symbols; very little of which language has been read by those who are continually treading water in the shallows of the subject without ever touching bottom or attaining foothold in the depths. It is by means of sign-language that the Egyptian wisdom keeps the records of the pre-historic past. The Egyptian hieroglyphics show us the connection betwixt words and things, also betwixt sounds and words, in a very primitive range of human thought. There is no other such a record known in all the world. They consist largely of human [Page 7] gesture-signs and the sounds first made by animals, such as "ba" for the goat, "meaou" for the cat, "su" for the goose, and "fu" for the Cerastes snake. But the Kamite representation by means of sign language
had begun in inner Africa before the talking animals, birds, and reptiles had been translated into the forms of gods and goddesses by the dwellers in the valley of the Nile. The living ideographs or zootypes were primary, and can be traced to their original habitat and home, and to nowhere else upon the surface of our earth. The cow of the waters there represented the earth-Mother as the great bringerforth of life before she was divinised as Apt the goddess in human guise, with the head of a hippopotamus. The overseeing Giraffe (or was it the Okapi?) of Sut, the hawk of Horus, the Kaf-Ape of Taht-Aan, the white Vulture of Neith, the Jackal of Anup, and fifty others were pre-extant as the talking
animals before they were delineated in semi-human guise as gods and goddesses or elemental powers thus figured forth in the form of birds and beasts or fish and reptiles. The zootypes were extant in nature as figures ready-modelled, pictures ready-made, hieroglyphics and ideographs that moved about alive: pictures that were earlier than painting, statues that preceded sculpture, living nature-types that were employed when there were no others known to art. Certain primordial types originated in the old dark land of Africa. These were perfected in Egypt and thence dispersed about the world. Amongst them is the Earth as solid ground amidst the water of surrounding space, or as the bringer-forth of life, depicted as a Water-Cow; possibly the Cow of Kintu in Uganda; the Dragon of Darkness or other wide-jawed Swallower of the Light that rose up from the Abyss and coiled about the Mount of Earth at night as the Devourer; the evergreen Tree of Dawn - pre-eminently African - that rises on the horizon, or upon the Mount of Earth,
from out the waters of Space; the opposing Elemental Powers beginning with the Twins of Light and Darkness who fought in Earth and Heaven and the Nether World; the Great Earth-Mother of the Naturepowers; the Seven Children of her womb, and various other types that are one in origin and worldwide in their range.
When the solar force was yet uncomprehended, the sinking Sun could be imaged naturally enough by the Beetle boring its way down through the earth, or by the Tortoise that buried itself in the soil: also by the Crocodile making its passage through the waters, or the Golden Hawk that soared up through the air.
This was representing phenomena in external nature on the ground of likeness when it could not be imaged directly by means of words. When it is held, as in Australia, that the Lizard first divided the sexes and that it was also the author of marriage, we have to ascertain what the Lizard signified in signlanguage, and when we find that, like the serpent or the Frog, it denoted the female period, we see how it distinguished or divided the sexes and in what sense it authorized or was the author of Totemic Marriage, because of its being a sign or symbol of feminine pubescence. It is said by the Amazulu, that when old Women pass away they take the form of a kind of Lizard. This can only be interpreted by knowing the ideographic value in the primitive system of Sign-Language in which the Lizard was a zootype. The Lizard [Page 8]appeared at puberty, but it disappeared at the turn of life, and with the Old Women went the disappearing Lizard.
The Frog which transformed from the tadpole condition was another Ideograph of female pubescence.
This may be illustrated by a story that was told some time since by Miss Werner in the Contemporary Review which contains a specimen of primitive thought and its mode of expression in perfect survival. It happened that a native girl at Blantyre Mission was called by her mistress, a missionary's wife, to come and take charge of the baby. Her reply was, "Nchafuleni is not there; she is turned into a frog". (Werner, Contemporary Review, Sept., page 378.) She could not come for a reason of Tapu, but said so typically in the language of animals. She had made that transformation which first occurs when the young girl changes into a woman. She might have said she was a serpent or a lizard or that she was in flower. But the frog that changed from a tadpole was also a type of her transformation, and she had figuratively
become a frog for a few days of seclusion. Similarly the member of a Totem also became a frog, a beetle, a bull or bear as a mode of representation, but not because the human being changed into the animal.
The same things which are said at a later stage by the ideographic Determinatives in the Egyptian hieroglyphics had been expressed previously by the Inner African zoo types or living Beasts, Birds and Reptiles, as may be seen in the stories told of the talking Animals by the Bushmen. The original records still suffice to show that the physical agencies or forces first perceived, were not conceived or mentally embodied in the human likeness, and that external nature offered no looking-glass for the human face.
To take the very illustration adduced by Hume. The original Man in the Moon did not depend upon any fancied resemblance to the human face. The Egyptian Man in the Moon, Taht or Tehuti (Greek Thoth), had the head of an Ibis or of the Cynocephalus; both Ibis and Cynocephalus were lunar types which preceded any human likeness, and these were continued as heads to the human figure after this had been adopted. The Man in the Moon, who is Taht (or Khunsu) in Egypt, had a series of predecessors in the Dog or Cynocephalus, the Ibis, the Beetle, the Bull, the Frog, and other ideographic figures of lunar phenomena. As natural fact, the Ibis was a famous Fisher of the Nile, and its familiar figure was adopted as a zootype of Taht, the lunar God. Where the modern saw the New Moon with the "auld Moon in her arm", the Egyptian saw the Ibis fishing up the old dark orb from out the waters with the crescent of its curving beak, as the recoverer and Saviour of the Drowning Light. The Moon was not looked upon as having any human likeness when it was imaged as (or by) the Cat who saw in the dark: the Hare that rose up by night and went round the horizon by leaps and bounds: the Ibis as, the returning bird of passage and messenger of the Inundation: the Frog that transformed from the tadpole: the old Beetle that renewed itself in the earth to come forth as the young one, or the Cow that gave re-birth to the child of light as her calf. The sun was not conceived as "human in its nature" when the solar force at dawn was imaged by the Lion-faced Atum; the [Page 9] flame of its furnace by the fiery serpent Uati; the soul of its life by the Hawk, the Ram, or the Crocodile, which are five Egyptian Zootypes and a fivefold disproof of the sun being conceived as or considered human in its nature or similitude. In beginning ab ovo our first lesson is to learn something of the Symbolical Language of Animals, and to understand what it is they once said as Zootypes. We have then to use that knowledge in simplifying the mysteries of mythology.
This primitive language is still employed in divers forms. It is extant in the so-called "dead language" of the Hieroglyphics; the Ideographs and Pictographs; in the Totemic types, and figures of Tattoo; in the portraiture of the Nature-Powers which came to be divinised at length in the human likeness as the Gods and Goddesses of Mythology; and in that language of the folk-fables still made use of by the Bushmen, Hottentots, and other Africans, in which the Jackal, the Dog, the Lion, the Crane, the White Vulture and other beasts and birds keep on talking as they did in the beginning, and continue more or less to say in human speech what they once said in the primitive symbolism; that is, they fulfil the same characters in the Märchen that were first founded in the Mythos. It has now to be shown how the Mythical mode of representing natural phenomena was based upon this primitive system of thought and expression, and how the things that were thought and expressed of old in this language constitute the primary stratum of what is called "Mythology" to-day.
In the most primitive phase Mythology is a mode of representing certain elemental powers by means of living types that were superhuman like the natural phenomena. The foundations of Mythology and other forms of the ancient wisdom were laid in this pre-anthropomorphic mode of primitive representation.
Thus, to summarise a few of the illustrations. The typical Giant Apap was an enormous water-Reptile.
The typical Genetrix and Mother of life was a Water-Cow that represented the Earth. The typical Twin- Brothers were two Birds or two Beasts. The typical twin brother and sister were a Lion and a Lioness.
The typical Virgin was a heifer, or a vulture. The typical Messiah was a calf, a lamb or Unbu the Branch.
The typical Provider was a goose. The typical Chief or Leader is a lion. The typical Artisan is a beetle.
The typical Physician is an Ibis (which administered the enema to itself). The typical Judge is a Jackal or a cynocephalus, whose wig and collar are amusingly suggestive of the English Law-courts. Each and all of these and hundreds more preceded personification in the human image. The mighty Infant who slew the Dragon or strangled serpents while in his cradle was a later substitute for such a Zootype as the little Ichneumon, a figure of Horus. The Ichneumon was seen to attack the cobra di capella and make the mortal enemy hide its head and shield its most vital parts within the protecting coils of its own body. For this reason the lively, daring little animal was adopted as a zootype of Horus the young Solar God, who in his attack upon the Apap-Serpent made the huge and deadly reptile hide its head in its own enveloping darkness. But, when the figure is made anthropomorphic and the tiny [Page 10]Conqueror is introduced as the little Hero in human form, the beginning of the Mythos and its meaning are obscured. The Ichneumon, the Hawk, the Ibis might attack the Cobra, but it was well enough known that a Child would not, consequently the original hero was not a Child, although spoken of as a child in the literalised marvels, miracles, and fables of "the Infancy".
It is the present writer's contention that the Wisdom of the Ancients was the Wisdom of Egypt, and that her explanation of the Zootypes employed in Sign-Language, Totemism, and Mythology holds good wherever the zootypes survive. For example, the Cawichan Tribes say the Moon has a frog in it, and with the Selish Indians of North-West America the Frog (or Toad) in the Moon is equivalent to our Man in the Moon. They have a tradition that the devouring Wolf being in love with the Frog (or Toad), pursued her with great ardour and had nearly caught her when she made a desperate leap and landed safely in the Moon, where she has remained to this day. (Wilson, Trans, of Ethnol. Society, 1866, New Series, v. 4, page 304.) Which means that the frog, as a type of transformation, was applied to the changing Moon as well as to the Zulu girl, Nchafuleni.
Sign-language was from the beginning a substitution of similars for the purpose of expression by primitive or pre-verbal Man, who followed the animals in making audible sounds accompanied and emphasised by human gestures. The same system of thought and mode of utterance were continued in mythography and totemism. Renouf says the Scarabeus was "an object of worship in Egypt", as a symbol of divinity. But this is the modern error. If there was a God, and the Beetle was his symbol, obviously it was the divinity that was the object of worship, not the symbol: not the zootype. Ptah, we know, was that divinity, with the Beetle as a type; and those who read the types were worshippers of the God and not of his symbolic dung-beetle which was honoured as a sign of transformation. When told that the Egyptians were worshippers of the "Bee", the "Mantis", and the "Grasshopper", we recall the words of Hor-Apollo, who says that when the Egyptians would symbolise a mystic and one of the Initiated they delineate a Grasshopper because the insect does not utter sounds with its mouth, but makes a chirping by means of its spine. (B. 2, 55.) The grasshopper, then, which uttered a voice that did not come from its mouth, was a living type of superhuman power. And being an image of mystery and superhuman power, it was also considered a fitting symbol of Kagn, the Bushman Creator, or Great Spirit of creative mystery.
Moreover, the grasshopper made his music and revealed his mystery in dancing; and the religious mysteries of Kagn were performed with dancing or in the grasshopper's dance. Thus the Initiates in the mysteries of the Mantis are identical with the Egyptian Mystae symbolised by the grasshopper; and the dancing probably goes back to the time when pre-verbal man was an imitator of the grasshopper, which was a primitive type of mystery, like the transforming frog and the self-interring tortoise. There is a religious sect still extant in England who are known as the "Jumpers", and their saltatory exercises still identify them with the leaping "Grasshoppers" and the "praying Mantis" in the [Page 11] mysteries of old.
They still “dance that dance”. The “Moon belongs to the Mantis”, say the Bushmen, which goes to show that the Mantis was not only a Lunar type as the leaper round the horizon, but on account of its power of transformation; and this again suggests the reason why the Mantis should be the zootype of the Mystae who transformed in trance, as well as leaped and danced in the mysteries. The Frog and Grasshopper were earlier leapers than the Hare. These also were figures of the Moon that leaped up in a fresh place every night. It was this leaping up of the light that was imitated in the dances of the Africans who jumped for joy at the appearance of the New Moon which they celebrated in the monthly dance, as did the Congo Negroes and other denizens of the dark Continent who danced the primitive mysteries and dramatized them in their dances.The Leapers were the Dancers, and the leaping Mantis, the Grasshopper, the Frog,
the Hare, were amongst the pre-human prototypes.
The frog is still known in popular weather-wisdom as the prophesier of Rain. As such, it must have been of vastly more importance in the burning lands of Inner Africa, and there is reason to suppose that Hekat, the Consort of Khnum, the King of Frogs, was frog-headed, as the prophetess, or foreteller, on this ground of natural fact. Erman says the “great men of the South,” the “Privy Councillors of the royal orders were almost always invested – I know not why – with the office of Prophet of the frog-headed Goddess Hekat”. (Life in ancient Egypt, page 82. English Translation). The Frog was a prophet of rain in some countries, and of spring-time in others.In Egypt it was the prophet of the Inundation, hence Hekat was a Consort of Khnum, the Lord of Inundation, and King of the Frogs. Hekat was also the Seer by Night in the Moon, as well as the crier for the waters and foreteller of their coming. From her, as Seer in the dark, we
may derive the names of the Witch as the Hexe, the Hag, the Hagedisse; and also that of the dark Goddess Hecate, the sender of dreams. As prophesier of rain, or of the Inundation, it was the herald of new life to the land of Egypt, and this would be one reason for its relationship to the Resurrection. But, in making its transformation from the tadpole state to that of the frog, it was the figure of a still more important natural fact. This, in the Mythology, was applied to the transformation and renewal of the Moon, and to the transformation of the Mortal into an Immortal in the Eschatology, a type of Ptah, who in one form is portrayed as the frog-headed God.Lamps have been found in Egypt with the frog upon the upper part, and one is known which has the legend , “I am the Resurrection.”
(Lanzone, Dizionario, page 853; Budge, The Mummy, page 266) – In this figure the lamp is equivalent for the rising Sun, and the frog upon it is the type of Ptah, who in his solar character was the Resurrection and the life in the Mythology before the image passed into the Eschatology, and the God who rose again as Solar became the Light of the World in a Spiritual sense. The frog was a type of transformation, and the Frog-headed Ptah made his transformation in Amenta to rise again as the opener of the Nether Earth. And as he represented the Sun in Amenta, the frog, like the cynocephalus of Memphis (Rit., Ch. 42) was imaged as Golden. Thus we find the Sun in the lower Earth of two depicted in the Golden Frog, and, as stated by John Bell, the [Page 12] Lamas had an idea that the earth rested on a Golden Frog, and that when the Frog stretched out its foot there was an Earthquake. (“A Journey from St. Petersburgh to Pekin in the year 1719.” Pinkerton’s Voyages,v.7, page, 369) Here the frog beneath the earth, like the Tortoise, is Egyptian, and as such we can learn what fact in nature was represented by it as a zootype of Ptah in the Nether World called the Earth of Eternity, where the typical tadpole that swam the waters made its transformation into the frog that stretched itself out and set foot on land.
It is related in a Chinese legend that the lady, Mrs. Chang-ngo, obtained the drug of Immortality by stealing it from Si Wang Nu, the Royal Mother of the West. With this she fled to the Moon, and was changed into a Frog that is still to be seen on the surface of the orb. (Denny’s, Folk-Lore of China. P. 117). As Egyptian, the Mother of the West was the Goddess who received the setting Sun and reproduced its light. The immortal liquor is the Solar Light. This was stolen for the Moon. Chang-ngo is equivalent to the frog-headed Hekat who represented the resurrection. The frog in Egypt, was a sign of “myriads” as well as of transformation. In the Moon it would denote myriads of renewals when periodic
repetition was a mode of immortality. Hekat the frog-headed is the original Cinderella. She makes her transformation into Sati, the Lady of Light, whose name is written with an Arrow. Thus to mention only a few of the lunar types, the Goddess Hekat represented the moon and its transformation as the Frog. Taht and his Cynocephalus represented the man and his dog in the Moon. Osiris represented Lunar Light in his character of the Hare-headed Un-Nefer, the up-springing Hare in the Moon. These are Egyptian Zootypes to be read wherever found by means of the Egyptian Wisdom. Amongst other Hieroglyphic Signs in the Language of Animals, the Head of a Vulture signifies victory (doubtless because of the bird’s keen scent for blood). The sheathen claw is a determinative of peaceful actions. The hinder part of the Lioness denotes the great magical power. The Tail of the Crocodile is a sign for black and for darkness.
An Ape is the ideograph of rage and a fiery spirit, or spirit of fire. The sparrow is a type of physical evil because of its destructive nature in thieving corn – its name of “Tu-tu” signifies a kind of plague or affliction of the fields. (Birch) The Water-wagtail is a type of moral evil. This bird, as Wilkinson pointed out, is still called in Egypt the father of corruption (aboo fussad) It was regarded as the type of an impure or wicked person, on account of its insidious suggestiveness of immoral motion. The extent to which morals and philosophy were taught be means of these living object-pictures cannot now be measured, but the moralizing fables spoken as well as acted by the typical animals still offer testimony, and
language is full of phrases which continue the zootypes into the world of letters, as when the greedy, filthy man is called a hog, the grumpy man a bear, the cunning one a fox, the subtle and treacherous one a snake.
In the folk lore of various races the human Soul takes the form of a Snake, a Mouse, a Swallow, a Hawk, a Pigeon, a Bee, a Jackal, or other animal, each of which was an Egyptian zootype of some power or soul in Nature before there was any representation of the human Soul or Ancestral Spirit in the human form. Hence we are told that when twins are born the Batavians believe that one of the pair is a crocodile. Mr. Spencer accepts the “belief” and asks, “May we not conclude that twins, of whom one gained the name of crocodile, gave rise to the legend which originated this monstrous belief?” (Data of Sociology, ch. 22, par. 175). But all such representations are mythical and are not to be explicated by the theory of “monstrous belief.” It is a matter of Sign-Language. The Batavians knew as well as we do that no crocodile was ever born twin along with a human child. In this instance the poor things were asserting in their primitive way that Man is born with or as a Soul. This the gnosis enables us to prove. One of the earliest types of the Sun as a Soul of life in the water is a Crocodile. We see the Mother who brings forth a Crocodile when the Goddess Neith is portrayed in human shape as the suckler of the young crocodiles hanging at her breasts. Neith is the wet-nurse personified whose child was the young sun-god. As Sebek he was imaged by the Crocodile that emerged from the waters at sun-rise. Sebek was at once the child and the crocodile brought forth by the Great Mother in the mythology. And because the Crocodile had imaged a Soul of Life in water, as a superhuman power, it became a representative, in Sign-Language, of the human soul. We see this same type of a Soul in external nature applied to the human Soul in the
Book of the Dead, when Osiris in the Nether World exclaims, “I am the crocodile in the form of a man,” that is as a Soul of which the Crocodile had been a symbol, as Soul of the Sun. It was thus the Crocodile was born with the Child, as a matter of sign-language, not as a belief. The crocodile is commonly recognized by the Congo natives as a type of Soul. Miss Kingsley tells of a Witch-Doctor who administered emetics to certain patients and brought away young crocodiles. She relates that a Witch- Doctor had been opened after death, when a winged Lizard-like thing was found in his inside which Batanga said was his power. The power being another name for his Soul.
Mr. Spencer not only argues for the actuality of these “beliefs” concerning natural facts, supposed to have been held by primitive men and scientific Egyptians, which vanish with a true interpretation of the mythical mode of representation, he further insists that there seems to be, “ample justification for the belief that any kind of creature may be transformed into any other “ because of the metamorphosis observed in the insect world, or elsewhere. From which there resulted “the theory of metamorphosis in general” and the notion “that things of all kinds may suddenly change their forms,” man of course included. (Data, ch. 8, par. 55). But there was no evidence throughout all nature to suggest that any kind of creature could be transformed into any other kind. On the contrary, nature showed them that the frog was a tadpole continued; that the chrysalis was the prior status of the butterfly, and that the old Moon changed into a New. The transformation was visible and invariable, and the product of transformation was always the same kind. There was no sign of suggestion of an unlimited possibility in metamorphosis.
Neither was there ever a race of savages who did think or believe (in words of Mr. Spencer) [Page 14] ”that any kind of creature may be transformed into any other,”no more than there ever were boys who believed that any kind of bird could lay any other kind of bird’s egg. They are too good observers for any self-delusion as that.
Mythical representation did not begin with “stories of human adventure,” as Mr. Spencer puts it, nor with human figures at all, but with phenomena of external nature, that were represented by means of animals, birds, reptiles and insects, which had demonstrated the possession of superhuman faculties and powers.
The origin of various superstitions and customs seemingly insane can be traced to sign-language. In many parts of England it is thought necessary to “tell the Bees” when a death has occurred in the house, as to put the hives into mourning. The present writer has known the house-wife to sally forth into the garden with warming-pan and key and strips of crape to “tell the Bees,” lest they should take flight, when one of the inmates of the house died. We must seek an explanation for this in the symbolism of Egypt that was carried forth orally to the ends of the earth. The Bee was anciently a zootype of the Soul which was represented as issuing forth from the body in that form or under that type. There is a tradition that Bees alone of all animals descended from Paradise. In the Engadine, Switzerland, it is said that the Souls of men go forth from this world and return to it in the form of Bees. Virgil, in the Fourth Book of the Georgics, celebrates the Bee that never dies, but ascends alive into heaven. That is the typical Bee which has an image of the Soul. It was the Soul, as Bee, that alone ascended into heaven or descended from thence. The Bee is certainly one form of the Egyptian Abait, or Bird-fly, which is a guide and pilot to the Souls of the dead on their way to the fields of Aarru. It was a figure of Lower Egypt as the land of honey, thence a fitting guide to the celestial fields of the Aarru-Paradise. It looks as if the name for the Soul, Ba, in Egyptian, may be identical with our word Bee. Ba, is honey determined by the Bee-sign, and Ba is also the Soul. The Egyptians made use of honey as a means of embalming the dead. Thus the
Bee, as a zootype of the Soul, became a messenger of the dead and a mode of communication with the ancestral Spirits. Talking to the Bees in this language was like speaking with the Spirits of the dead, and, as it were, commending the departed one to the guidance of the Bees, who as honey gatherers naturally knew the way to the Elysian fields and the meads of Amaranth that flowed with milk and honey. The type is confused with the Soul when the Bee is invoked as follows:– “almost as if requesting the Soul of the departed to watch forever over the living”:–
“ Bienchen, unser Herr ist todt,
Verlass mich nicht in meiner Noth.”
(Gubernatis, Zoological Mythy., v. 2, page 218) In the Ritual the Abait (as Bee or Bird-fly) is the conductor of Souls to the celestial fields. When the Deceased is asked who conducted him thither, he replies, “It was the Abait-deity who conducted me.” He also exclaims. “Hail to thee, who fliest up to heaven to give light to the stars.” (Ch. 76. Renouf). Here the Bee or Bird-fly is a Solar type, and that which represented the ascending sun in the mythology [Page 15] became a type of the Soul in the eschatology. Thus the inventor of honey in this world led the way to the fields of flowers in the next.
Modern popular superstition to a large extent is the ancient symbolism in its second childhood. Here is a case in point. The Cock having been a representative of Soul or Spirit, it is sure to be said that the human Soul has entered the Cock by a kind of re-incarnation. Hence we read a legacy left to a Fowl by a wealthy lady named Silva, of Lisbon, who held that the Soul of her dead husband survived in a Cock.
(Daily Mail, May 26th, 1892). So it has been with the zootypes of other elemental souls that were continued for the human soul, from the Crocodile of the Batavians to the Red Mouse of the Germans.
Folk-lore is full of fables that originated in this language of signs.
The Jackal in the Egyptian representation is the guide of the Sun upon his pathway in Amenta, who takes up the young child-Horus in his arms to carry him over the waters. In the Hottentot prototype the Jackal finds the Sun in the form of a little child, and takes him upon his back to carry him. When the Sun grew hot the Jackal shook himself and said “Get down.” But the Sun stuck fast and burnt the Jackal, so that he has a long black stripe down his back to this day.(Bleek,Reynard,p.67). The same tale is told of the Coyote or Prairie-dog, who takes the place of the jackal in the mythical legends of the Red Men. In the Ritual the Jackal who carried Horus, the young Sun-god, had become the bearer and supporter of Souls.
In passing the place where the Dead fall into darkness, the Osiris says, “Apuat raiseth me up.” (Ch. 44)
And when the overwhelming waters of the Deluge burst forth, he rejoices, saying, “Anup is my bearer,” (Rit. Ch. 64). Here as elsewhere, the mythical type extant with the earlier Africans had passed into the eschatology of the Egyptians.
The eternal contest betwixt the powers of light and darkness is also represented in the African folk-tales.
The Hare (or rabbit) Kalulu and the Dzimwi are two of the contending characters. The Hare, as in Egypt, is typical of the Good Power, and no doubt is a zootype of the young up-springing Moon. The Dzimwi is the Evil Power, like Apap, the Giant, the Ogre, the Swallower of the waters or the light.(Werner, “African Folk-lore) Contemp. Rev. September, 1896). It is very cunning, but in the end is always outwitted by the Hare. When the Dzimwi kills or swallows the Hare’s Mother it is the Dragon of darkness, or Eclipse, devouring the Lunar light. The Moon-mythos is indefinitely older than the Solar, and the earliest slayer of the Dragon was Lunar, the mother of the Young Child of Light. Here she is killed by the Dzimwi. Then Kalulu comes with barbed arrow with which he pierces the Dzimwi through the heart. This is the battle of Ra and Apap, or Horus and Sut, in the most primitive form, when as yet the powers were rendered nonanthropomorphically.
Again, the Monkey who is transformed into a man is a prototype of the Moon-god Taht, who is a Dog-headed Ape in one character and a man in another. A young person refuses several husbands. A Monkey then comes along. The beast takes the skin off his body, and is changed into a Man. To judge [Page 16] from the Egyptian mythos, the young person was Lunar, and the Monkey changing into a Man is Lunar likewise. One of the two won the Lady of Light in the Moon. This was the Monkey that became a Man, as did the bear in “Beauty and the Beast.” In another tale obviously Luni-
Solar, that is with the Sun and Moon as the characters, a girl (that is the Moon) refused a husband (that is the Sun). Thereupon she married a Lion; that is a Solar type. In other words, the Moon and Sun were married in Amenta. This tale is told with primitive humor. When the wedded pair were going to bed she would not undress unless he let her cut off his tail. For this remained un-metamorphosed when he transformed into a Man. “When she found out that he was a lion, she ran away from that husband.” So in a Hindu story a young woman refuses to marry the Sun because he is too fiery-hot. Even in the American Negro stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Wolf, and Brer Terrapin the original characters of the typical animals are still preserved as they were in the Egyptian mythology when divinised. The Turtle or Tortoise, the wise and sagacious one, is the hider; the Fox, like the Jackal, Anup, is the cunning one. The Wolf is the swallower, and the rabbit equates with the Hare, a type of the Good Osiris or of the African Kalulu.
Any number of current superstitions are the result of ignorance concerning the Ancient Wisdom, and one of the worst results bequeathed to us by the past is to be found in our customs of cruelty to dumb animals. These poor victims have had to suffer frightfully for the very service which they once rendered to man as primitive types of expression in Sign-Language. In the Persian and Hebrew laws of Clean and Unclean, many of the animals and birds that were once held sacred in Egypt for their symbolic value are there condemned as unclean, to be cast out with curses; and so the real animals became the outcasts of the mental world, according to the later religion, in the language of letters which followed and superseded the carven hieroglyphics of the earlier time. The Ass has been a shameful sufferer from the part it played in the primitive typology. Beating and kicking the ass used to be a Christian sport practised up and down
the aisles of Christian churches, the ass being a cast-out representative of an old Hebrew, and still older Egyptian deity.
The cat is another sufferer for the same reason. The cat sees by night, and was adopted as a type of the Moon that saw by night and kept watch in the dark. Now, witches are seers and foreseers, and whenever they were persecuted and hounded to death the cat suffered with them, because she had been the type and symbol of preter-human sight. These were modes of casting out the ancient fetish-images initiated and enforced by the priesthood of a later faith. In Egypt, as Hor-Apollo tells us, the figure of a mouse signified a disappearance. Now, see how cruelly the little animal has been treated because it was a type of disappearance. It was, and may be still, an English custom to charm away disease by making a hole in the shrew-ash or witch-elm tree and shutting up a live shrew-mouse in it. In immuring the mouse in the
bole of the tree, the disappearing victim typified or [Page 17] enacted the desired disappearance of the disease. That which had been a symbol in the past is now made use of alive in performing a symbolical action in the present.
Much misery has been caused to human beings as well as animals through the misapplication of certain mythical, that is symbolical characters. Plutarch tells us how the evil Sut (or Typhon) was humiliated and insulted by the Egyptians at certain festivals, “when they abuse red-haired men and tumble an ass down a precipice because Typhon was red-haired and like an ass in complexion.” ( Ch. 30). The fact is also notorious in Europe that an evil character has been commonly ascribed to red-haired persons, with no known warrant whatever from nature. They suffer for the symbol. Now for the origin of the symbol, according to the Egyptian Wisdom. Sut, the treacherous opponent of Horus (Osiris in the later mythos), was the Egyptian Judas. He betrayed his brother to his enemies the Sebau. He was of red complexion.
Hence the Red Ass and the red-haired people were his types. But the complexion and red hair of Sut were not derived from any human origin. Sut was painted red, yellowish, or sandy, as representative of the desert. He was the original devil in the wilderness, the cause of drought, and the creator of thirst. As the Hippopotamus, Sut, like Apt the Mother, was of a red complexion. As the betrayer of his brother Osiris, Sut was brought on with the Jesus-legend in the character of Judas, the traitor; hence in the Miracle-plays and out-of-door customs, Judas true to the Sut-Typhonian tradition, is always red-haired or wears a red wig. Thus, in our pictures of the past the typical traitor still preserves his proper hue, but in the belief of the ignorant the clue is lost and the red-haired people come to be the Viva Effigies of Sut, the Egyptian Judas, as a human type of evil.
Folk-lore in many lands is the final fragmentary form in which the ancient wisdom – the Wisdom of old Egypt – still survives as old wives’ fables, parables, riddles, allegorical sayings, and superstitious beliefs, consecrated by the ignorance which has taken the place of primitive knowledge concerning the mythical mode of representation; and from lack of the lost key, the writers on this subject have become the sheerest tale-bearers whose gossip is full of scandal against primitive and ancient man. But not in any land or language can the Märchen tell us anything directly concerning themselves. They have lost the memory of their meaning. It is only in the Mythos that we can ascertain their original relationship to natural fact and learn that the people who repeat the folk-tales were not always natural fools. It is only in the Egyptian Wisdom that the key is to be found.
On of the most universal of the Folk-Tales which are the débris of Mythology is that of the Giant who had no heart (or spark or soul) in his body. The Apap-Dragon, in Africa, was the first of all the Giants who has no heart in his body, no root in reality, being as he is only the representation of non-existence, drought, darkness, death and negation. To have no heart in the body is an Egyptian expression for lack of understanding and want of nous. As it is said in the Anastasi Papyri of the Slave who is driven with a stick and beaten like the Ass, “He has indeed no heart in his body.” It was this [Page 18] lack of intelligence that made the Giant of the Märchen such a big blundering booby, readily out-witted by clever little Jack, Horus or Petit Yorge, the youthful Solar God; and so easily cajoled by the fair princess of Lunar Lady who is held a captive in his dungeon underground. In one of the Tartaro-Legends told in Basque the Hero fights “a body without a soul.” When the monster is coming it is said of him “ he is about to come, this horrible body without a soul.” In another tale the seven-headed serpent, Heren-Suge, bemoans his fate that he hasn’t “a spark betwixt his head and tail”; if he had he would burn up Petit Yorge, his lady, his horse, and his terrible dog. In this version the Monster is a serpent equivalent to the Apap-Reptile or Dragon of drought and darkness, which in the Kamite mythos has no soul in its body, because it is an image of darkness and negation.
Most of the characters and localities, the scenery and imagery of these Märchen belong to the Egyptian Mythos. The Lake is also African, as the typical great water of those who had never seen the Ocean. It remained the same type with the Egyptians after they did know the Great Green Water of the Mediterranean Sea. In such ways they have preserved their proofs of the Inner African beginnings with an adamantine unchangeableness. The lake of the Goose or Duck is referred to in the Ritual. (Ch. 109) The Sun was imaged as a Golden Egg laid by the Duck or Goose. The hill or island standing in the lake is the Earth considered as a Mount of the Double Earth in the Kamite Eschatology. The Snake or Dragon in the Lake, or coiling about the Mount or round the Tree, is the Apap-Reptile in the Water of Darkness who coils about the Hill at Sunset (Rit. Ch., 108) or attacks the Tree of Life which is an image of the Dawn, the Great Green Sycamore of Hathor. Earth itself was imaged as a Goose that rested on the Nun or the Waters of Space. This was the ancient Mother Goose that every morning laid her Golden Egg. The Sun sinking down into the underworld is described in the Ritual as “the Egg of the Great Cackler”: “ The Egg which Seb hath parted from the earth.” (Rit., ch. 54) The Giant with no heart or Soul is a figure of Darkness as the devouring Monster with no Sun (or Soul) in his body. Hence the heart or Soul that was hidden in the Tree, or in the Egg of the Bird far away. The Sun is the Egg that was laid by the Goose of Earth that brought forth the Golden Egg. This Soul of the Giant, Darkness, was not the personal soul of any human being whatsoever, and the only link of relationship is when the same image of a Soul in the Egg is applied to the Manes in the dark of death. The Soul of the Sun in the Egg is the Soul of Ra in the underworld of Amenta; and when the Sun issues from the Egg (as a hawk) it is the death of Darkness the Monster.
Our forebears and forerunners were not so far beside themselves as to believe that if they had a Soul at all, it was outside of their own bodies hidden somewhere in a tree, in a bird, in an egg, in a hare, in a duck, a crocodile, or any other zootype that never was supposed to be the dwelling of the human Soul. In the Basque story of Marlbrook the Monster is slain by being struck on the forehead with an egg that was found in a Pigeon, that was found in a Fox, that was [Page 19] found in a terrible Wolf in a forest.
(Webster, p. 83). However represented, it was the Sun that caused the Monster’s death. So in the Norse Tales the Troll or Ogre bursts at sight of dawn, because his death was in the Solar orb that is represented by the Kamite Egg of the Goose. The Giant of darkness is inseparable from the young hero or the solar God who rises from Amenta as his valiant conqueror. These being the two irreconcilable enemies, as they are in the Ritual, it follows that the Princess who finally succeeds in obtaining the Giant’s secret concerning the hiding place of his heart in the egg of a bird is the Lunar Lady in Amenta who, as Hathor, was the Princess by name when she had become the daughter of Ra. She outwits the Apap, who is her swallower at the time of the eclipse, and conveys the secret knowledge to the youthful solar hero who
overcomes the Giant by crushing his heart in the egg. In fighting with the Monster, the Basque Hero is endowed with the faculty of transforming into a Hawk! The Hawk says to him – “When you wish to make yourself a Hawk, you will say, “Jesus Hawk,” and you will be a Hawk.” The Hawk of Jesus takes the place of the Horus-Hawk, just as the name of Malboro is substituted for that of the Hero who is elsewhere Petit Yorge = Little Horus. (Webster, Basque Legends, p. 80-83) Horus, like the hero of these tales, is human on earth, and he transforms into the Hawk when he goes to fight the Apap-Monster in Amenta. In the Basque version the human hero transforms into a Hawk, or, as it is said, “the young Man made himself a hawk,” just as the human Horus changed into the Golden Hawk: and then flew away with the Princess clinging firmly to his neck. And here the Soul that was in the egg is identified as the Hawk itself. At least it
is when the egg is broken with the blow struck by the Princess on the Giant’s forehead that the Hero makes his transformation into the Hawk. In the mythology it was the bird of earth that laid the egg, but in the eschatology when the egg is hatched it is the Bird of Heaven that rises from it as the Golden Hawk.
The Hawk of the Sun is especially the Egyptian Bird of Soul, although the Dove or pigeon also was a type of the Soul that was derived from Hathor. In the Märchen the Duck takes the place of the Goose. But these are co-types in the mythos.
In the Egyptian, Horus pierces the Apap-Dragon in the eye and pins his head to the earth with a lance.
The mythical mode of representation went on developing in Egypt, keeping in touch with the advancing arts. The weapon of the Basque Hero was earlier than the lance or spear of Horus; it is a stake of wood made red-hot. With this he pierces the huge monster in the eye and burns him blind. The Greek version of this is too well known to call for repetition here, and the Basque lies nearer to the original Egyptian. It is more important to identify the eye and the blazing stake. Horus, the young Solar God, is slayer of the Apap by piercing him in the eye. The Apap is the Giant, the Dragon, the serpent of darkness, and the eye of Apap was thought of as the eye of a serpent that was huge enough to coil round the mountain of the world, or about the Tree of Life and Light which had its rootage in the nether earth. This, on the horizon, was the Tree of dawn. The stake is a reduced form of the tree that was figured in the green of dawn. The
typical tree was a weapon of the [Page 20] ancient Horus who is described as fighting Sut with a branch of palm, which also is a reduced form of the tree. The tree of dawn upon the horizon was the weapon of the solar God with which he pierced the dragon of darkness and freed the mountain of earth and the Princess in Amenta from its throttling, crushing, reptilinear coils. This tree conventionalized in the stake made red-hot in the furnace, formed the primitive weapon with which Horus or Ulysses or the Tartaro put out the Monster’s eye, and pierced the serpent’s head to let forth the waters of light once more and to free the lady from her prison in the lower world. When the Apap-Monster in the cave of darkness was personified in something like the human shape, the Giant as reptile in the earliest representation passed into the Giant as a Monster in the form of a magnified man called the Cyclops and named Polyphemus.
In one of the African Folk-Tales the little hero Kalulu slays the monster by thrusting a red-hot boulder down the devourer’s throat. This is a type of the red-hot solar orb which the Power of darkness tried to swallow, and thus put out the light.
The lunar lady, as well as the solar hero, is the dragon-slayer in the Basque legends. In one of these, the loathly reptile lies sleeping with his head in the lap of the beautiful lady. The hero descends to her assistance in the Underworld. She tells him “be off.” - “The Monster“ has only three-quarters of an hour to sleep”, she says, “and if he wakes it is all over with you and me”. It is the Lunar Lady who worms the great secret out of the Monster concerning his death, when he confesses where his heart lies hidden. “At last, at last,” he tells her, “you must kill a terrible wolf which is in the forest, and inside of him is a fox, and in the fox is a pigeon; this pigeon has an egg in its head, and whoever should strike me on the forehead with this egg would kill me.” The Hero, having become a hawk, secures the egg and brings it to the “young lady,” and having done his part hands over the egg and says to her, “At present it is your turn; act alone” Thus it appears that the egg made use of by the Prince to kill the Giants is the Sun, and that made use by the Princess was the Lunar orb. Here we have “the egg of the sun and the moon” which Ptah is said to have moved in the Beginning. “She strikes the Monster as he had told her, and he falls stark dead.” (Webster, “Malbrouk”). The Dragon was known in Britain as the typical cause of drought and the devourer of nine maidens who had gone to fetch water from the spring before he was slain by Martin.
These are representative of nine New-Moons renewed at the source of light in the Nether World. Dr. Plott, in his History of Cambridgeshire, (p 349) mentions the custom at Burford of making a dragon annually and “carrying it up and down the town in great jollity, on Midsummer Eve, to which he says, not knowing for what reason, “they added a Giant.” (Brand, “Midsummer Eve”). Both the Dragon and the Giant signified the same Monster that swallowed the water and devoured the givers of light, lunar or solar, the dragon being a zoomorphic type and the Giant hugely anthropomorphic. Instead of saying nine Moons passed into the dark, as a mode of reckoning the months, it might be said, that Nine Maidens were devoured by the Dragon of darkness. The Myth originated when Darkness was the devouring Giant and the weapon of the warrior was a stone that imaged the Solar orb. In the [Page 21] contest of the young and ruddy hero David with the Giant Goliath the Hebrew Version of the Folk-Tale still retains the primitive feature of the stone.
We know the universal Monster of the Evil reptile of the Dark, for ever warring with the Light, that also drinks the water which is the life of vegetation, as the Fiery Dragon of Drought. But there is a very primitive version extant amongst the Australian aborigines, the Andaman Islanders, and the red men, in which a gigantic Frog drinks up all the waters in the world. Here the Frog plays the part of the Apapmonster that swallows the waters at sundown and is pierced and cut in pieces coil by coil to set them flowing freely at the return of day, either by the Hawk of Ra or the Cat or by Horus, the anthropomorphic hero. In the Andaman version of the conflict between the bird of Light and the Devil of Darkness the waters are drunk up and withheld by a big Toad. An Iroquois or Huron form of this mythical representation also shows the devouring monster as a gigantic Frog that drank up all the water of the world. The
Aborigines of Lake Tyers likewise relate that once on a time there was no water anywhere on the surface of the whole earth. This had all been drunk up and was concealed in the body of a monstrous Frog. The Dragon of the waters, is also a denizen of the Holy well in Britain; and here again the evil power of drought and darkness is represented by the Devil in the form of a Frog as presiding spirit of the water. In the well on the Devil’s Causeway between Ruckley and Acton there is supposed to be a huge Frog which represents the devil, that is, the hostile power of drought. The proper time for the malevolent Frog to be seen would be when the Well was dried up in times of great drought, hence he is but seldom seen in a rainy climate like ours. (Burne, Shropshire Folklore, p. 428). The Frog still suffers even in this
“enlightened land” of ours for supplying a zootype of the Evil Power. It is yet a provincial sport for country louts to “hike the Toad,” that is by jerking it high in the air from the end of a plank as a mode of appealing to Heaven for rain and the kind of weather they wanted. Even so, poor Froggy has to walk the plank and suffer in the present for having been a representative in the past of the Monster that drank up all the water. The Orinoco Indians used to keep Toads in vessels, not to worship them, but to have them at hand as representatives of the Power that drank up the Water or kept back the rain; and in time of drought the Toads were beaten to procure the much-desired rain. (Bastian).
In various countries the Monster of the Dark was represented by an animal entirely black. This in Egypt was the black Boar of Sut. And what these customs signified according to the Wisdom of Egypt they mean elsewhere. When the Timorese are direfully suffering from lack of rain, they offer up a black Pig as a sacrifice. The Black Pig was slain just as Apap was pierced because it imaged the dark power that once withheld the waters of day and now denies the rain, or the Water of Life. In Sumatra it is the black Cat that typifies the inimical Power which withholds the rain. Women go naked or nearly so to the river, and wade in it as a primitive mode of sacrifice or solicitation. Then a black Cat is thrown into the Water and forced to swim for its life, like the Witch in the European custom. [Page 22] The Black Goat, the Black Pig, and the Black Cat are all Typhonian types of the same symbolic value as the Black Boar of Sut or the Apap-Dragon. In each case the representative of the dark and evil Power was slain or thrown into the water as a propitiation to the beneficent Power that gave the rain. Slaying the type of Drought was a means of fighting against the Power of evil and making an appeal to the Good Spirit. It was a primitive mode of Casting out Satan, the Adversary, in practical Sign-Language.
The giant or ogre of mythology was a result of humanizing the animal types. At first the Apap-reptile rose up vast, gigantic, as the swallowing darkness or devouring dragon. This when humanized, became the giant, the magnified non-natural ogre of a man that takes the monster’s place in later legendary lore. The Apap-dragon coiled about the mount was the keeper of the treasures in the nether-world. So is it with the giant. In “Jack the Giant-Killer,” it is said “the mount of Cornwall was kept by a huge giant named Cormoran.” Jack, our little solar hero, asked what reward would be given to the man who killed Cormoran. “The giant’s treasure,” they told him, would be the reward. Quoth Jack, “ Then let me undertake it.” After he had slain the giant, Jack went to search the cave, which answers to Amenta in the lower earth, in which the treasure was concealed. This was the treasure of light and water that had been hidden by the giant in his lair.
The Aryan fairy-tales and folk-tales can be unriddled in the Kamite mythos which was based on the phenomena of external nature. It is the Moon, for instance, who was a woman one half the time and a frog or serpent during the other half. In the first character she was Sati, the lady of light. In the second half of the lunation she was the frog that swam the waters of the nether earth and made her transformation as Hekat in Amenta. Some writers have denounced the savage brutality and obscenity of those whom they look upon as the makers of mythology. But in all this they have been spitting beside the mark. Moreover, the most repulsive aspects do not belong to mythology proper, but are mainly owing to the decadence and degradation of the matter in the Märchen. Also to the change which the mythos suffered in passing from the zoomorphic mode of representation. There is neither morality nor immorality so long as the phenomena are non-human and the drama is performed by the primitive actors. But when the characters are humanized or divinised, in human form the re-cast may be fatal to the mythical meaning; primitive simplicity is apparently converted into senseless absurdity, and the drama of the nature-powers turned into a masquerade of monsters. Plutarch will furnish us with an illustration which these idiotai might have selected for an example. When speaking of the elder Horus who “came into the world before his time” as the phantom-forerunner of the true light, he says that Osiris had accompanied with Isis (his spouse) after her decease. Which looks very ominous for the morals of the “Myth-makers”
who could ascribe such immorality to their Gods. Is it not a fair deduction from a datum like that to infer that the Egyptians were accustomed to cohabit with the corpses of their dead women? Obviously that is one of the possible implications. Especially as Osiris, according to Spencer, was once a man! [Page 23]
But now for an explanation on the plain ground of natural fact. Isis, in one character, was the Mother - Moon, the reproducer of the light in Amenta; the place of conjunction and of re-begettal by the Sun-god, when Osiris entered the Moon, and she became the Woman who was clothed with the Sun. At the end of a lunation the old Moon died and became a corpse – it is at times portrayed as a mummy – in the underworld, and there it was revivified by Osiris, the solar fecundator of the Moon who was the Mother that brought forth the child of light, the “Cripple-deity” that was naturally enough begotten in the dark.
(Plutarch). But worse still. When Osiris lay helpless and breathless in Amenta with a “Corpse-like face” (Rit., ch., lxxiv) – his two wives who are likewise his daughters came to co-habit with him, and raise him from the dead, or re-erect him like, and as, the Tat. It is said of Isis she “raised the remains of the God of the resting heart and extracted his seed to beget an heir,” or to make him human by reincarnation in the flesh. (Hymn to Osiris, Records, line 16, p. 102, Volume Iv., first series; Volume Iv., p. 21, second series).
In this phase it is the female who cohabits with the Corpse of the dead Male. But in neither were the actors of the drama human, although they are humanized in the Märchen. The Mythos is repeated and applied in a Semitic Folk-Tale when Lot’s two Daughters are “with Child by their father.” (Gen., xix, 36).
The difference being that Osiris as father in the Mysteries of Amenta was dead at the time, whereas in the irresponsible Märchen, Lot is represented as dead-drunk.