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AKHENATEN

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Author Topic: AKHENATEN  (Read 823 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #90 on: September 09, 2007, 09:59:36 am »








MORE THAN AN EPISODE                                                                                           continued



On the one hand, the dependence of all life on light, Akhenaten's positive view of light as salvation; on the other
hand, light as an ABOMINATION - the two are exact polar opposites.

For renewal and rejuvination, light  and all  life require darkness; it was the ENTIRE course of the sun, including its
nocturnal, netherworldly portion, which replenished the energy of the sun.

It is only logical that in the immediate wake of Akhenaten, there was a veritable outpouring of symbolic represent-
ations of the daily course of the sun.



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                                          T H E   B O O K   O F   T H E   H E A V E N L Y   C O W



This spell is to be recited over the (picture of) a cow, with  "the Infinite Ones who are" (inscribed) on her chest, and over whose back is (inscribed) "the Infinite Ones who are". Whose four hoofs are filled out in paint and upon whose belly are nine stars, issuing from its hindquarters in front of its hind legs, while beneath its belly stands Shu, painted in yellow ocher, his arms support these stars, and inscribed with his name between them, which says "Shu is himself".

A barque, on which are a steering-oar and a shrine with a Solar disk over it and Re in it, is in front of Shu, close to his hand, while another version (of a barque) is behind him, close to his (other) hand. Her two udders are placed in the middle of her left leg, one half of them being drawn in paint in the middle of this hind leg with the following words outside in retrograde : "I am who I am. I will not let them take action." What is (written) beneath the barque that is in front is : "You shall not grow weary, my son." - in retrograde, and as follows : "Your condition is like that of one who lives forever." and as follows : "Your son is in me. Life, prosperity and health be for your nose !"

What is (written) behind Shu, close to his arm, is as follows : "Guard them !" What is behind him at his flank is (written) in retrograde as follows : "It is right that they should enter when I retire each day." What is (written) under the arm of the figure below the left hind leg and behind it is as follows : "Everything is sealed." What is (written) above his head, below the hindquarters of the cow and what is between its hind legs is as follows : "May he come out." What is (written) behind the two figures that are between its hind legs and above their heads : "The aged one is in the realm of the dead. Praise is given to him when he enters." What is (written) over the heads of the two figures that are between its forelegs : "He who procreates, he who adores, support of the sky."



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One of the earliest occurs in the  ENIGMATIC BOOK OF THE NETHERWORRLD on one of Tutankhamun's gilded shrines, which until now has remained without parallels.  Its dependence on Amarna is visible in the streams of light which link
the individual figures in the netherworld to one another and enter into the bodies of the deceased.
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Bianca
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« Reply #91 on: September 09, 2007, 10:00:54 am »








E P I L O G U E




THE SUN ENDURES


The scenes of the course of the sun demonstrate, moreove, how much importance was ascribed to the
sun, even after Akhenaten's failure.

Traditional beliefs about the sun experienced no setback, despite the astonishingly massive reaction to
Akhenaten's provocation.

But, now greater attention was devoted to the combination of Re AND Osiris. 


                             


In contrast to the reformer's attempt to draw the sun god entirely into THIS world and fill it entirely with his presence, denying all that was next-wordly, the BOOK OF THE HEAVENLY COW (first attested
under Tutankhamun) makes the mythic statement that, because of the rebellion of humankind, the sun
god withdrew for all time from this world to the sky, while at the same time he established the netherworld for the dead.

                         



Here, there is once again stress on the DISTANCE  and the otherworldly aspect of the divine
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Bianca
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« Reply #92 on: September 09, 2007, 10:02:49 am »








E P I L O G U E




THE SUN ENDURES                                                                                       continued



The other clear return was in the royal ideology.

After Akhenaten there were only a few tentative attemps at the worship of Pharaoh as a personal god.

An example is Huy, Tutankhamun's Nubian viceroy, who entreated his king to dispel the "darkness' that
meant distance from him. 

It was now AMUN who now became the god of the poor and the oppressed, the refuge of the simple in their prayers - the reaction in favour of Amun was thus sustained less by his priesthood than by ordinary
folk.

As Sun God, Amun was both distant and near: distant as a beholder, but near as a hearer who stood by those who prayed to him.

In the official theology of the Ramesside Period, which was a continuation of the "New Solar Theology",
he became a god who filled the entire world with himself ( as Aten had filled his sancturay), the ONE
who
made himself "INTO MILLIONS", but without displacing the other deities.
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Bianca
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« Reply #93 on: September 09, 2007, 10:04:06 am »








 E P I L O G U E



THE SUN ENDURES                                                                                                continued 

                                                                                     




The figure of SHED, the "Saviour", the powerful and youthful god who intervened and helped in time of need was another heir to the Amarna Period.

Here, in a time of crisis and anxiety, human yearning intensified into a new deity, who was able to step forth, along with Amun, as a personification of help for the needy in this age of personal piety.

Basically he was the young, militant Horus who stood by his father Osiris, but this function was blended with that of the sun god triumphant over his enemies.
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Bianca
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« Reply #94 on: September 09, 2007, 10:07:16 am »








 E P I L O G U E
 
 
                           



THE SUN ENDURES                                                                                          continued



The Egyptians evidently accepted the god of light about whom Akhenaten preached in his own creative development of the NEW SOLAR THEOLOGY of Dynasty 18, and they continued to tolerate him for a brief time after the king's reign.

ATEN was never outlawed as a designation of the sun, but what was immediately withdrawn was the exclusiveness with which this new god had made his appearance.
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Bianca
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« Reply #95 on: September 09, 2007, 10:08:30 am »








E P I L O G U E



ROOTS OF FUNDAMENTALISM


Here, we come to the critical point.

In Amarna religion, for the first time in history, an attempt was made to explain the entire natural and
human world on the basis of a SINGLE  priciple.

Like Einstein, Akhenaten made light the absolute reference point and it is astonishing how clearly and consistently he pursued this concept in the Fourteenth Century BCE, making him, in fact, the first
MODERN human being.

Indeed, modernity also strives to describe the universe with a single formula, to explain it on the basis of a SINGLE principle; the attempts to do so do not cease.

But Akhenaten demonstrated with unusual clarity that such one-sideness is doomed to failure.

All we repress and ignore will overtake and overshadow us.

Akhenaten was perhaps the first fundamentalist in history and, for this reason, he remains, even today,  a very contemporary figure who can scarcely be denied respect and sympathy in any critique of him.

But there is a lesson for us in his fate and his failure: FUNDAMENTALISM, in whatever form, solves no
problems, but only suppresses them.

We must not succumb to the temptation that, from time to time, emerges from it and its apparently simple and clear solutions. 

With its intolerance, it can have no future: things must not be reduced to a single, isolated principle, be it ever so noble and elevated.

Always and, above all, the whole is at stake.

No grim reaction followed Akhenaten, but rather a cautious attempt to join old to new, so as not to give
up - straight away - what had been achieved on the positive side.

The Amarna Period exercised a stimulating and fertilizing influence on the intellectual and spiritual history of ancient Egypt and of all humankind, and, for our own time, it continues to offer a model instance from which we can learn.



FROM

AKHENATEN AND THE RELIGION OF LIGHT

Erik Hornung

Translated by David Lorton
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