Posts Tagged With: Hathor

Seth & the Seed Goddess

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Extract from “Ritual Year In Ancient Egypt”

Although the goddess Hathor is known as the bestower of human fertility, there are traces that this quality extents to animals and indeed crops. The myth of “Seth & the Seed goddess” concerns seed in all its connotation including semen and the female equivalent. The following dedication is adapted from traditional spells of the time of King Rameses II.
Why this is so

(this part of the spell is to be read out)

Once upon a time
The Seed Goddess Hathor
Took a bath on the shore in order to purify herself in the oasis
Seth was out walking and he saw her
He saw her jewel encrusted girdle, he saw her bare ass,
And it turned him on
Then he mounted her as a ram mounts a ewe
He covered her as a bull covers a cow
But for the seed goddess it was all wrong
And she went straight to his head
To the region between his eyebrows where the full moon sits
And he lay down, exhausted on his bed
and was stricken with the seed become poison
Then his other wife Nephthys (Anath),
The victorious goddess
An androgynous woman who acts like a warrior
Who wears a man’s kilt
Tied with a woman’s sash
Distressed, went to her father the Sun god Ra
He said “what is the matter with you”
Nephthys, victorious goddess
Androgynous woman who acts like a warrior
Who wears a man’s kilt
Tied with a woman’s sash
I am near to my evening setting
I know you want me to cure Set of the effects of his overstrenous coupling with Hathor
The poison of the bad seed out of place
Let Set’s stupidity be a lesson for him
Hathor, the seed goddess was destined for the bed
of the sun god above
He will make love to her with his heavenly fire
His will be as hard as steel when he enters her.

Hearing this the divine Isis said:
I am the Nubian woman
I have come down from heaven
I have come to realise the seed in the body
of every mother’s son and every mother’s daughter
And cause them to return in good health
For as Horus lives
So shall all live:

Morgan, M (2011) The Ritual Year in Ancient Egypt, Mandrake of Oxford
Pinch, G (1993) Votive Offerings to Hathor, Oxford

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“Personal Piety” in Ancient Egypt

The evidence from monuments

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This eroded image of Hathor adorns the back wall of the holiest part of the Hathor temple at Dendara in Upper Egypt. You may think these are marks of vandalism on the image but in fact the gouges are made by the many ancient pilgrims to the shrine. Its position on the back wall was precisely to facilitate the devotions of the pilgrims, who were otherwise not eligible to enter the main shrine.

Most Egyptian shrines are scarred by many thousands of these pilgrim gouges – sometimes the powder is mixed into potions and consumed for healing and other purposes.. (See David Frankfurter “Religion in Roman Egypt”.) The practice begins in 19th dynasty Ramesside times (circa 1350BCE) perhaps even earlier. Uvo Hölscher, who conducted the excavations at Medinet Habu, unearthed some examples on blocks reused to line the tomb of king Horsiese circa 1000BCE. Elsewhere in the temple are countless examples of such marks from the Ptolemaic and Roman eras. The practice continues even today. (1)

For example, you can see these gouges all over the wall of the Memorial Temple of Ramsesses III at Medinet Habu. Slightly surprising when you recall he was not a supposedly popular king and managed to get himself murdered in the infamous “Harim conspiracy”.

The emergence of “personal piety” at such an early date is for some a controversial thesis. Personal piety should be considered in contrast to the more official religious cult offered in the temples; which was “vicarious” (from which we get the term vicar) religion made by elite groups on behalf of the masses. I am particularly attracted by the phenomena of more personal religious activity – unmediated by the priesthood. It seems to me that magick is also a more personal religious activity.

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Magical Neutralizing:

Other more common marks are made in the Coptic period. The images of the gods are marked in a very precise and time consuming manner in order to neutralize their power so the building can be stripped of its valuables or reused by other gods. The precision of the execration shows an awareness of magical modes. The faces, hands and feet are gouged out as these represent the organs of action of the beings represented in the image:

This is from the Memorial Temple of Sety I at Abydos
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continues …
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(1) Uvo Hölscher The Excavation of Medinet Habu Vol V Post-Ramesside Remains Chicago 1954 – page 9

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