THE BOOKS OF FOUNDATION - Upuaut - The Opener of the Ways

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
In Egyptian mythology, Upuaut, (Wepwawet Wep-wawet, Wepawet, and Ophois) was a deity whose cult centre was Asyut in Upper Egypt (Lycopolis in the Greco-Roman period).
His name means, 'opener of the ways'.
Some interpret that Upuaut was seen as a 'scout', going out to clear routes for the army to proceed forward.
One inscription from the Sinai states that  Upuaut "opens the way" to king Sekhemkhet's victory.
Wepwawet originally was seen as a wolf deity, thus the Greek name of Λυκούπολις (Lycopolis), meaning 'city of wolves'.

Λυκούπολις - or the Deltaic Lycopolis - was an ancient town in the Sebennytic nome in Lower Egypt, in the neighbourhood of Mendes, and, from its appellation, apparently founded by a colony of Osirian priests from the town of Lycopolis in Upper Egypt.
The Deltaic Lycopolis was the birthplace of the Neo-Platonic philosopher Plotinus in 204. (Suidas, p. 3015.)

Upuaut was said to accompany the Pharaoh on hunts, in which capacity he was titled 'the one with sharp arrows, more powerful than the gods'.
Over time, the connection to war, and thus to death, led to Upuaut also being seen as one who opened the ways to, and through, Duat, for the spirits of the dead.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
In Egyptian mythology, Duat (also Tuat and Tuaut) (also called Akert, Amenthes, or Neter-khertet)  Duat is  the place through which the Egyptians believed that their souls would travel after death. It was the starting point of the journey back to the stars from whence he came. The Duat separates the land of the living from the land of the dead. The five-pointed star within a circle was the Egyptian symbol of the Duat.
It is the region through which the sun god Ra travels from west to east during the night, and where he battled Apep. It also was the place where people's souls went after death for judgement, though it was not the full extent of the afterlife.Burial chambers formed touching-points between the mundane world and the Duat, and spirits could use tombs to travel back and forth from the Duat.

Through this, and the similarity of the jackal to the wolf, Upuaut became associated with Anubis, a deity that was worshipped in Asyut, and the two deities became merged.

Ancient Asyut was the capital of the Thirteenth Nome of Upper Egypt (Lycopolites Nome) around 3100 BC. It was located on the western bank of the Nile. The two most prominent gods of the Ancient Egyptian Asyut were Anubis and Wepwawet, both funerary deities.
 Lycopolis has no remarkable ruins, but in the excavated chambers of the adjacent rocks mummies of wolves have been found, confirming the origin of its name, as well as a tradition preserved by Diodorus Siculus, to the effect that an Ethiopian army, invading Egypt, was repelled beyond the city of Elephantine by packs of wolves. Osiris was worshipped under the symbol of a wolf at Lycopolis. According to a myth, he had come "from the shades" as a wolf to aid Isis and Horus in their combat with Typhon

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Seen as a jackal, he also was said to be Set's son, and Upuaut appears in the Temple of Seti I at Abydos.
In later Egyptian art, Wepwawet was depicted as a wolf or a jackal, or as a man with the head of a wolf or a jackal.
Even when considered a jackal, Upuaut usually was shown with grey, or white fur, reflecting his lupine origins.
For what generally is considered to be lauding purposes of the Pharaohs, a later myth briefly was circulated claiming that  Upuaut  was born at the sanctuary of Wadjet, the sacred site for the oldest goddess of
Lower Egypt that is located in the heart of Lower Egypt.
Consequently,  Upuaut, who had hitherto been the standard of Upper Egypt alone, formed an integral part of royal rituals, symbolizing the unification of Egypt.
Most significantly, in later pyramid texts, Upuaut is called "Ra" who has gone up from the horizon, perhaps as the "opener" of the sky.

Ra or Re is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty he had become a major deity in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the midday sun. The meaning of the name is uncertain, but it is thought that if not a word for 'sun' it may be a variant of or linked to words meaning 'creative power' and 'creator'.

In the later Egyptian funerary context, Upuaut assists at the 'Opening of the Mouth' ceremony and guides the deceased into the netherworld.
Upuaut is described as a 'Neter'.

This word is usually translated as 'god' or 'gods', but from the Egyptian point of view, this is an unsatisfactory rendering.
The ancient concept of Deity was/is greater than our normal modern grasp of the word; it encompassed both the well-known exoteric facade of the religion plus a more elusive esoteric dimension as well.
In the modern treatment of this concept, this latter dimension is usually either ignored, considered primitive superstition, or misunderstood, yet even a cursory study of this subject would be incomplete without considering the esoteric or secret dimension.
This unseen aspect will often provide both insight and understanding of the Neters that the strictly exoteric cannot.
If the Neters are not gods as such, then what are they?
One answer to this can be found in Occultism.
Occult is the term that has been applied to the writings of R A Schwaller de Lubicz.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
René Adolphe Schwaller de Lubicz
René Adolphe Schwaller de Lubicz (1887 – 1961), born René Adolphe Schwaller in Alsace-Lorraine, was a French occultist and student of sacred geometry known for his 15-year study of the art and architecture of the Temple of Luxor in Egypt and his subsequent book 'The Temple In Man' (1949).
In this book he proposes, and argues in great detail, for an interpretation of the Egyptian outlook rooted in numerology and sacred geometry; in several of his other works, he makes a corresponding case for the metaphysical richness of various mathematical concepts. As with much ancient mathematics, the Egyptian research of Schwaller de Lubicz became quite complex. The complexity of his various ancient mathematical concepts as covered in his book provided an ongoing source of debate amongst mystics.
His elucidation of the Temple of Luxor and his presentation of the Egyptian understanding of a special quality of innate consciousness form a bridge that attempts to link the sacred science of the Ancients, to its modern rediscovery in our own time.

René Adolphe Schwaller de Lubicz
 'The Temple In Man' (1949)
René Adolphe Schwaller de Lubicz
Occult is the term that has been applied to the writings of R A Schwaller de Lubicz.
As the name implies, Occultism is a medium of interpretation; in this case of the secret wisdom of ancient Egypt.
Its modus operandi is through the most Egyptian mode of expression, the hieroglyphs (the sacred writing) plus that other most enduring of ancient Egypt's achievements, her monuments, ie., architecture.
Both the written word and 'monuments for eternity' were regarded as eminently worthy channels for expressing what could be conveyed of the esoteric doctrine.
This occult concept of the universe can be stated concisely as 'That which is in Heaven, on Earth and in the Duat' (see above for a definition of the Duat).
This formula provides a framework of Three Worlds - the Celestial, the Terrestrial and an Intermediate World between Heaven and Earth, through which the Divine descended or emanated, the causal powers manifesting as the Neters.
In the Terrestrial World, or Earth, the Neters manifest as 'Nature'.
In addition, a Mystery element was further understood by the Egyptian initiates.
The Neters were also within the human psyche.
A conscious awareness/awakening of this Mystery could be achieved through an effective rite. 
This was one of the objectives of the priestly sages with their Temple neophytes.
Edfu Temple - Egypt - Interior
Egyptian Temple - Interior
The ordinary non-sacerdotal Egyptian - the man in the flelds, the woman at her loom, the children tending flocks - were not admitted within the deep interior of the Temples.

In such a case, they were not expected to understand the esoteric teachings of the Temples, even though these same people worked directly with the uncomprehended principles and functions represented by the Neters in their daily lives and tasks.

Yet the uninitiated were not excluded from their part in the all encompassing round that was religion in ancient Egypt simply because they could not participate in the Temples rites or teachings.

Just as the priests realised different levels of causation and consciousness so, too, were the Neters able to convey instruction on different levels and so there were stories about the Neters in their various roles as Dead and Reborn King, Jealous Brother, Faithful Wife, Avenging Son, Arbitrator/Reconciler and so on.

In this way, the greater realities behind these very human stories were accessible to everyone - according to each person's capacity to understand what was being revealed.

The hieroglyphs and temples spoke to the initiated priest of that which found expression through these channels; to those outside the Temples the same revelations were refracted like light through a prism via the earthed statue or painting or story of the Neters.
In esoteric terms, the Neters are not the lifeless idols they are so often accused of being by the spiritually blind and ignorant.
Rather we can see these images as reflections of a greater Unseen.
In Hebrew thought the term for the Neters is 'Elohim'.
Elohim (אֱלֹהִ֔ים) is a grammatically singular or plural noun for 'god' or 'gods' in both the modern and the ancient Hebrew language.
When used with singular verbs and adjectives, elohim is usually singular, 'god' or especially, the 'god' (Demiurge).
When used with plural verbs and adjectives elohim is usually plural, "gods" or "powers".
The first verse of Psalm 82: ‘Elohim has taken his place in the divine council.
Here elohim has a singular verb and clearly refers to 'god'.
But in verse 6 of the Psalm, 'god' says to the other members of the council, ‘You [plural] are elohim.
Here elohim has to mean 'gods'.”
We must not, however, confuse the use of 'elohim - god' with the true concept of god, which is the ineffable 'ONE'.
There is a further use of the word elohim in the phrase 'Sons of god' (Heb: Bənê hāʼĕlōhîm, בני האלהים) which is a phrase used in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
The offspring of the 'Sons of god' were the "Nephilim(נְפִילִים), or 'watchers'.
In Gnostic systems the Neters and Elohim were referred to as  ἄρχοντες - Archons (the rulers).
Some of the archons were the servants of the δημιουργός (Demiurge), the "creator god" that stood between the lesser sentient beings and a transcendent God - the ineffable 'ONE' - that could only be reached through gnosis.
The archons are referred to by Porphyry in his exposition of Neo-Platonist philosophy, and are often referred to as 'θεοὶ ἄρχοντες' (ruling gods) in Hellenistic thought.

The demiurge - δημιουργός - is a concept from the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy for a divine figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe. The term was subsequently adopted by the Gnostics. Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not necessarily thought of as being the same as the creator figure in the familiar monotheistic sense, because both the demiurge itself plus the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are considered either uncreated and eternal, or the product of some other being, depending on the system.

DæmonThe Neters were also referred to as 'dæmons'.
The word dæmon is a Latinized spelling of the Greek "δαίμων" of ancient Greek religion and mythology, as well as later Hellenistic religion and philosophy.
Daemons are spirit guides, forces of nature or the 'gods' themselves (see Plato's 'Symposium').
In the 'Symposium', the priestess Diotima teaches Socrates that love is not a 'god', but rather a "great daemon" (202d).
She goes on to describe daemons as
"interpreting and transporting human things to the 'gods' and divine things to men; entreaties and sacrifices from below, and ordinances and requitals from above...
In Plato's 'Apology of Socrates', Socrates claimed to have a 'daimonion' (literally, a "divine something") that frequently warned him - in the form of a "voice" - against mistakes but never told him what to do.
In the Hellenistic 'ruler cult', that began with Alexander the Great, it was not the ruler but his guiding 'daemon' that was venerated.
Similarly, the first-century Roman Imperial cult began by venerating the 'genius' or numen of Augustus.
Eventually, and significantly, daemons were attributed to nations and races.


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
In temple inscriptions and other artistic depictions, Anubis was portrayed as a jackal-headed humanoid or as a jackal-like creature bearing the symbols of the 'god' (typically a flagellum) in the crook of its arm.
As Wilkinson notes, "the animal bears certain traits of the dog family such as the long muzzle, its round-pupilled eyes, five-toed forefeet and four-toed hind feet, while on the other hand, its tail is wide and club shaped and characteristically carried down more like that of the jackal, fox, or wolf.

It is therefore possible that the original Anubis or Upuaut animal was a hybrid form, perhaps a jackal crossed with some type of dog."
The animal symbolism (or explicit identification) of Anubis as canine is based upon the observed behaviour of such creatures in the Egyptian desert, as "the jackals and dogs who lived on the edge of the desert were carrion eaters who might dig up shallowly buried corpses."
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Thus, the jackal god was specifically appealed to as a defender of the deceased against the depredations of his bestial brethren.
Further, the black colour of Anubis, which does not correspond to the deity’s canine or lupine antecedent, was evidently chosen for its symbolic associations.
To the Egyptians, black was the color of death, night, and regeneration (especially through the fertile earth), and was also the skin tone of mummified flesh.
In later times, during the Ptolemaic period, Anubis and Upuaut were identified as the Greek 'god' Hermes (see right), as their functions were similar.
The centre of this cult was in uten-ha/Sa-ka/ Cynopolis, a place whose Greek name simply means "City of Dogs."

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The Greeks and Romans associated Anubis and Upuaut with the star Sirius - 'the dog star' - located in the constellation of Canis Major (see left).
This incorporation is attested to in Book XI of "The Golden Ass" by Apuleius, where we find evidence that the worship of this 'god' was maintained in Rome at least up to the second century.
Sirius is held to be the home of beings, who are hypothesized to have taught the arts of civilization to humans, and are claimed to have originated the systems of the Pharaohs of Egypt, the mythology of Greek civilization, and the Epic of Gilgamesh, among other things.

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

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