Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hathor help me

i am weak,
Hathor help me.
i stand alone,
Hathor help me.
i can't do this alone,
Hathor help me.
temptation stalks me,
Hathor help me.

lady of gold,
mother of eternity.
sweet sweet aroma,
i am humbled in your presence.
the darkness overwhelms me,
but is no match for your beauty bright.
take me into your ascendence,
light my way.

i am weak,
Hathor help me.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

scent of a woman

Hail to thee, Lady of Fragrance,
Great Sekhmet, Sovereign Lady
Worshiped one,
Serpent who is upon her father…
Your rays illumine the Two Lands,
The two Regions are beneath your sway.

Al Pacino's performance as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in the movie "Scent of a Woman" is one of my favourites of all time. This blog entry will not be about the movie but instead will be about Hathor, the greatest goddess to come out of Egypt.

Until the Late Period Hathor was the only goddess to possess temples of her own throughout the country, with a major sanctuary as the goddess of the southern sycamore at Memphis.
Ancient Egyptian Religion, Stephen Quirke, page 126

I cannot do justice to Hathor in a blog entry so it is necessary to concentrate on an aspect of the great lady, and that aspect I wish to write about is the Lady of Fragrance. First let's examine the name Hathor and get a handle on its meaning. The ancient Egyptians called Hathor Hwt-Har. Hwt means house and Har is referring to Horus; Horus being the enlightened ba who is destined to become a glorious, imperishable, and transfigured soul. House of Horus could mean that Hathor represents the abode of Horus in the sky and as the Lady of Turquoise Hathor plays that role. However the Pharaoh of Egypt, known as the living Horus, is said to be the son of Hathor. As I've mentioned before Horus is also the son of Isis. Were the ancient Egyptians confused or did they have disparate beliefs that were melded into an official religion that then had to account for Horus having multiple mothers? I've read a few books by Egyptologists that say that is the case. However what does 'house' mean in this regard. We live in a house so sure it can mean a dwelling place but we also know from the royalty we studied in history class that house can mean a dynasty or a genealogy such as the "House of Windsor" or the "House of Saud". This meaning is rather enlightening then. Horus then becomes the offspring of the line of gods and goddesses of which Hathor is the matriarch.

Hathor, being the consort of Re, is responsible for the Ennead of Iunu (Heliopolis). Shu (air/light), Tefnut (moisture/heat), Geb (earth), Nut (sky), Osiris (Ba/soul) and then Isis (womb of the incarnated Ba/spiritual mother), who gives birth to Horus in the material plane, are the direct ancestors of Horus.

Are you Horus, son of Osiris? Are you the god, the eldest one, the son of Hathor? Are you the seed of Geb?
The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, R.O. Faulkner, Utterance 303, Paragraph 466

Hathor is the mother of the Ennead and therefore the great mother of the all important Horus. The ancient Egyptians rather than being confused about who was the mother of Horus, were in giving Horus two mothers, being clear of his origins. The confusion of Isis-Hathor is a product of modern scholars attempting to make sense of something for which they do not as of yet have a complete understanding. The same could be said about the Greeks and their propagation of a Hellenistic Isis that embodies all the attributes of the great goddesses of ancient Egypt. 

With that out of the way, let's investigate my aromatic mistress! Hathor is present at all scenes of birth and death in ancient Egypt. To the ancient Egyptians there was no real death or finality in the way we would think of death. Death was a re-birth or a changing of state. The soul is entombed in matter in the west mirroring the sun's descent into the waters in the evening and the soul is re-born in the east as is the sun on the occasion of our material death in the west when we give up the ghost; ghost being our word for the ancient Egyptians' concept of the life force which they called ka.

The truth is seen by those who travel in the sun-boat through the gateways of the raging-beneficent goddess in the night. And it is seen by the ritualists in the temple when they extinguish their flames  for the ancestral dead in the Ancestor Ritual and utter their great prayer of trust in the returning goddess. Glittering in the dawning sky, she is praised both by the living on earth and by those in the Dwat, the goddess who brings to birth a new world at dawn. A glorious moment of cosmic unity is experienced as these worlds of the living and the dead merge and meet in the ninth hour of the night.
It is important to realize that Hathor herself manifests differently in this crucial transition zone, depending on whether she is to be seen as a night or day goddess. From the perspective of those living on earth in the daytime cycle, she appears bearing the young sun child in her womb, nurturing his Ka-life in the secrecy of the eastern horizon. To those Bas making their night journey through the Dwat she appears as the celestial cow of the starry night heavens, the returning Eye goddess emerging from the Western mountain wearing her symbolic menit-necklace of attraction, the vital goddess of desire, through whom life is continually born anew at the close of the night.
My Heart My Mother, Death and Rebirth in Ancient Egypt, Alison Roberts, pages 182 to 184.

The ancient Egyptians traded extensively with the semitic Phoenician city state of Byblos, known in those days as Gubla/Gebal. Today it is the city of Jubayl in modern Lebanon. The inhabitants of Byblos worshipped a goddess, Astarte, who they would refer to as Ba'alat which means Lady. This Queen of Heaven was the Phoenician Goddess of Love and Fertility and equated with the planet Venus. Venus and Aphrodite being of course Roman and Greek iterations of Hathor. A cylinder seal from Byblos shows Ba'alat with Hathor hair, wearing the headdress of Hathor as well. Other representations of Ba'alat show her with a uraeus on her forehead and in another she is said to be "beloved of Hathor".

The Hebrew word for frankincense is lebona, which means pure or white and describes both the visual attributes of frankincense as well as the area, white snow capped mountains of Lebanon, where it is grown. The resin that flows from the frankincense bush is milky white.  

Since ancient times, frankincense resin has been used to manufacture incense, cosmetics, and perfumes. Arabian women still burn frankincense to perfume their bodies, in particular the vulva (Martinetz et al. 1989). This not only lends them a more pleasant scent but also is said to make them more erotic.

In the book of Jeremiah 44:17 (King James Version) we read Jeremiah commenting on the idolatrous practises of the cities of Judah in relation to our Queen of Heaven:

But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goes forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of food, and were well-off, and saw no evil.
Hathor would welcome the newly dead with food and drink, her role being one of an oasis in the hostile desert. There were also wild celebrations of food and drink at Hathor's Festival of Drunkenness that would occur shortly after the cyclical inundation of the Nile in mid-late summer.

The Lady of Fragrance was also connected to the aromatic myrrh which was highly prized in ancient Egypt. Queen Hatshepsut pictorially presents to us at her temple in Deir el-Bahri an expedition to the land of Punt in year 9 of her reign to procure among other things myrrh, frankincense and gold that were pleasing to the Mistress of Punt, Hathor.   

Hatshepsut's devotion to Hathor is shown in the chapel of Hathor at the site where she dances before Hathor as well as suckling an udder of Hathor.

"the best of myrrh is upon all her [Hatshepsut's] limbs, her fragrance is divine dew, her odour is mingled with that of Punt."
Ancient Records of Egypt, J.H. Breasted, Vol. 2, pg.274

The Online Etymological Dictionary gives the history of the word myrrh as such:


Old English myrre, from Latin myrrha, from Greek myrrha, from a Semitic source (confer Akkadian murru, Hebrew mor, Arabic murr "myrrh"), from a root meaning "was bitter."

From this we can take the greek word 'myrrha' and investigate its origin. Myrrha is a goddess also known in greek as Smyrna. She is the mother of Adonis, the result of an incestuous relationship with her father. Her father Cinyras was tricked by Myrrha into sexual intercourse and this enraged him. He pursues Myrrha intent on killing her until Myrrha petitions the gods to intervene. They turn her into a myrrh tree. The child Adonis would then eventually be slain by a wild boar, echoing the story of Osiris and Set (The ka killing the ba again.) The legend of Adonis harkens back to the Phoenician Adon, the son of Ba'alat. The theme of incest is also present in the kingship of ancient Egypt as the Pharaoh, who is the living Horus, must impregnate his mother Hathor as Kamutef, the bull of his mother, in order to engender his next incarnation as Pharaoh in the cyclical legitimacy of kingship.

The theme of incest that is connected here between Hathor and Myrrha reminds me of the story of Lot in the Bible - Genesis 19: 30-38. Lot is tricked by his two daughters who get him drunk one night and then are impregnated by their father in order to continue their bloodline. The justification would then be that the bloodline was too important to let perish so the act was condoned and tolerated. I'm more interested in the name Lot here. I've commented in this blog space before on the many inversions of ancient myths that are present in the Bible. This is another one of them.  Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary gives us this information concerning Myrrh:

Another word lot is also translated “myrrh” (Gen. 37:25; 43:11; Revised Version, marginal note, “or ladanum”). What was meant by this word is uncertain. It has been thought to be the chestnut, mastich, stacte, balsam, turpentine, pistachio nut, or the lotus. It is probably correctly rendered by the Latin word ladanum, the Arabic ladan, an aromatic juice of a shrub called the Cistus or rock rose, which has the same qualities, though in a slight degree, of opium, whence a decoction of opium is called laudanum. This plant was indigenous to Syria and Arabia.

Lot is translated from myrrh! There is also the claim that myrrh can also refer to the lotus. The Online Etymological Dictionary says this about the lotus:


1540s, from Latin lotus, from Greek lotos, name used for several plants before it came to mean Egyptian white lotus (a sense attested in English from 1580s); perhaps from a Semitic source (confer Hebrew lot "myrrh"). 

There's the connection to lot again. Why stop now, let's look up the name Lot from some trusted Bible sources:

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary 
Lotan, wrapt up; hidden; covered; myrrh; rosin

King James Dictionary
Portion; destiny; fate.The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my LOT. (Psalm 16:5)

Hitchcock's dictionary gives us the myrrh connection again and the King James dictionary gives us an interesting definition of the name connecting it to fate and destiny.

In ancient Egypt it was said that whenever a child was born the seven Hathors would be present to announce the fate of the child. It was believed that these ladies could exchange a prince born to ill-fortune with a child with a better fated outlook on life.

One other epithet of Hathor I'd like to mention now is "The Golden One".

Much farther north in Middle Egypt, and thus closer to the royal capital at Memphis, was the town of Kusae, where Hathor was the chief deity as Lady of Kusae, at least from the early Middle Kingdom. The great tombs belonging to local princes at Meir testify to their devotion to this goddess, who was also referred to there by a priestess's text as The Gold. 
The Great Goddesses of Egypt, Barbara S. Lesko, page 96

In a private tomb from the reign of Thutmose III, the owner praises Hathor as the very sun itself: "When you rise you come in peace. One is drunken because of your beautiful face, O Gold, O Hathor!"
The Great Goddesses of Egypt, Barbara S. Lesko, page 109

You may have guessed now why I've included the veneration of Hathor as 'The Gold' along with her fragrant attributes. It is getting close to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ. I had mentioned earlier that Hathor is present at all scenes of birth and death and this is one birth the Great Lady wouldn't miss for the world. The story goes that the wise men bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Now we know what the real symbolism is behind these gifts.

We are a week away from Christmas so why stop now? Let's look at chapter 2, verse 1 to 11 of the Book of Matthew (King James Version):

1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
 3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
 5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
 6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
 7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
 8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
 9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
Now it says in verse one that these wise men came from the east with the speculation being they may have been Persian Magi. In any event they are from the east. Verse two says they saw a star in the east announcing the saviour's birth. Tradition has it that they followed the star as the famous song written in 1857 by Rev. John Henry Hopkins relates:

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav'n replies

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light 

However following a star in the east would not lead you west unless you are following the star from the moment it rises in the east until it sets in the west and is directly overhead - from which you would get an awful crick in your neck halfway through your journey. If you are following a bright star such as Sirius you would be heading southeast at first and then eventually south and then southwest by your orientation to the star. A more plausible explanation is that this 'star' they are following is the planet Venus. Venus is our royal lady Hathor who will be visible in the west after the sun sets in the evening and then is visible in the east shortly before the sun rises in the morning. Except for the moon, Venus is by far the brightest object in the night sky and it is a star of royal beauty bright. Venus will guide you westward at night and then direct you towards the reborn sun in the east in the morning, 'thy perfect(ed) light'. Hathor is the announcer of the birth in the morning of the sun as I wrote in this blog entry. In Matthew 2:5 we learn of the prophecy being fulfilled of the messiah being born in Bethlehem and explains why the Magi are heading to that town. Bethlehem means House of Bread. Curiously the ennead in Egypt located in Iunu (Heliopolis of the Greeks and On of the Bible) of which Hathor is the matriarch, was also known in ancient times as a major storehouse of grain, i.e. the place of bread. The result of the ennead of Iunu is the birth of Horus, our transfigured soul. The pharaoh was known as the living Horus and would be an object of worship and even Hathor would worship the living Horus. Here is a scene from Deir el-Bahri showing Hathor as the cow Mehet-Weret licking the hand of the pharaoh as a sign of reverence.

Of a similar nature is the portrait found several times in the sanctuary of Hathor at Deir el-Bahri which depicts Hathor as cow-goddess licking the queen's hand. This gesture can be interpreted either as a mark of favour or as a sign that the goddess recognizes the queen and wishes to give her power.
(Author cites E. Naville, The Temple of Deir el-Bahari, 1895, IV pl. LXXXVII, XCIV, XCVI.)
Hathor and Thoth, Two Key Figures of the Ancient Egyptian Religion, C.J. Bleeker, page 52

In Matthew 2:11 it is written that the wise men prior to giving Jesus their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, worshipped him. What does worship mean in this case?

Strong's Concordance:
4352 proskuneo (pros-koo-neh'-o); from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): KJV-- worship.

The Magi in their travels along with their gifts and adulation of the king of kings give away who they really are representing. This Lady of Gold, Lady of Fragrance is the greatest goddess of all; without her we are nothing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

natural instinct

A dog is by nature an excellent shepherd and herder of livestock as well as a natural tracker. The great natural philosophers of ancient Egypt would of course noticed this and deified these traits in their depictions of Anpu (Anubis) and Wepwawet (Ophois). Anpu is the watcher and shepherd of our soul. Wepwawet is the guide and herder of our soul. The flocks of sheep that these dogs would guide and watch over are symbolic of the soul: the onomatopoeically bleat of the sheep ba being the ancient Egyptian word for the immortal soul. As I have explained in previous blog entries, Asar (Osiris) is the personification of the ba and the myth surrounding Asar is the story of the ba and its incarnation into matter.  

Wepwawet is the celestial canine that guides Asar into and out of material incarnation. It is a story repeated each year in the night sky in the appearance and disappearance of Orion and his hunting dog, Canis Major.

Canis Major was known  in ancient Arabia as al-Kalb al-Akbar, the greater dog. Also Canis Major is known as al-Kalb al-Jabbar, the dog of the giant. The giant is of course Orion and here's a link to the connection between Orion and Asar if you are interested. One other name of interest is Mirzam al-Jawza, which means the herald of the Central One. Jawza correlates to the Giza plateau, the home of the three great pyramids of the ancient Egyptian 4th dynasty. A herald or an announcer points back to Wepwawet's role as the opener of the ways for the soul.

The word for dog in Hebrew is Caleb. The name's meaning is described as thus:

Caleb \c(a)-leb\ as a boy's name is pronounced KAY-leb. It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Caleb is "faith, devotion, whole hearted". Biblical: Caleb, a companion of Moses and Joshua, was noted for his astute powers of observation and fearlessness in the face of overwhelming odds; his devotion to God is symbolized by the "dog" in some traditions.

Kaleb \k(a)-leb\ as a boy's name is pronounced KAY-leb. It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Kaleb is "dog; tenacious and aggressive". Biblical name. Caleb is the anglicized version.

In other Semitic languages the name means "servant of the Lord." Whether the biblical name is referring to a dog or a man that had the traits and instincts of a dog does not really matter. It's the principle behind the meaning that is important here.

In the fourth book of the old testament, Numbers, chapters 13 and 14 describe the journey of the twelve men sent out by Moses from the tribes of Israel to reconnoiter the land of Canaan. Ten of them caution the nation of Israel against moving against the giants that inhabit the land and long to return to Egypt. Only two of them, Caleb and Joshua, put their faith in the Lord's ability to deliver them to the promised land. It did not end well for the ten and the congregation that took their side. Eventually after wandering for forty more years in the Sinai wilderness the Israelites were allowed to enter the promised land with Joshua and Caleb being the elder statesmen allowed to enter. Now it's interesting that the name for the dog was chosen for an Israelite who first goes down the path to Canaan in order to lead the rest of them on their journey to the promised land. It's interesting because of the myth in ancient Egypt where an actual canine leads the soul through the darkness of matter and eventually to its re-birth in the east. This place was known as the Field of Rushes or the Field of Peace. In Numbers 14:24 the Lord's servant Caleb is described as having a different spirit. Could this be an allusion to Caleb being an instinctual spirit that is found in nature that is here to help the immortal soul?

If we take the biblical story of the Exodus out of Egypt as myth we can then begin to see the story come alive as the journey of the soul through material incarnation. Egypt is an allegory for matter in the Bible while Jerusalem is the allegory for the ultimate destination of the soul as the promised land. The soul needs to leave the bonds of matter and forge ahead along the path to re-birth in the east. Along the way there will be many trials and tribulations to test the resolve of your soul and not all make it, doomed to wander for forty years in the wilderness. The arcane "forty" that is recurring in the Bible is the esoteric symbol of (re)incarnation into matter that the soul would have to repeat if it did not reach the promised land. The goal and ultimate destination of our soul is to reach the promised land; we should take advantage of the help the natural world affords us to help us get there.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

psychopomp qu'est-ce que c'est?

The psychopomp is the guide of the soul. Psyche is from the Greek word for soul and pomp from the Greek pompos which means guide. The psychopomp assists at the crossing where worlds meet and assists you in the journey through this new world. In ancient Egypt, this role was shared by the two jackal deities Anpu (Anubis in Greek) and Wepwawet (Ophois in Greek). Anpu opened the roads to the north and Wepwawet guided the soul through the paths of the south. In this respect, the north and south are metaphors for the soul's journey through the two different planes of existence. The northern path is referring to the road the soul travels when it leaves the bonds of existence entombed in matter. In modern day parlance, it's the journey to the final judgment and hopefully your reward in heaven. Anpu is the one who leads you to the great hall of Maat and assists in the weighing of your heart. It is important to remember what matters is the weight of your heart, not the size. (Yeah I'm a big Alice in Chains fan). The path of the south is the soul's journey through this world in the dark, i.e. ensconced in matter. Wepwawet will lead you through this time of darkness which your soul experiences in this material world.

The mummy in ancient Egypt is the symbol of the soul entombed in matter and that symbol is mythicized in the life and death of Asar (Osiris in Greek). The constellation of Orion in the southern night sky, representing Asar, is no longer visible in the night sky for seventy days in the late spring and it is during these days when Asar is trapped in the plane of matter that he is mummified, hence the seventy day period of mummification followed by the ancient Egyptians. However, it is the dog star, known to us as Sirius, who is the guide of this personification of the ancient Egyptian word for the soul called the "ba" through the disappearance of Asar into matter and his subsequent rebirth into the spiritual plane which is symbolized by the night sky. Wepwawet is the guide of Asar throughout this perilous journey. One of the great festivals at the holy site of Abydos, the Great Going Forth, re-enacted this journey. Wepwawet leads Asar from the temple to his tomb in the western desert. During this journey they cross over water, the psychopomp's role is the carrying of the soul over the waters of incarnation to save the soul from drowning in materialism.

The star Sirius rises in midsummer, the dog days of summer - a saying that belies the connection of Sirius to canines. This is the brightest star in the constellation of Canis Major, the companion dog of Orion. In far east cultures, Sirius is known as the celestial wolf and the indigenous peoples of North America considered Sirius a dog. Interesting is the positioning of Canis Major under the heel of Orion and how we teach our dogs to heel while out walking with them.  

I've touched on Orion being known in ancient Arabia as al Jabbar and the Arabian astronomers referred to Canis Major as the greater dog - Al-Kalb al-Akbar. It was also referred to as the dog of the giant - Al-Kalb al-Jabbar. I'll get to the Arabic name for the dog, Kalb, later on in this blog entry. I'm also fully aware of the ancient Egyptians referring to the star Sirius as Sopdet, which was another name for Aset (Isis in Greek). However, the equating of Aset to Sirius is also true of the ancient Egyptians equating of Aset to all bright stars in the sky. This makes sense because Aset is the womb (land/matter) for the light to gather in.

Wepwawet's standard is the royal placenta which denotes the fact that it is Wepwawet who leads the Pharaoh along the path of birth/death into matter and then death/birth into his immortality among the imperishable stars of the circumpolar region in the sky. It has also been noted that the Pharaoh becomes Wepwawet upon his death, with this meaning describing the Pharaoh's role as guide and protector of his people.

Wepwawet was also the bestower of legitimacy upon the Pharaoh. This is evident in the major part Wepwawet plays in the Heb Sed festival that is a 30 year jubilee celebration of rulership which needs to be renewed. As well, Wepwawet features prominently at Abydos in granting Seti I of the 19th Dynasty the right to rule by offering him the royal insignia and also participates in the purification of Seti I.

The pharaohs of the 19th Dynasty assumed power due to their connections to the military and therefore stressed the importance of Wepwawet granting them this legitimacy.

In the Poetical Stela of Thothmose III of the 18th dynasty we read this about Wepwawet:
I let them see your majesty as southern jackal,
the racer, the runner, roving the Two Lands.

However, Wepwawet was also popular with the common Egyptian:

Wepwawet's role as a kind of celestial guide dog made him a popular deity with ordinary people who faced dangerous journeys in life or death.
Handbook of Egyptian mythology, by Geraldine Pinch, page 213

The opener, Anpu, opens the mouth and eyes of the newly mummified deceased. This allows the truth, light, and spiritual nourishment to enter into the mummified body which in turns awakens the heart and allows it to grow. Throughout previous blog entries, I have articulated the symbolic meaning of not only mummification but the dual meaning that life and death could mean to the ancient Egyptians. It is a syncretic existence whereby the soul dies in matter whilst at the same time the material essence becomes dominate. As the material existence wanes, the spiritual is re-born. Mediating between these two states of metaphysical existence is the great Wepwawet. Wepwawet guides the aspirant to and through these two complementary planes of existence. It's the place I go to die and the place where my soul is re-born. This existence is dark; the darkness is where you find the jackal. Jackals are nocturnal and roam in the darkness. Canines, being excellent guides, become the pathfinder par excellence for the soul and its journey through the duat, (pronounced do-wah) the riddle ancient Egyptians encoded in their enigmatic literature which us confounded moderns call their funerary literature.

So, Wepwawet is a guide who helps carry our soul, which is embedded in material form, over the waters of this metaphorical cleansing sojourn into the deep that is cyclically experienced by the constellation of Orion and esoterically encoded into the ancient Egyptian story of Asar. If you're still reading here comes the good part.

I have met a bunch of people in my lifetime who have the Christian name Christopher. Like most things we come across in life, I never really gave the name a second thought and assumed it had some connection to Jesus. Well of course it does; but, what about the echoes into our ancient past that is embedded into this name?

Let's use the Online Etymologically Dictionary to start hammering away at this moniker:

masc. proper name, Church Latin Christophoros, from Greek khristophoros, literally "Christ-bearing;" from phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (see infer). In medieval legend he was a giant (one of the rare virtuous ones) who aided travellers by carrying them across a river. Medallions with his image worn by travellers are known from the Middle Ages (e.g. Chaucer's Yeoman).

Christopher it seems was a giant who helped out travellers on their journeys. More specifically, he would carry the Christ over water, the carrying part from the the -opher in Christopher. There is a Saint Christopher in the Catholic tradition. He is the patron saint of travellers. Saint Christopher carried Christ across an unfordable river. As he crossed, the weight of the sins Christ was bearing increased to the point where Christopher almost did not complete the crossing. Christopher became a popular saint especially revered by travellers and especially sea bound voyageurs.  

Also, there are the unexplainable pictures of St. Christopher as a dog-headed man that survive from Eastern Orthodox Church lore. This has been explained away as the Byzantine misinterpretation of the Latin term Cananeus to read canines. I imagine there's a better explanation if we open that door into ancient Egypt.

On towards delving into the -opher part of the name to see if we get at the meaning passed down from its latin and greek roots. I dug up the word metaphor from the Online Etymological Dictionary to help out:

1530s, from Middle French metaphore, from Latin metaphora, from Greek metaphora "a transfer," especially of the sense of one word to a different word, literally "a carrying over," from metapherein "transfer, carry over," from meta- "over, across" (see meta-) + pherein "to carry, bear" (see infer). Related: Metaphoric; metaphorical; metaphorically.

The word infer is described as such:

1520s, from Latin inferre "bring into, carry in; deduce, infer, conclude, draw an inference; bring against," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + ferre "carry, bear," from Proto-Indo-European *bher- (1) "to bear, to carry, to take" (confer Sanskrit bharati "carries;" Avestan baraiti "carries;" Old Persian barantiy "they carry;" Armenian berem "I carry;" Greek pherein "to carry;" Old Irish beru/berim "I catch, I bring forth;" Gothic bairan "to carry;" 

This in turn leads us to words ferry and fare which describe voyages across water:

Old English ferian "to carry, convey, bring, transport," from Proto Germaic *farjanan (confer Old Frisian feria "carry, transport," Old Norse ferja "to pass over, to ferry," Gothic farjan "travel by boat"), from Proto-Indo-European *per- "going, passage." Related to fare (verb). Related: Ferried; ferries; ferrying. The noun is early 15c., perhaps earlier and from Old Norse ferju- "passage across water," ultimately from the same Germanic root.

Old English fær "journey, road, passage, expedition," strong neuter of faran "to journey" (see fare (verb)); merged with faru "journey, expedition, companions, baggage," strong feminine of faran.
Old English faran "to journey, set forth, go, travel, wander, get on, undergo, make one's way," from Proto Germaic *faranan (confer Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic faran, Old Norse, Old Frisian fara, Dutch varen, German fahren), from Proto-Indo-European *por- "going, passage," from base *per- "to lead, pass over" (see port (1)). Related: Fared; faring.

And from this information, we can guess at the origin of the safe haven provided by a port:

"harbor," Old English port "harbor, haven," reinforced by Old French port, both Old English and Old French from Latin portus "port, harbor," originally "entrance, passage," from Proto-Indo-European *prtu- "a going, a passage," from base *per- "to lead, pass over" (confer Sanskrit parayati "carries over;" Greek poros "journey, passage, way," peirein "to pierce, run through;" Latin porta "gate, door," portare "passage," peritus "experienced;" Avestan peretush "passage, ford, bridge;" Armenian hordan "go forward;" Welsh rhyd "ford;" Old Church Slavonic pariti "fly;" Old English faran "to go, journey," Old Norse fjörðr "inlet, estuary").

Alright, that makes it pretty clear Christopher carries the Christ over water. We can take water here literally as being an actual river this dog-headed man carried Jesus over or we can picture it metaphorically that a beast with the innate tracking and guiding instincts of a dog carried the light called Christ over the waters of material incarnation. Your choice.

Before I end this entry, I want to go back to the ancient Egyptian word for the ceremony of the Opening of the Mouth and Eyes which is "wpr".  

When the 'w' is transliterated into the Greek language it usually becomes a vowel; this is what I was getting at in my last blog entry "the guide of my soul" when I mentioned the Greek translation of Wepwawet into Ophois. The 'w' in this case became an 'o' though I have also seen it become other vowels. Since there were no vowels in the ancient Egyptian language, there is no consistent way of transliterating; however, we do know that in any case the Greeks considered this sound to be a vowel and not a consonant. It is also of some interest that the 't' at the end of Wepwawet, which was used to connect him to the feminine world of matter, was considered silent and the two 'w' in the middle treated the second 'w' as being weak, the Greeks coming up with "ois" which is reminiscent of French language ending of words which are pronounced "wah". At any rate, I do sense some distant connection of "wpr" to the pherein of the Greeks. But what is even more interesting is the Opening of the Mouth and Eyes ceremony and its connection to the jackals who open the way. I love taking pictures; so, I'm very familiar with the concept of the aperture. The Online Etymological Dictionary gives us this history:

early 15c., from Latin apertura "an opening," from apertus, past participle of aperire "to open" (see overt).

And the history of the word overt from the French:

early 14c., "open to view," from Old French overt (French ouvert), past participle of ovrir "to open," from Latin aperire "to open, uncover," from Proto-Indo-European *ap-wer-yo- from *ap- "off, away" + base *wer- "to cover" (see weir). Confer Latin operire "to cover," from the same root with Proto-Indo-European prefix *op- "over;" and Lithuanian atveriu "open," uzveriu "shut."

The carrier of the soul is also the opener that leads this soul to rebirth. We have seen how the jackals do this for Asar but there is also the female goddess Hathor (from the ancient Egyptian pronunciation Hwt-Har) who performs this duty for Re.

The cow horns on Hathor's head cradling Re is pictorially presenting to us her role as the opener for Re's rebirth. Hathor is also always present at scenes of birth and death. If we trace Hathor's evolution into Greek and Roman mythology, we can determine she evolved into the Greek Aphrodite and then the Venus of the Romans. The Greeks knew she was an opener and therefore gave her the name that began with "aphr". The month April is from aperio, "I open," and in this sense Aphrodite is the opener of the year which begins at the vernal equinox. The Romans knew this idea as well and I know this because much like Canis Major would be the carrier and opener of the path to rebirth for Orion, the same idea would be expressed in the word phosphorous which would describe Venus and her role as the morning star which is the herald for the daily rebirth of the sun. The Online Etymological Dictionary again:

1620s, "the morning star," from Latin Phosphorus "morning star," from Greek Phosphoros "morning star," literally "torchbearer," from phos "light" (related to phainein "to show, to bring to light;" see phantasm) + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (see infer).

So, there you have it, the canine is the symbol that opens the pathway and guides the light, which has been almost extinguished within ourselves, through the darkness of incarnation in matter. This blog entry is longer than I intended; so, the exploration of the Arabic word for dog, Kalb, will be up next.