The Sphinx: When Was It Really Built
and Why? Part 2 OF 3
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To get true information about their spirituality, you have to look at Egypt much differently; you have to look at it through the muthos eyes. Only then do all the dominoes fall into place.
This is also true for Stonehenge (2800 minus 1550 B.C. = 1250 years) as well as the giant Papa Nui and Olmec heads and the various cave drawings, which we now know were created by successive generations of artists: Lascaux (c.17,000 B.C.), Altamira (c.15,000 B.C.), Pech-Merle (c.25,000 B.C.) and Cosquer (c.25,000 B..C).
Although there still exists a prejudice against the idea that preliterate cultures in the hunter-gatherer/early agricultural stage had the advanced artistic and organizational capabilities necessary for such a truly massive carving as the Sphinx, the evidence presented by the various cave drawings (30,000 thru 16,000 B.C.) and the stone carvings at 10,000 thru 7000 B.C.) as well as the various stages of Stonehenge (2800 thru 1550 B.C.) and numerous other preliterate sites argues against that prejudice.
The answer to that is not a simple one but it is obvious that the face carving was meant to portray a living God or Goddess. As I mentioned earlier, similar large, carved preliterate faces occured in other preliterate cultures, but only twice: in the preliterate Olmec culture and the Rapa Nui culture.
Because of the individuality of the Olmec faces, my belief is the Olmec carvings were of individual athletes celebrated by that culture as God-like, or living Gods.
The stylized nature of the Rapa Nui faces indicates they were carvings of a God. As I've indicated earlier, I believe the initial Sphinx face carving at Giza was similar to the Olmec heads in that its realisim indictates the face was of a individual held to be a living Goddess.
Let me suggest a few things about the my proposed bas relief carving of the Sphinx face and the effort required to do it. The Giza Sphinx, as we know it today, does not sit on the top of the Giza Plateau, only its head and the very top of its back project above the general elevation of the surrounding plateau. This means that the body, for most of its existence, has been covered by desert sands., as it was excavated out of the plateau.
At one time, the Giza plateau contained no monuments, no Sphinx, no pyramids, nothing. The 16th century drawing (above, L) shows how the Giza plateau would have looked (if the observer were facing west from the Nile) after the Sphinx and pyramids were built. The head of the Sphinx is above the general slope of the plateau which is covered in sand, as it was almost all of the time right up until the 1900 A.D..
You can see those escarpments easily in the 3-D picture (L). You can also see more easily the Sphinx "ditch" where the Sphinx has been cut out of the limestone. It is just behind the "T" at the end of the pathway leading to the second pyramid. In this 3-D rendering of the plateau, we are looking southwest from a northeast position. The plateau can be easily recognized.
Below is a rough artist's conception of Phase 1, the carving of the bas relief face (Below, top) and Phase 3, the carving of chest and forelimbs (Below, bottom) might have looked like.
I am showing that artist conceptions below with a simple suggestion of a veil headdress that may have been carved in Phase 3 before the full head and nemes were carved in Phase 4. I go into detail on this later. I believe the chest and front limbs were eventually carved to provide a long, directed approach to the venerated face. I further believe that long before the limestone surrounding the body was carved out, the bas relief face and front of the Sphinx had already been there for thousands of years.
Ph. 3, chest and front limbs, head to behind
ears, suggested veil, 5600 B.C.
For a more detailed layering of the height increases of the plateau, the geologic map below can be used. As you can see the area in front of the Sphinx begins to become quite level as it approaches the ancient position of the Nile as it enters the Nile delta.
I've taken the head of Teddy Roosevelt (L) and erased the others to give you a general idea. In the picture (Below, R) I have portrayed the "rocky outcropping" section of the Giza plateau where the Sphinx currently sits, but as it would have looked in 6000 B.C. with the Phase 1 bas relief carving of the face of the Sphinx over my proposed "Veiled" face.
Anyway, that is how the 6000 B.C. Sphinx face would have looked: a bas relief face surrounded by the remainder our "rocky outcropping" on the top of the Giza plateau. Once the complete front of the head and front chest and paws were carved (which I believe took place also in preliterate times), what the Sphinx would have looked like is shown below as it would have looked thousands of years before the body was carved out behind it to finally complete it.
Note: I have colored the surrounding rock brown so that you can see clearly what was carved in phases 1-3. Also note that the top of the head was is relatively flat, one of the peculiar aspects of the sphinx head, as human heads rise to slight dome. As we shall see, the top of the cheetah's head is also flat.
At any rate, Phases 1-3 of the Sphinx would have provided an absolutely stupendous sight for preliterate pilgrims.This rendering will also give you some idea why I believe the limbs and chest would probably have been carved relatively soon after the face: the limbs provided a passageway to approach the venerated face. The passage between the limbs would have probably been covered with hides to make the approach dark, opening up just before the chest to reveal the face high above. Remember, approaching the Sphinx was spiritual, not sightseeing.
It may have been just a faint cheetah suggestion. Or it may have had some faint design that would be meaningless to us, but not the people of Giza. We have enough examples throughout the world of weathered animal and human faces to know they exist and in large numbers. We also know they were honored as God-faces. I chose the most "complicated" image because it could have been that way, so why not propose it? After all, history, indeed science itself, is loaded with such "accidents".
Since the distance to be traveled from the third cataract to Giza is 750 miles, we can see the trip taking 30 days absolute minimum at top speed, but with all the problems associated with travelling through strange territory, most probably three to four times that estimate. Food would be needed, and thus hunting with cheetahs would be a sure thing, especially in strange territory. As such, they would be under the control of a hunter attached to the group. Part of that trip may have taken place by raft once the cataracts were passed and wide, placid Nile was reached.
In Dynastic times, Mafdet was also seen as the protector of Ma'at, who became enlarged as the Goddess of Truth, Balance, Order, Law, Morality, Justice. Please note that Ma'at, is female, reinforcing my contention that women in the Mother Goddess culture were held to be those who knew.
Mafdet, then, would be the enforcer, the guardian, the one who protected Ma'at and the spiritual values she represented in literate Egypt: Truth, Balance, Order, Law, Morality, Justice.
I have no doubt that the face on the Sphinx is a female Nubian. Many viewers, current and past, agree with me in that observation. As to her being a shaman, I should say that I also see her as a leader, which in a 6000 B.C. Mother Goddess culture needn't have been separate roles. Preliterate tribal cultures weren't cultures of specialization such as ours where the priest is always separate from the president.
In addition, the very size of the Sphinx face carving says leader/living God. We see that in the Olmec face carvings and the head carvings at Rapa Nui. Such faces weren't carved for the fun of it. Big meant divine.This first bas relief carving would not have contained the full head or ears or nemes head dress. Those came later in Phases 2,3,4. See diagram below.The initial bas relief (Phase 1) would have pretty much looked like the photograph to the left. Surrounding it on all sides (except the top) and sloping down from it would have been the original limestone cliff.
One of the things you should notice immediately if you look closely at the overlays is how square the lower half of the Sphinx's face is and how flat the top of the head is.
This is what that squareness of the Sphinx's face suggests to me as an artist:
I think I am correct in assuming that these facial characteristics were also present in 6000 B.C., because we can see this squareness and broadness in the Dynastic Nubian sculpture of the Goddess Hathor, although the lower face of Hathor has been made to look somewhat "triangular" due to the ceremonial wig/headdress being pulled in against it.
If the above modern photos are indeed representative of the general shape of Nubian female faces in 6000 B.C., then it is very probable that our 6000 B.C. Nubian female shaman had a "squarish" face (like the woman on the left) and as I've said earlier, such a face may well be a Nubian trait as evidenced by the Dynastic Nubian sculpture of Hathor who is shown with a broad square chin made somewhat triangular by the pulled-in headdress.
As can be seen, however, the face of the Sphinx is much more square than that of any of the square-jawed Nubian women above.
3) The squareness of the Sphinx's face is due to the crude carving techniques and lack of sophisticated scaling tools of these early preliterate carvers.
4) I believe the yardang or outcropping was shaped something like a chopped-off rough pyramid or cone (L). That would have been a naturally under-water weathered shape for such an outcropping, so that the shape of the Sphinx's face and head (flat on top, looking up) may be also due to the fact that the outctopping itself may have had a relatively flat top and an inclined front slope.
Thus an inclined front slope upon which the face would be carved would help explain the upward gaze of the face, which is something I'll go into shortly. For early preliterate carvers, such as our proposed 6000 B.C. carvers with no experience in monumental carving, following the outlines of the outcropping itself would have been labor saving to say the least.
Needless to say, in such a case, and I believe it was the case, the shape of the outcropping (as well as the shape of the veiled face if it did indeed exist) would also have been seen as a sacred indication and thus to be followed in the face carving.
I could take all four explanations as possible contributors to the squareness of the Sphinx face, which is an oddity anyway you look at it. If I knew of no other factors, and had to lay money on which of the four factors had the greatest impact, I'd say a combination of all four:
1.The Nubian squarish face
2.The crude preliterate carving and scaling techniques.
3.The original weathered, "Veiled" human/ cheetah face may have looked "square".
4. The shape of the outcropping itself ( flat top, inclined front slope).
All of these factors indicate that the carving could have easily taken place in 6000 B.C.. The second factor and the "awkward", unsophisticated facial detail of the Sphinx's face again indicates it is a very early preliterate facial carving, as this Dynastic, exquisitely detailed Nubian sculpture (L) of the Goddess Hathor makes clear. Just compare the eyes and eye lids for starters.
I'll talk about this in detail later on, but the reason for the near match of the Olmec face is that the extremely sophisticated Olmec head has been foreshortened (or "squashed) for the purpose of making it resemble a ōllamaliztli ball. If you look closely, you can see how high the nostrils are on the Olmec head as compared to the Sphinx even though the two photos are lined up at the eyes. The "squareness" facial match has been caused by the purposeful squashing of the face by the Olmec sculptors.
OK, so much for being too clever with overlays. Let me get back to what I believe to be the underlying reasons for the extremely square face of the Sphinx. The four factors I've just mentioned played a role, but there was something else that motivated the carvers to take advantage of those factors in a special way.
I have come to believe that the odd squareness of the head and face of the Sphinx (both in width and depth) is not only due to the four factors I've just mentioned but also to the desire of the carvers to imitate the "squareness" of a cheetah's face and the length of its head. My belief that the desire to include these cheetah-shape characteristics took advantage of the shape of the outcropping itself. The fact that this made the carving easier shouldn't be discounted, as the scale of the carving would have been without any precedent for these preliterate carvers. Any help they could get would have been welcomed.
The preliterate carvers may have lacked the ability to render delicate facial details (as shown by my comparison of the face of the Sphinx to that of the Dynastic carving of Hathor) but I contend they understood proportion perfectly as well as how to bend it to their purposes, something I will go into in great detail a bit later on in this blog.
of the Sphinx's Head and Face
In the side overlay views, I have moved the brown Sphinx face progressively forward into the cheetah profile. Again, a very close fit, even for the ears. The one exception is the nose, as the Sphinx's nose is missing, and the chin, as the cheetah chin doesn't protrude as quite as much as the human chin does as shown in the last photo (below, L).
The cheetah's head in the large photo below looks slightly deeper, but much of that that is due to the fact that the Sphinx photo was not taken precisely from the side (as was the cheetah ) but is angled from the front (as can be seen by its chest). Finding exact camera angles for things like this is sometimes next to impossible, so allowances have to be made.
Nevertheless, you can see that the head depth of the cheetah and the Sphinx is about the same. As for the back of the Sphinx head suddenly cutting in and not extending back at a smooth angle, that is another anomaly that I'll explain as I progress.
As for the width of the Sphinx face, it is very similar to the width of the cheetah face, especially its "squareness". In the preceding section, I outlined four factors that contribute to it. There is another factor, however, which has to be included.
Take a look at the overlays below. I have taken the width of the cheetah's face to be that delineated by its jowls, "side burns" and whiskers, which results in an extraordinarily square face and one very close to the real visual width of the cheetah's face. See the pictures left and right.
One last thing. The relatively flat top of the head of the Sphinx has been another cause of puzzlement to many observers. This puzzle is solved once we realize that the top of the cheetah's head is similarly flat. Compare these three head-on photos of a cheetah, a Nubian woman, the Sphinx. This isn't a camera trick.Try it with any human head. There is a roundness to the top of human heads
What I am suggesting is that the initial bas relief carving honored those cheetah similarities and they were carried forward into Phases 2 and 3, which I also see being done in preliterate times. As for the differences, the cheetah is "chinless". i.e., the chin of the cheetah recedes from its mouth as compared to the human chin of the Sphinx. Yet it is really inconsequential, as the carvers of the face saw the face as being essentially human but one that also accommodated several cheetah proportional characteristics.
Again it is my contention that these preliterate carvers may not have known about sophisticated scaling techniques, or how to render delicate facial detail, but they did know how to "carve between the lines" so as to alter the proportions to get the cheetah characteristics they wanted.
One last thing. As I mentioned earlier, the face of the Sphinx is tilted slightly upwards, something that is often not apparent in photographs. This diagram of the Sphinx, however, shows it very clearly.
It is not accidental. Nothing is in Egypt. I estimate the angle is about 10 to 15 degrees. Exactly what it means is hard to say, but it is not the gaze of a cheetah. Cheetahs generally gaze dead on. This is a human gazing toward the sky. Not high up, with absolutely no regard to what is happening in this world, but just high enough to tell you that the Sphinx is also looking at the Other World, the world in the skies.
Whether the gaze is directed towards a particular astral event in the east other than the sun a la Bauval and Hancock, I have no idea. But I think I can safely suggest that the tilted gaze could be a muthos expression of the gaze of a living Goddess, one with feet in both worlds, like our Nubian female shaman/leader.
I mentioned earlier that the shape of the carved face was undoubtedly influenced by the shape of the outcropping itself and that includes the tilt of the face of the outcropping, where I suggest the tilt of the head simply conformed to the general slope of the cliff (which I have shown in red) rising to meet the top of the outcropping on the plateau. One of the things our preliterate carvers would have done to minimize their carving was to take advantage of the shape of the rocky outcropping itself.
So it is possible that the face may be at tilted up at an angle simply because the face of the outcropping was at that angle, although I also believe that the carvers saw the tilt of the face as a sacred indication of the right direction of the gaze and simply took advantage of that fact to elevate the gaze of the Sphinx. Similarly, I believe that the top of the head of the Sphinx is also the actual top of the outcropping, which I have outlined in red (See photo above, R).
Preliterate Egypt was also a culture in which domestic cats also began to occupy a special spiritual place sometime after 8000 B.C. when it is believed Semitic tribes from the Levant introduced them into the Nile delta.
I believe that part of the reason cats eventually grew into being seen as Gods was their marked resemblance to the Cheetah, who would have already been considered divine because of Mafdet's human/cheetah nature. Let's take a deeper look now at the "cheetah/cat connection" that is unique to the cheetah and that other large cats don’t enjoy.
Let's start with this: the cheetah’s face is almost identical to that of a cat, your cat. Take a look at these photos if you need convincing.
The cheetah is also the only large cat that purrs, just like your cat. You’d never mistake a lion’s face, or its sound, for those of your cat. Lions were also honored by the Egyptians, but for their expression of power, not their similarity to cats. In fact, a cheetah looks like a cat’s head stuck onto a larger, more powerful, very long legged body, which in and of itself gives the cheetah an eerie quality. It also doesn't roar like other large cats. It chirps or "sings" like a bird, which further adds to its strangeness. Here is Wikipedia on the origin of cats:
While the cat was indeed honored by Egyptians for the killing of grain-eating mice, a fact which most Egyptologists use to explain the peculiar importance of cats in Egypt, we also have to consider the fact that cats performed the same task in all cultures yet they were never elevated to the divine position they held in Egypt. I propose that cats held such a divine position in Egypt only partly because of their mice-killing abilities. Their divinity also came from their marked similarity to the cheetah and the fact that Egyptians intuitively associated the cat with their psychic/spiritual practices.
We have to remember that Egypt, from their Proto-Egyptian stage on, were a soul-obsessed culture equally obsessed by the psychic practices they used to observe the nature of the soul. Modern science has a hard time with proposals like this because they view such things as the psychic world and the soul either as nonsense or as not fit subjects for investigation by the scientific method.
The Egyptian's obsession with the soul and psychic exploration and cats is interlinked and had to have had ancient cultural roots, just as the Hebrew’s obsession with the nature of God and God's relation to man must have had ancient cultural roots.
Cultural obsessions don’t happen overnight. They become more formalized over time, but the roots are always ancient. You might say those roots make up a central archetype in the collective unconscious of that culture.
One indication of the special spiritual quality that the soul-obsessed Egyptians saw in cats is the staggering number of cat mummies that have been found in Egypt. When you realize, as our scientists haven't, that mummification of both humans and cats was done to keep some portion of the soul alive, you can begin to see how important cats were as psychic companions to the soul-obsessed Egyptians.
I go into this in detail in the Appendix to Alice Hickey, Excerpt 47, but I'll simply state here that mummification was critical to the Egyptians because they were convinced that the soul and body were one and the same, and if the body was prevented from disappearing after death, some portion of the soul would survive.
Psychics, both ancient and modern believe that animals have souls as well as humans. We don't know if the Egyptians described the souls of cats with the same detail as they did with the souls of humans, but it is clear that the souls of cats were important to them, otherwise there is no way to explain the huge number of cats that were mummified once we understand why humans were mummified.
When I speak of the psychic associations with cats, forget the cartoons of witches on broomsticks with black cats. As someone familiar with the psychic world, I will tell you that is pop nonsense. Cats have always been associated with the psychic world because of the way cats move so silently though our lives: as if we didn't really exist, or perhaps more accurately, as if they were aware of a world invisible to us. Unlike dogs, who are incredibly tuned into human beings (so much so that they will always look into a human’s right eye to determine their emotional state, something only humans do) cats exhibit no such characteristics. Compared to dogs, cats are completely uninterested in what we do except as a source of warmth and food.
As I am writing this, I am sitting in the home of my son Art, who has kept Siamese cats all his life. One of his cats regularly walks across the keyboard of my portable PC while I’m typing and has never once stepped on a key. Never. I have no idea why (or how) the cat avoids the keys in its seemingly nonchalant journey across my portable keyboard, nor do I have any idea why the cat is so attracted to me and my portable PC—is it my creative energy, my fingers, the flickering screen, the silent internal PC fan, or is it something of which I'm completely unaware?
It is this quality tthat I belive set the cats apart in Egyptian culture as being divine. The fact that they were also rat-killers was important, but it was not the only reason cats were elevated to the positions of Gods in Egypt. To find out more about cats and their spiritual/historical importance in Egypt and other ancient cultures /psychic aspects, click here:
|Bast and Sekhmet|
Although Mafdet was never seen as a domestic cat or lion, some theorists believe she was not a cheetah, but a lynx or a leopard or a mongoose. Her name, however, settles that issue. It means "she who runs swiftly"and there is only one large cat fitting that description: a cheetah.
The fact that in Dynastic times she was often pictured as a lynx or mongoose leads me to believe that this was the result of an effort on the part of the male priestly class to push Mafdet, the poweful. preliterate Cheetah Mother Goddess into the background.
Mafdet never becomes a domesticated cat. She remains a half cheetah/ half human female firmly attached to the Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture, and as a result is all but lost in the transition to the literate, male-God, Dynastic Egypt that took hold in 3200 B.C. where the lion becomes the symbol of the emerging literate, Dynastic empire.
Although we have no statues of Mafdet, we know a great deal about her because of written descriptions left by the Egyptians. If it weren't for those descriptions we would be lost because she is the only one of the early essential Nubian Mother Goddesses (Mut, Nut, Ma'at, Mafdet) who wasn't brought forward (through marriage) into the literate, male-God dominated pantheon of Dynastic Egypt.
This indicates to me that she was the most vital of the early Nubian Mother Goddesses and therefore the most threatening to the literate male Gods. It also is a strong indication that Mafdet would have been, as I have suggested, the Patron Goddess of our Nubian female shaman. Mafdet appears in the Egyptian pantheon as early as the First Dynasty but obviously has roots deep into preliterate times.
The details of her worship are not clear, although a representation of her does appear on a vase that was found at a royal tomb in Abydos, which dates from between 2950 thru 2800 B.C. but I believe it's likely that she is most probably of even earlier Nubian origin. Mafdet was usually depicted as a woman with the head of a cheetah or a cheetah with the head of a woman. (Sounds like a good description of the Sphinx, doesn't it?). Mafdet's name translates as (she who) runs swiftly.
As the administrator of justice in literate times, Mafdet was depicted as running up the side of the executioner's staff (see photo, L, where she is shown as a lynx). Like a cat, Mafdet would rip out the hearts of evil-doers and drop them at the pharaoh's feet. Mafdet ruled the judgement hall in Duat (Egyptian Underworld). It was in this hall that the king’s enemies and rebels were executed with his harpoon, which closely resembled a feline’s claw. This weapon was known as Mafdet’s claw.
Here are some photos of aging Liz Taylor and Richard Burton petting a cheetah lying between them. Perhaps they were reliving their Antony and Cleopatra days after a few cocktails. But joking aside, it shows how companionable they can be once trained.
As for the Egyptians use of cheetahs for hunting, history suggests that this practice was adopted from similar practices in Nubia, as many Egyptian cheetahs came from Nubia where they had always been kept as leashed pets and used like falcons to hunt other animals. This practice continues today
As an aside, the photo to the left of a very detailed weathered face found in Canada was not weathered onto a rock but onto the surface of the earth. It is extremely large ( see the road leading to the ear) and the photo was taken was taken from a great height. Still, it shows the possibilities of weathering.
From a muthos point of view, there are two possible reasons why a face would have been carved over my proposed "weathered" face in 6000 B.C..
Possibility 2. When the Sphinx face was first carved, it was a bas relief carving of the actual face of an exceptional Nubian female shaman associated with Mafdet, thereby signifying that the face they were carving both shared and acknowledged the female/cheetah nature of the weathered "Veiled" face.
It is also important to understand that the ancient "weathered" face would have been considered sacred, being in the eyes of the Giza Proto-Egyptians no less than the Goddess-face of Mafdet placed there when the earth was formed.
Thus we have to conclude that some very important event occurred that triggered the carving of a very particularly proportioned face upon the roughly suggested, eastward gazing face that had been there forever.
I have already suggested it was a gigantic flood of the Nile delta caused by a massive eruption of Mt. Aetna in 6000 B.C. and until someone comes up with another equally disastrous event in the period 6000 thru 3200 B.C. that will have to do.
Let me explain what I mean by continuing birth.
Preliterate observers would have had no trouble in seeing the vague, weathered suggestion of a cheetah/human face as a “Veiled” birth, one in which the infant’s head—as it emerges from the birth canal—is seen to be covered by a thin, translucent lining sometimes called a caul.
Most likely, they were called some variation of those names and would probably begin with the "M" sound, which is an almost universal sound for "mother" words. The Proto-Egyptians would have seen all of them as different faces or aspects of the Mother Goddess. What is important for us to realize is that all of these Mother Goddesses would have had a profound effect upon the psychic development of our proposed River Mother. I'll go into this in detail later.
Isis was both sister and wife to Osiris, but also mother in the sense that she recreated him from his sundered parts after he was chopped to pieces by Seth. She then copulated with him to produce their son Horus.
To do that , she had to form his penis from the Nile mud as that was the one part of his body that was never recovered. If you think about the symbolism of all that for a while, you can see that Isis was the vehicle tor bringing the older Mother Goddess spirituality into literate male God Egypt, and to do so without surrendering any of her Mother Goddess power. I say this because after she mates with Osiris, he retires to the realm of the dead to receive the dying Pharaohs and Horus (with Isis always at his side) emerges as the God who incarnates himself into the new Pharaohs to make them immortal.
|Isis Horus on Throne|
|Isis suckling Horus|
However, it's original African-Nubian /Mother Goddess sense was that the Throne was female, i.e., a Mother, and from that Mother came all power, all leadership. Understanding the difference is critical in understanding the role River Mother eventually played in the preliterate Nile delta Mother Goddess culture of 6000 B.C..
I would also like to point out that the Mother Goddesses would be seen by the Proto-Egyptian culture of 6500 thru 3200 B.C. as being of black African origin. I say this for the simple reason that we now know that all humans are descended from one African Mother: the First Mother c. 100,000 thru 200,000 B.C.. We didn't know this until recently, but I can assure you preliterate black Africans could not have thought otherwise, and we therefore have to believe that the Mother Goddesses absolutely dominated the spiritual life of preliterate black Africans and eventually our Proto-Egyptian culture.
Thus, the First Mother would have been instinctively seen by all early humans as the one who brought humans into the world. Before her there were only animals.This is another way of describing how Egyptians viewed Mut, a view shared by Carolyn Seawright, who sees Mut as ¨the one who created everything that existed. Who not only gave birth to life, but who conceived life itself. Mut, Who Giveth Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any".
Click here for Caroline Seawright's complete site on Mut. Just so you get a clear picture of Mut, Who Giveth Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any, I should gain add that in her primal early representations, which seem to be African, she has both sex organs. A strong indication that she originated in the very early Mother Goddess period is the simple fact that her name in very ancient Egyptian means "mother." Mut is clearly The Mother Creator as indicated by Seawright's wonderful description: "the one who created and brought forth everything that existed. Who not only gave birth to life, but who conceived life itself."
I believe that Mut had a very early African/Nubian Mother Goddess origin and became the primal Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess who not only represented the First Mother, but who was also seen as the creator of the world itself, i.e., "the one who created and brought forth everything that existed. Who not only gave birth to life, but who conceived life itself."
Thus, she would have been be equivalent of the God of Genesis. In later, male God Dynastic Egypt she was replaced by Atum in the role of Creator. But in the Mother Goddess period, all God and Goddesses as well as humans and everything else were seen as being created by her.
That means Mut first created Shu, representing the air and Tefnut, representing moisture, and through them Geb and Nut and through them Isis and Osiris and eventually by whatever means, the rest of the Gods and Goddesses, including Ma'at, Mafdet and Ra.
As an aside, I believe that the creation story of Isis, Osiris and Horus was added later in the Mother Goddess period, perhaps in what is called the Legendary Period, but that Ra, Ma'at, and Mafdet were included from the very beginning, because they are so primal (respectively, Sun, Truth, Guardian of Truth), and also because in the case of the Goddesses, the names Ma'at, and Mafdet (and Mut) have the "M"= mother sound, a characteristic of mother words that seems to be present in almost all cultures. With all that said, I contend that the story of Mut was the original Creation story that would have been told in the Mother Goddess period.
|Amun with Pantheon of Gods|
What happened with River Mother was slightly different, however, because she was living in a preliterate culture that was highly psychic by nature. River Mother would have been very aware of the psychic nature with which she was born. I also believe, however, that in the course of her life, she began to absorb more and more psychic aspects of Nut, Mut, Ma'at and Mafdet, all of whom she would have seen as different faces of the Mother Goddess.
In Jungian terms this would mean that certain aspects of the collective unconscious became part of her personal unconscious.This was not a decision on River Mother's part. It just happened. As a result I believe her psychic nature eventually became as extraordinary as the psychic nature of Jesus. I will go into much more detail about this absorption later, but at this stage let me repeat that her relationship with Isis was a much different one in which I see there is a definite possibility of her being eventually being transformed into Isis or merged with a nascent form of Isis. Let me end this section with the following equation which you should again mull about in your head. The equation introduces each Goddess in the order I see them appearing in the preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture:
First Mother = Mother Goddess = Mut = Nut = Ma'at = Mafdet = Nubia = River Mother
The Artistic Nature of Preliterate, Monumental Sculpture
End Author's Note
(c. 1000 thru 1650 A.D.)
Although these large stone slabs (6 feet) contain very good bas relief sculptures of animals (center) which again shows that preliterate peoples understood proportion, some of the slabs also show barely visible human arms and hands (above, L). There has been much discussion as to what this means.
The addition of the arms and hands on some of the slabs (and absence of human faces) indicate that they were representations of animal psychic guides. The importance and superiority of such guides being indicated by including only partial images of humans (by depicting the arms and hands).
These carvings and their setting (above) seem to prefigure the size and artistic sophistication of later preliterate monumental structures and sculptures. For starters, the individual animal carvings (L) on the six foot slabs are a step up in size and sophistication from the small, rough animal petroglyphs we see in very early Neolithic carvings.
In addition, the setting (22 acres) is huge, something we don't see until much later in places like Stonehenge, which we now recognize as being but one part of a series of huge healing/burial mounds and stone structures.
Since there is every indication that the T-shaped tops of the slabs supported a roof of some sort, the entire site could be considered a giant cave with artificial walls upon which they carved animals, so it represents a new way of creating vision art upon cave walls, a form of artistic expression belonging to very early preliterate cultures.
The fact that the entire site was purposely buried and abandoned by the inhabitants around 7000 B.C. suggests that these tribes had moved toward a different spirituality, although we have no idea what that spirituality was. One last thing about the inhabitants that comes to me is that these were serious people. There is nothing happenstance about Gobekli Tepe.
Let me now focus a bit harder on my contention that the face of the Sphinx is that of a black Nubian female. c 6000 B.C..
I am not the first person to suggest that the face portrayed on the Sphinx is a female with black African facial characteristics, most probably Nubian, and not the somewhat different facial characteristics we see on later Egyptian sculpture. Click here for a Wikipedia summary of the thinking since ancient times as to whether Dynastic and modern Egyptians evolved out of prehistoric African peoples (as well as the related thinking on the African nature of the face of the Sphinx).
To see a modern analysis of the facial characteristics of the Sphinx click here. One of my contentions is that the further we go back in time towards 6,000 B.C., the more likely both the Mother Goddesses and female Leaders/Shamans are to be dominant and the more likely that the carved face belongs to a female who is black African/Nubian.
I don’t think the black African similarities can be ignored, although it won’t be the first time this has happened. For example, the giant Olmec heads in Mexico are thought by some to be clearly African (or perhaps Samoan) but establishment thought continues to ignore the similarities.
There is a similarity, but it should be explained, not ignored. I would explain it by proposing that both the African and Samoan traits are the artistic result of "squashing" the face to resemble a ball, something I discussed earlier. For more information on the Olmec culture, click here.
This is something I pointed out earlier when I discussed the squareness of the Olmec heads being almost a perfect match of the squareness of the Sphinx head except the match was due to the Olmec "squashing" aesthetic. Yet if we were to put the Olmec nose and upper lip in place of the missing nose and damaged upper lip of the Sphinx (as I've done in the last overlay above) we'd have quite a face wouldn't we?
Unfortunately, it's a false one. For one thing, the extreme protruding upper lip of the Olmec face is nowhere close to what remains of the upper lip of the Sphinx. It is much larger in every respect than the Sphinx upper lip, as is the nose, and both are the result of the artistic squashing of the head.
Yet the Olmec face clearly has either African characteristics, or what I think is equally likely, Samoan characteristics given the distnctly oriental faces seen in very early Olmec art, as the Samoans were historically large-bodied, accomplished sailors and may have helped man the Chinese vessels that landed on the Pacific shore.
Some portion of the Samoans may have stayed and passed on their Polynesian characteristics. The same argument would hold for African sailors manning ships coming from the Mediterranean. I have no problem seeing their descendants becoming star athletes in the sacred ōllamaliztli ball game.
|early olmec face|
That's all I want to say about the matter however, because what is really important about the Olmec heads is that they make us pay attention to the distinct African characteristics of the head and face of the Sphinx.
Yet I remain unconvinced that the Olmec culture had any connection with preliterate Egypt simply because the Olmec head is so distorted by its "squashing" aesthetic that the match is a false one.
It's clear that the Olmec artists employed a variety of foreshortening techniques to “squash” and flatten the face so that it is almost spheroid, like a ball, emphasizing, as some have suggested, that these are the faces of famous ball-playing athletes or, kings parading as famous ball players. Things haven't changed, believe me.
If this seems far out to some, we must not forget that the ball game in question (ōllamaliztli ) was a sacred game that began with the Olmec culture and was played by all succeeding Meso-American cultures.
The Ollamaliztli game was not an outing at Yankee stadium. It was a life and death affair, with the losing captain having his heart cut out. The winners were celebrated throughout the cultures as mega-heroes, challenging even Kings in that respect, so is it any wonder that the winners should be immortalized by these incredible sculptures, or perhaps that kings would want to be rendered in the guise of a such a player?
OK, enough. Back to the Sphinx. One other oddity of the face of the Sphinx that may not be that odd if we consider the face of the Sphinx to be that of a Nubian female shaman/leader is that from the 16th century though the 18th century, reputable observers repeatedly noted that the Sphinx had the face, neck and breast of a woman. Among them:George Sandys (1615), Johann Michael Vansleb (1677), Benoît de Maillet (1735), Johannes Helferich (1579)
What we are left with then is a chicken and egg situation. It may be possible, however, that earlier literate observers (say around 1000 B.C.) actually saw breasts or heard reliable Egyptian reports of breasts in earlier times and then reported that fact in writings since lost.
|A Greek Sphinx|
The Italian explorer Captain Caviglia, who dug out the complete front of the buried body in 1818 after many centuries of sand burial and who would have surely seen the breasts if they still existed, makes no mention of them. The picture (below, L) was drawn by Caviglia himself after he had partially dug out the Sphinx, and it shows nothing that look like breasts, although the drawing does show that the chest is severely weathered and shows no detail at all, so theoretically the Sphinx could have had breasts prior to his excavation.
What I am going to say about the Preliterate Egyptian culture will be more or less true for all Mother Goddess cultures throughout the world. So let's take a closer look at the Preliterate Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture. Lest you get the idea there were no male Gods in the preliterate period, there were as many as in the literate period. They were simply less important than the primary female Goddesses (who were seen as different aspects of the Mother Goddess.)
This is because the Mother Goddess dominated the spiritual/psychic lives of the people in these cultures. Think of the way the Virgin of Guadalupe dominates the spiritual lives of everyday Mexican Catholics, especially women. It is to the Virgin of Guadalupe that they address their prayers and hopes to a degree at least equal to the amount of spiritual attention they pay to Jesus and God the Father. Archeologists have shown us that the female leaders of Mother Goddess Cultures around the world never sought to dominate the males as the males sought to dominate the females when their cultures turned into literate, male-God cultures with the advent of writing.
|Mother Goddess statues|
Early humans, as strange as it may seem to us today, had greater staying power when running than the animals they hunted. Where the women were superior was in their intuitive and psychic powers which allowed them to see, for example, whether it was the will of the Goddesses to wage war on a neighboring tribe, expel someone from the tribe, etc.. Needless to say, these psychic powers also gave them the ability to heal, perhaps their most important everyday act.
I also want to make it clear that Mother Goddess cultures did not develop out of highly developed preliterate agricultural cultures. That is a mistaken idea that has taken hold because of the fact that the Mother Goddess archeological studies have focused on late preliterate agricultural cultures in gathering evidence. Robert Graves focused on the same type of cultures in The White Goddess, as those cultures, being late in time, were the source of the scraps of myth and poetry he was able to gather and decipher.
The fact of the matter is that common sense tells us that Mother Goddess cultures began to form right along with the first humans. It was only natural for this to happen first in in Africa, the birthplace of the human race and the origin of the First Mother, and for it then to spread outwards as humans migrated out of Africa. With all that said, I want you once again to mull over the following equation:
An important distinction about the African belief in immortality was that it held that the physical body (i.e., a "copy" of the dead body) enjoyed an afterlife as well as the soul. In other words, body and soul were one and the same.
Those practices centered around the belief that if the body didn't disappear, neither would the Ka, the guiding voices of the soul, which meant that the Pharaoh could continue to be guided in His journey to become immortal with the immortal Osiris in the heavens.
These Nubian/African beliefs and practices could only have come about as the result of extensive psychic observations of death and the soul's journey after death and I contend that they were continued as such by the Proto-Egyptians and the much later the Dynastic Egyptians.
The African/Nubian afterlife had no heaven or hell, and was seen pretty much as a counterpart of this life and not necessarily any better or worse. It was, however, also seen as a place from which the body and soul could be reborn (reincarnated) into another human form, which was highly desirable, since life in this world was always seen by Africans as superior to the world of the afterlife .
We would also expect then that all of these Nubian beliefs would find their way into the Proto-Egyptian culture of the Nile delta c.6000 B.C. and eventually become a part of the Dynastic Egyptian spirituality thousands of years later.
|Weighing the heart|
This was also a time when the immigrating Nubian tribes were mixing with the immigrating Semitic tribes from the Levant. As we shall see a bit later, the Nile delta was uninhabitable between 10,000 thru 7000 B.C. because of the wild flooding of the Nile. In addition, archeologists have found no evidence of occupation until 6000 B.C..
I believe, however, that hunter-gatherer tribes would have been coming in from the north and south at least by 6500 B.C because it would have been a rich such a rich source of fish and fowl. The fact that no evidence of this earlier immigration has been found doesn't mean it didn't happen as such tribes leave little or no evidence of occupation. We also shouldn't forget that the tsunami of 6000 B.C. wiped out everyting.
The latest archaeological evidence shows that Semitic hunter-gatherer tribes began migrating southward from an area just south of the Black Sea into what we know as the Levant around 6000-4000 B.C.. The evidence points towards an ecological disturbance in the Black Sea area that brought about this southward migration. That disturbance may be related to the 6000 B.C. Mt. Aetna eruption and tsunami of 6000 B.C., as the tsunami waters may have spilled into the Black Sea and the ares surrounding it.
This Semitic migration does not include the Sumerians,who are of unknown origin and who settled around the the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers at an unknown time and who had a completely different language.
It is from the Levant that I believe these Semitic tribes began to migrate into the much more fertile Nile delta around 6000 B.C. as it was far superior area for supporting hunting and gathering. It was also far superior for supporting the early herding and agricultural capabilities these Semitic tribes were in the process of developing. The Nile valley and delta easily rivalled the fertile Sumerian area defined by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
End Author's Note
Thus, the Proto-Egyptian culture of the Nile delta c.6000 B.C. that our Nubian shaman would have encountered would have been relatively uniform and similar in many respects to her own Nubian Mother Goddess culture. However, what River Mother would have found different about these mixed Proto-Egyptian Nile delta tribes was that they had developed a rudimentary herding/farming culture which had begun to be brought there by new Semitic immigrants from the Levant. This rudimentary herding/farming culture was much different than the hunter-gatherer culture of Nubia she was familiar with. It was also, by nature, very organized.
|Babylonian Assyrian Genie Enki.|
These literate male-God cultures of the Sumerian Empire were three thousand years away in 6000 B.C., but the spiritual seeds were there. I believe the Semitic migrants (and especially the Pre-Hebraic migrants) from the Levant brought those seeds with them into the Nile delta.
Concurrent with all this, the muthos consciousness of the Nile delta people would begin to evolve very rapidly into a logos consciousness identical in most respects to our current modern consciousness. This was the beginning of Dynastic Egypt and the end of Proto-Egypt.
Then about 1500 years later, that same logos evolution saw archaic writing being introduced into the Pre-Hebraic culture as early as 1750 B.C. (although 900 B.C. is the date usually given for recognizable Hebrew writing).
Just to give you a sense of the timetable of the development of writing, it appeared in the Greek culture around 900 B.C..
I should add that in one of those quirks of genetic development that make life interesting, there are indications that the Pre-Hebraic tribes migrating into the Nile delta may have already begun to possess a early form of logos consciousness.
Thousands of years later, this early form of logos consciousness must
have been accelerated with their invention of archaic forms of writing around 1750 B.C.. Those early archaic forms undoubtedly came about because of their exposure to Egyptian writing. This would help account for sudden emergence of the radical monotheism of Moses (1500 B.C.), which was clearly a logos consciousness religion.
End Author's Note
What I see significant about my proposed female Nubian shaman is my contention that she was psychically superior to her predecessors and that she arrived at a critical time in the social and spiritual development of the Nile delta area. We have to remember there were no formal written texts saying what the beliefs were of each culture. There was no dogma, so to speak.
I say this because even though Jesus was most probably literate (if the stories of him challenging the rabbis as a boy are true), Jesus taught in a preliterate way. He left no writings of his own and meandered from town to town, speaking to the people he met in a familiar way, often using stories, just as you would in an oral culture. When the occasion called for it, he would demonstrate the power of his beliefs through psychic healing, prophecy and the like. River Mother would have spread her beliefs in exactly the same way.
|Male Female Balance|
Despite that male-God evolution within Dynastic Egypt itself, however, enough of the Mother Goddess values were maintained to give birth to the Dynastic Egyptian Balanced spirituality with its male/female-logos/ muthos characteristics.
|Joseph and the Pharaoh|
End Author's Note
It seems to have been triggered in the various Mother Goddess cultures when they discovered writing and became more organized in their agriculture and herding practices. However, as I have noted previously, Egypt was the only culture that evolved a male God/female Goddess spiritual Balanced spirituality as well as a logos/muthos Balanced consciousness.
That Balance was achieved and maintained for thousands of years right up through the Dynastic period. It is to my mind one of the glories of Egyptian spirituality.
They were on the wrong side of history, and when they went down, so did their beliefs in reincarnation. There was no place for it in the Hebraic, one male God spirituality, or what Wikipedia calls the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The reasons for this exclusion of reincarnation are unclear, yet according to Wikipedia, the only religions that do not believe in reincarnation of some sort are a "majority of sects within the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam .." Here is the full Wikipedia page on Reincarnation
|Assyrian Genie Enki.|
Those beliefs were extraordinary when compared, for example, to the early Hebrew male-God dominated conception of an afterlife, because the early Hebrews saw the afterlife as a dim, half-life in which the soul was essentially dead. It mirrored a belief that when life ended, everything ended. Things weren't much better in for the other semitic tribes in the Levant.
We can assume their beliefs were similar to those of the ancient Mesopotamia culture (Assyrians, Babylonians, Sumerians) who believed that humans were meant to serve the Gods and that humans, upon dying, achieved a sort of dismal immortality in the underworld. It wasn't as bad as the Hebrew belief, but it wasn't much better either. Chaim Potok speaks about this in his remarkable history of the Jews, Wanderings.
|Sumerian God Shedu|
Such a bleak, unforgiving view of immortality must have come from a view of life that was almost existential: what you see is what you get. I also see it as being more a male view of life than a female one.
I think it is easy to see from all I've said about this dim view of human immortality held by the Pre-Hebraic and other Semitic tribes of the Levant/Nile delta c.6500 thru 3200 B.C. that it was not something they held in high regard.
What I see happening is that the African belief in reincarnation brought by River Mother to the Nile delta was met head on by these hard-headed views of the afterlife of the immigrating Semitic tribes. Yet these two beliefs must have co-existed (perhaps uneasily or perhaps quite easily, it is hard to say) for millennia until the act of writing and highly organized agricultural communities came into existence.
These two events are intimately related and are always coterminous with the rise of male-God spirituality. With that rise, Dynastic Egypt evolved and that male-God spirituality eventually became became more dominant than the older Proto-Egyptian/ Mother Goddess spirituality.
I should also add that there was always a Nubian/African spiritual belief that held that the Divine World in the starry heavens was a copy of earthly life, even if it was not held to be as attractive as earthly life (which is why reincarnation was also a part of that Nubian/African spirituality).
This belief in a connection between earthly and divine life also became central to Dynastic Egyptian spiritual thought because Dynastic Egyptians sought to always align earthly life with the Divine world by imitating the Divine World whenever possible. This alignment was the primary way in which muthos thinking co-existed and complemented the logos thinking of literate Dynastic Egypt.
Where it got really tricky was how pass the immortality of that dead Pharaoh to his successor (who would normally be his son.) This involved a very specialized and very roundabout kind of reincarnation in which the God Horus (the son of Isis and Osiris) incarnates himself into the new Pharaoh after the dead Pharaoh's soul has become one with the immortal Osiris/Orion.
This is one reason why Isis is always shown as the Mother of the new Pharaoh. There is another even more important reason that I went into much earlier, and that is that Isis in these depictions is more correctly a symbol that all authority comes from the Mother. Again, Balance. At any rate, here is the equation you need to understand:
If you need any help in understanding these linkages you should be aware of these facts: almost all writing started with the writing of numbers (for counting.) The alphabet came later. Numbers are used to record crop yield, crop storage, crop trading, crop division, crops planted. The Living God Pharaoh is there to make sure everyone is reading from the same page and if they're not, the Living God Pharaoh is there to make sure they get on the same page tout suite. Got it?
So there's a nice little evolutionary package that I've just made up for you. In real life, however, it didn't happen quite that way. It was a lot more complicated and a great deal messier.
The fact is we can no more take what we know of early preliterate Proto-Egyptian spiritual beliefs and trace their evolution into what we know about Dynastic Egyptian religious beliefs in 2500 B.C. than we can take the teachings of Jesus and trace their evolution into the beliefs and practices of the Holy Roman Catholic Church of 1500 A.D., when it was at the height of its powers.
In both cases, we have to be content with finding the smashed, cut-up, discolored Jesus nuts that made it into the final loaf of baked Roman Catholic cake. This is something I have tried to do with Egypt.
Let me also say that those assiduously spelled out, formal religious beliefs in Dynastic Egypt c.2500 B.C. (or Roman Catholic Europe c. 1100 thru 1300 A.D.) may or may not have any relation to what was actually believed in the streets.
An example of this in our own Western culture can be found in the Roman Catholic Church of 1100 thru 1300 A.D. which could very easily be compared to the Dynastic Egyptian Religion of 2500 B.C. in the sheer complexity of its domination of religious thought and practice. It is no secret that the Church's male-dominated theology made little to no room for the divine feminine principle.
Yet so intense was the worship of the Virgin Mary among the general population that from 1097-1245 A.D. entire cities pooled their resources and labor for years on end to erect monumental, masterfully-designed, gaudily-colored cathedrals that Henry Adams described as doll-houses for the Virgin.
In other words, the Church was completely out of step with the general population when it came to the need for a female Deity so the people simply took the matter into their own hands.
This, I believe was somewhat the same situation with regard to the formal Dynastic Egyptian belief in divine immortality as the only immortality. Earlier, I went into some of the reasons behind this belief in the case of the Pharaoh, as he was held to be a living God.
I have no doubts that this belief had the complete backing of the priestly class, but I find it hard to believe that the general population went along willingly with this restriction on immortality. I say this because the African belief in general immortality and reincarnation must have been central to Nubian/Proto-Egyptian spiritual thought. Beliefs like that don't die easily, or if ever. Reincarnation was especially appealing to Africans because although the afterlife was seen as a safe and somewhat pleasant mirroring of this life, it was never valued as much as this life.
That this was indeed the case can be seen from the fact that the formal Dynastic view of immortality being confined to the Pharaoh was later expanded first to nobles and later to the general population as long as they had the means to afford the funerary rites. Ah, Property! Where forever art thou!
|Field of Reeds|
It was called the Field of Reeds and was seen as a sort of Paradise. This seems to me a roundabout way of finally accommodating the popular African/ Nubian belief in reincarnation, (which offered the dead the prospect of a more vibrant existence by allowing them to come back into this life, which the Africans have always seen as much more lively than the afterlife). The Field of Reeds concept went the African belief one better by giving the dead a more vibrant existence in the afterlife itself.
My second comment is that the funerary rites, spelled out in great detail in the various Pyramid Texts, would seem a direct outgrowth of such rites in the African/Nubian spiritual traditions. Again, I have to stress that such rites would have come about because of the extensive, ongoing psychic observations of death and the soul's journey after death that began in preliterate Nubian/Proto-Egyptian times and continued well into Dynastic times. It is this muthos practice that I see as one of many existing in partnership with the logos-driven practices of Dynastic Egypt.
|Muthos links to the stars|
One thing that Bauval doesn't go into, because it is outside his area of interest, is that this muthos/logos imitation of the heavens (where the Gods and Goddesses reside as stars) was not just to ensure that Kufu became one with Osiris, but to also say to the Gods and Goddesses that Kufu understood their will, their intent.
Let me repeat again what I said earlier: Muthos knowing is a way of saying to the Gods and Goddesses: "We hear your song, O most dark and beautiful, and we are returning it in the only way we know: the way you have shown us." My purpose in mentioning this Dynastic spiritual expression of Kufu is to indicate how muthos and logos thinking co-existed in Dynastic Egypt. Again, Balance in everything was of paramount importance in Egyptian spirituality.
I want to return to River Mother and make clear again that my proposed Nubian female shaman of 6000 B.C., should properly be seen as representing the many female Nubian shamans who may have traveled north into the delta as early as 6500 B.C..
Each would have carried somewhat the same powerful African/Nubian Mother Goddess beliefs. The same can be said about the prophetic Hebrews who both preceded Jesus and who carried the same essential spiritual message that Jesus did.
What made Jesus unique and memorable were not only his more powerful psychic/healing abilities but also the confluence of events surrounding his life. I believe the same can be said about my proposed female Nubian shaman I'm calling River Mother.
Because of this I feel quite free in giving River Mother, our proposed Nubian female shaman, a face. The image (L) shows her young face as I imagine it at seventeen, just before she traveled to Giza.
I have included the Nile in the photograph because it is the great connector that has always linked the Nile Delta and Nubia, also the Sphinx because it has the face of River Mother. Finally, the sun (Ra) is represented because Ra is so intimately linked to the River Mother/Sphinx through the eastward (rising sun) gaze of the Sphinx both in general, and in particular at spring equinox and summer solstice.
River Mother's journey from Nubia to Giza was undoubtedly by foot and/or dugouts (there were no pack animals c.6000 B.C.) until they cleared the cataracts north of Aswan, and then by dugouts rafted together.
Most probably there are, but here we’re in a period that is all but impenetrable. In cases like this, what must be examined are the later literate description for each of these Goddesses and Gods and see if there are any aspects in them that correlate strongly with my sense of River Mother. As we'll see soon, there are strong correlations between River Mother and Mafdet: The Runner, and Ra, and and surprisingly also with Mut, Nut, Ma'at and Isis.
But right now, I'm going to leave you dangling among all those tempting correlations for a while and give you an equation which pretty much sums up the journey I've just taken you though the Nubian/ Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture that ended with the face of River Mother being carved on the face of the Giza cliff.
First Mother = Mother Goddess = Mut = Nut = Ma'at= Mafdet = Nut = Nubia = Spiritual/Psychic Practices = Cat/Cheetah = Soul Obsession = "Veiled" Giza face = Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother = Carved Giza Sphinx/River Mother Face
Rembrandt's Aristotle Examining the Bust of Homer just about says it all in this regard. Aristotle (the literate, examining, logos mind) vs. Homer (the preliterate imitative, artistic, muthos mind). Remember, in preliterate cultures, writing didn't exist, nor did its step-children: history, philosophy, science, mathematics, etc.
To give you a taste of the magic of these great mythic story poems, and the powerful role they played in these cultures, I have decided to create one. I am not, however, going to create the story in the form of a poem, as few people are comfortable with poetry today. Rather, I have decided to tell it as simple prose story titled RIVER MOTHER that is told by River Mother herself in very simple language.
In it, she tells of her life from her birth to her early life as a Nubian shaman and the subsequent prophetic visions that drove her to leave Nubia and become a great prophetic leader in Giza where the people of Giza honored her by carving her face onto a rocky outcropping on the Giza plateau. You can access the story at any time by clicking on this link: RIVER MOTHER: The Face of the Sphinx
This is something I could never do in a site like this one which is so much concerned with marshaling facts, concepts, dates and the like. What the RIVER MOTHER story represents is what is missing in all archeological and anthropological thought about preliterate cultures, because the scientific method has no way of approaching a mindset so different from its own. What we are always left with is the dry residue of the logos approach.
The final book, called A Different Reality, consisted of a standard academic anthropological analysis accompanied by a simple, yet masterful recounting of his personal experiences. The difference is one of night and day. It was the first book that allowed us to really feel what living in such a tradition was like. It made the Yaqui muthos consciousness real for logos consciousness readers. I hope that my RIVER MOTHER story does somewhat the same thing, i.e., make the preliterate Proto-Egyptian consciousness c.6000 B.C. real for logos consciousness readers. The story can be read by itself or in conjunction with this site and vice versa.
As I continue, you'll find me repeating myself on many of these matters but also going deeper and deeper into them. It's a way I have of looking at things. It's a kind of serpentine motion, like a snake coiling and uncoiling as it slithers across the ground. It's also a very natural, organic way of investigating things. It's the way artistic, intuitive minds actually work, and it should help you to more easily understand some of the new and often difficult matters I'm going to be presenting. So don't be uptight about the motion, just go with the flow.
Let's start with the above equation first, and in particular the last terms of the above equation:
"Veiled" face = Giza Sphinx /River Mother Carved Face
My suggestion that the face of the Giza Sphinx is that of a Black African female stands on its own merits. If the face itself doesn't convince you that it is Black African, nor the impressive list of others who agree with me that I presented earlier, nor my photographic overlay arguments, you should at least admit it is a probability that isn't trivial.
As far as it being a female face, you've seen my arguments, the critical one being that the further back in time it was carved, the higher the probability it was that the face portrays a female. You should also consider using your own eyes. There is an "openness" to the Sphinx's face that says female, and by its sheer size: Goddess.
It is not a "closed" face of "power" that says male, which is one of the things you can see if you compare it to the 2700 B.C. sculpted face of Djoser (L), which is anything but open. My related argument that the Sphinx face carving is so crude that it couldn't possible have been done in 2500 B.C. stands on its own merits. If you need more proof, an eyeball comparison of the Sphinx's face to Djoser's face clearly shows that 200 years before the establishment date of the carving of the Sphinx (2500 B.C.), good realistic face sculpture was being done.
I will now offer additional visible proof of the Sphinx being carved earlier than 3000 B.C. by comparing it to art done in that period. The Egyptian vase to the left is c. 3500 B.C. It shows good artistic design and proportion, and my contention that the preliterate Egyptians understood proportion is key to my theory.
The vase is one of a handful of surviving pieces. In Part Three, I present a great amount of supporting detail on these surviving pieces. Unfortunately, for periods earlier than 3500 B.C., there is little I can show except what other preliterate peoples have done with monumental sculptures and structures and project backwards from there.
As I have discussed earlier, the problem of going back in time is always present in regard to investigating preliterate monumental sculptures and structures: they have no precedents, nor most times even any evidence of a significant preceding artistic tradition. My principal grounds for proposing that the Sphinx face bas relief carving was done in 6000 B.C. are the following five factors:
1. The preliterate characteristics of the Sphinx face.
2. The indications it is a black female face and therefore most probably from the preliterate Nubian Mother Goddess culture.
3. The female/cheetah proportional similarities of the Sphinx face, again indicating it is from the preliterate Nubian Mother Goddess culture.
4. The rain wear/weathering indications of geologist Robert Shoch indicating the Sphinx face was carved somewhere between 9000 and 5000 B.C.
5. The great tsunami flood of the Nile delta c.6000 B.C.
Again, many of these factors except 5 could also apply to a possible 4000 B.C., or 5000 B.C. or 4500 B.C. carving, but 6000 B.C. is more probable because of factor 4 and 5.
The "Veiled face" is a conjecture meant to answer the question: if the face of a great God-like leader was carved on a rocky outcropping of the
A weathered, naturally occurring face (such as the suggested face to the left) if it were held to be divine, might suggest a possible place to carve if the person to be honored was spiritually connected to the divine, weathered face.
On the Giza plateau, it seems evident that there was a naturally occurring rocky outcropping or mound, sometimes called a yardang, that projected upwards from the plateau itself. Such an exposed rock would be subject to weathering, indeed it may have been also shaped by being underwater for millennia prior to the ocean withdrawing. If such a "weathered" face existed, I see it as being so vague as to suggest a "veiled" face (a face with a caul) that had been waiting to be unveiled for millennia.
Before I go any further, let me remind you of some facts I brought up earlier. The first is that the people of that Proto-Egyptian hunter/ gatherer culture in the Nile delta were a mixture of Semitic tribes from the Levant to the north, and Black Nubian tribes from the south.
There is considerable reason to believe that after the cessation of the "wild" Nile (10,000 thru 7000 B.C.), the Nile River (and its banks) allowed easy travel and trade by land and water between Nubia and The Nile delta. Similarly, it also allowed Semitic tribes from the Levant to migrate into the delta. The Proto-Egyptian culture grew out of that intermixing.
By 6000 B.C., that Proto-Egyptian hunter-gatherer culture was in the process of becoming a rudimentary agricultural culture and by 5000 B.C (if we can trust the very slippery Book of Kings) it had become very early, Pre-Dynastic Egypt. That early period is sometimes called The Legendary Period (5400 B.C. thru 3200 B.C.). It was still preliterate but now ruled by Pharaohs (Kings). It was to become the foundation for the literate, Egyptian Dynastic culture that began to form c.3200 B.C. with which we are all familiar.
Preliterate Nubian /Proto-Egyptian
Psychic / Spiritual Practices
In 6000 B.C., neither Egypt nor Nubia was the desert it is today. It alternated betwen heavy rainy periods with lush vegetation and periods of complete desertification. During the rainy periods, the Nile delta and the land bordering the Nile river up to and including Upper Nubia (1st thru 3rd cataracts) was lush and fertile.
Preliterate peoples don't have the barriers we have in spiritual matters. They easily accepted the divinities of other cultures if they found them spiritually attractive. It was no big deal. It just happened.
This mixing and adoption is what I believe happened in our Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture c. 6500 thru 3200 B.C.. Not only did the Semitic and Nubian races mix but their social and spiritual practices mixed as well. I am going to suggest that it was the gradual adoption of the Nubian spiritual practices by this mixed Proto-Egyptian culture that ultimately laid the groundwork for:
1) The appearance in 6000 B.C. of a prophet/leader like River Mother
as well as
2) The possibility that the inhabitants of the Nie delta would recognize her as God-like under the correct circumstances.
If you need a counterpart for this, there is none better than the situation of Jesus. The prophetic work of his predecessors laid the groundwork for his acceptance as messiah. I'm going to lay some more groundwork for this being the case for our River Mother, and there's no better way to start than by taking another look at our ever-increasing equation:
First Mother = Mother Goddess = Mut = Nut = Ma'at= Mafdet = Nut = Nubia = Cat/Cheetah = Spiritual/Psychic Practices = Soul Obsession = Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother
My intent here is to make clear the ancient connection between the Mother Goddesses of preliterate Nubia and the Mother Goddesses of our proposed Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture (6500 thru 3200 B.C.). I'll have to work backwards from literate Dynastic Egypt to do some of this.
Therefore I am going to refer to them by their known literate names. There is no doubt in my mind that ancient preliterate Nubia was the source of the primal Goddesses that came to exist in the preliterate Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture of 6000 B.C., as well as in preliterate, pre-Dynastic Egypt (4500 thru 3200 B.C.) and also in literate Dynastic Egypt (3200 thru 30 B.C.).
|European Mother Goddess|
This leads me to suggest that the Semitic Mother Goddess cultures from the Levant eventually adopted the more powerful Nubian spirituality.
By "more powerful" I simply mean that both the Nubian shamans and the psychic practices they used to access the various Goddesses were recognized as superior. They were able to access deeper regions of the Other World (or in Jungian terms, the collective unconscious).
If you have a hard time understanding this, you only have to think how African music absorbed the waltzes, madrigals, hymns, folk songs, etc, that were brought here by English settlers. This absorption resulted in the Blues, Jazz, Bebop, Swing, Rhythm and Blues, Funk, and Rap that dominate our musical landscape. If you think this is too facile a comparison, you're wrong.
Out of this African/Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture also came a long line of Nubian Female Shamans. This includes not only the shaman I've been calling River Mother, but a long line of Nubian female shamans who preceded her in this migration of Nubian spiritual practices.
The photo to the left shows a nineteenth century Nubian female shaman, but if you exchanged the cotton robe and veil for animal hides, the resemblance would be similar except the robe around the body would be probably be only a loin cloth or skirt. The Nubian shamans c.6000 theu 3200 B.C. were generally female rather than male because females in Mother Goddess cultures were more likely to have performed that function.
I see River Mother as being in that same female shaman tradition, but, again, I also see her being superior to her predecessors in the same way Jesus was superior to the prophets who preceded him. Although she was most probably not alone in psychically acquiring different aspects of the Mother Goddesses, my sense is that she acquired those aspects more completely. This is what I mean by:
I would liken this psychic acquisition to Jesus' assertion that he was the Son of Man, which is a biblical term for the son of God. What Jesus was asserting (in Jungian terms) was that his own psyche, or soul, had psychically acquired some aspects of God. "Acquire" is perhaps not descriptive enough of what took place. Let me clarify this by saying that River Mother (and Jesus) were born with these psychic aspects in a limited way and used their psychic journeys to further enlarge them, i.e., to become psychically "inhabited" by certain aspects of the various Gods (or collective unconscious if you will).
What is also acquired in these psychic journeys is the experience of an order beyond the world of time and space we live in. Sometimes that acquisition is called the knowledge of a superior reality, a knowing.
It was this knowing that was instinctively recognized by others, and made them follow Jesus and Buddha. And, I suggest, our River Mother. I should add that these type of psychic journeys can be very dangerous if the person undergoing them is not prepared for what he will encounter.
I don't think this acquisition was unique to River Mother as a shaman, but if we want to explain why she became the face of the Sphinx and the shamans who preceded her didn't, I am going to suggest (among other things) that she was psychically more developed than her predecessors.
Yet we also have to see her becoming the face of the Sphinx as being due to the fact she was a strong natural leader. Someone that others would instinctively follow. That is not a common mix for shamans. Moses, for example, was extremely developed psychically, but needed Aaron to help him lead. Joan of Arc on the other hand, combined both qualities, but was not as psychically developed as Moses.
To psychically acquire aspects of the Mother Goddesses would not have been a matter of conscious acquisition. It's not done that way. It would have been a matter of a "hunger" in the shaman's soul that could only be satisfied by psychically opening oneself to that Goddess (or psychic archetype in Jungian terms).
It would have been the psychic equivalent to me wanting to consciously acquire the speech mannerisms of someone I admired. This would be done by my mimicking them. The mimicking itself, however, is not really a conscious activity. It's instinctive. If your "hunger" is great enough, it will simply happen of its own accord.
My acquisition of speech mannerisms, of course, is a relatively harmless one compared to acquiring aspects of a psychic archetype, as this is done by a conscious journeying into the unconscious, or Other World, as preliterate peoples called it. In other words, you enter the realm of the unconscious as in a dream, but you are conscious, not dreaming. Because you are conscious, it is a journey that can be filled with dangers, including insanity and death. It is not for the weak of heart, especially when dealing with powerful psychic archetypes.
The prize, however, for those who were properly prepared, however, was the psychic acquisition of some aspects of that God/Goddess. If that puzzles you I suggest you read up on the phenomena of Jesus' transfiguration. This psychic event, in which Jesus appeared clothed in light with Moses and Elijah, was witnessed by the Apostles and is reported in the Gospels. This phenomena however is not limited to Christ. The light that shone from Moses face ( usually shown as "horns" of light) after receiving the Ten Commandments from God is another example.
There are occurrences of it throughout history, usually takin the form of the transfigured person experiencing a reality of beauty and truth that is beyond the world of time and space. This is essentially what Buddha speaks of as Nirvana. I believe it was this kind of psychic breadth and strength as well as her strong qualities as a leader that made River Mother different from her predecessors. Like Jesus she would have been seen as God-like. And like Jesus, that quality would have attracted followers.
From Nut (above, R) she would have acquired a sense of being the protector of all human life. This would be important to her as a leader. Jesus had somewhat the same sense of himself. Think of his portraying himself as the Good Shepherd.
But there is something much larger that I see River Mother acquiring from Mafdet. An animal/human Goddess like Mafdet is a very early Goddess, and very powerful, in that she combines both human and animal knowing and capabilities.
That is a very potent psychic combination, especially for someone like River Mother who was both leader and shaman, i.e., someone who had to perform successfully both in this world and the Other World. For a shaman and leader like River Mother, I see the savage yet principled Mafdet to have been the Mother Goddess closest to River Mother's sense of who she was and who she would become.
If we think of Mafdet in modern Jungian terms as a powerful psychic archetype capable of enlarging River Mother's sense of herself as both leader and shaman, it is easy to see why River Mother would have been attracted to the savage yet principled Mafdet as her ally and Patron or Protector.
Let us think of their relationship for a moment as River Mother would most likely have thought it: a relationship in which she and Mafdet were mutually and intensely attracted to each other. Then we can begin to see that the term Lovers would not be far off the mark in describing the emotional texture of such a relationship.
|Odysseus and Athena|
"Two of a kind, we are, contrivers, both. Of all the men alive you are the best in plots and story telling. My own fame is for wisdom among the gods - deceptions too.... I that am always with you in times of trial, a shield to you in battle" (Odyssey 240).
Of all the Goddesses, it is clear to me Mafdet would have been the largest influence in River Mother's psychic growth. because Mafdet's nature fit most closely River Mother nature (and needs) as a leader and shaman.
At any rate, it is likely that a shaman such as River Mother would be married and have children and would therefore also have a sense of herself not only as mother but also as wife (and possibly sister), which can be taken many ways, perhaps even as an ambivalence towards a conventional marriage, which would be somewhat natural for such a powerful woman.
|Isis with baby Pharaoh|
The wise onlooker would also note that although Horus (a male God) is depicted as rising to power, it is Isis who makes it possible and it is Isis who remains by his side. Again, this is an indication of the surviving influence of the Mother Goddess. As such, Isis is often depicted as sitting on the throne holding the baby Pharaoh to whom she has symbolically given birth. So I also see River Mother, like the later Isis, having a sense of herself as Throne Mother, i.e., the empowering Mother Goddess from whom all authority issues.
Isis seems a later Goddess who is more attached to the Dynastic aspects of Egypt than the Proto-Egyptian culture in that she is the wife (and sister) of Osiris and the mother of Horus, one of whose roles was to reincarnate himself as the future Pharaoh.
I sometimes think of Isis as a Mother Goddess bridge between Pre-Dynastic and Dynastic Egypt. Finally, I should add that Isis is a particularly complex Goddess whose following spread into the Greco/Roman world. She is also seen as the precursor of Mary, mother of Jesus.
We also have to consider the possibility that Isis may also have grown out of Ishtar or Inanna, who were powerful Mother Goddesses brought into the Nile Delta by immigrants from the Levant.
Specifically, the Pyramid Texts were discovered uncorrupted on the walls of pyramids of the 4th and 5th Dynasties and by general consensus constitute the oldest body of literature about the religious and funerary practices of Dynastic Egypt.
Bauval likens it to scholars saying that Christianity originated in the 4th century A.D. (when the gospels were published) when it is abundantly clear that Christianity flourished in the preceding centuries. And that Christianity, I might add, had very long Hebraic and Pre-hebraic roots.
At any rate, it is clear to me that the Pyramid Texts had very early Nubian origins as oral story poems and existed for millennia in much the same way as the oral story poems of the preliterate Hebraic tribes existed for millennia before they were eventually selected and edited and transcribed into the Torah (Book of Moses).
I believe that the origin of the Pyramid Texts went way back to the shamanic practices of the African /Nubian hunter-gatherer tribes of 6000 B.C. and earlier. They surely didn't come from the Semitic immigrants from the Levant, who had absolutely no interest in the afterlife. With all that said, let's take a look at another part of our equation:
I'd like to say something about the three last terms of the equation first: Spiritual/Psychic Practices = Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother
The combined term "Spiritual/Psychic Practices" is my way of emphasizing the psychic nature of Proto-Egyptian spirituality, a spirituality that was inextricably entwined with Nubian shamanic practices. The psychic nature of Proto-Egyptian spirituality is at the heart of the Mother Goddess culture of 6000 B.C.
Unless you accept that, you're missing what preliterate and literate Egypt were all about, and for that matter, what this site is all about and why someone like our proposed River Mother could have come to play such a critical role in Giza and Nile delta.
If this is hard for you to understand, think of Joan of Arc and her voices, and how she held the armies of France in the palm of her hand. This is the kind of power I see River Mother having. It was the key to her leadership.
OK, that's enough for now. Hopefully what I have said has given you a better grasp of the kind of spiritual leader I see River Mother as being. Right now, I'm going to something unusual here by shifting gears so fast you may wonder why you signed on in the first place. Poets are prone to these kinds of shifts, however, so relax and enjoy the ride.
First, let's take another look at our ever-changing equation:
What I have done, therefore, beside writing RIVER MOTHER: The Face of the Sphinx, is create a special section of excerpts from some of my other writings and some of those of Psychic/Scholar Alice Hickey that will hopefully help you understand what it felt like to be a preliterate human. My thoughts, then, about Preliterate Proto-Egypt should make much more sense.
The remainder of the excerpts are from the writings of Psychic/Scholar Alice Hickey. My own writings are distinguished by my somewhat unique sense of what preliterate cultures were like. This grew out of an affinity I acquired for the preliterate artistic process. That affinity is not an intellectual one, but quite visceral, having developed from my discovery some years ago how to spontaneously compose oral poems in the manner of preliterate poets.
This is essentially a form of channeling in which the conscious mind surrenders completely to the Muse, or creative unconscious, just as preliterate poets did. There is no preconception, no thinking, no conscious effort involved. I call this contemporary version of preliterate oral poetry, SOULSPEAK. You can see some visual versions I call Dreamstories on Video SOULSPEAK. You can hear some examples of this on SOUNDCLICK under the name, The Many Voices of SOULSPEAK.
I should also add that the form of many of these excerpts is that of a story. These stories vary in their artistic depth, but they will hopefully give you something of a muthos view of the various things I have been describing in this blog in a logos way.
I realize that many interested in alternative views are extremely logos-minded and want only meat and potato facts, so that the muthos idea of learning a truth from a story may not be that atractive.
My suggestion is to give it a try. Stop thinking and approach these stories much as would have as a child. You'd be surprised about the subtlety of such an approach. You'll also get a gut feeling for what muthos conscioiusness was really like for preliterate people.
End Author's Note
Although scientists agree that early humans were just as intelligent as we are, I believe their unconscious minds were much stronger than their conscious minds and were constantly breaking through into consciousness with voices and visions.
For us, today, exactly the opposite is true. Our waking conscious minds exert such a powerful control over the way we see the world that many of us have no idea that our unconscious minds exist as a much different, but equally intelligent part of us. Jung was the first to show us this in a scientific way.
This modern disbelief in the existence and power of the unconscious mind is one of the obstacles preventing our understanding early humans correctly, and especially, the preliterate Nubian culture c. 6000 B.C. and the Proto-Egyptian culture that occupied the Nile delta c. 6000 B.C..
Excerpt from Alice Hickey: Between Worlds (Chapter 46, I Visit Graves.)
Those who would like to go deeper into this, should read Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade, which Princeton Anthropologist Ashley Montagu called,” .. the most important book since the Origin of the Species." It focuses on this transition from a partnership society (Mother Goddess Cultures) to a male dominated society (Male Gods) that took place, according to Eisler, approximately 6,0000 years ago (4000 BC.).
Around 4,000 B.C. (which is also about the time writing and formal agricultural communities first appeared) those cultures were replaced with the beginnings of the patriarchy in which we live today. (See Julian Jaynes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Jaynes for a related look at this change.) According to Eisler, the forces that overthrew the Mother Goddess cultures worshipped not life and creativity, but death and destruction; in short, the Blade. Click here for Wikipedia on Eisler.
As you might expect from a poet, my own take on this transition runs more into the workings of the soul and and in particular the collective soul (or collective unconscious.) It is spelled out in the excerpt from my Appendix to ALICE HICKEY below (Excerpt 48. The Waning of the Female Spirit).
This was not a conscious realization. What moved the women to act was intuitive. They sensed (unconsciously) that while the men might be good for reproduction and hunting and gossip and fighting, that wasn’t going to be good enough if human beings were to become more God-like. (I see this desire to become more God-like as an essential instinctual human desire with deep roots in our collective unconscious.Indeed, it may have had roots in our animal state and been the mysterious, blind impetus for us evolving into humans)
Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.
Yin and yang applies to the human body. In traditional Chinese medicine good health is directly related to the balance between yin and yang qualities within oneself. If yin and yang become unbalanced, one of the qualities is considered deficient or has vacuity.
To have a more complete understanding of Yin and Yang, you should read the entire Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_and_yang
Alice had never said anything to me about our visit to Jane, so one day I asked her what she thought. I expected her to say something about Jane’s competitive, almost combative attitude, but she didn’t. That didn’t surprise me. She had a way of recognizing someone’s essence and then bearing in on it to the exclusion of almost everything else. The fact that someone might have a habit of picking his nose wouldn’t have bothered her in the least—something I can attest to from personal experience. She simply ignored the warts. I think that happened when she met Jane. She immediately recognized her as a rare intuitive.
Here are some excerpts:
“The Witnesses Log says something about that, Alice. It says our conscious and unconscious minds—the Witnesses and the Listeners—are bound to each other by unknowable promises. I can’t help thinking the promises involved some kind of agreement between the two that they would never leave each other. The tendrils you sensed may represent that.”
END ALL EXCERPTS
Preliterate Nubian /Proto-Egyptian
Psychic / Spiritual Practices, continued
OK, so much for the Excerpts. Let's continue on with the second term of our equation:
This term of the equation, Soul Obsession, is critical because it defines the spiritual heart of both the Proto-Egyptian culture and the later literate Dynastic Egyptian culture. I believe the source of this Egyptian Soul Obsession was the intense interest of then African/Nubian Mother Goddess culture in the soul and the Spiritual/Psychic Practices it used to guide and observe the soul in its journey from death to the afterlife to rebirth. For sure, it didn't come from the Levant.
The African/Nubian interest in the rebirth of the soul, however, did not continue into Dynastic times, only an interest in the soul's afterlife and immortality, which in Dynastic times was confined to the soul of the Pharaoh. As I discussed earlier, all of the preliterate Semitic tribes coming into the Nile delta area from the Levant c. 6000 B.C. had little interest in the afterlife compared to the intense interest of the Nubian tribes migrating into that same area.
The Pre-Hebraic tribes, like the later literate Hebrews, held that only the Gods were truly immortal, i.e, the human afterlife was one of bare existence to the point they had little interest a personal afterlife and immortality. This Pre-Hebraic attitude was buttressed by the fact that the Pharaoh's immortality seems to have evolved out of the need for an all-powerful king to oversee and manage the growing agricultural efforts of the Proto-Egyptians. There was no better way to do that than to begin to see the king as immortal, i.e., a God.
As for the Nubian interest in general reincarnation, there was no place for that in the Pre-Hebraic spiritual thinking, something that has remained true for the Hebrews and all of the religions that evolved out of the Hebrew religion. It simply wound up on the cutting room floor as the spiritual foundation of Dynastic Egypt was being spliced together.
I am going to digress a bit here, and go deeper into the background of the Hebrews and in particular the preliterate, Pre-Hebraic tribes who migrated into the the Nile delta area c. 6000 thru 3200 B.C.. By doing this, I think it will become evident why the meeting of the preliterate, Pre-Hebraic tribes and the preliterate Nubian tribes in the Nile delta formed a Proto-Egyptian culture whose spiritual concepts became the foundation for the spirituality of Dynastic Egypt with its distinctive logos/muthos, male/ female Balance.
As for any other peoples who may have been living in the delta prior to 6500 B.C., the latest science tells us that the intense, furious Nile flooding caused by the melting of ice caps in the surrounding African mountains during the period from 10,000 thru 7000 B.C. made the Nile valley and delta literally uninhabitable, except for a small area south of the the second cataract, which I see as the home of River Mother.
Another reason for there being no evidence of occupation of the Nile Delta until c.6000 B.C. is the effect of the tremendous tsunami caused by the eruption of Mt. Aetna c.6000 B.C.. This tsunami virtually wiped out the Nile delta, erasing whatever slim evidence there may have been of very early immigrants. At any rate, the Nile delta was most likely first inhabited c.6500 B.C. by migrants from both the Levant and Nubia.
A highly disorganized but extremely powerful Nubian hunter/gatherer spirituality centered around immortality met an equally spiritually-driven but more organized Pre-Hebraic herding/ trading culture with little interest in immortality but an intense spiritual interest in the relationship between man and the Gods.
1) The preliterate Nubians possessed a powerful spirituality centered around immortality and reincarnation as well as the psychic practices they used to observe and assist the soul in its journey from death to the afterlife to rebirth. I also believe these spiritual/psychic beliefs and practices were not highly organized, being essentially the beliefs and practices of individual shamans that would make their way from tribe to tribe by word of mouth and were always in a state of flux.
2) As far as we can surmise, the polytheistic, preliterate Pre-Hebraic tribes were essentially wide-ranging (border-crossing) herders and traders. There may have been other tribes in the Levant who filled this description, but I believe the Pre-Hebraic tribes had something else: a disposition for critical, orderly thinking that not only guided their nomadic (and often dangerous) way of life as herders and traders but also guided their spirituality.
Although the preliterate, Pre-Hebraic tribes saw life in a muthos way, as did all preliterate peoples, I also believe that by 6500 B.C. they were already on the edge of logos consciousness. We have to remember that logos consciousness always seeks unity in its explanations of the world, whereas muthos consciousness is content with many.
Thus an emerging logos consciousness is the only way to realistically explain the Hebrew's sudden establishment of a completely revolutionary monotheistic religion in 1500 B.C. that was figuratively light years ahead of all the religions that surrounded it. If I were to compare their spiritual and religious development to a foot race, it is not an exaggeration to say that the Hebrews had already crossed the finish line while all the other Semitic tribes were still getting into the starting blocks.
More to the point, vis a vis the evolving Proto-Egyptian spirituality, I see the intermixing of the Semitic and Nubian tribes also bringing about a more orderly way of thinking about the powerful but relatively unorganized Nubian spiritual/ psychic practices. I believe that out of this eventually came the extensive funerary spiritual/psychic practices we see formalized a few thousand years later in the written Pyramid Texts that surfaced in the pyramids of the Fifth Dynasty, but which philologists assure us have a much earlier, preliterate origin.
In saying this, I realize I am putting forth two politically incorrect prejudices: that the Nubian/Africans were highly disorganized and the Hebrews sharp thinkers. However, everything in the history of these two cultures points in that direction, both then and now. We also have to remember that the Hebrews were not the secular rationalists most are today, but were just as spiritually driven and just as polytheistic as the Nubian tribes they encountered in the Nile delta.
Like all preliterate cultures, both of them were capable of accommodating each other's beliefs very easily. This is because the muthos mind easily accommodates conflicting ideas. The logos mind does not, and always seeks to resolve conflicting ideas. It wants one explanation, not many. One God, not many.
Let me take a leap backwards here, and add that I also believe the intense spiritual interest in the nature of God (and the human/ God relationship)that we see in the preliterate story of Abraham (c.2000 B.C.) was also present in a nascent form in the much earlier preliterate, polytheistic Pre-Hebraic tribes.
I also believe, as I've said earlier, that the Pre-Hebraic tribes not only possessed a muthos consciousness but also a nascent form of logos consciousness. That is indeed a heady combination. In other words, they had a jump on their neighbors. This isn't supposed to happen, but I stand by it. Science likes a kind uniform genetic progress across the board, but it's simply a prejudice on the part of science that keeps being shown for what it is: a prejudice.
This is why I believe Abraham's budding monotheistic spirituality didn't come out of nowhere, but had long, preliterate roots because the logos mind wants one God, not many. We can see evidence of those same roots again some 500 years later around 1500 B.C. in the undoubtedly related monotheistic beliefs of Akhenaten and Moses.
Much of this Part Two deals with the Nubian/Hebrew/Egyptian spiritual intermixing both in literate and preliterate times and its eventual influence on Dynastic Egyptian spirituality (and Hebrew spirituality for that matter).
That intermixing, as I've laid it out, was extremely deep to say the least, and one extreme example of that intermixing lies in the Moses/ Akhenaten matter.
Yet, outside of noting the similarity between the two, I shied away from going into it in depth because I had never come across a well-reasoned explanation of how they could or might have been the same person (which always made the most intuitive sense to me vis a vis explaining the intermixing) until I came across Mats David Ranaxe's video on this matter, where he does seem to make that claim they are one and the same.
Ahmed Osman, the Egyptian historical novelist, makes a very convincing case that they are indeed the same person in Moses and Ahkenaten.
Both presentations are excellent, well thought out and presented, so much so that I suggest the reader look at them to see Moses and Akhenaten in an entirely new light, i.e., to see the time of Moses/ Akhenaten as a point in time where the intermixing of Hebrew and Egyptian spirituality and thought became almost total. One example of this is that Akhenaten's grandfather was decended from Pre-Hebraics who had migrated into Dynastic Egypt. .
I should add (that to my poet's intuition), Moses and Akhenaten have always seemed one and the same, and is based on the strange sculptural portrayal of Akhenaten (as a sleepy-eyed, male/ pregnant female) which falls very close to the Biblical prose portrayal of Moses as an extremely psychic person (the only prophet to see God directly) who was also a physical mess (he needed the physical support of his brother Aaron to hold up his arms).
Also we shouldn't get hung up on Akhenaten physically leading the Hebrews against the Cannanites. I see him as a symbolic leader. After all, Aaron (and Joshua) were there to do the dirty work. All we have to remember is that Moses/Akhenaten wasn't allowed into the Promised Land. Got it?
This brief excursion into the matter of Moses/Akhenaten is to further suggest that the Dynastic Egyptians and the Pre-Hebraics were intermixed to a significant degree and that Moses/Akhenaten was probably only the tip of the iceberg, with Hyskos being another tip, and that the actual depth of the iceberg trailed back to preliterate Proto-Egypt. These "tips" always have deep roots. They don't appear out of nowhere.
But let me get back to the matter at hand. As disposed to the questioning of the nature of the divine as the Pre-Hebraic tribes must have been, we see none of this questioning in the preliterate African/Nubian spirituality, which remained essentially constant and accepting of the divine order as they had always held it to be. That spirituality persists to this day in Africa, (despite the inroads of Islam and Christianity) where there remains an intense spiritual interest in immortality, reincarnation and the psychic practices used to assist the soul in its journey to the afterlife to rebirth.
So here's the question. Outside of my contention that the Pre-Hebraic tribes of 6500 thru 3200 B.C. had a nascent logos consciousness, is there any historical evidence that they had a penchant for critical, orderly thinking beyond that of the other tribes of the Levant who were also migrating into the Nile delta c. 6500 B.C.. The approach I am going to take in gathering that evidence may distress some, but I believe we can obtain that evidence by back-engineering what we know of their later preliterate beliefs from the time of Abraham on.
What I mean by this is that the story was most probably created out of fragments of transcribed oral poems about the first stirrings of the Hebrew God. With that caveat, let me say that one of the things we see in the story of the Pre-Hebraic, preliterate, wealthy herder/trader called Abraham (c.2000 B.C.) is that a sophisticated herder/trader class had developed. They were by nature still herders and traders, but they weren't scraping out a living. They moved in style. So much style, it seems, that despite the Pharaoh having an enormous empire to govern, he couldn't help but notice Abraham's arrival in Egypt with his beautiful wife Sarah.
This story of Abraham and the origin of the Hebrews gives me an opportunity to compare the Bible's story of the origin of the Hebrews c. 2000 B.C., with my own theory that around 6500 B.C., Pre-Hebraic hunter-gatherer tribes from the Levant began migrating south into the Nile delta where they encountered Nubian hunter-gatherer tribes migrating north into the same fertile delta. I see those encounters eventually resulting in the formation of a Proto-Egyptian race and culture that over time evolved into the Dynastic Egyptian race and culture.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, those Semitic Pre-Hebraic tribes most probably didn't see themselves as "Hebrews", just as the other Semitic tribes in that area didn't see themselves as "Syrians" or "Lebanese". I do believe, however, that they already had distinct characteristics that would make them identify themselves thousands of years later as Hebrews or Syrians.
If the story of Abraham was fabricated to help raise the spirits of the Hebrews exiled in Babylon (587-541 B.C.), it wasn't a willy-nilly fantasy. Ur, the city Abraham supposedly came from, was just south of Babylon, the center of the Sumerian empire, and close to where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers come together. This is the area where the Garden of Paradise was located according to oral tradition, something that has been supported by recent archeological finds. Thus, the area Abraham supposedly came from was rich with Pre-Hebraic tradition.
The irony of this,which couldn't have been lost of the Bible Writers if they indeed did fabricate the story of Abraham sometime after the Exile, was that Ur was a part of the Sumerian Empire that had conquered the Hebrews and destroyed the Temple in 587 B.C..
The fact that Abraham is shown as a very wealthy herder and trader in Sumeria around 2000 B.C. doesn't mean that in earlier times Pre-hebraic herders weren't wandering through that area as well as the Levant. For a group of herders know as "border-crossers" they probably wandered throughout the entire Fertile Crescent and the areas beyond it.
The time when Abraham suppodedly left Ur, around 2000 B.C., was also, I believe, a time when those wandering, herding Pre-Hebraic tribes in the Levant began to see themselves as a distinct group: the Hebrews.
I see the evidence for this in the fact that archaeologists have detected the first scraps of a Hebrew hieroglyphic language around 2000 B.C.. It is evident that this early Hebraic language evolved out of their exposure to Egyptian literacy. It is also around this time that we see both Egyptian, as well as Biblical, evidence of Joseph rising to power in Egypt.
Thus literate,Dynastic Egypt seems to have been a catalyst in the development of the Pre-Hebraic tribes as a group to be reckoned with. You might say that the Pre-Hebraic tribes wandering thru the Levant and Dynastic Egypt began to "arrive" around 2000 B.C., just as in the story of Abraham, the "arrival@ of the Pre-Hebraic tribes is signified by Abraham leaving his home in Ur as a wealthy herder/trader accompanied by large herds and servants.
This catalytic effect may also have happened in Sumeria, but the lack of stories about Sumeria and the many stories about Egypt in the Bible lead me to believe that this was not the case. As to why Ur was chosen as a point of origin by the Bible Writers, I suspect the literate, montheistic Bible Writers wanted to distance themselves from polytheistic Egypt at this time, and although Sumeria was also polytheistic and the cause of the Hebrew exile, Ur may have seemed a better point of origin due to its association with the Garden of Paradise: Adam = Abraham.
Thus, it is at this point, around 2000 B.C., that my theory and the Biblical story of Abraham merge, in the sense that they both account for the "arrival" of the Pre-Hebraic culture as one to be reckoned with.
If we continue to assume that the story of Abraham was contrived, then the sizable number of Pre-Hebraic peoples who later became enslaved (or employed) by the Egyptians c. 2000 B.C., were not the actual progeny of Abraham, but the Pre-Hebraic herding tribes in the Levant who were drawn to Dynastic Egypt.
If I am correct about Dynastic Egypt (3200 thru 30 B.C.) evolving out of a preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture (6500 thru 3200 B.C.) created by very early Pre-Hebraic tribes and Nubian tribes merging in the Nile delta, then another point of irony is that the later c.2000 Pre-Hebraic tribes were enslaved (or employed) by a Dynastic Egyptian culure that was partially composed of their distant Pre-Hebraic ancestors who, with the immigrating Nubians, had formed the Proto-Egytptian culture (6500 thru 3200 B.C.) .
This ironic relationship also helps explain the continuing fascination of the Pre-Hebraic tribes with both the preliterate Proto-Egyptians and the literate Dynastic Egyptians: they were "distant cousins."
The story of the Exodus, which I believe is a story about a real event, even if it is distorted, tells us that once out of Egypt, Joshua fights a series of bloody battles that recapture the promised land (Canaan). Recent archaeological studies, however, show this to be questionable. One or two of the highland cities mentioned in the Bible as being conquered by Joshua do show evidence of warfare, but the remainder of the cities show no evidence of warfare whatsoever. Rather all the evidence points towards the fact, that for the most part, tribes from the lowlands of Canaan simply took over from a disintegrating ruling class.
I believe that these tribes were the Pre-Hebraic tribes who took over Caanan had been in the Levant all along and had not migrated into the Nile delta to create the Proto-Egyptian culture. The archaeological evidence supports me somewhat in this, because it suggests that the type of homes established in the highlands by these lowland tribes had Pre-Hebraic characteristics. So it seems that although Joshua did indeed fight a few battles to gain a place for those Hebrews escaping from Egypt, there were other Pre-Hebraic tribes already living in Canaan.
It is from this point on that I believe the Biblical stories pretty much reflect the historical path of the emerging Hebrew/monotheistic culture.
End Author's Note
Perhaps I can best explain the nature of this emerging Hebrew/ monotheistic culture, and how absolutely unique it was, by letting you take a look at something I wrote about it in Chapter 37 of ALICE HICKEY: Between Worlds.
The excerpt begins with my telling Alice that I had come to believe that an ancient Hebrew spirit had a hand in the creation of the Myth that came to me in 2000. (For a written version of the Myth see Chapter 4: The Myth in ALICE HICKEY)
Excerpt from Chapter 37: I Uncover the Myth’s Hebraic Connection
End of Part Two
THE SPHINX: WHEN WAS IT REALLY BUILT AND WHY PART 3 OF 3: A FURTHER EXAMINATION OF MY THEORY AND THE THEORIES OF OTHERS