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Previous: The Lessons of Moses Part 2: Creation. The Genesis according to Egyptians
Geb (Adam, for both words signify bare, or red earth.) Lay with his wife Eve (Isis, for in Egyptian belief, a sister could always be a wife, a lover, mistress, even their mothers were fair game, as Nut, was the mother, lover and mistress of Geb, in the myth of Creation.) And Isis (Eve) became pregnant and gave birth to Cain (Seth- Set); saying, 'with the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man, later she gave birth to Osiris (Abel, for both words signify vegetation, both were green gods).
Now Osiris-Abel supplied the flocks with their needs, and Cain- Seth worked the soil.
When it came to the time of offering the first fruits of harvest, Seth- Cain brought some of the spoils of the earth and sea. But Osiris-Abel brought some of the fat portions from the firstborn of the flocks.
The Lord looked with favour upon Osiris's- Abel's offerings, but upon those of Seth-Cain he was not pleased, so Seth-Cain was very angry and his face was downcast.
Was he not the firstborn, the first king of all earth and sea? And now his brother had taken his crown, and had been given Nephthys Sister, the beautiful Isis as his Queen. He was no longer the apple of his father's Eye. All his labour was in vain. So, Seth- Cain, decided he would put an end to his Brother Osiris-Abel, and regain his Crown and take Osiris's wife as his own, by hook or crook.
So, Seth returned to his great hall, and sat upon his great throne and plotted his revenge.
And days became weeks,
and weeks became months,
and months years,
till 27 years had soon past, and still he plotted. Meanwhile Osiris became the greatest of kings, everyone was happy, everything flourished.
Then in flash Seth hit upon the perfect plot. The first thing he did was organize the construction of a beautiful box, carved from cedar wood, inlaid with ebony and ivory, to commemorate the 28th year of his twin brothers reign, as king of all earth.
This elaborate casket was tailored to the perfect measurements of Osiris's body, the precise proportions of which Seth had tricked out of Isis, through her sister, who was his wife Nephthys.
This in motion, he gathered 72 like minded accomplices to aid and abet him with his planned ambush of Osiris.
And satisfied with his plans he sent out his invitation to his twin brother and king Osiris.
My great and dearest brother, most illustrious and gracious king, whom it has been my privilege to serve without question. I have long pondered how we should show our gratitude to you, for all have prospered under your rule; but knowing that you will not accept gifts or offerings, it is only fitting that you allow your subjects to rejoice and show their love for you. To which end, I have taken it upon myself, at my own expense to honour your great reign with a festival in appreciation and celebration for all you done for your subjects in the 28th year of your kingship. For all those who have benefited by your provident rule wish to thank and praise you. I thus beg that you will do me the great service and honour of attending this memorial, your faithful and undying brother and servant, Seth. PS,
I have stipulated that all male guests must be accompanied by his wife;
If not his wife, then his mistress,
If not his mistress, then his lover,
If not his lover, then his sister,
If not his sister, then his mother,
For this is to be a joyous affair;
and nobody should be without company
So, on the day and time Set, Osiris arrived with his Queen, Isis, for she was his wife, mother, lover, mistress, and sister.
The great hall of Seth thronged with people and noise for the beggar's banquet was already in full swing. Everywhere were tables laden with the finest of every kind of food, fruits and wine. At the Eastern end two vacant golden thrones awaited the guests of honour. And set in the middle of the hall on two pedestals was the beautiful and elaborate casket of cedar, inlaid with Ebony and ivory. Its lid had been removed so that its craftsmanship and worth was obvious to all. All those present including the 72 accomplices of Seth admired, wondered and speculated over its presence and meaning; what was its purpose? None but Seth knew. But Seth sat in darkness, on his great throne at far end of the hall, watching for his brother's arrival.
As Osiris and Isis entered, there was silence, but Seth remained seated and watched.
Osiris and Isis seated themselves at the opposite end to Seth, and the people returned to noisy drinking, eating and gossiping. Osiris pretended not to notice the beautiful chest, for conjecture and desires of rabble were not the precepts of kingship. And Seth remained in his place, as the revellers became more and more intoxicated, and louder and louder.
Then suddenly Seth rose from his black throne, and gave the sign for silence, and the crowd fell silent, and turned towards him.
And Seth spoke, and made himself heard.
"We are gathered here this day, in honour of my great brother and our illustrious king, to celebrate the first 28 years of his glorious and prosperous reign over all the earth. To commemorate this momentous day, I, his brother, and humble servant, have at my own expense provided food and wine for all, in great abundance. I have also had this fine and most beautiful Ark made, and it shall belong to whoever can lay down it and fill it perfectly with his body."
Then Seth sat down and watched. The revellers were in high spirits, and surrounded the casket.
One by one they tried their luck,
threw the dice and laid in the trunk.
One by one they failed to make the grade,
as each one's hope entered the grave,
they began to smell a rat,
till it seemed obvious to all, that
none would fit the bill.
More and more they questioned Seth's motive; the excited talk turned seditious,
A murmur became a rumour,
a rumour became an accusation.
Only two people in the room looked like they had any chance of filling the box. And they knew such games were below the morals of their great king Osiris, who like his wife was virtuous and upstanding in every way, and had no interest in objects or possessions, for he was not a man who would lower himself to such vulgar intrigues. They perceived that Seth, who to that day had never been known for his generosity, never intended to give away such an expensive gift, and the drunken crowd began to moan
And the moaning and groaning,
Turned to taunts of anger,
and they turned towards Seth,
Who seated upon his black throne,
seemed oblivious to it all; as he awaited his moment.
As their anger turned to abuse, then to threats of violence.
Then suddenly Seth raised himself up, gave the sign for silence, and head held high made his way towards Osiris. The crowd splintered at his sides to let him through.
Seth stopped and knelt prostrate before Osiris who had not stirred or spoken. Osiris gave the sign for Seth to stand and speak. And Seth stood and made himself heard.
'Dear, illustrious brother, my king, whom I have served faithfully all thy years, do you hear their noise? In all faith did I arrange and plan this day. To celebrate your kingship; and with all joy did I commission this trophy, this prize; so that a memorial of these years was left. I have no need of this trinket, this box, this great ark, it was made for men, for men to admire and seek foolishly to acquire and keep it.
You know neither you yourself or I require such things; but they are full of wine; and greed and want ignore already full bellies. I beg you, for my sake, you favour me but for a moment and test the casket. For when they see you do not fit, they will relent; for if you do not fit the requirements, then what chance have I, for we are identical twins in all but mind.'
For the sake and honour of his beloved brother Seth, not through desire, but through valour, and to keep the peace, Osiris agreed and stood up and walked towards the Ark.
As he did so, Seth begged Isis to come to his vineyard and help him choose the best of the wines, for all the wine was nearly gone and the crowd was angry enough. She agreed and they left the great hall unnoticed as all eyes were firmly fixed on his brother.
Meanwhile, Osiris approached the ornate casket. Indeed, desire had crossed his mind, but he was excused, he was only doing it for his brother's sake. He climbed into the casing and laid down. Low and behold it fitted to perfection, but before he could raise himself and claim his prize, the 72 accomplices threw on the lid of the Ark and nailed it shut.
In the vineyards of Seth, Seth InSISted Isis taste the wines, which she did and soon enough she was drunk and fell into a deep sleep.
Seth soon returned to his great hall, the Guests had all departed, and he made his way to the chest and carried it off to the edge of the Nile. On reaching the water's edge, he bade his brother farewell and threw the coffin into the middle of the river. Soon enough the current would carry it and Osiris into the great sea, to be lost in oblivion forever he thought.
Seth returned to the hall in high spirits; soon, surely his crown would once more grace his head, and he could take Isis as his bride. He thanked his 72 companions and returned to his vineyards where Isis lay Stupefied with wine. And later still he returned to his great hall, sat on his dark throne, happy with his night's work, and awaited the return of his kingship.
In the morning, Isis awoke with a throbbing head, she got up from the ground and brushed herself down and hurried back to the great hall. The guests had all gone and Seth appeared to be sleeping on his throne.
Isis woke him and asked where her husband was, or where he had gone. But Seth told her he had no idea, where he went or was; he had been asleep when the guests left, but reassured her saying that surely, he would have returned home, for he had never been one to neglect his duty to his charges.
Isis left swiftly heading homeward, but not finding him there, she reported Osiris's sudden and unexplained disappearance to Re, who concerned for his favoured son's safety called the gods before him and asked each one in turn if they had seen hide or hair of him. But not one of them had seen him since he had left for the celebrations and he dismissed them to their stations, bidding them to keep an eye out for him, and report anything they saw directly to him.
Seth was the last to arrive, and knelt before Re, and touched the ground his feet with his forehead. Then Seth stood up, and waited. Re, was well aware of the friction between the two brothers.
And Re questioned Seth, (Cain.)
'Where is your brother Osiris (Abel.)
'I don't know.' he replied and added.
'Am I my brother's keeper?'
Then Seth returned to his great hall and waited, soon enough all would be his once more.
But the minutes passed into hours,
and the hours into days,
and the days into nights,
And the days and nights into weeks,
and the weeks into months,
and yet still no crown appeared.
Now Seth was worried, what if the coffin had continued to float and Isis had rescued Osiris? Something was amiss, and soon he was heading off towards the Nile and the very spot where he had cast the Ark into the water.
Meanwhile the ever more worried Isis had been to see her sister Nephthys, and told her everything she could remember. Nephthys who knew nothing about the celebrations was suspicious and agreed to help Isis search for her husband.
Seth now standing by the bank of the Nile, was deep in thought; when he caught a glimpse of a very green shrub or tree in the distance. And even though he was still, the tree seemed to be getting bigger before his very eyes and he hurried off towards it.
Indeed, the current had carried the casket towards the far shore where it had beached and immediately a Tamarisk seed had sprouted and was growing rapidly. By the time Seth had reached it, its trunk had engulfed the coffin, and the tree was covered in great galls. Seth, the great tree cutter, fetched his great Axe, cut it down, split the trunk and retrieved the Ark. When he opened it, he found Osiris's body intact, uncorrupted by death or time. Seth enraged cut the body into forty- two pieces, and threw them into the middle of the Nile, piece by piece, once more.
There was no chance Osiris could survive this time he thought, and he returned to his great hall and sat upon his throne, confident that his crowning glory was only hours away.
But as the night gave way to day,
And the day gave way to night,
And the days and nights gave way to weeks,
And the weeks gave way to months,
and still no herald came, no crown appeared, Seth set off once again towards the Nile.
It was almost evening, and the day fading fast when he reached the point on the far side of the Nile, where he had cast the 42 body parts of Osiris into the river. Seth seated himself and pondered what could have gone wrong.
As he sat silently, deep in thought, he heard a strange sound, like dozens of hands or oars slapping the surface of the water; but there were no boats to be seen, and he strained his eyes harder, he saw something fly out of the water, only to crash back into it. Again, and again it happened, gradually moving up the river. Seth began to follow the sound, as what seemed like a fish or fishes battled their way up the Nile.
On all his year's he had never seen a spectacle like it, and he continued to trail the fish up river.
In a flash, it dawned on Seth; the Nile was the mother of Egypt, but while most things flowed out of her womb, these fish were heading towards it. It had to be his brother, or at least the pieces of him seeking rebirth. As he kept following and thinking how he could stop him, he heard a great roar, coming from the trees that now grew more densely near the banks. Seth ran off into the trees, until he found a Great Bear roaring with hunger, she had a young cub with her. Seth seized his chance and told her of the great host of fat fish making its way up the river; it would be easy fishing, even for her hungry cub he informed her. The bear and cub hurried to the river, catching the fish as they leaped out of the water, as Seth watched from a distance. But all too soon, the bears were full to bursting and retreated to the trees to rest, and the surviving fish carried on their journey. There was nothing more Seth could do except keep following. Every day the Nile grew narrower, more-steep, and less deep, but the fish carried on.
At length Seth reached the tiny pool that was the first source of the mighty Nile, and he waited to see what would happen next.
Moments later two of the fish entered the shallow pool; they swam side by side as if dancing and they began to transform before his very eyes. As they did Seth began to smile, as he recognised his old friend Cetus, [ to us now perceived as a whale, was originally a Salmon, whose contorted head of death, Seth knew well.]
All the fish dead and rotted, Seth returned home to await his crown.
But Mother Nile having received back her dead son, wept, and cried out like thunder. Her endless tears flowed like a torrent; her grief flooded Egypt and trapped Seth in his great hall. Seth knew he would have to wait for his crown, till her grief had subsided and the flood waters began to recede.
Meanwhile, Isis, with the help of her sister Nephthys carried on searching for Osiris, by night and day they scoured Egypt without success. Then one morning as Nephthys watched the receding waters she spotted a part of Osiris's body, then another and another she quickly hastened to Isis and told her what she had seen. Isis was sorely grieved but determined to gather up every piece she could. At length she found 41 pieces, but when the Nile would recede no more, she knew the final piece was lost. She went home and tearing strips of linen from her seven skirts, she began to bandage his body back together. When she had finished to her dismay it was his most vital part that was missing. So, she made a phallus from cedar wood and attached it to the body, and using a magic spell provided by Re, she got herself pregnant, and brought forth a son called Horus who immediately received his father's crown.
Seth emerging from his great hall, heard all the noises of Spring, and knew all his efforts had been in vain. And soon learned that Horus, son of Osiris was the new king; he burned with anger, but knew he would have to find a new way to retrieve his crown.
Now to explain some of the reasoning of the story.
Next: The Lessons of Moses Part 4: Creation Act 2, The Rebellion of Mankind