• The gods did not die with the end of dynastic rule. Trying to sketch out an archetypal path for Osiris is difficult because he embraces many dissonant qualities. And perhaps that is key: I believe Osiris is the archetypal god who much later evolves into a Mercurius complex. I say complex because Mercurius is far less a well defined god and more of a concept. Jung provides a list of his chief functions in the CW. Even in Medieval art there are few images of Mercurius and perhaps this is the point: he is a process that does not fit nicely in a drawing or etching or painting. A Solve et Coagula, Mercurius is the god of becoming and regeneration.

    As May draws to a close, I invite everyone to offer their closing queries and comments on this wondrous archetypal god.

  • Thank you Sir!

    As a matter of fact, I just now finished reading a book on Ancient History between 20000 BC to 5000 BC. It was written by Steve Mithen, an archaeologist. It talked more about the history of human culture during the time from LGM (Last Glacial Maximum) to the arrival of the first civilization (Mesopotamian). 

    I would start from the first of your recommendations. BTW,  do let me know when your book is out.

  • I believe, with the fall of Egyptian dynasty, partly due to famine and partly by conquest, the Egyptian pantheon of gods, got absorbed into other religions. One such example is that of the cult of 'Amun Ra', which got absorbed into Christianity by the christian missionaries..but I'm not sure what happened to gods such as Osiris exactly....

    • Absolutely. Actually, many of the Egyptian deities were absorbed from an earlier civilization, Sumer. When the dynastic rule ended in Egypt, the urbane Alexandrians were ripe for syncretism. Ptolemy Soter for example was eager to integrate Osiris into Greek culture. Since the Greeks had little affection for animal-headed deities. But, the greeks had no problem accepting the Apis bull, which represented Osiris (his ba soul), as their idol. Thus, Serapis became the Egyptian-Greek version of Osiris until 385, "when a Christian mob destroyed the Serapeum of Alexandria." There are traces of Osiris that continue to live on today, albeit in more secular or pagan form, e.g. the Green Man. Isis, too, was absorbed into Greek culture as Aphrodite, Seth as Typhoon, Anubis as Cerberus, etc. There was a beautiful statue of Isis erected, I believe by Caesar, in Rome; today, we still find her in the Black Madonna.

    • Very true. One another reason for this is also because of the rise and spread of Mesopotamian civilization. It represented an amalgam of different religious beliefs, which again came from different tribes of hunter-gatherers and first generation farmers living in the now fertile crescent. As you rightly said, such beliefs spread through conquistadors like Alexander. As a consequence, various religious beliefs, passed on as stories and legends, got re-told in different places as per the local socio-cultural sensitivities.

      Can you refer me any book or books regarding the above discussed aspect, esp. one pertaining to your question 'What happened to Osiris and other gods and goddesses after the fall of ancient Egypt? Did the gods die? '

    • I have four very different types of books that might interest you: The first is an excellent book by Jeremy Naydler who helped me in researching my book. It's called The Future of the Ancient World. Thorough scholarship, more philosophical. This one comes closest to answering the discussion question. The second is more theoretical, aligns with symbolist thought (de Lubicz). Edward F. Malkowski;s Before the Pharaohs is more speculative; his books make for fun reading. My fourth recommendation is Toby Wilkinson's The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. Excellent piece of research that emphasizes the endless wars that accompanied changes within ancient Egypt. Interesting account but somewhat tedious due to Egyptians not learning the lesson of history. The fourth book is way more speculative; in fact, I couldn't get through it. Nonetheless, the first third of the book provides a great background of Sumer and its influence on Greek and Egyptian culture. The Twelfth Planet by Zecharia Sitchin. Controversial, popular, some sci-fi, fun.

      These books discuss research and speculation about Egyptian culture, before and after dynastic rule. I do not know of any one book that speaks precisely to the question I posed, thus the reason for my asking it! I invite other members of the Book Club to make their recommendations.

  • Pre-Christian parallels to the Trinity in Babylonia...~Carl Jung

    177 The ideas which are present only as intimations in Babylonian tradition are developed to full clarity in Egypt. I shall pass lightly over this subject here, as I have dealt with the Egyptian prefigurations of the Trinity at greater length elsewhere, in an as yet unfinished study of the symbolical bases of alchemy shall only emphasize that Egyptian theology asserts, first and foremost, the essential unity (homoousia) of God as father and son, both represented by the king. The third person appears in the form of Ka-mutef ("the bull of his mother"), who is none other than the ka, the procreative power of the deity. In it and through it father and son are combined not in a triad but in a triunity. To the extent that Ka-mutef is a special manifestation of the divine ka we can "actually speak of a triunity of God, king, and kay in the sense that God is the father, the king is the son, and ka the connecting-link between them." In his concluding chapter Jacobsohn draws a parallel between this Egyptian idea and the Christian credo. Apropos the passage "qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria virgine," he cites Karl Earth's formulation: "There is indeed a unity of God and man; God himself creates it. ... It is no other unity than his own eternal unity as father and son. This unity is the Holy Ghost." As procreator the Holy Ghost would correspond to Ka-mutef, who connotes and guarantees the unity of father and son. In this connection Jacobsohn cites Earth's comment on Luke i : 35 ("The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God"): "When the Bible speaks of the Holy Ghost, it is speaking of God as the combination of father and son, of the vinculum caritatis." The divine procreation of Pharaoh takes place through Ka-mutef, in the human mother of the king. But, like Mary, she remains outside the Trinity. As Preisigke points out, the early Christian Egyptians simply transferred their traditional ideas about the ka to the Holy Ghost. This explains the curious fact that in the Coptic version of Pistis Sophia, dating from the third century, Jesus has the Holy Ghost as his double, just like a proper ka. The Egyptian mythologem of the unity of substance of father and son, and of procreation in the king's mother, lasted until the Vth dynasty (about 2500 B.C.), Speaking of the birth of the divine boy in whom Horus manifests himself, God the Father says: "He will exercise a kingship of grace in this land, for my soul is in him," and to the child he says: "You are the son of my body, begotten by me." "The sun he bears within him from his father's seed rises anew in him." His eyes are the sun and moon, the eyes of Horus. We know that the passage in Luke 1:78!: "Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death," refers to Malachi 4:2: "But unto you thatfear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings." Who does not think here of the winged sun-disc of Egypt?
    178. These ideas passed over into Hellenistic syncretism and were transmitted to Christianity through Philo and Plutarch. So it is not true, as is sometimes assetted even by modern theologians, that Egypt had little if any influence on the formation of Christian ideas. Quite the contrary. It is, indeed, highly improbable that only Babylonian ideas should have penetrated into Palestine, considering that this small buffer state had long been under Egyptian hegemony and had, moreover, the closest cultural ties with its powerful neighbour, especially after a flourishing Jewish colony established itself in Alexandria, several centuries before the birth of Christ. It is difficult to understand what could have induced Protestant theologians, whenever possible, to make it appear that the world of Christian ideas dropped straight out of heaven. The Catholic Church is liberal enough to look upon the Osiris-Horus-Isis myth, or at any rate suitable portions of it, as a prefiguration of the Christian legend of salvation. The numinous power of a mythologem and its value as truth are considerably enhanced if its archetypal character can be proved. The archetype is "that which is believed always, everywhere, and by everybody," and if it is not recognized consciously, then it appears from behind in its "wrathful" form, as the dark "son of chaos," the evil-doer, as Antichrist instead of Saviour a fact which is all too clearly demonstrated by contemporary history. ~Carl Jung; Psychology and Religion; Pages 115-117
    • Sorry for the delay in responding to this excerpt, Lewis. Much appreciated. Yes, Jung did see Egypt's influence on the Christian trinity; the derivations are many. There is however another human dimension to be added. Here are some of my own thoughts on the subject:

      All this changed with Akhenaten. Centralizing power in Aten meant
      not only diminishing the importance of the entire Egyptian pantheon,
      but in effect erasing much of its mythology. “! e proscription of Osiris
      by Akhenaten,” writes Egyptologist Cyril Aldred, “ensured that the gods
      of burial were banished together with the pantheon, and a new eschatology
      has to be invented.” ! e emphasis put on this sun god displaced
      Osiris, a lunar deity, and his significance to life, both present and in the
      hereafter. “All mention of Osiris, together with the gods of his cycle [the
      Ennead], was suppressed in the funerary texts, and the Osirian epithet
      of ‘justi# ed’ with the force of the ‘deceased’ was dropped from the titles
      of the defunct.”3 Henceforth, Aten, who has no female consort and is
      self-created, reigns supreme along with Akhenaten, his wife Nefertiti,
      and their children, who become the new holy family; in effect, Akhenaten
      supplants Osiris, Isis, and Horus. An apotheosis is occurring in
      that royal humans are embodying what had formerly been strictly the
      province of the gods. No longer did one see gods in animal forms or
      read the magic spells that activated their image. In symbolic terms, the
      moon is being eclipsed by the sun in broad daylight, a phenomenon
      that will reach its apogee with the dawning of Christianity.

      193 Embodying Osiris

      I believe Freud held to a similar idea in writing about Moses who may

      have held rank in Akhenaten's court.

    • Pharaoh Akhenaten and his family adoring the Aten, second from the left is Meritaten who was the daughter of Akhenaten.

      In Praise of Aten:

      How manifold it is, what thou hast made!
      They are hidden from the face (of man).
      O sole god, like whom there is no other!
      Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
      Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
      Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,
      And what is on high, flying with its wings.
      The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
      Thou settest every man in his place,
      Thou suppliest their necessities:
      Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
      Their tongues are separate in speech,
      And their natures as well;
      Their skins are distinguished,
      As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.
      Thou makest a Nile in the underworld,
      Thou bringest forth as thou desirest
      To maintain the people (of Egypt)
      According as thou madest them for thyself,
      The lord of all of them, wearying (himself) with them,
      The lord of every land, rising for them,
      The Aton of the day, great of majesty

      Akhenaten tried to bring about a departure from traditional religion, yet in the end it would not be accepted. After his death, traditional religious practice was gradually restored, and when some dozen years later rulers without clear rights of succession from the Eighteenth Dynasty founded a new dynasty, they discredited Akhenaten and his immediate successors, referring to Akhenaten himself as "the enemy" in archival records.

      The psychological fact is that there are and always will be a multitude of Gods. The great irony however is that for each human being there is but one God to worship and that is our own Charioteer and Guiding Star.

      Pharaoh Akhenaten and his family adoring the Aten, second from the ...

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