~ Intellect, Judge and Scribe
“Thoth and Maat record your moments every day.”
Thoth is thought. He is reason. He is the archetype of human intellect, of mind, of curiosity, of logic, of rationale, imagination and understanding. Thoth is the source and the repository of learning, knowledge and training. Thoth is science. Thoth is the genius of the Paut Nature. He is the mind of the soul/self. Thoth is known as The Self-created One. He was already present in the beginning of creation, along with Maat, the reality of Reality. Thoth is the ability of consciousness to learn and thus to know reality. He is the capacity of the human intellect to observe and to measure the reality around us and within us. Thoth and Maat stand on either side of Re in the journey of the sunship.
Thoth is more than the scribe of the Natures and the Nature of scribes. Thoth is speech. He is writing. He is everything that is made possible by human communication and by the permanence of the written word. Egyptians understood that the written word is the power of civilization.
~ The Counter of The Moon and of The Days
Thoth. His name is closer to Djehuty, from the older name of a variety of black-headed ibis birds, tehu. He is the weight in the scales, tekhen, as well as the verb t*kh*n, which means “to search for,” and “to find.” Djehuty is The Measurer. The ib-heart is also part of his hieroglyphic spelling. He is the measurer inside the mind. He is the original technician of Egypt.
Thoth is the ibis-headed Nature of winged thought in the human mind. The gesture of the ibis-bird searching for food in the river mud is the same gesture of the wrist and hand made by scribes while writing and drawing. Just as the beak of the bird snatches its prey from the water, the scribe’s stylus snatches words out of the mind and makes them visible and permanent -- words as food for thought. As the scribe of the Natures, pen, paper and ink are his tools. Egypt built the first civilized society out of river mud and the inhospitable desert with little more than paper and ink. The intellect of the nation was respectable and they knew it.
Thoth was the first scientist. He named the days, the months and the Powt Natures. The Egyptian calendar began with the accounting of the Moon’s cycles. For this reason Thoth wears the crescents of the Moon in his crown. He is one of the players in creation. He is the leader of Ogdoad, the prime set of four couples who initiated the creation of the forms matter and the life on Earth.
~ “Have Your Secretary Contact My Secretary.”
“I am your writing tablet,” was a prayer to Thoth. “I bring you your ink.” The territory of Thoth is the tabula rasa of your brain waiting to be written on. "Ain," the baboon, is an animal of Thoth. He barks at dawn to greet the rising Sun and wake the priests of Thoth's temples. “I am an ape of gold,” is a prayer to Thoth. Our minds make us more than animals. Ain carries the ink block and paper for Thoth. He is Thoth’s assistant and secretary. Ain sits atop the balance bar of the scales that weigh the soul at death. Ain calls the measure on the scales to Thoth for his judgment. The body does function as the “ape” for the brain: a pair of hands to do the bidding of the mind.
Thoth is the judge of your soul, weighing your Soul/Self's preparedness for the next life, what goes with you into eternity, into “the millions of years.” Sometimes what you think of yourself can be the harshest judge of all. Thoth is the Great Judge of the Powt Natures. Even the powerful and dangerous protector Sutekh must obey Thoth’s judgment. Thoth was Ipt Rehui, “Judge of Those Two Natury,” meaning Horus and Sutekh. He was Utcha Medjet, “Weigher of Words.” Egyptian faith in human intellect was strong.
The first month of the Egyptian year is Thuthy, dedicated to and guarded by Thoth. (The year begins on June 27 of the modern calendar.) Thoth wears many crowns. His primary crown is the disk of the full Moon framed by the two crescents. The association of Thoth with the Moon dates back to Neolithic times. The Measurer of the Moon and of the Moon’s Phases was the first scientist. From him rise the beginnings of astronomy, astrology, science and mathematics.
“The Eight Ones”
Thoth was not born and has no parents. Along with Re/consciousness, and Maat/Reality, Thoth has always been. Curiosity, the intellect to find answers and the ability to comprehend the cosmos were Egypt’s fundamental elements of existence, participants in the Big Bang.
The center of Thoth’s worship was Khemmenu, “The Town Of The Eight-Ones,” (Hermopolis). The priests there place Thoth at the head of a very old creation story based on the union of opposites.
These eight deities are usually shown kneeling because they are the latent or potential forms of the energies involved. They are male and female couples, the most immediate gesture of the union of opposites. The male have serpent heads and the female have frog or cat heads.
The first couple is Nu and Nut, opposite polarities of the watery ether, mow, which is the primeval substance of the universe. We have continued to refine our understanding of the mow, moving from the elastic ether of the 16th through 18th Century philosophers to the vacuum of space visualized by 20th Century mathematicians. In the 21st Century, we have theorized the “quantum soup” that spontaneously created our universe.
The next pair are Hehu and Hehut, which are the personifications of the infinities of both space/time. These terms are also translated as “the millions of years,” because they are meant to represent the continued and continuous nature of existence itself.
The third pair is Kekui and Kekuit, who are the darkness of the night sky. This is the darkness, also, of the infinity of outer space. They are the inertness of the cosmos, prepared to accept the passage of light.
The fourth couple is Kherh and Kherhet, a concept much more Egyptian than modern and relating to the Dual Dimensions or Dual Realities, a concept which has no real equivalent in the modern world beyond “objective” and “subjective” when describing reality. The words themselves mean “one who is beyond,” a term used to describe the deceased in the realm “beyond the horizon,” that is to say, having passed into the hidden dimension of eternity. The further clue to this meaning is that in later generations, the name “One Who Is Beyond” is sometimes replaced with the name “One Who Is Hidden.” In other words, alternate dimensions of reality were considered to have a vital role in the creation of the universe.
The interaction of these forces raised the first mound of earth upon which Re awakes, initiating the process of creation which leads to the entire Cosmos and all creatures, including human beings.
Atum (also Tem, or Tum) who is the movement of time, is sometimes named as the head of this group of eight.
~ Which Came First, The Cackle Or The Egg?
The many wonderful images of animal-headed figures in fantastic array have established the initial impression of ancient Egypt as a dark place obsessed with death, magic, miracles and mummification. The arcane rituals of multiple gods display a bewildering inner world of caves, crowns, serpents, aspects, faces and syntheses. Their philosophies seem a chaos of rival priesthoods and temple organizations, a mad, millennia-long jumble of forms, rituals and quasi-realism cloaked in the mysticism of archaic design.
The chaos begins at the very beginning. There are too many creation myths. Each great temple complex had a variation on the theme.
Central to the variations on the creation story is this primordial mound, the “Island of Creation” which appeared out of the primeval abyss in the “First Occasion,” a metaphor drawn from the watery abyss of the Nile’s inundation as it subsides, revealing mounds or muddy islands.
An important element of the temple grounds was a carefully kept pool with the original primordial mound from which Egypt arose. This was not a sign of priestly rivalry. It was a metaphor. Everyone watched mounds, spate in Egyptian, emerge from the flood waters of the Nile, year in and year out. What other metaphor would be powerful enough, close enough, to resonate with the emergence of existence from non-existence, the precipitation of matter out of flowing energy?
A bird lights upon this mound and his first cry is the awakening of the world. The vibration of his voice activates the light of Re, dividing the darkness. This bird is variously Geb, in his goose form as “the Great Cackler,” the Bennu-phoenix of Re alighting upon the first obelisk, known as benben, the hawk form of Re Horus or the ibis of Thoth.
These variations seem to be contradictions only when taken out of context.
The separation of the soul into Osiris and Re is the first hint of the essential unity of thought behind the bewilderment of creation myths. Osiris, the soul, is immortal and of eternal stuff. The immortal soul can exist without awareness. Osiris is the mysterious essence of being, “Beautiful Being,” Wennofer. Re, therefore, was separately defined, subtleties of meaning given to being and awareness, inner and outer. Egyptians studied consciousness most intensely and they observed each other most faithfully.
Osiris and his extended family represent the complete human being, from your soul/self outward to your life-role in society and onward to your return to eternity in the afterlife. Every stage while alive, im top ta, was carefully and elaborately explored, described, defined, celebrated and ritualized. From this joyous celebration of self comes the exotic, beautiful, puzzling imagery of their art and literature. Their clear delight in metaphor, word play, visual puns and poetry is evidence of the fluid creativity of the ancient imagination.
Their creation myths are woven together by the evolving stages of life. As you grow up, you go through inevitable changes each so profound and unique as to require metaphors as broad and deep as the creation of an entirely new world. The change in your own perception of reality is so complete that the world is a new and different place.
The Egyptian Big Bang creation of our own cosmic bubble among the multiverses was activated by the waking of Re-consciousness and orchestrated by Maat/reality and Thoth/intellect.
The Earth and the sky, Geb and Nut, were born from the cosmic waters of Mow, the space/time continuum.
The waking of Re is the birth of self-awareness, the rise of consciousness from the dark, subliminal perception within.
The birth of Osiris is your birth, the most profoundly personal moment of human creation.
The birth of Khopry is enlightenment, a greater light than mere seeing.
The birth of Re from the flanks of Meh Urt (“She Gives Birth,”) is the moment of awakening from death.
The world arises out of the primordial swamp of reeds, frogs and snakes, a process which continues around us at every moment.
And so on… The pharaoh himself was the leader of the dance, conductor of the great orchestra that was the nation, role model for the eternal soul/self within.
Their superstitions were truly no different from your own. Amulets were images used to focus meditation and contemplation, even as they are to your modern mind, with your own kinds of amulets, lucky pieces, and meditations. Inscriptions were the crystallization of meditation, as well as mnemonics for psychological training. Egyptians feared the same things you do -- boredom, depression, grief, rage, loneliness, despair, delusion, madness. They had very sophisticated techniques by which you maintain self-control over your personal mood and maintain focused attention. The success of their nation and the quality of their work proves their techniques were effective. Lack of self-control, frankly, is the biggest problem we face in our global future.
In the Egyptian view, we are all Eyes of Eternity, sharing the views of public reality. The Eternal Eye misses nothing. Each of us takes home our private sets of photo-albums and picture shows.
“Give me my voice. I will shape words with it. I pilot my heart in its hour of fire and dark.”
(Spell 21, Author’s translation)
~Sashetta, Lady of The House of Books
Thoth has no wife. Maat is closely associated with Thoth, yet she is not his feminine form. Maat represents the field of logic within which the mind functions. Thoth’s feminine counterpart is Sashetta, keeper of the records. Knowledge can only be of value to others if it is recorded. She has been called upon since earliest times. Sashetta wears a panther skin dress, with the tail and paws at the hem, linking her back to the most ancient priestesses and their responsibilities as archivists and guardians of knowledge.
When the foundations of a building were measured out by the string-stretchers, the record of the measure was kept by Sashetta. She was called upon to keep the measure true. Sashetta holds the notched palm stalk that symbolizes the counting of days and months. She also carries the tools of a scribe, as the historian. She is sometimes shown holding a cartouche, recording the names of pharaoh. She is the keeper of the divine databank, and keeper of the calendar count. In her profoundest form, she is the continuity of civilization. Her recorded knowledge provides the database of the new generations.
Her crown is a seven-pointed flower on a long stem, sometimes mistakenly called a seven-rayed star. This mistaken association has led to the current belief that she represents the seven stars of the Pleiades. In ancient days, the skies were dark enough that ten of the stars in the Pleiades constellation were visible. Seven, however, is associated with seven chakra of the spinal column. Over the seven-petal flower standard, Sashetta wears a pair of inverted bull horns, an enigmatic and ancient emblem, metaphor for the horns of the mind. In later dynasties, she is shown with seven horns, and is known as the Lady of The Seven Horns. She is also known as Sefkhet Abut, relating her name to the word for “seven.” Thus Sashetta also represents the brain’s ability to record the events of life and to memorize and learn the measure of things. She is a patron of mathematicians.
The early appearance of Sashetta within their ritual, ceremonial and public works demonstrates, once again, the vital role played by permanent record keeping to the continuity of civilization. Sashetta is mentioned in some of the oldest written religious works,. Her name is called upon to record the measure of the home built around the heart in eternity. Her presence was considered vital for the founding of any new structure, be it a temple, a palace or a home.
The keeping of permanent records is one of the cornerstones at the foundations of any civilization, which makes Sashetta an important player, perhaps even more vital to us today than ever in history. She has the responsibility of keeping the databanks of more than just one nation—every human being on the planet is now dependent on her care.
The popularity of Sashetta is on the rise once more. Nice images of her can be found in many basic clip art collections. She is called upon in secret by many computer programmers, praying that their databases will remain uncorrupted and incorruptible. Sashetta has become the Saint of The Hard Drive, Recorder of The Magnetic Moment.
The modern world has considerable use for Sashetta, divine archivist and librarian of the Natures. We have placed a great deal of value in the databanks of the world, much more than just finances and credit information. Our medical records are stored on hard drives and the scientific studies representing billions of hours of observation and research hover in magnetic fields. Science Fiction stories have addressed the world-wide disaster that would ensue should some unforeseen global disaster wipe away all that information. Our civilization could crumble in a single night.
It has happened before. The loss of the great national library in Alexandria was the final blow to Egypt’s civilization. We are working hard today to restore what we can find of their incredible reserves of knowledge, a daunting task that requires the work of “many times many” scholars.
It is this concept of civilization’s dependence on stored databanks that is personified in the Nature of Sashetta, partner to Thoth. What you thinks in your mind and write down is the territory of Thoth. What happens to that written work and how it is shared to others is the responsibility of Sashetta. These two fields of activity are different, related but separate. That is why the Egyptians had both figures in the pantheon, to keep a focus on the necessity of both.
Whatever the Maat — the reality—of our spiritual interaction with each other, we would do well to call upon her in our own lives, asking for her protection for our private records as well as for the community work which keeps our global civilization moving forward. Thoth may be the inspiration of the programmers of the world, but Sashetta protects the permanence of their work. We are all now dependent on the work of the computer programmer, so perhaps we should all consider her in our prayers. Certainly, every time you backup your vital data, you are carrying out an age-old ceremony of civilized life.