The light of the world


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bread of life in a spiritual sense. The gorging and guzzling which are customary accompaniments of the Christmas festival in the north are a survival from the time when the primitive paradise was portrayed as a place of the grossest plenty. Even the more refined Egyptian gloried in the prospect of the earthly abundance being repeated for ever in heaven. This is what he says on sitting down at the table of the Lord: “I sit down in the midst of all the great gods of heaven. The fields lie before me; the produce is before me; I eat of it. I wax radiant upon it, I am saturated with it to my heart’s content.” (Rit., ch. 77.)

The mount or altar in Hetep which is imaged as a pile of plenty, a table of offerings, a mountainous heap of food, is the prototype of those artificial mountains exhibited, for example, in Naples at the public festivals, from which all kinds of eatables are distributed in the wildest profusion among the people, whilst the goddess Tait, who is the cook of divine dainties in that land of Brobdingnagian abundance, will account for the paradise of cooks and cookery which survives in various versions of Le Pays de Cocagne, where the most delicious food already cooked is spontaneously produced like fruit upon the tree of life. A version of this promised land is current in the Southern States of America, amongst the Negroes, who preserve the tradition of a tree of life, on the branches of which hot buck-wheat cakes hang over a lake of molasses that takes the place of the Kamite lake of the waters of life. This land of the goddess Tait, the cook of the cakes and joints of meat already cooked, is the Kamite original of Cockaigne, the land of laziness and luxury, in which the streets were paved with pastry. The name is probably derived from the cookery: coquo, in Latin, to cook; Kuchou, in German, for a cake; and cocaigne in Old French, signifying abundance. The witches’ Sabbath, however degraded, was a mode of celebrating this great festival according to the most primitive ideal of a paradise which overflowed with food and drink, and the glory of the sex was celebrated with Titanic women, fierce as Sekhet, in evoking and matching the animal passion of primitive men. Even in the Rig Veda (ch. X, p. 154) it is said of the man who wins this heaven of blessedness, “Non urit ignis membrum virile nec arripit deus Yama semen ejus” (much womankind shall be his in heaven). The witches’ festival was held on the hill-top or high place, which is Mount Hetep in miniature. Each one brought an offering of food and drink to the feast, and Mount Hetep is an altar, heaped with oblations and offerings for a feast that was to last for ever. The food was brought in raw for this celestial banquet. The speaker says, “I net the ducks and I eat the dainties. I take care to catch the reptiles.” With these we may compare the reptiles in the witches’ cauldron. There is also a gruesome witch-like Kamite goddess Tseret, with long, flowing red hair, who is armed with horns. The divine drink that was brewed in Hetep as beer is imitated by the witches as a product of the magic cauldron, the cauldron of Keridwen in the ancient British mysteries, which survived to some extent in the witches’ Sabbath.

The milk of seven rich-uddered cows was typical of eternal plenty in the green pastures of this African paradise; or, in the later anthropo-
morphic imagery, seven women, young and beautiful as Hathor the goddess of love and loveliness, of music and dancing and sexual delight, were the figure of infinite felicity in this heaven which Mohammed so successfully adopted for the Turks. In both phases the seven were seen as the seven great stars of Ursa Major that were in attendance on “the bull of the seven cows,” or the spirit of the glorified deceased who had risen to heaven in the image of Amsu-Horus. The Hebrew paradise upon the summit of the mount in the promised land is the same ideal of primitive blessedness. “In this mountain,” says the prophet Isaiah, “shall the Lord of Hosts make unto the people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow; of wines on the lees well refined” (Is. 25, 6). Papias, that ignoramus of a primitive Christian, also recounts how “the elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord, related that they had heard from him how the Lord used to teach in regard to these times, and say: The days will come, in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in each one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give five and twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster another shall cry out, ‘I am a better cluster; take me: bless the Lord through me.’ In like manner (the Lord declared) ‘a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear should have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds (quinque bilibres) of clear, pure, fine flour; and that all other fruit-bearing trees, and seeds and grass, would produce in similar proportions (secundum congruentiam iis consequentem). And these things are borne witness to in writing by Papias, the hearer of John, and a companion of Polycarp, in his fourth book, for there were five books compiled (syntetagmena) by him. And he says in addition, ‘Now these things are credible to believers.’” (Irenæus, B. 5, ch. 33, 3-4, Ante-Nicene Library.)

The Kamite paradise was the place of plenty and of strong drink. The Indian’s idea of future felicity, which consisted in being eternally intoxicated, is but an extension from this primary basis. The “cauldron of regeneration for spirits” was derived from the brewing-vat. Also it is noticeable that the Egyptian garden of Aarru or Allu, in the Ritual, has the same name as the grape, the vine-branch, and the wine. Hetep was the land that flowed with milk and honey, and the imagery is demonstrably Egyptian. It flowed with honey because the flowers were always in bloom. A curious illustration of this land of honey and its Egyptian origin may be drawn from the Ritual. There is a typical conductor that leads the spirits to their home in the Egyptian fields, called the abait or bird-fly, which in one form is the praying-mantis and in another the honey-bee. This divine guide is called in ancient texts the tiller of the rudder of the neshemit ship of Osiris in which the spirits made their voyage across the waters to the land of honey, guided by the bee (Rit., chs. 76 and 104). The land flowing with milk is indicated by the seven cows of plenty, whilst the heavenly Nile would represent the honey, as it was the water that was likened to honey for sweetness. Indeed, there is a tradition that

in the time of Nefer-Ka-Ra the Nile ran with honey or the taste of it for eleven days. (Brugsch, Egypt under the Pharaohs, Eng. trans. in one volume, p. 30.) The Egyptian paradise of Hetep is mapped out in ten divine domains which correspond to a heaven in ten divisions. These ten divisions were lost, or superseded, like the ten islands of the lost Atlantis, when the zodiac of twelve signs was finally established. And naturally there would be ten populations lost, as in the Assyrian deluge. It follows that the ten tribes of Israel, who preceded the twelve, were lost at the same time and in the same way, the legend being one as astronomical, wheresoever met with in the märchen. There is a tradition that they will be found again in the Aarru-Hetep or Jerusalem above, the promised land which they attained at last. In the Æthiopic “Conflict of Matthew” it is said that the ten tribes “feed on honey and drink of the dew.” “The water we drink is not from springs, but from the leaves of trees growing in the gardens” (James, Texts and Studies, 70). These were they who passed in death like all the rest across the waters “into a farther country where mankind never dwelt,” because it was in the spirit-world. (II Esdras XIII. 40-42.)

The 110th chapter of the Ritual suffices of itself to prove the Kamite origin of the mount of glory and the circumpolar paradise. This is the chapter of coming forth from the nether-world by day, or with the sun, and arriving in the garden of Aarru, on the mount of resurrection in Hetep, and at “the grand domain, blest with the breezes.” This was the heaven lifted up by Shu of old as the summit of attainment. It is called “the beautiful creation which he raiseth up,” the mansion of his stars which had been again and again renewed in the heaven of astronomy. In the eschatology it was the heaven of reconciliation, reunion, and of rest. It had been the heaven of Abydos, of Annu, Thebes, Memphis, Hermopolis, and other cities on earth, and now it was the heaven of eternity, the heaven of spirits perfected; also the heaven of Chaldean, Hebrew, Hindu, Japanese, Greek, and all the others who repeated the astronomical imagery and founded their religious teaching on the wisdom of ancient Egypt. The summit of Hetep was the seat of Hathor, queen of heaven and mother of fair love on earth. She who had drawn the world in offering her full breast as nurse to Horus now offered it upon the mount of glory to the weary spirits whom she gathered in her motherly embrace. She was also represented by those seven cows or meris, as the giver of plenty in the meadows of Aarru, so abundantly that the river called the Milky Way was as the overflowing plenitude from this perpetual source. On a tablet in the Louvre (ch. 14) this divine mother of gods and men is asked for “the white liquor that the glorified ones love.” This is distinctly called milk upon a Florentine tablet (2567), and vases of her milk are mentioned in the inscriptions of Denderah (Rit., ch. 110, note 9, Renouf). Hesit the cow is identified with Hathor the divine mother, the fair nurse, the mistress of heaven and sovereign of the gods. She was the cow-mother, and her child was the calf who became her bull as fertilizer. Hence the deceased as Horus in Hetep exclaims, “I am the bull, raised on high in the blue, lord of the bull’s field” (Rit., ch. 110, Renouf), whose cow or nourisher is Hesit. (Dümichen,

Resultate, 27, 6.) In this way the cow of heaven supplied not only milk for the infant Horus, but for all who were reborn as babes in the new life, and the heaven of plenty and of rest was tenderly pictured in the welling bosom of the motherhood, thus divinized upon the mount. When the departed have reached the summit of life upon the mount of spirits perfected, they emerge in the garden of Hetep or paradise of Aarru. Here they attain the land of promise in the highest sense of spiritual fulfilment. They eat of the fruit of the tree and drink the water of life, or the milk of the old First Great Mother, who yields it in the form of Hesit the cow: the ancient mother of gods and men to whom the Egyptians assigned a foremost station in the starry heavens. Here the beatified spirits who sat upon their thrones of ba-metal, “raised on high in the blue,” among the never-setting stars, extended the hand of welcome to the coming generations of human beings. Three classes of human beings are recognized in the past, present, and future of existence: the Pait
are those of the past, the Rekhit are the living, and the Hamemet are the future generations. In one of her inscriptions Queen Hatshepsu appeals to these latter as future witnesses to the glory of her present work. She says, “I make this known to the Hamemet, who will live in times to come.” (Records, vol. XII, pp. 131-136.) The name denotes the unembodied, or, more literally, the un-mummied, from Ha, before, and mem or mum, the mummy. These are the future beings to whom the glorified spirits extend their welcome in the garden of beginning and rebirth; and it is in this enclosure or paradise that we shall at last discover the garden on the summit of the mount in the north that has become a traditional cradle and creatory of life itself as the rebirthplace of the glorified. It is said to Ra, who had become the highest god, “Glory to thee upon the mount of glory. Hail to thee who purifiest and preparest the generations yet unborn, and to whom this great quarter of heaven offereth homage.” (Rit., ch. 130.) This great quarter was the northern summit in the region of the two lakes of Sa and of Purification. The divine rebirthplace of the soul constellated in the meskhen was converted by the later races, Asiatic, European, American, Polynesian, into the primeval place of human birth, from whence the successive migrations were supposed to have issued forth, because the localities and the scenery of earth had been substituted for those of the divine or mythical world of the Egyptian eschatology. The “original Aryan home,” the Iranian paradise, the Semitic garden of Eden, the Greek Elysian Fields are each derived from the Egyptian Sekhet-Hetep, the fields of peace and plenty, or the Sekhet Aarru, where amid the still waters are portrayed the islands of the blessed, the amaranthine meads and pastures ever green. When Assyriologists speak of Urdu the mountain of the world as the primitive cradle of the human race (Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch., vol. VI, p. 535), they are oblivious of the fact that there are fifty or a hundred such cradles of the race. Hence over eighty different sites have been assigned to the garden of the beginning, called Edin or Eden by the Semites. The Akkadian Urdhu is one with or corresponds to the Egyptian Urtu, a name both for the ascent or mount and the thigh or haunch, as a figure of the birthplace, human or divine. The
emigrants from Urdhu, like the Meropes, were the people of the thigh. The Hyperboreans were reputed to dwell above the north wind, as Festus says, “supra aquilonis flatum,” which gives us an astronomical hint. Apparently the bird aquila represents the Egyptian vulture mut, which is described in the Ritual (ch. 149) as being on or above the leg constellation: “I am the divine vulture who is on the uarit.” But whether it does or does not, the Hyperboreans are localized above Aquila in the northern heaven in the celestial pole-land, where dwelt the ancestors of the Ainu, and the Hamemet of the Egyptian theology. Again, the constellation of the thigh, as sign of the meskhen, womb, or birthplace, will show us the origin of the Meropes. The word mšropej (or people of the thigh) was a sacred expression used by the Greeks to denote mankind. It is said of the Hyperboreans by Hellanikos (fragment 96) that they dwelt beyond the Ripaian mountains, and were the teachers of justice, and ate the fruit of trees. This identifies them with the glorified spirits in the polar paradise by two unmistakable determinatives of locality. One is the tree, or wood, of life, on the fruit of which the gods and glorified were fed; the other is the maat or judgment seat upon the summit of the mount, where sat the great judge as Anup, or Atum, or Osiris, in succession according to the reigning dynasty of gods, that were stellar, lunar, or solar.

Mythical monsters like the Cyclops have descended from this birthplace of the beginning. According to Hesiod, the Cyclops were Titans, and the Titans are the giants who were properly a group of seven in later tradition. They were the assistants of Haphæstus, the worker in fire, who was the Greek Vulcan. This tends to identify them with the seven Knemmu, who were the assistants of Ptah, the metallurgist; the seven who were the giants of an earlier time as turners of the sphere in huge and monstrous form. Homer calls Mycenæ, the ark-city on the summit, the altar of the Cyclops; and the altar is a final form of the mount which was figured in the constellation “Ara.” In one character the seven powers that were grouped in the Lesser Bear were the giants, and the giants as Cyclops had but one eye between them. Naturally Polaris as the one eye to the seven was said to be the one eye of the seven, and the giants were then said to have been one-eyed. This would account for the Arimaspoi and other one-eyed people as dwellers in the uttermost vertical north. All was golden in the primal paradise, and according to Hesiod there was a “golden race of men.” These were they who came the first. This race was stellar, like the gold that made the circumpolar heaven golden. They were the glorious ones, the never-setting ones, the born immortals in the everlasting “golden-hued region whose food never fails,” described in the Vendidad (Fargard II, line 103).

Now, the question for those who looked up longingly to this paradise of peace and plenty as the summit of attainment for another life was how to reach that landing-place of souls and haven of supreme desire. There was heaven, but by what means could the height be climbed or the water crossed when as yet there were no boats or bridges built? Clearly there was nothing for it, from the first, but to leap or swim the waters flowing twixt the mount that was

mundane and the mount of glory. Hence the Great Mother Apt and Sut her son were figured as totemic hippopotami, and Sebek as the crocodile, for the passage of the water. This was in a mythical representation of natural phenomena, the same mode of progression being continued in the eschatology. When the deceased is about to cross the water betwixt the two worlds he says, “It is I who traverse the heavens. May I have command of the water.” (Rit., ch. 62.) But, previous to being self-invested with the necessary power, he prayed to be carried across by the Great Mother, who was imaged as the pregnant hippopotamus in the constellation of the bear, or as the milch-cow in the meskhen, or the moon. For this reason the Great Bear was also called the coffin of Osiris, as the typical place of rebirth. She is the ark of souls who saved them from the waters in the cabin which was uterine. The mother of life as Apt the water-cow was followed by Hesit the milch-cow, and in a later though very ancient representation it is the domesticated cow that carries the dead across the waters to the summit of the mount. But the earliest carrier of souls across the waters in death is Apt, the most ancient mother of life. In the astronomical phase she is the goddess of the seven stars in Ursa Major and mother of the seven typical eternals who were safe for ever from the deluge in the never-setting stars (Rit., ch. 17). In lands of lower latitude than ours the Great Bear, i.e., the female hippopotamus, set at times beneath the horizon or was hidden behind the mount of earth, to rise again as the bringer-forth of life from the waters, because the reproducer of souls for a future life. It is as the bringer of human souls to their rebirth that she, the hippopotamus, is portrayed as human in her abundant breasts and procreant womb. In that guise she was the womb of life, great with the souls she carried across the waters on their way to the upper paradise, when there was neither boat nor bride extant. This is generally represented by the mummy being borne upon the back of the cow that carries it off full speed by land or water till the islands of the blessed are in view. In these scenes the dead are carried outside the cow, whereas with Apt the souls were carried in the uterus or meskhen. In the mysteries of the Ritual (ch. 64) when the Osiris (deceased) is crossing the waters that have burst forth in a deluge, he exclaims, “Anup is my bearer.” In this instance the jackal is the carrier, the psychopompus, because it represents the power of the pole as the support of the soul in death. In consequence of being raised up by Anup, the guide of roads (Ap-Uat), the deceased also exclaims, “I hide myself among you, O ye stars that never set.” Which shows that he was raised to the region of the eternals, the Akhemu-Seku, or non-setting stars (ch. 33) whose position was fixed for ever as the most ancient lords of eternity, with Anup at their head. When the concept of an atmosphere succeeded the likeness of water, the birds of air could be employed as types. The sun was represented by the golden hawk, the moon by the black and white ibis; the stars, that did not set, as beautiful white birds a-floating on the lake in the paradise of Aarru on the summit of the mount. The deceased also exclaims, “I am the swallow! I am the swallow!” as one particular form of a bird of passage, on his way to the celestial country (ch. 86). Or he assumes the power of the bennu-bird, or the
shen-shen, both of which ascend the air to a great height in spiral whirls. The deceased in this character prays that he may “wheel round in whirls” and circle heavenward with the spiral motion of the bennu, i.e., the typical phœnix (ch. 83). It was in this guise the soul of Osiris rose again to ascend the tree of life or of dawn, hence the soul of the Osiris does the same. The moon was imaged also as the ibis on whose wings the orb made its celestial ascent. The Osiris pleads that he may ascend to heaven in the disc of the moon, or in the power of Taht, the lunar god who showed the way by night. The ibis now bears off the deceased across the water on its wings, and does battle with Sut, the power of darkness, for a passage.

The natives of Torres Straits Islands have a tradition that at death the spirits of their departed wing their northward way in the shape of flying-foxes to the polar paradise of all the aboriginal races. The power of wings is thus added to the spirit as the superhuman mode of flight. Swimming and flying are the two modes of locomotion here illustrated, until we come to the tree as means of climbing. The natural human way of ascent is climbing. But by no direct means could the helpless watchers climb the heavens with their hands and feet, and they had no wings of their own. As they were frugivorous, they could climb the tree, and the tree supplied a mental means of ascent for those who climbed the heavens as the souls of the departed. Dawn on the summit was imaged as a great green tree upon the mount. Thus the ascent was represented by both the mountain and the tree. Both were means of the ascent at the coming forth by climbing from the dark land of Amenta. It may be premised that the papyrus-reed which rose from out the water was an earlier type of climbing heavenward than the tree. Child-Horus on his papyrus was a figure of this ascent by means of the plant or stalk. When the Messu came by water it was by climbing up the stalk like little Jack. The pedestal of Horus, made of stone, was based on the papyrus-plant emerging from the water, and when this was buried with the mummy it was a type of the ascent to heaven. The ascent emerging from the deep, as Mount Meru in India, was called “the lotus (=papyrus) of immensity,” which also shows the water-plant to be a co-type with the mount or tree as the figure of the ascent. The tree is portrayed as a means of salvation amid the overwhelming waters which had to be crossed by the manes in the Ritual. The tree, then, like the mount and steps, was a typical means of ascent to heaven by which spirits attained the polar paradise. It was a natural ladder. There is no race so primitive but has a tree-type of the ascent to heaven. With the Mbocobis of Paraguay the souls of the dead ascend the llagdigua tree, which is a connecting link betwixt their earth and heaven (Humboldt). The same water and tree occur in the Rig-Veda (II, 66 and 183), when Bhuggu, son of Tugra, has to cross the great waters and is “cast headlong into the deep and plunged into inextricable darkness.” He likewise clings for support to the tree “stationed in the midst of the ocean.” The Australian natives make use of the tree as a mode of ascent to heaven for the spirits of the departed. The wizards also profess that they go up to consult the spirits of the dead by ascending a tree. Some of them make a pathway for the spirits to ascend and descend the tree of earth and

heaven by cutting out a strip of bark, taken spirally from the top of a large tree down to the ground. (Howitt, On some Australian Ceremonies of Initiation.) The tree or pole as means of climbing is variously illustrated. The Yao-Miao people bind their dead with withies to a tree for the soul to make the ascent. At other times the branch of a tree or bamboo pole is stuck in the grave for the soul of the deceased to climb by (Colquhoun, A. R., Across Chrysê, vol. II, p. 369). The Guarinis of Brazil were the worshippers of the god Tamoi who ascended the tree of dawn, like Tum his Egyptian prototype. Up this the spirits were to follow in his wake, and he would welcome them to paradise when they attained the summit of the tree. The Polynesians tell of the tree that reached up to the moon. When the deluge of Raitea occurred and the world of the seven divisions was submerged the survivors were saved by the tree that reached up to the moon or on an island (the mount) named Toa-marama, the moon-tree or the tree reaching to the moon (Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. II, p. 58). So that both the mount and tree are here described together under one name. The Samoans have various legends of the way to heaven. One of these describes it as a mount, the summit of which reached up to the skies. Another tells of the tree that measured sixty miles in height. According to one account, when the topmost branches of the tree were reached the climbers had to wait for a high wind which swayed them to and fro for a while and all of a sudden slung them into paradise. The Samoans also had a tree with steps that formed a sort of ladder up to heaven. Thus the mount, tree, and ladder were all extant in one group amongst the people of the Pacific islands (Turner, Samoa, pp. 199, 200). Both the mount and tree were modes of ascent in thought, and physical means of reaching a little higher towards heaven in making offerings to the powers. In Africa the prayer-tree is a common institution. The Yao people lay their offering of first-fruits at the root of the prayer-tree before they themselves begin to eat the new crop of maize or pumpkins. In another widespread custom the offerings were hung upon the branches of the tree. The Molucca Islanders have the typical tree of ascent to heaven. This tree stood at the place of sacrifice where the offerings were made. Thus with them, as with various other primitive races, the tree was the first natural altar and stairs that figured the way and means of ascent to heaven. The Kasia of Bengal hold the opinion that the stars are souls which once were men who climbed up to heaven by means of the tree, and were left aloft in the branches when the trunk was severed below. In the Huron version given by Brebeuf, we find the guide of roads for the spirits as the dog that is both the guardian and the guide of souls. In the Choctaw rendering the tree has become a log of pine stripped of its bark—that is, a kind of slippery pole by which men cross or climb to paradise or else fall off into the chasm that awaits the wicked down below.

Then the tree type passes into the pole and staff. But the most tangible figure for mental foothold in climbing based on natural fact was the mount. In almost every land there is a mountain known as the mount by which the souls of the dead ascend to the paradise first

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