The Abecedaria and the Zodiacs and the Dancers of Senet: Dynamic Written Characters

In a previous article of this series, we saw that in the Greco-Roman era, there was a hybridization of traditions between Greek and Egyptian tradition, where Thoth, the Egyptian moon god, and one of his aspects, Khonsu, came to preside over the Greek alphabet and the glossolalia that came to be associated with it through pre-Christian Pagan, early Christian and early Christian Gnostic prayer-circle and ring-dance traditions.  We saw that from the earliest times among the Egyptians, the ring dances/prayer circles performed by Egyptian priests were closely associated with the planets and the zodiac.

We saw that Lunar Calendars were inscribed on bone as early as 30,000 BC or thereabouts, and that the Zodiac tradition may have even been around as early as 17,000 BC in the Lascaux Cave in France.  We saw that extremely ancient game traditions emerged out of the use of three dimensional tokens on boards that may have been Calendars.  We saw that the three-dimensional tokens gave birth to hieroglyphic writing.  We saw that the phonetic alphabet may have emerged out of an attempt by Canaanites to use a set of Egyptian hieroglyphs as an early Zodiac, or to use them to symbolize the signs of a Zodiac, as well as the first phonetic alphabet.

We saw that Professor Cyrus Gordon believed that the Ugaritic alphabet found on a tablet in alphabetic order was an ancient Lunar Zodiac and Calendar.  This tablet is known as an abecedary or abecedarium, a sign list in alphabetic order.  And the plural form of the word is abecedaria.  Here is a picture of the Ugaritic Abecedary:


Here are some other examples of ancient Abecedaria:

Ancient Greek Abecedary on a Greek Vessel:


Wikipedia has this to say:
An abecedarium (or abecedary) is an inscription consisting of the letters of the alphabet, almost always listed in order. Typically, abecedaria (or abecedaries) are practice exercises.
Some abecedaria include obsolete letters which are not otherwise attested in inscriptions . . .
Some abecedaria found in the Athenian Agora appear to be deliberately incomplete, consisting of only the first three to six letters of the Greek alphabet, and these may have had a magical or ritual significance . . .
. . . The number of Christian objects bearing the Abecedaria, with the exception of two vases found at Carthage, is extremely limited. On the other hand, those of heathen origin are more plentiful, and include certain tablets used by stone-cutters' apprentices while learning their trade. Stones have also been found in the catacombs, bearing the symbols A, B, C, etc. These are arranged, sometimes, in combinations which have puzzled the sagacity of scholars. . . . (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abecedarium)
Dr. Hugh Moran makes some interesting observations:
It would seem to be of some significance and worthy of further investigation, therefore, that the first letter of the alphabet is the Greek alpha, the Hebrew aleph, a bull, not the ordinary word for bull, but a special ancient word used for sacred cattle, corresponding to the Assyrian word alpu, a bull.  Scanning down through the other letters of the Hebrew alphabet having names with recognized meanings in the Hebrew, we find that they also deal with ideas in current astrology: a house, a hand, an eye, a fish, a serpent; while strangely enough the last of all in the Hebrew is taw, a mark, a sacred symbol; the Aramaic tor, oryx or ox; the Arabic thaur; the Greek tauros; the Latin taurus; and the Germanic thor, the thunderer.  Two bulls?  The first and last letter of the alphabet a bull?  One is reminded of Alam and Alad, the two bulls of the Sumerians, one on the right hand and the other on the left of the gate of the temple; of alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, which is repeated with such impressive resonance in the Book of Revelation. (Hugh A. Moran and David H. Kelley, The Alphabet and The Ancient Calendar Signs, Second Edition, pp. 14-15)
As was mentioned in a previous article, this was the book that contained the hypothesis that Professor Cyrus Gordon built upon for his theory that the Ugaritic Abecedary was a Lunar Calendar/Zodiac.  As was noted there, Moran's work has been derided by some.  The current author is of the belief that Moran had some interesting insights, and that his foundational hypothesis that the alphabet was based on Zodiacal and Caledrical traditions is correct.  However, Moran's deductions and attempts to prove his hypothesis are severely flawed, mostly because he did not base his deductions on the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet.  And he seems to have been unaware that the Solar Zodiac that we inherited from the Greeks only goes back to 500 BC.  This current author believes that the Proto-Sinaitic is an ancient sign list selected from among the many available Egyptian hieroglyphs to represent both an ancient Zodiac/Calendar, as well as to function as a phonetic alphabet through the principle of acrophony.

Now, note Moran's comment on the two bulls.  This corresponds to the Egyptian usage of the symbol of two bulls to represent the god Khonsu, an aspect of the god Thoth, the god of the Moon and the god of writing.  Sometimes the two bulls associated with Khonsu were represented as two lions, or a lion and a bull.  Remember that Hugh Nibley noted that Khonsu is the Beginning and the End, and the Alpha and the Omega in the Book of Revelation is the Beginning and the End.  In the Old Testament, Jehovah is the Aleph and the Tav.  Aleph is an ox (bull), and the Tav is a bull, or symbolic of a bull.  Moran's comment holds up.  The two bulls of the Sumerians corresponds to the two lions in front of libraries.



  These correspond to the nagas, the guardian dragons in front of Asian Temples.  They correspond to guardian dragon-dogs called the Foo Dogs among the Chinese.  While they are called "dogs," they are not.


They are lions.  And this corresponds to the usage of the lions on the Mehen game board:


The sphinx is the guardian of the Egyptian pyramids.  When the dead would approach the god Re in the Mehen tradition, they would have to provide Re with a password which was the name of the roads of Mehen.  Similarly, the "riddle" of the sphinx is a formula that a person would have to provide to pass.  And, as we saw, the two bulls were symbolic of the Sun and the Moon, and in Egypt, the day when the two bulls would meet in the sky was known as Sensen.

Hugh Nibley quotes Phineas Mordell, writing that:
According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the letters "were made in the form of a 'state and arranged like an army in battle array,'" as if coordinating human affairs with the order of the cosmos.  We are told that "when Abraham understood it, his wisdom increased greatly, and he taught the whole law." (One Eternal Round, p. 258)
It is interesting that the letters of the alphabet were being likened unto an army.  This once again seems to be a recollection in ancient Hebrew tradition of something even far more ancient than the Hebrew Alphabet itself.  The Hebrew letters were concieved in this way as dynamic, not static on a page.  The Senet players were "dancers," dynamic characters used as proxies for characters in an afterlife ritual.

This reminds me of chess pieces representative of an army.  Even though chess isn't as ancient as Senet, this still suggests to me the same type of concept:  the letters of the alphabet, in ancient constrained writing experiments and word games, were conceptually similar to the characters or pieces in the Senet and other games.  They were  dynamic, not static.  They were like the pieces on the Senet board or the Mehen board, the ancient Egyptian games, which are also associated to the Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham, as we saw in previous articles.  The origin of written hieroglyphs and letters themselves are in what the Egyptians called dancers.  These are the tokens that had economic usage, symbolic of goods, and that were also used in games, which had their origins in divination rituals and calendars.

Abecedaria containing sets of characters from various ancient alphabets were drawn upon for word games anciently, like acrostics, which we discussed previously.  All of these ancient alphabets came from the Proto-Sinaitic.

Therefore, the hypothesis suggested here, as bolstered by all the evidence presented in this series of articles, is that Egyptian documents containing Egyptian characters, were drawn upon sometimes for the source of characters for ancient derivative or hybrid compositions containing Egyptian characters employed in unorthodox ways, like "dancers."  They become, as it were, the dancers in a ring dance of the Zodiac, of the Alphabet.