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Sun rising over the Nile Ancient Egypt – the Black Land.

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Presentation on theme: "Sun rising over the Nile Ancient Egypt – the Black Land."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sun rising over the Nile Ancient Egypt – the Black Land

2 Mud silt left after the Nile’s annual inundation Km or Khem, meaning black that relates to the Nile mud, forms the basis of the word Alchemy

3 The Nile, four thousand miles long, is Egypt’s sacred river – it is Egypt!

4 Osiris as god of fertility causes the rise and fall of the Nile as well as the movement of soul and sexual potency with all people. He is the substance of being.

5 Osiris wearing the Atef crown and bearing the crook and flail, symbols of his divine rule over land and animals. Green skinned Osiris

6 The Birth of Osiris Thoth, god of magic, symbols and language, knows of Re’s, the Sun god, fear of losing his power, prophesizes, “If Nut bears a son, he will one day rule Egypt.” Nut appeals to Thoth who cleverly devises a scheme that will satisfy Nut’s wish to bear children while, at the same time, not defy Re’s pronouncement, “No child of Nut shall take my throne from me! Lo, now I lay this curse upon her: she shall give birth to no child on any day in any year – no, nor in the night time either. I have spoken, and what I have decreed cannot be altered.”

7 Khondu, the moon god, and Thoth, god of magic and language. Note the moon headdress on each. Thoth turns to Khonshu, the moon god, and challenges him to a game of droughts. Khonshu loses everything, including enough of his light to make five extra days.

8 Nut gave birth to: Osiris Harmachis Seth Isis Nepythys Osiris and Isis SethNepythys Harmachis

9 The Death of Osiris and his Transformation to the God of Death Isis and Osiris marry. Seth marries Nepythys. Osiris sleeps with Nepythys and they bear a son, Anubis. Seth plans his revenge on Osiris by secretly learning his measurements and having a beautiful coffin made to fit. Seth has a party at which he promises the give this prized coffin to whoever best fits inside it. When Osiris lays in the coffin, Seth and his 72 conspirators seal Osiris in it, binding it with leaden bands. They throw the coffin into the Sea. The coffin is washed ashore at Byblos, Syria, and entwined with a tree. The tree is taken by the king and made into a column within his palace. Isis rescues the coffin by magic, resuscitates Osiris, copulates with him and bears a son, Horus. Seth discovers the tome and cuts Osiris body into fourteen parts. He scatters them throughout Egypt.

10 Dismemberment Before mummification, bodies were buried in shallow graves. The dead were both feared and respected. To prevent the dead from returning and taking possession of the living, the bones of the deceased were sometimes broken. This same magical practice is seen the Book of the Dead where, for example, the hieroglyph for horned viper was severed so that it would not slither off the papyrus and harm people.

11 With the help of Thoth and Anubis, Isis was able to locate all but one piece of her husband’s body; the penis was thrown into the Nile and swallowed by a fish. Thoth retrieved it and Anubis prepared his father’s body after Isis, with her magic powers, rejoined Osiris’ body. She then had sex with him and bore Horus. Isis and Nepythys guarded Osiris’ body until it was taken by Thoth into the Duat, the Underworld, where the black-skinned Osiris becomes God of the Underworld.

12 Horus avenges his father’s death by going to war with Seth. There is a protracted battle in which Horus loses an eye and Seth, a testicle. Eventually, Thoth intervenes between the “two fellows” and brings their case before the gods. The decision was made in favor of Horus and Seth was sentenced to serve him. Horus then awakens his father in the duat.

13 The Resurrection of Osiris Osiris awakens in the Duat and becomes the God of the Underworld. He presides over the Judgment of the Dead and is given the wisdom needed to carry the Sun through the duat, returning it each morning to the earth.

14 The Judgment in the Great Hall The heart of the deceased is placed on the scale of judgment and is weighed against the feather of Ma’at, goddess of supreme order. If the heart outweighs Ma’at feather, the deceased’ ba soul is reunited with its body and it enters into the eternal Field of Reeds. If the judgment is against it, the deceased is either thrown into the Lake of Fire or is devoured by Ammit. Thoth records the judgment.

15 The Field of Reeds, The Field of Offerings Before Egypt was called by that name, it was simply the Land of Beauty. Death was not contrary to Life, but rather a continuation of it…into eternity. So loved was their country that “heaven” was little different than their life on earth. There was great abundance, a full harvest and joy in the Field of Reeds. The only burden was the obligation to work one day a year. But, even this was cleverly avoided by placing ushabi into the tomb of the deceased.

16 Mummification and the Tomb

17 The process of mummification took seventy days. In the initial preparations the wet organs – stomach, lungs, intestines, liver- were removed and placed in four separate Canopic jars. Specifically, the liver was placed in a jar with the man-headed god Imsety for protection, the lungs in a Hapi the baboon-headed jar, the stomach in the jackal-headed jar of Duamutef and the intestines in Qebehsenuef, the falcon-headed jar. These protector gods were the four sons of Horus. The brain was removed and discarded while the heart was kept in place, for it was to later serve in the weighing of the Great Judgment. The body was then covered in natron, a commonly used salt, for fourty days. The natron was used to desiccate the corpe of all moisture. The final thirty days were spent in careful and ritualistic bandaging the body in some three miles of linen. Enfolded into the bandages were sacred amulets. Other objects were placed in the tomb, including ushabi, small statuettes that symbolized the workers who would be called upon to substitute for that one day when the deceased was supposed to work.

18 The final ritual before the mummy was placed in its tomb was called the Opening of the Mouth. In this sacred ritual the priests used heka (magic) to open the senses so that the deceased would be able to see, hear and speak in the afterlife. Ushabi Opening the Mouth

19 The pharaoh tomb was placed in the great pyramids where their soul would be reunited with the immortal body. The pharaoh would then ascend into the heavens and take its place among the stars.

20 This presentation was made by Dr. Thom Cavalli as part of the seminar he provided at the 2007 International Alchemy Conference. It is © 2007 copyrighted and all rights reserved. It is not meant as an exhaustive description of the funerary practices of ancient Egypt. An accompanying paper will be published that gives further details of these practices and their psychological implications for the study of Alchemy. Dr. Cavalli’s book, Alchemical Psychology, Old Recipes for a New World (Putnam, 2002) is a solid introduction to alchemical psychology. For further information contact Dr. Cavalli at There is great wisdom to be learned from the ancient Egyptians, knowledge that has been lost to this world; knowledge that may well preserve the beauty we all treasure. Peace be with you. Thom F. Cavalli, Ph.D.

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