Sunday, March 14, 2010
“Evil enters like a splinter and spreads like an oak tree.” African Proverb
Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").
The Story of Ra
In the beginning, before there was any land of Egypt, all was darkness, and there was nothing but a great waste of water called Nun. The power of Nun was such that there arose out of the darkness a great shining egg, and this was Ra. Now Ra was all-powerful, and he could take many forms. His power and the secret of it lay in his hidden name; but if he spoke other names that which he named came into being. "I am Khepera at the dawn and Ra at noon and Atum in the evening," he said. And the sun rose and passed across the sky and set for the first time.
Then he named Shu, and the first winds blew; he named Tefnut the spitter, and the first rain fell. Next he named Geb, and the earth came into being; he named the goddess Nut, and she was the sky arched over the earth with her feet on one horizon and her hands on the other; he named Hapi, and the great River Nile flowed through Egypt and made it fruitful.
After this Ra named all things that are upon the earth, and they grew. Last of all he named mankind, and there were men and women in the land of Egypt. Then Ra took on the shape of a man and became the first Pharaoh, ruling over the whole country for thousands and thousands of years, and giving such harvests that for ever afterwards the Egyptians spoke of the good things "which happened in the time of Ra".
But, being in the form of a man, Ra grew old. In time men no longer feared him or obeyed his laws. They laughed at him, saying: "Look at Ra! His bones are like silver, his flesh like gold; his hair is the color of lapis lazuli!" Ra was angry when he heard this, and he was more angry still at the evil deeds which men were doing in disobedience to his laws. So he called together the gods whom he had made - Shu and Tefnut and Geb and Nut - and he also summoned Nun. Soon the gods gathered about Ra in his Secret Place, and the goddesses also. But mankind knew nothing of what was happening, and continued to jeer at Ra and to break his commandments. Then Ra spoke to Nun before the assembled gods: "Eldest of the gods, you who made me; and you gods whom I have made: look upon mankind who came into being at a glance of my Eye. See how men plot against me; hear what they say of me; tell me what I should do to them. For I will not destroy mankind until I have heard what you advise."
Then Nun said: "My son Ra, the god greater than he who made him and mightier than those whom he has created, turn your mighty Eye upon them and send destruction upon them in the form of your daughter, the goddess Sekhmet." Ra answered: "Even now fear is falling upon them and they are fleeing into the desert and hiding themselves in the mountains in terror at the sound of my voice." "Send against them the glance of your Eye in the form Sekhmet!" cried all the other gods and goddesses, bowing before Ra until their foreheads touched the ground.
So at the terrible glance from the Eye of Ra his daughter came into being, the fiercest of all goddesses. Like a lion she rushed upon her prey, and her chief delight was in slaughter, and her pleasure was in blood. At the bidding of Ra she came into Upper and Lower Egypt to slay those who had scorned and disobeyed him: she killed them among the mountains which lie on either side of the Nile, and down beside the river, and in the burning deserts. All whom she saw she slew, rejoicing in slaughter and the taste of blood.
Presently Ra looked out over the land and saw what Sekhmet had done. Then he called to her, saying: "Come, my daughter, and tell me how you have obeyed my commands." Sekhmet answered with the terrible voice of a lioness as she tears her prey: "By the life which you have given me, I have indeed done vengeance on mankind, and my heart rejoices." Now for many nights the Nile ran red with blood, and Sekhmet's feet were red as she went hither and thither through all the land of Egypt slaying and slaying.
Presently Ra looked out over the earth once more, and now his heart was stirred with pity for men, even though they had rebelled against him. But none could stop the cruel goddess Sekhmet, not even Re himself: she must cease from slaying of her own accord -and Ra saw that this could only come about through cunning.
So he gave his command: "Bring before me swift messengers who will run upon the earth as silently as shadows and with the speed of the storm winds." When these were brought he said to them: "Go as fast as you can up the Nile to where it flows fiercely over the rocks and among the islands of the First Cataract; go to the isle that is called Elephantine and bring from it a great store of the red ochre which is to be found there."
The messengers sped on their way and returned with the blood-red ochre to Heliopolis, the city of Ra where stand the stone obelisks with points of gold that are like fingers pointing to the sun. It was night when they came to the city, but all day the women of Heliopolis had been brewing beer as Ra bade them.
Ra came to where the beer stood waiting in seven thousand jars, and the gods came with him to see how by his wisdom he would save mankind.
"Mingle the red ochre of Elephantine with the barley-beer," said Ra, and it was done, so that the beer gleamed red in the moonlight like the blood of men.
Posted by Sawaad Amen Ra at 6:45 PM