Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sensen = Festival of Two Bulls in the sky: the Sun and Moon

Pangu is the creator god in some versions of Chinese mythology.  His myth is typical of the myths where the body parts of the god are used to create the world:

In the beginning there was nothing in the universe except a formless chaos. This chaos coalesced into a cosmic egg . . . Pangu emerged (or woke up) from the egg . . . Pangu began creating the world . . . creating the Earth (murky Yin) and the Sky (clear Yang). To keep them separated, Pangu stood between them and pushed up the Sky . . . Pangu died. His breath became the wind, mist and clouds; his voice, thunder; his left eye, the sun; his right eye, the moon; his head, the mountains and extremes of the world; his blood, rivers; his muscles, fertile land; his facial hair, the stars and Milky Way; his fur, bushes and forests; his bones, valuable minerals; his bone marrow, sacred diamonds; his sweat, rain; and the fleas on his fur carried by the wind became animals. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangu)

Pangu, like any other mythological god, is a representation, showing aspects of the true God.  The reason I bring him up is the association of his eyes with the moon and the sun.  Similarly, in Egypt, the sun and the moon were considered eyes of certain gods.  And I sense a certain commonality and similarity in these things.

Now, in previous posts, we had established that Khonsu is the representation of the moon, and is one of the bulls.  And a symbol of the sign lists associated with calendars was two bulls and the moon together in various configurations.  Over time, this type of idea became associated with alphabets, espeically in the Greco-Roman period, when Egyptians began to adopt the Greek alphabet.  The alphabet is among a genre of ancient sign lists that include Zodiacs (constellation charts) and calendars that use the signs of the Zodiac to keep track of time.  One bull is at the beginning of the Alphabet, and the other is at the ending of the Alphabet (Aleph and Tav).  Similarly, in certain Zodiacs, we have Taurus which is one of these bulls.  In the case of the common Solar Zodiac, we have a different animal, the Ram, which is Aries.  However, Aleph of the alphabet, as I have shown in other posts, has close associations with the Ram and the Egyptian god, Khnum-Ra and Amen Ra, which is also the Ram:

http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/2014/03/alephalpha-as-el-god-of-canaan-and.html

Also, in some posts, we saw that the wedjat eye is at the center of the game of Mehen, and that it is also represented by the Hypocephalus or Facsimile #2.  So, we read the following about the two bulls as symbols of the sun and the moon:

The opposition of the Sun and Moon in the sky on the fifteenth or sixteenth day of the month was the most important moment of the lunar cycle. This is evidenced by inscriptions at temples in Edfu, Dendera and Karnak. This moment in time was known as "the uniting of the two bulls", and was described in the New Kingdom Osireion at Abydos. A ritual in later temples was celebrated with the offering of two mirrors, symbolizing the two lights at this precise moment. The moment symbolized the rejuvenation of the sun god Amun-Re at Thebes, and also in the Dakhleh Oaisis, when his son and successor, the moon god Khonsu, received his heritage of cosmic rule. (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/moon.htm)
So, interestingly enough, the word SENSEN is occurring here in association with these symbols as astronomical symbols in the context of a conjunction between the sun and the moon.  And this occurrence is cyclical, happening every month, perhaps showing the associations with calendrical matters.  And if you remember, Khonsu the god of the moon, figures prominently in the text of the Sensen papyrus.  Hor, the owner of the Joseph Smith Sensen papyrus is the priest of Khonsu.  And the Book of Abraham, of course, is a document in which lots of astronomy figures in it.  At the very least, someone ought to see some associations forming here.

Of this conjunction in the heavens between the Sun and the Moon, one Egyptian inscription reads:

"A revered one on Half-Month Day, who illuminates the land on the night of his Lord, a light in the sky, the deputy of the sun, great of radiance, shining one, who associates with his father on SENSEN-KAWY . . ." (http://oi.uchicago.edu/pdf/oip103.pdf, The University of Chicago Oriental Institute Publications, Volume 103, The Temple of Khonsu--Volume 2, Scenes and Inscriptions in the Court and the First Hypostyle Hall With Translations of Texts and Glossary for Volumes 1 and 2, Plate 115 A, p. 4)

And, there is a footnote there on that page for the phrase SENSEN-KAWY, which reads:

"The Conjunction of the Two Bulls" . . . identified as a day on which both the moon and the sun are visible in the sky.

In other words, the festival of the two bulls was called SENSEN, meaning conjunction, embrace, fellowship, breathing, etc.  It is the same exact concept happening between the two major celestial bodies that happens between the gods and the initiate in the Sensen Papyrus:  a conjunction, a fellowship, in ritual embrace.  Michael Rice writes:

The two bulls also appear in a group (H.12) which is spelled sensen, a festival of the conjunction of the sun and the moon in the month of Epiphi, when the two celestial bodies were shown as bulls, though in other contexts they could be represented by quite other animals.  (The Power of the Bull, by Michael Rice, p. 147, emphasis in original was the italics, but bold emphasis was added.)
Sensen, then, if we may extrapolate a little with a hypothesis, then symbolically, in the context of the Greco-Roman era, when the Egyptian ideas started to hybridize with Greek ideas especially in places like Alexandria, it appears that the Sensen Papyrus came to be associated with the idea of a conjunction between the Alpha and the Omega, the Alphabet, and its characters may have been employed as a special alphabet.  In a zodiac, the signs are in the circle of the ecliptic, where the two bulls of the constellations meet, calendrically.  Joseph Smith referred to Sensen papyrus characters as an EGYPTIAN ALPHABET.  It is in the Sensen papyrus that the Egyptian alphabetic characters are found, and it is in the KEP, where Egyptian Alphabetic characters are "translated."  As Joseph Smith said, when he was working on his Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, that he was "translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham."

Now, in the Joseph Smith Sensen Papyrus, Hor, the owner of the papyrus, is called "the Bull of His Mother."  Once again, the concept of the bull is brought up.  This interesting phrase is discussed in the following quote:

Our focus this month is The Bull of His Mother, the Khemitian matriarchy, and the true meaning of the symbols we see in images of the "king," or "pharaoh." Some of his usual regalia appear at left: the red and white "double crown" with its curious spiral curling from the front, the vulture -- more about her soon -- flying overhead, and that thing behind the figure's rear leg that looks strangely like a tail because that's what it is. It's a bull's tail, and it identifies the one who wears it as the Hor, the Bull of His Mother, the male who is accorded special dignity and honor because the mother netert, the nurturer and protectress who is responsible for the life and abundance of the land, affirms that he is the one who is worthy, who can be trusted to care for her planet and her people. (http://www.hermes3.net/may106.htm)

Of all Sensen Papyri we could have ended up with, we got the one where the owner was actually named Hor.  This is an interesting coincidence, fortunate for us.  So, the name Hor, not only is the name of the guy that owned our papyrus.  There is also a more general association of the name Hor with the symbol of the bull, and specifically, the phrase "Bull of his Mother."

Michael Rhodes translates the Hor Sensen papyrus this way: "The Osiris, God's father priest of Amon-Re, king of the gods, priest of Min, who massacres his enemies, priest of Khonsu, who is powerful in Thebes." (Michael Rhodes, The Hor Book of Breathings, A Translation and Commentary, p. 21).  Then in the footnote for "priest of Min," Rhodes makes note that Klaus Baer translated this phrase differently, as "bull of his mother."  Hor, the owner of the papyrus, is the son of Taykhebyt, his mother, who is mentioned in the text.:

His [Min's] importance grew in the Middle Kingdom when he became even more closely linked with Horus as the deity Min-Horus. By the New Kingdom he was also fused with Amen in the deity Min-Amen-kamutef (Min-Amen - bull of his mother). Min's shrine was crowned with a pair of bull horns. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_(god))