Egyptian Creation Story and Myth Part 3

About the Egyptian creation story, the myth and tradition about the origins and history of world and earth created by Ra.

EGYPTIAN

So Ra summoned before him swift and speedy messengers and commanded them, saying, "Run like the shadow of a body--swifter and more silently than the body itself--to the island of Elephantine that lies in the Nile below the First Cataract. Bring me the red ocher that is found there alone--bring it with speed."

Away sped the messengers through the darkness and returned to Heliopolis, the city of Ra, bearing loads of the red ocher of Elephantine. There, by Ra's command, all the priestesses of the Temple of the Sun and all the maidservants of the royal court were set to crushing barley and making beer. Seven thousand jars did they make and, by the command of Ra, they mingled the red ocher of Elephantine with it so that it gleamed in the moonlight red as blood.

"Now," said Ra, "carry this upstream to protect mankind. Carry it to where Sekhmet means to slaughter men when day returns, and pour it out upon the earth as a trap for her."

Day dawned and Sekhmet came out into the sunlight from her lair among the rocks and looked about her, seeking whom she might devour. She saw no living thing. But, in the place where yesterday she had slain many men, she saw that the fields were covered to the depth of 3 hands' breadths with what seemed to be blood.

Sekhmet saw and laughed with a laugh like the roar of a hungry lioness. Thinking that it was the blood she had shed upon the previous day, she stooped and drank greedily. Again and again she drank, until the strength of the beer mounted to her brain and she could neither hunt nor kill.

As the day drew to its close she came reeling down to Heliopolis, where Ra awaited her--and when the sun touched the horizon she had not slain a single man or woman since the evening before.

"You come in peace, sweet one," said Ra, "peace be with you and a new name. No longer are you Sekhmet the Slayer: you are Hathor the Lady of Love. Yet your power over mankind shall be greater even than it was--for the passion of love shall be stronger than the passion of hate, and all shall know love, and all shall be your victims.". . .

So mankind was saved by Ra, and given both a new delight and a new pain.

(Permission: Tales of Ancient Egypt. By Roger Lancelyn Green. London, The Bodley Head, 1970.)

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