The light of the world


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Anyone who cares to become familiarly acquainted with the Kamite mythology and the scenery of Amenta can have little difficulty in recognizing the source of the ancient British and Irish legendary lore. Arthur, who owes his birth to what has been termed the shape-shifting of his father, is identical with Horus, who owes his birth to the transformation of Osiris, his father. Finn the posthumous child, who is reared in the woods to become the avenger of his father, is one with Horus born in the reeds to become the avenger of Osiris. Gawain as the child “born to be king” is brought up in the forest to which his mother had fled for concealment, as Isis fled to hide herself and bring forth Horus the heir-apparent in the marshes of Amenta. The battle of the brothers Sut and Horus is paralleled in the fight between Gawain and his brother Gareth. The “loathly lady” who transforms from a reptile at Gawain’s kiss answers to the frog-headed Hekat, who represents the moon that changes into Sati at the sun-god’s kiss.

In an Irish legend the heroes Diarmait and Finn Mac-Camail set out on a voyage in search of the men that had been carried off by a wizard chief or a giant called the Gruagach. The Gruagach is a Keltic ogre, or giant, who disappears at dusk into the well. The fight is the same as the conflict long continued betwixt Horus, lord of light, and the Apap-dragon of darkness in the land where the dead have “gone to the dragon.” Also when the conflict ceases for a time the beaten Gruagach sinks down into the well, just as Apap sinks into the gulf or void and is drowned in the lake of darkness. (Joyce, Old Celtic Romances, “Pursuit of the Gilla Dacker,” ch. 4.) Assuredly the dragon of drought survived as British in the dragon of Wantley, who is reputed to have been “a formidable drinker.” He was slain by “More, of More Hall,” who hid himself in the well of the under-world where the dragon came to drink. (Percy, Relics of Ancient Poetry.) Entrance to Amenta was opposed by the giant lurking in the “gulf of Apap” (ch. 7). Immediately after entering the valley of darkness Horus, the solar conqueror in the mythology or the soul that followed him in the eschatology, had to contend with the black monster and pass through him one way or the other. The hero is depicted in the act of piercing the Apap’s head (Naville, Todt, vol. I, kap. 7, vignette). This monster of drought and darkness becomes the huge black giant in the legends which are related of Kynon and of Cuchulain the victorious invader of the black fellow’s domain.

The lady of the tree that stands in the pool of the persea-tree of life, who is Hathor in Egyptian mythos and Nut in eschatology, is one with the lady of the fountain in the Welsh Mabinogei, who was won by Owen when he slew the black knight of the fountain and performed the same deed as Horus who rescued Hathor from her devourer, the dragon of darkness, otherwise the black giant. Horus enters Amenta by the blind door of death and darkness as the deliverer of the manes who are held captive by the powers of evil, Apap the giant, Sut the black man, and their confederates. To effect the rescue he, like Diarmait, goes down to the “land beneath the billow” in the lower parts of the Nun. This liberation of the captives in Amenta is common in the British legends. The Aarru-paradise is the land of promise in a lake-country. This lakeland is Lochlan of the Welsh version, “a mysterious country in the lochs” or waters beneath the earth. In this realm of faerie Finn and Diarmait found their lost friends all safe upon the island that was known as the Promised Land, which is identical with the Land of Promise that was sought for by the Jews, and by all who ever set out for the terrestrial or sub-terrestrial paradise, which never was and never could be found outside the Egyptian earth of eternity; and finally in the upper paradise or heaven of eternity on the other side of the celestial water. There is also a numerical note in the statement that those who succeed in snatching some of the fruit from the tree of life in the under-world returned forthwith to the typical age of thirty years, even though they had completed their hundredth year: and in the Egyptian representation Amsu the victor of Amenta, the conqueror of the black fellow, is the Horus of thirty years, the divine homme fait, that anointed son of god who is always thirty years of age.

When going over the ground previously the present writer was not sufficiently versed in the mysteries of Amenta, and Akar had not yielded up its secret treasures.

Application of the comparative method to the voyages of Maelduin and Bran will show that one of the most satisfactory survivals of the Kamite wisdom is to be met with in the Irish mythology and märchen. The voyage of Horus and his companions in the solar bark that makes a circle is repeated in the Imram or “rowing about” of the Irish heroes and their associates in the boat, or of British Arthur with the seven in the ark. The voyage of Maelduin is undertaken by him in search of his father’s murderers. This is the object of Horus or the deceased in the Egyptian Ritual. They sailed together over the waters to the west until they came to a cliff so steep and high it seemed to touch the clouds. Diarmait undertook to climb the cliff and search for the missing men. He looked inland and saw a lovely country. He sets out to walk across the plain; he sees a great tree laden with fruit. This is surrounded by a stone enclosure, a circle of pillar-stones, with a large round pool of water clear as crystal in the midst which bubbled up at the centre and flowed away to nourish all the land. The story need not be followed any farther as a story, but now for the interpretation. The missing men who were spirited away denote the manes. The way across the water to the west was the road of souls along the solar track. The steep and very lofty cliff was the mountain of Amenta, which is said to reach the sky. The lovely country or the plain was the field of Aarru in the Egyptian lower paradise, with the enclosure that protected it from Apap; its well of water as the living source of all supply; its tree of life that bore the unforbidden fruit, and other features of the mythos are all identifiably Egyptian.

In the opening of the Ritual (chs. 3 and 4) the hero enters the vessel of the Kamite Charon and addresses the helmsman and sailors. He is in search of his father, Osiris, who has been murdered by Sut, and says: “I am the beloved son. I have come to see my father, Osiris, to pierce the heart of Sut,” and to slay the conspirators (Rit., ch. 9, Renouf), Horus being, like Maelduin, the avenger of his father (Rit., chs. 1, 17, 92, Renouf). Amenta is the land of life (ch. 15); the sun sets into the land of life; it is the land of the tree of life and the water of life, in which the dead become the living, resting in the land of life. The mount in the west is called Mount Ankhu, the mountain of life. One name for the mount (otherwise the horizon) in Egyptian is Sut or Set, or , the rock, hill, or mount, which agrees with the Irish Síd for the hillock and the mound of the unseen world. The mounds were made as dwellings for the dead, and in the Irish legends the people of the other earth, the Tuatha de Danan, the wee folk and fairies, are dwellers in a world that is represented by the hillock or mound. “’Tis a large Síd in which the Aes Síde dwell,” therefore equivalent to the mount, and their hollow in the mount is one with the Kamite Amenta. There is no consciousness of time in this happy other-world. Those who have dwelt there for centuries seem to have been there no time. This is one way of identifying the land with the earth of eternity. The Irish
nether-world is the land of the ever-living ones; as an irresistible lure to men it is set forth as the land of ever-living, ever-lovely women.

In the Egyptian Ritual Anup, the jackal-god, the swift runner, who as the earliest form of Mercury preceded Taht-Hermes, is the guide of ways in the astral mythology and the conductor of souls in the eschatology. Anup was not only the guide through Amenta; he is also god of the pole-star and therefore lord of the polar paradise, before he fell from heaven and his station was assigned to Asar in the later solar cult. In our British and Irish mythology, Manannan, the son of Lir, is a form of Mercury. And in the legend of “Cormac and Faery” he is lord of the promised land. He also acts as guide to Cormac, and says to him, “I am Manannan, son of Lir, lord of the land of promise, and I brought you here that you might see the fashion of the land.” This is the guide of ways, Ap-Uat, whom Cæsar calls the “patron of roads and journeys,” who was worshipped by the Gauls above all other gods.

The great adversary of the solar god whom Horus went forth to slay is the Apap-serpent or dragon of darkness, a huge water reptile lying at the bottom of the abyss. We get a glimpse of this monster in the following description. In the Tale of Laegaire the land of heart’s delight is described as being under the waters instead of across them, or in the hollow of the mount. This, however, involves no discrepancy. The nether-world of Ptah-Tanen was below the waves. When the sun entered the mount it descended into the hollow earth toward the bottom of the mount, which stood on its own fixed base in the abyss or surrounding waters of the Nun. The title of Ptah-Tanen indicates the land (ta) in the Nun or Nnu which engirdled the earth outside. Thus the outer world was below the level of the waters at the same time that it was in the nethermost parts of the mount of Amenta. This necessitated the rampart that was erected by the builder Ptah against the deluge and other incursions of Apap the destroyer. The mythical water round about the earth is described with exquisite delicacy of touch in the Voyage of Maelduin: “It seemed like a clear thin cloud, and it was so transparent, and appeared so light, that they thought at first it would not bear up the weight of the curragh” (ch. 23, Joyce). Looking down through this water of aerial tenuity, they saw a beautiful country, and in one place “a single tree,” and on its branches “they beheld an animal fierce and terrible to look upon,” and whilst they looked they saw the monster stretch forth his neck, and, darting his head downward, he plunged his fangs into the back of the largest ox of a whole herd. This he lifted off the ground into the tree, where he “swallowed him down in the twinkling of an eye.” When Maelduin and his people saw this from the boat they were in fear lest they “should not be able to cross the sea over the monster on account of the extreme mist-like thinness of the water; but after much difficulty and danger they got across it safely” (ch. 23, Joyce). This lovely country seen beneath the waters, the sunken city of so many märchen, is the “beautiful Amenta” of the Ritual. The tree is the tree of life in Amenta, and the monster is the Apap-reptile. The ox as victim represents the bull of Amenta, a title of Osiris. The herd here answers to the herd of cows to which the bull
is lord. There is also a man on guard at the tree with shield and spear and sword, who corresponds to Ra, the guardian who defends the persea tree (Rit., ch. 17) against the devouring monster Apap. The passage over the pellucid water with the monster lurking darkly down below is described in the Ritual. “O thou who sailest the ship of heaven over the gulf which is void, let me come to see my father, Osiris” (Rit., chs. 44 and 99). Horus and his companions had to cross the abyss of Apap, and the insubstantial element of the Irish version answers to the hollow void of the original.

When the deceased is making his way through Amenta, Hathor the goddess of love and loveliness=the amorous queen, emerges from the tree and offers him a dish of the fruit which she has gathered to woo him with. By accepting this he is bound to remain the guest of the goddess and return no more to the world of the living, unless by her permission. Hathor is identical with the amorous queen of the Keltic legends. Seventeen grown-up girls attend on her and prepare her bath. These in the original mythos are the seven Hathors, and it looks as if the seven had been changed to seventeen, which is a number otherwise unknown to the original mythos. Hathor is the goddess in the tree who furnishes the fruit on which the souls are fed. The amorous queen gives the magical fruit from her apple-tree to visitors from the human world. The queen of Love was called the Golden Hathor, and in the Tale of Teague the gracious queen is “draped in vesture of a golden colour.” Hathor was the goddess of music, and the approach of the amorous queen of faerie is announced by music magically sweet. Hathor was the goddess who drew men with the golden cords of a love that was irresistible. This is naïvely rendered in the Irish märchen. When Maelduin and his men have stayed for three months with the amorous queen and enter their boat to sail away, she rides after them and “flings a clew” which the hero catches. It clings to his hand, and he is drawn back again to the queen by the magical clew that represents the cord of love. Hathor the queen of love is the provider of food and drink for the manes in Amenta, who have, or who pray to have, whatsoever heart can wish. So the amorous queen provides food and drink for the wanderers, which has every savour that each one may desire. Hathor was the goddess of beauty, to whom the mafkat and other precious stones were sacred. The necklace was her typical ornament, the predecessor of the cestus of Venus. And it is noticeable that the treasure snatched at by the foster-brother of Maelduin, which cost him his life, was the magical necklace that was in every sense irresistible. The lower paradise in which the tree of Hathor grows is in Amen-Ta. Ta is the earth or land. Amen signifies the secret or hidden. May not this be represented by Emain the nomen regionis in the voyage of Bran? From Emain comes the branch of the apple-tree, or fruit-tree that may have been a fig-tree, which would correspond more closely to the sycamore-fig of Hathor.

There is unlimited love-making in the land of the amorous queen, who is the Irish Aphrodité. She is a direct survival from the time when the divine female was the ruler of men and the object of their kneeling adoration. She is the queen of faerie, who was once the
queen of love. Hathor in the Ritual is especially the sovereign. The speaker says, “Let me eat under the sycamore of Hathor the sovereign (ch. 52), among those who rest there.” It is promised to the mortal who attains the elysium with the amorous queen that he shall enjoy the delights of love “without labour.” Even in the Egyptian Ritual the speaker pleads that he may have the investiture of the garden, that he may be glorified there, eat and drink, and have his fill of sexual intercourse. The text in the Nebseni papyrus reads nahap am, not mere love “in the abstract,” for nahap signifies coition. This is in agreement with the unlimited love-making in the land of women which was the primal paradise. The Kelt remains to-day a true child of the matriarchate that was piously transferred from earth to heaven. In this religion the mother with the child is the object of supreme desire, the religion that began as and still continues to be uterine. This divine ideal has fired the imagination of the Kelt as whisky fires the blood and brain. It was this that ultimately made him so devout a Roman Catholic with Mary for a portrait of the earlier amorous fairy queen. The Keltic land of promise is a land in which deep-bosomed, ever-living, glorious women dwell and make it worth while for men to strive and reach that heaven in the land of heart’s desire.

In the Ritual, ch. 17, the nocturnal sun is represented as a cat, the seer in the dark who keeps the watch by night in Amenta. The cat especially protects the tree of life and its food and drink from the assaults of the serpent Apap and the encroachments of those prowling thieves the Sebau. The cat is said to “govern the Sebau, and regulate that which they do.” The tree, be it remembered, is Hathor’s in the Ritual, and she is the queen of love who reappears in Irish legends as the amorous queen. Now in the voyage of Maelduin they come to the “island of the amorous queen.” They also come to a fort which is encompassed by “a great white rampart” wherein there is nothing to be seen but a cat that keeps on leaping from one to another of “four stone pillars.” The fort itself is full of food and drink and shining raiment. As the voyagers are leaving, one of them tries to steal a necklace, whereupon the protecting cat “leaps through him like a fiery arrow, burns him up so that he becomes ashes,” and then the cat “goes back to its pillar.” This description indicates the nature of the type. As in the Ritual, the cat represents the protecting solar god. The cat in Amenta is going round the night-side of the solar circle. The four pillars were the supports at the four corners called the four pillars of Shu. The solar god as watchful cat consumes the thief (one of the Sebau) to ashes, and “goes back to his pillar” or goes on his way.

It is the zootypes that tell the nature of the origins in sign-language and identify them as Egyptian. Two or three of these may be dwelt on for a moment. The cat as a protector of the “property” in Amenta; the ancient bird that renews its youth, not as the phœnix of fire, but by bathing in the lake of the water of life; the seven cows that give their milk in sufficient abundance to feed the whole inhabitants of the land of promise; the Apap-monster, the youthful solar hero, the mount of Amenta, and lastly the tree of life in the garden eastward of the mount. “When Maelduin was on his
voyage he came to an island on which there stood at the centre of it—a single apple tree, very tall and slender. Its branches were likewise slender and exceeding long, so long that they grew up over the circular high hill and down to the sea that bounded the island.” (Joyce, Celtic Romances, “Voyage of Maelduin,” ch. 8.) So long were the branches that for three days and nights, whilst the ship was coasting the island, Maelduin held a branch all the time, letting it slide through his fingers, till, on the third day, he came to a cluster of apples at the very end. This was the fruit of the tree of life.

Alfred Nutt remarks on the gigantic stature of the people who are met with by Finn and his men in the land of marvels, but does not think the trait has any traditional significance (Bebind Story). But the giants of the promised land are identical with those in the Hebrew märchen, and the prototypes of both are to be found in the Kamite mythos. One origin will account for all. There are two classes of giants in the Ritual, the glorified and the wretched giant shades. The glorified ones are those who reap the fields of divine harvest in the lower Aarru and in presence of the powers of the east. These are said to be each nine cubits in height, i.e., fifteen or sixteen feet. The giants of the fore-world were not magnified men, but representatives of the elemental powers, like the gigantic Apap of darkness, the hippopotamus of Sut, the crocodile of Horus, the giant ape of Hapi, the lion of Shu, in the pre-anthropomorphic phase. This was the race of giants that preceded the pygmies of Ptah in the Egyptian mythology. So in the Irish legends the Brobdingnagian race of the Fena, the mighty heroes of enormous stature, passed away and were followed by the little men who were Lilliputians in comparison; there are also dwarfs as denizens of the land beneath the waters. (Joyce, Old Celtic Romances, “The Last of the Fena.”)

Africa, the home of the pygmies, is presumably the birthplace of the dwarf races now represented by the diminutive wee folk of the Dark Continent. The earliest emigrants who made their way out of that land and wandered over Europe would be akin to these in stature, like the Lapps who follow them at a short distance. These were the wee folk in human form. But there is another factor to be taken into account before we can ascertain the origin of the wee folk as spirits in a tiny fairy shape. These do not simply represent the pygmy race of human beings, but are the same primitive people translated into spirit-world, from the time when the race was of the pygmy stature. We gather from the secret wisdom that the earliest beings who entered the nether earth were dwarfs or dwarfish people. The god Ptah, who opened the under-world by tunnelling the mount of Amenta, is himself a dwarf. The seven Knemmu that assisted him were pygmies. First come the African pygmies. Second, the mythical pygmies of Ptah. Third, the human souls that are the same in stature. Fourth, the wee folk of the legends, who inhabit the mounds, who work the mines, who dwell beneath the sea, the natural, the mythical, and spiritualistic dwarfs being somewhat mixed up together. The märchen or folk-tales of the Asiatic and European races are the débris of Egyptian mythos. Fairyland is no conception of the Kelt, nor original product of the Aryan imagination; it is the Kamite earth of eternity in the lower world of the mount of earth
which was excavated by the pygmies of the opener Ptah. From no other land or literature than the Egyptian can we explain the wee folk in the fairy mound or Síd. (Síd, pronounced shee. cf. the Egyptian she or shu, for the hollow, the void, and sheta, the sarcophagus.)

Various episodes of the passage through the nether earth and over the waters to the upper paradise that were represented in the drama of the mysteries and detailed in the mythos have been reduced to mere allusions in the Ritual. For example, there is a land of weeping, a dwelling-place of the god Rem-Rem, or Remi the Weeper. (Rit., ch. 75, and Litany of Ra, line 21.) The manes on his way to Annu says, “I have come out of the Tuat. I am come from the ends of the earth. I pass through the noble dwellings of those who are coffined. I open the dwelling of Rem-Rem, that is the place of weeping. (Rit., ch.75, Renouf.) In the Irish legendary “Yarn” the voyagers come to the Island of Weeping. This island is large and “full of human weeping. Whosoever lands in this place falls a-weeping.” This lot happens to one of Maelduin’s foster-brothers and others of the wanderers who are sent to bring him off. The coffined ones in the Ritual, chief of whom was Osiris in his coffin, offer a raison d’être for the weeping in Rem-Rem (as a place).

In their thirty-first adventure Maelduin and his companions come to an island of which it is said, “Around the island was a fiery rampart, and it was wont ever to turn around and about it.” This was evidently the revolving sphere. “Now, in the side of that rampart was an open door, and as it came opposite them in its turning course, they beheld through it the island and all therein, and its indwellers, even human beings, beautiful, numerous, wearing garments richly dight, and feasting with golden vessels in their hands. The wanderers heard their ale-music, and for long did they gaze upon the marvel, delightful as it seemed to them.” This is a glimpse of the pleasant plain, the promised land, the land of heart’s delight and ever-living women, with their lure of love—in short, the Aarru-paradise. There was a protecting rampart reared around this garden, the lower paradise in the earth of eternity. “A divine domain hath been constructed for me; the name of it is the garden of Aarru. I know the garden of Aarru; the wall of it is steel” or the bright shining ba-metal. (Rit., ch. 109.) Inside the rampart were the glorified ones, “each of whom is nine cubits in height.” Also the manes were there as workers in the human form, who cultivated each their field of corn and fed upon the food and drank the beer that were made from it and divinized as sustenance for souls.

The twofold paradise, terrestrial and celestial, is also extant in Irish legendary lore. Not as an Irish conception, pagan or Christian, not as a “vision of the great young godland-haunted Irish imagination,” but as a survival from the Kamite source that once supplied the world with a system of representation, mythical and eschatological, which remains almost intact as Egyptian, whilst it has gone to wreck and sea-drift elsewhere on other shores. The typical mount of earth with its hollow of the under-world has its representative in the Irish mound of the Síd, and the elysium across the sea is one with the paradise of Hetep over the celestial water.

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