Golden egg

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A selection of various golden egg or "solar egg" themed playing cards, each of which tracing back to a specific Egyptian myth, generally in respect to the birth of the sun.[1]

In religio-mythology, golden egg (LH:5), aka “solar egg”, refers to the myth of how the sun was born out of an egg, one version of the myth, originating in Memphis, Egypt (2800BC), wherein the craftsman god Ptah makes a golden or solar egg, on his potter's wheel (2800BC), igniting it with his solar fire drill; the other, originating in Heliopolis, Egypt (2500BC), wherein the earth god Geb, who is associated with the goose, lays a golden egg.

Overview

Memphis

In 2800BC, in Memphis, Egypt, Ptah, according to the Memphis creation myth, was the god who was said to have made or molded the golden egg, on his potter's wheel[2], out of which either the bennu was born, Ra was born, or the sun as golden disc was born:

Presumably, Ptah used his magic solar "fire drill" to ignite this golden egg, out of which the sun, sun god, or bennu was born? Details as to this conjecture, however, are presently wanting.

Ra

In 1892, Archibald Sayce (RMS:74), in his The Ancient Empires of the East, states that at some point Ra “takes the place of Ptah, being represented as molding the egg of the universe, and fashioning mankind.”[3] Ra, originally, was an ancient independent god, whose origin is unknown. In c.2600BC, he becomes merged with Atum in Heliopolis, in the form of Atum-Ra, after which he assumes dominance throughout Egypt for the next two millennia.

Heliopolis

A depiction of Geb, earth god, often shown with goose on his head, and Nut, heaven goddess, where the pair that made the solar egg in Heliopolis, depictions of which shown above. The snake shown being Set (Greek: Typhon) who did battle with the sun god, e.g. Ra or Horus, each night.

In 2500BC, in Heliopolis, Egypt, according to the Heliopolis creation myth, Geb, the earth god, aka the "great cackler", was said to have laid a golden egg. Geb, hieroglyphs: Geb H1.png (goose, leg, and god symbol), Geb H2.png (egg, leg, and god symbol), Geb H3.png(add), or Geb H4.png (star + neter), in characteristics, is frequently depicted as a goose or a man with a goose on his head, as shown below:

Geb and Nut 2.png

In 1250BC, the egg motif was rescripted to the effect that the deceased person was said to have guarded the egg, and that if the egg grows, so will the deceased person grow in the afterlife. The following speaks about how the deceased, prior to his resurrection as a "person Osiris", e.g. "Osiris Ani", i.e. Ani resurrected as Osiris in the afterlife, must have a spell recited over their mummified body, stating that they guarded the sacred egg of Geb and that if the egg grows, so to will the deceased in the afterlife:

“Oh Atum, give me the sweet breath which is in your nostril, for I am this ‘egg’ which is in the Great Cackler [Geb], I am the guardian of this great being [Shu] who separates the earth from the sky. If I live, she will live; I grow young, I live, I breath the air. I am he who splits iron, I go around the egg, tomorrow is min though the striking power of Horus and the strength of Seth.”
— Ani scribe (1250), Egyptian Book of the Dead (§:54: Chapter for giving breath to Ani in the god’s domain) (pg. 65)
“I have guarded this egg of the Great Cackler [Geb]. If it grows, I will grow; if it lives, I will live, if it breaths the air, I will breath the air.”
— Ani scribe (1250), The Egyptian Book of the Dead (§:59: Chapter for breathing air and having power over the water in god’s domain) (pg. 66)

The egg-laying god Geb, we note, was the one who fathered Osiris, the original dying and rising god, who in turn fathered Horus; this latter became the motif of Christianity, Easter, and the Easter egg, discussed below.[4]

Thebes

In 2050BC, in Thebes, Egypt, the Thebian creation myth had become the dominant creation myth of Egypt, the god Amen becoming the supreme god, wherein, presumably, the solar egg myths of both Memphis and Heliopolis were merged, in some way, i.e. Ptah's fire-made golden egg, Geb's goose hatched golden egg, and the egg of the bennu (aka Phoenix), became one common story? The following, from  a 700BC Stella in Abydos, shows Amen, with a goose behind him, and rams below him:[5]

Amen (with goose).png

However, we do note that even in 312BC, e.g. in the Nes-Amsu Papyrus, written for Nes-Amsu, a priest of Panopolis, nome 9 of Upper Egypt, two different versions of “creation”, version A and version B, were told in parallel.[6] Hence, myth parallelism may likewise have been maintained in respect to the golden egg?

Rescripts

Greece

In 700BC, Hesiod was referring to the phoenix as follows:[7]

“A chattering crow lives out nine generations of aged men, but a stag's life is four times a crow's and a raven's life makes three stags old, while the Phoinix [Phoenix] outlives nine raves, but we, the rich-haired Nymphai (Nymphs), daughters of Zeus the aigis-holder, outlive ten Phoinixes.”
The phoenix in his "hollowed out" egg, from an Aberdeen Bestiary manuscript (1200)[8]; a depiction which seems to be that described by Herodotus (435BC).

In 435BC, Herodotus, in his Histories (§2.73), speaks of the phoenix and his golden egg, in which he buries the dead sun, his father, being made out of myrrh:

“There is another sacred bird, too, whose name is Phoinix [Phoenix]. I myself have never seen it, only pictures of it; for the bird seldom comes into Aigyptos (Egypt) : once in five hundred years, as the people of Heliopolis say. It is said that the Phoinix comes when his father dies. If the picture truly shows his size and appearance, his plumage is partly golden and partly red. He is most like an eagle in shape and size. What they say this bird manages to do is incredible to me. Flying from Arabia to the temple of the Helios (the Sun), they say, he conveys his father encased in myrrh and buries him at the temple of Helios [i.e. in the temple of the Egyptian god Ra]. This is how he conveys him: he first molds an egg of myrrh as heavy as he can carry, then tries lifting it, and when he has tried it, he then hollows out the egg and puts his father into it, and plasters over with more myrrh the hollow of the egg into which he has put his father, which is the same in weight with his father lying in it, and he conveys him encased to the temple of the Sun in Aigyptos (Egypt). This is what they say this bird does.”

India

In 200BC, the so-called “Laws of Manu”, or “Code of Manu” (Nietzsche, 1888), aka Manu Smriti, were penned, the character Manu being the Hindu rescript of Nun, wherein, in the first twenty sentences, a rescript of the Heliopolis creation myth is found, in which sentence nine speaks of a golden egg, equal in brilliancy to the sun, out of which Brahman is born:

#9. That (seed) became a golden egg, in brilliancy equal to the sun; in that (egg) he himself was born as Brahman [Ra], the progenitor of the whole world.

Here, Brahman is the Hindu rescript of Ra, the Egyptian sun god.

Rome

In 200AD, in Rome, according to the Roman recension, Osiris and Horus were merged into the character of Jesus, Geb, the egg maker, became the character Joseph (god Geb), the step father of Jesus, and the solar egg (or golden egg), which hatched the sun, became the Easter egg:

Golden Easter eggs.png

These eggs are first hidden then eaten during the Easter celebration in modern times; although the original "solar" connotation is long since forgotten.[4]

End matter

References

  1. Golden eggs (2012) - Unlocking Words, WordPress.
  2. Newall, Venetia. (1971). An Egg at Easter: a Folklore Study (pg. 5). Indiana.
  3. Sayce, Archibald. (1892). The Ancient Empires of the East (pgs. 62-63). Scribner.  
  4. 4.0 4.1 Easter – Hmolpedia 2020.
  5. Gibson, Clare. (2011). “Egyptian Goose: and the Golden Egg”, May 2.
  6. Spence, Lewis. (2019). An Introduction to Mythology (pg. #). Publisher.
  7. Phoinix – Theoi.com.
  8. Phoenix - Folio 56r, University of Aberdeen.

Further reading

  • Gebelein, Helmut. (2002). “Alchemy and Chemistry in the Work of Goethe”; in: The Golden Egg: Alchemy in Art and

Literature (pgs. 9-30). Galda & Wilch.

External links

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