Saturday, September 8, 2012

light my way

Light illuminates my mind. My thoughts swim around freestyle in my mind, planting seeds in my subconscious that light quickens to allow further insights and discoveries, eventually blossoming into this fruit that I have a desire to share.

Genesis 11 tells us Abram, whose name means high father, comes from Ur of the Chaldees. His wife, Sarai, is barren. His father, Terah, leads them on a journey to Canaan. In Hebrew Ur means a place of light so if we are interpreting Abram's birth symbolically then he comes from the region of light as opposed to the literal place called Ur. Canaan is from Kenaan, the son of one of Noah's sons called Ham, who was disgraced when he witnessed the nakedness of his drunken father in Genesis 9:22-26. Canaan was cursed to be a servant of Shem and Japheth. The meaning of the name Shem has a connection to the heavens while Canaan is of the earth, symbolically designating matter to serve spirit.  This story of Abram leaving Ur for Canaan is creative storytelling encoding the descent of the spirit into matter. To further corroborate this interpretation it should be noted that the Chaldees can refer to an astrologer much in the way Abram's direct ancestor's name, Shem, is derived from a Hebrew word shamayin that has a meaning of an astrologer as well.

The word Ur or Ar in many ancient lexicons would refer to light or spirit. The ancient Egyptians, being the preeminent observers of the natural world, ascertained that the eye was the vessel that acted as the sacred conduit to allow light to manifest in this world. Much like the sun and moon gather light that allows them to shine, it could be said that our eyes gather light and symbolically allow us to shine due to this light containing the wisdom of the gods. The ancient Egyptian word for eye would be transliterated as ir.t, with the t denoting its feminine property; the feminine being something that belongs to the material rather than spiritual plane. We find this concept and specific symbol making up part of the name for the great Osiris, as the hieroglyphs representing his name consist of a throne chair, from which we get 'As' and the complete eye glyph from which we get 'ar'', which combine to give us the name Asar.  

The light of the sun, referred to by the ancient Egyptians as Re or Ra, consists of the hieroglyphs of the mouth shape and the arm that is reaching out.

It is instructive to once again remind the reader that although you will read monotonously that Re is the ancient Egyptian sun god and the Egyptians worshipped the sun, Re is in fact the light of the sun. Re was represented as a falcon with a sun disk on his head. The falcon giving away the idea that Re is a free spirit and not tethered to the sun disk, but rather emanates from that disk.

Re with his offspring Shu and Tefenet

Today we might be tempted to call what Re represented a light ray. Of course there is no connection here right? Move along...  The ancient world seemed to have connections and shared ideas especially among the Mediterranean based civilizations due to extensive trading between the nations and a shared synchronistic outlook on the gods. The rise of monotheism and development of Christianity plunged the world into an ever increasing enmity, polarity and darkness. The advent of the Internet and free flow of ideas and cultures is something that has been lacking for two millennium though we still tend to carry our monotheistic inspired attitudes and hatred of those who are different, and who we perceive to worship what we perceive to be false gods, around with us. It is telling that Christianity cannot even agree on worship with many different 'denominations' competing for the loyalty of the flock.

The great body of light in ancient Egypt, Wer, has two great eyes. Depending on whether this light is referred to as Re or Horus, light would have an 'eye', commonly referred to as the Eye of Re or the Eye of Horus. Re is the daytime light encapsulated within the sun while Horus is the nighttime celestial light that would gather and be housed within the moon with the Eye of Horus represented symbolically by the moon. As is such, it would mean Re is the light that has reawakened those who have come forth by day while Horus is the light that comes forth and is accessible to those resident in the night darkness which symbolizes material existence. The Eye of Horus was known as Wadjet, with Wadjet taking its meaning from the green papyrus plant of Lower Egypt, once again pointing to this Eye having a connection with the material plane, i.e. Lower Egypt. This eye was feminine and commonly associated with goddesses such as Hathor, Sekhmet, Tefenet, and Mut. The goddess would be pictorially represented as an uraeus snake that encircled the sun disk or moon, in essence encapsulating the light that was present within the disk.

The abode of the god is the Eye, explaining why these goddesses would contain the potentiality to be an ancestor of, or give birth to a great god of light, whether that be Horus, Nefertum, Ihy, and Khonsu to name a few. Uraeus is the Greek translation of the Egyptian word iaret. In both cases you can see once again the connection of the word for light in ancient cultures sharing a common pronunciation, Ur and Ar in this case. The uraeus cobra worn on the crown of the ruling Pharaoh denoted sovereignty. In essence it symbolized the idea that the light god was resident in the Pharaoh and as such was protected by his mother in snake form.

Pharaoh Psusennes I with uraeus

Now I'm of the belief that the wise and cunning priests of ancient Egypt had through observation and thought, deduced that light is the eternal spirit of the universe, however they used this knowledge to curry political favour and made it the exclusive domain of royalty. It was during the collapse of the Old Kingdom and subsequent First Intermediate period that this knowledge did make it into the hands of the commoner which is described by some Egyptologists as the "democratization of the afterlife", although it wasn't until about 2000 years later when the Greeks actually put democracy in vogue. Anyway in light of this development it is possible to construct a case that the reign of the "heretic" Pharaoh Akhenaten can be construed as reactionary, with a desire to return to the exclusiveness of kingship that was the case in Old Kingdom Egypt. However Akhenaten and his religion of light is a topic I will have to leave for the moment due to the enormity of verbiage needed to tackle it.

So to return to the topic of light, I would like to bring up the etymology of the constellation of Orion, the giant in the sky:

late 14th century, from Greek Oarion, of unknown origin, though some speculate on Akkadian Uru-anna "the Light of Heaven." Another Greek name for the constellation was Kandaon, a title of Ares, god of war, and it is represented in most cultures as a giant (e.g. Old Irish Caomai "the Armed King," Old Norse Orwandil, Old Saxon Ebuðrung).

The Light of Heaven is an apt name for the giant who encompasses such a large and bright region in the sky. When Orion descends into matter for a seventy day period in late spring it is metaphorically demonstrating the descent of the soul into its material chains. The ancient Egyptian story of Osiris is the story of this descent into matter, its remembering and resurrection that allows the soul to be born again as the son of Osiris. I have written many posts in this blog that go further into this story. In some of the temples throughout Egypt you will see this story depicted on the walls of the temple such as at Abydos, Denderah, and Philae. In these scenes of Osiris' remembering and resurrection that allows him to impregnate Isis, he is shown lying asleep on a bier that at the head has a lion's head and at the other end has a lion's tail.

Temple of Seti I, Abydos

Temple of Philae, Aswan

It's curious symbolism as the connection to lions and Osiris is unclear. Personally I believe the connection is that Osiris lying on a lion bed is representing the light spirit at rest. How so you ask? Well glad you asked.

This light is a lion and should be represented properly as the seventh sign in the zodiac. That the ancient Egyptians had formulated names for stars and constellations is not in dispute but the evidence is pretty flimsy as to whether they had a defined zodiac of their own. The evidence for zodiacs in ancient Egypt are mainly from Ptolemaic temples built near the close of the first millennium and were influenced by Babylonian astrology. However there is plenty of evidence of astronomical ceilings from the time of Seti I in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings and the Ramesseum temple ceiling and even more star ceilings in tombs and coffins that date much further back in time. Both these structures date to the time of construction of Seti's temple at Abydos around 1200 BC that contains this poignant scene of Osiris lying on a lion bed. At any rate there are connections of light with lions such as the name Ariel which means lion of god giving us a connection to the Ar - light and a lion. In the same vane we can see that the name Uriel means angel of Light or flame of God. Western astrology treats Libra as the seventh sign but if we properly take Aquarius, the pouring out of light energy, as the first sign then the lion as Leo is the seventh sign. Aries has been fixed as the first sign due to it rising at the vernal equinox during the Hellenistic age when the tropical system of astrology was established however if properly you start from Aquarius it will start to make sense as the story of the spirit's descent into matter. Here is the Coles notes version:

Aquarius pours light energy out into the universe, Pisces represents the two main components of this light energy which are wisdom and consciousness. Wisdom is the soul, represented in ancient Egypt as the ba while consciousness is the energy that allows this soul to come alive which is the ka in ancient Egypt. Wisdom needs this consciousness but as we know it is also its downfall that leads to its death. Aries is the Ram, its bleating of ba giving away what it represents. It is prolific in its creation activities much like a ram.  Next is Taurus the bull, the untamed charging bull being the ka symbol in ancient Egypt. They are shown again in the next sign, Gemini, as twins that are forever linked. The next sign, the crab, is originally the beetle, which is the symbol for becoming that gives us an idea of the potentiality of us all in this journey of becoming. This leads us to the seventh sign Leo the lion. Leo is royal light and the King however in the ancient world it was believed the journey of the soul into matter was an arduous journey and once completed you would rest on the seventh leg of the journey. Hence why you would see Osiris, the symbol of the ba in its journey, resting on a lion's bed. Check out the sign for Leo and its similarity to the hair of Hathor.

Also you'll find Astarte/Ishtar/Inanna/Asherah/Qadesh, all forms of Hathor, depicted with lions or standing on lions.

Here is Wadjet pictorially represented with Horus as the lion king wearing the double crown to denote his kingship.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Osiris, when encapsulated in matter, is the husband of Isis however when he is reborn in the constellation of Orion as Horus the Elder his celestial wife is Hathor. Fittingly Horus the Elder's Egyptian name is Heru-Ur, once again giving us the connection to Ur and light in the ancient world.


Here is my blog entry that makes clear the relationship of Osiris and Horus within the constellation of Orion. So the great light father is at rest in matter after being given birth by the great mother goddess Hathor in the west.  n order to enable rebirth into different planes of existence it was understood that Horus must become kamutef, the "bull of his mother".  Today we would hurl the epithet "motherfucker" at such a person :) The sacred mother that gives birth into different manifestations is Hathor. After being at rest in the sign of Leo the light moves on to be born again of a Virgin in the sign of Virgo. I'll leave the journey of light through the zodiac for now.

Is this story still relevant today or can we find echoes of it? In the animated movie by Disney "The Lion King" you can see the pieces of the great Osiris and Horus story. The lion cub Simba is born to great fanfare as the heir of the throne. His uncle, representing Set in the story, tricks him into believing he is responsible for the death of his father the King who is representing Osiris. Simba flees the pride, grows up and avenges his father's death just like Horus and then takes his rightful place on the throne. Light once again becomes unmistakably a lion.

So what then of my connection of Abram to this region of light? If this story is just another iteration of this ancient motif then it should not be difficult then to find echoes of it within this biblical story. Well let's go find them. I'll use the King James Version of the bible.

   12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.

Abram fears he will be killed upon his descent into Egypt (matter). He also knows they will lust after his beautiful, old, barren wife.

   13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

Sarai is described as Abram's sister much like Isis is Osiris' sister-wife. Furthermore Isis is the house of conception for the eternal soul in the material world and it is through her that the ba soul is reborn as Horus.

From Karnak there is an inscription calling Osiris 'he who resides in the house of conception' alluding to the impregnation of Isis and the consequent birth of Horus.
-The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, by George Hart, pg. 120

Abram is saying that his soul will survive because of Sarai.

   17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.
   18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
   19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
   20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

The descent into matter, symbolized by Egypt, is ruled by the beastly Set. Pharaoh plays the role of Set who lusts after Isis and wishes to take her as his own but cannot.

He (Set) experiences heterosexual desire towards the goddess Isis.  His feelings are not returned.  He is so badly deceived by Isis, that he complains in tears to Re.  (Author cites Beatty papyrus 1, 6, 2 sqq. for this claim)
Seth, God of Confusion, by H. Te Velde, page 55.

   1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
   2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

In the story of Isis and Osiris, Isis' sister Nephthys disguises herself as her sister in order to seduce the virile Osiris. Being true to that motif, Hagar, who is Sarai's handmaid from Egypt/matter, plays this role in accepting the abundance of Abram's life creating ability.

   5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

Abram is given a name change as is Sarai to Sarah later on in verse 15 that have connections to being a father of a great multitude and nobility. This foreshadows a great miraculous prince to be born to the previously barren Sarah.

   10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
   11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
   12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

God requires the act of circumcision as a token between him and his people. This occurs on the eighth day in the case of newborns. As I explained in the Coles Notes version of light's journey through the zodiac, on the seventh leg in the sign of Leo, light rests while on the eighth leg in the house of the Virgin it is born anew. This is the symbolism of the eighth day circumcision. Feel free to use this to impress at parties.

   2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

Three men of importance show up to tell Abraham and Sarah they are going to have an important kid. Seems a common motif of three wise men showing up to presage some great birth.

   7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
   8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

The symbolism here is the sacrificing of the life force, ka, of the young calf that will allow the newborn ba soul to be born into the material plane of existence.

   1 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.
   2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
   3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.

After Abraham and Sarah journey to Gerar the King of Gerar takes possession of Sarah much like Pharaoh, as Set, had tried. Isis is wanted by all the Kings of the material world but the attraction always remains unrequited.

   28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
   29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?
   30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.
   31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

Abraham digs a well at Beersheba and gives seven lambs to Abimelech to commemorate it. Here we have the connection to seven and incarnation into matter. The flock of lambs are representing the young ba soul on its journey into matter. Beer means a well and Sheba is seven or swearing an oath. The swearing of an oath can be referred to as to seven oneself. Beersheba is then the place where the soul incarnates into matter.

   33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

Abraham plants a bunch of trees at this place that figuratively the spirit has entered into matter and then he calls on his god. The trees are tamarisk. The tamarisk is the tree that encapsulated Osiris' coffin when it floated to the shores of Byblos after his death at the hands of Set, symbolizing Osiris as the soul being at rest in the hard tree trunk which is representing matter.

    6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
   7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
   8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
   9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
   10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

After God tells Abraham to make a burnt offering out of his son, Abraham dutifully obeys.  Abraham goes to sacrifice Isaac, his first born.  Symbolic of the ba soul having to "die" in matter in order to be born again. 

   13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Right on cue, a ram shows up as the symbolic substitute for the first born son of Abraham and Sarah.  A Ram (ba) becomes the substitute sacrifice for Isaac.

These are just some of the connections that tie the story of Abraham and Sarah to the greater ancient motif of the incarnation of the soul and its arduous journey that eventually will lead to our greater self. If what I have expounded on in the above is correct then it should be a recurring meme that continues throughout the Old Testament, especially in the stories of the patriarchs. The names may change but the stories will all share a common thread, the thread being the great light spirit and its journey into and out of material existence. 

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