Friday, September 21, 2012

Nun and Atum

In pure Heliopolitan mythology, Atum both rises from the waters of Nun on the primordial mound and is the primordial mound.   He represents the creative potential that exists within the waters.  These are the same waters that Vishnu floats on in Hindu myth.  In the other theologies, different gods are incorporated into the Heliopolitan model.

In  Memphite theology, the god Ptah is associated with the mound, thus one-uping  Atum.  Atum and the other gods then become the heart and tongue of Ptah.  This preserves the already-existing  model while allowing the priests of Ptah to make their god the supreme creator god.

In Hermopolitan theology, we're shown what's happening in Nun.  We see the eight chaos gods who represent the qualities of Nun.  These chaos gods form the soul of Thoth, the supreme creator god of the priests of Hermopolis.  He then causes the mound to rise on which sits Atum.  Well, actually he causes the lotus to grow out of the waters, on which sits the sun god Ra.  This is not a contradiction, just an alternative image.  The lotus and the mound are the same, as are Atum and Ra.

Atum, the uncreated creator, emerges from the waters on his mound in the form of Khepri the dung beetle.  Khepri represents the sun at morning, and his name means "He Who Becomes" (or something like that).  He later takes the form of Ra, the sun at noon.  Oddly enough, the setting sun is seen as Atum in the form of an old man with a staff.  I think this has to do with the belief that Atum will one day dissolve the universe and return to the waters of Nun.  It's said that Osiris will join him, being the only thing besides Atum that will continue to exist.

Atum, being alone, creates Shu and Tefnut.  I'll talk more about that next time.  He does this through heka (magic).  Heka, personified as a god, boasts in inscriptions that he existed before all the gods.  Some view the Memphite version as being the first full expression of what would later become logos philosophy, but I think the Heliopolitan version does so just as well.  Heka or Shu (depending on which version of the myth you use--in fact, the two are interchangeable) is the agency through which the gods and the world are created, which is logos philosophy.

Ta-tenen is an earth god who was associated with the primordial mound, and the mound was often called by his name.  More commonly it was known as the benben.  This was also the name of the capstone of obelisks and pyramids, which were representations of the primordial mound.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Egyptian Tree of Life Part 2

 Okay, here's a new tree with corrections and additional associations.  All of these are drawn from actual Egyptian mythology and beliefs.  There are some startling, almost exact correlations between the standard tree and this, and some that are not so much.  Next I'll start posting about each sphere (more or less).  One thing I'd like to do is flip it so it grows upward (like an actual tree).  This makes more sense for Egyptian mythology where the primordial mound rises up out of the waters. And really, there is no difference between height and depth except perspective.  My drawing program doesn't understand this and won't let me do it, so...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Egyptian Tree of Life Part 1

So, this is my version.  I did take the position of the Duat from the other tree, otherwise I came up with everything myself.  I'm still working on attributions and stuff, so this is far from complete.  I started with Heliopolitan theology and added in both Hermopolitan and Memphite theology.  With Hermopolitan theology, Nun (the primordial waters) contains the Ogdoad (eight gods who represent the forces present in Nun), the totality of which is represented by Thoth.  These are equivalent to Ain, Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur on a standard tree.  With Memphite theology, the mound that arises out of Nun, ta-tanen or benben (that second Nun is a mistake, I'll fix that) is associated with Ptah.  The rising of the mound takes the place of the contraction or Tzimtzum.  On that mound is Atum, who creates Shu and Tefnut, who give birth to Geb and Nut, who give birth to the next four.  That's the classic Heliopolitan Ennead.  The birth of Horus turns the Ennead into a decad.

The paths between the spheres (I'll use spheres instead of sephiroth) is what's known in kabbalah as the lighting flash.  It shows the order of emanation from the first sphere to the last.  It's the path of the flow of divine energy.  In Egyptian thought, this is Heka or magic (personified as a god).  In inscriptions, Heka boasts of existing before all the gods and of having created them.  Heka could be seen as the logos,  the divine expression by which Atum created and continues to create everything.  It is the energy which binds the world together.  Shu can also be seen as the logos, and these two are interchangeable.  In some pictures, Heka replaces Shu in his typical position of separating Geb and Nut.

Alright, it's late and I'm tired.  More later.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Better Late Than Never

I meant to keep up with this blog better than I have, but o well.

Lately, I've been reading a lot about ancient Egypt.  I've been trying to link its mythology to Kabbalah, especially the tree of life.  What I've been doing now completely supersedes the correspondences I posted before after reading part of The Zohar.  I'll post more about this later, but I need to make a chart.  Now I've got to figure out how to do that.  Here's an image from someone who's thinking along the same lines as I am (though I was able to create the same basic image and correspondences on my own just working with Heliopolitan theology).