What remains changeless throughout seasonal changes, remains the same in every landscape, environment, climate or society? You. Mythology has always been about you in your environment, you in your world, you among your family, your friends, your enemies. You are the constant observer, the pitiless eye at the center of the world, the hero of every myth, the monster of every adventure, the goal of every quest.
Egyptian creation stories were not about the Big Bang that started spacetime, rather, they are the poetry of you waking up each morning from the dreamscape of magic, gods and demons in Duat; there is no greater creation than the waking of consciousness, because it is, itself, the ultimate result of every event since the Big Bang. Consciousness is the greatest revolution of evolution and, whatever consciousness really is, it’s our best trick, our greatest tool and the driving power behind our amazing civilization.
The Egyptians did not need technology or science to understand this; they learned through observations of spacetime, Duat and each other, and their varied creation myths resolve into a dynamic survey of the changes in perception as you grow up, wise up and take command of your own life; at each level, the change in your perspective is so profound as to require metaphors as broad and deep as the creation of an entire world. Inside, you have discovered and moved into a new and more expansive place in Duat, providing you with an increasingly evolved view of life and your role in it.
The cycle of stories that go with the Paired Pauts of the Gods involved the entire nation in an annual round of mystery plays and ritual parades, with festivals of flowers, beer and food, celebrated in lively fashion with music, song and dance. The most important centered around the birth and death of Osiris, his son and heir Horus, and the yearly inundation of the Nile. The rise of the nation from this muddy deluge was always their central metaphor for the creation of the world and humankind.
In the Legend of The Yearly Five Days, the sky, Nut, is ready to give birth to the five children of the Earth, Geb, but Re has discovered the prophecy that Nut’s children cannot be born on any day of the year. In order to correct this, Thoth makes a bet with Ahi, the Moon, and they play a board game together. The actual game varies from era to era; several board games were invented in Egypt, and such games were hugely popular everywhere with everybody. The game these two play is a metaphor for the mathematical interaction of the Sun, Moon and stars, as well as the intellectual exercise of keeping count and scheduling days, all elements vital to calendar keeping. Thoth wins slices of time “outside of time” bit by bit, until he has created five extra days in which each of Nut’s children can be born. Osiris is first born, with Horus Ur next, followed by Suty and finally Isis and Nephthys. These five days completed their calendar of twelve 30-day months. This also is the Egyptian story of why the Moon cycles through phases of dark and light, and monthly feasts were held to celebrate their gratitude to the Moon for his contribution to their lives.
The sky turns on the fixed wheel of the horizon and the measure of time is in the enormous turning of that sky-sized clock face. During the summer solstice, their New Year, the path of the Sun appears to “stand still” for five days, and the nation’s mythological horizon passed through Duat for those magically transforming days outside of time, outside of the everyday, reactivating the link between Duat and spacetime. The rich, black silt deposited by the Nile was believed to be the decaying flesh of Osiris and, during the Yearly Five Days, the mystical portals of Duat opened the channel for this sacred flow. Their celebrations ended the current year and started the next, yet these days were outside of time, when Duat reached into spacetime from beyond the horizon to saturate the human world with sacred energy. The Yearly Five Days were neither the end of the old year nor the beginning of the new, but the immersion of reality in eternity; on these days, the gods were born, giving another spin to the spiritual gyroscope that maintained society’s balance.
Properly directed, this intersection provided the energy which sustained the round of the year ahead. The ceremonies and rituals of these events coordinated daily and seasonal activity, in order to direct this flow into channels of human intention, human purpose, human enlightenment, human comfort and peace.
The opening of the calendar states:
I, who know the names of the days, will not hunger.
I will not thirst, and Bastet will not overpower me.
I will not enter into the great law court.
I will not die through an enemy of the pharaoh and will not die through the pestilence of the year.
I will last every day until death arrives.
No illness will take possession of me.
I, who know them, will prosper, and my speech is important to listen to in the presence of Re.
Knowing the names of the days was an idiom for knowing the calendar and the patterns which unified daily life for everybody in the nation; such knowledge assured a balanced experience of life, without thirst or hunger, in other words, without undo stress. Here was an annual pledge to keep up with your place in the group activities, both for fun and for work; Bastet is the party animal inside you, the goddess of flowers, fun and beer; in other words, your urge to party must not overpower your reason, because the great law court was the same police station and courtroom scenario everybody fears to this day; keeping a restraining hand on Bastet during New Year’s kept you out of jail then, too. Even as the Yearly Five Days were a national celebration of both patriotism and faith, the very personal nature is shown in the name for the amulet you made for yourself each year as part of the ceremony: This charm is calledSelf-dedication Contract; in other words, people have been making New Year’s resolutions for a very long time.
The actual title of their calendar is long and quite thorough, and opens with the birth of the primary gods of the Great Paut.
An Introduction to the Beginning of Infinity and the End of Eternity Which the Gods and Goddesses of the Shrine and the Assembly of the Paut of the Gods Have Made and Which the Majesty of Thoth has Gathered Together in the Great Manor in the Presence of the Lord of the Universe, Re. What Has Been Found in the Library in the Rear-Manor of the Paut of Gods. Manor of Re, Manor of Osiris, Manor of Horus.
Birth of Osiris!
Birth of Horus Ur!
Birth of Suty!
Birth of Isis!
Birth of Nephthys!