Friday, November 23, 2018

The Eye of Horus Is Horus's Left Eye

An Egyptian style depiction of a singular eye. Public domain image

The Eye of Horus and the Eye of Ra--What's the Difference?

Introduction: Upon researching the eye of Horus and the eye of Ra, you will likely encounter some confusion at times. There is a degree of fluidity and overlap within Egyptian mythology; even in Internet searching it--punch in the term "Eye of Horus," and the Eye of Ra will make an appearance within the results, and vice versa. Thus it is my intent to alleviate as much confusion as possible, as the tale of the eyes in question is presented. Many are led to ask, what is the difference between the two? Are both Horus's eyes, and if so why is one referred to as the eye of Ra? These points and others will be approached within this piece.

As you will soon discover, both of the eyes mentioned--that of Horus and that of Ra, are in fact Horus's eyes. Let's begin by taking a look at the history of the two deities, in order to gain a better understanding. Ra (aka Re), emerged early in Ancient Egyptian history. He was represented by a falcon, but had other forms including a phoenix, a beetle, and a man with a ram's head. He stood amongst the most powerful of deities. He was God of the Sun and was worshiped as a creator god; he even created himself. After he did he was sitting on a benben stone in the pre-creation darkness. He next created his children, a boy, Shu, and a girl, Tefnut, by spitting.

Ra, a Wikimedia FileCC by SA 2.5. User, Perhelion

The children went scouting around in the darkness and did not find their way back. Ra became distraught when he could not find them. He sent his one eye to retrieve them. But when it returned with the children it was livid, as another eye had been placed where it should be. The tears Ra wept upon the return of his children, became the first humans. To placate the angry eye and honor it, Ra turned it into a cobra (uraeus), and had it affixed to his crown to serve as a guardian and companion, not only to himself but also to the pharaoh (who he was one with). This pacified the uraeus, but also its power was contained in binding it that way. Hence the contained eye/uraeus, symbolized the ruler's power as well as their protection; also implied is the potentiality of the ruler unleashing chaos if necessary as a means to keep order. To keep things as clear as possible, with the aforementioned version of initial creation, some tell it replacing Ra with the god Atum; either is correct.

Later on in Egyptian mythology Ra was melded with Horus, in the form of Ra-Horakhty. In that form Horus was god of the two horizons, but was also considered god of all within the entirety of creation. How much the two deities were as one singular god is a matter of speculation. Some suggest that the prefix Ra was given to Horakhty/Horus simply to denote him being fueled by the sun's powers; which would of course mean that Ra-Horakhty was not an actual composite god. This author says that's splitting hairs, as Horus's energy stream will carry each of his aspects that was ever believed. To clarify--even if they did not comprise a composite god, due to the fact that there are people who believed they did, that version of Ra-Horakhty exists in spirit--as does the one that does not have the god Ra as a part of him.

Horus, on the other hand, was a multifunctional god; but his main role was that of being patron deity to the ruling pharaoh (and confusingly enough, this same role was assigned to Ra). He was seen as a deified version of the pharaoh. In that he was a descendant of the gods, he supported the ruler's power and authority. Furthermore, as in the case of most Egyptian deities Horus was seen as embracing the principles of Ma'at, which in turn depicted the pharaoh as being just. Being a patron deity in that sense was just one of his aspects. Beyond concepts already presented, Horus's roles included: god of the sky, god of the morning sun, god of the noon sun, god of war, and he was a god of vengeance and a hunter's god; furthermore he was a keeper of secret wisdom, and the son of truth. Ra's wife was Hathor, who was powerful, and was the most popular goddess throughout most of Egyptian history. She was eventually displaced in the sense of being most popular, by Isis.

Horus; a Wikimedia file, by CC 4.0. Author Jeff Dahl

Horus is comprised of Horus the Elder and Horus the Younger. Horus the Elder (Ra-Hoor-Khu, Kemwar, or Her-ur [Greek, Haroeris]) is associated with the upholding of justice, truth, and liberty. Horus the Younger (Hoor-paar-kraat, or Heru-pa-khered [Greek, Harpocrates]), is a silent, passive, and pacific god. He is depicted as a child, often with his finger to his lips; he appears to be making a motion saying "be quiet." Beyond these two common aspects of Horus, there is a third. At times of arousal to war and in fierce protection, he was Heru-sa-Aset. This is the Horus that defeated Set. You will see him often referred to as part of Horus the Younger or as part of the Elder one; neither depiction is accurate though. He is not passive, and he is not matured and mellowed out. His strength aligns with the midday sun. His Elder and Younger aspects act as balancing weights, as he takes center stage.

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This newer categorization of Heru-sa-Aset as the prominent and most balanced, and thus a third aspect of Horus in this sense, is not a personal judgment from the author but rather is one provided to her through spiritual transmission. To clarify, if someone were to ask in earnest for the real Horus to please stand up, it would be Heru-sa-Aset that would respond. He would have the Elder and the Younger as reflections at his side; they come as a package deal.

Note: As this site often presents articles relative to the topic of Thelema, it should be mentioned that the depiction of Horus within this article in multiple ways stands apart from the Thelemic Horus.

Both Ra and Horus are often illustrated as falcons. To tell them apart, Ra is depicted with a solar disc on his head, and Horus, the pschent (the crown of upper and lower Egypt combined). On a basic level you are now acquainted with who Ra and Horus are, so let's move on to talk about the eyes...

Eye of Ra
Eye of Ra amulet

The Right Eye is the Eye of Ra

In Egyptian mythology, the eyes are female. The right eye of Horus is relative to the attributes and power of the sun, and also to Ra. Horus's right eye, to us when we look at his image, is the one on the left. It can be a self standing entity, and also is personified as or associated with: Bastet, Sekhmet, Hathor, Tefnut, Nekhbet, and the goddess Wadjet.

At times Sekhmet was sent forth as "the Eye of Ra," to fight those who rebelled against him. That's why the Eye of Ra has darker connotations than the Eye of Horus. Later she was brought to be more peaceful, and at that point transformed into Hathor.

There is a theory that when Hathor is angered, she can become Sekhmet, Bastet, or even both. Give your cat red tinted milk to have things go well. (Nice bit of magick right there**). It resembles what Ra did to the goddess Sekhmet, when he tricked her into shutting down her murderous rampage. Ra had become angered at peoples' less than just behavior, and sent Sekhmet out to teach a lesson. Sekhmet had an insatiable appetite for blood, and much was being spilt. As a result Ra had a change of heart. He colored a lot of beer red with pomegranate juice; Sekhmet believed it was blood and drank her fill. She slept for days afterwards and woke up at peace.

** When to use the spell mentioned above: Any time the world or your personal space seems to be falling prey to chaos, that can be seen as Apophis getting out of control. But if everything is fine yet you still feel the way you would if things were out of control, that is Sekhmet or Bastet continuing to rage. Feed her the tinted milk and she becomes Hathor. Peace will overtake you, and you will find your center. Seemingly a simple spell, but it is powerful in the sense that it is a way to control chaos in creating order around it. Please use natural food coloring for this spell, it's available at health food stores.

Bastet, who is also seen as an eye of Ra, is in an eternal battle against Apophis. It is Apophis's aim to destroy the universe that is being built and constantly worked upon. Imagine the universe as a box of Legos, and mankind and all deities are working to make something grand from the pieces. Now imagine Apophis trying to shove the Legos back in the box... Bastet's job is to keep him from interfering.

Eye of Horus
The Eye of Horus, a Wikimedia file, by Jeff Dahl. CC by 4.0

Set Ripped Out Horus's Left Eye

The left eye is the Eye of Horus, and an older name for it was Wadjet, or Udjat, which refers to being whole, healthy and strong.

After Set killed Osiris, Horus set out to avenge his father's death, and a brutal fight ensued. Set tore out Horus's left eye and broke it into bits, and the pieces were scattered across Egypt. The fight was not entirely one sided--Set was castrated by Horus. It was the god Thoth who gathered up the bits of Horus's eye and restored it to a healthful state; in other accounts it was Hathor that restored the eye, others yet, Khonsu. Once the eye was restored Horus gave it as an offering to Osiris, who ate it and hence came back to life. The left eye is associated with multiple things, including, the moon, healing, renewal, the golden ratio, miracles, manifestation, magick, protection, and personal sacrifice.

Did Someone Just Mention the Golden Ratio?

As a matter of fact I did. If you look at a mathematical breakdown of Horus's eye, you see a representation of the golden ratio. Each section represents a fraction, beginning with 1/2 and being reduced by half with each reduction. Eg.--1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16. And it continues, and where it ends the end is not definite, and any continuation of it in appearance would make the wholeness of the eye more complete, but at no point could it ever be completed in adding more fractions. Seemingly miraculous, and thus is the magick of Horus's eye. The nature of the magick of this eye, may have something to do with why it has become so popular in today's culture, in the form of the All Seeing Eye.

Why Does Horus Have Ra's Eye?

The author, prior to immersing themselves in this topic, felt that the most likely response to this evocative question was--given that Horus and Ra were combined as one, the right eye being Ra's is symbolic of that (how simple!). However, that is not the case. What happened is, that Isis wanted to know Ra's secret name, in order to restore Osiris to life. She devised a plan--she hid a snake, and it bit Ra. It would not be any snake that could bring down such a powerful god; however, this one was created from dirt combined with the god's drool (the drool had fallen from the skies when he was very tired). Because the snake held his essence it could hurt him. Isis's terms dictated that she'd save Ra only if he'd share his secret name. He did, and as part of their agreement, her son Horus was given Ra's eye and the powers it contained. Given all that's been shared so far, it's easy to see how both eyes are magickal and hold similar powers. (Note that in the above explanation, in one instance Horus and Ra are one, but in another they are very much separate. This is the way of Egyptian mythology; it's very much contextual).

A Vision 
I, the author of this piece recently had a vision, wherein Horus's right eye opened up and a magickal event ensued--it appeared as if an energy stream was pulling in from the great nothingness (the nothingness that is Nuit; and the pupil, so vaguely present, was obviously Thelema's Hadit). As it did, Ra uttered words of magick on my behalf. From that vision I gleaned that as the right eye set magick in motion, the left eye would work to manifest it. It was also understood that in different magickal circumstance it would be vice versa--the left eye pulling the unwanted out, and the right eye working its magick to assist in removing it.
And when the eye later on returned to work further magick and provide further vision, it returned as an eye neither left nor right, thus it was the eye of Atum-Ra. Strangely enough, it was walking on legs that looked like the curlicue and the stilt commonly drawn beneath the eyes being referenced.

As a Summary, I'd like to close with yet another alternate view, which is that some view both Horus's left and right eye as the Eye of Horus, and view the eye of Ra as a separate concept. When this is the case, it is the uraeus that is the eye of Ra in question, or otherwise it's one of the goddesses known as a personification of the Eye of Ra acting in that capacity, or even the self standing Eye, (sigh) of Ra, or Atum-Ra. So it's confusing to say the least, to look at it this way due to the obvious overlap.

It was an absolutely enriching experience to write this, as the gods and goddesses of Egypt had much to say along the way. As well my friend Adam K. was a great help--especially in offering the bits about Sekhmet and Lego. If you found this article interesting at all or evocative in any way, please feel free to share the link.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Beginning Magician, Lesson 3 :: Deities in Magick


Note from the editor: In multiple genres of magick we see that practitioners commonly work with deities and other entities; and in that sense Thelema magick is no different. Magick can self propel, but with the help of deities and other various entities, we are in fact best prepared in all magickal, ritual, and spiritual settings.

Along with the description of Thelema deities, this post presents other necessary/relevant Thelema concepts; but it is not the author's intent to convert you to Thelema. The author of this work does not necessarily propose you consult this particular set of deities, but rather suggests that you use consideration of them for a starting place in magick if you do not have a pantheon of your own.

The very presence of any deity in your pantheon should hold a strong resonance. What do you know of them? Why are they there? What was their purpose through history? What does their history tell you about your own place in the microcosm or macrocosm? With the gods presented, Adam delves into what the relationship or symbolism of each is as it pertains to Thelema, to provide a clear example of what can be gleaned through paying attention to them as one works with them and learns more about them.

Magick Lesson 3: The Gods and Other Supernatural Beings

Continued from Lesson Two

by Adam K.

We begin Lesson Three, with the question--”do gods exist?” Short answer: Yes, and no. Long answer: That's going to take a bit of explaining.

Without quoting him verbatim, the Thelemite author Rodney Orpheus once wrote something along the lines of, ”whether gods exist or not is unknown, but the universe behaves as if they do.” What this means is that if you pray or perform rituals to a particular deity, chances are you will get favorable results. This can be shown as true through repetitively engaging in your experiment, in form of prayer or ritual, and getting the favorable results you were expecting. Remember that scientific method referred to a few chapters ago? This is part of that.

It cannot be said with any certainty that any particular deity or deities exist, however. For example, science and scientists frequently present evidence that supports the theory that there may have been some sort of intelligent creator or creators behind the universe as we know and observe it. Invariably, there will be Christians who say, “see? Our God exists!” That is like saying that, since we are mostly water and bleach is mostly water, we are bleach. Just because something godlike may exist doesn't mean the Christian God exists. The same is true of all the various gods, spirits, elementals, and so on. But it also doesn't mean they don't exist.

The Thelemic god concept, Hadit

The gods of Thelema likely exist then? Sure, why not. And your personal experiences with those gods or any other, are the personal proof you have of their existence. Thelema is gnostic in nature, which separates it from religions and philosophies wherein the tenets propose that deities exist whether or not proof is seen.

What this all ultimately means, is that you must experiment and discover for yourself, in order for the gods you call upon to respond as you expect. As Liber AL says, “Success is thy proof...” In other words, if you repeatedly call on the same gods in the same way and get the same results, your success should tell you everything you need to know.

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Consider this though, that the gods and goddesses in question may not be so much human-like or even have any actual shape, as it were. But they may each be an energy body or entity, relative to a specific set of laws, principles, and energies--the mechanics of which collectively, they propel everything within our universe. However, it works best if we give them names, and keeps things simple if we can associate a specific appearance with them. It is strange how it works though, because at times these beings can manifest so fully that they can be felt.

Got it. So who are the gods of Thelema? Once more we are in the land of tricky questions. The truth of the matter is any and all deities are respected in Thelema and, in fact, in the end it is the Thelemite in question who is the god in question. However, for the purpose of far less confusing conversation if for no other reason, Thelema does have default gods that make it easier for Thelemites to talk about their practices with one another. Each of these gods corresponds with one or more gods in a great variety of other pantheons, and in some instances it can be understood that all gods are in fact simply aspects of a single god.

Isis (mourning Osiris)
Isis (mourning Osiris)

Just answer the question, already! Who are the gods of Thelema? Alright, alright! Jeez... Well, the following is a bit of a clue, though admittedly it is a bit misleading, in the sense that rather than providing a concise list of Thelemic deities, it’s information that illustrates the link these particular deities have to Thelema. Thelema teaches that the history of man is divided into aeons, and so far there have been three aeons. We are currently in the Aeon of Horus, which began 20 March, 1904 ev (Era Vulgaris). Before that was the Aeon of Osiris, which began about the time of the first ancient civilizations, including Ancient Egypt. And before that was the Aeon of Isis, which existed in the time of the hunter-gatherer societies.

The Aeon of Isis is seen to have been matriarchal in nature, giving great respect and worship to the Moon and to the various great moon goddesses, motherhood was highly regarded, and so forth.
The Aeon of Osiris was a time of patriarchy, worship of the Sun, and the beginnings of agriculture. Man was working with carpentry and masonry, building with shaped wood and stone.

Unlike the Aeon of Isis when the male role in reproduction was not yet known, in the Aeon of Osiris it was no longer a mystery. Men saw the magick of reproduction as being all their own. As well, while the Aeon of Isis was a celebration of life and the power of the Mother to create it, the Aeon of Osiris was more about death and rebirth. The power and wisdom of women was less respected, and the strength of men who wielded the power to end life was exalted. It was taught that suffering and servitude in this life led to reward and riches in the next, and this teaching was used as a method to control others.

Horus; a Wikimedia file, by CC 4.0. author Jeff Dahl

This continued until the Aeon of Horus, and though many today do not realize it, the world we live in now is vastly different from the world before the twentieth century. This is the aeon of The Crowned and Conquering Child, the aeon of the rights and personal responsibility of the individual. Through sheer will and sheer determination, we can shape our own lives as we see fit. Of course, we are still caught in the death throes of the previous aeon as it refuses to let go; but it is dying. We are seeing it in the way the religions of the old aeon are warring with one another. Our new aeon is having its own growing pains as it works itself out, but it isn't the end of the world--it is the beginning of a new one.

The gods of Thelema are Egyptian? Yes and no. Some are and some aren't. In truth, some aren't gods at all in the traditional sense, but are rather concepts that fulfill the role of a god, such as Hadit does. We will explain these things as we progress. The following gods or concepts and their names are derived from Liber AL vel Legis, the central text of Thelema. In the book are three chapters, each dictated by and dedicated to a particular god or concept. Chapter one is the chapter of Nuit, Egyptian goddess of the infinite night sky.

Nuit, as portrayed on the Stele of Revealing
Nuit, shown at border of image top

Nuit can be seen depicted on the Stele of Revealing in her traditional form, arching over the heavens with her feet on one side and her fingertips touching down on the opposite side. She is nude, clothed only in the light of the stars that inhabit her body. As one concept describes, Nuit is the absolute embodiment of all possibility and potentiality. She is thought of as the infinity that the universe expands into, where her infinity makes the universe itself seem infinitely small. She is the circumference of the circle; she is infinite space and the infinite stars therein.  Ironically, because of her infinite nature, no thoughts we have about who or what she is can ever truly define her.

Liber AL describes her as being ”divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.” The  union in question is that of man losing his ego based view to become part of the Oneness. However, from there he/she must transcend Oneness to become part of Nothingness--which is to join the Unity, and to do so is the Great Work of Thelema, which is encapsulated within the concept of Nuit being divided for love’s sake.

"Make no difference between any one thing and any other. We all exist. But we are all one. I am the only thing in my universe that truly exists. There is no you, because we are one, and in truth naught."

Another commonly used quote in Thelema is, “every man and every woman is a star.” Nuit is associated with the heavens and the stars; we, you and I, are the stars. Stars relate not only to Nuit but also to Hadit; Hadit is a manifestation from within the infinity that is Nuit.

Chapter two provides the message of Hadit, who in Thelemic cosmology is the lover and consort to Nuit. Hadit is not actually of the Egyptian pantheon but is an Arab word meaning divine utterance. The Winged Globe that typically represents Ra Harakte (a form of Horus the Elder) is referred to as Hadit in the museum records for The Stele of Revealing, and this “coincidence” is no accident in Thelema. Hadit as a word is similar in connotation to the word Logos. Aleister Crowley was the Magus who brought the word Thelema to the world--the Logos of this Aeon. Thus Thelema is a hadith--in the Arab sense, a divine utterance. In Thelema, the speaker of a divine Word is also called a Logos. When one attains the Grade of Magus one speaks such a Word, or alternately contributes to another Word.

Hadit as an entity is found beneath Nuit on the Stele in the form of a winged red globe, rising to meet her as her lover. He can be seen as the conceptualization of the universe within Nuit, especially as it was before the Big Bang; but essentially even as it is now, which is the infinitely finite universe, the point within the circle, the singularity. He is also seen as each of us as we grow into ourselves and become more our, uh, Selves.

Hadit is the complement to Nuit, which is an unusual statement. He is not her husband in traditional Egyptian mythology, where her husband is Geb. So what does it mean? To grossly summarize, it means that while Nuit is all matter and all potentiality, Hadit is the action, the motion required, in order to cause anything emerge from all of her infinite and wondrous potentiality. To summarize then, in this context Hadit is an active aspect of Horus (Ra Harakte, that red winged globe we mentioned) which represents motion, activity, manifestation, and the divine Logos. And as far as I can determine, Geb can be seen as an earthbound variation of Horus. So the contradiction is, at the very least, lessened.

The third and final chapter is dedicated to Ra-Hoor-Khuit. He is an active god, who has another sort of passive, introverted and thoughtful form known as Hoor-paar-kraat; together they comprise the Horus who is the Crowned and Conquering Child of Thelema. In this context (there are various contexts with many Egyptian deities) RHK is the child of Nuit and Hadit. The names for his two forms respectively are Horus the Elder (Ra-Hoor-Khuit) and Horus the Younger (Hoor-paar-kraat); together they are Heru-ra-ha.

 Hoor-paar-kraat statue. Wikimedia Commons by CC3.0
Author, Patrick Clenet

Ra-Hoor-Khuit is Horus as Lord of the New Aeon. In Thelema he is the son of Nuit in her aspect as Isis (who is: Infinite Space and Infinite Stars), thus Hadit would reasonably be his father, while in traditional Egyptian mythology the father of Horus is Osiris. With that said, it is possible that this Horus is seen in Egyptian mythology as relating in some other way to Osiris; Egyptian mythology can be a bit confusing, honestly.

RHK is a god of vengeance and war. In his history, he defeated Set, the one responsible for the death of his father. One of his primary works is to kill off any remaining residuals of the previous aeon, or rather, guide us through to the New Aeon. Christianity is a residual from the Aeon of Osiris, and is not willing to relinquish its grasp so easily. Christianity is problematic in various ways, one being that it does not allow for freedom of religion and does not support freedom of will.

Thelemites have no vendetta against Christianity, however, Ra-Hoor-Khuit's message is that patriarchal powered organizations must die, period, and Christianity is a major part of patriarchy.  Mind you, this does not mean all men are evil or that men holding positions of power is an evil thing. It simply means that each person, no matter their sex or color or creed or any other factor other than personal merit and effort, has equal beginning potential. It also doesn’t mean that the outcome will be equal for all people. It only means that there is nothing but the individual's will, which will ultimately be able to hold the individual back. It calls for an end to sexism; matriarchy and patriarchy are to be assigned to a past tense. It is the Aeon of the Individual.

This chapter quickly became longer than expected, and will soon carry further on. Bookmark us and check back soon.

Other Articles in This Series
The Preamble
Part One, Elementary Level Knowledge
Part Two, Rituals
Part Three, The Gods of Thelema (this page)
Part Three, The Gods, Continued
Part Four, Yogic Breathing Basics

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