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Thread: Egyptian Mythology

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    Egyptian Mythology

    I'm usually reading multiple books at once and while poking around I stumbled across an interesting version of Egyptian Myths. I was grabbed by the way in which the story is told and I also have to admit that the illustrations are striking. I'm also posting this as an experiment of sorts. I'd like to hear impressions and reactions before I provide my source. I will post a few stories before I reveal the source. If you hate surprises and must know immediately, it is easily found by doing a Google search using the first paragraph. If you must jump ahead, please do not spoil it for the rest by sharing the source. I'm curious to see what kind of impressions this invokes without the prejudice of the source.

    I feel inclined to share because I am also revisiting "The Golden Chain of Homer" and can't help but see parallels in this creation story and the progression of the chain.



    RA/Helios- God of Radiance

    In the beginning, before there was time, water spread in every direction really because there was no up, no down; no east, no west; no inside, no outside. This water lay cold and colorless. A wet nothingness that hummed nnnnnnnun. Nun. Nun. This was the cosmos, hardly more than empty cosmos. There was but a single entity, so there was no question of order: The cosmos was ordered perforce. The order of a dot, a circle, a sphere,without beginning or end. Utter consistency. Perfect Order.

    But there is something that Doesn't like order. Order can be tolerated temporarily, but on and on like that? Infinite order? How unutterably intolerable. Boring, really.

    A hint came. A slight poke. Then another, a little firmer. A full fledged beat now. More of them. Insistent beats, breaking up the hum, moving the water imperceptibly at first, then in tiny waves, then bigger ones, huge ones now, tsunamis, yet still in a pattern, still ordered, one after another at regular intervals.
    Thump thump thump thump.

    A heart formed around this pulse, for every rhythm evokes an origin. And in that heart, nestled a thought. After all, some think with the head and others think with the heart. This was definitely a heart thought.

    Ah, the first and the profound disorder: thought.

    This single thought rubbed fast and faster until is warmed and finally ignited into language. The god Ra sprang to life with a word already in his mouth. More bubbled up. Words now crowded his mouth. They trampled his tongue and pushed against his teeth, his lips. He had so many words to enunciate. The need hammered at him. From that very need came lungs and a voice box and muscles to make it all move. Ra shouted the first word, over and over, and those shouts rose in molten mass up and up and spewed forth through the waters of Nun in a fiery explosion.

    That was the first firmament, the mound of creation that Ra called
    benben-it all started with a single tip, like a volcano mouth. Ra stood upon it in triumph and knew he must speak more. For in his voice lay all creation. He must create, he must never stop creating.

    Ra spat and the moisture from within him formed the goddess Tefnut, and the breathy force that propelled that moisture formed the god Shu. The products of his new mouth, his new lungs.



    So there were three of them now, three deities distinct from the vast wallow of Nun. It felt wonderful to be a triad; it felt sturdy, invincible even. With three backs together, you could face everything at once. With three you could explore the three dimensions simultaneously. Though there was not music yet, though there were no colors yet, Ra sensed the possibilities of three at some level he was not yet ready to understand.

    But even more than possibilities was the reality. Life mattered. And being a father mattered. Ra rejoiced in his self-creation. He rejoiced in his creation of his daughter and son. This was a good beginning. Ah, what water had yielded. Ah, indeed.

    Shu and Tefnut, these royal children played constantly. They stalked each other and pounced and wrestled. They rolled around and swatted each other. They were like lion cubs, and Ra was like a huge patient lion father, posing contentedly as they chased his tail or combed his mane, thought of course there were no lions yet. There were only Shu and Tefnut and Ra, and the vast spreading Nun around the island the triad roamed.

    One night, instead of sleeping, Shu and Tefnut went off wandering in the dark. Shu was air and Tefnut was moisture and neither of them had special powers to let them see through the blackness. So as children will, they got lost.

    When Ra realized they were absent, he felt bereft. The difference between being alone in the vastness and being with his two children was the difference between sorrow and delight. He was lonely. And worse, he grew anxious. There could be nothing out there to hurt the children, for, after all, there could be nothing out there period. What existed existed only because Ra had made it. Yet anxiety made this god itch all over until he wanted to scream and scratch his own skin off. He needed those children.He loved them.

    At this time Ra had only one eye. He plucked it out from his forehead and send his eye searching for Shu and Tefnut, for his darlings.

    Then he settled down and waited for the eye to return. He waited and waited. While he waited, blind and cold, he curled in on himself and wondered what he would do if his eye didn't find the children. It might search in vain forever. But the children could come back on their own anyway-that was possible. But that was terrible, too, for their father wouldn't even be able to see them. Ra rolled in wretchedness.

    And so Ra fashioned for himself a new eye as he waited and waited some more.

    Meanwhile the first eye of Ra, the original eye, lit up the world and flew across the firmament. It hugged the sands. It seeped into rock crevices. And not is soared across the waters, rising with each wave, falling as it crested. The old eye checked everywhere and at last found the cowering cubs, who had grown all gangly and awkward, almost full size by now, and led them back to their father, dripping and skinny and needy.



    Ra gathered his children to his chest and felt whole again. These children were is very limbs, they were his own breath, his own fluids, they were everything. He broke himself in the joy of being reunited and he wept on his parts. With great huge sobs, he exhausted himself. And the strange creatures -human beings- stepped delicately out of each tear drop, resplendent in their wet newness, gaping at the awe inspiring wonder of their creation. Innocent, yes. Yet with hungry hearts that made Ra's new eye blink, for he sensed those hungry hearts would allow innocence to be consumed and vanish.



    But the old eye of Ra, the original eye, was glad to see that humans were corruptible. That eye wanted Ra's new creations to make trouble for him, for Ra had been disloyal-Ra had replaced the old eye with the new eye. The old eye smoldered in fury.

    Ra was stupefied at the old eye's reaction. He understood nothing of jealousy, nothing of loyalty. Those emotions came from interacting, and he had never had to interact with anyone but Tefnut and Shu. Still, as his old eye hissed and sputtered, he understood the need for appeasement. And so he transformed his old eye into a snake, the very first snake ever, a cobra. And he picked it up and put it on the front of his forehead-the place of highest honor-and he called it his
    iaret. It worked! The iaret was proud to precede Ra wherever he went.

    Everything was getting better and better.

    But now something else was happening. Snakes slithered across Ra's feet. They slithered across Shu's and Tefnut's feet. Amazing: Creation had led to more creation. Shu and Tefnut considered these snakes and they knew, as though by instinct, that they could create too. Air and moisture can dance together after all. A mist, Shu and Tefnut tangoed over the unending sea, they dipped and twirled in graceful embrace, and Shu breathed into Tefnut until they gave birth to Geb and Nut.

    The new generation lay there, tangled in a heated hug, so much that they risked merging entirely.

    Ra and his daughter Tefnut looked on with puzzled interest, but the god Shu knew better. Nothing could happen right if Geb and Nut didn't separate. Shu sensed that life wanted to crawl forth on the back of Geb and for that to happen, light needed to dance between Geb and Nut. So Shu did what a father had to do: he tore Geb and Nut asunder. He raised up Nut in his long strong arms to make an arch of sky, leaving Geb prostrate, the waiting earth, ready for whatever gifts might come forth from above and below.



    But Ra didn't wait for anything; it wasn't in his nature. He looked at the bow Nut's body formed and all those words that filled his heart now spilled out of his mouth in a new form: stories. Ra became brilliant like Nut, brilliant with stories. He has to tell those stories, those stories could make anything happen, anytime, anywhere.

    Ra snuck behind the mountain Manu (which appeared even as he said the name) and climbed into his boat Manjet (again gaining solidity as it was named, yet somehow being old as forever, millions upon millions of years old) and sailed across the sky as a glowing ball of fire that appeared to roll over Nut's thighs and buttocks and spine and neck. He landed in the far west horizon (since the directions now existed as he spoke them) and then journeyed back to Manu, to his starting point, this time travelling through the underworld Duat in his second boat Mesektet.

    There was something exhilarating and renewing at the start of the journey across the sky and something tiring and withering at the end. A tantalizing mix. Ra had to repeat it; it was far too involving to experience only once. He allowed himself to be born again, coming out through Nut as though she were his mother rather than his granddaughter, reversing the order of things, confusing time by letting it circle back on itself. He rose as a baby. By midday, when the boat Manjet arrived at the first knob of Nut's spine, he was a man at the prime of life, a hero ready to tackle any problem and win. He set in the evening as an old man, tottering on a short stick, a flame fanning to a flicker of heat and finally a memory of warmth. What a journey. What a thrill. He had to repeat it forever.



    Pay attention, all.
    Behold my majesty.
    I am the Lord of Radiance.
    I am the father if all, the lover of strength, the giant of victory.
    So now, let us conquer.


    Conquer? What could that mean? Who was there to conquer? Where was the disorder, the discord, that would require vanishing? Ra couldn't see it yet. But he knew beyond a doubt it was coming.
    Last edited by Sal Delmar; 11-11-2014 at 08:47 PM.

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