Msg#: 273                                          Date: 09-16-96  11:11
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 01:Cult Practices... [01/
URL - http://marlowe.wimsey.com/~rshand/streams/thera/cults.html


Cult Practices in the Old Kingdom

The Predyastic Period

"Nearly every god of the earliest part of Egyptian history was 
visualized in the form of an animal, bird, or even an inanimate object. 
Thus Bastet, the local goddess of the town Bast (modern Tell Basta) in 
the eastern Delta, became associated with a lioness, the god Thoth of 
Khemenu (Hermopolic Magna, modern El-Ashmunein) with an ibis, Khnum of 
the first cataract region with a ram, the goddess Hathor, whose worship 
was known from several places, with a cow, and the god Sobek with a 
crocodile. The precise reasons for such associations are not clear, but 
natural logic seems to have influenced the choice. Thus, the cults of 
the bull were popular in the cattle-grazing area of the Delta, a 
crocodile cult was known from the marshy Faiiyum, etc. The god could 
adopt the form of an animal in order to become manifest, but this did 
not mean the animal itself was regarded as a deity." 

"We can conjecture that each of the larger chiefdoms at the end of the 
Predynastic Period [5000/4500-2925 BC] was connected with a cult-center 
and a shrine or temple of the local deity. The fortunes of Egyptian gods 
waxed and waned with those of their home districts, and the development 
of relationships among deities went side by side with the creation of 
one state. The king of the unified Egypt identified himself with the god 
Horus of Nekhen, but the appearance of Seth of Nagada as well as the god 
Horus in the names of two kings of the late Second Dynasty [circa 
2600-2658 BC] need not be a reflection of civil strife, because the 
relationship between politics and religion cannot be reduced to a simple 
equation. Almost all of the deities of later times were known during the 
earliest dynasties, usually in the forms of animals, birds, or 
- Jaromir Malek, In the Shadow of the Pyramids 

"Before the development of a structured cosmos there existed n darkness 
a limitless ocean of inert water. It was envisaged as the primeval being 
called Nu or Nun. No temples were ever built to honor it, but the nature 
of Nu is present in many cult sanctuaries in the form of the sacred lake 
which symbolizes the 'non-existence' before creation. In fact, this vast 
expanse of lifeless water never ceased to be and after creation was 
imagined to surround the celestial firmament guarding the sun, moon, 
stars and earth as well as the boundaries of the underworld. There was 
always a fear in the Egyptian mind that Nu would crash through the sky 
and drown the earth.." 
- George Hart, Egyptian Myths 

"Mounds will be cities and cities become mounds and mansion will destroy 
- Coffin Texts (Spell 1130)

"When this GštterdŠmmerung occurs the only survivors will be the gods 
Atum and Osiris in the form of snakes, 'unknown to mankind and unseen by 
other gods'." 

"Atum, 'lord of Heliopolis' and 'lord to the limits of the sky', 
constitutes the demiurge, the creator of the world, who rose out of Nu 
at the beginning of time to create the elements of the universe. As the 
sun god, he self-developed into a being and stood on a raised mound, an 
image suggestive of the banks and islands that re-emerge after the 
season of the Nile inundation. This primeval mound became formalized as 
the Benben, a firm pyramidal elevation to support the sun god; the 
actual stone relic, perhaps regarded as the petrified semen of Atum, was 
alleged to survive in the Hewet-Benben (Mansion of the Benben) in 
- George Hart, Egyptian Myths 

The Sumerians also exerted an influence on the developing culture of 
early Egypt. 


The First to Fifth Dynasties

"In Egypt, religion and worship of the gods began in Heliopolis, close 

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  Msg#: 274                                          Date: 09-16-96  11:11
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 02:Cult Practices... [02/
by the Giza pyramids; its original Egyptian name was Annu (as the name 
of the ruler of Nibiru) and it is called On in the Bible: when Joseph
 was made viceroy over all of Egypt (Genesis chapter 41), the Pharaoh 
'gave him Assenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the [high] priest of On, 
for a wife'. Its oldest shrine was dedicated to Ptah ('The Developer') 
who, according to Egyptian tradition, raised Egypt from under the waters 
of the Great Flood and made it habitable by extensive drainage and 
earthworks. Divine reign over Egypt was then transferred by Ptah to his 
son Ra ('The Bright One') who was also called Tem ('The Pure One'); and 
in a special shrine, also at Heliopolis, the Boat of Heaven of Ra, the 
conical Ben-Ben, could be seen by pilgrims once a year." 
- Zecharia Sitchin, When Time Began 

"One of the peculiarities of Egyptian thinking was the notion of 
dualism, i.e., a totality consisting of two elements in harmonious 
opposition. The concept was founded in Egyptian geography as well as 
early history. The country lends itself to such an approach easily: the 
known world = The Black Land (Kemet) + The Red Land (Deshret, the 
desert); Egypt = the valley (Upper Egypt) + the Delta (Lower Egypt). 
Historically, the earliest towns in Upper Egypt, where the idea would 
have developed, were Nekhen and Nubt, the homes of the rival gods Horus 
and Seth." 
- Jaromir Malek, In the Shadow of the Pyramids 

"...The first Dynasty of Egypt was founded by the Horu, a Hamitic people 
entering Egypt from the east to settle in and around Memphis, according 
to Petrie, with a written language, culture, social stratification and 
mythos of their own well in place at the time. Their standard of a 
Falcon on a pole, suggests an origin in the Seir, where these birds were 
first domesticated (the mountains which run from Jordan all the way down 
the east coast of the Red Sea to Yemen). 
"These people were later invaded by the Seti (standard of the seti 
beast), also from the east, possibly invading up the Wadi Ham maat from 
the Red Sea and settling in and around Thebes." 
- Whittet (whittet@shore.net) 

"Originally, in earliest times, Set was the patron deity of Lower 
(North) Egypt, and represented the fierce storms of the desert whom the 
Lower Egyptians sought to appease. However, when Upper Egypt conquered 
Lower Egypt and ushered in the First Dynasty, Set became known as the 
evil enemy of Horus (Upper Egypt's dynastic god). Set was the brother of 
Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys, and husband of the latter; according to some 
versions of the myths he is also father of Anubis. 
"Set is best known for murdering his brother and attempting to kill his 
nephew Horus; Horus, however, managed to survive and grew up to avenge 
his father's death by establishing his rule over all Egypt and casting 
Set out into the lonely desert for all time. 
"In the 19th Dynasty there began a resurgence of respect for Set, and he 
was seen as a great god once more, the god who benevolently restrained 
the forces of the desert; but this was short-lived and by around Dynasty 
20 or 21 Set became once more dreaded as the god of evil." 
- Shawn C. Knight,"Egyptian Mythology FAQ" 

"Much of the mythology known to us from later periods of Egyptian 
history must have already existed during the Old Kingdom. The myth of 
Seth's killing his brother Osiris, of the goddesses Isis and Nephthys' 
mourning over his body, and his eventual vindication by Horus, is 
already suggested in the Pyramid Texts." 
- Jaromir Malek, In the Shadow of the Pyramids 

"The earliest type of text commonly used in private tombs was the 
'offering given by the king' (hetep-di-nisut) formula. It was a short 
prayer asking the god of the necropolis, at first Anubis, for a share of 
reversion offerings which where presented to him by the king, but 
gradually it grew into a more complex system of wishes." 
"In the Fifty Dynasty [2465-2322 BC] autobiographical texts developed 
further to include episodes illustrating the tomb-owner's character and 
describe his memorable achievements....The concept of a moral evaluation 
was new, and perhaps the result of new religious ideas, particularly the 
increased importance of Osiris, which became widespread during the Fifth 
- Jaromir Malek, In the Shadow of the Pyramids 

"The Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt provide the earliest evidence of 
man's quest for salvation. They reveal that about 2400 BC a complex 
soteriology connected with the divine kingship of the pharaohs had been 
established in Egypt. This soteriology was gradually developed in 
concept and ritual practice and was popularized; i.e., the original 
royal privilege was gradually extended to all of the classes of society, 
until by about 1400 BC it had become an elaborate mortuary cult through 

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  Msg#: 275                                          Date: 09-16-96  11:11
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 03:Cult Practices... [03/
which all who could afford its cost could hope to partake of the 
salvation it offered. This salvation concerned three aspects of 
postmortem existence, as imagined by the ancient Egyptians, and, in the 
concept of [Osiris, it involved the earliest instance of a saviour-god. 
"An elaborate ritual of embalmment was designed to save the corpse from 
decomposition and restore its faculties so that it could live in a 
well-equipped tomb. This ritual imitated the acts that were believed to 
have been performed by the gods to preserve the body of Osiris, with 
whom the deceased was ritually assimilated. 
"The next concern was to resurrect the embalmed body of the dead person, 
as Osiris had been resurrected to a new life after death. Having thus 
been saved from the consequences of death, the revivified dead had to 
undergo a judgment (presided over by Osiris) on the moral quality of his 
life on earth. In this ordeal, the deceased could be saved from an awful 
second death only by personal integrity. If he safely passed the test, 
he was declared maa kheru ("true of voice") and was admitted to the 
beatitude of the realm over which Osiris reigned." 
- Encyclopaedia Britannica 

"The monumental building of pyramids had a profound effect on Egyptian 
society and its economy. Cult and later also temple establishments now 
became an important element in the country's life. Their economic 
dependence on the central authority was gradually lessening. When royal 
cult establishments began to play a role in the material support of 
officials of state administration in the mid-Fifth Dynasty, it was an 
indication that the balance of economic power, based on land-ownership, 
had shifted very significantly. From then on these establishments 
represented a major economic force in the land, and acted as the main 
clearing houses for the distribution of national produce." 
"At first, the main beneficiaries of the king's favors were the 
religious centers near the capital, and it appears that it was only in 
the Fifth Dynasty that temples even in the provinces began to receive 
land donations which turned them into economically independent 
institutions....The king's greater interest in the shrines of local gods 
could have been the consequence of an earlier development. It seems that 
the official dogma concerning the king's relationship with the gods was 
re-defined and systematized during the Fourth Dynasty in order to make 
him part of a system with the creator sun-god Re (or, in a syncretized 
form, Re-Harakhti, 'Re-Horus of the Horizon') of Iunu (Heliopolis) at 
the head. The rise in importance of the sun-god lead to his recognition 
as the main state-god of the Old Kingdom, and the appearance of the name 
of the god in royal names and titles reflected it. The king, while still 
being called Horus, now became a 'son of the god Re'." 

"The seeds of the decline of the Old Kingdom were already present at its 
birth, and the dynamics of the process were contained in the system 
itself. The gradual shift in the ownership of land from the central 
authority to cult and temple establishments, as well as to private tomb 
endowments, was undermining the very foundations on which the state 
stood. These changes were not affecting agricultural production, but, by 
weakening the royal authority, they were slowly preparing conditions for 
a return to a situation comparable to that before the creation of one 
"The eventual disintegration of the political structure which emerged at 
the beginning of the Third Dynasty from the chrysalis of the Predynastic 
Period and the first dynasties, was then unavoidable. Pepy II's long 
reign contributed to the decline, and Egypt's inability to maintain its 
influence outside its borders were a symptom of the malaise. The 
worsening of climatic conditions, unfortunately, came at a time when 
Egyptian administration was no longer in a position to react, and so it 
delivered the decisive blown." 
- Jaromir Malek, In the Shadow of the Pyramids 



Egyptian & Old Testament Scriptural Correspondences
Hebrew Peoples in Egypt
Lovecraft's Necronomicon
The Serpent in Mythology
Ptah, the Universal Architect God
The Mysteries of Sirius
The Sons of Snakes

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