God & the Godlings
John Van Auken
If evolution is the only view of life, then there is little reason to look back to an ancient culture for wisdom and insight. According to evolutionary theory, everything old is primitive. If, on the other hand, we come to know that before this great evolution of ours, there was a great involution into matter, then there is much to be learned from looking back. This is why ancient Egypt is worth studying. Its picture stories contain remnants from an important time in the lives of our souls.
As souls, not physical humans, we descended from higher realms and higher states of consciousness during an involution into matter. As we separated from the higher realms, we gradually lost consciousness of them, focusing increasingly on this physical dimension.
Some among the soul group realized that we were heading into a more limiting condition, so they recorded important stories and information that would help us rise again to the glory that was ours before the physical world was. A plan was developed.
The way in and out of this realm was recorded, but cryptically, so that only those who sought it for the right reasons could find it. The manuscript that we now call The Egyptian Book of the Dead actually carries the hieroglyphic title, The Book of the Master of the Hidden Places. It is not a death ritual book as so many believe today, but an inner map used to guide the soul back through the inner darkness to the light of the higher dimensions, which few seek to find. It was written because our descent was progressing rapidly; soon we’d have no memory of the former places from whence we came.
The story of our creation, fall, banishment, and long, slow journey home is recorded in many sacred books in many cultures. There’s a pattern to all souls’ journeys. For example, the pattern in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theology, as described in our scriptures, goes like this:
* Creation of God’s children in God’s image
* Creation of man in flesh
* Fall of man (through disobedience)
* Loss of the Garden (contact with God)
* Suffering and Seeking Inspiration
* Promise from God
* Victory over the oppressor (physical focus)
* Freedom from bondage (physical desire)
* Covenant with God
* Rejuvenation & reconnection in the mount
* Building the new temple
* Reconnect with God
In most of the legends as in this Jewish-Christian-Islamic one, this initial pattern was followed by a falling away again, which required a second or new pattern, but with much of the key elements of the first.
* Falling away again
* Loss of the Temple
* Into Bondage again
* Suffering and seeking again
* A promise from God
* Victory over the oppressor
* Freedom from bondage again
* A new covenant with God
* Rejuvenation & reconnection in the mount
* Rebuilding of the temple
* Reconnect with God
Again and again this pattern repeats itself. We see it in the early stories in Genesis about the Garden, Cain and Abel, and the journey from Seth to Enoch. Again we see it in the journey from Noah to Joseph. And again we see it in greater detail in the story of Moses and Joshua coming out of Egypt (bondage), crossing the desert (suffering and seeking), living at the foot of Mt. Sinai (rejuvenation and reconnection with things spiritual), and finally entering into the promise land. Then again in Saul, David and Solomon. Again in the journey from Daniel to Jeshua, and the rebuilding of the Temple. The pattern repeats and repeats and repeats until a major change occurs: the coming of the Messiah. Then, as seen in the Christian story, the Temple moves from its external place to an internal place within each of us. It moves from the outer physical world to the inner mental-spiritual world. After much testing and suffering, victory is fully realized and the temple is resurrected to life eternal. It is also seen in the Revelation where, after much struggle and rebirthing, Satan is bound, the Garden is regained, a new heaven and a new earth come, the Holy City and Temple are come like a new bride, and the Tree of Life is once again ours, forever — coming full circle from the loss of these things in the Garden of Genesis.
This same pattern is found in ancient Egyptian teachings, thousands of years before the tribes of Israel. In The Egyptian Book of the Dead, we find references to the creation of gods and man: “One is the maker of the substance of the gods and of mankind.” There are references to the “sound of those that rejoice in the mighty temple.” There are references to a rebellion which will never be tolerated again: “the sons of the impotent revolt never again shall they rise up!” Just as our theology uses the serpent as a symbol of the evil one, so are there ancient Egyptian references to a struggle with the evil enemy in the form of a serpent: “May I crush the evil one, may I destroy the great serpent at his moment.” There are shouts of victory over the evil one, even using the imagery of binding him as the Revelation does, “Thine great enemy is given to the fire, the evil one hath fallen, he is bound.” Even references to the coming of the Messiah, using the Christian symbolism of the fish, “may I see the abtu fish at his season of coming into existence.” And these amazing descriptions of this great one: “the boy mighty, the heir of eternity, he begot and he gave birth to himself, the king of earth this prince of the netherland, president of the mountains, coming forth from the water, drawing himself from the primal mother, nursing himself, increasing his limbs. O god of life, lord of love, all the peoples live when thou shinest, O crowned as king of the gods.” There are also many references to one’s own resurrection, such as, “may I see the coming forth of my soul.” This clearly indicates a belief that the physical self has within it the soul self. When we realize where we, as souls, have been and what we, as souls, have done, we’ll know better where we are headed and what we are in need of doing. We will also get a view into the truer nature of our being. “Know thyself,” the old adage goes. Well, we are, were, and will be again, much more than physical Earthlings.
Our souls have traveled throughout the cosmos from the beginning of creation. Many of us, our souls, went through the initiations of these ancient mystery schools and temples during the thousands of years of descent into matter. Our souls have been impregnated with the messages and meanings of the strange images on the walls of these temples and tombs. As we reawaken the soul-self within us, we will remember and understand. Hopefully, as we look at the images and ideas in this book, we will awaken memories that have been locked in our hearts for a very long time. This is one of the great aspects of this new era we are entering, an awakening — an awakening like none other, where whole groups of souls rise to a more universal, eternal view of life, past and future.
Before we proceed, it’s important to realize that ancient Egypt lasted an incredibly long time, much longer than we are used to. If we use the datings that have recently been indicated by star alignments and metaphysical sources, it lasted somewhere between ten and eleven thousand years. Portions of The Egyptian Book of the Dead date from as early as the very first dynasty to as late as 200 A.D. However, the purer, truer teachings were more clearly held in the earliest times. As the involution went on, many of the godly, deeper truths were contaminated with ideas of the evolving man who, because of limited awareness or self-interest, distorted them or simply was not aware of the real teachings. Therefore, in the lore of ancient Egypt we will often find the same teaching or story told in different ways with different implications. It is best to consider the older one as the truer one. That is the way I have approached all of this material.
ONE GOD, MANY GODLINGS
In these earliest times, the many gods of the Egyptians were unique children of One Great God, the Source of All Life. Among the many gods, none of them was considered to be the ultimate god. Each was a free-willed portion of the Great Oneness which composed the Most High God. Even in Genesis the plural form is used as the name of God, indicating that the One was composed of the many, and the many contained the Universal, Omnipresent One. Ra, as great a god as he was to the ancient Egyptians, was not the ultimate deity, but a projection from out of the Ultimate Unseen One. The un-individuated Most High God would be considered the pure disk, symbolizing God’s un-individualized nature. God was seen through Its creation, not directly, for It was not seeable as an individual. (I am using the neutral pronoun It to avoid a male or female connotation to God. This God is whole, containing both sexual aspects within Itself. Furthermore, It is not personified, as “Him” or “Her” would imply.) Very similar to St. John’s view expressed in his epistle, “No man has at any time seen God, but the Begotten of God has revealed Him” (1 John 4).
Before the creation, the ancient Egyptian god Nun (or Nu) was all there was. Nun is Infinity, Nothing, Nowhere, and Darkness. In Genesis, Nun would correspond to the verse, “darkness was upon the deep,” which is followed by “let there be light.” Within the Darkness, the god Atum (or Tem, or Tum) was self-created and began the creation from within itself. Atum literally means not to be, meaning unmanifested, not personified, not born. As written in the papyrus Pepi I, this was “spirit, still and formless, who bore within itself the sum of all existence.”
This is similar to the Hindu descriptions of Brahman and Atman. According to the Hindus, God has two aspects: one is the unmanifested, unmoved, unchanged, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Brahman); the other is present, active and with us (Atman). Interesting how similar Atum is to Hinduism’s Atman, and to the Hebrew Adam.Atman is similar to the concept of the Logos, or “The Word,” or “First Begotten of God,” which begins St. John’s gospel and by which “all things were made.”
Nun and Atum could be considered the feminine and masculine aspects of God. Nun is the womb of Mother God, dark, silence, yet latent with the potential for creation. Atum is the projected aspect of Father God, actively involved in and with the creation.
There are several texts in which the ancient Egyptian writers are clearly speaking of a singular God. Their apparent polytheism is due to their proximity to the original creation where the created and the Creator were still one. The God had given birth to many godlings. The original, wiser, ancient Egyptians were not polytheistic, as the following examples indicate. But later, as the enlightenment was lost, there are indications that this changed. Here are examples of the One God concepts. This first example recalls Genesis’ teaching that we were created in the image of God and Jesus’ teaching (John 10:34) that we are gods.
“Thou has received the form of God, because of this Thou hast become great before the gods. This Pepi is, therefore, a god, the son of the God.”
In the Prisse Papyrus we have this example of the one God ideal:
“If having been of no account, thou hast become great, and if, having been poor, thou hast become rich, when thou art governor of the city be not hardhearted on account of thy advancement, because thou hast only become the guardian of the provisions of God.”
Modern-day stewardship concepts could not have been better described. However, the important point is that there is expressed a belief in One God to whom all things belong.
In the “Maxims of Ani” we find elements of the “Sermon on the Mount,” and the one God theme repeated:
“Let one give self to God. Keep thyself today for God, tomorrow will be like today. In the sanctuary of God much speaking is an abomination. Make thy prayers with a heart of love, all thy petitions offered in secret. He will perform thy affairs, he will hear what thou sayest, he will accept thine offerings. In making offerings to thy God, guard thyself against the abomination. Watch that thy eye is on His plans. Devote thyself to the adoration of his name. It is he who giveth souls to millions of forms, and he magnifieth whosoever magnifieth him.”
It is amazing how many similarities this passage has with the “Sermon on the Mount.” For example, the Egyptian teacher says, “Keep thyself today for the God, tomorrow will be like today.” In the Sermon, Jesus instructs his listeners to “not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Today has enough dangers of ungodliness” (Matt. 6:34). The Egyptian teacher says, “In the sanctuary of God much speaking is an abomination. Make thy prayers with a heart of love, all they petitions offered in secret.” In the Sermon Jesus says, “When you pray, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will respond to you. Do not use meaningless repetition, supposing that many words will cause you to be heard” (Matt. 6:6-7). The Egyptian teacher says, “Watch that thy eye is on His plans.” Jesus says, “Watch that thy eye be single” (Luke 11:34). And in the Sermon he says, “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.” He also warns, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matt. 6:21, 22 & 24). I suppose Truth is Truth, no matter in which millennium we live and study.
In The Egyptian Book of the Dead, we find this description of the One Great God:
“The holy Soul which came into being before time, the great God who liveth by unfailing order, the Whole primeval, which gave birth to the two companies of gods, through him came into being every god. One alone, he made what exists when the earth began in primeval time. Hidden of births, manifold of forms, nothing is known of his growth.” (In Hebrew mysticism, the two companies of gods are the Seraphim and Cherubim.)
Also in the Book of the Dead the “self-created” God is asked “who then is this?” She (In this section, Nun is the “mother” of all, self-created; therefore I’m using the pronoun she.) answers: “It is Ra who created names for his members and these came into being in the form of the gods who are in the following of Ra.” This is a reference to the beginning of soul-groups, each following in or reflecting the first cause or impulse that brought them into being. Those conceived in the following of Ra are of the same soul-group and would have similar goals and perspectives on life. Those conceived in the following of Isis or Hermes or whichever godling, would be of that soul-group and have similar goals and perspectives on life.
From out of the Unmanifested God came God the Creator (self-created). God the Creator conceived co-creators, or the godlings. From out of them came “the millions.” The Original Great Creator then gave souls to “the millions.” The plan is then very simple: Whosoever magnifies the Creator’s qualities, the Creator magnifies them. It’s an inter-related network of Oneness and Manyness, of Wholeness in which separateness may co-exist. The ultimate goal is to subdue one’s sense of separateness by magnifying the Creator’s wholeness, thereby becoming one with the Whole while knowing oneself to be oneself.
As we shall see, the gods were active forces within the God.
Ra is the personification of the sun — symbolic of life, warmth, light and day. It dispels the darkness and cold. It calls the unseen seed-life from out of the dark soil. It brings forth the light from the darkness of the night, as well as life from out of the underworld. It symbolizes the Creator’s power to enliven, nourish and enlighten. Yet, in the mystical teachings, Ra is not omnipotent, for the sun also sets. He has weaknesses, which he struggles to control. He has a personal enemy, the serpent Apep, which he struggles to subdue. He is caught in a cycle of light and darkness, day and night, consciousness and unconsciousness, life and death.
The explanation of how a god can be this great and yet have so much to struggle with goes something like this: All are gods in the higher dimensions, but they have free will and must learn to use it in harmony with the Whole. Therefore, even though the Sons and Daughters of God have powers, they are vulnerable to temptation and misdirection by choice and will. Many are also entangled in karmic laws and cycles of Nature, and must free themselves from these entanglements.
The godlings crystallized their thoughts, causing them to become physically apparent or manifest. Prior to this they were pure minds living in direct connection with the Universal Mind. Now they projected into thought-forms at first, then immersing themselves in matter with their consciousness to the point that they became incarnate. Since they were now acting and experiencing independently of the Creator, less conscious of the Creator and less connected to the Life Force, they began to feel alone and separated. This caused fear and fear led to great mistakes. During these early periods on earth, some of them completely lost touch with their true celestial nature and the Creative Forces. Others retained much or some of their connectedness. These latter ones were considered gods, yet they were also subject to the many problems and challenges that affected all who touched this realm. We will notice that throughout the ancient Egyptian teachings and records, the gods were both divine and human, powerful and vulnerable.
The word neter was used as we use the words god, godly, divine or divinity. Neter literally means renew, self-exist, self-produce. In other words, it means one who has the power to generate or renew life from within themselves. This is a god. In the chapters of the ancient Egyptian text titled, Coming Forth by Day, we find this teaching of godly renewal and self-regeneration:
* Boy god, heir of eternity, begetting and giving birth to himself.
* I am devoted in my heart more than the gods, without feigning, O thou godling.
* I have become divine.
* I have risen up in the form of a divine hawk.
* I have become pure, I have become godly, I have become conscious,I have become co-creator, I have become a soul.
* He shall be god with the gods in the Godplace.
* He shall sanctify his body completely.
* He makes godly thy soul, like the gods.
* God divine, self-produced, primeval matter.
Notice how similar “Boy god” is to the Judeo-Christian “Son of God,” who is also the heir to eternity, and begotten of God (i.e., son of God), not man (i.e, son of man). Notice also how this writer expresses becoming divine, sanctifying, rising up, purifying — all spiritual goals. Then notice in the second to last line how he appears to refer to a divine helper, one who helps him achieve these goals, the messiah ideal. Actually, the ancient initiate did not see this messiah outside of him or herself. It was, in fact, the divine child growing within him who would ultimately be born out of his outer physical death, or better still, his yielding, much as a woman surrenders herself to give birth to another. This is similar to Jesus’ teaching to Nicodemus, “You must be born anew” (John 3:3).
We are physical, earthly beings, but within us is a godling, a bound angel, a sleeping beauty, seeking to be reborn, reawakened. The Edgar Cayce records speak of the part of us that is the angel, and that this angel-self is ever before the throne of God (1646-1). This godly part of us was lost during the descent but will be reborn on “the rising” or ascent.
“Then, as the guardian influence or angel is ever before the face of the Father, through same may that influence ever speak…. Yes, through thy angel, through thy SELF that IS the angel, does the self speak with thy Ideal!” (Cayce reading 1646-1)
In the Phoenix principle, the death of one gives birth to the other. In Egyptian mysticism, the Phoenix is a beautiful, lone bird which consumed its physical self in fire (i.e., spirit), rising renewed from the ashes to start another long life more beautiful than before. The Benu bird is the physical Egyptian emblem of the great Phoenix. In modern minds the Benu bird would not be considered a very grand, noble bird, such as we would consider the eagle. But in ancient Egypt it was the very symbol of immortality, for “at the end of the inundation, recalling the primordial waters, dryness appears in the form of the first small hill, and the ash-colored heron, the Benu bird, glides majestically down (seemingly from out of nowhere) and rests upon the little hill,” life returns, life continues (Pyramid texts, 1652).
The ancient Egyptian picture language requires us to engage our right brains in order to comprehend the meaning. We can’t take these images and attempt to translate them as literal, physical pictures. If we do, we’ll come up with the same concepts that many of our 19th-century researchers did: that is, the Ancient Egyptians, for all their magnificent art, building skills (which we can only partially imitate today) and spirituality, were primitive animal-worshipers with many gods. This simply is not true. The ancient images were created to convey ideals associated with the creature or character of the image. Even though some of them appear bizarre, they are in fact meaningful, and can be understood if one looks with the inner mind and a metaphoric mindset.
Copyrights Reserved – Written By John Van Auken