“You don’t mess with the Cailleach … she’s our very own Kali, dancing to create. Because it’s not death that she brings to the land with her dancing: it’s the renewal of sleep, the renewal of creativity as the hard bones of winter lay bare all that is inside us. She culls old growth, brings transformation. She’s the guardian of the seed as it builds its strength for the next summer’s growth.
When the long hard days of winter are done, and she begins to tire of her labour, the hills become her resting place, and she sleeps in the hills for longer and longer periods of time. And as she sleeps, at dawn on Imbolc – February 2 – her sister begins to wake. Her sister is Brighid, or Bride: the spring maiden. Bride has a bright green mantle that has been tightly wrapped around her all winter; as she begins to waken, little by little she shrugs off the mantle, and it begins to spread out over the fields and flowers spring up from the place where the mantle rests. Bride looks after the cows and the sheep – but more than that, she inspires poets and storytellers. Until, on August 1 – Lammas – she begins to tire, and she sleeps longer and longer, withdrawing her green mantle as she falls into the deepest sleep of winter. And as she begins to sleep, her sister the Cailleach begins to wake …
And so the cycle goes.
Every morning when I wake up and open the shutters I look out onto one of those silhouetted sleeping forms in the hills. I can see the contours of her face in profile, the rise of her chest and the roundness of her belly. It reminds me that the land is animate in its own way, and that, as explorer of oral traditions Robert Bringhurst tells us, ‘Stories are one of the fundamental ways in which we understand the world … some of the basic constituents of the world.’ It reminds me of the story of Cailleach and Brighid, and so of cycles, and of balance. As I walk our wild and windy headland each morning with the mountains to the east of me and the sea to the west, sometimes I talk to that sleeping form. I tell her my stories, and she tells me hers.
Because the only true stories spring directly from the land. They don’t come from our heads: we’re not talking about sitting down at a computer and making up fiction here, we’re talking about living stories. Alan Garner tells us that such stories are how a nation dreams.
Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy in Byzantium – Michèle Mertens, University of Liège
The main concern of this paper will be with the problems raised by
the reception of ancient alchemy in Byzantium. After a brief
introduction, I will start from the study of a pre-Byzantine author,
Zosimos of Panopolis, and deal with the following questions : How,
from a purely material viewpoint, were Zosimos’ writings handed
down during the Byzantine period? Did Byzantine alchemists have
access to his works and did they resort to them? Was Zosimos
known outside the alchemical Corpus; in other words, did Graeco-
Egyptian alchemists exert any kind of influence outside strictly
alchemical circles? When and how was the alchemical Corpus put
together? In a more general way, what evidence do we have,
whether in the Corpus itself or in non-alchemical literature, that
alchemy was practised in Byzantium? Answers (or at least partial
answers) to these questions should help us to understand and define
to some extent the place held by the ‘sacred art’ in Byzantium.
It is now usually accepted that alchemy came into being in Graeco-
Roman Egypt around the beginning of our era and that it originated
from the combination of several factors, the most remarkable of
which are (1) the practices of Egyptian goldsmiths and workers in
metals who experimented with alloys and knew how to dye metals
in order to simulate gold; (2) the theory about the fundamental unity
of matter, according to which all substances are composed of a
primitive matter and owe their specific differences to the presence
of different qualities imposed upon this matter; (3) the idea that the
aim of any technique must be the mimesis of nature ; (4) the
doctrine of universal sympathy, which held that all elements of the
cosmos are connected by occult links of sympathy and antipathy
which explain all the combinations and separations of the bodies.
The encounter of these different trends of thought brought about the
idea that transmutation ought to be possible, all the more so with
the addition of mystical daydreams influenced by gnostic and
hermetic currents and favoured by the decline of Greek
All the World’s a Stage and All the Men and Women merely Players – Which part are you playing? – by Jaq White
One of the questions many of us ask ourselves at some point in our lives is, “Who am I?”
Throughout life, we take on many roles, each one relating to whichever situation we find ourselves in at any moment ; son/daughter, student, teacher, wife, husband, mother, father, financial advisor, scientist, fitness instructor, footballer – of course the list is endless. These roles may not even be “official”; how often do you hear people commenting on their home life with expressions of how they feel like a nurse, or a hotel owner (if you have teenagers!) or a dustman, odd-job man, cleaner, cook, taxi driver etc? If we look closely, we are each playing many roles throughout our day. If we could imagine ourselves in the relevant outfit, or uniform or costume for each character and role we play throughout the day, imagine how many costume changes you have to go through in 24 hours.
Add to this how often we also adopt roles for ourselves in order to “give a good impression”. This has also been referred to as “putting on a mask”. We may want to be seen as generous, kind, caring, strong, charitable, fun-loving etc. yet at times feel quite the opposite, though will go out of our way to give the impression of what we believe we should be. We put on the masks.
At the end of each day, you may have put on quite a few costumes and masks, but have you remembered to take them off? If we don’t take them off, we start to convince ourselves that this is who we really are. “I am a banker” “I am a policeman” “I am a mother”. We start to identify with a particular role, and pile the costumes and masks on top of each other, until we forget who is underneath all of the disguises. Even when we try to unmask ourselves, to try and remember who we are, we have become so attached to some of the masks and outfits that we are convinced they are really “me”. What we are forgetting, is why we put them on in the first place. When did we put on that “brave face”? What about the warrior mask? The little girl lost mask? Why do we think we have to play the Fool? We each have our own, and some are more difficult to recognise than others.
We can start by developing an awareness of our reactions – how we react to certain people in a different way to others, what pushes my angry button, my rude button, my generous button, my patient button or impatient button, my panic button, my flirt button, my protective button, my Fool button… and so on. We are actors, playing a role, and our actions and reactions are part of the role.
When we can identify the actions with the role, and question why we acted in such a way, why we put on that mask or invisible costume, we start to become more aware of ourselves, and to recognise our true nature. It isn’t always a pleasant discovery, and you won’t always like what you discover about yourself as you strip away all the layers, but there are many ways of addressing that and of learning to embrace the parts you thought you needed to hide or to ignore.
In ancient teachings, this was referred to as removing your garments without being ashamed – think of the old story of Adam and Eve, naked in the garden until they became ashamed and tried to cover themselves. Like many wise teachings, this story became twisted until it was unrecogniseable and its deeper meaning was all but forgotten.
“Auditions are being held for you to be yourself. Apply within.”
MASTERS OF FIRE:
ITALIAN ALCHEMISTS IN THE COURT
OF PHILIP II
NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY
“Also present at Philip’s court, and presumably a member of
Fioravanti’s circle, was an Italian aristocrat named Lorenzo Granita, a
native of Salerno. Fioravanti claims that Granita, who he says was the
equal of Ramon Lull, Arnald of Villanova, and John of Rupescissa,
showed Fioravanti a method for making a philosopher’s stone that would
transform any metal into the finest twenty-two carat gold. Fioravanti
does not claim that Granita actually made gold in his presence; instead, he
reports, Granita showed him a manuscript containing a Spanish poem that
held the secret of the philosopher’s stone.
Fioravanti, according to his
own admission, stole the manuscript and reprinted the verses at the end of
Della fisica so that anyone might learn how to make gold.
The poem has been recently studied by Elena Castro and José
Rodriguez, who identify it as the product of an adept from Valencia called
Luis de Centelles and written between 1550 and 1560. Although
Fioravanti calls the work a “recipe” for making gold, it is in fact an
elaborate allegorical poem that uses the analogy of courtly love to
symbolize an alchemical process that results in the “perfection” of matter.
The theme of the poem is the devotion of the poet to a woman—“who
dwells in the heavens and is, without doubt, the daughter of the Sun”
(Toma la dama que mora en el çielo | ques hija del sol sin duda ningua)—
which symbolizes prime matter. Just as, through a series of displays of
devotion, the poet’s love ascends and is perfected, the poet-alchemist
submits matter to a series of alchemical manipulations and converts it into
something ideal and perfect. The symbolic “matrimony between man and
woman” (matrimonio de hombre y muxer) becomes a metaphor of the
alchemist operating on matter. Strongly influenced by the alchemical
writings attributed to Ramon Lull and Arnald of Villanova, the poem
describes a progression of operations that parallel those detailed in the
Testamentum of pseudo-Ramon Lull—solutio, ablutio, congelatio, fixatio,
and multiplicatio—leading to the elixir, a “medicine” of transmutation and
universal healing It is far from clear whether Fioravanti understood
these obscure allegorical verses, for he made no effort whatsoever to
explicate them. Nevertheless, he could not conceal his enthusiasm for
having discovered—or, as he admitted, stolen—the secret that all the
alchemists had been looking for.”
The Fisher King, the Grail and the Goddess: Ted Hughes’s aquatic myths – by Yvonne Reddick, University of Warwick
“Abstract: This paper presents some research for my PhD thesis on fluvial landscapes in the works of Ted Hughes and Alice Oswald. The thesis as a whole aims to explore the relationship between myths of the genius loci in the English poetic canon, and the eco-poets’ mythology of riverine landscapes in crisis. In this paper, I set out to explore the role of the Grail and Fisher King, favoured figures of T. S. Eliot, in Ted Hughes’s river-poetry. The Grail is an object of medieval legend, but this paper contends that Hughes follows the example of Jessie Weston in making it fit into a family of more ancient myths. The fertility myths which Weston views as giving rise to the Grail legend are associated with the aquatic goddess who haunts both Ted Hughes’ poetry and his critical work Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being. I use a combination of methods – contextualization of Hughes’s work with reference to Modernist texts, close analysis of the poetry, and comparisons to the poet’s letters and critical works, in order to uncover the myths behind what is often a very modern, environmentally engaged text. I hypothesize that Hughes’s use of myth gives his poetry a universal, canonical tenor, with its persona as nameless Fisher King and its muse as an abstract Goddess. However, I conclude that at times his use of myth becomes self-mythologizing.”
The Celtic concept of the Cosmos is of a Wheel and Axis working together.
In a recent blog a reader called Danny Williams explained in the comments the concept of yin and yang. Williams explained yin and yang in terms of a pendulum, and the interaction of gravity and inertia that drove the Cosmos through the constant inbalance between the two parts. Williams said that if there was ever balance between yin and yang then the Cosmos would die, since there would be no motion through the activity of inbalance of the parts.
In Celtic philosophy there is no concept of a single universal entity or force like that of the Hebrew religions, instead there are two parts working together. These parts are symbolised as a Wheel and an Axis. The wheel is female and the axis is male. It is best to think of the Celtic Cosmos as like…
Look around to observe that change and motion in the universe is as common as breathing.
Heraclitus the Greek philosopher observed that a foot can be placed in a river twice on the same day, but the river will be different on each occasion. Think of the river as like life or the universe, change and motion, this is the reality.
Nothing is still. As things move they change. At every moment a thing is in strife with another object that changes it in some manner. Every object has an internal nature that causes it to move and change too.
Some people seem to grasp the reality of change and motion, some treat it as an afterthought. Too many seem to oppose change and motion, to throw up barriers in the vain hope that they can override the will of the Cosmos. Many in making their plans fail to take…
In the 14th Century B.C. Pharaoh Akhenaten, (formerly Amenhotep iv) who is referred to as “The Heretic” ruled Egypt during the 18th Dynasty -the Armana Period.
He has been viewed as the first monotheist by many scholars and has been credited as the inspiration for the beliefs of Moses. He disbanded the priesthoods of Amun and the other major AE Gods, having their images removed from temples as much as possible and elevating the Aten, the sun disc to represent the his religion.
Images of the gods were replaced by images from nature, and the pharaoh was shown as serene, smiling with his family rather than depictions of great war scenes with the pharaoh smiting enemies and foes.
What we do know, is that Akhenaten’s Atenism did not necessarily revolve around “One god”. The Aten was the symbol, but so were the rays that emanated from the Sun disc, possibly equating the Shekinah as a feminine aspect: “The majestic presence or manifestation of God which has descended to “dwell” among men. Like Memra (= “word”; “logos”) and “Yeḳara” (i.e., “Kabod” = “glory”), Since the Shekinah is light, those passages of the Apocrypha and New Testament which mention radiance, and in which the Greek text reads δόξα, refer to the Shekinah, there being no other Greek equivalent for the word. Thus, according to Luke ii. 9, “the glory of the Lord [δόζα Ḳυρίου] shone round about them” (comp. II Peter i. 17; Eph. i. 6; II Cor. iv. 6); and it is supposed that in John i. 14 and Rev. xxi. 3 the words σκηνοῦν and σκηνή were expressly selected as implying the Shekinah. Similarly, we have the Gnostic Barbelo, the first emanation of the Monad, Mother of the Aeons, the Perfect Glory, the image of the invisible spirit.
Was the feminine aspect in Atenism important? I believe it was, and Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt has also introduced this theory into understanding the Atenist religion. It has also been suggested that the feminine attributes that Akhenaten was depicted with and which became increasingly prominent – the pendulous breasts, rounded belly, broad hips and heavy thighs – represented the feminine side of his Divinity and fertile side of his kingship.
Who were the main opponents to the religion of the Aten and why?
During the reign of the pacifist Akhenaten, Egypt’s power in the region was weakened; the priesthoods were no longer needed, no longer funded and became impotent.
I’m not making the usual Moses was Akhenaten claim, but I am suggesting that the followers of the religion of the Aten, with its male and female promincence (reflected in the reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, and subsequently arguably by Akhenaten and his male co-regent with the feminine epithet) was the same religion..that of Amenhotep’s mother…that of the Hebrews. “Even Redford assumes the possibility that the (monotheism) of Israel derives its origin from Amarnian religion ” http://www.geroglifici.it/aton.htm
I’m actually suggesting that neither were “monotheistic.”
Similarities in the attributes and praises given to the Aten, in prose and written by Pharaoh Akhenaten in approx. 1300 bce. with Biblical parallels and Psalm 104
For Akhenaten, the sun and its powers represented more than simply heat and light. For example, he credits the sun with giving air to an unborn chick inside and egg, and with creating a version of the Nile river in the sky in order to provide rain.
With regard to the chick in the shell, the sun even ‘allotted to him his set time before the shell shall be broken’, so its powers even governed time.
Everything in creation was fashioned by this one creator according to Akhenaten ‘O sole God, beside whom is no other!’
Also, ‘You are the One God, shining forth from your possible incarnations as Aton, the Living Sun, You create the numberless things of this world from yourself, who are One alone.’
From this we see that Akhenaten thought ‘the god’ so powerful that it was free to choose whatever form it wished, and that the creator power was manifest in the cosmos in its chosen form as the sun.
The sun was his Father, and as with all pharaohs, Akhenaten was also ‘Divine’. Amenhotep III was merely his earthly father. Alexander adopted this fashion when he proclaimed he was the son of the Egyptian god Amun; Philip was his earthly father.
Yet despite Akhenaten’s god being his loving father, in-keeping with the later monotheist gods, “The theistic God was also presumed to be the explanation for that which was beyond rational understanding, a being capable of miraculous power who therefore needed to be supplicated, praised, obeyed and pleased.” (Author BA Robinson ‘How the concepts of God have developed over the ages’)
And for Akhenaten, as for others in later times, this god was inherent in the light.
Cosmology was a hot topic amongst early philosophers. ‘Aristotle, the major source for Thales’s philosophy and science, identified Thales as the first person to investigate the basic principles, the question of the originating substances of matter and, therefore, as the founder of the school of natural philosophy. Thales was interested in almost everything, investigating almost all areas of knowledge, philosophy, history, science, mathematics, engineering, geography, and politics. He proposed theories to explain many of the events of nature, the primary substance, the support of the earth, and the cause of change. Thales was much involved in the problems of astronomy and provided a number of explanations of cosmological events which traditionally involved supernatural entities. His questioning approach to the understanding of heavenly phenomena was the beginning of Greek astronomy. Thales’s hypotheses were new and bold, and in freeing phenomena from godly intervention, he paved the way towards scientific endeavour.’ (from the Internet encyclopaedia of philosophy) http://www.iep.utm.edu/t/thales.htm
Yet at the same time, the early philosophers were also immensely influential in the development and advancement of spiritual theories. Early commentaries on rival religious groups would be written by the favoured philosopher, carefully chosen to write for, or against the variety of beliefs on offer and circulating amongst the growing populations in major cities.
Before the time of Akhenaten, the Ancient Egyptians (among other cultures) had believed that [the soul of] the deceased would travel to place of judgement, where it would have some form of a trial, with representatives among the entities present who would speak both for and against the deceased. We see places of torment for punishment of wrongdoing in the majority of belief systems of most cultures.
From Ancient Egypt we have forms of what is known as ‘The negative confession’ which has parallels with the Ten Commandments, and whereby the deceased proclaims a number of ‘declarations of innocence’
I have not caused pain,
I have not caused tears.
I have not killed,
I have not ordered to kill,
We see evidence of similar cosmological musings in the many texts discovered in recent history that date back to the last few centuries bce, one example being the texts known as the Pistis Sophia. At least half of the text describes the successive steps by which she ascends through all the Twelve Æons by the Saviour’s aid, and the confession she sings at each stage of her deliverance out of chaos.
Early Christian writings, canonical and non-canonical, use cosmological allegory.
We can see direct comparisons, similar to those used above by Akhenaten in the praise of his supposed creator.
We see explorations of how man and cosmos are related, in complicated Egyptian texts and in later works like the Divine Poeimandres, The Apocryphon of John, and in the more familiar canonical works which attempt to describe what has become known as ‘the fall’ of man from the heavens.
In the Apocryphon of John, this god is the monad. “The Monad is a monarchy with nothing above it. It is he who exists as God and Father of everything, the invisible One who is above everything, who exists as incorruption, which is in the pure light into which no eye can look. http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn.html
Because we can trace these explorations in monotheism, and the progression of ideas related to man’s place in the cosmos and to the fate of his immortal soul, I suggest that there can be no claim to ownership of any unique, correct ‘system’, and that what an individual accepts as true, or as having been inspired (according to those who were entrusted with advancing a particular philosophy) by ‘The Creator’ is entirely based on the amount/limit of this information they have been exposed to, and on their own intellectual interpretation of ‘experiences’ related to this stimulus.
The Question of Psalm 104
“During Akenaten’s reign, Egypt’s power significantly declined. When Akenaten died, his temples were destroyed. Among the few remains of his cult were hymns found written in the tombs of the proselytes at Amarna. The longest of these hymns to Aten is noted to be similar to the Psalm 104, written for the Bible hundreds of years later.
There are a few possibilities for how this might have come about. It is fairly certain that, even previous to the time of Moses, fleeing slaves in groups of various sizes, had wondered into the Sinai Peninsula. As the emigrants walked, they sang to keep up their spirits. One of the songs they sang may have been Akenaten’s hymn to the Sun. Oral tradition could have perpetuated the elements of his hymn for 600 years.
For those who are unconvinced about the similarity of these two documents, Jacob’s descent into Egypt, described in the Bible, recalls the Hyksos dynasties, where the Iron age Canaanites conquered Egypt and ruled for several generations as Pharaohs. When the descendants of the original rulers regrouped and repelled the Hyksos, both the conquerors and the large Semitic population that had entered as migrant workers before and during the foreign dynasty were either driven out or placed in bondage. This was the beginning of the 400 years of slavery. Through those who were driven out, Hymns to the Sun were introduced into Canaan. Probably due to this, worship of the Sun is forbidden in the Bible.
Another possibility stems from the evidence of Persian names in residence at Amarna. These were literate people who may have transcribed Akenaten’s poems. This would have placed the essence of this poem in Babylon, a world center for literature, by 600BC when the Jews were in exile, and the early Hebrew bible was assembled.
The Eight points of comparison: Psalm 104 and the Hymn to Aten
The following text in [–] is from Psalm 104 while the remainder is quoted translation by J.H.Breasted, from Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. II, Chapters 5 & 6.. and “The Rock Tombs of Tell el Armarna”, Archeological Survey, Egyptian Exploration Society (6vol, 1903) N. de G. Davis.
PSALM 104 [20. Thou makest darkness, and it is night, Wherein all the beasts of the forest creep forth. 21. The young Lions roar after their prey, And seek their food from God.] The tradition of Egyptian, Hindu, and Hebrew cultures starts the day at sunset. Today the day normally starts at sunrise.
AKHENATEN’S THE HYMN TO THE SUN
When thou settest in the western horizon of the sky, [1st comparison, verse 20]
The earth is in darkness like the dead.
They sleep in their chambers
Their heads are wrapped up.
Their nostrils are stopped
And none see the other.
While all their things are stolen
Which are under their heads
And they know it not
Every Lion cometh forth from his den [2nd comparison, verse 21]
All Serpents they sting
Darkness The world is in silence.
He that made them resteth in his horizon.
[22. The Sun riseth, they get them away,
and lay them down in their dens. 23. Man
goeth forth unto his work And to his labor until
Bright is the earth when thou riseth in the horizon. [3rd , 22]
When thou shinest as Aten by day
Thou drivest away the darkness.
When thou sendest forth thy rays
The two lands (Egypt) are in daily festivity.
Awake and standing upon their feet
When thou has raised them up.
Their limbs bathed they take their clothing
Their arms uplifted in adoration to thy dawning
Then in all the world they do their work.. [4th, 23]
All cattle rest upon their pasturage
The trees and the plants flourish
[12. By them the birds of the heavens have their
habitation. They sing among the branches.]
The birds flutter in their marshes, [5th, 12]
Their wings uplifted in adoration to thee.
All sheep dance on their feet.
All winged things fly,
They live when thou hast shone upon them.
[25. Yonder is the sea great and wide. Wherein
are things creeping innumerable. Both small and
great beasts. 26. There go the ships.]
The barges sail upstream and downstream alike. [6th, 26]
Every highway is open because thou dawnest.
The fish in the river leap before thee.
Thy rays are in the midst of the great green sea.
Creator of the germ in woman
Maker of the seed in man
Giving life to the son in the body of his mother
Soothing him that he may not weep.
Nurse (even) in the womb.
[29. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled.
Thou takest away their breath and they die.
And return to their dust.]
Giver of breath to animals, every one that he maketh
When he cometh forth from the womb [7th, 29]
On the day of their birth
Thou openest his mouth in speech
[27. These wait all for thee. That thou may give them
food in due season.]
Thou suppliest his necessities.[8th, 27]
When the fledgling in the egg chirps in the shell
Thou givest him breath there-in to preserve him alive.
When thou hast brought him together
to (the point of) bursting it in the egg
To chirp with all his might,
He goeth about on his two feet
When he hath come forth therefrom.
How manifold are thy works,
They are hidden from before (us)
O Sole God, whose powers no other possesseth.
Thou didst create the earth according to thy heart
While thou wast alone
Man, all cattle, large and small
All that are upon the earth
That go about on their feet
(All) That are on high
That fly with their wings
The foreign countries, Syria and Kush,
The land of Egypt
Thou settest every man into his place
Thou suppliest their necessities
Everyone has his possessions
And his days are reckoned
The tongues are divers in speech
Their forms likewise and their skins are distinguished
(For) thou makest different the strangers.
And here is a comparison of the Hymn to the Aten with other Biblical and LDS parallels
Let your holy Light shine from the height of heaven,
O living Aton,
source of all life!
From estern horizon risen and streaming,
you have flooded the world with your beauty.
You are majestic, awesome, bedazzling, exalted,
overlord over all earth,
yet your rays, they touch lightly, compass the lands
to the limits of all your creation.
There in the Sun, you reach to the farthest of those
you would gather in for your Son,
whom you love;
Though you are far, your light is wide upon earth;
and you shine in the faces of all
who turn to follow your journeying.
When you sink to rest below western horizon
earth lies in darkness like death,
Sleepers are still in bedchambers, heads veiled,
eye cannot spy a companion;
All their goods could be stolen away,
heads heavy there, and they never knowing!
Lions come out from the deeps of their caves,
snakes bite and sting;
Darkness muffles, and earth is silent
he who created all things lies low in his tomb.
Earth-dawning mounts the horizon,
glows in the sun-disk as day:
You drive away darkness, offer your arrows of shining,
and the Two Lands are lively with morningsong.
Sun’s children awaken and stand,
for you, golden light, have upraised the sleepers;
Bathed are their bodies, who dress in clean linen,
their arms held high to praise your Return.
Across the face of the earth
they go to their crafts and profession
he herds are at peace in their pastures,
trees and the vegetation grow green;
Birds start from their nests,
wings wide spread to worship your Person;
Small beasts frisk and gambol, and all
who mount into flight or settle to rest
live, once you have shone upon them;
Ships float downstream or sail for the south,
each path lies open because of your rising;
Rish in the River leap in your sight,
and your rays strike deep in the Great Green
It is you [who] create the new creature in Woman,
shape the life-giving drops into Man,
Foster the son in the womb of his mother,
soothe him, ending his tears;
Nurse through the long generations of women
to those given Air,
you ensure that your handiwork prosper.
When the new one descends from the womb
to draw breath the day of his birth,
You open his mouth, you shape his nature,
and you supply all his necessities.
Hark to the chick in the egg,
he who speaks in the shell!
You give him air within
to save and prosper him;
And you have allotted to him his set time
before the shell shall be broken;
Then out from the egg he comes,
from the egg to peep at his natal hour!
And up on his own two feet goes he
when at last he struts forth therefrom.
How various is the world you have created,
each thing mysterious, sacred to sight,
O sole God,
beside whom is no other!
You fashioned earth to your heart’s desire,
while you were still alone,
Filled it with man and the family of creatures,
each kind on the ground, those who go upon feet,
he on high soaring on wings,
The far lands of Khor and Kush,
and the rich Black Land of Egypt.
And you place each one in his proper station,
where you minister to his needs;
Each has his portions of food,
and the years of life are reckoned him,
Tongues are divided by words,
natures made diverse as well,
Even men’s skins are different
that you might distinguish the nations.
You make Hapy, the Nile, stream through the underworld,
and bring him, with whatever fullness you will,
To preserve and nourish the People
in the same skilled way you fashion them.
You are Lord of each one,
who wearies himself in their service,
Yet Lord of all earth, who shines for them all,
Sun-disk of day, holy Light!
All of the far foreign contries–
you are the cause they live,
For you have put a Nile in the sky
that he might descend upon them in rain–
He makes waves on the very mountains
like waves on the Great Green Sea
to water their fields and their villages.
How splendidly ordered are they,
your purposes for this world,
O Lord of Eternity, Hapy in heaven!
Although you belong to the distant peoples,
to the small, shy beasts
who travel the deserts and uplands,
Yet Hapy, he comes from Below
for the dear Land of Egypt as well.
And your Sunlight nurses each field and meadow:
when you shine, they live,
they grow sturdy and prosper through you.
You set seasons to let the world flower and flourish–
winter to rest and refresh it,
the hot blast of summer to ripen;
And you have made heaven far off
in order to shine down therefrom,
in order to watch over all your creation.
You are the One God,
shining forth from your possible incarnations
as Aton, the Living Sun,
Revealed like a king in glory, risen in light,
now distant, now bending nearby.
You create the numberless things of this world
from yourself, who are One alone–
cities, towns, fields, the roadway, the River;
And each eye looks back and beholds you
to learn from the day’s light perfection.
O God, you are in the Sun disk of Day,
Over-Seer of all creation
passed on to all who shall every be;
For you fashioned their sight, who perceive your universe,
that they praise with one voice
all your labors.
And you are in my heart;
there is no other who truly knows you
but for your son, Akhenaten.
May you make him wise with your inmost counsels,
wise with your power,
that earth may aspire to your godhead,
its creatures fine as the day you made them.
Once you rose into shining, they lived;
when you sink to rest, they shall die.
For it is you who are Time itself,
the span of the world;
life is by means of you.
Eyes are filled with beauty
until you go to your rest;
All work is laid aside
as you sink down the western horizon.
Then, Shine reborn! Rise splendidly!
my Lord, let life thrive for the King
Who has kept peace with your every footstep
since you first measured ground for the world.
Lift up the creatures of earth for your Son
who came forth from your Body of Fire!