The Age of Reason took the monotheistic premise that God’s All Seeing Eye was able to see every moment in time and space with equal clarity and from every possible angle, and used that idea as a means for scientists to see the finely grained details of spacetime’s structure without the blurring lens of religious control. This was essential in order to emerge from the centuries of fog after Egypt’s fall, and the success of our 21st-century civilization suggests that it worked. That all-seeing scientific eye, however, took a serious hit when Einstein used its own rules to prove that it did not exist. Even though the universe is universally the same, the measure of spacetime depends on where you stand, and every Point of View is unique.
Science still does not know the source of consciousness, or what it is. We can only track its energy trails in the brain, like the neutrino and Higgs particles. Discovering those elusive illusions of reality started with thought experiments; once we had finally convinced ourselves of their spacetime reality, they changed the world of science, as well as the future of our everyday lives and comforts, (especially our entertainment.) A similar Paleolithic thought experiment evolved into a working theory of consciousness, which became the foundation of further human cultural development. The human point-of-view, unique to each human being, was realized and identified. We became aware of awareness and started talking about it.
The Neolithic vocabulary which evolved for communicating this thought experiment and its conclusions had several thousand years to refine its expression and the most refined was created along the Nile. The most fundamental premises were codified into two pair of unified opposites: MAAT, which is reality as opposed to illusion, ISFIT. Tthe other was DUAT, which is your internal reality, the Cosmos inside your head as opposed to spacetime, IM TOP TA, on top of the land. The unique point of view of each Duat united with the spacetime reality shared by everybody was the Paired Realities, MAATY. In Egypt, spacetime was maat and Duat was also maat; the “-y” indicates a duality, like a pair of eyes or ears, or you and me holding hands: they function separately yet belong to each other. Maaty is a greater reality, comprised of both the Cosmos inside your skin and the universe outside your skin.
As the egg contains the bird, the horizon of your visual field contains you, and the circle of your horizon is an inescapable boundary-shell. No matter how quickly you travel, your horizon moves with you, away from you, forever unreachable, always present, containing you yet utterly separate. The landscape can expand your horizon to the edge of the visible world or shrink it to the reach of your fingertips, but your circle of perception can only disappear when you disappear. The horizon was a constant companion of the hunter and the shepherd, informing their shamanic philosophy of the worlds inside your head. In North Africa, ornamented ostrich-eggs symbolized the mystery of maaty, and the ostrich plume was symbol of maat. Life was Osiris/Re is in his egg and death was emerging from the egg. This symbolism never left them and still today the ostrich plume is a standard image in anything meant to “look Egyptian.”
An animal lives wholly in Duat and cannot distinguish the duality of Duat/spacetime because it is a function of its environment. An animal needs context; change that and it cannot survive unless it is an extraordinary individual, which counts only if it passes on those survival genes. We are our own context because we can perceive the difference between Duat and spacetime, we can survive in any context and we can change our context at will. If we don’t like the landscape, we change it. If an animal doesn’t like the landscape, it dies.
Science has discovered that fear of the hunters who were top predators in our primate world is hardwired into us the way a newborn chick will crouch and freeze at the shadow of a wooden hawk. Feline fangs and hot breath inform the dragon image
of our dreams and myths, together with the eagle who snatches away babies, the great bull who tramples the mightiest under his hoof and the serpent who bites with poison in his mouth. They will always be there in our dreams and in our art, and how you express and act on that internal hardwiring which has embedded them is entirely up to you.
The spotted cat who was Lord Death could reduce your Beloved to raw meat draped over the branch of a tree, but a time came when Lord Death feared us. We ate his heart; we wore his skin as a cloak and his deadly fangs and claws as decorations, then we trained the mighty eagle to hunt for us and to come at our call. We tamed the bull and we ate him. The secretive serpent was more of an issue, but once we were storing food in quantity, we learned to respect snakes as eaters of vermin who steal, and
they became symbols of guardians from the natural world, dangerous but necessary, like nerves.
We had become the Animal Master.
Before the metaphor of the reed-built starship which carries consciousness, there was the Dream Beast, the Chimera of Duat. Paleolithic humans had their own metaphor for human reality: you were the Sun riding an animal and you carried magic within you. You rode the Spotted Cat in your dreams, where it became Panthera, All Wild Animals, changing animal form to travel underwater and in the air, anywhere you wished in Duat, a place limited only by your imagination. The stars were Panthera’s Spots, because Duat is big as the sky.
The concept of sacred/blessed is rooted in the the blood sacrifice from the earliest days of the Great Hunt, ritually returning the life-force of the slain animal to Duat so that it could live again in a new form, a human-created link between Duat and spacetime. In other words, consciousness is the essential link between Duat and spacetime, just as the Sun sinks below the horizon into Duat and rises from it again.
Man was Lord of Death, Woman was the Holy Mother of Life, and between them they carried the Sun in their Heads to turn the Wheels of Time. Man grasps the wildcats in his fists, clasping them closely to himself, despite their snarls and their teeth, controlling them as he must control himself. Holy Mother of Life sits between tamed Panthera, giving birth.
The Animal Master and the Holy Mother of Life stand or sit between Panthera because consciousness must be grounded in both locations, Duat and spacetime; it is energy, like the motion of the River, otherwise it is merely potential, another strip of meat in Death’s teeth, or standing water. You are hardwired into spacetime by biology so that Duat energy can flow through you as your life-force, experienced as life and awareness. In Egypt, the gentle light of consciousness warmed your mind enough that you could take off your animal-skin cloak, no longer needed as protection against the harsh winds of spacetime. You were an animal, but you were a human animal, and you could be civilized.
Panthera’s most enduring icon is known as “confronted animals,” symmetrically matched chimera on either side of the Tree of Life. This is the dynamic motion of Maaty, the Paired Realities of Inside Your Skin and Outside Your Skin and You as the Bond Between. Maaty, waked from Duat as Geb wakes Re, has emerged from the egg of your beginning and become an active force in spacetime, like Panthera nibbling away at the leaves of the Holy Tree. In Egypt, the Panthera are matched lions supporting the horizon of the Sun’s setting and rising, cosmic metaphor for the portal between Duat and spacetime.
Originally, the confronted animals were Man and Woman creating the interface between them, manifest as their child. Before art, technology or religion, we discovered the profound nature of the miracle of Birth and its inevitable counterpart, Death. How or why these miracles occurred was not yet relevant to the experience of it, only its implacable reality. The trinity of Mother/Child /Father evolved into the mythology of consciousness flowing through the interface of Duat and spacetime from birth to death, the source of all life and consciousness and the Light sustaining Maaty. Belief in and “worship” of Duat is older than the gods. The immortality of the soul emerges from self-continuity and awareness of the entirety of life in contrast to the fleeting nature of the moment, all played out in the endlessly fascinating realms of Duat.
Woman is the first inspiration of Man’s higher nature, more frightening than the thunder, more exciting that the lightning, more vital than the air he breathes or the ground he walks, as close to him as his skin. She is the lure drawing him out his childhood dreams and the creature of his fantasies who links him to the future. The many forms of the goddess were the expression of his gratitude for everything Woman did for their life and his pleasure. The family structure he built around her was the foundation of Man’s maat. Maaty is Woman’s foundation in spacetime, and Man builds his foundation around her as protector and guardian; she is the hearth of his heart.
Man is the same powerful force in Woman’s Duat as she is in his. Man, however, is the activator of life, not the portal. He wakes in her the awareness of the sacred power she carries in her flesh. Without him, that power is latent, an energy that bubbles through her every moment and takes control of her starship innards in a cycle that waxes and wanes with the light of the Moon. She is bound to life in a way that he can only touch, never experience. Her child was waked by his semen, but will always be of her flesh.
n his groundbreaking book, The Roots of Civilization, Alexander Marshack showed that the first calendar was created to follow human gestation and birth. We made careful marks on portable objects, counting the Moon cycles of Woman in order to prepare for a new god’s expected arrival, because lives depended on being equipped for this most important of human dramas. Once the story had begun, the conclusion was inevitable, for good or for ill, and there was no escaping this rending transition of Duat emerging into spacetime. The first calendar-priests were the shamans who developed higher mathematics in order to line up the waxing and waning of the Moon with sunrise, sunset and the stars, in order to prepare the stage properly for the enacting of this grandest of dramas.
The early Egyptians developed a jargon, shorthand for thinking and talking about psychological issues that became the vocabulary of everyday life as well as the jewels of their poetry and art. This jargon and the philosophy that underlies it developed into the names of their gods, acknowledgment that Duat functions in spacetime through each of us. Each god will be explored in detail, but for the sake of this initial discussion, here is the short version of the value of each, in order of importance in the pantheon: