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Showing posts from September 28, 2012

The Daily Temple Rituals

The Cult Statue
The Egyptian temple was thought of as the de facto home of the god. God or goddess, wether Amun, Horus, Isis or Sekhmet, was seen as having taken up residence in the cult statue. The statue itself was not the deity but was imbued with the presence of the deity.
The cult statue was kept in the darkest room, the sanctuary, enclosed in a shrine (naos) built of granite or wood, with double doors which were sealed to protect the purity of the sacred space within. By means of daily ritual, the cult statue was prepared to receive the deity, and when this had been attained, the statue 'became' the god himself, it represented the actual deity.
The daily rituals were three.
The most important one was performed at sunrise, then there was one at midday and one when the sun went down again.


The Morning Service
Before dawn the temple precinct was filled with priesthood and other temple servants who were busily preparing offerings of food, drinks and flowers as wel…

Island of Philae Cult Center of Isis/Aset

According to Plutharch´s late version of the myth this is the place where Aset found the heart of her husband Osiris when his body had been torn to pieces and spread out over the land by His brother Seth. It is also said that she buried him on the neighbouring island of Bigeh.

The temple on Philae was built in the Late Period to the Greek influenced and Romanized Isis, but it´s perhaps here that the importance of Aset can be traced most vividly, as the rulers during the Greek and Roman time period were eager to show their commitment to the ancient Egyptian religion, for political reasons. Through the magnificent display of this great cult center and the hieroglyphs which adorn the temple and pylon walls, the influence of Aset seems to come forward across the times to meet us.
On Philae she is shown as the wife of Wesir (Osiris), who mourned his death when he was murdered by his brother Seth, searched throughout the land for his body, restored him to life and gave …

Isis and the Secret Name of Re

This myth is preserved as a spell to 'ward off poison' in Papyrus 1993 from Dyn 12 (c. 1200B.C.) in the Turin Museum. A fragmentary version also exists in Papyrus Chester Beatty 15 in the British Museum. Besides giving the spell, it also shows the importance of knowing the true name of someone or something in ancient Egypt.




The first words say:
'Isis was a clever woman... more intelligent than countless gods... she was ignorant of nothing in heaven or on earth'
Isis had decided that she would find out the secret name of her father Re, the sungod. (In this myth she was the daughter to Re. Often same deities appear in different contexts, mixing and sharing traits and aspects.) To know his name would bring her equal power to him, and it would also rank her and her son Horus beside him among the gods.
As Re refused giving away his name freely to her, she set out to find a way to coerce him to reveal it. As the sungod was traveling across the horizon in his '…

The Myths of Aset, Great of Heka

The Great Quarrel
or The Contendings of Horus and Seth
This is written on Papyrus Chester Beatty I in Thebes during the New Kingdom and the reign of Ramses V. Its´purpose is entertainment rather than religious instruction, and it is written in a humorous way. Most likely it goes further back as its´content builds upon earlier tales of the deities involved . The tale is long with many incidents and what follows here is a much shortened version.




The story begins as Horus and sets out from Chemmis where has grown up, protected by his mother Isis. It will however be clear that her help is still needed if he is to win his father´s throne back from Set.
Horus appears in front of the Council of the Gods at Heliopolis, presided over by Atum. Here he claims the right to the throne of Egypt, which Shu, the son of Re thinks is justice. Also Thoth, the god of wisdom agrees.
Isis cries out in joy:
"Hence, North Wind! to the west and tell the good news to the 'still vigorous one…

The Myths of Aset

Horus´ Childhood This is one of the stories in the Delta Cycle, a group of tales from the mythical period called the 'First Time', when the gods wandered upon the earth and ruled it. They are stories about the childhood of Horus as he grew up, hidden and protected by his mother Isis in Chemmis, an area of marshes in the Lower Egypt northeast delta, said to be near the ancient city of Buto. His childhood was dangerous and he was exposed for all kinds of dangers. Already in the 5th Dynasty there are different versions of these stories. Spells for snake bites are found in the Pyramid Texts from this time, and two large fragments have been preserved during the Late Period, written on various supports for statues of Horus as curative spells against poisonous bites. Obviously they stem from earlier sources, and they are also to be found on medical papyrii.




Horus is Bitten! The spells included in this story were used in daily life to cure snake bites. It is played out…

Isis and the Seven Scorpions

This is one of the stories of the Delta Cycle, a group of tales from the mythical period called the 'First Time', when the gods wandered upon the earth and ruled it. They are stories about the childhood of Horus as he grew up, hidden and protected by his mother Isis in Chemmis, an area of marshes in the Lower Egypt northeast delta, said to be near the ancient city of Buto. His childhood was dangerous and he was exposed for all kinds of dangers.
Already in the 5th Dynasty there are different versions of these stories. Spells for snake bites are found in the Pyramid Texts from this time, and two large fragments have been preserved during the Late Period, written on various supports for statues of Horus as curative spells against poisonous bites. Obviously they stem from earlier sources, and they are also to be found on medical papyrii.
It is carved on the Metternich Stela in Metropolitan Museum, N.Y., where it probably was included as a protection against venomou…

The Ritual Hymns of Philae

A Ritual Recreation of The Eternal Return On the walls of the great Temple of Isis at the Island of Philae there are inscriptions describing the King´s ritual procession through the temple.

The purpose of this wandering, which was performed when a new King ascended the throne was to symbolically enact the Eternal Journey from birth through life to death and resurrection.

These hymns celebrate the cosmic circle; the rise and fall of the Nile, the journey of the sun across the heaven and through the Underworld.

When the King proceeds through the temple the cosmic circles are repeated on earth. Without this celebration Life would not be maintained. Everything in existence is returning back to the source from where it came, back to she who gives birth to the God, to Aset, the Giver of Life, Lady of Philae



Hymns of Philae I The Beginning - The Conception

In the innermost room in the birth house the conception is thought to take place,
in the darkness, shielded from human eyes…

Philae

Layout
Temples and buildings

1: Nectanebo´s Kiosk
3: Temple of Ary-hes-nefer (Hor-Anhur)
4: Chapel of Mandulis
5: Chapel of Imhotep
12: Temple of Horus the Avenger
13: Temple of Augustus
14: Roman Gate
15: Roman Quay
16: Temple of Hathor
17: Trajan's KioskTemple of Isis

2: West and East Colonnades
6: Gate of Ptolemy II
7: Outer Courtyard
8: Mammisi (birth house)
9: Nilometer
10: Temple of Isis
11: Hadrian's Gate

The builders of PhilaeAmasis (Ahmose II Khenemibre)
The Twenty-sixth Dynasty may have been the first to build a temple on Philae. Around three hundred decorated blocks from his temple were recovered from the foundations of the Second Pylon and the Hypostyle Hall. The temple was thought to have consisted of three rooms including a small sanctuary. It seems to have been dismantled to make room for a larger structure

Nectanebo I
This Thirtieth Dynasty pharaoh constructed the enclosure walls and a monumental gate. He built a kiosk and began the construction of the Ma…

Ancient Egyptian Number Hieroglyphs

The ancient Egyptians were possibly the first civilisation to practice the scientific arts. Indeed, the word chemistry is derived from the word Alchemy which is the ancient name for Egypt. Where the Egyptians really excelled was in medicine and applied mathematics. But although there is a large body of papyrus literature describing their achievements in medicine, there are no records of how they reached their mathematical conclusions. Of course they must have had an advanced understanding of the subject because their exploits in engineering, astronomy and administration would not have been possible without it.

The Egyptians had a decimal system using seven different symbols.

1 is shown by a single stroke.
10 is shown by a drawing of a hobble for cattle.
100 is represented by a coil of rope.
1,000 is a drawing of a lotus plant.
10,000 is represented by a finger.
100,000 by a tadpole or frog
1,000,000 is the figure of a god with arms raised above his head.
(C…

Hieroglyphic Typewriter