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Home Book of Abraham Special Section "Heliopolis" Translated on Rim of Joseph Smith Hypocephalus - Fac #2

"Heliopolis" Translated on Rim of Joseph Smith Hypocephalus - Fac #2

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Joseph Smith’s Hypocephalus: A Heliopolitan Document

Research by Kerry A. Shirts

(Note: When I first heard Hugh Nibley's tape recorded lectures (12 tapes) called "One Eternal Round", he mentioned this almost overconcern with Heliopolis in the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus (Facsimile #2 in the Book of Abraham - the round picture). I was interested and pursued some research into why the emphasis on Heliopolis. John Gee, a Ph.d in Egyptology, contacted me and told me it isn't a Heliopolitan document, but rather, all hypocephali originate in Thebes. I, of course, am aware of this, however, I believe the reasons for the emphasis on Heliopolis have to do with the Temple. As I have looked into Heliopolis, many things come up that have to do with the Temple. I have twice as many references now as I did a few years ago when I wrote this. Perhaps I'll update some day. In the meantime, there is something very interesting going on!)

When we compare the rims of several hypocephali with the Joseph Smith (J.S.) hypocephali, we notice that the JS Hypo emphasizes Heliopolis. Why is this? We must remember that the various hypocephali were written by individual priests for themselves, not necessarily for everyone. They were private documents and were drawn and interpreted individually, which explains why there are differences as well as similarities.We also must remember that most hypocephali came from Thebes, not Heliopolis. But Heliopolis is perhaps the most important ancient shrine in ancient Egypt, and the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus rightly emphasizes Heliopolis.

There is not a standard by which we can judge hypocephali as being correctly or incorrectly drawn. Some have some features, some have others. The Joseph Smith Hypo is a perfect example of a genuine hypocephalus.

The rim of the JS Hypo translates as I am Djabty in the House of the Ben Ben in Heliopolis, so exalted and glorious. [I am] a copulating bull without equal. [I am] that Mighty God in the House of the BenBen in Heliopolis... that Mighty God...May the Osiris Shishaq live forever, with that Mighty God in Heliopolis.

Now other hypocephali mention Heliopolis at least once, namely the British Museum #8445a as well as #8445f.The Henry Meux hypo from Thebes also mentions Heliopolis once, as does the Brit. #8445. But only the JS Hypo mentions Heliopolis three times.

So what is the big deal about Heliopolis, and why does the JS Hypo mention it three times? Some background on Heliopolis might yield some clues.

According to E.A.W. Budge, the mystery drama of Osiris,his suffering, death, and resurrection was acted out in the temple at Heliopolis. When he was given the Eye of Horus, Osiris became complete. (Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, 2 vols., Dover, 1973 Vol., 2, p.12)

The principle seat of the cult of the sun was Heliopolis,with the ben ben pyramidal stone the sacred object,which set on a stone pillar became an obelisk.(Margaret Murray, The Splendor that was Egypt,Hawthorne Books, 1963, p. 183).

John Baines notes that the Egyptian word Benben correlates to the Semitic word ben, for offspring, progeny, sons, etc. In other words, this has to do with procreation, in his article "Bnbn: Mythological and Linguistic Notes," in "Orientalia," 39(1970): 392.

That obelisk at Heliopolis was a solar temple, which was oriented N.E. aligned with the declension of Draconis the constellation in 2,500 B.C. The Obelisk and temple earlier in time, around 5,000 B.C. pointed to Ursa Major and by 1600 B.C. pointed to the star Capella.(Norman Lockyer, Dawn of Astronomy, MIT Press,1964, pp. 326f).

Cyril Aldred informs us that the Mnevis Bull was the sacred animal of the sun cult at Heliopolis. The Theban necropolis crowned with a pyramidion represented the solar symbol of rebirth from the primordial mound of Heliopolis. The eternal return of the sun-god is the motive force that activates the universe.(Akhenaten, Thames & Hudson, 1988, p. 238).

G. A. Wainwright informs us that the bull was also a symbol of the Egyptian ithyphallic god Min. See his article "Some Celestial Associations of Min," in "Journal of Egyptian Archaeology," 21(1935). Min had many characteristics of the Old Testament God Yahweh, including being a storm God, being King of the Rain CLoud, being invisible, Amun, who was equated with Min, also had the Ram as his sacred animal, as did Yahweh. The sacrifice of the Min bull was white in color. Min conquered all lands as did Yahweh for the Israelites. Min was also terribly interested in procreation, as was the Old Testament God El. Frank Moore Cross, Jr., in his magnificent book "Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic," shows that El was considered the Father of the Gods, whose consort was Asherah, and in fact El was polygamous!, See. pp. 15, 22, 116, 183f, among others. He also shows how in Ezekiel's allusions to the voice of Sadday being noisy that Sadday's voice is obviously thunder and is accompanied by lightning. The weapon of the ithyphallic Min was the thunderbolt and lightning, as it was that of Zeus in the Greek pantheon, see also G. A. Wainwright's magnificent article "The Origin of Storm Gods in Egypt," in "JEA," Dec. 1963: 13-20, and his article "The Emblem of Min," in "JEA", 17(1931): 185-195.

Heliopolis is home of the Enneads, the nine gods with Atum [Adam] the Head God in the pantheon.(Lockyer, p. 326) Atum is The undifferentiated one at once primeval being and creator of the world,usually represented in purely human form.(Erik Hornung, Der Eine und die Vielen(Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt, The One and the Many), Cornell Univ. Press,1982, p. 275)

The sacred Persea Tree as well as the Olive Tree was at Heliopolis. (Budge, Osiris, p. 259)

The sacred Persea Tree figures prominantly in the Joseph Smith Papyri. The worship of the Sun-God Ra was introduced into Egypt by the High Priests at Heliopolis (Budge, p. 156).

King Nefer-Hotep rebuilt Osiris’ temple and sanctuary as well as his statue from the knowledge he learned in the great library at Heliopolis (Budge, p. 117)

Set was the early stellar deity at Heliopolis.Isis, Nephthys, Ptah, Serk.t, Sokhit were deities later added to the list. The first two and last two deities were all deities of the stars.(Lockyer, p. 327)

Phases of the moon were the main festivals in Heliopolis, the sun’s town.(Sigfried Morenz, Aegyptische Religion,Cornell Univ. Press, 1973, p. 282)

Lefebure, on learning of the close ties between the wisdom literature of the Hebrews (Psalms,Proverbs, etc.) with exact parallism of words,phrases, thought, and sentence structure, cautiously suggested that the editors of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclestiastes, and Wisdom could have been learned from the Egyptians at Heliopolis.(Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph SmithPapyri, Deseret Book, 1975, p. 66f)

Budge noted that the oldest chapters of the Egyptian Book of the Dead were composed at Heliopolis. Heliopolis was the home of religious learning in Egypt, which was to the Egyptians what Jerusalem was to the Jews and Mecca is to the Mussulmans.(Budge, The Mummy, Wings books, 1989, pp. 208f).

According to chapter 162 of the Book of the Dead (the chapter which gives instructions on how to make a hypocephalus and its uses), Heliopolis was a heavenly as well as an earthly city, with the Enneads, the Council of the Gods, involved in creation.(Rhodes, Translation/Commentary on the Hypocephalus, BYU Studies, 17 (Spring) 1977, p. 261)

The idea of the primordial mound was originally conceived in Heliopolis.(Morenz, Aegyptische Religion, p. 43)

Horus, after his triumph over Set, is ceremonially established in the inheritance of his father by the court of gods in Heliopolis.(Erik Hornung, Der Eine und die Vielen,p. 144f)

Heliopolis is the Biblical city of On, also one of the most ancient cities in Egypt. Its Egyptian name, hw.t ka Pth, means house of soul of Ptah. Jewish tradition maintains that Abraham taught the priests of Heliopolis astronomy and other sciences. [Cf. Facsimile 3!] Our ancestor Joseph married Asenath (Egyptian Is.t-N.t,Isis-Neith or ns-N.t-as-N.t, She who belongs to Neith. Daughter of Potipherah (pa-di-pa-R)= He Whom Re Gave, priest of On. It was the pharoah Sheshonq III, who sacked the Temple of Jerusalem in Rehoboam’s time, son of Solomon, and carried off all the holy implements to use in the Temple of On (Heliopolis). It maybe more than a coincidence that the name of the owner of the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus is Sheshonq (Shishaq).

In 150 B.C. refugees from Jerusalem under the leadership of the priest Onias got permission from Pharoah Ptolemy Philometor to build a temple similar to the Temple at Jerusalem at Leontopolis in the nome (administrative) district of Heliopolis.(Rhodes, The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus... 17 Years Later, FARMS RHO-94, 1994, pp. 5f)

Heliopolis was the pre-eminent holy city of the Egyptians.Along with Thebes and Memphis, they were the 3 cities of the gods on earth, abiding forever.(Morenz, p. 144) It was also the place of the Egyptian Endowment of attributes and powers that would equip the deceased for life beyond mortality. (Harris, The Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham, 1990, p. 22)

Heliopolis appears to have been a main cult center in ancient times in other words. It was the great center of ancient learning and theology, located 5 miles northeast of modern Cairo.Pythagoras,Plato and Eudoxus are said to have studies there,imbibing the wisdom of the Egyptian priests, and it is also said to have been the birthplace of Moses.The Egyptians considered the soul of Ra to be the bennu bird, or Phoenix .According to the Pyramid Texts, Atum-Khepri,you culminate as hill, you raise yourself up asthe Bennu Bird from the ben-ben stone in the abode of the phoenix at Heliopolis. This word in Greek is the philosophical term which means being, and Plato uses the word symbol of the sun, in the Republic, to represent this very principle. (David Fideler, Jesus Christ Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism, p. 248)

Heliopolis had long lasting and very ancient ties with the cosmos and cosmology as with Hermopolis (Morenz, p. 43)According to Louis Charbonneau = Lassay, Osiris says, in the Ritual of the Dead (Book of the Dead?) I am the bennu the great one who is in Annu (Heliopolis); I am the law of existence and of beings (birth, death, and resurrection). This identification of Osiris and the bird sacred to him is found from very early times, though later in the last millennia. before our era that in the temple of. Heliopolis the bennu was honored with its own legend. And this because the Heliopolitan priests hid, under indecipherable enigmas the 1 astronomical discovery that the bennu had made the Sothic Period and the circular cycle. Manilus says the turning cycle of the Great Year is accomplished with the phoenix, and that then the same signs reappear of theseasons and the planets. This renewal takes place at noon of the day when the sun enters the sign of the Ram. A little later Tacitus also, in speaking of the phoenix, brought proof that in his time the secret of the Sothic period whose discovery the priests of Heliopolis had cloaked in mystery, had been unveiled. At Koptos, the bennu, its breast provided with two human arms, stretches them out toward the star Sothis (Sirius), the Sothic cycle being 1460 Sothic years of 305 days. (Charbonneau, "Le Bestiaire du Christ" (The Bestiary of Christ), Arkana Books, 1992, pp. 444f, 452.)

The Ben stone was what gave Heliopolis priority of all the ancient shrines which followed after Heliopolis. In the rim of the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus it says the benben was in Heliopolis.(Nibley, One Eternal Round: The Significance of the Egyptian Hypocephalus,F.A.R.M.S. 1990, 12 tapes, Quote in tape #4) The other shrine centers all display the same spear symbol as Heliopolis, the spear of Horus. We can see it three times in the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus. Heliopolis’ cosmological, ritual, theological and intellectual importance cannot be exaggerated and isn’t in the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus. But it certainly is emphasized. Karnak was called the new Heliopolis of Upper Egypt It had branches everywhere across Egypt. (Nibley, Ibid. ) In an inscription supplied by Gardner, all the elements come together, Oh Ra, who is at Karnak, great of appearances in the House of the Benben, Heliopolitan, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings of all the Gods. Falcon who dwells in the land of light, [you get the bird of light here, the Benben, the Bennu bird] Who hides his name from his children in his name of Ammon, thou art one who create all things.

Every one of those statements are found on the Hypocephalus. This is the stock standard recitation for hypocephali, so there is definitely a connection here. All these main hypocephali motifs are brought together in the Benben in Heliopolis. Sethe’s idea that all the cardinal doctrines of Egyptian religion were evolved in Heliopolis cannot be refuted. That’s where the whole thing comes from. Blackman maintained that the basic Egyptian ritual throughout the land was the solar ritual of Heliopolis.

Thus the Temple of Amon at Karnak was the exact replica of the shrine of Heliopolis, and the High Priests had the same awesome title of Ma Awer,Greatest of Seers in the temple. The King as Priest was an observer. Heliopolis was an observatory at all times, as all the ancient megalithic centers were, such as Stonehenge,Avebury, etc., because the stones were marking out positions of sun, moon, and stars, times of rising, times of setting, etc. The High Priest of Heliopolis was also in predynastic times, even Ptah of Memphis, was like a counterpart of Atum of Heliopolis where the priesthood devised a theology to match that of Heliopolis. Heliopolis took the lead. And the Book of the Dead, in its main parts, was born in Heliopolis. It was the primal seat of kingship, it is the king for whom the world of On (Heliopolis) assembled in order that he might be fashioned and act as king of eternity, as the enduring Horus of the everlasting. The High Priest of Heliopolis was, in predynastic times, the king of Heliopolis, for kingship and priesthood were not to be separated in the high office. The King is a Heliopolitan, says a Pyramid Text, his mother is a Heliopolitan, his father is a Heliopolitan, he himself is a Heliopolitan, he was born in Heliopolis as Re. He appeared as the sun. Anthes says at all times, the king of Egypt in all his power depended on Heliopolis, where the tradition of kingship and the order of the world was settled in the beginning, the myth and cult of the sun-god, that goes back to the pre-existence and the Council in Heaven, with this

dramatization, an act performed in the temples. This takes us back to the Shabako Stone. It was the great court of Heliopolis which alone could vindicate the kings right to rule as Horus against the counterclaim of Seth, as his rule was challenged. In the court of Heliopolis the king has to clear his claim to authority ever year, and he never cleared it. He has to come back the next year. It’s always up for debate.

In the temple archives of Heliopolis were kept genealogical records of the whole human race. The genealogy of the Gods was kept there, and it remained the core of Egyptian mythology for a thousand years.

The Divine Council, which figures so largely in Memphite theology, had to trace their genealogy back to the beginning of life on earth, and the sole right of deciding the legitimate claim to the throne of both the King and Osiris.

The Heliopolitan doctrine was the cosmogenic, astral creation story. It went back to creation and was rehearsed.Gertrude Thausing calls it the emanation principle of Heliopolitan religion. Everything was in reference to Heliopolis. A location south, meant south of Heliopolis, north, east, west, etc. The nearer you were the holier it was.

The emanation principle of Heliopolitan religion, the celestial center from which light streamed forth in endless abundance with all spirit and knowledge of higher spheres, the original transmitter would be the sun stone. (Nibley, Ibid.) Cf. the sun stones on some LDS templs, remembering that the temples are a scale model of the universe, their function being to get one's bearings on where you are in the universe.

What the hypocephali invoke, according to Speleers, is the most perfect form of cosmic energy representing, later, in the period of the sun of Edfu, which was the Upper Egyptian Heliopolis, but incarnated in Atum of Heliopolis, even before the Old Kingdom. So the hypocephalus itself represents that cosmic energy incarnated in Atum of Heliopolis in pre-historic times. Though the incarnated god goes by different names at different shrines, all of them, are merely accidental forms of the ultimated source. (Nibley, Ibid.)

Could the hypocephalus be sketched on the same general plan as the great stone circles littered across Europe? There is a connection certainly. What they have in common is the cosmic significance. They establish contact and agreement between lower and higher beings. A place for this contact out of this world.

The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus begins with I am Djabty... This word, Djabty may be the richest word in the entire Egyptian language. It has over 200 meanings and they are all related! It can mean the provider as Rhodes translates it. It can also be the Hebrew word Tebah which means box, or ark. It can be the boat (ark) of Noah, and also the ark of the covenant. And finally the temple itself is called the tebah which embraced the holy city and even the universe. The Egyptians gave the name Djebah to Esna, Dendera, Edfu, and all sorts of temples as well as some cities in which they were found. Thebes itself is Djebah. The roots are the same. The oldest city in Greece and the oldest city in Egypt are the same name. Thebes is called the primal place of the first life and the necropolis of the first divinity was Thebes.The Greek one is the original, with the first mention being in the Iliad in the fourth book.

The necropolis in Memphis near Sakkara is called Djeba.A chain of shrines running the length of the Nile all have thecommon name Iwnw (pronounced you new) which is a standing stone column. Exactly like Stonehenge, Avebury,and columns in Sakkara, Egypt, and Peru! These are the ancient great assembly places, the foundation of the universe,the

ceremonial way, etc. And the most important of these ceremonial centers is Heliopolis as we have seen.

The place Iwn (pronounced you in) is the On of the Bible. This is Heliopolis. And it means a standing stone. Iwnw (pronounced you new) is standing stones in the plural. Dendera is called Iwnet (pronounced you net), and Esna is called Iwntee (yoon - tee), and Erment is called Iwne

(you knee), so they all were places of standing stone, megalithic centers. In the pyramid texts it says what you do when you go there. You Pesher, which means to circumambulate, go around and around, the rituals have to do with that.

These were sun stones and though they denote graves,the kings were also buried under them, they were also the means by which the one below, Sokar-Osiris, made union with the solar disk.Breasted said that these standing stones,when the sun struck them in the morning that was when Re came down and he came down to Osiris, the person who was buried under it, and when the light touched him then came the

Djeba Demji, the uniting of the two and the work of resurrection and the universe started to work again. It jumpstarted the universe again, after things had nearly entirely stopped. The same association of burial and solar rites is characteristic of the megalithic centers as well as the hypocephalus. (Nibley, Ibid.) We can see with the general background of Heliopolis, that the explanations which Joseph Smith has given us are in line, namely dealing with creation, government, time, eternity, God,

priesthood, astronomy, stars, resurrection, etc. The overall view of the hypocephalus is one of the most exciting things Joseph Smith has brought for us if we will but look into it and understand what it is all about.

That anything at all on the Joseph Smith hypocephalus makes sense and has true historical background is incredible. That the emphasis is correct is also in favor of Joseph Smith's hypocephalus.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 11:34  

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