Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Tent for the Sun


Alice C. Linsley


The tent in Semitic desert tradition represents the dwelling and the territory of the chief. This concept is signified by the Hebrew vav which is the tent peg or the ruler's staff. The vav or waw is designated by the letter Y. The symbol is very old. It is found among the ancient Egyptian, Canaanite, and Phoenician scripts. In the Oasis North Arabian scripts it is a staff with the solar orb on top, as shown below.




In ancient Egypt the waw was a symbol of a scepter carried by deities and deified rulers. The waw/vav originally symbolized the crook/hook of the ruler or the tent peg of the ruler's tent. As a lexeme this represented a cluster of related ideas including:
  • the ruler himself
  • the ruler's authority
  • the ruler's territory
  • the ruler's people
  • the ruler's resources such as his herds and water sources

The waw/vav speaks of an ancient world in which settlements and shrines near water were ruled by chiefs and priests. Travelers moved from settlement to settlement and the ancient water laws were generally generous to those who wa-ndered.

The great chiefs of the Biblical world were designated as such by the initial Y in their names. This is more evident in Hebrew than in English. Consider the following:

Yishmael - Ishmael (Abraham's son by Hagar)
Yitzak - Issac (Abraham's son by Sarah)
Yaqtan - Joktan (Abraham's firstborn son by Keturah)
Yishbak - Yishbak (another of Abraham's sons by Keturah)
Yacob - Jacob
Yeshua - Joshua/Jesus

The Y-shaped headdress of the Somali nomads is called Barki and refers to the sun's blessing upon the wearer. The word corresponds to the Hebrew Birka.


The Sun as God's emblem

The swelling of the sun speaks of God's greatness and sovereignty. The Arabic yakburu means “he is getting big” and with the intensive active prefix: yukabbiru means "he is enlarging." Such would have been the observation of the Horite priests who greeted the rising sun and watched as it expanded across the horizon. At Nekhen, Horite priests placed invocations to Horus at the summit of the fortress as the sun rose. This is the likely origin of the Hindu sun blessing ritual (Agnihotra) and the Jewish sun blessing (Birka Hachama) performed every 28 years.

In the Lower Nile small pyramids carved from single blocks of stone were known as bnbn (benben), from the root, bn, meaning to "swell forth." This relates to the sun's rising or swelling. The Egyptian word for the rising sun is wbn. Tombs of officials from the 4th Dynasty (2613-2494 BC) were surmounted by conical mounds or benben. These tombs, along with the east-facing royal tombs at Giza, indicate that the ancient Kushite and Egyptian rulers hoped to rise from death, even as the Sun rises. Doubtless this the allusion behind the Prophet's words: “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise [swell/be magnified] with healing in its wings.” (Mal. 4:2)

The prevalence of solar imagery in the ancient world is evident in the study of sacred texts. Psalm 92:2 describes the Lord as “a sun and a shield.” The Victory Tablet of Amenhotep III describes Horus as “The Good God, Golden [Horus/Her], Shining in the chariot, like the rising of the sun; great in strength, strong in might…” (Tablet of Victory of Amenhotep III, J.H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, p. 854).

The Egyptian word her (hor, har) means "the one on high", a reference to the soaring falcon, Horus' animal totem, and to the Sun as the emblem of Ra, Horus' father. Horus was the principal deity at Egypt's earliest shrines such as Nekhen (Heirakonpolis) in Sudan, and he was the patron of the Nekhen Saharan monarchy from which the pharaonic state emerged. Horus and Ra were the first known national gods of the Egyptians. Their ruler-priest devotees are called Horites (Horim).

One of the most striking expressions of solar imagery for the Creator is Psalm 19:1-4 which distinguishes between the Creator and the Sun by asserting that God has made a tent for the sun.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their measuring line goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun

To praise the Creator with upraised hands in Hebrew is Yana.


Order and boundaries in creation

The Kushites and the ancient Greeks noted that the cosmos is ordered and has certain fixed patterns that are observable by all people. They were making such empirical observations long before the development of modern science. They noted that the constellations moved in a clock like manner. They observed binary sets in the order of creation and recognized that rhythms and patterns of the cosmos could be described numerically. Time was ordered according to 12 months, following the 12 lunar cycles, and the week was broken into 7 stations (days), following the 7 heavenly bodies (stars and planets) that can be observed by the human eye at the eclipses.

For both the Kushites and the Greeks the boundaries and measurements of earth, space, time, the dimensions of buildings, wind directions and sea currents were regarded as having been established by the gods, and most anciently by Horus. From Horus come the words horizon, horas/hours, horotely, horologion, horoscope, and an ancient word for mountain or high place - har. These words express the significance of Horus as the marker of boundaries and directions and reflect the veneration of Horus in the ancient world.

Pythagoras (a contemporary of Daniel and Haggai), Plato (a contemporary of Nehemiah), and Aristotle saw a geometric quality to the cosmos and a numerical order behind musical harmony. This wisdom made its way to the British Isles, to China and to the Americans, as is evident by the geometrically aligned Stonehedge, burial mounds and pyramids. These monuments reveal knowledge of astronomical alignments, engineering, and architecture among Neolithic peoples worldwide. The sun was the principal celestial point of reference.


Ancient water shrines and burial sites faced East

Among the ancient Proto-Saharans the sun was regarded as the emblem of the Creator. This is reflected in ancient texts which speak of the Creator mounting the sun as a rider mounts a chariot, and in ancient images that show Ra sailing traversing the heavens in a solar boat. Often these images also show Horus in the form of a falcon perched on the masthead. Such an image has been found at Anghor Wat in Cambodia (see below). Ankh-Hor means "May Horus Live!" or "Life to Horus!" It appears that the earliest expressions of Hinduism were consistent with ancient Kushite and Proto-Saharan religion.

Horus perched on the mast of Ra's solar boat


Anghor Wat temples reflect early Dravidian architecture. Dravidian priests and their east-facing temples and shrines were called O-piru. The O is a sun symbol. Opiru appears in different ancient texts as Hapiru, Habiru (Hebrew in English). The Habiru were devotees of Horus, the son of Ra. Ra's emblem was the sun. Hathor-Meri, the mother of Horus, is often shown with the sun over her. The sun's rays were believed to impregnate or inseminate the earth. Hathor-Meri conceived by the overshadowing of the sun.



The Hebrews had a similar conception of God's life-giving shekhinah (golden radiance) and Jerusalem  which is spelled with an initial Y (YRWShLM) was a shrine city dedicated to the God of Light. In Abraham's time, Canaan was a collection of city-states that paid tribute to the Great House of Egypt, as attested in the Amarna tablets. Amarna letters dating from 1370 BC refer to Jerusalem as Ur-Salimu which is a variant of Ur-Sal-ma, a reference to the God of Light (Sal-Ma). Many ancient kings carried this name: Soloman, Salma, Selim, Salmoneus, etc.The kings of Judah had constructed horses at the entrance to the temple in dedication to the sun (2 Kg. 23:11)

Among Abraham's Proto-Saharan ancestors were the metal-workers who gathered meteoric iron which to them must have appeared as seeds from the sky. Probably this is the origin of the word beja, which means seeds and refers to cattle-herding people who worked metal. Linguist Penelope Aubin notes, "In Demotic sources they are called Brhm while in classical sources they are the Blemmyes, ancestors of the modern Beja." Here we see the connection between the Vedic tradition of the Brahmins and the Nilotic Proto-Saharans.

Beja name comes from the ancient Egyptian word for meteroric iron - bja and corresponds to the Sanskrit word bija, meaning semen or seed. Meteoritic iron was used in the fabrication of iron beads in Nubia 6000 years ago. As R.F. Tylecote notes, "Around 4000 BC small items, such as the tips of spears and ornaments, were being fashioned from iron recovered from meteorites."  (A History of Metallurgy, 2nd edition, 1992, page 3) These beads or seeds from heaven were likely perceived to bring the wearer divine power. Meteoritic iron was used in the fabrication of crooks and flails, the symbols of the Egyptian and Kushite pharaohs. These symbols were believed to give the ruler powers from heaven.

The Brahmins referred to the Divine Architect as AUM (cf. Buddhist OUM), and the Dravidians as the God of Heliopolis (On), the City of the Sun and the place of sacred pillars (Iunu).  Plato agreed with the latter. He wrote "Tell me of the God of On, which was, is and shall be." Plato studied under a Horite priest of Heliopolis for thirteen years. Heliopolis was the geodetic center of Egypt. The pyramid triads at Giza, Zaqqara and Abusir are aligned to the obelisk at On. Baalbek in Lebanon, also called Heliopolis, aligns to Heliopolis in Egypt as well.


The linguistic connections

The term "Kushite" is a general term that refers to Nubians, Sudra, Nilotes, Egyptians, Ainu, Canaanites, and the Akkadian rulers of Mesopotamia. The Dravidian priest-scribes were linked to the Kushite rulers and Proto-Saharan beliefs and practices. Evidence of this is found in linguistics which has established a connection between the Nilotic Proto-Saharans and the Dravidians. Consider these examples:

The Hebrew yasuah = salvation, corresponds to the Sanskrit words asvah, asuah or yasuah = salvation.

The Semitic svam or samyim = sky or heavens corresponds to the Sanskrit svah = sky or heaven and resembles the Proto-Dravidian word van = heaven.

The Semitic word wadi = river, corresponds to the Sanskrit nadi = river.

The Hebrew root thr = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm toro = clean, to the Amarigna (Ethiopia) anatara = pure, and to the Tamil tiru = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian tor = blood. In some Kushitic languages mtoro means rain and toro refers to God. The Egyptian ntr = deity is related.

The Hebrew hay = “living being” and the Hebrew iya = mother, corresponds to the Dravidian ka ayi = mother.

There is also a correspondance between the names Ram/Rama, Kush/Kusha, Karnak/Karnataka, and Hari/Hori which are found in Vedic and Hebrew texts.


Who were the Proto-Dravidians and did they leave the Nile region?

The Proto-Dravidians were likely one of the cattle herding groups that made up the C-Group culture of Nubia and Kush. From around 2000 BC, Kush was Egypt’s principal rival. However it does not appear that they impeded commerce between Egypt and Nubia, because from around 1600 BC, commodities moved in both directions on the Nile, likely with cargo taxes being paid to Kushite chiefs who controlled sections of the Nile.

Around 1500 BC Thutmose I defeated the Kushites and this marked the beginning of 300 years of Egyptian control as far south as Jebel Barkal below the Fourth Cataract. Although the C-group cattle herders continued to live along the Nile, there is very little material evidence of their presence from the archaeological record after about 1550 B.C.

One wonders where these Nubian cattle herders went. Were they the Proto-Dravidians who moved into Southern Pakistan and Southern India bringing with them the veneration of cattle, the sun, and devotion to Horus?


Related reading: Clyde Winters, Ancient Writing in Middle AfricaSolar Imagery of the Proto-Gospel; The Sun and the Moon in Genesis; Afro-Asiatic Metal Workers; The Afro-Asiatic Dominion; Who Were the Horites?; What Language Did Abraham Speak?; Thamudic Scripts; Of Dung Beetles and Red Herrings; Celestial Symbols That Speak of God

4 comments:

Jonathan said...

At what point in the history of Abraham's descendants did the ruler's staff or tent pegs (vav) become more of a relic than a practical implement, and when did the people cease to identify so strongly with vav-type authority, giving up the culture of the tent (nomadic life, herding livestock), and the rest, and start being what we think of as a conventionally settled civilization with a permanent attachment to particular territory (cultivating land; engaged in agriculural life; and life in cities), and serving the king ruling from a palace? Did this transition happen at different times for the Israelites, as compared with the Ishmaelites?

Anonymous said...

You said:

"The Proto-Dravidians were likely one of the cattle herding groups that made up the C-Group culture of Nubia and Kush. From around 2000 BC, Kush was Egypt’s principal rival. However it does not appear that they impeded commerce between Egypt and Nubia, because from around 1600 BC, commodities moved in both directions on the Nile, likely with cargo taxes being paid to Kushite chiefs who controlled sections of the Nile.

Around 1500 BC Thutmose I defeated the Kushites and this marked the beginning of 300 years of Egyptian control as far south as Jebel Barkal below the Fourth Cataract. Although the C-group cattle herders continued to live along the Nile, there is very little material evidence of their presence from the archaeological record after about 1550 B.C.

One wonders where these Nubian cattle herders went. Were they the Proto-Dravidians who moved into Southern Pakistan and Southern India bringing with them the veneration of cattle, the sun, and devotion to Horus?""

It's an interesting question, but surely 1500 B.C. is too late for the Proto-Dravidians to have entered India. I would have expected them to be there in 3000 B.C.

Alice Linsley said...

Anon,

I agree. It seems to me that the Proto-Dravidians would have moved out of the Upper Nile before 10,000 years ago. I suspect that they were related in some way to the Ainu who also moved out of the Nile Valley, but the question is when?

Alice Linsley said...

Jonathan,

The dry climate of Palestine and Sudan reflects a later period than the time of Abraham's Kushite ancestors when the Sahara was wetter and the housing was more likely made or reeds or wood. This drier environment was what the Biblical writers knew and suggests a late date - probably after the return from Babylon of the Jews.

In the time of Lot we find some Horites choosing to live in the towns, and by the time of Samuel, the Horites were living in settlements, though their herdsmen moved seasonally.

Under Solomon there was a push to suppress the authority of local rulers to enhance the central government in Jerusalem. This may be why David's son by Bath-Sheba was given the name Solomon which is a reference to the God of Light.