The light of the world


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Mr. Spenser not only argues for the actuality of these “beliefs” concerning natural facts, supposed to have been held by primitive men and scientific Egyptians, which vanish with a true interpretation of the mythical mode of representation, he further insists that there seems to be “ample justification for the belief that any kind of Creature may be transformed into any other” because of the metamorphosis observed in the insect-world, or elsewhere, from which there resulted “the theory of metamorphosis in general” and the notion “that things of all kinds may suddenly change their forms,” man of course included. (Data, ch. 8, par. 55.) But there was no evidence throughout all nature to suggest that any kind of creature could be transformed into any other kind. On the contrary, nature showed them that the frog was a tadpole continued; that the chrysalis was the prior status of the butterfly, and that the old Moon changed into the New. The transformation was visible and invariable, and the product of transformation was always the same in kind. There was no sign or suggestion of an unlimited possibility in metamorphosis. Neither was there ever a race of savages who did think or believe (in the words of Mr. Spenser)

that any kind of creature may be transformed into any other,” no more than there ever were boys who believed that any kind of bird could lay any other kind of bird’s egg. They are too good observers for any such self-delusion as that.

Mythical representation did not begin with “stories of human adventure,” as Mr. Spencer puts it, nor with human figures at all, but with the phenomena of external nature, that were represented by means of animals, birds, reptiles and insects, which had demonstrated the possession of superhuman faculties and powers. The origin of various superstitions and customs seemingly insane can be traced to sign-language. In many parts of England it is thought necessary to “tell the Bees” when a death has occurred in the house, and to put the hives into mourning. The present writer has known the housewife to sally forth into the garden with warming-pan and key and strips of crape to “tell the Bees,” lest they should take flight, when one of the inmates of the house had died. We must seek an explanation for this in the symbolism of Egypt that was carried forth orally to the ends of the earth. The Bee was anciently a zootype of the Soul which was represented as issuing forth from the body in that form or under that type. There is a tradition that the Bees alone of all animals descended from Paradise. In the Engadine, Switzerland, it is said that the Souls of men go forth from this world and return to it in the form of Bees. Virgil, in the Fourth Book of the Georgics, celebrates the Bee that never dies, but ascends alive into heaven. That is the typical Bee which was an image of the Soul. It was the Soul, as Bee, that alone ascended into heaven or descended from thence. The Bee is certainly one form of the Egyptian Abait, or Bird-fly, which is a guide and pilot to the Souls of the Dead on their way to the fields of Aarru. It was a figure of Lower Egypt as the land of honey, thence a fitting guide to the celestial fields of the Aarru-Paradise. It looks as if the name for the Soul, Ba, in Egyptian, may be identical with our word Bee. Ba is honey determined by the Bee-sign, and Ba is also the Soul. The Egyptians made use of honey as a means of embalming the dead. Thus the Bee, as a zootype of the Soul, became a messenger of the dead and a mode of communication with the ancestral Spirits. Talking to the Bees in this language was like speaking with the Spirits of the dead, and, as it were, commending the departed one to the guidance of the Bees, who as honey-gatherers naturally knew the way to the Elysian fields and the meads of Amaranth that flowed with milk and honey. The type is confused with the Soul when the Bee is invoked as follows, “almost as if requesting the Soul of the departed to watch for ever over the living”:—

“Bienchen, unser Herr ist todt,

Verlass mich nicht in meiner Noth.”
(Gubernatis, Zoological Mythy., v. 2, p. 218.) In the Ritual the Abait (as Bee or Bird-fly) is the conductor of Souls to the celestial fields. When the Deceased is asked who conducted him thither, he replies, “It was the Abait-deity who conducted me.” He also exclaims, “Hail to thee, who fliest up to heaven to give light to the stars.” (Ch. 76. Renouf.) Here the Bee or Bird-fly is a Solar type, and that which represented the ascending sun in the mythology

became a type of the Soul in the eschatology. Thus the inventor of honey in this world led the way to the fields of flowers in the next.

Modern popular superstition to a large extent is the ancient symbolism in its second childhood. Here is a case in point. The Cock having been a representative of Soul or Spirit, it is sure to be said that the human Soul has entered the Cock by a kind of reincarnation. Hence we read of a legacy left to a Fowl by a wealthy lady named Silva, of Lisbon, who held that the Soul of her dead husband survived in a Cock. (Daily Mail, May 26th, 1892.) So it has been with the zootypes of other elemental souls that were continued for the human soul, from the Crocodile of the Batavians to the red Mouse of the Germans. Folk-lore is full of fables that originated in this language of signs.

The Jackal in the Egyptian representation is the guide of the Sun upon his pathway in Amenta, who takes up the young child-Horus in his arms to carry him over the waters. In the Hottentot prototype the Jackal finds the Sun in the form of a little child, and takes him upon his back to carry him. When the Sun grew hot the Jackal shook himself and said, “Get down.” But the Sun stuck fast and burnt the Jackal, so that he has a long black stripe down his back to this day. (Bleek, Reynard, p. 67.) The same tale is told of the Coyote or Prairie-dog, who takes the place of the Jackal in the mythical legends of the Red Men. In the Ritual the Jackal who carried Horus, the young Sun-God, had become the bearer and supporter of Souls. In passing the place where the Dead fall into darkness, the Osiris says, “Apuat raiseth me up.” (Ch. 44.) And when the overwhelming waters of the Deluge burst forth, he rejoices, saying, “Anup is my bearer.” (Rit., ch. 64.) Here, as elsewhere, the mythical type extant with the earlier Africans had passed into the eschatology of the Egyptians.

The eternal contest betwixt the powers of light and darkness is also represented in the African folk-tales. The Hare (or Rabbit) Kalulu and the Dzimwi are two of the contending characters. The Hare, as in Egypt, is typical of the Good Power, and no doubt is a zootype of the young up-springing Moon. The Dzimwi is the Evil Power, like Apap, the Giant, the Ogre, the Swallower of the waters or the light. (Werner, “African Folk-Lore,” Contemp. Rev., September, 1896.) It is very cunning, but in the end is always outwitted by the Hare. When the Dzimwi kills or swallows the Hare’s Mother it is the Dragon of Darkness, or Eclipse, devouring the Lunar light. The Moon-mythos is indefinitely older than the Solar, and the earliest slayer of the Dragon was Lunar, the Mother of the Young Child of Light. Here she is killed by the Dzimwi. Then Kalulu comes with a barbed arrow, with which he pierces the Dzimwi through the heart. This is the battle of Ra and Apap, or Horus and Sut, in the most primitive form, when as yet the powers were rendered non-anthropomorphically. Again, the Monkey who is transformed into a man is a prototype of the Moon-God Taht, who is a Dog-headed Ape in one character and a man in another. A young person refuses several husbands. A Monkey then comes along. The beast takes the skin off his body, and is changed into a Man. To judge

from the Egyptian Mythos, the young person was Lunar, and the Monkey changing into a man is Lunar likewise. One of the two won the Lady of Light in the Moon. This was the Monkey that became a Man, as did the Bear in “Beauty and the Beast.” In another tale, obviously Luni-Solar, that is with the Sun and Moon as the characters, a girl (that is the Moon) refused a husband (that is the Sun). Thereupon she married a Lion; that is a Solar type. In other words, the Moon and Sun were married in Amenta. This tale is told with primitive humour. When the wedded pair were going to bed she would not undress unless he let her cut off his tail. For this remained unmetamorphosed when he transformed into a Man. “When she found out that he was a lion she ran away from that husband.” So in a Hindu story a young woman refuses to marry the Sun because he is too fiery-hot. Even in the American Negro stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Wolf, and Brer Terrapin the original characters of the typical animals are still preserved as they were in the Egyptian mythology when divinised. The Turtle or Tortoise, the wise and sagacious one, is the hider; the Fox, like the Jackal, Anup, is the cunning one. The Wolf is the swallower, and the Rabbit equates with the Hare, a type of the Good Osiris or of the African Kalulu.

Any number of current superstitions are the result of ignorance concerning the Ancient Wisdom, and one of the worst results bequeathed to us by the past is to be found in our customs of cruelty to dumb animals. These poor victims have had to suffer frightfully for the very service which they once rendered to man as primitive types of expression in Sign-Language. In the Persian and Hebrew laws of Clean and Unclean, many of the animals and birds that were once held sacred in Egypt for their symbolic value are there condemned as unclean, to be cast out with curses; and so the real animals became the outcasts of the mental world, according to the later religion, in the language of letters which followed and superseded the carven hieroglyphics of the earlier time. The Ass has been a shameful sufferer from the part it played in the primitive typology. Beating and kicking the ass used to be a Christian sport practised up and down the aisles of Christian churches, the ass being a cast-out representative of an old Hebrew, and still older Egyptian deity.

The Cat is another sufferer for the same reason. The cat sees by night, and was adopted as a type of the Moon that saw by night and kept watch in the dark. Now, witches are seers and foreseers, and whenever they were persecuted and hounded to death the cat suffered with them, because she had been the type and symbol of preterhuman sight. These were modes of casting out the ancient fetish-images initiated and enforced by the priesthood of a later faith. In Egypt, as Hor-Apollo tells us, the figure of a mouse signified a disappearance. Now, see how cruelly the little animal has been treated because it was a type of disappearance. It was, and may be still, an English custom to charm away disease by making a hole in the shrew-ash or witch-elm tree and shutting up a live shrew-mouse in it. In immuring the mouse in the bole of the tree, the disappearing victim typified or
enacted the desired disappearance of the disease. That which had been a symbol in the past is now made use of alive in performing a symbolical action in the present.

Much misery has been caused to human beings as well as animals through the misapplication of certain mythical, that is symbolical characters. Plutarch tells us how the evil Sut (or Typhon) was humiliated and insulted by the Egyptians at certain festivals, “when they abuse red-haired men and tumble an ass down a precipice because Typhon was red-haired and like an ass in complexion.” (Ch. 30.) The fact is also notorious in Europe that an evil character has been commonly ascribed to red-haired persons, with no known warrant whatever from nature. They suffer for the symbol. Now for the origin of the symbol, according to the Egyptian Wisdom. Sut, the treacherous opponent of Horus (Osiris in the later Mythos), was the Egyptian Judas. He betrayed his brother to his enemies the Sebau. He was of a red complexion. Hence the Red Ass and the red-haired people were his types. But the complexion and red hair of Sut were not derived from any human origin. Sut was painted red, yellowish, or sandy, as representative of the desert. He was the original devil in the wilderness, the cause of drought and the creator of thirst. As the Hippopotamus, Sut, like Apt the Mother, was of a red complexion. As the betrayer of his brother Osiris, Sut was brought on with the Jesus-legend in the character of Judas, the traitor; hence in the Miracle-plays and out-of-doors customs, Judas, true to the Sut-Typhonian tradition, is always red-haired or wears a red wig. Thus, in our pictures of the past the typical traitor still preserves his proper hue, but in the belief of the ignorant the clue is lost and the red-haired people come to be the Viva Effigies of Sut, the Egyptian Judas, as a human type of evil.

Folk-lore in many lands is the final fragmentary form in which the ancient wisdom–the Wisdom of old Egypt–still survives as old wives’ fables, parables, riddles, allegorical sayings, and superstitious beliefs, consecrated by the ignorance which has taken the place of primitive knowledge concerning the mythical mode of representation; and from lack of the lost key, the writers on this subject have become the sheerest tale-bearers whose gossip is full of scandal against primitive and ancient man. But not in any land or language can the Märchen tell us anything directly concerning themselves. They have lost the memory of their meaning. It is only in the Mythos that we can ascertain their original relationship to natural fact and learn that the people who repeat the folk-tales were not always natural fools. It is only in the Egyptian Wisdom that the key is to be found.

One of the most universal of the Folk-Tales which are the débris of Mythology is that of the Giant who had no heart (or spark of soul) in his body. The Apap-Dragon, in Africa, was the first of all the Giants who has no heart in his body, no root in reality, being as he is only the representation of non-existence, drought, darkness, death and negation. To have no heart in the body is an Egyptian expression for lack of understanding and want of nous. As it is said in the Anastasi Papyri of the Slave who is driven with a stick and beaten like the Ass, “He has indeed no heart in his body.” It was this

lack of Intelligence that made the Giant of the Märchen such a big blundering booby, readily out-witted by clever little Jack, Horus or Petit Yorge, the youthful Solar God; and so easily cajoled by the fair princess or Lunar lady who is held a captive in his dungeon underground. In one of the Tartaro-Legends told in Basque the Hero fights “a body without a soul.” When the monster is coming it is said of him “he is about to come, this horrible body without a soul.” In another tale the seven-headed serpent, Heren-Suge, bemoans his fate that he hasn’t “a spark betwixt his head and tail”; if he had he would burn up Petit Yorge, his lady, his horse, and his terrible dog. In this version the Monster is a serpent, equivalent to the Apap-Reptile or Dragon of drought and darkness, which in the Kamite Mythos has no soul in its body, because it is an image of darkness and negation.

Most of the characters and localities, the scenery and imagery of these Märchen belong to the Egyptian Mythos. The Lake is also African, as the typical great water of those who had never seen the Ocean. It remained the same type with the Egyptians after they did know the Great Green Water of the Mediterranean Sea. In such ways they have preserved their proofs of the Inner African beginnings with an adamantine unchangeableness. The lake of the Goose or Duck is referred to in the Ritual. (Ch. 109.) The Sun was imaged as a Golden Egg laid by the Duck or Goose. The hill or island standing in the lake is the Earth considered as a Mount of the Double Earth in the Kamite Eschatology. The Snake or Dragon in the Lake, or coiling about the Mount or round the Tree, is the Apap-Reptile in the Water of Darkness who coils about the Hill at Sunset (Rit., ch. 108) or attacks the Tree of Life which is an image of the Dawn, the Great Green Sycamore of Hathor. Earth itself was imaged as a Goose that rested on the Nun or the Waters of Space. This was the ancient Mother Goose that every morning laid her Golden Egg. The Sun sinking down into the underworld is described in the Ritual as “the Egg of the Great Cackler:” “The Egg which Seb hath parted from the earth.” (Rit., ch. 54.) The Giant with no heart or Soul is a figure of Darkness as the devouring Monster with no Sun (or Soul) in his body. Hence the heart or Soul that was hidden in the Tree, or in the Egg of the Bird far away. The Sun is the Egg that was laid by the Goose of Earth that brought forth the Golden Egg. This Soul of the Giant, Darkness, was not the personal soul of any human being whatsoever, and the only link of relationship is when the same image of a Soul in the Egg is applied to the Manes in the dark of death. The Soul of the Sun in the Egg is the Soul of Ra in the underworld of Amenta; and when the Sun issues from the Egg (as a Hawk) it is the death of Darkness the Monster.

Our forbears and forerunners were not so far beside themselves as to believe that if they had a Soul at all, it was outside of their own bodies hidden somewhere in a tree, in a bird, in an egg, in a hare, in a duck, a crocodile, or any other zootype that never was supposed to be the dwelling of the human Soul. In the Basque story of Marlbrook the Monster is slain by being struck on the forehead with an egg that was found in a Pigeon, that was found in a Fox, that was
found in a terrible Wolf in a forest. (Webster, p. 83.) However represented, it was the Sun that caused the Monster’s death. So in the Norse Tales the Troll or Ogre bursts at sight of dawn, because his death was in the Solar orb that is represented by the Kamite Egg of the Goose. The Giant of darkness is inseparable from the young hero or the solar God who rises from Amenta as his valiant conqueror. These being the two irreconcilable enemies, as they are in the Ritual, it follows that the Princess who finally succeeds in obtaining the Giant’s secret concerning the hiding-place of his heart in the egg of a bird is the Lunar Lady in Amenta who, as Hathor, was the Princess by name when she had become the daughter of Ra. She outwits the Apap, who is her swallower at the time of the eclipse, and conveys the secret knowledge to the youthful solar hero who overcomes the Giant by crushing his heart in the egg. In fighting with the Monster, the Basque Hero is endowed with the faculty of transforming into a Hawk! The Hawk says to him, “When you wish to make yourself a Hawk, you will say, ‘Jesus Hawk,’ and you will be a Hawk.” The hawk of Jesus takes the place of the Horus-hawk, just as the name of Malboro is substituted for that of the Hero who is elsewhere Petit Yorge=Little Horus. (Webster, Basque Legends, pp. 80-83.) Horus, like the Hero of these tales, is human on earth, and he transforms into the Hawk when he goes to fight the Apap-Monster in Amenta. In the Basque version the human hero transforms into a hawk, or, as it is said, “the young Man made himself a hawk,” just as the human Horus changed into the Golden Hawk: and then flew away with the Princess clinging firmly to his neck. And here the Soul that was in the egg is identified as the Hawk itself. At least it is when the egg is broken with the blow struck by the Princess on the Giant’s forehead that the Hero makes his transformation into the Hawk. In the mythology it was the bird of earth that laid the egg, but in the eschatology when the egg is hatched it is the Bird of Heaven that rises from it as the Golden Hawk. The Hawk of the Sun is especially the Egyptian Bird of Soul, although the Dove or pigeon also was a type of the Soul that was derived from Hathor. In the Märchen the Duck takes the place of the Goose. But these are co-types in the Mythos.

In the Egyptian, Horus pierces the Apap-Dragon in the eye and pins his head to the earth with a lance. The mythical mode of representation went on developing in Egypt, keeping touch with the advancing arts. The weapon of the Basque Hero was earlier than the lance or spear of Horus; it is a stake of wood made red-hot. With this he pierces the huge monster in the eye and burns him blind. The Greek version of this is too well known to call for repetition here, and the Basque lies nearer to the original Egyptian. It is more important to identify the eye and the blazing snake. Horus, the young solar God, is slayer of the Apap by piercing him in the eye. The Apap is the Giant, the Dragon, the serpent of darkness, and the eye of Apap was thought of as the eye of a serpent that was huge enough to coil round the mountain of the world, or about the Tree of life and light which had its rootage in the nether earth. This, on the horizon, was the Tree of dawn. The stake is a reduced form of the tree that was figured in the green of dawn. The typical tree was a weapon of the

ancient Horus who is described as fighting Sut with a branch of palm, which also is a reduced form of the tree. The tree of dawn upon the horizon was the weapon of the solar god with which he pierced the dragon of darkness and freed the mountain of earth and the Princess in Amenta from its throttling, crushing, reptilinear coils. This tree, conventionalised in the stake made red-hot in the furnace, formed the primitive weapon with which Horus or Ulysses or the Tartaro put out the Monster’s eye, and pierced the serpent’s head to let forth the waters of light once more and to free the lady from her prison in the lower world. When the Apap-Monster in the cave of darkness was personified in something like the human shape, the Giant as reptile in the earliest representation passed into the Giant as a Monster in the form of a magnified man called the Cyclops and named Polyphemus. In one of the African Folk-tales the little Hero Kalulu slays the monster by thrusting a huge red-hot boulder down the devourer’s throat. This is a type of the red-hot solar orb which the Power of darkness tried to swallow, and thus put out the light.

The lunar lady, as well as the solar hero, is the dragon-slayer in the Basque legends. In one of these the loathly reptile lies sleeping with his head in the lap of the beautiful lady. The hero descends to her assistance in the Underworld. She tells him to “be off.” “The Monster” has only three-quarters of an hour to sleep, she says, “and if he wakes it is all over with you and me.” It is the Lunar Lady who worms the great secret out of the Monster concerning his death, when he confesses where his heart lies hidden. “At last, at last,” he tells her, “you must kill a terrible wolf which is in the forest, and inside of him is a fox, and in the fox is a pigeon; this pigeon has an egg in its head, and whoever should strike me on the forehead with this egg would kill me.” The Hero, having become a hawk, secures the egg and brings it to the “young lady,” and having done his part hands over the egg and says to her, “At present it is your turn; act alone.” Thus it appears that the egg made use of by the Prince to kill the Giant is the Sun, and that made use of by the Princess was the Lunar orb. Here we have “the egg of the sun and the moon” which Ptah is said to have moved in the Beginning. “She strikes the Monster as he had told her, and he falls stark dead.” (Webster, “Malbrouk.”) The Dragon was known in Britain as the typical cause of drought and the devourer of nine maidens who had gone to fetch water from the spring before he was slain by Martin. These are representative of nine New Moons renewed at the source of light in the Nether World. Dr. Plott, in his History of Cambridgeshire (p. 349), mentions the custom at Burford of making a dragon annually and “carrying it up and down the town in great jollity, on Midsummer Eve,” to which he says, not knowing for what reason, “they added a Giant.” (Brand, “Midsummer Eve.”) Both the Dragon and Giant signified the same Monster that swallowed the water and devoured the givers of light, lunar or solar, the dragon being a zoomorphic type and the Giant hugely anthropomorphic. Instead of saying nine Moons passed into the dark, as a mode of reckoning the months, it might be said, and was said, that Nine Maidens were devoured by the Dragon of darkness. The Myth originated when Darkness was the devouring Giant and the weapon of the warrior was a stone that imaged the Solar orb. In the

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