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Khnemu Her-Shef


Khnemu Her-Shef

Khnemu who, under the form of Her-shef, was worshipped at Herakleopolis Magna, and 2.Kihenmu who, under the form of Osiris, was worshipped at Mendes. 1.Khenmu as Her-shef, or Her-sheft, was worshipped at Suten-henen, or Henen-su, or Het-Henen-su, under the form of a horned, ram-headed man, and wore the White Crown with plumes, a disk, and uraei attached. The Greeks transcribed the name Her-shef by Apoaons, and as Plutarch says that it means "strength, bravery," it is clear that in his time the latter portion of it, shef or sheft, was derived from shef, or sheft, "strength, power, bravery," and the like. On the other hand two variant forms of the name of the god are----- Her-shef, i.e., "He who is on his lake," and Heri-sha-f, i.e., "He who is on the sand." The first form would connect the god with Lake Moeris, and the second refers to him as an aspect or phase of Osiris, who bears this title in Chapter cxli., in line109, and Chapter cxlii., line 14, the god Aa-shefit, is mentioned, and is probable that he also is to be identified with Osiris. Henen-su, the center of the worship of Khnemu under the form of Her-shefi, is often referred to in the Book of the Dead, and a number of important mythological events are said to have taken place there. Thus it was here that Ra rose for the first time when the heavens and the earth were created {xvii. 7-9, and it was this rising which formed the first great act THE BENNU of creation, because as soon as Ra rose he separated the earth from the sky. Osiris was here crowned lord of the universe, and here his son Horus assumed the throne of his father left vacant by the death of Osiris. When Ra ordered the goddess Sekhet to go forth and destroy mankind because they had mocked him and had spoken lightly of his age, she started on her journey from Henen-su. To this place also returned Set after his defeat by Horus, who had wounded him severely, and Osiris was believed to have taken a spade and covered over the earth blood which propped from him and his fiends, and to have buried the bodies of those whom Horus had slain. It is this act which is alluded to by the deceased when he says {Chapter I., line 30, "I have grasped the spade on "the day of digging the earth in Suten-henen {or Henen-su." Elsewhere {xvii. 49 we have an illusion to the "day of the union of two earths," smat taui, which is explained by the stronger expression, "the completing of the two earths," temt taui. The etext which follows says that it refers to "the mingling of earth with earth in the coffin of Osiris, "who is the Soul that dwelleth in Henen-su, and the giver of "everlasting paths, i.e., Ra himself." An entirely different matter in connection with the two earths is mentioned in line 129, where there is an illusion to "Shu , the strenghthener of the two "lands in Henen-su," and there is little doubt that the words refer to the part which Shu played at the Creation, when he held up with his arms and hands the sky which Ra had made to separate it from the earth. At Henen-su lived the Great Bennu, {Chapter cxxv. 18, and the neighborhood dwelt the awful "Crusher of Bones," Set-Qesu, who is mentioned in the Negative Confession, and in this place the souls of the beautified found a place of rest in the realm of Osiris in this place {cxxxvii. 52 ; in some portion of the sanctuary was the Aat-en-shet, or "region of fire," and near it was the torture chamber named "Sheni," This chamber was guarded by a god with the face of a greyhound and the eyebrows of a man, and he sat watching at the "Elbow," of the "Lake of Fire" for the dead who passed that way, and as he remained himself unseen he was able to seize upon them and tear out their hearts and devour them. The texts shows that there was great difference of opinion about the name of this monster, which is given as Mates, and Beba, and Heri-Sep-F,. These facts, which are derived chiefly from the xviith Chapter of the Book of the Dead, prove that Henen-su, or Herakleopolis, possessed a system of theology of its own, and that this system must be very ancient, but whether it is older than that of Heliopolis it is impossible, at present, to say definitely. What is certain, however, is that the great local god. Her-shef was sufficiently important to be regarded as a form of the great ram-god Khenmu. It must be noted also that Her-shef was a solar god, and that as such many of the titles of Ra were bestowed upon him ; it is said that he lit up the world with his beams, that his right eye was the sun and his left eye the moon, that his soul was the light, and that the north wind which gave life to all came from his nostrils. He is said, moreover, like Ra, to be "One." In a figure of the god reproduced by Lnazone he was four heads; one is the head of a bull, one that of a ram, and two are the heads of hawks. above these are the characteristic horns of Khenmu which are surmounted by two plumes and four knives. These four heads represent the four gods who formed Khenmu of Henen-su, i.e., Ra, Shu, Seb, and Osiris, and thus he might be identified with Ra-Tem of Heliopolis, or Amen-Ra of Thebes and , either of these compound gods might be worshipped as one of his forms. The female counterpart of Her-shef possess various names, and she was identified with various goddess this is not to be wondered at ; her chief attributes were those of Hathor and Isis, and her local name was Atet, or Mersekhnet,. Many of her attributes, however, were those of Net {Neith, and Meh-urt, and Heqet, and Anit, as the last named goddess she was the sister of Ka-Hetep, i.e., Osiris. According to a text quoted by Dr. Brugsch, Ate, the local goddess of Henen-su, in the form of a cat slew Apep, the great serpent of darkness. From this it is clear that she was a female counterpart of Ra, who, as we knew from the xviith Chapter of the Book of the Dead, took the form of a cat, and slew Apep, the prince of darkness, who had taken the form of a monster serpent. The text says, I am the Cat {Mau, which "fought {?] hard by the Persea Tree {Ashet, on Annu, on the night when the foes of Neb-Er-Tcher were "destroyed." The explanation of this statement which follows the question, "Who then is this" is "the male Cat is Ra himself, "and he is called 'Mau by reason of the words of the god Sa, "who said about him, '{Who is like {mau, into him ? "and thus his name became 'Mau' {i.e., Cat." The fight here referred to is the first battle which the god of light waged against the fiends of darkness at Annu, after which he rose in the form of the sun upon the world. Finally, in connection with the city Henen-su we must note that there existed in the temple there a shrine which was dedicated to the goddess Neheb-Kau, who was worshipped there in the form of a huge serpent. She was one of the Forty-two Assessors of the Hall of Maati {Negative Confession, line 40, and in the Papyrus of Nu {cxlix. 5 the deceased says that she was "established his head for him ;" elsewhere she seems to be mentioned as a form of Nut,and to be the female counterpart of the serpent god Nau. She was a goddess who provided for the dead meat and drink, not the material offerings of earth, but the divine tchefaut food, or tcheftchef, which may be compared to the nectar and ambrosia on which the gods of Olympus lived, and which grew in the portion of the SekhetAaru, or Elysain Fields, called Tchefet,. What this food was cannot be said, but the word tchef or tcheftchef is connected with tcheftchef, "to shed light," and tcheftchef, the "pupil of the eye" of Ra, i.e., the "eye of Horus," which is mentioned so often in the Pyramid Texts, and it must then either be a celestial food made of light, or some product of the mythological Olive Tree, Baqet, which grew in Annu {Unas, line 170. In any case Neheb-kau was a very ancient goddess who was connected with the Elysian Fields of the Egyptians, and she is often depicted in the form of a serpent with human legs and arms, and sometimes with the wings also, and she carries in her hands on e or two vases containing food for the deceased. In the next text of Unas {line 599 she is refereed to in the following passage :--- "homage to thee, O Horus, in the domains of Horus ! Homage "to thee, O Set, in the domains of Set ! Homage to thee, thou "god Aar, in Sekhet-Aarer. Homage to thee, Neththab, "daughter of these four gods who are in the Great House. Even "when the command of Unas may see you as Horus seeth Isis, as Nehebu-Kau seeth Serqet, as Sebek seeth Net "Neith, and as Set seeth Netetthab." Among the greatest of the festivals at henen-su were those in honor of Neheb-kau which, according to Dr. Brugsch, were celebrated on the first of Tybi, this is to say, nine days after the "festival of Ploughing the Earth," Khebs-ta, when men began to plough the land after the subsidence of the waters of the Inundatio. Under the heading "Osirsi" reference is made to the performance of the ceremony of "ploughing the earth," which gave the name to the festival, but it may be noted in passing that it appears to have had a double signification, i.e., it commemorated the burial of Osiris, and it symbolized the plowing of the land throughout the country preparatory to sewing the seed for the next year's crop. Other festivals were those of the "hanging out of the heavens," i.e., the supposed reconstructing of the heavens each year in the spring. Finally, in connection with Henen-su may be mentioned the God Heneb, for whom in the Saite period the official Heru planted two vineyards ; of the attributes of this god we know nothing, but it is probable that he was supposed to preside over grain and other products of the land. In several passages of the Book of the Dead we have the word henbet, "corn-lands, provisions," and the like, and in Chapter clxxx 29, a god called Henbi, is mentioned, and he appears to be identical with the Heneb of the stele of Heru.


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