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Previous: The Lessons of Moses Part 3: The Mort d'Osiris
It came to pass one day as Re was busily directing the affairs of the world, making sure the land was watered and the herds nourished, that he heard a whisper from the voices of some passing herdsmen, and soon discovered that some of mankind were plotting to kill and replace him with one of their own kind. But before he could apprehend the guilty parties they had gained wind of their discovery and had promptly fled into the desert and hid themselves from Re' glare.
Re was dismayed, did he not rise early each morning before men and natured stirred and cover the fertile land with dew, was it not him who gave the signal for the birds to sing and the cock to crow at his arrival and gently stir men from their slumber, was it not he who lighted their way, who ripened fruits and fed the game they hunted; was it not he who clothed them and filled their bellies.
Re, not being quite sure how to react decided to hold council with all the gods of creation and hear their advice before proceeding. So, at Re' command all the gods came to listen to his woes and offer their advice. As each god entered the council chamber, in the great house of conjunction, they touched the ground at Re' feet with their foreheads, then seated themselves and waited; Re stood up, gave the sign, and made himself heard.
Re told them how he had discovered a plot by some of mankind to slay him, and that they planned to run things their own way, even appointing one of the own kind to rule. This was a serious, indeed, a grave situation, were the gods to be usurped by mere mortals, by the very matter they had themselves animated? He said that he would have punished them immediately, but the culprits had fled into the desert beyond his reach, so had called them all to council to give their advice on how and by what means he should take vengeance on the perpetrators; then he sat down and gestured them to speak.
Nun his primal mother stood up and made herself heard and spoke,
'My son Re
Now a greater god
Than I ever was
Even though you were
Born from me,
Be confident in your kingship
For surely the hearts of men
Would wither to dust
If you turned your
Great burning eye, upon them.'
The gods had listened intensely to the wise words of Nun, and after only a short pause and with one voice they said,
'The plan is good,
But do not send Horus,
Your great and mighty orb
For was it not his tears of joy
That had brought mankind into being,
Was it not him who had
Cared for them ever since,
Thus, it was only natural
that he might feel sorry for them.
And not fully adhere
To the plan of destruction.'
Then they added,
'Call for Hathor,
Lend her your coat
And send her forth
As a fierce lioness
To devour his enemies.'
Re saw the plan was good and summoned Hathor, and he told her of the council's decision, by which she was delighted, at last she could her great hunting skills to the test, and Re lent her his invincible coat. Thus, with great passion and gusto did Hathor set out upon her task. And once she had tasted the blood of men, she was loathed to give up the slaughter even for a moment. She also loved the fear even the mention of her name wrought in the hearts of her enemies, and the duly respectful names and titles mankind bestowed on; such as,
She Who Prevails,
She Who is Victorious,
She Who Cannot be Escaped,
The great Slayer of Men,
Sekhmet The Lion goddess,
The Powerful One
And the destruction went on hour by hour, day by day, week by week; but Re the Sun god had not intended for the total decimation of mankind, that it was now obvious Hathor intended. So, Re hastily consulted the gods of creation, who at once reminded him that once Geb the Earth had been swathed by the watery body of Nut, and how her cool fertile waters had soothed Geb's bleeding body, for she had found him screaming and kicking in his own blood, but when Ra, his former self had sent forth Shu, his burning rays to separate Nut and Geb, and created Atmosphere and separated the waters of Nut from the face of the earth, Geb's wounds opened once more and his life blood gushed forth and as it dried it formed the land, and that dried blood was still there in abundance and men called it Red Ochre. Re immediately understood, and commanded his priests of the great vibration at Heliopolis to prepare seven thousand jars of beer, and to collect vast quantities of red ochre; then to mix them together to give the appearance of blood.
Then just before dawn on the morning Hathor had selected to complete the final phase of her assault and destruction of mankind, he ordered the priest's of On, to pour the jars of beer on the ground before the gates of the temple, for he knew it was there that she would launch her final attack. The priests hurried to empty the jars, but as every minute passed the work became more furious, as time it seemed was against and they could hear birds singing in the distance, moments later the last jar hit the ground and the priests hurried inside the temple, and men hid themselves wherever they could and waited. A cold chill filled the air for a second, and the darkness seemed pale, as Hathor roused herself from her sleep, and the silence was deafening, as a million hearts pounded, and stomachs churned. Hathor rubbed her eyes, and tasted the air, then she raised her wings as the first rays of light shot into the sky and shattered the dawn, then she began to rise and men fell in all directions as she appeared upon the horizon. As she flew higher she saw the lake of blood and could not resist it, thinking it was the blood of men, and she dropped from the sky and gorged upon it, soon enough she fell into deep drunken sleep.
When Hathor awoke days later and sobered up, the remnant of mankind had fled and not one was to be seen, and Hathor had forgotten all that had happened that fateful day, and she returned to Re, worried that he might be angry that she had not completed her task; but far from it, Re welcomed her with glowing affection and called her his 'Eye' and 'The Beautiful one' and he ordained an annual festival in her honour, at which Alcohol played a great part, and mankind heaped even more titles on her, such as,
The Golden one,
Lady of Darkness,
Mistress of Myrrh and Song,
Lady of Drunkenness,
Mistress of Maidens.
However, unfortunately even though Hathor had been more than amply successful in her pursuit of Re' enemies, Re, himself was still feeling unnerved by the whole experience and decided he needed a rest from the daily problems of mankind.
Hathor was in reality a personification of the sun god himself, she represented his Autumn-Winter part, the coat he lent her would be in effect the same lion skin Herakles put on when, he had killed the Lion of Leo and Summer, and then pretended to be the sun.
Next: The Lessons of Moses Part 5: The Disappearance of God