Reading time: 4 minutes. Word count: 700 words.
Now when Hathor had returned to Ra he spake unto her with weariness, saying: "A fiery pain torments me, nor can I tell whence it comes. I am still alive, but I am weary of heart and desire no longer to dwell among men. Lo! I have not destroyed them as I have power to do."
The gods who followed Ra said: "Be no longer weary. Power is thine according to thy desire."
Ra answered them, saying: "Weary indeed are my limbs and they fail me. I shall go forth no longer alone, nor shall I wait until I am stricken again with pain. Help shall be given unto me according to my desire."
Then the ruler of the gods called unto Nu, from whom he had being, and Nu bade Shu, the atmosphere god, and Nut, goddess of the heavens, to give aid unto Ra in his distress. Nut took the form of the Celestial Cow, and Shu lifted Ra upon her back. Then darkness came on.
Men issued forth from their hiding places in great fear, and when they beheld Ra departing from them they sorrowed because of the rebellious words which had been spoken against his majesty. Indeed they cried unto Ra, beseeching him to slay those of his enemies who remained. But Ra was borne through the darkness, and men followed him until he appeared again and shed light upon the earth. Then did his faithful subjects arm themselves with weapons, and they sallied forth against the enemies of the sun god and slaughtered them in battle.
Ra beheld that which his followers among men had done, and he was well pleased. He spake unto them saying: "Now is your sin forgiven. Slaughter atones for slaughter. Such is sacrifice and the purport thereof."
When Ra had thus accepted in atonement for the sin of men the sacrifice of his enemies who desired to slay him, he spake unto the heavenly goddess Nut, saying: "Henceforth my dwelling place must be in the heavens. No longer will I reign upon the earth."
So it happened, according to his divine will. The great god went on his way through the realms which are above, and these he divided and set in order. He spake creating words, and called into existence the field of Aalu, and there he caused to assemble a multitude of beings which are beheld in heaven, even the stars, and these were born of Nut. In millions they came to praise and glorify Ra. Unto Shu, the god of atmosphere, whose consort is Nut, was given the keeping of the multitude of beings that shine in thick darkness. Shu raised his arms, uplifting over his head the Celestial Cow and the millions and millions of stars.
Then Ra spake unto the earth god, who is called Seb, and said: "Many fearsome reptiles dwell in thee. It is my will now that they may have dread of me as great as is my dread of them. Thou shalt discover why they are moved with enmity against me. When thou hast done that, thou shalt go unto Nu, my father, and bid him to have knowledge of all the reptiles in the deep and upon the dry land. Let be made known unto each one that my rays shall fall upon them. By words of magic alone can they be overcome. I shall reveal the charms by which the children of men shall thwart all reptiles, and Osiris, thy son, shall favour the magicians who protect mankind against them."
spake again and called forth the god Thoth who came into being by his word.
"For thee, O Thoth," he said, "I shall make a resplendent abode
in the great deep and the underworld which is Duat. Thou shalt record the sins
of men, and the names of those who are mine enemies; in Duat thou shalt bind
them. Thou shalt be temporary dweller in my place; thou art my deputy. Lo! I
now give messengers unto thee." So came into being by his power the ibis,
the crane, and the dog ape, the messengers of Thoth.
Ra spake again, saying: "Thy beauty shall be shed through the darkness; thou shalt join night with day."
So came into being the moon (Ah) of Thoth, and Ra said: "All living creatures shall glorify and praise thee as a wise god."
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Source: Egyptian Myth and Legend by Donald Mackenzie (1907). Weblink.
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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