Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the ancient egyptian story of Anpu and Bata

A story exists from papyrus dating back to the 19th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt that was probably existent long before about two brothers known as Anpu and Bata. It is a story of betrayal of Bata by the wife of Anpu and Bata's subsequent misfortune that eventually leads to Bata becoming Pharaoh and ruling as the living Horus for thirty years. I'm interested in the name Bata from the story as I believe it fits into what I have tried to articulate in my blog entry "where do babies come from." Reading through the story it is apparent Bata is the combination of the ba and ta as I have detailed in the aforementioned blog entry. It is the great ancient motif of spirit joining with matter.  The parallels in the story of Bata to Osiris are plentiful. Osiris' myth is the Ancient Egyptians' story of the ba and its incarnation into matter. Bata's incarnation into a sacred bull with specific markings is comparable to the Apis bull of Osiris. Bata's dismembering of his phallus that is subsequently devoured by a fish is well known in the story of Osiris. Anpu's wife's attempt to seduce Bata is a common motif concerning the virility of the ba and especially the role of Osiris who brings the abundance of life into the world. The wife of Anpu in this story is representing matter, the great harlot, and its desire to mate with the higher power Bata, who represents the immortal soul. After the incident with Anpu's wife, Bata flees to the valley of the acacia where he bides his time hunting wild beasts in the desert. Recalling Osiris and his connection to the constellation Orion in the zodiac, I'm reminded of the greatness of the hunter Orion and the many wild animals he hunts in the metaphorical desert of the sky. Eventually in the the story the acacia tree where Bata has incarnated is chopped down causing Bata to enter the sleep of death. In the story of Osiris and Isis we have the fragmented soul of Osiris becoming encapsulated in a tamarisk tree that is cut down and made into the great pillar of the King and Queen of Byblos. This also parallels the imagery of Osiris being manifested within the djed pillar and the importance of the raising of the djed pillar.

Bata incarnates into the sacred persea tree as well whose red heart shaped fruit is a great symbol for the heart that must be transformed in order to awake Osiris from the sleep of death and engender a new life.

Eventually the persea trees are cut down but a chip of wood from them flies into the royal wife's mouth and Bata incarnates once again, this time as the heir to the throne of man. Bata is constantly becoming entombed in matter, much like Osiris, and left for dead. Throughout successive incarnations Bata finally succeeds in being reborn as the heir to the throne and eventually becomes Pharaoh of Egypt, ruling as the living Horus. This is the greatest parallel to the story of Osiris and the rebirth into Horus that I have detailed in previous entries of this blog. As well I want to point out the successive incarnations of Bata into different life forces which were known in ancient Egypt as the ka. Bata incarnated as the flower of the acacia, the bull, the fruit of the persea tree and finally as the crown prince. Though Bata appears in multiple differing manifestations it is important to realize it is always the same essence of Bata within these differing life forces. It illustrates the oneness of our individual ba, our immortal soul, and how it will repeatedly incarnate into matter, experience the joys, the tribulations and cleansing of material existence, until finally it becomes born again as Horus the enlightened one ruling mightily over its lower self. No longer will the ba have to re-incarnate!

The story of Anpu and Bata can be read in its entirety online here: 

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