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Author Topic: A few questions on my mind  (Read 2063 times)

Offline Nikki_Love

  • Country: us
A few questions on my mind
« on: January 03, 2018, 11:47:24 am »
Em Hotep!

I was wondering about a few things and would like to ask
1. In ancient Egypt did they believe in the concept of fate or karma, both or neither?
2. Did they believe in a type of nature spirits like the Greeks did with nymphs and the Irish with the Sidhe? Or even a type of household spirit like Scottish Brownies?
3. Did they believe in a type of Animism?
I would also love to hear what you all believe personally as well!!

Senebty



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Offline Sedjfaiemitui

  • Shemsu
  • Country: us
Re: A few questions on my mind
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 04:44:31 pm »
Em hotep nefer, Nikki. :D

1.) The Egyptians did believe in what we'd liken to "fate." This concept is called "Shay," and it is embodied by a male-female pair of deities by that same name: the male being Shay, and the female obviously being Shayt. However, it was nothing like the pernicious notion of "predestination" hailing from Protestant modes of thought that afflicts much of Western understanding of non-Western ideas surrounding "fate."

We see in such Egyptian stories as The Doomed Prince and The Tale of Two Brothers prophecies pronounced over individuals, popularly by a set of figures called the Seven Hathors. Sometimes these prophecies come true as declared, as happens to the wife made for Bata (Set, according to the version included within P. Jumhilac, although a number of pre-Ptolemaic tellings and traditions have Bata as His own God) by Khnum in The Tale of Two Brothers. In other instances, as in the tale of The Doomed Prince (rather contrary to its title, happily), the protagonist is able to successfully avoid all the negative futures declared for him by the Hathors.

Shay -- "what is reckoned; what is ordained" -- in Ancient Egyptian conception was not unalterable. Rather, it was conceived of as a set of potentialities that may occur only when certain conditions are met.

For the stories I mentioned, see also The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies and Poetry (3rd Ed.), edited by William Kelly Simpson.

As for karma, which is exclusive to Hinduisms and Buddhisms . . . it's a really poor comparison to "fate" as we Westerners understand it, and it's not at all comparable to Shay in Egyptian religion(s). Karma cannot be lived-out in one's lifetime, for one thing, and it is inextricably and invariably attached to the concept of Dharma for another. These concepts must be understood on their own terms, in the context of the religions they come from, and cannot be appropriately translated or transposed onto others.

2.) While I cannot recount the names of every single type of "nature-spirit" Ancient Egyptians recognized at any given time during Pharaonic history, there were indeed plenty of entities "assigned" to various physical locations which were not regarded as out-and-out Gods. Dimitri Meeks briefly touches upon this in his Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods (1996). But, these and other Beings aren't necessarily comparable to the types of Beings from the cultures you mentioned.

There are yet others, such as the Four Winds mentioned in the Coffin Texts: Qebui ("The One Who Cools," associated with Wesir); Henkhisesui (East Wind, corresponding to Aset), Hutjaiwi (West Wind, corresponding to Nebet-Het), and Shebui (South Wind, corresponding to Re), Who are Divinities in an Egyptian respect, much like the Four Sons of Heru, but are frequently reduced to "the Spirits of X natural phenomenon" by Westerners.

Moreover, there are a lot of not-quite-Gods that are unique to specific moments in both the diurnal and nocturnal journeys of the Sun God. Some of these Beings had cults at certain times, like the Naru (catfish)-demons which help tow the Solar Barque (They had a cult during the Graeco-Roman Period). Others didn't and don't receive the worship of humans, and had/have very little to do directly with the daily life of mortals like you and me.

3.) "Animism" is not a model of religion in and of itself, but rather a feature of all kinds of religions, from polytheistic models of religion to monotheistic ones. "Animism" comes from the Latin term animus (masculine singular), which refers to "intellect; spirit/soul; mind." What "animism" actually refers to is the idea that a God or Gods, or some all-pervasive spiritual force which may not be exactly "personal," animates the Universe. This God, these Gods, or that all-pervasive spiritual force gives "soul" to trees, to water, to other Gods, to human beings, etc. Any system that regards human beings as having "soul" can be argued to exhibit animistic features.

Egyptian religion(s) absolutely exhibit such features. We have souls, animals have souls, various objects and natural forces have souls (even if they aren't personal and intelligible insofar as we are concerned), and the Creator animated the Universe on the First Occasion.

What "animism" doesn't refer to as a theological categorical term is "the worship of animals." "Zoolatry", rather, refers to the phenomenon of the veneration of animals, whether certain members of certain species or entire species as a whole.

That having been said, Egyptian religion(s), for certain cults at certain times throughout Pharaonic history, did and do feature elements of zoolatry.

I hope this helps! :)

Senebty,
Sedjfai
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 04:53:10 pm by Sedjfaiemitui »
"Endowed by Two Fathers"
𓁣 𓁠
Sat Set her Amun-Re-Banebdjedet
Meryt Herishef, Wesir-Narefy, Heru-Wer, her Yinepu

Offline Nikki_Love

  • Country: us
Re: A few questions on my mind
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 07:18:04 pm »
Em hotep nefer, Nikki. :D

1.) The Egyptians did believe in what we'd liken to "fate." This concept is called "Shay," and it is embodied by a male-female pair of deities by that same name: the male being Shay, and the female obviously being Shayt. However, it was nothing like the pernicious notion of "predestination" hailing from Protestant modes of thought that afflicts much of Western understanding of non-Western ideas surrounding "fate."

We see in such Egyptian stories as The Doomed Prince and The Tale of Two Brothers prophecies pronounced over individuals, popularly by a set of figures called the Seven Hathors. Sometimes these prophecies come true as declared, as happens to the wife made for Bata (Set, according to the version included within P. Jumhilac, although a number of pre-Ptolemaic tellings and traditions have Bata as His own God) by Khnum in The Tale of Two Brothers. In other instances, as in the tale of The Doomed Prince (rather contrary to its title, happily), the protagonist is able to successfully avoid all the negative futures declared for him by the Hathors.

Shay -- "what is reckoned; what is ordained" -- in Ancient Egyptian conception was not unalterable. Rather, it was conceived of as a set of potentialities that may occur only when certain conditions are met.

For the stories I mentioned, see also The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies and Poetry (3rd Ed.), edited by William Kelly Simpson.

As for karma, which is exclusive to Hinduisms and Buddhisms . . . it's a really poor comparison to "fate" as we Westerners understand it, and it's not at all comparable to Shay in Egyptian religion(s). Karma cannot be lived-out in one's lifetime, for one thing, and it is inextricably and invariably attached to the concept of Dharma for another. These concepts must be understood on their own terms, in the context of the religions they come from, and cannot be appropriately translated or transposed onto others.

2.) While I cannot recount the names of every single type of "nature-spirit" Ancient Egyptians recognized at any given time during Pharaonic history, there were indeed plenty of entities "assigned" to various physical locations which were not regarded as out-and-out Gods. Dimitri Meeks briefly touches upon this in his Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods (1996). But, these and other Beings aren't necessarily comparable to the types of Beings from the cultures you mentioned.

There are yet others, such as the Four Winds mentioned in the Coffin Texts: Qebui ("The One Who Cools," associated with Wesir); Henkhisesui (East Wind, corresponding to Aset), Hutjaiwi (West Wind, corresponding to Nebet-Het), and Shebui (South Wind, corresponding to Re), Who are Divinities in an Egyptian respect, much like the Four Sons of Heru, but are frequently reduced to "the Spirits of X natural phenomenon" by Westerners.

Moreover, there are a lot of not-quite-Gods that are unique to specific moments in both the diurnal and nocturnal journeys of the Sun God. Some of these Beings had cults at certain times, like the Naru (catfish)-demons which help tow the Solar Barque (They had a cult during the Graeco-Roman Period). Others didn't and don't receive the worship of humans, and had/have very little to do directly with the daily life of mortals like you and me.

3.) "Animism" is not a model of religion in and of itself, but rather a feature of all kinds of religions, from polytheistic models of religion to monotheistic ones. "Animism" comes from the Latin term animus (masculine singular), which refers to "intellect; spirit/soul; mind." What "animism" actually refers to is the idea that a God or Gods, or some all-pervasive spiritual force which may not be exactly "personal," animates the Universe. This God, these Gods, or that all-pervasive spiritual force gives "soul" to trees, to water, to other Gods, to human beings, etc. Any system that regards human beings as having "soul" can be argued to exhibit animistic features.

Egyptian religion(s) absolutely exhibit such features. We have souls, animals have souls, various objects and natural forces have souls (even if they aren't personal and intelligible insofar as we are concerned), and the Creator animated the Universe on the First Occasion.

What "animism" doesn't refer to as a theological categorical term is "the worship of animals." "Zoolatry", rather, refers to the phenomenon of the veneration of animals, whether certain members of certain species or entire species as a whole.

That having been said, Egyptian religion(s), for certain cults at certain times throughout Pharaonic history, did and do feature elements of zoolatry.

I hope this helps! :)

Senebty,
Sedjfai
Wow!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to give me all of this info!!! It's been a great help and I'm so grateful for this!!


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Online Rev. Shezatwepwawet

  • W'ab (priest) - Moderator (Kemetic Orthodox Q&A)
  • Country: us
Re: A few questions on my mind
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 05:43:30 pm »
Em hotep Nikki,

In general, spirits who are not deities are called netjeri. Also, for future reference, this would be a great post to put in the Kemetic Orthodox Q&A section.
Senebty,
Zat (She who makes Sekhmet laugh)
Sau apprentice | Fedw | The Library | zat@kemet.org

Sat Wepwawet-Yinepu her Hekatawy Alexandros (AUS) meryt Seshat-Nit-Nebthet her Heru-wer her Aset-Serqet

Offline Nikki_Love

  • Country: us
Re: A few questions on my mind
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2018, 09:25:24 am »
Em hotep Nikki,

In general, spirits who are not deities are called netjeri. Also, for future reference, this would be a great post to put in the Kemetic Orthodox Q&A section.
Thank you and good idea!! Sorry if I put this in the wrong place. You all are wonderfully knowledgeable and extremely patient


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Offline Tatuayinepu

  • Shemsu-Ankh
  • Country: us
Re: A few questions on my mind
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 11:36:04 pm »
Em Hotep Nikki,

Great question to bring up, and great answers. Another book which might be worthwhile to check out on this would be The One and The Many: Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt by Erik Hornung.

AKS
Tatuayinepu "The one Yinepu sustains"

Child of Yinepu-Wepwawet and Hekatawy Alexandros I (AUS); Beloved of Sekhmet-Hethert, Heru Sa Aset, Set, Heru wer, and Wesir

Sau Apprentice/Fedw diviner for Yinepu and Sed/Fundraising Bak/Team Leader

 


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