Ever since the most ancient times, images, pictures and a plethora of other visual aides that assist the memory and stimulate the imagination have been used for various reasons. Evocative wall paintings in Southern Africa that depict trance-dance, hunting and pastoral scene are still extant. Elaborate religious imagery still decorate the pyramid and temple walls from Ethiopia, Sudan to Egypt and beyond this great continent.
They say a single picture tells a thousand words; but can you tell that to a great poet or novelist, a gifted storyteller or even a copywriter?
We will take a panoramic and even poetic view on how images have impacted different societies and how there is a common thread tying the esoteric to the external.
I will be writing some essays dealing various pictures and their impact on ancient and modern civilizations. We shall begin with this one:
This is an image or a double image of Tehuti/Djehuti otherwise known as Thoth to the Western world. There is a lot that can be written to describe the many attributes of this ancient Egyptian/Kemetic netjer or deity, as He represents one of the foremost and most ancient principles of ancient Afrikan philosophy. Among the many schools of thought that purport to represent or pursue the works related to this deity, the two that describe Tehuti most accurately are the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers* which describe Him thus:
“Tehuti was worshiped as the Creator in Hermopolis, a town whose name reflects later Greek association of Tehuti with the messenger god Hermes. As Thrice-Great Hermes, Tehuti became the center of the Hermetic tradition of Graeco-Roman antiquity and from there has continued to influence thought and philosophy in Europe and beyond. He has a special role European hermetic and Neoplatonic thought. He continues to be a patron of magicians who trace their magical practice back to the Hermetic thought of ancient Egypt. As Hermes, he is the originator of Hermetic philosophy, astrology, alchemy, and hermetic magic. In other accounts, where other deities are put forth as the creator, Tehuti is the god who records all of creation from beginning to end and takes up the role of observer and adviser to the creator deity.
As patron of magic and magicians, Tehuti is a repository of spells, secrets, and mysteries. It was Tehuti who taught the secrets of magic to the various gods. Any of the gods who rely on magic have drawn upon the knowledge and power of Tehuti.
Tehuti’s epithets include “He Who Loves Maat”, “Lord of Divine Books”, “Powerful of Speech”, “The One Who Counts Lifetimes”, “Great of Magic in the Bark of Millions of Years”, and “He Who Makes the Multitudes Live”. He may be petitioned for healing, resolving disputes, protection, knowledge, and a peaceful home.”
This is quite an elaborate and an apt description, but it is still somehow generic and exothermic or literal. The language is very much couched in the Eurocentric or Western idiomatic mode of description. Words such as spell, gods, magic and even Lord are loaded with certain religious and unnecessary mysticism, in many ways they have become the jargon of the superstitious and increasingly discreditable part of human history. Yet the image and its esoteric or hidden-inner meaning itself transcends such dogmatic schema.
The more Afrocentric and syncretic teacher Ra Un Nefer Amen, approaches such names and images with a very different reverence. He describes Tehuti as a part of the Tree of Life and an aspect of Divine law. Here is a the whole description of the eleven principles of the Kemetic Tree of Life, depicted as the Netjeru or Divine beings whose images are known by anyone who has taken a look at the Ancient Egyptian patheon of “gods” which is essentially an allegorical description of God within man/woman:
“The 11 Laws of God:
0. Law of Amen – You were made in the likeness of a peace that nothing can disturb. Reclaim your peace that you may attain to your reason for coming into existence – the enjoyment of life.
1. Law of Ausar – Your nature is an unconquerable peace, therefore nothing or no one in the world can be against you. All experiences come to you to promote your reclamation of peace, that you may in turn, aquire wisdom and power.
2. Law of Tehuti – When all of your thoughts, feelings and actions reflect the Word of God, then the power of God’s spirit and a peace that nothing can challange will flow through your being.
3. Law of Sekher – When the emotions of Man manifest in response to the Word of God, they have the power to influence the course of any and all events in the world.
4. Law of Ma’at – God needs you in order to come into the world. Fulfilling God’s need is the highest act of love, and only through your love for God can you fulfill your love for others. Become the Love of God in the world for the protection of the world.
5. Law of Herukhuti – Know that God neither punishes nor rewards nor protect, that you will have the comfort of controlling these yourself.
6. Law of Heru – You have the power but not the right to ignore God’s Law. Choose to follow the Law of God with the Love and Joy that grows out of understanding and the wisdom and power of God’s spirit will flow through your being.
7. Law of Het-Heru – It is not what you imagine. It is who is imagining. Are you a human or a divine being?
8. Law of Sebek – It is not what you think or what you affirm. It is who is thinking and affirming. Are you a human or a divine being?
9. Law of Auset – Prepare to sacrifice everything to become the vessel of God on earth, and you will, in turn, receive everything.
10. Law of Geb – Know that from heaven you came and to heaven you will return, seek not enduring works on earth.
Metu Neter – Vol 1. Pg. 17-19:”
Before we get carried away on these esoteric and mythological images, let us return to modern times: