"Legends of the Gods - E. A. Wallis Budge (1912). Part I - The Creation and Destruction of Mankind by Egyptian Gods".



  Być może niektórzy z Was zauważyli, że zmieniłam nieco rozkład kategorii na pasku bocznym. Zależało mi na tym, aby podzielić je na wyraźne sekcje, nie zaś mnożyć bez potrzeby. Każda z kategorii jest odrębnym światem, każdy publikowany przeze mnie tekst, ma swoje miejsce. Brakowało mi jednak kategorii dotyczącej Religii Świata (zarówno tych starożytnych, jak i współczesnych); pomimo iż na dzień dzisiejszy nie wyznaję żadnej z nich, zgłębianie ich tajemnic zawsze należało do moich ulubionych zajęć. Są fascynujące nie tylko dla tych, którzy w nie wierzą, osobiście uważam, że dużo bardziej pochłaniają tych z Nas, którzy rozpatrują je wyłącznie w kategoriach naukowych. Mało tego, jestem zdania, że na dzień dzisiejszy większą wiedzą z zakresu religioznawstwa, znajomością świętych tekstów, doktryn teologicznych etc, mogą się poszczycić ludzie, którzy nie wyznają żadnej religii-wiary. 

Dlaczego tak się dzieje? Z czego to wypływa? Z ignorancji wyznawców, dla których znajomość własnego kanonu nie jest istotna, przez co tak często plotą bzdury jak najęci, chociaż ani razu nie zajrzeli do tychże ksiąg, czy może wpojono im tę buńczuczną postawę, może spisanie w pierwszych wiekach n.e. Pisma Świętego miało na celu wyłącznie przekonanie innowierców, że ich religia ma jakieś "podstawy"? Tego zapewne nigdy się nie dowiemy, powiem też szczerze, że mało mnie to obchodzi. 

Tekst jest a więc czytać Go może każdy, nie tylko bijący przed nim pokłony. Święte Teksty mają bowiem to do siebie, że opisują niezwykłe wydarzenia, ujęte w wiersz, nie raz i nie dwa zachwycają kompozycją, pouczają nie tylko ludzi wiary, ale i tych z Nas, którzy w bogów nie wierzą. 

Postanowiłam zatem poświęcić im osobną kategorię. Nie wszystkie jednak teksty mam w przekładzie polskim (a tłumaczyć nie mam czasu ani sił), dlatego polecam skopiowanie adresu tego posta do translatora Google (lub użycie podręcznej ikonki translatora na tej stronie), a wtedy przetłumaczy on całość za Was (pomimo, że tłumaczy tak sobie, da się zrozumieć). Tym z Was, którzy angielski znają, życzę przyjemnej i owocnej lektury. Zaczynam od mitów egipskich, ale kolejne posty z tej kategorii będą przeplecione różnymi religiami świata. A zatem:



I.   THE LEGEND OF THE GOD NEB-ER-TCHER, AND THE HISTORY OF CREATION


The text of the remarkable Legend of the Creation which forms the first section of this volume is preserved in a well-written papyrus in the British Museum, where it bears the number 10,188. This papyrus was acquired by the late Mr. A. H. Rhind in 1861 or 1862, when he was excavating some tombs on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes. He did not himself find it in a tomb, but he received it from the British Consul at Luxor, Mustafa Agha, during an interchange of gifts when Mr. Rhind was leaving the country.

Mustafa Agha obtained the papyrus from the famous hiding-place of the Royal Mummies at Der-al-Bahari, with the situation of which he was well acquainted for many years before it became known to the Egyptian Service of Antiquities. When Mr. Rhind came to England, the results of his excavations were examined by Dr. Birch, who, recognising the great value of the papyrus, arranged to publish it in a companion volume to Facsimiles of Two Papyri, but the death of Mr. Rhind in 1865 caused the project to fall through.

The Legend of the Creation was considered by Dr. H. Brugsch to be of considerable value for the study of the Egyptian Religion, and encouraged by him. It was published in Archaeologia, (vol. lii., London, 1891), with transliterations and translations. In 1910 I edited for the Trustees of the British Museum the complete
hieratic text with a revised translation.

The papyrus is about 16 ft. 8 in. in length, and is 9 1/4 in. in width. It contains 21 columns of hieratic text which are written in short lines and are poetical in character, and 12 columns or pages of text written in long lines; the total number of lines is between 930 and 940. The text is written in a small, very black, but neat hand, and may be assigned to a time between the XXVIth Dynasty and the Ptolemaic Period. The titles, catch-words, rubrics, names of Apep and his fiends, and a few other words, are written in red ink. There are two colophons; in the one we have a date, namely, the "first day of the fourth month of the twelfth year of Pharaoh Alexander, the son of Alexander," i.e., B.C. 311, and in the other the name of the priest who either had the papyrus written, or appropriated it, namely, Nes-Menu, or Nes-Amsu.

The Legend of the Creation is found in the third work which is given in the papyrus, and which is called the "Book of overthrowing Apep, the Enemy of Ra, the Enemy of Un-Nefer" (i.e., Osiris). This work contained a series of spells which were recited during the performance of certain prescribed ceremonies, with the object of preventing storms, and dispersing rain-clouds, and removing any obstacle, animate or inanimate, which could prevent the rising of the sun in the morning, or obscure his light during the day. The Leader-in Chief of the hosts of darkness was a fiend called Apep who appeared in the sky in the form of a monster serpent, and, marshalling all the fiends of the Tuat, attempted to keep the Sun-god imprisoned in the kingdom of darkness. Right in the midst of the spells which were directed against Apep we find inserted the legend of the Creation, which occurs in no other known Egyptian document.

The legend is entitled: Book of knowing the evolutions of Ra [and of] overthrowing Apep.

This curious "Book" describes the origin not only of heaven, and earth, and all therein, but also of God Himself. In it the name of Apep is not even mentioned, and it is impossible to explain its appearance in the Apep Ritual unless we assume that the whole "Book" was regarded as a spell of the most potent character, the mere recital of which was fraught with deadly effect for Apep and his friends.

The story of the Creation is supposed to be told by the god Neb-ertcher. This name means the "Lord to the uttermost limit," and the character of the god suggests that the word "limit" refers to time and space, and that he was, in fact, the Everlasting God of the Universe. This god's name occurs in Coptic texts, and then he appears as one who possesses all the attributes which are associated by modern nations with God Almighty. Where and how Neb-er-tcher existed is not said, but it seems as if he was believed to have been an almighty and invisible power which filled all space. It seems also that a desire arose in him to create the world, and in order to do this he took upon himself the form of the god Khepera, who from first to last was regarded as the Creator, par excellence, among all the gods known to the Egyptians. When this transformation of Neb-er-tcher into Khepera took place the heavens and the earth had not been created, but there seems to have existed a vast mass of water, or world-ocean, called Nu, and it must have been in this that the transformation took place. In this celestial ocean were the germs of all the living things which afterwards took form in heaven and on earth, but they existed in a state of inertness and helplessness. Out of this ocean Khepera raised himself, and so passed from a state of passiveness and inertness into one of activity. When Khepera raised himself out of the ocean Nu, he found himself in vast empty space, wherein was nothing on which he could stand. The second version of the legend says that Khepera gave being to himself by uttering his own name, and the first version states that he made use of words in providing himself with a place on which to stand. In other words, when Khepera was still a portion of the being of Neb-er-tcher, he spake the word "Khepera," and Khepera came into being.


Similarly, when he needed a place whereon to stand, he uttered the name of the thing, or place, on which he wanted to stand, and that thing, or place, came into being. This spell he seems to have addressed to his heart, or as we should say, will, so that Khepera willed this standing-place to appear, and it did so forthwith. The first version only mentions a heart, but the second also speaks of a heart-soul as assisting Khepera in his first creative acts; and we may assume that he thought out in his heart what manner of thing be wished to create, and then by uttering its name caused his thought to take concrete form. This process of thinking out the existence of things is expressed in Egyptian by words which mean "laying the foundation in the heart."

In arranging his thoughts and their visible forms Khepera was assisted by the goddess Maat, who is usually regarded as the goddess of law, order, and truth, and in late times was held to be the female counterpart of Thoth, "the heart of the god Ra." In this legend, however, she seems to play the part of Wisdom, as described in the Book of Proverbs, for it was by Maat that he "laid the foundation."

"The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths I was brought forth ...
. . . . . Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, . . . . . . when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him. . . . . ..."{Proverbs, viii. 22 ff.}.

Having described the coming into being of Khepera and the place on which he stood, the legend goes on to tell of the means by which the first Egyptian triad, or trinity, came into existence. Khepera had, in some form, union with his own shadow, and so begot offspring, who proceeded from his body under the forms of the gods Shu and Tefnut. According to a tradition preserved in the Pyramid Texts this event took place at On (Heliopolis), and the old form of the legend ascribes the production of Shu and Tefnut to an act of masturbation. Originally these gods were the personifications of air and dryness, and liquids respectively; thus with their creation the materials for the construction of the atmosphere and sky came into being. Shu and Tefnut were united, and their offspring were Keb, the Earth-god, and Nut, the Sky-goddess. We have now five gods in existence; Khepera, the creative principle, Shu, the atmosphere, Tefnut, the waters above the heavens, Nut, the Sky-goddess, and Keb, the Earth-god. Presumably about this time the sun first rose out of the watery abyss of Nu, and shone upon the world and produced day. In early times the sun, or his light, was regarded as a form of Shu. The gods Keb and Nut were united in an embrace, and the effect of the coming of light was to separate them. As long as the sun shone, i.e., as long as it was day, Nut, the Skygoddess, remained in her place above the earth, being supported by Shu; but as soon as the sun set she left the sky and gradually descended until she rested on the body of the Earth-god, Keb.

The embraces of Keb caused Nut to bring forth five gods at a birth, namely, Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Osiris and Isis married before their birth, and Isis brought forth a son called Horus; Set and Nephthys also married before their birth, and Nephthys brought forth a son named Anpu (Anubis), though he is not mentioned in the legend. Of these gods Osiris is singled out for special mention in the legend, in which Khepera, speaking as Neb-er-tcher, says that his name is Ausares, who is the essence of the primeval matter of which he himself is formed. Thus Osiris was of the same substance as the Great God who created the world according to the Egyptians, and was a reincarnation of his great-grandfather. This portion of the legend helps to explain the views held about Osiris as the great ancestral spirit, who when on earth was a benefactor of mankind, and who when in heaven was the saviour of souls.

The legend speaks of the sun as the Eye of Khepera, or Neb-er-tcher, and refers to some calamity which befell it and extinguished its light. This calamity may have been simply the coming of night, or eclipses, or storms; but in any case the god made a second Eye, i.e., the Moon, to which he gave some of the splendour of the other Eye, i.e., the Sun, and he gave it a place in his Face, and henceforth it ruled throughout the earth, and had special powers in respect of the production of trees, plants, vegetables, herbs, etc. Thus from the earliest times the moon was associated with the fertility of the earth, especially in connection with the production of abundant crops and successful harvests.

According to the legend, men and women sprang not from the earth, but directly from the body of the god Khepera, or Neb-er-tcher, who placed his members together and then wept tears upon them, and men and women, came into being from the tears which had fallen from his eyes. No special mention is made of the creation of beasts in the legend, but the god says that he created creeping things of all kinds, and among these are probably included the larger quadrupeds. The men and women, and all the other living creatures which were made at that time, reproduced their species, each in his own way, and so the earth became filled with their descendants which we see at the present time.

Such is the Legend of Creation as it is found in the Papyrus of Nes- Menu. The text of both versions is full of difficult passages, and some readings are corrupt; unfortunately variant versions by which they might be corrected are lacking. The general meaning of the legend in both versions is quite clear, and it throws considerable light on the Egyptian religion. The Egyptians believed in the existence of God, the Creator and Maintainer of all things, but they thought that the concerns of this world were committed by Him to the superintendence of a series of subordinate spirits or beings called "gods," over whom they believed magical spells and ceremonies to have the greatest influence. The Deity was a Being so remote, and of such an exalted nature, that it was idle to expect Him to interfere in the affairs of mortals, or to change any decree or command which He had once uttered. The spirits or "gods," on the other hand, possessing natures not far removed from those of men, were thought to be amenable to supplications and flattery, and to wheedling and cajolery, especially when accompanied by gifts. It is of great interest to find a legend in which the power of God as the Creator of the world and the sun and moon is so clearly set forth, embedded in a book of magical spells devoted to the destruction of the mythological monster who existed solely to prevent the sun from rising and shining.




 THE HISTORY OF CREATION  --  A


Kheperu. The verb Kheper means "to make, to form, to produce, to become, and to roll;" kheperu here means "the things which come into being through the rollings of the ball of the god Kheper (the roller)," i.e., the Sun.

[These are] the words which the god Neb-er-tcher spake after he had come into being:
-- "I am he who came into being in the form of the god Khepera, and I am the creator of that which came into being, that is to say, I am the creator of everything which came into being: now the things which I created, and which came forth out of my month after that I had come into being myself were exceedingly many. The sky (or heaven) had not come into being, the earth did not exist, and the children of the earth (= serpents and snakes, or perhaps plants), and the creeping, things, had not been made at that time. I myself raised them up from out of Nu (= The primeval watery mass which was the source and origin of all beings and things.), from a state of helpless inertness. I found no place whereon I could stand. I worked a charm (= he uttered a magical formula) upon my own heart (or, will), I laid the foundation [of things] by Maat,(by exact and definite rules) and I made everything which had form. I was [then] one by myself, for I had not emitted from myself the god Shu, and I had not spit out from myself the goddess Tefnut; and there existed no other who could work with me. I laid the foundations [of things] in my own heart, and there came into being multitudes of created things, which came into being from the created things which were born from the created things which arose from what they brought forth. I had union with my closed hand, and I embraced my shadow as a wife, and I poured seed into my own mouth, and I sent forth from myself issue in the form of the gods Shu and Tefnut. 

Saith my father Nu:

-- My Eye was covered up behind them (i.e., Shu. and Tefnut), but after two hen periods had passed from the time when they departed from me, from being one god I became three gods, and I came into being in the earth.  Then Shu and Tefnut rejoiced from out of the inert watery mass wherein they I were, and they brought to me my Eye (i.e., the Sun). Now after these things I gathered together my members, and I wept over them, and men and women sprang into being from the tears which came forth from my Eye. And when my Eye came to me, and found that I had made another [Eye] in place where it was (i.e., the Moon), it was wroth with (or, raged at) me, whereupon I endowed it (i.e., the second Eye) with [some of] the splendour which I had made for the first [Eye], and I made it to occupy its place in my Face, and henceforth it ruled throughout all this earth."


"When there fell on them their moment (= the period of calamity wherein their light was veiled through plant-like clouds) through plant-like clouds, I restored what had been taken away from them, and I appeared from out of the plant-like clouds. I created creeping things of every kind, and everything which came into being from them. Shu and Tefnut brought forth [Seb and] Nut; and Seb and Nut brought forth Osiris, and Herukhent-an-maati, (= the Blind Horus) and Set, and Isis, and Nephthys (= these five gods were all born at one time) at one birth, one after the other, and they produced their multitudinous offspring in this earth."

 THE HISTORY OF CREATION  --  B


[These are] the words of the god Neb-er-tcher, who said: "I am the creator of what hath come into being, and I myself came into being under the form of the god Khepera, and I came into being in primeval time. I came into being in the form of Khepera, and I am the creator of what did come into being, that is to say, I formed myself out of the primeval matter, and I made and formed myself out of the substance which existed in primeval time. My name is AUSARES (i.e., Osiris), who is the primeval matter of primeval matter. I have done my will in everything in this earth. I have spread myself abroad therein, and I have made strong my hand. I was ONE by myself, for they (i.e., the gods) had not been brought forth, and I had emitted from myself neither Shu nor Tefnut. I brought my own name (= I uttered my own name from my own mouth as a word of power.) into my mouth as a word of power, and I forthwith came into being under the form of things which are and under the form of Khepera.

I came into being from out of primeval matter, and from the beginning I appeared under the form of the multitudinous things which exist; nothing whatsoever existed at that time in this earth, and it was I who made whatsoever was made. I was ONE: by myself, and there was no other being who worked with me in that place. I made all the things under the forms of which I appeared then by means of the Soul-God which I raised into firmness at that time from out of Nu, from a state of inactivity. I found no place whatsoever there whereon I could stand, I worked by the power of a spell by means of my heart, I laid a foundation [for things] before me, and whatsoever was made, I made. I was ONE by myself, and I laid the foundation of things [by means of] my heart, and I made the other things which came into being, and the things of Khepera which were made were manifold, and their offspring came into existence from the things to which they gave birth. I it was who emitted Shu, and I it was who emitted Tefnut, and from being the ONE, god (or, the only god) I became three gods; the two other gods who came into being on this earth sprang from me, and Shu and Tefnut rejoiced (or, were raised up) from out of Nu in which they were. Now behold, they brought my Eye to me after two hen periods since the time when they went forth from me. 

I gathered together my members which had appeared in my own body, and afterwards I had union with my hand, and my heart (or, will) came unto me from out of my hand, and the seed fell into my mouth, and I emitted from myself the gods Shu and Tefnut, and so from being the ONE god (or, the only, god) I became three gods; thus the two other gods who came into being on this earth sprang from me, and Shu and Tefnut rejoiced (or, were raised up) from out of Nu in which they were. My father Nu saith:-- They covered up (or, concealed) my Eye with the plant-like clouds which were behind them (i.e., Shu and Tefnut) for very many hen periods. Plants and creeping things [sprang up] from the god REM, through the tears which I let fall. I cried out to my Eye, and men and women came into existence. Then I bestowed upon my Eye the uraeus of fire, and it was wroth with me when another Eye (i.e., the Moon) came and grew up in its place; its vigorous power fell on the plants, on the plants which I had placed there, and it set order among them, and it took up its place in my face, and it doth rule the whole earth. Then Shu and Tefnut brought forth Osiris, and Heru-khenti-an-maa, and Set, and Isis, and Nephthys and behold, they have produced offspring, and have created multitudinous children in this earth, by means of the beings which came into existence from the creatures which they produced. They invoke my name, and they overthrow their enemies, and they make words of power for the overthrowing of Apep, over whose hands and arms AKER keepeth ward. His hands and arms shall not exist, his feet and leas shall not exist, and he is chained in one place whilst Ra inflicts upon him the blows which are decreed for him. He is thrown upon his accursed back, his face is slit open by reason of the evil which he hath done, and he shall remain upon his accursed back."




II.  THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTION OF MANKIND


The text containing the Legend of the Destruction of Mankind is written in hieroglyphs, and is found on the four walls of a small chamber which is entered from the "hall of columns" in the tomb of Seti I., which is situated on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes. On the wall facing the door of this chamber is painted in red the figure of the large "Cow of Heaven." The lower part of her belly is decorated with a series of thirteen stars, and immediately beneath it are the two Boats of Ra, called Semketet and Mantchet, or Sektet and Matet. Each of her four legs is held in position by two gods, and the god Shu, with outstretched uplifted arms, supports her body. The Cow was published by Champollion, without the text. This most important mythological text was first published and translated by Professor E. Naville in 1874. It was republished by Bergmann and Brugsch, who gave a transcription of the text, with a German translation. Other German versions by Lauth, Brugsch, and Wiedemann have appeared, and a part of the text was translated into French by Lefebure. The latest edition of the text was published by Lefebure, and text of a second copy, very much mutilated, was published by Professor Naville, with a French translation in 1885. The text printed in this volume is that of M. Lefebure.

The legend takes us back to the time when the gods of Egypt went about in the country, and mingled with men and were thoroughly acquainted with their desires and needs. The king who reigned over Egypt was Ra, the Sun-god, who was not, however, the first of the Dynasty of Gods who ruled the land. His predecessor on the throne was Hephaistos, who, according to Manetho, reigned 9000 years, whilst Ra reigned only 992 years; Panodorus makes his reign to have lasted less than 100 years. Be this as it may, it seems that the "self-created and self-begotten" god Ra had been ruling over mankind for a very long time, for his subjects were murmuring against him, and they were complaining that he was old, that his bones were like silver, his body like gold, and his hair like lapis-lazuli. When Ra heard these murmurings he ordered his bodyguard to summon all the gods who had been with him in the primeval World-ocean, and to bid them privately to assemble in the Great House, which can be no other than the famous temple of Heliopolis. This statement is interesting, for it proves that the legend is of Heliopolitan origin, like the cult of Ra itself, and that it does not belong, at least in so far as it applies to Ra, to the Predynastic Period.

When Ra entered the Great Temple, the gods made obeisance to him, and took up their positions on each side of him, and informed him that they awaited his words. Addressing Nu, the personification of the Worldocean, Ra bade them to take notice of the fact that the men and women whom his Eye had created were murmuring against him. He then asked them to consider the matter and to devise a plan of action for him, for he was unwilling to slay the rebels without hearing what his gods had to say. In reply the gods advised Ra to send forth his Eye to destroy the blasphemers, for there was no eye on earth that could resist it, especially when it took the form of the goddess Hathor. Ra accepted their advice and sent forth his Eye in the form of Hathor to destroy them, and, though the rebels had fled to the mountains in fear, the Eye pursued them and overtook them and destroyed them. Hathor rejoiced in her work of destruction, and on her return was praised by Ra, for what she had done. The slaughter of men began at Suten-henen (Herakleopolis), and during the night Hathor waded about in the blood of men. Ra asserted his intention of being master of the rebels, and this is probably referred to in the Book of the Dead, Chapter XVII., in which it is said that Ra rose as king for the first time in Sutenhenen. Osiris also was crowned at Suten-henen, and in this city lived the great Bennu bird, or Phoenix, and the "Crusher of Bones" mentioned in the Negative Confession.




The legend now goes on to describe an act of Ra, the significance of which it is difficult to explain. The god ordered messengers to be brought to him, and when they arrived, he commanded them to run like the wind to Abu, or the city of Elephantine, and to bring him large quantities of the fruit called tataat. What kind of fruit this was is not clear, but Brugsch thought they were "mandrakes," the so-called "love-apples," and this translation of tataat may be used provisionally. The mandrakes were given to Sekti, a goddess of Heliopolis, to crush and grind up, and when this was done they were mixed with human blood, and put in a large brewing of beer which the women slaves had made from wheat. In all they made 7,000 vessels of beer. When Ra saw the beer he approved of it, and ordered it to be carried up the river to where the goddess Hathor was still, it seems, engaged in slaughtering men. During the night he caused this beer to be poured out into the meadows of the Four Heavens, and when Hathor came she saw the beer with human blood and mandrakes in it, and drank of it and became drunk, and paid no further attention to men and women. In welcoming the goddess, Ra, called her "Amit," i.e., "beautiful one," and from this time onward "beautiful women were found in the city of Amit," which was situated in the Western Delta, near Lake Mareotis.(= It was also called the "City of Apis", and is the Apis city of classical writers. It is, perhaps, represented by the modern Kom al-Hisn.). Ra also ordered that in future at every one of his festivals vessels of "sleep-producing beer" should be made, and that their number should be the same as the number of the handmaidens of Ra. Those who took part in these festivals of Hathor and Ra drank beer in very large quantities, and under the influence of the "beautiful women," i.e., the priestesses, who were supposed to resemble Hathor in their physical attractions, the festal celebrations degenerated into drunken and licentious orgies.


Soon after this Ra complained that he was smitten with pain, and that he was weary of the, children of men. He thought them a worthless remnant, and wished that more of them had been slain. The gods about him begged him to endure, and reminded him that his power was in proportion to his will. Ra was, however, unconsoled, and he complained that his limbs were weak for the first time in his life. Thereupon the god Nu told Shu to help Ra, and he ordered Nut to take the great god Ra on her back. Nut changed herself into a cow, and with the help of Shu Ra got on her back. As soon as men saw that Ra was on the back of the Cow of Heaven, and was about to leave them, they became filled with fear and repentance, and cried out to Ra to remain with them and to slay all those who had blasphemed against him. But the Cow moved on her way, and carried Ra to Het-Ahet, a town of the nome of Mareotis, where in later days the right leg of Osiris was said to be preserved. Meanwhile darkness covered the land. When day broke the men who had repented of their blasphemies appeared with their bows, and slew the enemies of Ra. At this result Ra was pleased, and he forgave those who had repented because of their righteous slaughter of his enemies. From this time onwards human sacrifices were offered up at the festivals of Ra celebrated in this place, and at Heliopolis and in other parts of Egypt.

After these things Ra declared to Nut that he intended to leave this world, and to ascend into heaven, and that all those who would see his face must follow him thither. Then he went up into heaven and prepared a place to which all might come. Then he said, "Hetep sekhet aa," i.e., "Let a great field be produced," and straightway "Sekhet-hetep," or the "Field of peace," came into being. He next said, "Let there be reeds (aaru) in it," and straightway "Sekhet Aaru," or the "Field of Reeds," came into being. Sekhet-hetep was the Elysian Fields of the Egyptians, and the Field of Reeds was a well-known section of it. Another command of the god Ra resulted in the creation of the stars, which the legend compares to flowers. Then the goddess Nut trembled in all her body, and Ra, fearing that she might fall, caused to come into being the Four Pillars on which the heavens are supported. Turning to Shu, Ra entreated him to protect these supports, and to place himself under Nut, and to hold her up in position with his hands. Thus Shu became the new Sun-god in the place of Ra, and the heavens in which Ra lived were supported and placed beyond the risk of falling, and mankind would live and rejoice in the light of the new sun.

At this place in the legend a text is inserted called the "Chapter of the Cow." It describes how the Cow of Heaven and the two Boats of the Sun shall be painted, and gives the positions of the gods who stand by the legs of the Cow, and a number of short magical names, or formulae, which are inexplicable. The general meaning of the picture of the Cow is quite clear. The Cow represents the sky in which the Boats of Ra, sail, and her four legs are the four cardinal points which cannot be changed. The region above her back is the heaven in which Ra reigns over the beings who pass thereto from this earth when they die, and here was situated the home of the gods and the celestial spirits who govern this world.



When Ra had made a heaven for himself, and had arranged for a continuance of life on the earth, and the welfare of human beings, he remembered that at one time when reigning on earth he had been bitten by a serpent, and had nearly lost his life through the bite. Fearing that the same calamity might befall his successor, he determined to take steps to destroy the power of all noxious reptiles that dwelt on the earth. With this object in view he told Thoth to summon Keb, the Earth-god, to his presence, and this god having arrived, Ra told him that war must be made against the serpents that dwelt in his dominions. He further commanded him to go to the god Nu, and to tell him to set a watch over all the reptiles that were in the earth and in water, and to draw up a writing for every place in which serpents are known to be, containing strict orders that they are to bite, no one. Though these serpents knew that Ra was retiring from the earth, they were never to forget that his rays would fall upon them. In his place their father Keb was to keep watch over them, and he was their father for ever.

As a further protection against them Ra promised to impart to magicians and snake-charmers the particular word of power, hekau, with which he guarded himself against the attacks of serpents, and also to transmit it to his son Osiris. Thus those who are ready to listen to the formulae of the snake-charmers shall always be immune from the bites of serpents, and their children also. From this we may gather that the profession of the snake-charmer is very ancient, and that this class of magicians were supposed to owe the foundation of their craft to a decree of Ra himself.

Ra next sent for the god Thoth, and when he came into the presence of Ra, he invited him to go with him to a distance, to a place called "Tuat," i.e., hell, or the Other World, in which region he had determined to make his light to shine. When they arrived there he told Thoth, the Scribe of Truth, to write down on his tablets the names of all who were therein, and to punish those among them who had sinned against him, and he deputed to Thoth the power to deal absolutely as he pleased with all the beings in the Tuat. Ra loathed the wicked, and wished them to be kept at a distance from him. Thoth was to be his vicar, to fill his place, and "Place of Ra," was to be his name. He gave him power to send out a messenger (hab), so the Ibis (habi) came into being. All that Thoth would do would be good (khen), therefore the Tekni bird of Thoth came into being. He gave Thoth power to embrace (anh) the heavens, therefore the Moon-god (Aah) came into being. He gave Thoth power to turn back (anan) the Northern peoples, therefore the dog-headed ape of Thoth came into being. Finally Ra told Thoth that he would take his place in the sight of all those who were wont to worship Ra, and that all should praise him as God. Thus the abdication of Ra was complete.

In the fragmentary texts which follow we are told how a man may benefit by the recital of this legend. He must proclaim that the soul which animated Ra was the soul of the Aged One, and that of Shu, Khnemu (?), Heh, &c., and then he must proclaim that he is Ra himself, and his word of power Heka. If he recites the Chapter correctly he shall have life in the Other World, and he will be held in greater fear there than here. A rubric adds that he must be dressed in new linen garments, and be well washed with Nile water; he must wear white sandals, and his body must be anointed with holy oil. He must burn incense in a censer, and a figure of Maat (Truth) must be painted on his tongue with green paint. These regulations applied to the laity as well as to the clergy.

Donato Giancola


THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTION OF MANKIND  --  A



CHAPTER I


[Here is the story of Ra,] the god who was self-begotten and selfcreated, after he had assumed the sovereignty over men and women, and gods, and things, the ONE god. Now men and women were speaking words of complaint, saying:--"Behold, his Majesty (Life, Strength, and Health to him!) hath grown old, and his bones have become like silver, and his members have turned into gold and his hair is like unto real lapislazuli."

His Majesty heard the words of complaint which men and women were uttering, and his Majesty (Life, Strength, and Health to him!) said unto those who were in his train:

-- "Cry out, and bring to me my Eye, and Shu, and Tefnut, and Seb, and Nut, and the father-gods, and the mother-gods who were with me, even when I was in Nu side by side with my god Nu. Let there be brought along with my Eye his ministers, and let them be led to me hither secretly, so that men and women may not perceive them [coming] hither, and may not therefore take to flight with their hearts. Come thou (The god here addressed appears to have been Nu) with them to the Great House, and let them declare their plans (or, arrangements) fully, for I will go from Nu into the place wherein I brought about my own existence, and let those gods be brought unto me there." 

Now the gods were drawn up on each side of Ra, and they bowed down before his Majesty until their heads touched the ground, and the maker of men and women, the king of those who have knowledge, spake his words in the presence of the Father of the first-born gods.

And the gods spake in the presence of his Majesty, saying:

-- "Speak unto us, for we are listening to them" (i.e., thy words). 

Then Ra spake unto Nu, saying:

-- "O thou first-born god from whom I came into being, O ye gods of ancient time, my ancestors, take ye heed to what men and women [are doing]; for behold, those who were created by my Eye are uttering words of complaint against me. Tell me what ye would do in the matter, and consider this thing for me, and seek out [a plan] for me, for I will not slay them until I have heard what ye shall say to me concerning it."

Then the Majesty of Nu, to son Ra, spake, saying:

-- "Thou art the god who art greater than he who made thee, thou art the sovereign of those who were created with thee, thy throne is set, and the fear of thee is great; let thine Eye go against those who have uttered blasphemies against thee." 

And the Majesty of Ra, said:

-- "Behold, they have betaken themselves to flight into the mountain lands, for their hearts are afraid because of the words which they have uttered." 

Then the gods spake in the presence of his Majesty, saying:

-- "Let thine Eye go forth and let it destroy for thee those who revile thee with words of evil, for there is no eye whatsoever that can go before it and resist thee and it when it journeyeth in the form of Hathor."


Thereupon this goddess went forth and slew the men and the women who were on the mountain (or, desert land). And the Majesty of this god said:

--  "Come, come in peace, O Hathor, for the work is accomplished." Then this goddess said, "Thou hast made me to live, for when I gained the mastery over men and women it was sweet to my heart;" and the Majesty of Ra said, "I myself will be master over them as [their] king, and I will destroy them." And it came to pass that Sekhet of the offerings waded about in the night season in their blood, beginning at Sutenhenen. (Or, Henen-su, {hbw XaNeS}, i.e., Herakleopolis, Magna) Then the Majesty of Ra, spake [saying], "Cry out, and let there come to me swift and speedy messengers who shall be able to run like the wind . . . .;" and straightway messengers of this kind were brought unto him. 

And the Majesty of this god spake [saying]:

--  "Let these messengers go to Abu,(= Elephantine, or Syene, a place better known by the Arabic name ASWAN) and bring unto me mandrakes in great numbers;" and [when] these mandrakes were brought unto him the Majesty of this god gave them to Sekhet, the goddess who dwelleth in Annu (Heliopolis) to crush.

 And behold, when the maidservants were bruising the grain for [making] beer, these mandrakes were placed in the vessels which were to hold the beer, and some of the blood of the men and women [who had been slain]. Now they made seven thousand vessels of beer. Now when the Majesty of Re, the King of the South and North, had come with the gods to look at the vessels of beer, and behold, the daylight had appeared after the slaughter of men and women by the goddess in their season as she sailed up the river, the Majesty of Ra said:

-- "It is good, it is good, nevertheless I must protect men and women against her." 

And Ra, said:

--  "Let them take up the vases and carry them to the place where the men and women were slaughtered by her."

Then the Majesty of the King of the South and North in the three-fold beauty of the night caused to be poured out these vases of beer which make [men] to lie down (or, sleep), and the meadows of the Four Heavens (= the South, North, West, and East of the sky) were filled with beer (or, water) by reason of the Souls of the Majesty of this god. And it came to pass that when this goddess arrived at the dawn of day, she found these [Heavens] flooded [with beer], and she was pleased thereat; and she drank [of the beer and blood], and her heart rejoiced, and she became drunk, and she gave no further attention to men and women. Then said the Majesty of Ra to this goddess:

-- "Come in peace, come in peace, O Amit,"(= "the fair and gracious goddess.") and thereupon beautiful women came into being in the city of Amit (or, Amem). 


And the Majesty of Ra spake [concerning] this goddess, [saying]: 

-- "Let there be made for her vessels of the beer which produceth sleep at every holy time and season of the year, and they shall be in number according to the number of my hand-maidens;" and from that early time until now men have been wont to make on the occasions of the festival of Hathor vessels of the beer which make them to sleep in number according to the number of the handmaidens of Ra.

And the Majesty of Ra spake unto this goddess, [saying]: 


-- "I am smitten with the pain of the fire of sickness; whence cometh to me [this] pain?" 

And the Majesty of Ra said: 

-- "I live, but my heart hath become exceedingly weary (Literally, "My heart hath stopped greatly.") with existence with them (i.e., with men); I have slain [some of] them, but there is a remnant of worthless ones, for the destruction which I wrought among them was not as great as my power." 


Then the gods who were in his following said unto him: 

-- "Be not overcome by thy inactivity, for thy might is in proportion to thy will." 


And the Majesty of this god said unto the Majesty of Nu:  

-- "My members are weak for (or, as at) the first time; I will not permit this to come upon me a second time."


And the Majesty of the god Nu said:

--  "O son Shu, be thou the Eye 'for thy father . . . . . and avenue (?) him, and 'thou goddess Nut, place him . . . . . ... And the goddess Nut said, "How can this be then, O my father Nu? Hail," said Nut . . . . . to the god Nu, and the goddess straightway became [a cow], and she set the Majesty of Ra upon [her] back . . . . . 


And when these things had been done, men and women saw the god Ra, upon the back [of the cow]. Then these men and women said:

-- "Remain with us, and we will overthrow thine enemies who speak words of blasphemy [against thee.], and [destroy them]."


 Then his Majesty [Ra] set out for the Great House, and [the gods who were in the train of Ra remained] with them (i.e., the men); during that time the earth was in darkness. And when the earth became light [again] and the morning had dawned, the men came forth with their bows and their [weapons], and they set their arms in motion to shoot the enemies [of Ra]. 

Then said the Majesty of this god:

--  "Your "transgressions of violence are placed behind you, for the slaughtering of the enemies is above the slaughter [of sacrifice];" thus came into being the slaughter [of sacrifice]. 



And the Majesty of this god said unto Nut:  

-- "I have placed myself upon my back in order to stretch myself out." What then is the meaning of this? It meaneth that he united (?) himself with Nut. [Thus came into being] . . . . .

Then said the Majesty of this god:

-- "I am departing from them (i.e., from men), and he must come after me who would see me;" thus came into being . . . . . 

Then the Majesty of this god looked forth from its interior, saying:

 -- "Gather together [men for me], and make ready for me an abode for multitudes;" thus came into being . . . . . . . 

And his Majesty (life, health, and strength be to him!) said:

--  "Let a great field (sekhet) be produced (hetep);" thereupon Sekhet-hetep came into being. [And the god said], "I will gather herbs (aarat) therein;" thereupon Sekhet-aaru came into being. [And the god said], "I will make it to contain as dwellers things (khet) like stars of all sorts;" thereupon the stars (akhekha) came into being. Then the goddess Nut trembled because of the height.

And the Majesty of Ra said:

-- "I decree that supports be to bear [the goddess up];" thereupon the props of heaven (heh) came into being. And the Majesty of Ra said: --  "O my son Shu, I pray thee to set thyself under [my] daughter Nut, and guard thou for me the supports (heh) of the millions (heh) which are there, and which live in darkness. Take thou the goddess upon thy head, and act thou as nurse for her;" thereupon came into being [the custom] of a son nursing a daughter, and [the custom] of a father carrying a son upon his head.


Michael Whelan

CHAPTER II


This Chapter shall be said over [a figure of] the cow.

-- The supporters [called] Heh-enti shall be by her shoulder. The supporters [called] Heh-enti shall be at her side, and one cubit and four spans of hers shall be in colours, and nine stars shall be on her belly, and Set shall be by her two thighs and shall keep watch before her two legs, and before her two legs shall be Shu, under her belly, and he shall be made (i.e., painted) in green qenat colour. His two arms shall be under the stars, and his name shall be made (i.e., written) in the middle of them, namely, Shu himself. "A boat with a rudder and a double shrine shall be therein, and Aten (i.e., the Disk) shall be above it, and Ra shall be in it, in front of Shu, near his hand, or, as another reading hath, behind him, near his hand. And the udders of the Cow shall be made to be between her legs, towards the left side. And on the two flanks, towards the middle of the legs, shall be done in writing [the words], "The exterior heaven," and "I am what is in me," and "I will not permit them to make her to turn." 

That which is [written] under the boat which is in front shall read, "Thou shalt not be motionless, my son;" and the words which are written in an opposite direction shall read, "Thy support is like life," and "The word is as the word there," and "Thy son is with me," and "Life, strength, and health be to thy nostrils!" And that which is behind Shu, near his shoulder, shall read, "They keep ward," and that which is behind him, written close to his feet in an opposite direction, shall read, "Maat," and "They come in," and "I protect daily." And that which is under the shoulder of the divine figure which is under the left leg, and is behind it shall read, "He who sealeth all things." That which is over his head, under the thighs of the Cow, and that which is by her legs shall read, "Guardian of his exit." That which is behind the two figures which are by her two legs, that is to say, over their heads, shall read, "The Aged One who is adored as he goeth forth," and The Aged One to whom praise is given when he goeth in." That which is over the head of the two figures, and is between the two thighs of the Cow, shall read, "Listener," "Hearer," "Sceptre of the Upper Heaven," and "Star" (?).


CHAPTER III


Then the majesty of this god spake unto Thoth, [saying]:

-- "Let a call go forth for me to the Majesty of the god Seb, saying, 'Come, with the utmost speed, at once."' And when the Majesty of Seb had come, the Majesty of this god said unto him, "Let war be made against thy worms (or, serpents) which are in thee; verily, they shall have fear of me as long as I have being; but thou knowest their magical powers. Do thou go to the place where my father Nu is, and say thou unto him, 'Keep ward over the worms (or, serpents) which are in the earth and water.' And moreover, thou shalt make a writing for each of the nests of thy serpents which are there, saying, 'Keep ye guard [lest ye] cause injury to anything.' They shall know that I am removing myself [from them], but indeed I shall shine upon them. Since, however, they indeed wish for a father, thou shalt be a father unto them in this land for ever. Moreover, let good heed be taken to the men who have my words of power, and to those whose mouths have knowledge of such things; verily my own words of power are there, verily it shall not happen that any shall participate with me in my protection, by reason of the majesty which hath come into being before me. I will decree them to thy son Osiris, and their children shall be watched over, the hearts of their princes shall be obedient (or, ready) by reason of the magical powers of those who act according to their desire in all the earth through their words of power which are in their bodies."

Michael Whelan


CHAPTER IV


And the majesty of this god said:

-- "Call to me the god Thoth," and one brought the god to him forthwith. And the Majesty of this god said unto Thoth, "Let us depart to a distance from heaven, from my place, because I would make light and the god of light (Khu) in the Tuat and [in] the Land of Caves. Thou shalt write down [the things which are] in it, and thou shalt punish those who are in it, that is to say, the workers who have worked iniquity (or, rebellion). Through thee I will keep away from the servants whom this heart [of mine] loatheth. Thou shalt be in my place (ast) ASTI, and thou shalt therefore be called, O Thoth, the 'Asti of Ra.' Moreover, I give thee power to send (hab) forth . . . . .; thereupon shall come into being the Ibis (habi) bird of Thoth. I moreover give thee [power] to lift up thine hand before the two Companies of the gods who are greater than thou, and what thou doest shall be fairer than [the work of] the god Khen; therefore shall the divine bird tekni of Thoth come into being. Moreover, I give thee [Power] to embrace (anh) the two heavens with thy beauties, and with thy rays of light; therefore shall come into being the Moon-god (Aah) of Thoth. Moreover, I give thee [power] to drive back (anan) the Hanebu; (= the "North-lords," that is to say, the peoples who lived in the extreme north of the Delta, and on its sea-coasts, and perhaps in the Islands of the Mediterranean) therefore shall come into being the dog-headed Ape (anan) of Thoth, and he shall act as governor for me. Moreover, thou art now in my place in the sight of all those who see thee and who present offerings to thee, and every being shall ascribe praise unto thee, O thou who art God."

 CHAPTER V


Whosoever shall recite the words of this composition over himself shall anoint himself with olive oil and with thick unguent, and he shall have propitiatory offerings on both his hands of incense, and behind his two ears shall be pure natron, and sweet-smelling salve shall be on his lips. He shall be arrayed in a new double tunic, and his body shall be purified with the water of the nile-flood, and he shall have upon his feet a pair of sandals made of white [leather], and a figure of the goddess Maat shall be drawn upon his tongue with greencoloured ochre. Whensoever Thoth shall wish to recite this composition on behalf of Ra, he must perform a sevenfold (?) purification for three days, and priests and [ordinary] men shall do likewise. Whosoever shall recite the above words shall perform the ceremonies which are to be performed when this book is being read. And he shall make his place of standing (?) in a circle (or, at an angle) . . . . . which is beyond [him], and his two eyes shall be fixed upon himself, all his members shall be [composed], and his steps shall not carry him away [from the place]. Whosoever among men shall recite [these] words shall be like Ra on the day of his birth; and his possessions shall not become fewer, and his house shall never fall into decay, but shall endure for a million eternities.

Then the Aged One himself (i.e., Ra) embraced (?) the god Nu, and spake unto the gods who came forth in the east of the sky, 

-- "Ascribe ye praise to the god, the Aged One, from whom I have come into being. I am he who made the heavens, and I (set in order [the earth, and created the gods, and] I was with them for an exceedingly long period; then was born the year and . . . . . . but my soul is older than it (i.e., time). It is the Soul of Shu, it is the Soul of Khnemu (?), (=  There are mistakes in the text here) it is the Soul of Heh, it is the Soul of Kek and Kerh (i.e., Night and Darkness), it is the Soul of Nu and of Ra, it is the Soul of Osiris, the lord of Tettu, it is the Soul of the Sebak Crocodile-gods and of the Crocodiles, it is the Soul of every god [who dwelleth] in the divine Snakes, it is the Soul of Apep in Mount Bakhau (i.e., the Mount of Sunrise), and it is the Soul of Ra which pervadeth the whole world."

Whosoever sayeth [these words] worketh his own protection by means of the words of power, "I am the god Hekau (i.e., the divine Word of power), and [I am] pure in my mouth, and [in] my belly; [I am] Ra from whom the gods proceeded. I am Ra, the Light-god (Khu).

When thou sayest [this], stop forth in the evening and in the morning on thine own behalf if thou wouldst make to fall the enemies of Ra. I am his Soul, and I am Heka. Hail, thou lord of eternity, thou creator of everlastingness, who bringest to nought the gods who came forth from Ra, thou lord of thy god, thou prince who didst make what made thee, who art beloved by the fathers of the gods, on whose head are the pure words of power, who didst create the woman (erpit) that standeth on the south side of thee, who didst create the goddess who hath her face on her breast, and the serpent which standeth on his tail, with her eye on his belly, and with his tail on the earth, to whom Thoth giveth praises, and upon whom the heavens rest, and to whom Shu stretcheth out his two hands, deliver thou me from those two great gods who sit in the east of the sky, who act as wardens of heaven and as wardens of earth, and who make firm the secret places, and who are called "Aaiu-su," and "Per-f-er-maa-Nu." Moreover [there shall be) a purifying on the . . . . . day of the month . . . . . . .. even according to the performance of the ceremonies in the oldest time.

Whosoever shall recite this Chapter shall have life in Neter-kher (i.e., Underworld), and the fear of him shall be much greater than it was formerly [upon earth] . . . . . . . and they shall say, "Thy names are 'Eternity' and 'Everlastingness.'" They are called, they are called, "Au-peh-nef-n-aa-em-ta-uat-apu," and "Rekh-kua-[tut]-en-neterpui-. . . . . . en en-hra-f-Her-shefu." I am he who hath strengthened the boat with the company of the gods, and his Shenit, and his Gods, by means of words of power.


The End of Part I
(next - here *)

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