Kemetic Bloghop: Relationships!
April 4, 2021

(This topic is inspired by the Kemetic Bloghop question:
Season of Peret 2021:
The word "relationship" can mean different things to different people. How do you view your relationships with specific Netjeru? How do they compare and contrast to human relationships? How do you maintain your divine relationships?

Now that the roasty, toasty season of Shomu is upon us, (once again, I am impressed with how Yuma weather lines up with that in Egypt. I would say that here the season of 'heat' has begun. Flannel shirt season is over, and we had to put the AC on a few days ago), I get inspired for the Season of Peret (Season of Flannel) topic.

(That's me, on my own time zone spiritually, if not physically....)
Better late than never.....
And besides the Gods have their own cycles....
.... and relationships
, they have their own relationships to each other and to me and....

As for the relationships to each other, "It's complicated," depending on which version of the creation story one goes by. "The different creation accounts were each associated with the cult of a particular god in one of the major cities of Egypt: Hermopolis, Heliopolis, Memphis, and Thebes.[9] To some degree, these myths represent competing theologies, but they also represent different aspects of the process of creation.[10]" (Source: Wikipedia)

Somehow, I blend all the versions into a somewhat cohesive understanding. Theban theology posits that Amun is "the hidden force behind all things". Amun to me is so abstract, so undiffereniated, that I don't really relate to Him. Yes, He's "The One who made himself into million." (per Ramesside texts found in _Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom: Re, Amun and the Crisis of Polytheism_, by Jan Assmann, translated from the German by Anthony Alcock), pages 150,151 and 153 (first published in 1995 by Kegan Paul International Limited and later published in 2009 by Routledge)

But to me, He's hidden. I start relating to Creator Gods further down in the process. Nit (Neith) is the first to me, who is not hidden. She's very ancient. I see her as an old Great Grandmother, watching over her many, many, many descendants. I feel her gaze.

"Words spoken by Neith the Great, Mother of the Gods"

Hieroglyphs right to left, crop from museum photo

Mother of the Gods, that's who Nit is to me.

"...She is the Great Ancestor,
Who was at the Beginning,
Creator Goddess, born into this world on Her own,
First Mother, Uraeus, Front of the God.....
(Printable version,
Source for English: Chelsea Bolton, _Flaming Lioness_)

"Born into this world on Her own," She came into being, arising with consciousness out of the Hidden Force/Energy/Godstuff that is Amun. She named herself, as "she was the first, Born before them all..." That's Great Grandmother Nit! She has the largest, vastest consciousness, she remembers all that ever happened, because she was there when it happened.

Nit creates the Gods, one of whom is Ptah, who also creates. Does this, in the "cosmology of Joan", make Ptah and Ra brothers? Like I said, "it's complicated." But that's pretty much how it works in my headspace.

Interestingly, reading in Petrie's first volume on Memphis, he writes, "The temple of Neit seems to have been to the north of the camp; for as Ptah is said to be south of the fortress, so Neit is said to be north of the fortress.", Page 3, page 14 in the online scroll-along version.

Petrie speaks of (plate) Pl. XI, 15 "Ptah, lord of truth, beautiful of face, creator of (art)." "Below is the common formula to "Ptah, the hearer of petitions, made by..." The name of Ptah, in the centre, is written from left to right, whilst the inscription reads from right to left.

I found the line drawing to which he refers:


The 'mes' glyph to our left must be referring to 'creator of'


But what really intrigued me is this stela to which Petrie did not refer.
The top glyphs start with the basic "Ptah, Lord of truth"

But there's a complex hieroglyph combo at the bottom which says more than the sum of its parts. Its parts at the bottom are:


We have here the 'Ka' glyph, "usually translated as 'soul' or 'spirit'", "an aspect of the human being which came into existence when the individual was born", as Wilkinson explains in his _Reading Egyptian Art_.

But it is fused with the hotep (hetep) glyph. "From prehistoric times offerings were made to the gods and to deceased persons on small mats of woven reeds. The hetep hieroglyph shows a loaf of bread (X2) placed as an offering on such a mat" Also, "the word hetep could signify the concept of 'rest,' 'peace,' or 'satisfaction'. (Wilkinson)

Could the stela's creator be saying, "An offering to Ptah from their very soul"? Also, that "bread loaf" has two extensions on it, which suggest the 'heart' glyph. Wilkinson begins his 'heart' section: "According to the ancient theology prevailing at the Egyptian city of Memphis, the primeval god Ptah conceived the universe in his heart before bringing it forth by his word, for in the view of the ancient Egyptian the heart was the seat of thought and emotion and even of life itself." Later on, he adds "Because the heart 'held,' as it were, the individual's life, and the form of the written sign was also reminiscent of a vase or jar, many actual containers were made to mimic the shape of the heart sign"

Could the stela's creator (and/or it's commissioner) be saying they offer to Ptah from their heart and soul, an act of devotion, from one who is clearly in a relationship of gratitude with Ptah? I am but a hieroglyph dabbler, but I do think this is likely.

But what's that glyph above the combo?

Egyptian hieroglyph Rising Sun (Gardiner N28) is used to represent "coronation",
and related meanings (festivals, parades, rejoicing, etc.) Its phonetic value is ḫꜥ ("kha").
This glyph appears in Khakheperra's name with the translation of 'appearance':
"The very appearance of the manifestation of Ra"
Also, his 'nebty' name is "Sekhamaat": "The one who has caused Ma'at to appear".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senusret_II
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun-rising_(hieroglyph)

If we figure 'appearance' is the intended meaning, then the appearance would refer to the offerings.

And then I had another thought: What if the Ka arms are also open in RECEIVING mode? The supplicant is RECEIVING offerings from Ptah. This could be what's going on here, a TWO-WAY relationship. The supplicant both GIVES and RECEIVES. This is, in fact, the essence of all good relationships.

The Kemetic ritual of Senut includes the line said to the Netjeru, "May you love me as I love you." If we don't open our heart and our Ka by giving, we can not receive.

This is true with the Gods. It is true with people.

Maybe this is a good time to end this article. I had intended to get into my relationships with all of my favorite Netjeru, but then a bit of research into Ptah took me on a different path.

So briefly: Hathor/Sekhmet is daughter of Ra, and in some cases, she has a relationship with Ptah as co-creator. Set, son of Nut and Geb, saves Ra's proverbial 'butt' each night through the perilous night barque trip. And Heru-Wer, brother of Set. is there, as well, to make sure all goes well. And Djehuty (Thoth) is on that barque, too. Djehuty, Ptah and Nit all arbitrate in the case of any godly disputes, (likely to be between Set and Heru-Wer!) Djehuty and Ptah arbitrate in human affairs, as well, if we seek their wisdom. All the Netjeru can serve in this role, but it's a speciality of these two.

I turn to Ptah for more general wisdom, and Djehuty for more scientific, scholarly wisdom. To be more exact, seeking Djehuty's wisdom as I study the writings and videos of the learned scholars, so that I may better understand their teachings.

May Netjer, in whatever way they manifest themselves to you, bless you richly! Senebty! (Be well!)


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