Hermopolis means “the city of Hermes” in Greek. The Greeks gave it that name because it was a major cult centre of the god Thoth who they associated with their god Hermes, but the Egyptians knew it as Khmunu (“the City of the Eight”).
The Ogdoad was a system of eight deities, four gods and their consorts (the number four was considered to represent completeness). Each pair represented the male and female aspects of the four creative powers or sources. Nun and Naunet represented the primeval waters; Heh and Hauhet represented eternity; Kuk and Kauket represented darkness; and Amun and Amaunet represented air (or that which is hidden). The gods were all depicted with frog´s heads, while the goddesses had the heads of serpents. Only Amun went on to be considered as more than a primeval force. While Nun was still referred to often, it was only as the representation of the waters of Chaos.
These eight elements interacted causing an explosion (the Big Bang?) and the burst of energy which was released caused the primeval mound (located at Hermopolis, but originally known as the “Isle of Flame”) to rise from the water. It was thought. The gods and goddesses of the Ogdoad then ruled the earth during the Golden Age. When they died they took up residence in the “Duat” (or “Tuat” – the Underworld). The ensured that the Nile continued to flow, that the inundation would come every year and caused the sun to rise each day.
There are four central creation myths. The first held that the world was born from a cosmic egg created by the gods of the Ogdoad. It was invisible as the sun had not yet been born. When it opened, it revealed the “bird of light”, an aspect of the sun god Re (occasionally the egg was said to contain air, associated with Amun and Amaunet). Alternatively, the egg was laid by a celestial goose called the Gengen Wer (the primeval goose who was associated with Amun who took this form as a creator god). When Re hatched from the egg, he created the world and everything in it. The second version says that the egg was laid by an ibis, (a bird sacred to Thoth). However, the cult of Thoth developed after the original myth of the Ogdoad, so it is probable that this story was an attempt to incorporate Thoth into the pre-existing Ogdoad (who were sometimes known as “the souls of Thoth”).
The third myth states that a lotus flower emerged from the waters of “the Sea of the Two Knives” (a lake near to the temple in Hermopolis). The petals opened to reveal Re who then created the world. The fourth myth is similar, except it held that a scarab beetle (Khepri – the symbol of the rising sun) was revealed when the petals opened. The scarab transformed into a young boy whose tears formed the first human beings. The boy is generally considered to be Nefertem (“young Atum”) but once Re and Horus had been merged as Re-Horakhty the boy was sometimes considered to be the infant Horus.
The Hermopolitans claimed that their theory of creation was older than any other in Egypt and that it was the Ogdoad who gave birth to both the sun and Atum. It is also interesting to note the similarity between the Ogdoad and the description of the creation of the world found in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament).
Ogdoad´s Sacred Space
You are surely aware that most of the worshipers of Egyptian Goddesses and Gods nowdays use in their rituals and magic elements Air, Fire, Water and Earth to create a sacred space. Worshippers of Isis also celebrate eight seasonal festivals known to all pagans namely Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltain, Litha, Lughnasadh and Mabon. However, we have decided to go further into the Ancient Egyptian practice and we have explored elements of Ogdoad and started to work with those.
Ogdoad elements represented by the Godesses and Gods of Ogdoad are elements of creation of all there is. They have created the sacred space – The World where Re have created everything in it! There is no way to asign Ogdoad elements to cardinal points of compass because they didn´t exist before the creation. One would think it impossible to access something that existed in the core of creation of our universe. But every fiber of our being is filled with those elements. Our own body has been created by those exact elements. One female and one male cell carrying the seeds of creation since the conception of this world. We all carry the creative force of Ogdoad inside of each and every cell of our body.
Our body is filled with energy and elements of Ogdoad where Re gave them their shapes. Re has created cardinal points and therefor we can through careful study asign each of Ogdoad elements one cardinal point. Not that they exist in those points of our world but simply to be able to work with them in magical practice. We need to explore and research the practice more in depth in Khmunnu Egypt. We are hoping the necessary trip will be possible during the month May 2011… 🙂 The trip is only to prove or correct the practice we teach the way it would be at least very close to what has been practiced in Khmunnu and also try to recreate Festivals and Rituals held there.
We also believe that pyramids in Giza have a lot to do with sacred elements. They have been created with admirable presition. Each of the four points of pyramid is located precisely on each of the cardinal points. The sacred geometry of the pyramids is amazing subject on its own. Each pyramid is also located on Earth´s meridian points. The power of pyramids might also be in the fact that the sacred four elements of Ogdoad are connected to each point of a pyramid. The top of the pyramid might be connected to God Re. This is only hypothesis long way from being proved. However our Iseum uses the analogy of pyramid to create sacred space of magic of creation.
Also we don´t apoint any spheres or worlds to Eight energies of Ogdoad. We are taking a step back from all the theories already explored. We simply are trying to reconnect to the source of our creation.
If you are interested in scientific approach to Ogdoad and want to learn more about theories surrounding Ogdoad than you can read very interesting article here:
Would you like to help us in our research?
We will keep you posted about our Ogdoad project and study. If you have a good knowledge of pyramids, sacred geometry or Ogdoad or have visited relevant places in Egypt and want to share pictures or your thoughts feel free to post the comments here. We also welcome the excited commets about your experiences from Egypt.. 😀
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