“When the moon is in the 7th House… And Jupiter aligns with Mars… Then peace will guide the planets… And love will steer the stars… This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius…” [Lyrics from “Age of Aquarius” by the 5th Dimension, 1969].
Humanity is said to be currently moving to its new astrological Age – an event which happens roughly every 2,000-plus years. We’re living through a transitional period Read More
From ancient times to the present day, Africa’s collective imagination has to one degree or another been influenced by the leopard as a symbol of its cultural and spiritual potency. The black panther is the melanistic color variant of leopards in Africa, so perhaps the phenomenal success of the movie of the same name can be used as a current barometer of that potency. North, south, east, west, and diaspora – the leopard is a powerful symbol of African warriors, sages, magicians, priests, gods, goddesses, queens, and kings. In West Africa, sculptures from Ife and Benin portray the leopard as a symbol of wisdom. This statue from ancient North Africa depicting King Tutankhamun riding through the underworld on the back Read More
Born in 1803 and orphaned at age 5, Maria W. Stewart was an American domestic servant who became a teacher, journalist, abolitionist, lecturer and women’s rights activist. She urged “daughters of Africa” to reject the negative images of Black womanhood that were/are so pervasive, but to instead possess the power of self-definition – in effect to seek, find, and anchor their Divinity as Goddess Auset. In an 1833 speech, Stewart said: “Like King Solomon, who put neither nail nor hammer to the temple, yet received the praise; so also have the white Americans gained themselves a name, like the names of the great men that are in the earth, whilst in reality we have been their principle foundation and support. We have pursued the shadow, they have obtained the substance; we have performed the labor, they have received the profits; we have planted the vines, they have eaten the fruits of them.”
The power of images [for good or ill] has been well-known since ancient times in Africa, as evident in the following proverb from the Luxor Temple of Amun-Mut-Montu/Khonsu: “People need images. Lacking them they invent idols. Better then to found the images on realities that lead the true seeker to the source.” The Gods of Khemet created a number of art-for-life’s-sake images that would, when properly looked upon, indeed lead the divine seeker to the source. Knowing the little strength of the angel of the church in Philadelphia, the God of Revelation encodes one of these key images in His instructions: “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it… hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown…” [Rev 3: 7-12 KJV]
The Divine Seeker or ‘true seeker’ – from a ‘daughters of Africa’ perspective – is represented in the archetype of Auset, Queen and wife of Khemet’s beloved King Ausar. According to their mythology, the respect Ausar was able to command on earth and in the nether-world as the bringer of civilization made his ‘younger brother’ – a god with pedophilic issues named Seth [Gr.] – so jealous that, in his bloody coup for the throne, Set[h] murdered and cut the king into 14 pieces which he scattered throughout the wilderness to prevent Ausar’s resurrection. In modern terms, Set [god of the wilderness, chaos, violence, foreign oppressors…] is understood to be the adversary who enslaved Africans and stole land and other treasures via colonialism. Thus the ‘wilderness’ is the diaspora where his predatory neo-colonial rule and campaign of chaos and extermination expanded. Auset must search this wilderness for the pieces of her beloved while holding fast to her crown of life which, imaged as the royal throne, represents her shero’s journey and consciousness of who she is.
Auset ~ Divine Seeker – shows up as the Shulamite in the Song of Songs, the biblical book attributed to King Solomon who, though featured in the song, is not the true ‘Majesty’ Auset seeks. Famed for wisdom, wealth, and possessing 700 wives and 300 concubines, Solomon represents the unease of one who is trapped in an excess of creature comforts, including his gross objectification of the divine feminine. It’s very clear that the Shulamite [Auset] is critical of the modalities of capitalist exploitation, including occupation and sharecropping which have created Solomon’s trappings of power and, in turn, required military guardians. She says: “Behold his bed, which is Solomon’s; threescore valiant men are about it… They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.” [SoS 3:7-8 KJV] “Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver. My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.” [SoS 8:11-12 KJV]
The Song of Songs represents Auset’s mourning as she communicates with and searches for the pieces of her Twin Flame in a ‘wilderness’ [diaspora] caused by the misdeeds of Set, including murder, mutilation, scattering, plunder and rape. Auset’s crown of life, denoting her consciousness, purpose and allegiance, is significantly different from those which are worn in the capitals of Europe – their opulent design and materials conspicuously symbolizing conquest of peoples and control of resources. Without this Africa-centered understanding which would acknowledge Auset’s presiding role in Ausar’s resurrection and return, biblical scholars and translators promote other interpretations even while struggling to explain her divinity and/or justify her existence in ‘their’ holy book. Introducing herself to an audience of the “daughters of Jerusalem,” the Shulamite [Auset] makes clear: “I am black… My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.” [SoS 2:16 KJV] Local to Upper Khemet – southern source of the Nile River – the lily is also the symbol of resurrection in Khemetic imagery. “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.” [SoS 7:10 KJV]
Euro-patriarchal translations and commentaries surrounding the Shulamite’s introduction of herself have varied from “I am black and beautiful…” [New Revised Standard Version Catholic Ed] to more sinister/racist ethnic notions – specifically, as Maria W. Stewart pointed out, against Black womanhood:
- “I am black but beautiful…” [Douay-Rheims Bible]
- “I am black but lovely…” [New American Standard Bible 1977]
- “I am black, but comely…” [American KJV; American Std. V; Webster’s Bible Trans; JPS Tanakh 1917; Darby Bible Trans; English Rev. V]
- “I am very dark, but lovely…” [English Standard Version]
- “I am dark but beautiful…” [New Living Translation]
- “I am dark, but lovely…” [New KJV 2000; World English Bible; NET Bible; New Heart English Bible]
- “Dark am I, and comely…” [Young’s Literal Translation]
- “Daughters of Jerusalem, I am dark like the tents of Kedar, yet lovely like the curtains of Solomon…” [Holman Christian Standard Bible]
- “I am dark, O ye daughters of Jerusalem… desirable as the booths of Kedar, as the tents of Solomon…” [Jubilee Bible 2000]
- The word “black” does not necessarily mean that the skin is black, but rather sunburnt, dark brown… the livid or swarthy appearance of one who has suffered long from famine and wretchedness. There is certainly no reason to take the word as an argument for the bride being Pharaoh’s daughter… She has been living in the fields, and is browned with the ruddy health of a country life… The country maiden feels the greatness of the honor, that she is chosen of the king… [Pulpit Commentary]
- …she was “black” in herself through original sin and actual transgression; in her own eyes, through indwelling sin, and many infirmities, spots, and blemishes in life; and in the eyes of the world, through afflictions, persecutions, and reproaches…: “but comely” in the eyes of Christ, called by him his “fair one”, the “fairest among women”, and even “all fair” through his comeliness put upon her, the imputation of his righteousness to her; through the beauties of his holiness upon her; through the sanctifying influences of his Spirit… being in a church state, walking in Gospel order… “desirable”(y) to Christ, and to his people. [Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]
Certainly, if such white male interpretations of the black female principal in the Song of Songs prevail, then they should at the very least co-exist with culturally-centered interpretations of the African Queen. One version of the Song of Songs’ backstory – which has received extensive Jewish, Islamic, and Ethiopian elaborations – describes King Solomon being tested with hard questions during his visit from the “Queen of the South” AKA the Queen of Sheba. The Kebra Nagast [“Glory of the Kings”] tells the national saga of Ethiopian Emperors being descendants of King David as a direct outcome of their Queen’s visit with his son Solomon. Followers of the Rastafari movement believe Emperor Haile Selassie I – the last descendant of the Solomonic line to rule Ethiopia [from 1930 to 1974] – to be the Messiah and Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The African Queen’s storied visit is acknowledged in the bible thus: “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” [Matthew 12:42 & Luke 11:31 KJV]
Told in highly symbolic language, the Song of Songs is itself a riddle worthy of the Queen of Sheba who purportedly used riddles to test Solomon’s wisdom, and to apparently expose the limitations of Euro-patriarchal translations and analyses [above]. Who knows what manner of ‘darkness’ lies in the tents of Kedar or curtains of Solomon to which the Shulamite is being compared by such biblical professionals?! She is not “original sin” in need of white male prescriptions for “salvation.” Nor does she seem particularly desirous of the kind of ‘majesty’ Solomon represents – at least not in my reading of the Song of Songs in which the Shulamite’s mission is that of the African Goddess Auset. As divine seeker who wears a distinct crown of life, it’s critical that Auset be able to distinguish between chaos/shadow/idol versus truth/substance/source as the above-mentioned proverb from the Luxor Temple states. Only in this way does she prove herself worthy of the crown and title bestowed on all true African Queens: “She Who Sees Set and Heru.”
Goddess Auset is… ❤
“Great, another broken white boy for us to fix!” One of several funny lines from Black Panther delivered by Shuri in reference to CIA Agent Everett Ross. “What the hail!” My line when I left the theater on President’s Day with mixed feelings about the movie, but mostly about the droplets of ice which had just begun falling from LA’s South Bay skies onto my African head-wrap. Was this a sign? Movie promos had gone hard with Gil Scott Heron’s classic The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, I mused while trying to extract pieces of the odd weather from my son’s fro for inspection. But why not build a strategic alliance between African cousins rather than having T’Challa, in true bourgeois liberal fashion, make a Wakanda charity-case out of Killmonger’s Oakland after the fact? Mom, it’s not your story… Huh?! Read More
Queen Nyabingi is one of several likely inspirational fonts for Marvel’s comic book renderings of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje, an elite group of female bodyguards who will soon be slaying on the silver screen [2/16/18] in Ryan Coogler’s directorial rendition of Black Panther – the movie. Though fictional, Marvel’s African kingdom of Wakanda is geographically situated around the source of humanity’s genesis, which happens to be where the legendary Nyabingi greatly impacted history as well as our pathways to a pan-African consciousness. A real-life fusion of warrior-queen archetypes that arose in the ancestral Nile River mythologies of Khemet, Goddess Nyabingi’s spirit also lives in the diffusion of beats and flows that birthed hip-hop in today’s diaspora.
Best known for fiercely championing her spiritual, cultural, and political spheres of power through liberation struggles against the Euro-patriarchal rape of her region – rubberstamped at the 1884 Berlin Conference and euphemistically referred to in history books as the “scramble for Africa” – Nyabingi fought hard against her colonial adversaries. In Khemet, this collective adversary was known as Seth (god of the wilderness, storms, chaos, violence, famine, illness and foreign oppressors) who was so jealous of Ausar’s richly-endowed kingdom and popular reign that he murdered, mutilated and then scattered pieces of the king’s body [diaspora of enslavement] in order to ascend the throne and sow his dehumanizing brand of chaos in the name of progress…
Against this quintessential enemy of Africa and usurper of her resources, Nyabingi also becomes a force of reparations whose shamanic powers are transmitted through oracular healer-priestesses, traditionally called bagirwa. In this role, she is reminiscent of the Khemetic goddess Hathor whose fervent warrior aspect is identified in the leonine goddess Sekhmet. Nyabingi’s shamanic powers also mysteriously link her to Seshat, a Khemetic goddess whose characteristic dress is made of panther skin. Historically, spiritually-endowed women have stood out as leaders of liberation movements throughout the African continent – in part because, like rape, imposed rule has infringed upon the domains of the divine African feminine. Ideological descendants of parasitic shadow-queens such as Victoria [“grand-mother of Europe” 1837-1876] and/or the neo-colonial sychophants who uphold their standing in Africa’s sacred geographies and imagination, are complicit in the continuing rape of humanity’s Mother[land].
Goddess Nyabingi’s legend begins in Mpororo (Uganda’s southern region) where Queen Kitami’s rule was disrupted with the theft of her sacred drum by a man named Kamurari. Though Kamurari used the sacred drum to found a dynasty, it was the formidable ancestral presence of Queen Kitami upon whom the reverent title of ‘Nyabingi’ was bestowed by successive generations. Nyabingi’s compelling presence was deeply acknowledged as she spoke paranormally with and through her chosen female prophets and priestesses from behind the bark-cloth veils they wore.
By the time of Welsh-American journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley’s search for the source of the Nile River in the late 1800s on the heels of British explorer David Livingstone’s efforts, Goddess Nyabingi had earned a reputation in the colonial imagination as a “great sorceress.” Her priestesses exercised considerable political power in the Uganda/Rwanda [‘Wakanda’?] borderlands through such acts as collecting tributes from local chiefs. British and German colonials waged war against African women by making alliances with corruptible men, including these same local chiefs. One such example was the alliance they made with Mwame Musinga which led to his treacherous usurping of the throne that the widowed Rwandan queen-mother’s son – like Heru of Khemet through queen-mother Auset – was heir to.
In 1911, a rebel priestess named Muhumusa formed a spiritually-based military resistance against the wazungu (Europeans) in the name of Nyabingi. So effective was this resistance that the British fought back by passing the 1912 “Witchcraft Act” which threatened to burn the accused at the stake. Muhumusa’s eventual capture in 1913 led to her detention for life which ended with her death in 1945. However, other popular Nyabingi-inspired revolts such as the 1928 Rebellion arose from what a wazungu colonial described as “armed witchcraft dances,” resulting in the killing of colonial-puppet chiefs. “These fanatical women are a curse to the country!” a colonial commissioner was led to declare as the resistance leaders successfully fought and evaded capture.
These warrior-queen-led uprisings were gradually suppressed through a collaborative colonial team effort involving coercive missionaries who would impose Christian baptism onto Africans under threat of punishment as political subversives of the Nyabingi resistance. Eventually, the reparations or healing aspects of the bagirwa’s cultural role regained precedence over the political-warrior dimension of the black freedom struggle.
By the 1930s the Nyabingi resistance had been effectively subdued in East Africa. However, it had caught fire in the Jamaican Rastafari movement which began with Europe’s colonization of Africa – AKA ‘Ethiopia’ and/or ‘Zion’ to believers – though the forced exile of enslaved Africans scattered throughout ‘Babylon’ dated back to centuries prior. The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.’s 1920s prophecy – “Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned; he shall be your Redeemer” – set the stage for how Jamaicans would come to regard the 1930 coronation of Haile Selassie as Emperor of Ethiopia (a neighboring East African country which had itself successfully resisted European colonization attempts). A member of the Solomonic Dynasty, Selassie was born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael – hence the Ras-Tafari designation and belief in him as the prophesied messiah, Jah Rastafari or alternatively Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Though His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie, was welcomed with great enthusiasm during his 1966 visit to Jamaica, he was eventually dethroned [9/12/74] back in Ethiopia for reasons which began with the famine his country suffered in 1973.
The oldest of the Rastafarian subgroups is Nyabingi – a name which the Jamaican group believe to mean ‘Death to all Oppressors’ – connecting their faith with the African warrior-queen’s powerful spirit of liberation from tyranny. The Rastafari chant ‘bingi’ through prayer, music, dance, and biblical reasonings, calling on nature and the universe of her mystical powers to destroy the wicked reign of ‘Babylon’ – as they believe Jah alone has the right to do – and establish their New Jerusalem or Zion in Africa. In Jamaica, Nyabingi’s rhythmic heartbeat is played by men on a trinity of drums: Thunder (a bass drum also referred to as the “Pope Smasher” or “Vatican Basher”); Funde (the middle drum which maintains the dominant heartbeat and has the least improvisational role); and Akete or Repeater (the smallest, highest pitched drum that plays the most improvisational role as carrier of spirit).
Parallels between Nyabingi‘s prototype sacred drum, and its usage in East Africa can thus be interpreted and understood in the purpose and symbolism of Rastafari expression in the Caribbean. The natural and spiritual forces which connect Nyabingi in the pan-African consciousness also pulse and flow through her waterways: the northbound Nile River from its Great Lakes’ cradle to its ancient flowering in Khemet (known as the Gift of the Nile); and the waterways which map the Atlantic slavery routes with each hurricane that forms off of the West African coast, wreaking destruction at what some consider to be Babylon’s doorstep… “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it…” [SoS 8:7 KJV]
Seminal to the music of Rastafarians, Nyabingi drumming is the same powerful heartbeat pulsing in the reggae stylings of such renowned artists as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, Burning Spear, and many others who came up through the faith – rocking locs like the warriors in Kenya’s struggle for uhuru (freedom) against Britain’s colonial rule. Indeed, reggae’s popularity in the 1960s and 70s brought Rasta consciousness to the global masses, which worried those who did not want their liberational cultural faith (mis)appropriated and/or corrupted.
Such reckonings came out of lessons learned from Babylon’s predatory and parasitic dealings against its African host(ess), including: spiritual resources from Khemet having been re-scripted and weaponized through the work of missionaries in their colonial rape or ‘scramble’ for Africa’s natural resources; the twin-enterprise of slavery through which Africa’s human resources had been stolen and displaced in the so-called New World; as well as the appropriation of her cultural resources. In the Caribbean-Bronx [NY] alchemy which created hip-hop’s seminal heartbeat [through DJs such as Kool Herc], one feels Nyabingi’s continuing struggle to drive that final, fatal stake through the vampire’s collective… heart [???]. Nyabingi reminds us to not be complicit in the rape against the dominion of the divine African feminine, the spoils upon which ‘Babylon’ has built its arrogant and twisted sense of superiority and entitlement. #UbuNtu… #ReparationsNow
The California sycamore in the meadow of the Topanga canyon hilltop rustled as if it had just spoken. Nya Okatsa’s back remained molded against the wizened tree trunk as the sudden jerk from Malik’s head in the cradle of her crossed legs belied the nonchalant sprawl of the rest of his six-foot frame on their picnic blanket. He squinted upwards, his eyes sorting through the noonday sun and shadow as the overhead canopy settled from the agitated mid-July gust that had just blown. Seeing the coy arch of Nya’s brows within her silhouette, Malik broke into a broad grin – unfazed by her confession that she’d been a tree-whisperer from birth. Read More
In African oral tradition we have a communication concept surrounding the power of the word to generate and/or aesthetize life. In BaNtu culture, this is referred to as Nommo. This same concept in Khemet was referred to as Hekau – “words of power” which were key to the alkhemical authority of god-as-magician. Often viewed as the female version of Djehuti (Khemet’s god of magical arts and foremost scribe of the gods) goddess Seshat accompanied Khemet’s widowed Queen Auset in guarding murdered King Ausar‘s reconstituted and mummified corpse to ensure that he would go on to become God of the afterlife. Read More
I didn’t grow up a comic-book super-fan (more like occasional reader), nor grew to become enticed by Hollywood’s silver-screen adventures of super-heroes from the big-3 comic-book universes: Marvel, DC, and X-Men. Marvel’s recently-released trailer for the Black Panther movie (set for release on February 16th, 2018) may just have changed all that. Read More
~ Posted in honor of African-American Music Appreciation Month, June 2017 ~
“The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal. The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly.” [Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss] Read More
Hwt-hr is the Kemetic version of Hathor, meaning ‘Mansion of Heru.’ Indeed, as Heru’s divine consort, Hathor is regarded as the sky in which he – as the sun god and “Djedi Sky Walker”/ Dancer – dwells. Hathor is worshipped as goddess of music, dance, beauty, fertility, childbirth, women, children and foreign lands who personifies feminine love, joy, motherhood, and nature in general. Women particularly aspired to embody this deeply loved goddess’s conjoined roles as wife, mother, and lover which gained Hathor the titles of ‘Lady of the House of Jubilation’, as well as ‘The One Who Fills the Sanctuary with Joy’.
The depictions detailed in some of the most ancient and venerated temples that were built on and with her African earth testify to goddess Hathor’s similar regard as the Mansion of Heru in the heavens. One of the earliest temples of worship to Hathor was built in Dendera (Upper Kemet) during the first Intermediate period. Inside this particular site, where Hathor was worshipped as ‘Mistress of Dendera’ there are stone reliefs on the walls, which some have argued illustrate that electricity was harnessed in Kemetic times. Originally accessible only to high priest initiates, the accompanying texts warn about the potential abuse of the energy and wisdom depicted on these reliefs. Resembling a light bulb, the Dendera light reliefs alternatively depict the Hermopolis myth of creation in which the lotus flower from the primordial sea of Nun gives birth to the sun god, Atum-Ra – represented by the emerging snake. The surrounding bulb/bubble represents the field of the universe within which this creative process occurs.
Dendera, Hathor‘s main cult site, was where she was considered to be the mother as well as consort of Horus of Edfu. Subsequent temple (and chapel) sites dedicated to Hathor include the Hathor Chapel at the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the Temple of Hathor and Ma’at at Deir el-Medina – both in Luxor’s West Bank; the Temple of Hathor at Philae Island, Aswan; and the Temple of Hathor at Timna Valley, Israel. Popular with commoners and royalty alike throughout the ancient world, evidence of devotion to this goddess – before her attributes were absorbed by goddess Auset – also abounds in the Giza Valley Temple of Khafre, as well as in the Luxor Temple of Amun~Mut~Montu/Khonsu (“Triad of Waset“).
Built as mansions of the gods, the sacred architecture and décor of Kemetic temples adhere to sound philosophical principles that facilitate humanity’s connections on earth to the higher consciousness of the heavens. Hathor’s goddess aspects inform the design details in the afore-mentioned temples, each a 5-D mansion that speaks in symbol, proportion, volume, harmony, and time – asking us to solve the human-divine puzzle in our inner/understanding and outward exaltations. Indeed, the Luxor Temple – in which several proverbs surrounding the cardinal concept of “KNOW THY SELF” are inscribed – was built in the idealized proportions of a human frame to help facilitate the discovery that within us are written all the laws of the universe.
Referred to as the “Temple in Man,” the Luxor Temple – constructed circa 1400BCE – is sectioned out (see aerial perspective above) in R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz’s research to correlate architecturally with our human anatomy (see book cover right). Among the many fascinating details that are brought to light is the scene illustrated within the ‘throat’ area of Luxor Temple’s architectural interiors depicting a special communication taking place between Amun and his consort, goddess Mut. The surrounding transcriptions indicate that in this conversation Amun is informing his beloved that she will give birth to the divine king. This declaration by Amun [1350 BCE] was appropriated in much later biblical accounts of the “Annunciation” in which an angel (“Gabriel”) announces that a virgin (“Mary”) will conceive and become the mother of a divine savior (“Jesus”) who is the son of God. Christianity’s version thus recast and rescripted this and other key details of the Nativity play from the original mythology inscribed in the Luxor Temple. Though Khonsu is the son of the Triad of Waset, it’s Heru in the related African Trinity who plays the role of “savior” in original mythologies.
The Hypostyle Hall (pictured above) – the ‘lung’/moon section in the Luxor Temple per Schwaller’s architectural reading – is designed to represent the papyrus swamp in the same mythology where goddess Hathor safeguards and nourishes the child Heru until he comes of age to avenge his father Ausar’s murder against evil Set and restore the throne of Kemet to him (Heru) as Ausar’s rightful heir. Schwaller’s research of the sacred architecture and lessons also reveal that the architectural design elements of later Christian Coptic churches were appropriated from the section of this same magnificent Luxor Temple that correlates to the ‘heart’/sun.
Hathor’s Temple at Dendera, referred to as the “Womb of Time” is where her birthday is celebrated on the day Sopdet (‘Sirius’ in Greek) first rises in the sky, heralding the annual inundation of the Nile = the New Year. As the “Sovereign/Lady of the Stars,” Hathor was the ultimate sky goddess whose priestesses and priests sang, danced, and entertained in their rituals of worship to her. The architectural details and décor of this ancient Dendera temple immortalize Hathor as the Sky Mansion of Heru… Goddess of Fertility… and Goddess of Music… among other attributes. The temple columns which stand on the earth (constituted by the floor) and hold aloft the skies (regarded in the ceiling) represent the shaft of the sistrum – Hathor’s celebratory musical instrument.
The face of Hathor as Fertility Goddess displayed at the top of each column is designed to represent the female creative organ of the uterus in its triangular shape, with the elongated ears evident as the fallopian tubes. Because of the ways in which dance and sexuality incarnated in Hathor, she became known by other epithets such as Lady of the Vulva and Hand of God. As such, Hathor‘s attributes as the divine feminine correlate with the dynamics of oral tradition in the organic drama through which life comes into being from an Africa-centered perspective. Heru – her masculine consort in this existential drama – does his share in holding up the skies of Heaven, as illustrated in the ceiling decor of Hathor‘s Temple, aka the earthly Mansion of Heru at Dendera:One of several hymns to Hathor performed at this Dendera Temple says: “Thou art the Mistress of Jubilation, the Queen of the Dance, the Mistress of Music, the Queen of the Harp Playing, the Lady of the Choral Dance, the Queen of Wreath Weaving, the Mistress of Inebriety Without End.”
Historic renderings of goddess Hathor often depict her in the image of a cow, the sun disc and uraeus (rearing cobra emblem of divine authority) within its subtending horns acting symbolically to clarify her significance and status. However despite her legendary popularity and importance, Hathor is a prime example of how the Kemetic tradition merges deities over time in order to advance or evolve their complementary mythologies. She herself supplanted Bat, a cow-goddess representing the source of nourishment; and became interchangeable with cat-goddess Bast (goddess of music, dance, joy, protection, family and love).
As a spiritual metaphor, the cow represents the Milky Way, the heavenly configuration of the Nile River that was so essential to the existence and sustainment of the sacred wisdom and philosophical belief systems that evolved within the Ma’atrix of Africa’s Nile Valley. Hathor‘s “Celestial Nurse” role as mother/giver and nurturer of life to Heru and her association with the Milky Way over time became attributed to Auset. Renderings of Hathor wearing a cow-horned crown while holding the suckling infant Heru on her lap thus became interpreted as Auset – wife of Ausar and mother of Heru – which were later supplanted by Christian iconography and its appropriated mythologies.
Auset is said to be the more merciful goddess, whereas Hathor pursues her goals with a single-minded fervor which – when driven by anger – turns her into the leonine warrior goddess, Sekhmet. As such Hathor becomes the Eye of Re – defender of the sun god to whom, in this form, she is regarded as daughter/mother/ consort – preventing chaos from agents of disorder that threaten his rule… her aspect as Ma’at. It is an iteration of the epic saga of Heru in the restoration of righteous authority and order against the evil and chaos of usurper Set. The ancient Book of the Heavenly Cow tells a story about Sekhmet‘s role at the end of the 28-year war that was fought to unify Upper and Lower Kemet and begin the Middle Kingdom era. In this story it is said that so strong was Sekhmet’s blood-lust during her rage-fueled rampage of slaughter against enemies of Re in the Lower Kingdom that the only way she could be made to stop and return to her gentle form as Hathor was by becoming intoxicated from drinking vast amounts of crimson-colored beer that Re poured on the ground to resemble blood.
Central to Kemetic concepts of the female divinity, the Eye of Re was associated with other goddesses, notably Mut – consort to Amun – who’d take on the typical leonine form in this warrior aspect. Since each of the falcon-headed god Heru‘s eyes were respectively equated with the sun and the moon, his solar (right) eye was the one referred to as the Eye of Re, whereas the lunar (left) one was referred to as the Eye of Heru. Hathor – “Lady of the southern Sycamore” – is said to have used milk from her sacred tree to restore sight to Heru‘s lunar eye after his legendary bruising battle against Set. “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk and fitly set.” [KJV – SoS 5:12] Similar to Mut in regard to her status as a tree deity (thus Djed pillar) Hathor was sometimes depicted handing out water to the deceased from her Sycamore. As ‘Lady of the West’ (the direction of the setting sun) Hathor was said to protect and assist the dead in their final journey, and often appears on sarcophagi.
Associated with dream-interpretation, fate and prophetic knowledge of every person’s life from birth through their death, protection from evil, and help in matters of love, this divine-feminine Mansion of Heru/ Hero may thus also thus be regarded as Hathor of the Ma’atrix = ‘Goddess of the S/Hero’s Journey’ which enjoins each and every one of us in our lifetimes. The ‘Seven Hathors’ (illustrated) – worshipped in seven cities, including Waset where the triad of Amun~Mut~Khonsu was preeminent – are said to be present in human form at the birth of a child, but are accompanied by the sky-bull in their cow form in a funerary context where they are believed to nourish and protect the deceased from harm.
“Nitakungojea Milele” ♥ …RIP Al Jarreau (3/12/40 ~ 2/12/17)
“Sky God… God of Hunting… Warrior God… Lord of the Horizon… Divine Falcon… He who came forth from Hapi [Africa’s Nile God]… Dweller in Sopdet [Star of Auset]… God of Kingship… Heir of his Father…” are some of the epithets ascribed to Heru, one of Africa’s most storied gods of salvation. Heru‘s hunting prowess is represented in the falcon or hawk whose right and left eyes respectively denote the sun and moon; and who is said to hold the stars in his speckled feathers as his wings create the wind. The circumstances of Heru’s placement in the Holy Trinity which includes Ausar (his father) and Auset (his mother), and his triumphant role in the battle against evil [Set]