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Custodians of Truth
THE CONTINUANCE OF REX DEUS
By TIM WALLACE-MURPHY, MARILYN HOPKINS
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2005 Tim Wallace-Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins
All rights reserved.
Tep Zepi—The Origin of Egyptian Gnosis
The search for the true roots of the Rex Deus tradition begins in ancient Egypt, where we find the earliest demonstrable source of a sustained system of initiation preserved by a hereditary priesthood. This tradition passed its teachings down to the world's three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The discovery and accurate translation of the Pyramid Texts was a major turning point in our understanding of ancient Egyptian history. These texts not only led to a deeper appreciation of the antiquity of Egyptian religious thought, but also cast doubt on the widely held theory that the pyramids were built solely as tombs celebrating the pomp and power of the pharaohs. In the Pyramid Texts, these previously silent tombs had at last spoken.
The Pyramid Texts
In the winter of 1879, a rumor began to circulate in Egyptian archaeological circles of an amazing new and seemingly accidental discovery of enormous importance—one apparently brought about by an earthly incarnation of the god Anubis. Among the ancient Egyptians, Anubis was a deified form of the jackal known as the Desert Fox; his other divine incarnation was as Upuaut, also known as the Opener of the Ways.
Standing near the pyramid of Unas at Saqqara, an Arab workman spotted a desert fox silhouetted against the light of the rising Sun. The animal behaved rather strangely. It moved, stopped, and looked about as if inviting its silent observer to follow it. Then the animal moved again before disappearing into a large crevice in the north face of the pyramid. Scenting possible treasure, the workman followed and, after a difficult crawl, found himself in a large chamber within the pyramid. Lighting his torch, he saw that the walls of the chamber were covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions superbly decorated with turquoise and gold. Similar inscriptions were later found in other pyramids and, collectively, they are now known as the Pyramid Texts. In total, over 4,000 lines of hymns and formulae have been found.
Professor Gaston Maspero, Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, was the first European to explore the interior of the pyramid of Unas and view the texts in situ, on 28 February 1881. For him and the world of Egyptology, the modern four-legged incarnation of Upuaut had opened the way, both literally and figuratively. The discovery of the Pyramid Texts, in turn, played its part in opening the way to a more profound understanding of the spiritual beliefs at the time of Unas, as well as to an important understanding of the great depth that sacred knowledge or gnosis had attained in remote antiquity when the texts were actually composed.
Confusion, controversy, and dispute marred the first hurried interpretation of the texts by Gaston Maspero. This, unfortunately, masked their true importance for decades—a situation compounded by a later translator, leading Egyptologist James Henry Breasted, who mistakenly described the texts as expressions of a solar cult.
Gaston Maspero claimed that most of the texts were written versions of a far older tradition dating back to Egypt's prehistoric past, arguing that they predated the events described in the Book of Exodus by at least two millennia, and the writing of the New Testament by nearly 3,400 years. Professor I. E. S. Edwards of the British Museum confirmed this when he stated unequivocally: "The Pyramid Texts were certainly not inventions of the Vth or VIth dynasties, but had originated in extreme antiquity; it is hardly surprising, therefore, that they sometimes contain allusions to conditions which no longer prevailed at the time of Unas ..." Thus, in the opinion of two of Egyptology's greatest authorities, the Pyramid Texts are without doubt the oldest collection of religious writings ever discovered.
The world had to wait nearly ninety years for the first definitive translation of the texts. In 1969, Raymond Faulkner, professor of ancient Egyptian language at University College, London, published what is now accepted by most scholars as the authoritative version. In it, he concluded: "The Pyramid Texts constitute the oldest corpus of Egyptian religious and funerary literature now extant." As a result of his translation, these texts are now accepted to be the earliest collection of sacred knowledge, or "esoteric wisdom," yet to be found.
The esoteric content of the texts only became apparent after the publication of Faulkner's translation, which clearly demonstrates that a highly complex and well-developed stellar cult is being described—one in which, after his death, the deceased pharaoh ascended to heaven and was ritually reunited with the stars.
Tep Zepi—The First Time
The Pyramid Texts make repeated reference to Tep Zepi, the so-called First Time, the legendary time of Osiris when Egypt was believed to have been ruled directly by the gods in human form. These gods, according to legend, gave the Egyptians the wondrous gift of sacred knowledge. The texts also disclose a complex, profound, and uncannily accurate knowledge of astronomy. How did this highly sophisticated level of astronomical knowledge arise in prehistoric Egypt when the texts were first composed without any evidence of a developmental period? And when was the First Time and where did it occur?
One noted modern author, John Anthony West, provides a possible answer to the first question:
Every aspect of Egyptian knowledge seems to have been complete at the very beginning. The sciences, artistic and architectural techniques and the hieroglyphic system show virtually no signs of "development"; indeed many of the achievements of the earliest dynasties were never surpassed or even equalled later on.... The answer to the mystery is, of course, obvious, but because it is repellent to the prevailing cast of modern thinking, it is seldom seriously considered. Egyptian civilisation was not a development, it was a legacy.
If these complex levels of knowledge were, in fact, a legacy, whose legacy were they? Nothing in nature or in history arises in a vacuum. As there is no extant evidence indicating any form of developmental period in Egyptian history, then the obvious conclusion is that this knowledge was either acquired and developed elsewhere or derived from a much earlier and as yet undiscovered civilization that flourished in Egypt itself. The latter idea is a viable possibility, as there are vast areas of Egypt yet to be excavated—areas buried by the sands of the desert or rendered inaccessible by the sprawling suburbs of Cairo and other cities. It is the first possibility, however, that has received the most scholarly and speculative attention and aroused the most controversy.
A variety of theories have been advanced to explain the origin of the highly sophisticated levels of knowledge disclosed by the texts. They range from suggestions that they originated with the survivors of Atlantis, from an earlier but undiscovered Egyptian civilization, or, more likely, as the result of an invasion by a vastly superior culture—the so-called "dynastic race theory" that was first seriously proposed by the father of modern Egyptology, William Matthew Flinders Petrie. While the idea of a dominant race is repugnant to modern adherents of political correctness, we should not allow this to blind us to the fact that there often were races that dominated others in many historical eras.
In the 1893-94 archaeological season, excavations by Flinders Petrie and James Quibell at Nakada uncovered over 2,000 graves of the pre-dynastic period. The pottery and artefacts discovered in these graves showed clearly that they were from two distinct periods, which Petrie designated as Nakada I and Nakada II. In the Nakada II graves, pottery fragments were found that were distinctly Mesopotamian in character. In excavations of Nile Valley sites prior to this era, however, artefacts of foreign manufacture are virtually nonexistent. Petrie also recorded finding lapis lazuli in the Nakada II tombs, the only instance of this exotic stone in sites of the pre-dynastic period. The stone is not found again until the era of the Old Kingdom over 600 years later. It was, however, highly prized and sought after in Mesopotamia prior to the time of the Nakada II interments in the Nile Valley.
The sudden appearance of other signs of Mesopotamian culture in Egypt at this time may also indicate the Mesopotamian origins of the so-called dynastic race. Depictions of the pear-shaped mace, the cylinder seal, remarkable brick architecture, and hieroglyphic writing are all claimed as evidence of the true origin of this sudden cultural transformation. One of Flinders Petrie's pupils, Douglas Derry, was specific about the origins of this great leap forward when he wrote in 1956:
It is also very suggestive of the presence of a dominant race, perhaps relatively few in numbers but greatly exceeding the original inhabitants in intelligence; a race which brought into Egypt the knowledge of building in stone, of sculpture, painting, reliefs and above all writing; hence the enormous jump from the primitive pre-dynastic Egyptian to the advanced civilisation of the Old Empire (the Old Kingdom.)
Another of Petrie's pupils and protégés, Dutch Egyptologist and orientalist Henry Frankfort, describes the appearance of the cylinder seal in pre-dynastic Egypt as "... the strongest evidence of contact between Mesopotamia and Egypt." The sudden appearance of evidence of this type of cross-cultural contact within Egyptian records, however, fails to explain the route by which such influences and artefacts arrived in the Nile Valley. Discoveries made by Arthur Weighall, inspector of antiquities for the Egyptian government from 1905 until 1914, may help to clarify this problem.
Weighall explored the desert region of Wadi Abbad in the eastern desert during March 1908. The wadi leads from the Nile Valley at the town of Edfu toward the Red Sea port of Mersa Alam. It contains the Temple of Kanais built by Seti I, father of Ramses the Great, in honor of the god Amun-Re. Weighall recorded graffiti carved in the rocks of the wadi depicting strange high-prowed boats. His ink drawings of these maritime inscriptions found in the middle of the desert were published the following year. In the spring of 1936, Hans Winkler explored the nearby Wadi Hammamat and found another series of rock drawings similar to those found eighteen years earlier by Weighall. When he published his findings, Winkler suggested that these drawings were of seafarers who had landed on the west coast of the Red Sea and crossed the desert en route to the Nile Valley. He described these seafarers as a "military expedition."
Intrigued by these discoveries, the English Egyptologist David Rohl reinvestigated both Wadi Abbad and Wadi Hammamat before extending the search into Wadi Barramiya in 1997. In Wadi Barramiya, Rohl found more drawings of the high-prowed boats and suggested that there was a direct connection between the people whose voyage was recorded in this manner and the Nakada II graves excavated by Petrie. Rohl was seeking evidence for the Shemsa-Hor, the followers of Horus, who, he believed, were the immediate ancestors of the first pharaohs. The earliest surviving references to the followers of Horus occur in the Pyramid Texts, which refer to a succession of priestly initiates who transmitted an extraordinary body of knowledge from master to pupil down through the generations. The origin of this knowledge lay in the mysterious "time of the Neteru,"—when the gods supposedly ruled Egypt immediately prior to the time of the earliest pharaohs. These initiates were not necessarily kings, but immensely powerful and enlightened individuals carefully selected by an elite academy that established itself at the sacred site of Heliopolis-Giza in the era of Egyptian prehistory. Georges Goyon, one-time Egyptologist to King Farouk, claimed: "Giza was chosen by the priest-astronomers because of certain religious and scientific factors."
We know that the scholars of the classical world, who had firsthand experience of the knowledge of the ancient Egyptians, were awestruck by the levels of sacred knowledge and wisdom shown by the Heliopolitan and Memphite priests. The ancient Greeks especially revered the astronomical science of the Egyptians. Aristotle wrote that the Egyptians were astronomers with advanced levels of knowledge, "whose observations have been kept for many years past, and from whom much of our evidence about particular stars is derived." Later in the fifth century C.E., Proclus Diodachus wrote: "Let those, who believe in observations, cause the stars to move around the poles of the zodiac by one degree in one hundred years towards the east, as Ptolemy and Hipparchus did before him know ... that the Egyptians had already taught Plato about the movement of the fixed stars...." The modern authors Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock conclude: "The Heliopolitan priests were high initiates in the mysteries of the heavens and their dominant occupation was the observation and recording of the various motions of the sun and the moon, the planets and the stars," a view endorsed by Professor Edwards of the British Museum. John Anthony West paraphrased the views of one leading scholar, Schwaller de Lubicz, when he stated that Egyptian science, medicine, mathematics, and astronomy were all of an exponentially higher order of refinement and sophistication than modern scholars will acknowledge, and that the whole of Egyptian civilization was based upon a complete and precise understanding of universal laws.
The incredibly sophisticated levels of gnosis attained through initiation were not used for personal gain by the priestly and royal initiates of the Egyptian temple mysteries. While rank and royal birth undoubtedly had their privileges, the sacred knowledge of subjects such as astronomy, agriculture, architecture, building, medicine, mathematics, navigation, and metallurgy were used for the benefit of the entire community. Protected by the desert that surrounded it and sustained by this divinely inspired gnosis, Egyptian civilization developed a stability and complexity that has never been exceeded. This vast body of esoteric knowledge was recorded, in part, in the Pyramid Texts, the Edfu Texts, and the Books of the Dead, as well as being encoded on temple walls and elsewhere. Speaking of the dualism that lay at the heart of Egyptian sacred knowledge, Bauval and Hancock wrote: "The language of all these texts is exotic, laden with the dualistic thinking that lay at the heart of Egyptian society and that may have been the engine of its greatest achievements." The Edfu Texts constantly refer to what they call the "wisdom of the Sages" and repeatedly emphasize that their most valued gift was knowledge.
Schwaller de Lubicz came to the conclusion that the ancient Egyptians had their own unique and effective way of understanding the universe and man's place within it—a knowledge system completely different from that revered by modern man. They used a manner of knowing that could not be clearly transmitted by normal analytical language, but only through myth and symbolism. Schwaller began his own work on symbols and symbolism by restating that there are always two distinct ways of interpreting Egyptian religious texts—the exoteric and the esoteric. The exoteric meaning forms the basis for the standard interpretation, which can be arrived at by the study of the appropriate textbooks on religion and history. It also serves as a vehicle for the hidden, or esoteric, meaning, which Schwaller described as the symbolique interpretation. He claimed that this form of esoteric knowledge had generally long been forgotten, but its symbolic remnants were transmitted, in one form or another, to all the great religions that sprang from Egyptian roots.
Symbols and hieroglyphs evoke far more complex responses than can ever be achieved by words, no matter how beautifully written. Those familiar with the works of the modern initiate Rudolf Steiner, or those who have studied the artefacts created by the medieval craftmasons or immersed themselves in Egyptology will know the truth of this from their own experience. The hardheaded, modern writers Pauwels and Bergier commented insightfully on exactly this aspect of ancient symbolism and the initiates who used it:
They ... wrote in stone their hermetic message. Signs, incomprehensible to men whose consciousness had not undergone transmutations ... These men were not secretive because they loved secrecy, but simply because their discoveries about the Laws of Energy, of matter and of the mind had been made in another state of consciousness and so could not be communicated directly.
The ancient Egyptian initiates were not the only ones who used symbols in this manner; this form of communication has been used by the sages and initiates of all the world's great religious traditions, from antiquity to the present. Nor did the ancient Egyptians restrict their use of symbolism to matters of religion and knowledge, which at that time were synonymous or regarded as different aspects of the same reality. They also used it to reinforce the divine origin, power, and lineal descent of the pharaohs.
Excerpted from Custodians of Truth by TIM WALLACE-MURPHY, MARILYN HOPKINS. Copyright © 2005 Tim Wallace-Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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