The Egyptian Sky God Horus. Part 1 of 3. (gks 20)

Haroeris, consort of Hathor

I have placed Horus son of Isis (and Osiris) as the masculine (Isis, female) guardian and ‘face’ of the ecliptic. In a similar vein but different ‘zone,’ I would suggest Horus the Great be equated with earth’s deified hazy band, Hathor; why? A number of reasons. Firstly, this Horus was the husband (sometimes son) of Hathor, so we have an obvious close and personal connection here. Secondly, the iconography supports the first reason as Har-wer is depicted numerous times as the consort of Hathor (example below).

Thirdly, as discussed the name Hat-hor means house of Horus, so the question arises as to which Horus is being referred too here – which Horus is being housed? Given the textual references and imagery it is logical to assume this has to be Horus the elder – a Horus god around since the birth of pharaonic Egypt – a deity that appeared even before the Sun god Re!

And finally, Harwer was the Horus form closely associated with kingship. What this means is to become the living Horus planetary bodies had to appear as ‘living,’ ‘breathing’ red disks (in the image of Re) in close proximity to earth, thus more often than not they appeared amidst Hathor’s dust… the upshot… Horus the elder (older, or even ancestor). The epithet ‘Great’ or ‘Elder’ because even through times of tumult where Re was completely obscured, Horus the Great being close to earth would literally shine through via Egypt’s godly pharaohs.

This isn’t as clear cut as I’m making out but this is to be expected given the ever changing heavens and the fact that Isis (ecliptic) and Hathor (earth’s ring) crossed paths on a daily and annual basis. That said, I do believe my identifications gives us a fundamental basis from which to work from.

Horus Ptolemy Mars

Above right: Ptolemy VI (Mars?) making an offering before the gods Horus (Har-wer) and his wife Hathor (earth’s rings housing the red disk).

Note the kings distinctly unusual headgear on which scholars offer no explanation. I will follow up on this in the near future.

There are so many permutations here; one such scenario would be a planetary body born amidst the distant ecliptic as ‘Horus the Child’ only to move to the forefront and amidst Hathor to become Haroeris, ‘Horus the Great.’

“When he reaches maturity Horus becomes Har-wer or ‘Haroeris’ – the elder Horus now capable of seizing power.”

(Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Hart 91)

Independent Horus deities

An example of why confusion reigns.

Horus the Elder was worshiped as an independent deity to Horus Son of Isis, that is until later times when the various form of Horus became blended into one.

We can see just how difficult it is to tell them apart by comparing Horus the Elder in the image directly above with Harsiese in the Nefertari image above – there is little if anything to tell them apart and yet they were independent deities, as too were other Horus forms. The Coffin Text confirm their independence.

Although Egyptian texts usually make little effort to distinguish Haroeris from Harsiese, the Coffin Texts do feature, among the genre of spells for transforming into, or invoking, particular deities, separate spells for “Becoming the Elder Horus” (CT spell 280) and for “Becoming Horus” (i.e., Son of Isis) (CT spell 326).

The imagery further supports this independence.

Horus The Great

From the right: Horus the Great seemingly watching over Horus and Isis (as a cat) who offers the symbol of life (ankh) to a Ptolemy king.

A point to be made here is the Egyptians when carving such meticulous reliefs knew exactly what they were portraying. They were fully aware of the various forms of Horus and the locations they represented – there can be no doubt they were able to distinguish between the two Horus’ otherwise they wouldn’t have carved them. Along with the cardinal points and a thick dusty horizon, cosmic dust created many ‘zonal bands’ in the heavens. These were home to Egypt’s numerous cosmological gods who nurtured and looked after the astral kings – Horus, and his many forms being just one of them.

God of Light

Moon God ThothIt is epithets such as this that had led scholars to erroneously believe the Egyptians must be somehow referring to the Sun, this is incorrect. Pharaonic times saw the surfaces of Mars, Venus, Mercury and the Moon molten hot – incandescent orbs generating their own light (see Cobra). The same Horus bodies also reflected light from Re – on numerous occasions Horus would shine bright during the night, and in this ancient twilight world (red Sun) also during the day. A simple analogy; the Sun today grants visibility to our Moon by shinning on it. Our Moon, it could be said, is the last remaining Horus of ancient times.

CT spell 280, addresses the deceased as “the elder Horus who took sail at nightfall … he who mourns in the mansion of Osiris … your eye is Re” [reflected light from the Sun]. This represents a luminous planetary body, a ‘god of light’ taking sail at nightfall, a common occurrence.

“Horus: Mighty Bull, Shining in Thebes” was a common ‘Horus’ epithet bestowed upon numerous Pharaohs – a very apt title.

Image right: Another aspect of the spirit and personification of the ‘height’ of heaven – Horus manifest as the lunar god Thoth. An image that appeared in later times as the Moon fell under earth’s gravitational spell.

‘Horus who rules with two eyes,’ the eyes of heaven?

Quote: “According to later traditions, the right eye represented the Sun and so is called the ‘Eye of Ra’ while the left represented the Moon and was known as the ‘eye of Horus’ (although it was also associated with Thoth). However, in many cases it is not clear whether it is the left or right eye which is referred to. Others myths suggest that it is Horus´ right eye which was torn out and that the myth refers to a solar eclipse in which the sun is momentarily blotted from the sky” (ref.) Horus was sometimes given the title Kemwer, meaning (the) great black (one).

Regarding the ‘eyes,’ the above sounds quite plausible, especially when taking into account they are referring to “later times.” A time when perhaps cosmic chaos had settled somewhat leaving behind the Sun and the Moon (Thoth) as the primary eyes of heaven. ‘The great black one’ may be reference to the night sky. Unfortunately it isn’t as simple as that. For a start, if nothing has changed since time immemorial then why wasn’t the Sun and Moon the ‘eyes’ of heaven from the beginning of pharaonic Egypt? Actually, a little research reveals the whole thing is shrouded in confusion, contradictions and erroneous assumptions, for example.

Horus the Elder was said to have a green, with which the Egyptians meant red (cf. Red or Green Crown of Lower Egypt), eye which represented the Sun, and a lesser white eye, the Moon.

The blue-eyed Horus comes to you; the red-eyed Horus, violent of power, waits for you.

(BOD 117)

His right eye was white and represented the sun; his left eye was black and represented the Moon.

King Unas is said to have taken these to illumine his face (Gods of the Egyptians, Budge). We also have the titles, ‘Horus of the two blue eyes’ and ‘Horus of the two red eyes’ (Ibid).

Confused? While it may be possible to understand the references to the left eye being white or even black and representing the Moon, where on earth did a ‘white Sun’ come from? What of the blue and red eyes? If signifying the Sun and Moon shouldn’t any reference simply refer to a white and golden eye, as per exactly what is seen? Only in a world where errant bodies adorned a variety of colours can we even begin to understand such enigmas.

To compound matters further when in hieroglyphic form or pictorially represented, the ‘eyes’ are presented thus.

Eye Of Horus

Who amongst us would have thoughts that the Sun and Moon were being referred too here? Colouring the eyes white and golden may prompt such thoughts, but the art reveals that this clearly isn’t the case. Given the many colours (and locations) of the Horus bodies, I would suggest that the Egyptians are merely representing the ‘eye(s)’ of the sky in a very simplistic and universal form, in order to be understood by all.