Sunday, June 1, 2014
"None of You is Separate"

Oh you great Ennead which is in Heliopolis,
Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys,
whom Atum, in giving birth to himself,
brought into the world through the projection of his heart,
in your name of Nine Bows -
None of You is separate from Atum.
- Pyramid Text, 6th Dynasty

Julia found this address to the Ennead, with its glyphs and the translation in Temple of the Cosmos, by Jeremy Nayler, (Inner Traditions, 1996), page 142. I got out the favorite reference book, and learned Atum is "the great primeval deity of Heliopolis. His cult was a very ancient one and by the Old Kingdom he had risen tp a very high level of importance in Heliopolitan theology." (Richard Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, (Thames and Hudson 2003),page 98) He is depicted in serpent form, and Wilkinson gave the Brooklyn museum papyrus as an example:

I'd drawn this earlier, because Snake!, not knowing its connection to Atum.

Wilkinson explains "Atum in serpent form and as - or with - the young sun. The god's primal aspect gave him associations both with creatures such as the snake and the image of the newly born sun. Papyrus, Brooklyn Museum of Art." (page 99)

More frequently, he's given a fully human appearance, wearing the double crown, and "he may also be represented with the head of a ram, though this is more usual in depictions showing his solar or underworld aspects."(page 100) Not only that, but "mongoose, lion, bull, [] lizard, [] ape. [] In terms of his solar connections he may be depicted as a scarab, and the famous giant scarab which now stands by the sacred lake at Karnak was dedicated to Atum." (page 101)

Later on, when Amun becomes perceived as a universal creator, the primeval god Atum is then considered "an aspect of Amun, the same is true of the sun god Re." (Stefan Paas, Creation and Judgement: Creation Texts in Some Eighth Century Prophets (Brill 2003), page 131.

Elsewhere in webland, some one was asking about titles of Set, and I was only too happy to show off my statue. There are several well known epithets of Set, some of which I had engraved on that Set sha statue:

Around the plinth I have Set's name, along with "Son of Nut", "Great of Strength" and "Great of Heka (Magic)". A scene at Karnak of Thutmose III running his Hebsed race, fortunately drawn by Lepsius, as it has since suffered damage, shows the titles in their original context.

In front of Set is Amun Ra, "Lord of Heaven", if I am reading it right. One of the Herus is behind Thutmose III, but I'm not quite sure who. On the far left, behind Set, it shows from top to bottom: "Great of Heka", "Son of Nut", "Great of Strength", plus one at the bottom which I didn't recognise. (A cluster of Heset vases and 3 seneb glyphs):

My best guess at first was "repeated purifications to give health", but that doesn't sound like an epithet. So until I hear something better, I'm going to go with "Bestower of Vitality". Thutmose would need vitality if he was going to perform well in his race!

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