Saturday, August 22, 2009


There is an ancient Egyptian fable about the Book of Thoth which illustrates the sense of empowerment. It is from the Ptolemaic period when the Greeks ruled Egypt and so is several periods removed from the time of Pyramid building. It is not known how old the story is but was written on papyrus in Demotic and found in the grave of a Coptic monk at Thebes. Thoth is a god of wisdom and is attributed as the source of writing and the arts and sciences. What is interesting about the story is that Thoth goes to Ra to be empowered to seek vengeance for the theft of his book. The moral seems to be that even kings are subject to the will of the gods.

Another aspect of the story is the secrecy associated with the Book of Thoth. It was hidden away and protected by a series of defenses. But no matter how well something is protected the defenses can always be defeated.

Thoth appears in the story to have a dark side. While Ra, the Sun god, is the source of truth and light Thoth, the Moon, is more obscure. To obtain vengeance on the thief he first gets power over him by taking him and his family to the land of the dead. Thoth is jealous of his power and it is not easily taken.

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