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Nuit: Archaic Star Goddess of Ancient Egypt

Nuit: Archaic Star Goddess of Ancient Egypt

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Published by Mogg Morgan
(Notes for short presentation at Treadwells, April 8th 2012,
Feast for the reception of the Book of the Law, organised by Entelechy, Greece)
(Notes for short presentation at Treadwells, April 8th 2012,
Feast for the reception of the Book of the Law, organised by Entelechy, Greece)

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Mogg Morgan on Apr 10, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/15/2014

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 Nuit© Mogg Morgan(Notes for short presentation at Treadwells, April 9
th
2012,Feast for the reception of the Book of the Law, organised by Entelechy, Greece)Aleister Crowley’s evocation of Nuit in Liber ALfocuses our attention on a very unusual and unique Egyptian Goddess.The sky goddess Nwt is one of the oldest deities in the Egyptian pantheon.She is a prehistoric clan deity who later becomes cosmic.The old prehistoric goddesses were of bovine form. Over time they assume anthropomorphic ie:human characteristics.Their function also changed from originator of the cosmos – the cosmogenic quality.The sky considered as female is unusual.It many mythologies the sky is a god, i.e. male and its counterpart is the great earth mother,(Neumann, The Great Mother, Lesko et al)Her name literally means “The watery one” Nw + tCame to signify “The Sky” but not as a lifeless roof of heaven but as a dynamic entity, creating anddestroying (see Hollis 87).She represented the entire sky, night and day as well as large features such as the Milky Way.All the above reflects the high status of women in ancient Egypt. Nwt is : “The reassuring image of the great mother to whom we all return at death, the holy mothewho can resurrect the dead, the sacred womb from which the dead are reborn” these truths maintainedfrom very earliest times right until the end of historic Egypt. (Lesko)The Egyptian Pyramid Texts, possibly some of world oldest religious literatureThere are many spells for Nwt in PT & CT usually asking her to conceal Osiris from Seth, to take possession of the earth and to install every god who has a bark as an imperishable star in the starrysky – that is in Nwt herself. (Spell I ff, 427ff) Nwt is described in the Pyramid Text spell 548 as a
long horned celestial cow
who suckles the kingand takes him to herself in the sky.“May Nuit the Great put her hands on him/ she the long of horn, the pendulous of breast”.Originally she was the daughter of the first primary couple, Shu & Tefnut, air and moisture.These are quite difficult, amorphous deities.The separation of Nuit & Geb is a later myth, perhaps recording the rise of patriarchy and the
 
relegation of Nwt to the Sky, leave the earth to a male earth god (Geb)?When you consider one of her forms as cow goddess, one can see connections with goddesses such asHathor, and also Mehet-Weret (The Great Flood) and most primal of all entities.One of her oldest names/epithets could be the old sky goddess of Nekhen (“Citadel of the Hawk”) asBat.Bat’s name means “female soul” or “female power” – According to Barbara Lesko, her name signifies the deification of the essence of femininity.One of Nwt’s popular epithets is “Kha-bawes” : “one with a thousand souls.”(Cerny)The largest presentation of Nwt and indeed any deity in Egypt in found at the Dendara in the firsthypostyle hall.Dendara is the main cult centre of the cow goddess Hathor.Sycamore is a tree often thought of as sacred to Hathor, also used to make coffins, hence some lateimages of Nwt show her as a tree goddess. Nwt is at Dendara et al, for she has no particular cult centre of her own. She has always seems to beworshipped in a small chapel as part of another cult never as a whole temple of her own.This does not detract from her greatness.It’s because she is chthonic rather than anthropomorphic (having a human form) ..Chthonic means underworld, the realm of the dead. Again this is odd because Nuit is a sky goddess.It all goes to show that Nwt is unique among goddesses.Also unique in that she has the typically skygod role of regulating passage of day and night.The movement of time and space almost always a role given to male deities such as Marduk or Yahweh, or Mithras.Perhaps this does refer the ancient times before the patriarchal religions, a time of great goddesses?Goddess of the sky such as vulture goddess – Mwt and Nwt.The female sky is the realm of the dead, the earth is for the living and is ruled by a male god?When the sungod Ra travels across the sky he travels through Nwt. The language is very visceral,deliberately so, “winding waterway”, “nurse canal”, “field of reeds” “doors thrown open”. Crowleysometimes criticised for fixating on this but it does invoke the original Egyptian vibe. Nwt iconography is unique in Egyptian art, the only goddess shown nude (Lesko). Here nakedness is partly erotic partly to do with birth - she gives birth to all the gods, all the stars, so why no us?In historic times she become part of the so-called mortuary cult – almost the personification of thecoffin. The coffin is really a stylised womb. Wrapped inside this womb, the deceased waits to bereborn after a long period of incubation.“Oh my mother Nuit, stretch yourself over me, that I may be placed amongst the imperishable stars,

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