Predynastic Egypt (5,500 – 3,100 BC)

Beginning just before the Predynastic period, Egyptian culture was already beginning to resemble greatly the Paranoiac ages that would soon come after, and rapidly at that. In a transition period of a thousand years (about which little is still known), nearly all the archetypal characteristics appeared, and beginning in 5500 BC we find evidence of organized, permanent settlements focused around agriculture. Hunting was no longer a major support for existence now that the Egyptian diet was made up of domesticated cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, as well as cereal grains such as wheat and barley. Artifacts of stone were supplemented by those of metal, and the crafts of basketry, pottery, weaving, and the tanning of animal hides became part of the daily life. The transition from primitive nomadic tribes to traditional civilization was nearly complete.

Bastet The Cat Goddess

Today: Bastet – Proctectress of Cats, cat or head of a cat Bastet was sometimes called Bast. She was the goddess of cats. She is a cat, or has the head of a cat, but originally she had the head of a lion.

Every day the sun god Ra would travel in his ship across the sky. Every night the snake Apep tried to stop the sun god’s ship on his journey through the underworld. Ra was usually won these battles. However, on stormy days, or during an eclipse, the Egyptians believed that Apep had been victorious and swallowed the sun. Bastet defended her father Ra against the snake.

Concentrate On The Pyramids

I know, I know. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Where’s my silver platter!” Please make it easier on yourself-CONCENTRATE on ways to get around the obstacles. One piece of advice I can give you is never stop looking for the answers you need. Ask. Look. Research and ye shall find!

It’s also a good time to listen to your inner voice. In order to do this, take some time out for yourself and spend it in a quiet place. Once you’re calm, listen to that voice. The advice it can give you is surprisingly right on target.

Take some time to look after your health. Retreats and vacations can be a big boost to your physical and emotional outlook, especially if you’re near water. Travel with care. If you can’t take a full-blown vacation, even a quiet afternoon would be great.

Physically, a vacation allows you to rest. Emotionally, a rest will allow you to hear the advice that your inner voice can offer.

Feather Of Ma’at

The Ancient Egyptians believed that when you died, you travelled to the Hall of the Dead. There Anubis weighed your heart against the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of justice sits on top of the scales to make sure that the weighing is carried out properly. You can see Anubis steadying the scales to make the weighing fair. If your heart was lighter than the feather, you lived forever. We still talk of “a heart as light as a feather” to mean carefree, and “heavy-hearted” to mean sad. If your heart was heavier than the feather then it was eaten by the demon Ammit, the Destroyer. Ammit had the head of a crocodile, the shoulders of a lion and the rump of a hippopotamus. These were all frightening animals for the Egyptians. Thoth, god of wisdom and writing, stands by to record what happens.

Equal Opportunity

Kings were not only males, and unlike in modern monarchies, the ruler of ancient Egypt, whether male or female, was always called a king. In fact, Egypt had some very noteworthy female rulers such as Hatshepsut and others.

In ancient (Paranoiac) Egypt, the pinnacle of Egyptian society, and indeed of religion, was the king. Below him were the layers of the educated bureaucracy, which consisted of nobles, priests and civil servants, and under them were the great mass of common people, usually living very poor, agricultural based lives.

Origin Of The Word Pharaoh

Today: “Pharaoh.” The term “per-aa” means “great house” and developed via the Greek, into the word we now use today. “Per-aa” was originally used to describe the royal court or the state itself, in the sense that the “great house” was the entity responsible for the taxation of the lesser houses (“perw”), which were the temple lands and private estates. From the late 18th Dynasty and onwards, “per-aa” had begun to be used to refer to the actual king himself.

The True OG – Djer

Djer, whose name may have meant “Horus who Succors,” is said to have reigned for 57 years. Nine years from his reign are recorded on the main Cairo fragment of the royal annals, describing the royal progress, or the “following of Horus,” the fashioning and dedication of cult statues, and an expedition to Western Asia. These were the first records of military expeditions outside of the Two Lands. Forces were sent east into Sinai and perhaps beyond. The annals refer to one regal year being called “The Year of Smiting the Land of the Stjt, a word later referring perhaps to Syria-Palestine.

The sciences may have flourished at this time, because Djer was remembered later on as a great physician. Manetho claims that Djer wrote on anatomy and treatment of diseases in circulation 3,000 years after his death. One of his prescriptions was for hair strengthening.

The Misunderstood Akhenaton

In the 14th century BC the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep IV undertook a religious reform by displacing all the traditional deities with the sun god Aton. In the god’s honor, the pharaoh changed his name to Akhenaton, which means “It is well with Aton.” Akhenaton (also Ikhnaton) ruled from 1379 to 1362 BC. His queen, Nefertiti (also Nofretete), was one of the most famous women in Egyptian history. On his death, he was succeeded by the boy-king Tutankhamen, the discovery of whose tomb in 1922 was an archaeological sensation. Akhenaton’s reform was one of the earliest attempts to enforce monotheism, the belief in one god. Images and inscriptions of other gods were all removed. To further enforce his views, Akhenaton moved the country’s capital from Thebes to a site 200 miles (300 kilometers) north, which he called Akhenaton (now called Tell el Amarna). Akhenaton’s reforms, and the artistic and literary revival that accompanied them, did not survive for long. So much of his time was devoted to religion that the powerful Egyptian Empire began to disintegrate. This, combined with the opposition of the priests of the displaced gods, worked to undermine the new religion. After Akhenaton’s death the capital was moved back to Thebes and the former gods restored

King Tut

The most famous Egyptian pharaoh today is, without doubt, Tutankhamen. The boy king died in his late teens and remained at rest in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings for over 3,300 years.

He was only about 18 years old when he died, and as a pharaoh of Egypt he had no great claim to fame. Tutankhamen (originally Tutankhamen) owes his place in history mostly to the discovery of his tomb completely intact and not violated by grave robbers in 1922. The remarkable artifacts from the tomb, including the beautiful golden mask, are on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Tutankhamen was possibly the son of Amenhotep III, an earlier 18th-dynasty king, and his wife Tiy. Tutankhamen became king after the death of Akhenaton the religious reformer who died in 1362 BC. He married Akhenaton’s third daughter to solidify his claim to the throne. During most of his rule he resided at ancient Memphis, near present-day Cairo.

The Kings Scepter

A scepter or staff is one of the most ancient symbols of authority. The hieroglyph for “nobleman” or “official” shows a man carrying a long staff of office in front of him. A grave found at the Predynastic site of el-Omari in Lower Egypt contained the skeleton of a man buried with a wooden staff, and a fragmentary wooden staff, carved to resemble a bundle of reeds, was found in an early First Dynasty mastaba at Saqqara.

An actual example of a royal scepter, purely ceremonial in purpose, was discovered by Flinders Petrie in one of the chambers of Khasekhemwy’s tomb at Abydos. The scepter was fashioned from polished sard and thick gold bands, all held together by a copper rod.