Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 1, Autumnal Equinox 2001
 
 
By Names and Images:
Golden Dawn Egyptian Mythology
by J. S. Kupperman

The Egyptian god-forms of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (G.D.) are some of the most interesting, colorful, and most poorly documented aspect of the Order's inner teachings. While Aleister Crowley published the Golden Dawn's initiation ceremonies in his occult periodical The Equinox, nothing on the god-forms themselves was seen until the 1930s. Starting in 1937, Israel Regardie, an Adept of the Hermes Temple of the Stella Matutina in Bristol England, published the teachings of the G.D. through the grade of Zelator Adeptus Minor. The teachings were published in four volumes through Aries Press and was entitled The Golden Dawn. It is now in its sixth edition, through Llewellyn Publishing. In this, Regardie's magnum opus, an explanation of the god-forms first appeared.

This explanation, published with the "Z1" document called Enterer of the Threshold, was called The Egyptian Godforms of the Neophyte Grade. However, both Adam P. Forrest and Pat Zalewski[1] point out that there was never an official document on the godforms in the order. Forrest states that the paper published by Regardie was written by someone in the Stella Matutina.[2] While this may be true, the god-form descriptions published by Zalewski in his Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, which almost exactly duplicate those published by Regardie, are said to be taken from a copy of a set of papers written by William Wynn Westcott, who was one of the three founders of the Golden Dawn.

Besides these few historical documents there have been only a handful of papers on the god-forms by modern Golden Dawn scholars. All of these papers deal primarily with the appearance of the god-forms. Only one writer, Pat Zalewski in the second volume of his Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, deals with how the energies of the god-forms are used by G.D. Magicians. One thing is missing from all of these accounts; there is no accounting of the mythology developed by the creators of the Golden Dawn and how or why it is different from the myths of Ancient Egypt, from which they were derived.

This paper will discuss the god-forms of the visible stations, which are those stations which are directly related to a G.D. office in the Hall of the Neophyte; the first grade of the Golden Dawn. Each god-form will be examined and the G.D. mythology surrounding the god-form will be discussed. The Ancient Egyptian god from which the god-form is derived from will also be discussed, as well as any discrepancies between the two. The color symbolism used by the Order in each god-form will also be accounted for. Finally, the mythological current designed into the Golden Dawn's Neophyte Hall, and how it ties the rest of the G.D. mythos together, will be examined.

The Visible Stations

Ousiri[3]

The G.D.'s Hall of the Neophyte is ruled over by Ousiri[4], through the office of the Hierophant. The G.D. Ousiri[5] is the "Expounder of the Sacred Mysteries"[6]. He sits upon the dais in the East, showing him to be a solar deity, in the place of the rising sun.

Ousiri, appearing explicitly in both the Neophyte Hall as well as in part of the Portal ceremony, represents to both the Outer Order and the Portal the Inner Order or Rosicrucian current of magical energy.[7] In his classical appearance, published first by Regardie and more recently by Pat Zalewski, Ousiri holds, and is crossed with, symbols of the second Order.[8]

Besides representing the Inner Order, Ousiri is a solar god-form. He sits upon the white throne of spirit in the East on the path of Samekh[9] before the part of the Neophyte Hall that represents Tiphareth.[10] From here Ousiri rules over the Neophyte Hall which represents, amongst other things, the four classical elements. This is shown in Forrest's representation of Ousiri. Here Ousiri wears a pectoral collar of the four elements. Unlike in Regardie and Zalewski's descriptions, this form of Ousiri places the color of spirit over the elements. Ousiri's nature as spirit ruling over the elements is also made explicit in the G.D. "Osiris Prayer":

    For Osiris on-Nophiris who is found perfect before the Gods, hath said:

    These are the Elements of my Body, Perfected through Suffering,
    Glorified through Trial.
    For the scent of the Dying Rose is as the repressed sigh of my suffering:
    And the flame-red Fire as the Energy of Undaunted Will.
    And the Cup of Wine is pouring out the Blood of my Heart:
    Sacrificed unto Regeneration, unto the Newer Life:
    Which I destroy in order that they may be renewed.
    For I am Osiris Triumphant, even Osiris on-Nophris, the Justified:
    I am He who is clothed with the Body of Flesh,
    Yet in whom is the Spirit of the Great Gods:
    I am the Lord of Life, triumphant over Death.
    He who partaketh with me shall rise with me:
    I am manifestor in Matter of Those whose Abode is in the Invisible:
    I am purified, I stand upon the Universe:
    I am its reconciler with the Eternal Gods:
    I am the Perfector of Matter:
    And without me, the Universe is not.[11]

With the exception of the Rosicrucian symbolism, which is based upon traditional Ancient Egyptian motifs, the G.D. Ousiri partakes of much of the symbolism of the Ancient Egyptian god, Ausir, from which he is derived. It was believed by many early scholars of Egyptian religion, such as A.E. Wallace Budge and renowned mythologist Sir James George Frazer that Ausir originated as a corn or grain deity.[12] The story of sacrifice from which this comes eventually evolved into Ausir's death and regeneration story, and Ausir became Lord of the Underworld and finally took on the aspects of many other Ancient Egyptian gods.[13]

S. L. MacGregor Mathers, one of the G.D.'s founders, formed these mythologies into Ousiri, who instead of a god of corn is a god of the elements, an earth god. His cycle of death and resurrection, as well as Ausir's eventual taking over of the role of gods such as Rê[14], led Ousiri to become a representative of the solar current, upon which the G.D. and the R.R. et A.C. were based. The story of resurrection was incorporated into Ousiri by making him a god of spirit and having him participate in the same Tipharetic current as the Christos does in the Portal and Adeptus Minor ceremonies.[15]

Hoor

Far across the hall from the throne of Ousiri in the East, in the place symbolic of the greatest darkness, is enthroned Hoor, empowering the office of Hiereus. Hoor, the Coptic name of Horus (the younger) or Heru represents the guardian force, protecting the Hall. Hoor guards not only the interior of the physical Hall, though the Hiereus' duties do include this, but also protects the Hall on the astral plane. This is shown in his god-form, as he is shown stamping down on a red serpent[16], symbolic of the Qlippoth or the demons of the qabalah.

The G.D. Hoor is cloaked and surrounded by darkness. This is not because Hoor is in any way evil or part of that symbolic darkness. Instead he stands in the West, the darkest section of Malkuth, which is connected to the realm of the Qlippoth, to seal the Hall from any incursions from that area. This function is performed with the Banner of the West, which partakes of pure Golden Dawn symbolism, and the "Sword of Judgment"[17], which is also called the "Sword of Vengeance"[18]. This may remind us of Heru's title of "Avenger of His Father" from Egyptian mythology.

The color symbolism surrounding Hoor in Regardie and Zalewksi give him the qualities of avenging flame. In his hands he holds a blue ankh and an emerald phoenix wand[19] which shows Hoor receiving energy from the masculine pillar of the Tree of Life. This is balanced through the Hiereus' sword, which receives energy from the feminine pillar[20]. In this manner the god-form and office partake of balanced energy, receiving an influx of energy from both Geburah and Gedulah, Severity and Mercy.

The colors in the Forrest article differ greatly from those of Regardie and Zalewski. Forrest describes Hoor not in the flashing colors of fire, but with the combined colors of darkness and fire. This symbolism shows both the Geburic and earthly energies that converge in Hoor. Hoor also bares a red sword or spear[21] showing that he is directing the Geburic energy into Malkuth as necessary.

All G.D. descriptions of Hoor have him wearing the double crown of upper and lower Egypt. This comes from traditional Egyptian mythology. Overall, the symbolism of Hoor reflects the Egyptian myths surrounding Heru as the "Avenger of his Father"[22] and his contentions with his uncle Sutekh, or Set. While the focus is on traditional Egyptian mythology, the symbolism is almost entirely G.D. in nature.

Thmê[23]

Between the Pillars of Solomon and of Hermes, west of the Hierophant and East of the altar is Thmê.[24] Thmê, called by the Egyptians Mêêt (Maat), corresponds to the G.D. office of Hegemon.

Thmê stands in balance between the pillars of severity and mercy and represents the balancing point between the energies of the Hierophant and the Hiereus. Thmê not only balances light and darkness but also balances the currents of fire and water. The currents of fire and water are repented by the god-forms Thaum-Êsh-Nêith and Auramoouth, who are themselves aspects of Thmê.

The symbolism relating to balance, so important to the goddess of the "Hall of Two Truths," or the "Hall of Maat,"[25] is continued in the appearance of her god-form. Unlike the previous two god-forms, only the description given in Forrest truly continues the symbolism of balance. The descriptions given in Regardie and Zalewksi correspond largely to the Justice card of the tarot[26]. While this card relates to Libra and therefore balance, it does not have continuity with the symbolism of the other god-forms.

Thmê is dressed in yellow and wears the traditional Feather of Mêêt on her yellow and violet nymess. Her arm and ankle bands are alternatively yellow and red or yellow and blue. These colors are elemental in nature. She primarily wears the flashing colors of elemental air. On her arms and legs are the colors of fire and water, always balanced with air. This corresponds with the G.D.'s teachings about these three primary elements. The imagery is played out in full with the addition of Thaum-Êsh-Nêith representing elemental fire and Auramoouth who represents elemental water. These two god-forms are balanced in symbolism and in the Hall of the Neophyte by Thmê and the Hegemon.

As a goddess of balance, Thmê partakes of some of the mythology of Mêêt. Most importantly, Thmê, and the office of Hegemon in general, represent the concept of Mêêt, Truth. This concept was pervasive in all aspects of Ancient Egyptian life. Simply, Mêêt was the way of right living[27]. This is seen especially in the "Negative Confession" which is given by the dead in the Hall of Mêêti, the Hall of Two Truths, to show that he or she has not sinned[28]. Thmê, as representative of the "illuminated way"[29], especially corresponds to this aspect of Mêêt's symbolism.

In addition to the three Chief Officers of the Hall there are four lesser officers, each with a corresponding god-form. The functions of the lesser offices and the functions of their god-forms become more and more similar.

Anoup empeIbet

Stationed in the South West of the Hall is the Kerux[30]. The god-form of the Kerux is Anoup empeIbet[31], or Anubis of the East.

It is Anoup empeIbet's task to lead the candidate in the Neophyte Hall from darkness to light[32]. In this Anoup empeIbet corresponds with his Ancient Egyptian counterpart Anpu, who acts as guardian of the dead and psychopomp[33]. Anoup empeIbet, as psychopomp, leads the candidate around the Hall, holding the Lamp of Hidden Knowledge, which contains the Light of the Divine within it. As he guards he also protects the candidate, making sure that his charge is properly prepared to enter each part of the Hall, which represents the Hall of Judgment from the Egyptian book of Coming Forth by Day.

The appearance of this god-form is similar in both the Regardie/Zalewski and Forrest descriptions. The central image is from Egyptian sources and depicts a man with a black jackal's head. Anoup empeIbet is then colored primarily in yellow and violet, which are the colors of elemental Air and the qabalistic Sephirah of Yesod[34]. The Regardie/Zalewski descriptions give Anoup empeIbet the phoenix wand and ankh, symbols common to Egyptian gods. The Forrest description gives him the caduceus wand and Lamp, the implements held by the officer in the Kerux position. This shows the strong link between the duties of the office and its god-form.

Auramoouth and Thaum-Êsh-Nêith

The next two offices, and their corresponding god-forms, act in tandem, one will never move without the other. The Stolistês, and her god-form Auramoouth[35], sits in the North of the Hall. Her sister office, the Dadouchos, and her god-form Thaum-Êsh-Nêith[36] are in the South of the Hall. These two stations form a cross bar with the altar in the center of the Hall and complete a cross with the line formed by the Chief Officers down the center of the Hall. Of the floor officers, only the Kerux and his god-form is outside of this cross of energy.

Auramoouth, like the Stolistes, purifies the Hall, its officers, and the Candidate with lustral water. She is the "Goddess of the Scale of Balance at the Black Pillar" and "the Light Shining through the Waters of the Earth"[37]. These titles allude to both her being a form of Thmê and her position and responsibilities within the Hall.

The classical descriptions and the Forrest description of this god-form agree on color but not accoutrements. Auramoouth's primary color is blue, color of elemental Water, which is then contrasted with orange, its compliment. In the Regardie/Zalewski description, Auramoouth wears a vulture crown, which is traditional for her Egyptian counterpart Mut. On this she wears the crown of Lower Egypt in blue. She holds, like many of the other god-forms, a lotus wand and an ankh. Forrest depicts her holding the blue cup of lustral water.

Opposite to Auramoouth, in both position and function, is Thaum-Êsh-Nêith. Where Auramoouth purifies with water, Thaum-Êsh-Nêith consecrates with holy fire.

Thaum-Êsh-Nêith complements Auramoouth completely. She wears red and green and the crown of Upper Egypt. In her hands are either the lotus wand and ankh or the censor of incense of the Dadouchos.

At first there appears to be no relation between the role of these god-forms and their historical equivalents. There are, however, slight connections. The vulture headed goddess Mut was considered a mother goddess by Ancient Egyptians[38]. Auramoouth's function, while not motherly, does relate. Her symbol, the cup of lustral water is representative of the womb and its life-giving waters. Neith, opposite number of Thaum-Êsh-Nêith, is amongst other things a goddess of hunting and war, both of can be seen as fiery actions. More importantly Neith was at one point considered the mother of the sun.[39]

Anoup emp Emenet

The last of the lesser offices is that of the Sentinel.[40] The Sentinel and his god-form Anoup emp Emenet[41] are stationed in the outside of the Hall. The role of the Sentinel, much like that of the Masonic Tyler upon which it is based, is to guard the Hall and to prepare the candidate for initiation. Anoup emp Emenet has the additional duty of protecting the candidate from astral attack from the "Dog-faced Demons," the opposers of Anubis.[42] This was considered necessary because the preparation of the candidate places him or her in a state of magical or spiritual darkness and vulnerability.

Anoup emp Emenet's appearance is similar to that of Anoup empeIbet; except that Anoup emp Emenet is colored black and white, symbolic of his placement outside of the Hall. He is shown holding either symbols of Egyptian godhood or the red sword of the Sentinel.

While a great deal had been written concerning the major Egyptian deities, the opposite is true for some of the then lesser known deities. This can be seen in the case of Mut and Neith and it is even more evident in Opowet, upon whom Anoup emp Emenet was based. The most noticeable difference between Opowet and Anoup emp Emenet is that Opowet was not a form of Anpu but a deity in his own right. It is likely that the scholarship of the late 19th century had not had access to those myths and hymns that show Opowet before Anpu absorbed his functions. Opowet's coloring is also different as his jackal head is often depicted gray or brown and Greek sources say that his head was that of a wolf, not a jackal.[43]

There are aspects of Anoup emp Emenet that do correspond to Opowet (and to Anpu, who took Opowet's titles and functions). Primary amongst these is the title "Opener of the Ways." Whatever the original context of this title it neatly fits Anoup emp Emenet duty in the antechamber of the Hall, that of the guardian of the entrance.

It is the combined pair of Sentinel/Anoup emp Emenet, the magician and the god-form, that admit initiates into the Hall. It is also their function to prevent, both physically and magically, others from entering the Temple who have no right to be there. Thus, Anoup emp Emenet is the "Opener of the Way" into the Hall of Mêêt.

The Hall of the Neophyte

The visible stations of the Neophyte Hall[44] are but one part of Golden Dawn magic that takes on a mythic aspect. In total there are 65 god-forms in the Hall.[45] Most of these have no physical counterpart but still have an important magical role. In combination with the god-forms, the Hall itself is of vast import. The Hall of the Neophyte is not only referred to as the Hall of Mêêt but actually functions as, and has the magical appearance of, the Hall of Two Truths, especially as shown in the 17th and 125th chapters of the Egyptian book of Coming Forth by Day[46], within the framework of G.D. magical practice.

Guided by Anoup empeIbet, the candidate is brought, after passing various guardians of the Hall, to the throne of Ousiri in the East. Also in the East, upon the dais, are the god-forms of Ese and Nebethô, Isis and Nephthys.[47] These goddesses are shown as standing behind Ausir in the Ancient Egyptian funeral texts, with the four Sons of Horus, who are also present in the Hall.

The Candidate, who represents the soul of the dead in the funeral texts, is brought to the altar, which is symbolically the Scales of Mêêt, where the heart is weighed against Mêêt's feather. Just to the East of the altar is located the invisible station of the evil triad, Ouammoout peSatanas, who is the Devourer of Souls. In the book of Coming Forth by Day, if a soul's heart weighs more than the feather of Mêêt, then he or she is thrown to the Devourer of Souls. This all takes place in the presence of Thôouth, Thoth or Djehuti, who is upon the dais at the station of the Cancellarius. This is the Temple Chief who keeps the records of the Hall, even as Djehuti records the outcome of the weighing of the heart.

The visible stations of the Hall of the Neophyte are a rich combination of Egyptian mythology, qabalistic symbolism, and masterful syncreticism. Their roles and appearances are tailored to the needs of Golden Dawn symbolism and occultism. At the same time they are still recognizable as Egyptian gods and goddess. There are cases where either for magical purposes or because of lacking information some departure from the original mythologies are made, but this was never done arbitrarily. These god-forms were coupled with ritual to turn the Neophyte Hall into a magical model of the Ancient Egyptian Hall of Two Truths, as depicted in the book of Coming Forth by Day, thus making the Neophyte Hall and ritual a complete synthesis of Egyptian, qabalistic, and hermetic thought.

 
Index
 

Bibliography

Budge, E. A. Wallis. Egyptian Book of the Dead: (The Papyrus of Ani) Egyptian Text Transliteration and Translation. Dover Publications, New York. 1967.

    Gods of the Egyptians. In two volumes. Dover Publications. New York. 1969.

Crowley, Aleister. 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley. Israel Regardie, Ed. Samuel Weiser, Inc. York Beach, Main. 1973.

Forrest, Adam P. "Godforms of the Visible Stations." In Cicero and Cicero, Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition. Pp. 6-15. Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN. 1995.

Frazer, Sir James George. New Golden Bough,The. Dr. Theodor H. Gaster, Ed. Criterion Books. New York. 1959.

Greer, John Michael. "Osiris and Christ." In Cicero and Cicero, Editors, Magical Pantheons: A Golden Dawn Journal. Pp. 229-251. Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN. 1998

Ions, Veronica. Library of the World's Myths and Legends: Egyptian Mythology. Peter Bedrick Books. New York. 1991.

Regardie, Israel. Golden Dawn, The. 6th Ed. Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN. 1993.

Watterson, Babara. Gods of Ancient Egypt, The. Facts on File Publications. New York. 1984.

www.kemet.org. "Glossary of the Names of Netjer." Last viewed 17 May, 2001.

Zalewski, Pat. Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, Vols. 1-3. Self Published. 2001.

 

Notes

[1] "Godforms of the Visible Stations", p. 6 and Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, Vol 1, p. 154.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ousiri is the Coptic name for the Egyptian god normally called Osiris. The Golden Dawn used the Coptic language, which is a Greek-influenced tongue from the Ptolemic period of Egypt, and not the then all but unknown Ancient Egyptian language associated with hieroglyphics.

[4] The G.D. documents published by Israel Regardie gives Ae-shoo-rist. The "ist" ending referring, which appears at the end of several god-from names is said to refer to the qabalistic sphere of Kether. In 777, Table LI, Crowley associates the Coptic "st" letter, digamma, with Kether. 777 was derived largely from G.D. documents.

The spellings offered by Adam P. Forrest in Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition have been used throughout this article, as they represent the corrected Coptic. The original G.D. names will be given in footnotes. Ousiri is more commonly known as Osiris.

[5] As opposed to the Ancient Egyptian Ausir.

[6] Regardie, The Golden Dawn, p. 337.

[7] Ousiri is eventually replaced by the Christos god-form in the Portal and Adeptus Minor ceremonies.

[8] The god-form is shown holding the crossed crook and scourge, blue and red in color, and a gold phoenix or bennu wand. These colors represent the Sephiroth of Geburah, Gedulah, and Tiphareth, the three Sephiroth which relate to the R.R. et A.C.

[9] A path on the qabalistic Tree of Life, used heavily in both the G.D. and its Inner Order.

[10] Qabalistic sphere of the sun.

[11] Zalewski, Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, Vol. 2. pp. 187-188.

[12] Frazer, The New Golden Bough, p. 322.

[13] http://www.kemet.org/glossary/wesir.html

[14] Budge, Egyptian Book of the Dead, p. Liii.

[15] Greer, Osiris and Christ, p. 230.

[16] Forrest, Godforms of the Visible Stations, p. 13.

[17] Regardie, The Golden Dawn, p. 119.

[18] Zalewski, Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, Vol. 2, p. 208.

[19] Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 158.

[20] Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 208.

[21] Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, p. 13.

[22] Waterson, The Gods of Ancient Egypt, p. 101.

[23] The reader will notice the use of specialized diagrammatical mark "" in the spellings of many names in this article. The use of this, and other marks that may be encountered are derived from current day scholars of Ancient Egypt and represent how these scholars believe the Ancient Egyptian was pronounced.

[24] Given in three forms in Regardie and Zalewski: Thmae-st, Thmae-sh, and Thmaae-tt.

[25] Regardie, The Golden Dawn, p. 114. Zalewski (Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, Vol. 2, p. 226) states that she is part of the basic energy of the formulation of the Hall itself.

[26] Ibid., p. 355.

[27] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 2, p. 417.

[28] Ibid., p. 418. See also The Egyptian Book of the Dead, pp. 347-9.

[29] Zalewski, Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, p. 226.

[30] Also Kryx. See Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, p. 14.

[31] Or Ano-oobist-em-Pe-eeb-tte. See Regardie, The Golden Dawn, p. 352.

[32] This is similar to one of the duties of the Hegemon. In this case, however, the Kerux and Anoup empeIbet lead the way of both the Hegemon and the Candidate, while the Hegemon leads the candidate directly.

[33] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 2, pp. 261-2.

[34] The office of Kerux is related to the 2=9 grade of Theoricus, which itself corresponds to both elemental Air and the sephirah Yesod.

[35] Or Auramo-ooth.

[36] Or Thaum-Aesch-Niaeth.

[37] Zalewski, Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, Vol. 2, p. 213.

[38] Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1, 146.

[39] Ibid., p. 176.

[40] Renamed Phylax by a modern day G.D. group, likely for reasons of continuity in office names.

[41] Or Ano-oobi em-Pementte, Anubis of the West, the Ancient Egyptian Opowet.

[42] Zalewski, Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries, Vol. 2, p. 221.

[43] http://www.kemet.org/glossary/wepwawet.html

[44] There are 4 additional visible station, all upon the dais in the East with the god-form of Ousiri. Three of these will be discussed briefly below.

[45] This counts each of the 42 assessors separately, and their names are given by Zalewski in his Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries. Depending on how the forms of the "evil persona" are counted there may be more than 65 god-forms in the Hall.

[46] Or "Book of the Dead." These chapters are depicted on the two pillars in the Neophyte Hall.

[47] Aset and Nebet-het in Egyptian.

Index