Saturday, September 22, 2012


The Sphinx: When Was It Really Built 
and Why?   Part 2 OF 3


If you're on the go, my site on the Prehistoric Origin
of the Sphinx is available as fully  featured PDFs 
for Parts 1, 2 and 3.

Click here for free previews and downloads.

This is the second part of my blog on the Sphinx.  If you have not read the first part, I suggest you do to avoid confusion.  

Here is a link to the first part: 

Author's Note

Let me say before we start Part 2 that I will be repeating many topics that I brought up in Part 1, but I can assure you that they will contain new and much more detailed information. It's my way of easing you into a historical period that is probably quite new to most of you. 

                                           End Author's Note


The Skills of the Preliterate 

The intensely spiritual aspect of  Egypt, especially in its preliterate phase, is always overlooked by our theorists, who are  still looking at Pre-Dynastic Egypt  with literate, scientific eyes, which will yield very little accurate information about the spirituality of that cultureIt will yield, however, a great deal of false information parading as true. 

To get true information about their spirituality, you have to look at Egypt  much differently; you have to look at it through the muthos eyes. Only then do all the dominoes fall into place.

Among those dominoes is my contention that the Sphinx’s face was carved in 6000 B.C.,  with the remaining portions of the Sphinx  being carved in six (6) subsequent phases over a 3500 year period, with the last phase (the rump and tail) being carved in Dynastic times, around 2550 B.C., a date by the way that Schoch agrees with for the carving of the rump and tail.

This phased creation is contrary to the thinking of most theorists (both establishment and alternative) who have always assumed that the Sphinx was carved in one large swoop. They forget, or never realized that it is the history of preliterate, large stone monuments and associated sculpture to be created over a period of years  as they were at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey (L, 10,000 minus 7000 B.C. = 3000 years).  

This is also true for Stonehenge (2800 minus 1550 B.C. = 1250 years) as well as the giant Papa Nui and Olmec heads and the various cave drawings, which we now know were created by successive generations of artists: Lascaux (c.17,000 B.C.), Altamira (c.15,000 B.C.), Pech-Merle (c.25,000 B.C.) and Cosquer (c.25,000 B..C).

It is the nature of preliterate cultures to be driven by spiritual concerns, a cultural imperative almost completely absent from our modern rational culture. These preliterate monuments and cave drawings were created as vision-driven spiritual expressions over long periods of time, and were not one-time shots like the Lincoln Memorial, or Mount Rushmore, which are mere historical markers on the landscape of Empire. 

Although there still exists a prejudice against the idea that preliterate cultures in the hunter-gatherer/early agricultural  stage had the advanced artistic and organizational capabilities necessary for such a truly massive carving as the Sphinx, the evidence presented by the various cave drawings (30,000 thru 16,000 B.C.) and the stone carvings at 10,000 thru  7000 B.C.) as well as the various stages of Stonehenge (2800 thru 1550 B.C.) and numerous other preliterate sites argues against that prejudice.

Preliterate cultures  had the artistic capabilities. The cave drawings prove that. They also had the organizational capabilities. Gobekli Tepi proves that. The real question is this: what drove the Proto-Egyptians during that hunter-gatherer period of their existence to undertake such a large face carving as the Sphinx? And why on a cliff in Giza? And why in 6000 B.C.?

The answer to that is not a simple one but it is obvious that the face carving was meant to portray a living God or Goddess.  As I mentioned earlier, similar large, carved preliterate faces occured in other preliterate cultures, but only twice: in the preliterate Olmec culture and the Rapa Nui  culture.

Because of the individuality of the Olmec faces, my belief is the Olmec carvings were of individual athletes celebrated by that culture as God-like, or living Gods. 

The stylized nature of the Rapa Nui faces indicates they were carvings of a God. As I've indicated earlier, I believe the initial Sphinx face carving at Giza was similar to the Olmec heads in that its realisim indictates the face was of a individual held to be a living Goddess.

Let me suggest a few things about the my proposed bas relief carving of the Sphinx face  and the effort required to do it. The Giza Sphinx, as we know it today, does not sit on the top of the  Giza Plateau, only its head and the very top of its back project above the general elevation of the surrounding plateau.  This means that the body, for most of its existence, has been covered by desert sands., as it was excavated out of the plateau.  

At one time, the Giza plateau contained no monuments, no Sphinx, no pyramids, nothing. The 16th century drawing (above, L) shows how the Giza plateau would have looked (if the observer were facing west from the Nile) after the Sphinx and pyramids were built. The head of the Sphinx is above the general slope of the plateau which is covered in sand, as it was almost all of the time right up until the 1900 A.D.. 

To the north and east, the Giza plateau Mis characterized today by two steep escarpments about 30 meters (92 feet) high and a "ditch" where the Sphinx had been carved out of the limestone. 

You can see those escarpments  easily in the 3-D picture (L). You can also see more easily the Sphinx "ditch" where the Sphinx has been cut out of the limestone. It is just behind the "T" at the end of the pathway leading to the second pyramid. In this 3-D rendering of the plateau, we are looking southwest from a northeast position. The plateau can be easily recognized. 

To the left is an artists conception of what a vague, weathered "Veiled" face upon the rocky outcropping on top of the Giza plateau would have looked like. These things are hard to Photoshop, but you can assume it was nowhere as detailed or symmetrical. 

Below is  a rough artist's conception  of Phase 1, the carving of the bas relief face (Below, top) and Phase 3, the carving of chest and forelimbs (Below, bottom) might have looked like. 

I  am showing that artist conceptions below with a simple suggestion of a veil headdress that may have been carved in Phase 3 before the full head and nemes were carved in Phase 4. I go into detail on this later. I believe the chest and front limbs were eventually carved to provide a long, directed  approach to the venerated face. I further believe that long before the   limestone  surrounding the body was carved out, the bas relief face and front of the Sphinx had already been there for  thousands of years.

Ph. 3, chest and front limbs, head to behind 
ears, suggested veil, 5600 B.C.

Again in the picture to the left, you can see the suggested seven phases of construction (6000 B.C thru 2550 B.C.). You can also see the outlines of the plateau in the geologic picture below. The Sphinx lies just behind the buildings at the beginning of the path leading to the middle pyramid.

For a more detailed layering of the height increases of the plateau, the geologic map below can be used. As you can see the area in front of the Sphinx begins to become quite level as  it approaches the ancient position of the Nile as it enters the Nile delta.


As can be seen by the red line in the schematic (above, L) and the drawing of the Spinx's limestone levels (above, R), there is an abundance of hard limestone (member III) to either side of the face and slightly below it. The red line indicates my estimate of the original level of the plateau.  You can get a better conception of what the early Sphinx bas relief face looked like c. 6000 B.C. in relation to the rocky outcropping if we think of it as being like one of the faces of Mt Rushmore, say Roosevelt's head.

I've taken the head of Teddy Roosevelt (L) and erased the others to give you a general idea. In the picture (Below, R)  I have portrayed the "rocky outcropping" section of the Giza plateau where the Sphinx currently sits, but as it would have looked in 6000 B.C. with the Phase 1  bas relief carving of the face of the Sphinx over my proposed "Veiled" face.    

Anyway, that is how the 6000 B.C. Sphinx face would have looked: a bas relief face surrounded by the remainder our "rocky outcropping" on the top of the  Giza plateau. Once the complete front of the head and front chest and paws were carved (which I believe took place also in preliterate times), what the Sphinx would have looked like is shown below as it would have looked thousands of years before the body was carved out behind it to finally complete it.  

Note:  I have colored the surrounding rock brown so that you can see clearly what was carved in phases 1-3. Also note that the top of the head was is relatively flat, one of the peculiar aspects of the sphinx head, as human heads rise to  slight dome. As we shall see, the top of the cheetah's head is also flat.

At any rate, Phases 1-3 of the Sphinx would have provided an absolutely stupendous sight for preliterate pilgrims.This rendering will also give you some idea why I believe the limbs and chest would probably have been carved relatively soon after the face: the limbs provided a passageway to approach the venerated face. The passage  between the limbs would have probably been covered with hides to make the approach dark, opening up just before the chest to reveal the face high above. Remember, approaching the Sphinx was spiritual, not sightseeing.

The "Veiled" Face and the "Squareness" of the Carved Sphinx Face

First let me say that this entire "Veiled" face proposal is a result of analeptic thinking based on my knowledge of the nature of preliterate cultures in general, and our Proto-Egyptian culture in particular. To the left is my conception of a  close up  of such a face that I've split in half to give you a  cheetah on the left and a human face on the right. The actual face probably looked very vague and nowhere as symmetrical. Yet, something like this would have been enough to suggest to the preliterate tribes of Giza that it was the face of  Mafdet.

Weathered rocks have always played a role in preliterate cultures who saw such rocks as God faces. As to whether the outcropping at Giza did contain a faint split image suggesting both a human and cheetah face is, your guess is as good as mine.

It may have been just a faint cheetah suggestion. Or it may have had some faint design that would be meaningless to us, but not the people of Giza. We have enough examples throughout the world of weathered animal and human faces to know they exist and in large numbers. We also know they were honored as God-faces. I chose the most "complicated" image because it could have been that way, so why not propose it? After all, history, indeed science itself, is loaded with such "accidents".

Moreover, it is clear that the Giza inhabitants of 6000 B.C. would have immediately seen such a "Veiled" face as being spiritually related to both Mafdet and the female Nubian Shaman who I see arriving to live among them accompanied by two leashed cheetahs.This may seem a bit too “Hollywood” for some, but her being accompanied by cheetahs, which were native to Nubia, would not be an unusual situation. After all, we are talking about a visionary shaman/leader whose patron goddess was Mafdet, not a rich haerder/merchant like Abraham.

The cheetahs would have served two purposes:

1) The cheetahs would hunt game on the long trek northward.This was a special Nubian way of hunting, similar to the practice of using hawks. If we estimate a group of perhaps ten members traveling by foot, then we could calculate the distance traveled at 25 miles/day. 

Since the distance to be traveled from the third cataract to Giza is 750 miles, we can see the trip taking 30 days absolute minimum at top speed, but with all the problems associated with travelling through strange territory,  most probably three to four times that estimate. Food would be needed, and thus hunting with cheetahs would be a sure thing, especially in strange territory. As such, they would be under the control of a hunter attached to the group. Part of that trip may have taken place by raft once the cataracts were passed and wide, placid Nile was reached. 

2) The cheetahs would be an emblem of the status of the female Nubian shaman who I see  naturally associating herself with  Mafdet, the Cheetah Goddess, who is a very early Mother Goddess, half female/half cheetah, whose origin is Nubian and undoubtedly with deep preliterate roots.

In the cartouche on left, which is from Dynastic times, Mafdet   is pictured as a lynx, one of those Dynastic changes meant to obscure the true cheetah nature of MafdetMafdet represented a special Nubian aspect of the  Mother Goddess in the Proto-Egyptian culture of 6000 B.C., namely the protector of Ma'at and the tribal values of Truth and Balance. 

In Dynastic times, Mafdet was also seen as the protector of Ma'at, who became enlarged as the Goddess of Truth, Balance, Order, Law, Morality, Justice. Please note that Ma'at, is female, reinforcing my contention that women in the Mother Goddess culture were held to be those who knew

Mafdet, then, would be the enforcer, the guardian, the one who protected Ma'at and the spiritual values she represented in literate Egypt: Truth, Balance, Order, Law, Morality, Justice. 

 As we shall see later on, Ma'at (L) is the only female Goddess to survive (as a stand-alone Goddess) in the shift from female to male gods that accompanied the advent of literacy in 3200 B.C., although she was later paired off with Thoth  (Wisdom). Archeologists now know that preliterate tribal rule was cooperative between male and female, but females were instinctively recognized as "those who knew." They guided the tribe, just as the First Mother did. Females in preliterate Mother Goddess cultures were recognized as having a superior, intuitive sense of  the intent of the Gods and Goddesses. 

I have no doubt that the face on the Sphinx is a female Nubian. Many viewers, current and past, agree with me in that observation. As to her being a shaman, I should say that I also see her as a leader, which in a 6000 B.C. Mother Goddess culture needn't have been separate roles. Preliterate tribal cultures weren't cultures of specialization such as ours where the priest is always separate from the president. 

In addition, the very size of the Sphinx face carving says leader/living God. We see that in the Olmec face carvings and the head carvings at Rapa Nui.  Such faces weren't carved for the fun of it. Big meant divine.This first bas relief carving would not have contained the full head or ears or nemes head dress. Those came later in Phases 2,3,4. See diagram below.The initial bas relief (Phase 1) would have pretty much looked like the photograph to the left. Surrounding it on all sides (except the top) and sloping down from it would have been the original limestone cliff.

Here I've shown on the left  the head at a much later stage, when the ears,  nemes and other Dynastic symbols have been added. I've done this so you can look at the face as you've come to know it. 

One of the things you should notice immediately if you look closely at the overlays is how square the lower half of the Sphinx's face is and how flat the top of the head is. 

This is what that squareness of the Sphinx's face suggests to me as an artist:

1) the original weathered, "Veiled" face may have looked "square" and the carvers honored it. This suggestion is not to be lightly dismissed, as such a face would have been considered divine in preliterate Egypt. 


2) The face of the 6000 B.C. female shaman was itself somewhat "square" as it is in this other photo of a modern Nubian woman. Below are some other modern Nubian women. They all have markedly "square", broad faces.



I think I am correct in assuming that these facial characteristics were also present in 6000 B.C., because we can see this squareness and broadness in  the Dynastic Nubian sculpture of the Goddess Hathor, although the lower face of Hathor has been made to look somewhat "triangular" due to the ceremonial wig/headdress being pulled in against it.

If the above modern photos are indeed representative of the general shape of Nubian female faces  in 6000 B.C., then it is very probable that our 6000 B.C. Nubian female shaman had a "squarish" face (like the woman on the left) and as I've said earlier, such a face  may well be a Nubian trait as evidenced by the Dynastic Nubian sculpture of Hathor who is shown with a broad square chin made somewhat triangular by the pulled-in headdress.

As can be seen, however, the face of the Sphinx is much more square than that of any of the square-jawed Nubian women above.

This leaves us then with two more ways of explaining the squareness of the Sphinx's face:

3) The squareness of the Sphinx's face is due to the crude carving techniques and lack of sophisticated scaling tools of these early preliterate carvers. 

4) I believe the yardang or outcropping was shaped something like a chopped-off rough pyramid or cone (L). That would have been a naturally under-water weathered shape for such an outcropping, so  that the shape of the Sphinx's face and head (flat on top, looking up) may be also due to the fact that the outctopping  itself  may have had a relatively  flat top and  an inclined front slope. 

Thus an inclined front slope  upon which the face would be carved would help explain the upward gaze of the face, which is something I'll go into shortly. For early preliterate carvers, such as our proposed 6000 B.C. carvers with no experience in monumental carving, following the outlines of the outcropping itself would have been labor saving to say the least. 

Needless to say, in such a case, and I believe it was the case, the shape of the outcropping (as well as the shape of the veiled face if it did indeed exist) would also have been seen as a sacred indication and thus to be followed in the face carving. 

I could  take all four explanations as possible contributors to the squareness of the Sphinx face, which is an oddity anyway you look at it. If I knew of no other factors, and had to lay money on which of the four factors had the greatest impact, I'd say a combination of all four:

1.The Nubian squarish face
2.The crude preliterate carving and scaling techniques. 
3.The original weathered, "Veiled" human/ cheetah face may have looked "square".
4. The shape of the outcropping itself ( flat top, inclined front slope).

All of these factors indicate that the carving could have easily taken place in 6000 B.C.. The second factor and the "awkward", unsophisticated facial detail  of the  Sphinx's face again indicates it is a very early preliterate facial carving, as this Dynastic, exquisitely  detailed  Nubian sculpture (L) of the  Goddess Hathor makes clear. Just compare the eyes and eye lids for starters.

                                                        Author's Note

As an aside,  I'd like to indicate some of the dangers of photo overlaying. To do this, I overlaid the Sphinx with an Olmec head. As can be seen, the Olmec face looks as square as the Sphinx. Does this mean they are connected? I don't believe so. What this overlay does show, however, is how misleading such composites can be if not done  intelligently. 

I'll talk about this in detail later on, but the reason for the near match of the Olmec face is that the extremely sophisticated Olmec head has been foreshortened (or "squashed) for the purpose of making it resemble a ōllamaliztli ball. If you look closely, you can see how high the nostrils are on the Olmec head as compared to the Sphinx even though the two photos are lined up at the eyes. The "squareness" facial match has been caused by the purposeful squashing of the face by the Olmec sculptors.

                                                   End Author's Note

OK, so much for being too clever with overlays. Let me get back to what I believe to be the underlying reasons for the extremely square face of the Sphinx. The four factors I've just mentioned played a role, but there was something else that motivated the carvers to take advantage of those factors in a special way. 

I have come to believe that the odd squareness of the head and face of the  Sphinx (both in width and depth) is not only due to the four factors I've just  mentioned but also  to the desire of the carvers  to imitate the "squareness"  of a cheetah's face and the length of its head. My belief that the desire to include these cheetah-shape characteristics  took advantage of the shape of the outcropping itself. The fact that this made the carving easier shouldn't be discounted, as the scale of the carving would have been without any precedent for these preliterate carvers.  Any help they could get would have been welcomed.

The preliterate carvers may have lacked the ability to render delicate facial details (as shown by my comparison of the face of the Sphinx to that of the Dynastic carving of Hathor) but I contend they understood proportion perfectly as well as how to bend it to their purposes, something I will go into in great detail a bit later on in this blog.

The Cheetah Characteristics 
of the Sphinx's Head and Face

Let's get back to the cheetah, specifically the shape of its head.  A good indication that the carved head of the Sphinx also has cheetah characteristics can be seen in this overlay profile of a cheetah head and the carved Sphinx head (in brown). 

In the side overlay views,  I have moved the brown Sphinx face progressively forward into the cheetah profile. Again, a very close fit, even for the ears. The one exception is the nose, as the Sphinx's nose is missing, and the chin, as the cheetah chin doesn't protrude as quite as much as the human chin does as shown in the last photo (below, L).

You can see that in the Sphinx photo I used that the back of the head of the brown Sphinx has been cut off in the three cheetah/Sphinx head overlays. In actuality, however, the depth of the Sphinx head  is about the same as the depth of the cheetah's head as can be seen in the large photo below. 

The cheetah's head in the large photo below looks slightly deeper, but much of that that is due to the fact that the Sphinx photo was not taken precisely from the side (as was the cheetah ) but is angled from the front (as can be seen by its chest). Finding exact camera angles for things like this is sometimes next to impossible, so allowances have to be made.

Nevertheless, you can see that the head depth of the cheetah and the Sphinx is about the same.  As for the back of the Sphinx head suddenly cutting in and not extending back at a smooth angle, that is another anomaly that I'll explain as I progress. 

As for the width of the Sphinx face, it is very similar to the width of the cheetah face, especially its "squareness". In the preceding section, I outlined four factors that contribute to it. There is another factor, however, which has to be included. 

Take a look at the overlays below. I have taken the width of the cheetah's face to be that delineated by its jowls, "side burns" and whiskers, which results in an extraordinarily square face and one very close to the real visual width of the cheetah's face. See the pictures left and right.

Now take the enlarged cheetah head to the left and overlay it on the Sphinx, anchoring the overlay on the eyes.

I am not saying the fit is identical. Part of that is due to the fact of the two photos being taken from different angles of elevation. However, as can be seen, the fit  is very close in width. This width similarity added to the equality of depth of the Sphinx/cheetah head can't be a coincidence. The extreme width and depth of the Sphinx head have to be accounted for, so in addition to the  possible  factors contributing to this that I mentioned earlier, I believe there is a  much more important reason why the Sphinx face is carved as it is:  the Sphinx face is modeled after that of a cheetah in its depth and width. 

One last thing. The relatively flat top of the head of the Sphinx has been another cause of puzzlement to many observers. This puzzle is solved once we realize that the top of the cheetah's head is similarly flat. Compare these three head-on photos of a cheetah, a Nubian woman, the Sphinx. This isn't a camera trick.Try it with any human head. There is a roundness to the top of human heads

What I am suggesting is that the initial bas relief carving honored those cheetah similarities and they were carried forward into Phases 2 and 3, which I also see being done in preliterate times. As for the differences, the cheetah is "chinless". i.e.,  the chin of the cheetah recedes from its mouth as compared to the human chin of the Sphinx. Yet it is  really inconsequential, as the carvers of the face saw the face as being essentially human but one that also accommodated  several cheetah proportional characteristics.

Again it is my contention that these preliterate carvers may not have known about sophisticated scaling techniques, or how to render delicate facial detail, but they did know how to "carve between the lines" so as to alter the proportions to get the cheetah characteristics they wanted.

One last thing. As I mentioned earlier, the face of the Sphinx is tilted slightly upwards, something that is often not apparent in photographs. This diagram of the Sphinx, however, shows it very clearly. 

It is not accidental. Nothing is in Egypt. I estimate the angle is about 10 to 15 degrees. Exactly what it means is hard to say, but it is not the gaze of a cheetah. Cheetahs  generally gaze dead on. This is a human gazing toward the sky. Not high up, with absolutely no regard to what is happening in this world, but just high enough to tell you that the Sphinx is  also looking at the Other World, the world in the skies. 

Whether the gaze is directed towards a particular astral event in the east other than the sun a la Bauval and Hancock, I have no idea. But I think I can safely suggest that the tilted gaze could be a muthos expression of the gaze of a living Goddess, one with feet in both worlds, like our Nubian female shaman/leader. 

I mentioned earlier that the shape of the carved face was undoubtedly influenced by the shape of the outcropping itself and that includes the tilt of the face of the outcropping, where I suggest the tilt of the head simply conformed  to the general slope of the cliff (which I have shown in red) rising to meet the top of the outcropping on the plateau. One of the things our preliterate carvers would have done to minimize their carving was to take advantage of the shape of the rocky outcropping itself. 

So it is possible that the face may be at tilted up at an angle simply because the face of the outcropping was at that angle, although I also believe that the carvers saw the tilt of the face as a sacred indication of the right direction of the gaze and simply took advantage of that fact to elevate the gaze of the Sphinx. Similarly, I believe that the top of the head of the Sphinx is also the actual  top of the outcropping, which I have outlined in red (See photo above, R). 

Egyptians and Cats and Cheetahs

I think it must be clear by now that in a Nubian Mother Goddess culture, the cheetah,  being the fastest, most graceful and most beautiful of cats, would have been destined to become a dominant Goddess (Mafdet) in very early, preliterate Egypt. Here is a good site on cheetahs.

Preliterate Egypt was also a culture in which domestic cats also began to occupy a special spiritual place sometime after 8000 B.C.  when it is believed Semitic tribes from the Levant introduced them into the Nile delta. 

I believe that part of the reason cats eventually grew into being seen as Gods was their marked resemblance to the Cheetah, who would have already been considered divine because of Mafdet's human/cheetah nature. Let's take a deeper look now at the "cheetah/cat connection" that is unique to the cheetah and that other large cats don’t enjoy. 

Let's start with this: the cheetah’s face is almost identical to that of a cat, your cat. Take a look at these photos if you need convincing.

The cheetah is also the only large cat that purrs, just like your cat.  You’d never mistake a lion’s face, or its sound, for those of your cat.  Lions were also honored by the Egyptians, but for their expression of power, not their similarity to cats. In fact, a cheetah looks like a cat’s head stuck onto a larger, more powerful, very long legged body, which in and of itself gives the cheetah an eerie quality.   It also doesn't roar like other large cats. It chirps or "sings" like a bird, which further adds to its strangeness. Here is Wikipedia on the origin of cats:

It has been estimated that cats were first domestictaed from theMiddle Eastern subscpecies of the Wildcat about 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent.[1][2]
This means from about 7000 B.C. on, after the "wild Nile" subsided, the cat would have most probably spread into the Nile River valley and delta area very quickly. The need for the kind of rat and snake killing capabilities cats possess would have seen to their rapid spread. 

While the cat was indeed honored by Egyptians for the killing of grain-eating mice, a fact which most Egyptologists use to explain the peculiar importance of cats in Egypt, we also have to consider the fact that cats performed the same task in all cultures yet they were never elevated to the divine  position they held in Egypt. I propose that cats held such a divine position in Egypt only partly because of their mice-killing abilities. Their divinity also came from their marked similarity to the cheetah  and the fact that Egyptians intuitively associated the cat with their psychic/spiritual practices. 

We have to remember that Egypt, from their Proto-Egyptian  stage on, were a soul-obsessed culture equally obsessed by the psychic practices they used to observe the nature of the soul.  Modern science has a hard time with proposals like this because they view such things as the psychic world and the soul either  as nonsense or as not fit subjects for investigation by the scientific method.  

Egypt, however, can never be properly understood unless the psychic world and techniques to access it are taken into consideration, because the Egyptians didn’t study the soul logically as the Greeks like Plato did, and as our scientists would like to do but alas, unlike Plato, they don't recognize the soul, so it is a moot point. Rather the Egyptians employed psychic techniques to explore its nature, as has been the practice of all mystics and mystical movements throughout history. 

By psychic practices I mean the same thing that Castaneda wrote about and all mystics are familiar with: techniques such as lucid dreaming and out of body journeys that allowed them to consciously observe the unconscious mind, the deepest regions of the soul. 

The Egyptian's obsession with the soul and psychic exploration and cats is interlinked and had to have had ancient cultural roots, just as the Hebrew’s obsession with the nature of God and God's relation to man must have had ancient cultural roots. 

Cultural obsessions don’t happen overnight. They become more formalized over time, but the roots are always ancient. You might say those roots make up a central archetype in the collective unconscious of that culture. 

One indication of the special spiritual quality that the soul-obsessed Egyptians saw in cats is the staggering number of cat mummies that have been found in Egypt. When you realize, as our scientists haven't, that mummification of both humans and cats was done to keep some portion of the soul alive, you can begin to see how important cats were as psychic companions to the soul-obsessed Egyptians. 

I go into this in detail in the Appendix to Alice Hickey, Excerpt 47, but I'll simply state here that mummification was critical to the Egyptians because they were convinced that the soul and body were one and the same, and if the body was prevented from disappearing after death, some portion of  the soul would survive. 

Psychics, both ancient and modern believe that animals have souls as well as humans. We don't know if the Egyptians described the souls of cats with the same detail as they did with the souls of humans, but it is clear that the souls of cats were important to them, otherwise there is no way to explain the huge number of cats that were mummified once we understand why humans were mummified.

When I speak of the psychic associations with cats, forget the cartoons of witches on broomsticks with black cats. As someone familiar with the psychic world, I will tell you that is pop nonsense. Cats have always been associated with the psychic world because of the way cats move so silently though our lives: as if we didn't really exist, or perhaps more accurately, as if they were  aware of a world  invisible to us.  Unlike dogs, who are incredibly tuned into human beings (so much so that they will always look into a human’s right eye to determine their emotional state, something only humans do) cats exhibit no such characteristics. Compared to dogs, cats are completely uninterested in what we do except as a source of warmth and food.

As I am writing this, I am sitting in the home of my son Art, who has kept Siamese cats all his life. One of his cats regularly walks across the keyboard of my portable PC while I’m typing and has never once stepped on a key. Never.   I have no idea why (or how) the cat avoids the keys in its seemingly nonchalant journey across my portable keyboard, nor do I have any idea why the cat is so attracted to me and my portable PC—is it my creative energy, my fingers, the flickering screen, the silent internal PC fan, or is it something of which I'm completely unaware? 

A cat's attention is seldom fixed on detecting the intent of the human beings around them. Rather their attention will suddenly become riveted upon God knows what—some sight, motion, sound, smell or humanly undetectable event.  Just watching these cats moving silently through my son’s home only to become suddenly fixed on something always  reminds me of the way psychic events can suddenly interrupt our everyday consciousness. 

If that is not also a good description of the nature of psychic events, I don’t know what is—the way psychic voices and visions can suddenly and sdisplace our everyday consciousness, seizing control of it with an absolutely irresistible truth.There is no doubt in my mind that cats walked through the highly psychic, soul-obsessed Egyptian culture like they owned it. 

It is  this quality tthat I belive set the cats apart in Egyptian culture as being divine. The fact that they were also rat-killers was important, but it was not the only reason cats were elevated to the positions of Gods in Egypt. To find out more about cats and  their spiritual/historical importance in Egypt and other ancient cultures /psychic aspects, click here

Now let's take a deeper look at the cheetah.  I believe the cat's  close resemblance to the cheetah is another reason why the cat would  come to be seen in Egypt as having psychic aspects. I believe this was primarily due to the fact that  the Cheetah/Female Goddess, was a primary Goddess in the preliterate  Proto-Egyptian culture of 6000 B.C.. This very early cheetah/female Mother Goddess of Nubian origin undoubtedly  was a root spiritual archetype that helped feed  the later Dynastic Egyptian obsession with cats. 


Bast and Sekhmet
MafdetMafdet Mafdet is usually placed by Egyptologists with two other later cat gods (Bast and Sekhmet) but that is a mistake. Both of these later cat gods are portrayed as lions and thus belong to the later Dynasties of Empire.  (See photo).  

Although Mafdet was never seen as a domestic cat or lion, some theorists believe she was not a cheetah, but a lynx or a leopard or a mongoose. Her name, however, settles that issue.  It means "she who runs swiftly"and there is only one large cat fitting that description: a cheetah. 

The fact that in Dynastic times she was often pictured as a lynx or mongoose leads me to believe that this was the result of an effort on the part of the male priestly class to push Mafdet, the poweful. preliterate Cheetah Mother Goddess into the background.

Mafdet  never becomes a domesticated cat. She remains a half cheetah/ half human female firmly attached  to the Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture, and as a result is all but lost in the transition to the literate, male-God, Dynastic Egypt that took hold in 3200 B.C.  where the lion becomes the symbol of the emerging literate, Dynastic empire. 

As I've mentioned earlier, there is every reason to believe the savage, half-animal  Mafdet became the  Patron/Protector of  our female Nubian Shaman, who  I am going to start calling "River Mother." So, right now, I want to focus on Mafdet's Nubian roots and the impact that the Mafdet-inspired River Mother would have had upon the Proto-Egyptian Semitic inhabitants of the Nile delta in 6000 B.C..  

Before I go into detail on this, I want give you some more background on Mafdet, as she plays such an important role in River Mother's  reviving of the  Nubian Mother Goddess culture in the Nile delta  as a balance to  the Pre-Hebraic Mother Goddess tribes who were also migrating into the Nile delta around 6000 B.C.. I believe that the muthos consciousness of these Pre-Hebraic tribes was evolving into  an early form of logos consciousness perhaps as early as 6000 or 5000 B.C.. This is something I'll go into later, as it had a profound influence upon the formation of the Proto-Egyptian culture. 

Although we have no statues of Mafdet, we know a great deal about her because of written descriptions left by the Egyptians. If it weren't for those descriptions we would be lost because she is the only one of the early essential Nubian Mother Goddesses (Mut, Nut, Ma'at, Mafdet) who wasn't brought forward (through marriage) into the literate, male-God dominated pantheon of Dynastic Egypt.

This indicates to me that she was the most vital of the early Nubian Mother Goddesses and therefore the most threatening to the literate male Gods. It also is a strong indication that Mafdet would have been, as I have suggested,   the Patron Goddess of our Nubian female shaman. Mafdet appears in the Egyptian pantheon as early as the First Dynasty but obviously has roots deep into preliterate times.

The details of her worship are not clear, although a representation of her does appear on a vase that was found at a royal tomb in Abydos, which dates from between 2950 thru 2800 B.C. but I believe it's likely that she is most probably of even earlier Nubian origin. Mafdet was usually depicted as a woman with the head of a cheetah or a cheetah with the head of a woman. (Sounds like a good description of the Sphinx, doesn't it?). Mafdet's name translates as (she who) runs swiftly.

In Dynastic Egypt, Mafdet became more than the protector of the values of Truth and Balance represented by Ma'at in preliterate times.  She eventually became the deification of legal justice, specifically execution of criminals. She was also associated with the protection of the king's chambers and other sacred places, and with protection against venomous creatures, which were seen as transgressors against Ma'at as she also came to represent the literate values of Order, Law, Morality, Justice.).

As the administrator of justice in literate times, Mafdet was depicted as running up the side of the executioner's staff (see photo, L, where she is shown as a lynx). Like a cat, Mafdet would rip out the hearts of evil-doers and drop them at the pharaoh's feet. Mafdet ruled the judgement hall in Duat (Egyptian Underworld). It was in this hall that the king’s enemies and rebels were executed with his harpoon, which closely resembled a feline’s claw. This weapon was known as Mafdet’s claw.

Although Mafdet was later replaced by Bast (Bast photos on left) as the pharaoh's protector, she continued to be shown as a cheetah on personal items for the royal family. Even the beds upon which the the soul-bearing mummies were placed often contained a cheetah image. Mafdet can be seen (below) at the head of the funeral bed.

I believe one of the reasons the savage, half-animal Mafdet was not completely marginalized when the male Gods ascended in literate Dynastic Egypt was due to the fact she was  so intimately linked to Ma'at and Ra (Ma-at was the eye of Ra.) 

In a highly psychic culture such as Egypt, where relationships were not necessarily logical but psychic/spiritual, there is no doubt in my mind that  both the cat and cheetah were potent inter-linked spiritual presences that derived, in turn, much of their potency from their association with Mafdet. That spirituality was so potent that it prevailed from the preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture of 6500 thru 3200 B.C. all the way into the last stages of literate Dynastic Egypt (30 B.C.). 

Here is one additional thing we have to keep in mind about cheetahs. Later Egyptian Dynastic royalty kept cheetahs as pets—as soul companions. There are pictures of them walking cheetahs on leashes. It is still done in Africa today as the photo (Above, R) indicates.

Here are some photos of aging Liz Taylor and Richard Burton petting a cheetah lying between them. Perhaps they were reliving their Antony and Cleopatra days after a few cocktails. But joking aside, it shows how companionable they can be once trained. 

As for the Egyptians use of cheetahs for hunting, history suggests that this practice was adopted from similar practices in Nubia, as many Egyptian cheetahs came from Nubia where they had always been kept as leashed pets and used like falcons to hunt other animals. This practice continues today

Why a  Bas Relief Face Would Have Been Carved Upon the "Veiled" Face at Giza.

I want to lay some more groundwork for my proposed Sphinx face carving scenario.  First, let's take my proposed weathered, "Veiled" face being a part of the Giza cliff, where I have further suggested that it was held to be an ancient image of the Mother Goddess Mafdet. This being so,  there is every reason to believe it  would have been  venerated for millennia prior to its later carving by the inhabitants of Giza, especially since it gazed eastward—the most spiritual of directions being east, the birthplace of the Sun God, Ra.

We know such rocky shapes were venerated in preliterate cultures from the practice of our own  Native American tribes who named and venerated mountains and rocky outcroppings resembling animal or human shapes.

As an aside, the photo to the left of a very detailed  weathered face found in Canada was not weathered onto a rock but onto the surface of the earth. It is extremely large ( see the road leading to the ear) and the photo was taken was taken from a great height. Still, it shows the possibilities of weathering. 

From a muthos point of view, there are two possible reasons why a face would have been carved  over my proposed  "weathered" face in 6000 B.C..

Possibility 1. The bas relief was simply carved as an amplification of the suggested “Veiled” face and that no actual person was represented by the carving. Some may like this idea, but I doubt it happened this way because despite my Photoshop visualizations of what the "Veiled" face may have looked like, they are actually far too symmetrical and detailed. The actual "Veiled" face (as the photos of actual rocky faces suggest) would have had about 25% of the detail I have shown, far too little to merely copy.

So with the first possibility disposed of, I am going to return to the possibility I suggested earlier.

Possibility 2. When the Sphinx face was first carved, it was a bas relief carving of the actual face of an exceptional Nubian female shaman associated with Mafdet, thereby signifying that the face they were carving both shared and acknowledged the female/cheetah nature of the weathered "Veiled" face

It is also important to understand that the ancient "weathered" face would have been considered sacred, being in the eyes of the Giza Proto-Egyptians no less than the Goddess-face of Mafdet placed there when the earth was formed.

Thus the initial bas relief carving of the Sphinx face would never have been a whimsical, happenstance carving. To alter the rock face would have been a sacrilege unless there was some spiritual indication that the time had come for it to be done. 

Thus we have to conclude that some very important event occurred that triggered the carving of a  very particularly proportioned face upon the roughly suggested, eastward gazing face that had been there forever. 

I have already suggested it was a gigantic flood of the Nile delta caused by a massive eruption of Mt. Aetna in 6000 B.C. and until someone comes up with another equally disastrous event in the period 6000 thru 3200 B.C. that will have to do.

The Significance of the Caul or "Veil"

In a preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture of 6000 thru 3200 B.C., the facial carving that I am suggesting took place at Giza would not have been just a new statue to be placed in the town square.  It would have represented nothing less than the continuing birth of the "Veiled" God-face weathered onto the rock. 

Let me explain what I mean by continuing birth.  

Preliterate observers would have had no trouble in seeing the vague, weathered suggestion of a cheetah/human face as a “Veiled” birth, one in which the infant’s head—as it emerges from the birth canal—is seen to be covered by a thin, translucent lining sometimes called a caul.

Such an event is rare and was taken as signifying that the person being born will have special qualities.The step of carving the bas-relief face would then be seen as the removal of the caul, allowing the divine being to come fully into the world.  Thus, I believe the actual bas relief face that was carved was of someone who had not only become recognized as a living Goddess, but who was also recognized as being spiritually connected to the divine “Veiled” human/cheetah face.

This seems the most likely scenario, and one that would have intuitively made muthos, or felt, sense to the Egyptians of 6000 B.C., namely that the “Veiled” God-face would finally acquire the face that had been hidden by the caul, the face of someone spiritually linked to its "Veiled" human/cheetah likeness.


In this last section  I've tried to further my theory about the Sphinx by examining in depth:

1. I've shown artistic and structural skills of the preliterate Proto-Egyptians as well as the artistic and spiritual connection between the "Veiled" Face and the "Squareness" of the Carved Sphinx Face.

2. I've shown the spiritual / psychic  connection between the Egyptians and Cats and Cheetahs going back to preliterate times.

3. I've given the spiritual reasons why  a  Bas Relief face would have been carved upon my proposed  "Veiled" face at Giza.

4. I've shown the preliterate spiritual significance of people being born with a  a  caul or "Veil"

The Nile Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess Culture, A Deeper Look

The Nubian/Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture 6500 thru 3200 B. C. was one in which the Mother Goddesses were dominant because that is the nature of all preliterate cultures. Whether the Mother Goddesses at that time were called Mut or Mafdet or Nut or Ma-at or some other name is unclear. 

Most likely, they were called some variation of those names and would probably begin with the "M" sound, which is an almost universal sound for "mother" words. The Proto-Egyptians would have seen all of them as different faces or aspects of the Mother Goddess. What is important for us to realize is that all of these Mother Goddesses would have had a profound effect upon the psychic development of our proposed River Mother. I'll go into this in detail later.

I did not mention Isis among the Goddesses (Mut or Mafdet or Nut or Ma-at) listed above because I see her as a Goddess  who appeared  in the later preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture as organized agriculture and kings appeared.  Isis is distinguished from the other Mother Goddesses by the fact of her constant association with Osiris, i.e., we never see her as a stand-alone Mother Goddess.

Osiris Isis

Isis was both sister and wife to Osiris, but  also mother in the sense that she recreated him from his sundered parts after he was  chopped to pieces by Seth.  She then copulated with him  to produce their son Horus

To do that , she had to form his penis from the Nile mud as that was the one part of his body that was never recovered. If you think about the symbolism of all that for a while, you can see that Isis was the vehicle tor bringing the older Mother Goddess spirituality into literate male God Egypt, and to do so without surrendering any of her Mother Goddess power. I say this because after she mates with Osiris, he retires to the realm of the dead to receive the dying Pharaohs and Horus (with Isis always at his side) emerges as the God who incarnates himself into the new Pharaohs to make them immortal.

Isis Horus on Throne

Here is some background on Isis from Wikipedia: "Most Egyptian deities  were first worshiped by very local cults ….so that most major cities and towns in Egypt were known as the home of a particular deity. The origins of the cult of Isis are uncertain, but it is believed that she was originally an independent and popular deity in predynastic times, prior to 3100 BCE…. Based on the association of her name with the throne, some early Egyptologists believed that Isis's original function was that of throne-mother. "

Isis suckling Horus
I believe that River Mother, our Nubian female shaman of 6000 B.C. (whose living-Goddess face was carved upon the Giza cliff) was the seed that grew into or merged with the seed of  Isis.  Here is one of my reasons for thinking so: "Throne-mother" is interpreted by most theorists as signifying that Isis was the mother of the Pharaoh, or Protector of the Throne, which makes good theological sense to our modern minds because the new Pharaoh was divine (being an incarnation of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris). 

However,  it's original African-Nubian /Mother Goddess sense was that the Throne was female, i.e., a Mother, and from that Mother came all power, all leadership. Understanding the difference is critical in understanding the role River Mother eventually played  in the preliterate Nile delta Mother Goddess culture of 6000 B.C.. 

I see River Mother becoming the embodiment of that last interpretation, namely  that the Throne was female, i.e., a Mother, and from that Mother came all power, all leadership. I believe that the inhabitants of the Nile delta came to see her as a  living Mother Goddess who was the source of all power and leadership. There is a marked difference between that African interpretation and the  interpretation of Isis as  "Throne Mother or Mother of the King." 

And now something from Wikipedia about Nut, the mother of Isis: "[Nut] the eternal mother…is also the mother of Isis, Osiris, Nephthys, and Set. The close association of the Queen with this figure is significant. Nut is, in the Nubian and Egyptian religions, the mother from which all the current gods and goddesses came."

The fact that Nut's name does not begin with the "M" sound says to me that she appeared in the Mother Goddess pantheon a bit later than those Goddesses whose name started with the "M" sound. This distinguished Nut, and indicates to me that she came into being as a bridge between the preliterate Mother Goddess period and the later literate, Male God period. 

I would also like to point out that the Mother Goddesses would be seen by the Proto-Egyptian culture of 6500 thru 3200 B.C. as being of black African origin. I  say this  for the simple reason that we now know that all humans are descended from one African Mother: the First Mother c. 100,000 thru 200,000 B.C.. We didn't know this until recently, but I can assure you preliterate black Africans could not have thought otherwise, and we therefore have to believe that the Mother Goddesses absolutely dominated the spiritual life of preliterate black Africans and eventually our Proto-Egyptian culture.

And now something about Mut, the mother of mothers. In traditional thinking, Mut did not rise into widespread recognition until the New Kingdom, yet there can be no doubt that she was the primal preliterate Mother Goddess. After all, she is the mother of mothers, superior and prior to both Nut and Isis. Mut was believed to have existed since primeval times, existing along side Nun, the primeval waters. Her followers believed her to be the Great Mother. She possessed both sex organs: male and female. Here is a description of Mut from Caroline Seawright, ¨the one who created everything that existed. Who not only gave birth to life, but who conceived life itself. Mut, Who Giveth Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any". 

For our purposes, I would like to make a distinction between Mut, the Great Mother, which is an Egyptian spiritual concept, and the First Mother, whom I see as the African physical mother of us all.

I have great deal to say about the First Mother in ALICE HICKEY, in which I marshal  evidence that the first human was most probably not a man, but a woman.(See Chapter 35, pgs. 167-169). From a Jungian point of view, the  Great Mother Mut can be seen as a special aspect of the First Mother psychic archetype that grew out of early human´s  collective memories of the First Mother. 

Thus, the First Mother  would have been instinctively seen by all early humans as the one who brought humans into the world. Before her there were only animals.This is another way of describing how Egyptians viewed Mut, a view shared by Carolyn Seawright, who sees Mut as ¨the one who created everything that existed. Who not only gave birth to life, but who conceived life itself. Mut, Who Giveth Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any".

Click here for Caroline Seawright's  complete site on Mut. Just so you get a clear picture of Mut, Who Giveth Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any, I should gain add that in her primal early representations, which seem to be African, she has both sex organs. A strong indication that she originated in the very early Mother Goddess period is the simple fact that her name in very ancient Egyptian means "mother."  Mut is clearly The Mother Creator  as indicated by Seawright's wonderful description:  "the one who created and brought forth everything that existed. Who not only gave birth to life, but who conceived life itself." 

I believe that Mut had a  very early  African/Nubian Mother Goddess  origin and became the primal Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess who not only represented the First Mother, but who was also seen as the creator  of the world itself,  i.e.,  "the one who created and brought forth everything that existed. Who not only gave birth to life, but who conceived life itself." 

Thus, she would have been be equivalent of the God of Genesis. In later, male God Dynastic Egypt she was replaced by Atum in the role of Creator.  But in the Mother Goddess period, all God and Goddesses as well as humans and everything else were seen as being created by her.

That means Mut first created  Shu, representing the air and Tefnut, representing moisture, and through them Geb and Nut and through them Isis and Osiris and eventually by whatever means,  the rest of the Gods and Goddesses, including Ma'at, Mafdet and Ra. 

As an aside, I believe that the creation story  of Isis, Osiris and Horus  was added later in the Mother Goddess period, perhaps in what is called  the Legendary Period, but that Ra, Ma'at, and  Mafdet were included from the very beginning, because they are so primal (respectively, Sun, Truth, Guardian of Truth), and also because  in the case of the Goddesses, the names  Ma'at, and  Mafdet (and Mut) have the "M"= mother sound, a characteristic of mother words that seems to be present in almost all cultures. With all that said, I contend that the  story of Mut was the original Creation story that would have been told in the Mother Goddess period.

Amun with Pantheon of Gods

It is clear, however, that around 3200 B.C., as the male Gods ascended, Mut, the Mother Creator, was replaced by a Male Creator and Atum was selected and, according to Wikipedia, the following Creation myth and Pantheon was established at Heliopolis: 

"From the primeval waters represented by Nun, a mound  (The Mound of Creation) appeared on which the self-begotten deity Atum sat. Bored and alone, Atum spat or, according to other stories, masturbated, producing Shu, representing the air and Tefnut, representing moisture. In turn, Shu and Tefnut mated and brought forth Geb, representing the earth, and Nut, representing the nighttime sky.The children of Geb and Nut were the sons Osiris and Set and the daughters Isis and Nephthys, who in turn formed couples, and then Isis and Osiris produced Horus."  

If you read  Seawright's site on Mut, you'll see that Mut, in addition to having her Mother Creator position officially replaced by Atum, had other problems in surviving intact. Our current knowledge of Mut as Mother Creator has also been  weakened by the fact that in Dynastic times, Mut remained so spiritually essential that she was interwoven so many times with other deities  that her original creative lineage  has pretty much been lost.

With all that said about the Mother Goddesses as spiritual/mythological entities, let me add something of even greater importance if we are to really understand how powerful the spiritual impact of someone like my proposed  River Mother could have been. I say this because I believe there was also a spiritual/psychic  connection between River Mother and NutMut, Mafdet, and Ma'at.  It is slightly different than that between River Mother and Isis, something I discussed earlier, in that I believe Nut, Mut, Ma'at and Mafdet were powerful psychic archetypes that allowed our female shaman to grow psychically, to become a powerful prophet.

Let me take Jesus as an example. Jung says Jesus was able to grow psychically as messiah because of his awareness of the prophets who preceded and had predicted his coming, as well as his awareness that the particulars of his life fulfilled all the messianic prophecies (Born in Bethlehem/House of David, the 14th generation after David, etc.). 

What happened with River Mother was slightly different, however, because she was living in a preliterate  culture that was highly psychic by nature. River Mother would have been very aware of the psychic nature with which she was born. I also believe, however, that in the course of her life, she began to absorb more and more psychic aspects of Nut, Mut, Ma'at and Mafdet, all of whom she would have seen as different faces of the Mother Goddess.

In Jungian terms this would mean that certain aspects of the collective unconscious became part of her personal unconscious.This was not a decision on River Mother's part. It just happened. As a result I believe her psychic nature eventually became as extraordinary as the psychic nature of Jesus. I will go into much more detail about this absorption later, but at this stage let me repeat that her relationship with Isis was a much different one in which I see there is a definite possibility of  her being eventually being transformed into Isis or merged with a nascent form of Isis. Let me end this section with the following equation which you should again mull about in your head. The equation introduces each Goddess in the order I see them appearing in the preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture:

First Mother =  Mother Goddess = Mut = Nut = Ma'at = Mafdet =  Nubia = River Mother 
The equal sign here should be taken to mean that one term is equivalent to or  implies the next term (either forward or backward).

 The Artistic Nature of Preliterate, Monumental Sculpture

Rapa Nui 
The problem with going back in time like this (to 6500 thru  3200 B.C.) is that there are few clues as to  the artistic nature of Neolithic Preliterate Egypt. To understand  the face of the River Mother/ Sphinx, I have to extrapolate backwards based on what we do know of  both literate Egyptian culture and preliterate artistic tendencies in general. 

There are only a small number of large heads carved by preliterate cultures. One thing we can be sure of, however, is that their large size indicated they were carvings of Gods. The two  are inseparable in preliterate art. 

                                                   Author's Note

Big means powerful means Gods is the equation to bear in mind. It is an artistic statement that exists in all cultures, preliterate as well as literate.

End Author's Note

Olmec Head
The carving of such a large head (25 feet high) as the Sphinx is unknown in other preliterate cultures except for the exquisitely carved giant (5-11 feet high) Olmec heads in MEXICO (c. 1600 B.C.), and the large heads (avg.10 feet high) on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) 
(c. 1000 thru 1650 A.D.)  

More common are the many large, stone structures all around the world, such as the phases of  Stonehenge (2800  thru 1550 B.C.) in preliterate Britain and the  many Megaliths (5000 thru 700 B.C.) of preliterate Malta (R). See Wikipedia on this. 

Gobekli Tepe

Then there are the much smaller, animal stone carvings   on large, quarried slabs such as those discovered (R) at preliterate Gobekli Tepe in Turkey (10,000 thru 7000 B.C.). Wikipedia on this. 

Although these large stone slabs (6 feet) contain very good bas relief sculptures of animals (center) which again shows that preliterate peoples understood proportionsome of the slabs also show barely visible human arms and hands (above, L). There has been much discussion as to what this means.  

Gobekli Tepe
My own take on the  Gobekli Tepe art is that the slabs contain vision-messages of the animals of the various animal psychic guides used by  tribe members when they entered the pyschic world. 

The addition of the arms and hands on some of the slabs (and absence of human faces) indicate that they were representations of animal psychic guides. The importance and superiority of such guides being indicated by including only partial images of humans (by depicting the arms and hands).

These  carvings and their setting (above) seem to prefigure the size and  artistic sophistication of later preliterate monumental structures and sculptures. For starters, the individual animal carvings (L) on the six foot slabs are a step up in size and sophistication from the small, rough animal petroglyphs we see in very early Neolithic carvings. 

In addition, the setting (22 acres)  is huge, something we don't see until much later in places like Stonehenge, which we now recognize as being but one part of a series of huge healing/burial mounds and stone structures. 

Since there is every indication that the T-shaped tops of the slabs supported a roof of some sort, the entire site could be considered a giant cave with artificial walls upon which they carved animals, so it represents a new way of creating vision art upon cave walls, a form of artistic expression belonging to very early preliterate cultures. 

The fact that the entire site was purposely buried and abandoned by the inhabitants around 7000 B.C. suggests that these tribes had moved toward a different spirituality, although we have no idea what that spirituality was. One last thing about the inhabitants that comes to me is that these were serious people. There is nothing happenstance about Gobekli Tepe.

With all that said about each of these preliterate sites, it is obvious to me that each of these large stone structures and sculptures can be considered a response to some critical spiritual event in those cultures. I want to make clear, however, that these spiritual responses continued for many hundreds, even thousands of years as can be seen in the time range of construction for each site. They were not one-time celebrations of Empire.

I believe this is also the case with the initial bas relief face carving and the subsequent full-head and then chest and forelimbs and finally the body of the Sphinx: it was done in stages. 

Let me now focus a bit harder on my contention that  the face of the Sphinx is that of a black Nubian female. c 6000 B.C..

The Face of the Sphinx is of a Black Nubian Female

I am not the first person to suggest that the face portrayed on the Sphinx is a female with black African facial characteristics, most probably Nubian, and not the somewhat different facial characteristics we see on later Egyptian sculpture. Click here for a Wikipedia summary of the thinking since ancient times as to whether Dynastic and modern  Egyptians evolved out of prehistoric African peoples (as well as the related thinking on the African nature of the face of the Sphinx).

To see a modern analysis of the facial characteristics of the Sphinx click here. One of my contentions is that the further we go back in time towards 6,000 B.C., the more likely both the Mother Goddesses and female Leaders/Shamans are to be dominant and the more likely that the carved face belongs to a female who is black African/Nubian

I don’t think the black African similarities can be ignored, although it won’t be the first time this has happened. For example, the giant Olmec heads in Mexico are thought by some to be clearly African (or perhaps Samoan) but establishment thought continues to ignore the similarities.

There is a similarity, but it should be explained, not ignored.  I would explain it by proposing that both the African and Samoan traits are the artistic result of "squashing" the face to resemble a ball, something I discussed earlier. For more information on the Olmec culture, click here.
Yet the Olmec faces are extremely interesting because they do suggest African characteristics.It just so happens that the face of the Sphinx and the Olmec heads have some similarities that are striking. Take a look at these overlays of the Sphinx's head. I have tilted the Olmec head to correspond to the tilt of the Sphinx. The red line is the profile of the Sphinx.

Chin, eyes and forehead are almost a perfect match, despite the "squashed" aesthetic of the Olmec face, which I believe makes the Olmec head look more black African or Samoan  than perhaps  the Olmec person actually looked. For our purposes, however, the "squashing" makes the Olmec face fit the face of the Sphinx perfectly if we don't include the Olmec nose (which is missing on the Sphinx) and Olmec upper lip, which is not a perfect match by any means. 

This is something I pointed out earlier when I discussed the squareness of the Olmec heads being almost a perfect match of the squareness of the Sphinx head except the match was due to the Olmec "squashing" aesthetic.  Yet if we were to put the Olmec nose and upper lip in place of the missing nose and damaged upper lip of the Sphinx (as I've done in the last overlay above) we'd have quite a face wouldn't we?

Unfortunately, it's a false one. For one thing, the extreme protruding upper lip of the Olmec face is nowhere close to what remains of the upper lip of the Sphinx. It is much larger in every respect than the Sphinx upper lip, as is the nose, and both are the result of the artistic squashing of the head. 


Yet the Olmec face clearly has either African characteristics,  or what I think is equally likely, Samoan characteristics given the distnctly oriental faces seen in very early Olmec art,  as the Samoans were historically large-bodied, accomplished sailors and may have helped man the Chinese vessels that landed on the Pacific shore. 

Some portion of the Samoans may have stayed and  passed on their Polynesian characteristics. The same argument would hold for African sailors manning ships coming from the Mediterranean. I have no problem seeing their descendants becoming star athletes in the sacred  ōllamaliztli ball game. 

early olmec face
The fact that the main Olmec settlements favored the Atlantic side of Mexico gives credence to the African argument. The Chinese art favors the Polynesian argument. 

That's all I want to say about the matter however, because what is really important about the Olmec  heads is that they make us pay attention to the distinct African characteristics of the head and face of the Sphinx.

Yet I remain unconvinced that the Olmec culture had any connection with preliterate Egypt simply because the Olmec head is so distorted by its  "squashing" aesthetic  that the match is a false one. 

Just to add cherries to the pudding I've just put away,  take a look at these overlays of the Sphinx’s face with only an Olmec nose. (photos L, R).  I have altered the “negroid” Olmec nose a bit by lengthening it, to offset the fact that the Olmec faces are extremely sophisticated, employing a form of foreshortening.

The photo on the left shows what happens if I don't lengthen the Olmec "foreshortened" nose. The nose is too broad by any stretch of the imagination and doesn't fit at all the nose-space of the Sphinx. 

It's clear that the Olmec artists employed a variety of foreshortening techniques to “squash” and flatten the face so that it is almost spheroid, like a ball, emphasizing, as some have suggested, that these are the faces of famous ball-playing athletes or, kings parading as famous ball players. Things haven't changed, believe me.

I am also going to suggest that this foreshortening may indicate something else in addition to a ball. Please don't think I'm going overboard with the caul, and I may be, but the squashed shape may also represent a special or "Veiled" birth, as the same "squashing " or facial flattening also occurs when a child in born with a caul

If these sculptures do represent the rebirth of the ōllamaliztli players as Gods, or Kings being reborn as famous ōllamaliztli players, then representing them as being reborn but flattened by a caul may be another reason for the  unique proportions of these Olmec faces. 

If this seems far out to some, we must not forget that the ball game in question (ōllamaliztli ) was a sacred game that began with the Olmec culture and was played by all succeeding Meso-American cultures.

The Ollamaliztli game was not an outing at Yankee stadium. It was a life and death affair, with the losing captain having his heart cut out. The winners were celebrated throughout the cultures as mega-heroes, challenging even Kings in that respect, so is it any wonder that the winners should be immortalized by these incredible sculptures, or perhaps that kings would want to be rendered in the guise of a such a player?

OK, enough. Back to the Sphinx. One other oddity of the face of the Sphinx that may not be that odd if we consider the face of the Sphinx to be that of a  Nubian female shaman/leader is that from the 16th century though the 18th century, reputable observers repeatedly noted that the Sphinx had the face, neck and breast of a woman. Among them:George Sandys (1615), Johann Michael Vansleb (1677), Benoît de Maillet (1735),  Johannes Helferich (1579)

These observers, however, are very late in the scheme of things and from the Italian explorer Captain Caviglia's drawings in 1818, the chest already looks heavily weathered and breast-less. So these observers' reports of a female is problematic ,and may be only the result of the visitors’ expectation of a female sphinx as most other depictions of sphinxes in other cultures are clearly female. 

What we are left with then is a chicken and egg situation. It may be possible, however, that earlier literate observers (say around 1000 B.C.) actually saw breasts or heard reliable Egyptian reports of breasts in earlier times and then reported that fact in writings since lost.

A Greek Sphinx
This would explain  female Sphinxes being created in the early Greek culture, or it may  have nothing to do with a supposedly Egyptian female Sphinx, the sex of the Greek Sphinx being determined by other factors. 

The Italian explorer Captain Caviglia, who dug out the complete front of the buried body in 1818 after many centuries of sand burial and who would have surely seen the breasts if they still existed, makes no mention of them.  The picture (below, L) was drawn by Caviglia himself after he had partially dug out the Sphinx, and it shows nothing that look like breasts, although the drawing does show that the chest is severely weathered and shows no detail at all, so theoretically the Sphinx could have had breasts prior to his excavation.

One thing we can say for sure is that if the Sphinx had breasts today, there would be little resistance to what I am proposing. There are no breasts, however, on the Sphinx we see today, nor definitive proof there were breasts at one time, so we’ll have to forge on without their assistance.

Preliterate Egyptian Spirituality

Let me  discuss in some detail the nature of the Preliterate/Muthos consciousness of the Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture, (6500 thru 3200 B.C.). In the process, I'll make several observations about the Literate/Logos consciousness of the Dynastic Egyptian culture (3200 thru 30 B.C) one of whose monumental carvings is shown on the right. 

What I am going to say about the Preliterate Egyptian culture will be  more or less true for all Mother Goddess cultures  throughout the world. So let's take a closer look  at the Preliterate  Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture. Lest you get the idea there were no male Gods in the preliterate period, there were as many as in the literate period. They were simply less important than the primary female Goddesses (who were seen as different aspects of the Mother Goddess.)

This is because the Mother Goddess dominated the spiritual/psychic lives of the people in these cultures. Think of the way the Virgin of Guadalupe dominates the spiritual lives of  everyday Mexican Catholics, especially women. It is to the Virgin  of Guadalupe that they address their prayers and hopes to a degree at least equal to the amount of spiritual attention they pay  to Jesus and God the Father. Archeologists have shown us that the female leaders of Mother Goddess Cultures around the world never sought to dominate the males as the males sought to dominate the females  when their cultures  turned into  literate, male-God  cultures with the advent of writing.

Rather the female leaders of Mother Goddess cultures
Mother Goddess statues
led on a cooperative basis. In important matters that required psychic access to the Goddesses, the women would put forward  solutions acquired through intuitions, visions and voices. The Mother goddess cultures were not Amazon cultures. The men were always stronger and just as smart in problem solving. There was no sense of their being inferior in these areas.

The strength and agressiveness  of men can be seen as the main reason why they excelled in hunting, which required great physical stamina, cunning  and knowledge of the ways of each animal. Especially important was their greater physical stamina, especially since the main tactic in this early period (when weapons were relatively weak) was to chase the prey until the animal was exhausted. 

Early humans, as strange as it may seem to us today, had greater staying power when running than the animals they hunted. Where the women were superior  was in their intuitive and psychic powers which allowed them to see, for example,  whether it was the will of the Goddesses to wage war on a neighboring tribe, expel someone from the tribe,  etc.. Needless to say, these psychic powers also gave them the ability to heal, perhaps their most important everyday act. 

I also want to make it clear that Mother Goddess cultures did not develop out of highly developed preliterate agricultural cultures. That is a mistaken idea that has taken hold because of the fact that the Mother Goddess archeological studies have focused on late preliterate agricultural cultures in gathering evidence. Robert Graves focused on the same type of cultures in  The White Goddess, as those cultures, being late in time, were the source of  the scraps of myth and poetry he was able to gather and decipher.  

The fact of the matter is that common sense tells us that Mother Goddess cultures began to form right along with the first humans. It was  only natural for this to happen first in in Africa, the birthplace of the human race  and the origin of the First Mother, and for it then to spread outwards as humans migrated out of Africa. With all that said, I want you once again to mull over the following equation:

Africa = First Mother =Mother Goddess =  Mut =  Ma'at= Mafdet Nut = African/Nubian Spiritual/Psychic Practices = Soul Obsession = Immortality = Reincarnation = Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother 
The equal sign here should be read to mean that one term implies the next term (either forward or backward).

What that equation is meant to represent is  my proposal that River Mother, our Nubian female shaman, should properly be seen  as  the spiritual personification of the African/Nubian Mother Goddess culture and its shamanic/psychic/spiritual practices and beliefs about the soul. Those beliefs held that the soul was immortal and that it could also reincarnate itself into a new physical form after the death of the physical body.

African/Nubian  religions  also held that the the soul's journey to the afterlife was a dangerous, difficult one. Because of this, they developed many psychic practices to ensure that the journey succeeded.

An important distinction about the African belief in immortality  was that it held  that the physical body  (i.e., a "copy" of the dead body) enjoyed an afterlife as well as the soul. In other words, body and soul were one and the same. 

As we shall see, this is important  because I contend that these same beliefs (in immortality and in the body and soul being one) eventually evolved into the elaborate Dynastic Egyptian practice of mummifying the dead Pharaoh. 

Those practices centered around the belief that if the body didn't disappear, neither would the Ka, the guiding voices of the soul, which meant that the Pharaoh could continue to be guided in  His journey to become immortal with the immortal Osiris in the heavens. 

Opening the dead Pharaoh's mouth 

I contend that these  same Nubian/African  psychic beliefs and practices are mirrored in the elaborate Dynastic beliefs and funeral  practices (Pyramid Texts) meant to guide the Pharaoh's soul to the afterlife where he would become one with Osiris/Orion. 

These Nubian/African beliefs and practices could only have  come about as the result of extensive psychic observations of death and the soul's journey after death and I contend that they were continued as such by the Proto-Egyptians and the much later the Dynastic Egyptians. 

The failure, or refusal,  to see these psychic beliefs and practices for what they truly are has been one of the major failures of both alternative and traditional theorists. It has led to complete misunderstandings of the true nature of the Pre-Dynastic and Dynastic Egyptian culture.  

The African/Nubian  afterlife had no heaven or  hell, and was  seen pretty much as a counterpart of this life and not necessarily any better or worse. It was, however, also seen as a place  from which the body and soul could be reborn (reincarnated) into another human form, which was highly desirable, since life in this world was always seen by Africans as superior to the world of the  afterlife .

These beliefs and practices are a part of all African religions, including the Nubian, and since little has changed in African tribal spirituality except for the relatively modern introduction of Christianity and Islam (whose influences are clearly noticeable) we can  be reasonably sure that they were also the beliefs of our Nubian shaman's   Mother Goddess culture of 6000 B.C..  

We would also expect then that all of these Nubian beliefs would find their way into the Proto-Egyptian culture of the Nile delta c.6000 B.C.  and eventually become a part of the Dynastic Egyptian  spirituality thousands of years later.

Weighing the heart
Yet, on the surface at least, we find no such thing. To understand why,  let us take a closer look at  our Nubian shaman as a spiritual leader with  powerful  African/Nubian Mother Goddess beliefs coming into the Nile delta c.6000 B.C. 

This was also a time when the immigrating Nubian tribes were mixing with the immigrating  Semitic  tribes  from the Levant. As we shall see a bit later, the Nile delta was uninhabitable between 10,000 thru 7000 B.C. because of the wild flooding of the Nile. In addition, archeologists have found no evidence of occupation until 6000 B.C..  

I believe, however, that hunter-gatherer tribes would have been coming in from the north and south at least by 6500 B.C because it would have been a rich such a rich source of fish and fowl. The fact that no evidence of this earlier immigration has been found doesn't mean it didn't happen as such tribes  leave little or no evidence of occupation. We also shouldn't forget that the tsunami of 6000 B.C. wiped out everyting.

Author's Note

The Levant is defined  as the area at the eastern end of the Mediterranean that in modern times contains Israel, Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Lebanon,  and Syria. 

The latest archaeological evidence shows that Semitic hunter-gatherer tribes began migrating southward from an area just south of the Black Sea into what we know as the Levant around 6000-4000 B.C.. The evidence points towards an ecological disturbance in the Black Sea area that brought about this southward migration. That disturbance may be related to the 6000 B.C. Mt. Aetna eruption and tsunami of 6000 B.C., as the tsunami waters may have spilled into the Black Sea and the ares surrounding it.

This Semitic migration does not include the Sumerians,who are of unknown origin and who settled around the the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers at an unknown time and who had a completely different language.

It is from the Levant that I believe these Semitic tribes began to migrate into the much more fertile Nile delta around 6000 B.C. as it was far superior area for supporting hunting and gathering.  It was also far superior for supporting the early herding and agricultural capabilities these Semitic tribes were in the process of developing. The Nile valley and delta easily rivalled the fertile Sumerian area defined by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

                                               End Author's Note

Both  the immigrants from Nubia and the Semitic Levant  would have had had their own Mother Goddess cultures, although any differences would have disappeared  very quickly because of the  way preliterate cultures  absorb each others beliefs. 

Thus, the Proto-Egyptian culture of the Nile delta c.6000 B.C. that our Nubian shaman would have encountered would have  been  relatively uniform and similar in many respects to her own Nubian Mother Goddess culture.  However, what River Mother would have found different  about these mixed Proto-Egyptian Nile delta tribes was that they had developed a rudimentary herding/farming culture which had begun to be brought there by new Semitic immigrants from the Levant. This rudimentary herding/farming culture was much different than the hunter-gatherer culture of Nubia she was familiar with.  It was also,   by nature, very organized.

With that organization would come the first tendrils of a male-God dominated spirituality that would grow stronger over the centuries until it would eventually replace  the Mother Goddess culture  in the Nile delta area as Dynastic Egypt began to evolve (c.3200 B.C.). Similarly, the various Levant Mother Goddess cultures to the immediate north would eventually be replaced by  the male-God dominated Sumerian Empire (c.3200 B.C.).

Babylonian Assyrian Genie  Enki.
There would be a significant difference, however, between the male-God dominated culture of the Sumerian Empire and that of Dynastic Egypt. Dynastic Egypt would maintain a male/female balance in its polytheistic spirituality, whereas Sumeria would evolve into a primarily male polytheistic spirituality, with its most extreme development being that of the monotheistic male God spirituality of the Hebrews around 1500 BC..  

These  literate male-God cultures of the Sumerian Empire were three thousand years away in 6000 B.C., but the spiritual seeds were there. I believe the Semitic migrants (and especially the Pre-Hebraic migrants) from the Levant brought those seeds with them into the Nile delta. 

Egyptian Heiroglyphs
What they also brought with them into the Nile delta was rudimentary herding/agricultural culture  that would eventually grow more and more organized, and with it the need for writing would grow until, in ways that aren't completely clear to us yet, writing would be invented, and a centralized society would be formed around a King. 

Concurrent with all this, the muthos consciousness of the Nile delta people would begin to evolve very rapidly into a  logos consciousness identical in most respects to our current modern consciousness.  This was the beginning of Dynastic Egypt and the end of Proto-Egypt. 

Sumerian Cuneiform
This muthos into logos  evolution, which would take place everywhere, would turn out to be a world beater because it set in motion very rapid developments in the Egyptian culture from 3200 B.C. on, writing being one of them. 

Then about 1500 years later, that same logos evolution  saw archaic writing being  introduced  into the Pre-Hebraic culture as early as 1750 B.C. (although 900 B.C. is the date usually given for recognizable Hebrew writing). 

Just to give you a sense of the timetable of the development of writing, it appeared in the Greek culture around 900 B.C.. 

I should add that  in  one of those quirks of genetic   development that make life interesting,  there are indications  that the Pre-Hebraic tribes migrating into the Nile delta may have already begun to possess a early  form of logos consciousness. 

Thousands of years later, this early  form of logos consciousness must
have been accelerated with their invention of archaic forms of writing around 1750 B.C.. Those early archaic forms undoubtedly came about because of their exposure to Egyptian writing. This would help account for sudden emergence of the radical monotheism of Moses (1500 B.C.), which was clearly a logos consciousness religion.

                                                       Author's Note

I believe that the very early Pre-Hebraic and Hebraic pusuit of writing is a good indication of their natural bent for critical thinking and their early logos consciousness. The advent of the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet c.1750 B.C. followed by an archaic Hebraic hieroglyphic/alphabetic version of it (c.1400 thru 1200 B.C.) supplied the Pre-Hebraic tribes and Hebrews with a rough way of creating a permanent record of  matters of interest to them. It probably became the alphabet used for the earliest, fragmentary versions of the Torah. 

A history of near east alphabets can be seen at this link. Here is a sample of that link: "Excavations in a mound at Ras Shamra, ancient Ugarit, found tablets with a script of only 27 different characters.    This proved to be archaic Hebrew, dated about 1400 B.C., hence one of the earliest alphabetic writings yet known. On a mound of Old Lachish (Josh. 10:31-32) inscriptions in alphabetic script were found dating between 1750 and 1550 B.C. "

The period between 1200 and 700 B.C  was a tumultuous often chaotic one (The Age of Judges). It seems evident from the history of that period that the Torah was not the cohesive document it eventually became. Yet it was also the period in which the tradition of interpreting the Covenant began, as uneven as it may have been. This continued  until 700 B.C. when the first agreed upon, edited  (Jawist) version of the Torah was assembled and written down in what is called the Paleo-Hebraic alphabet that emerged around 900 B.C.. 

The Jawist version of the Torah then became the source that the Hebrews  turned to in interpreting the Covenant. This is also the time when the tradition of debating the meaning of the Covenant  intensified,  and with it an equally intensified focus on the importance of  writing. You might say that  the Hebrews saw their very survival being linked to their literacy. 

                                                  End Author's Note

The influences created by the all-consuming logos consciousness of the Greeks and Hebrews would spread far beyond their geographical boundaries and, in the process, set the parameters for  Western civilization. The Egyptians, on the other hand, didn't  surrender completely to logos consciousness as the Hebrews and Greeks did,  but remained  balanced  between muthos and logos consciousness. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here, so let me get back to our Nubian female shaman entering the Nile delta c.6000 B.C..

Undoubtedly, there would have been many such Nubian spiritual leaders visiting the Nile delta prior to the arrival of  our Nubian female shaman. Indeed there may have been many shamans coming from the Levant as well. 

What I see significant about my proposed  female Nubian shaman is my contention that she was  psychically superior to her predecessors and that she arrived at a critical time in the social and spiritual development of the Nile delta area. We have to remember there were no formal written texts saying what the beliefs were of each culture. There was no dogma, so to speak.

New spiritual beliefs were introduced and spread on a person to person  basis and adopted if they made muthos sense. What the deciding factor would be was the psychic/spiritual power of the person introducing the new beliefs. If you want an example of this, take Jesus. Even though he lived in a literate time with a complex Roman/Hebrew social structure, Jesus could have just as easily lived in preliterate times.

I say this  because even though Jesus was most probably literate (if the stories of him challenging the rabbis as a boy are true), Jesus taught in a preliterate way. He left no writings of his own and meandered from town to town, speaking to the people he met in a familiar way,  often using stories, just  as you would in an oral culture. When the occasion called for it, he would  demonstrate the power of his beliefs through psychic healing, prophecy and the like. River Mother would have spread her beliefs in exactly the same way.

Male Female Balance
What I see as happening in the Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture was  that the Pre-Hebraic Mother Goddess spirituality and the Nubian Mother Goddess beliefs  somehow accommodated each other for thousands of years until the male-God  spirituality of literate Dynastic Egypt replaced them. 

Despite that male-God evolution within Dynastic Egypt itself, however,  enough of the Mother Goddess values were maintained to give birth to the Dynastic Egyptian Balanced spirituality with its male/female-logos/  muthos characteristics. 

It is my contention that River Mother planted the seeds that brought about this balanced male/female-logos/muthos spirituality. In Hegelian terms you might say that the  Nubian psychic/spiritual  beliefs in immortality and reincarnation and the more hard-headed, existential Semitic Pre-Hebraic beliefs (which had little interest in immortality) merged over thousands of years, eventually creating the synthesis we know as  Dynastic Egypt with its Ordered, Balanced, male/female-logos/muthos spirituality in which immortality was centered solely on the Pharaoh as was the reincarnation of Horus into the Pharaoh's successor 

Author's Note

I believe that the  existential, Semitic beliefs of the migrating tribes from the Levant  merged with the beliefs and practices of the Nubians to produce a Proto-Egyptian spirituality that not only reflected Nubian and Semitic/Pre-Hebraic  Mother Goddess spirituality, but also a Proto-Egyptian spirituality that was more organized because of the influence of the Pre-Hebraic tribes  with their early form of  logos consciousness.  

This was important  because that resultant, orderly Proto-Egyptian spirituality eventually evolved into the written funerary beliefs and practices in the Pyramid Texts of the Dynastic Egypt. It is really the only way to account for how the individualistic, shaman-oriented practices of the Nubians became orderly and organized enough to  eventually evolve into the spirituality of literate Dynastic Egypt.

When we get to the period after 3200 B. C., when Proto-Egypt had evolved into literate, Dynastic Egypt, those same wandering, Pre-Hebraic tribes were still entering the Nile delta but were now encountering a much different, highly organized Egypt with a living God Pharaoh. From this point in time, we see individuals of the Pre-Hebraic tribes (personified by Joseph and Moses) becoming influential, high officials of the Dynastic Egyptian empire  because of their superior mental abilities.  

Joseph and the Pharaoh

So, as unlikely as it may seem,  the Pre-Hebraic tribes can be seen as both an initial influence on Proto-Egypt and a continuing influence on  Dynastic Egypt despite the fact that the Hebrews were still wanderering herders and Dynastic Egypt a huge empire. It is in their interaction with Dynastic Egypt that those Pre-Hebraic wanderers began to be exposed to a very sophisticated spiritual empire which they eventually imitated in many ways,  the Temple of Solomon being the most prominent example. 

This spiritual connection between Egypt and the Hebrews is a long and complicated one  and can only be properly grasped by understanding the history of the Hebrews and what distinguished them from the other Semitic tribes migrating from the Levant into the Nile delta c.6000  thru 3200 B.C., something I will do in great detail as this blog progresses.

End Author's Note

As logos consciousness and literacy took root in Dynastic Egypt,  the  male Gods became dominant just as they did in Sumeria. It was, according to Julian Jaynes, a very rapid evolutionary change in consciousness that occurred throughout the world. 

It seems to have been triggered in the various Mother Goddess cultures when they discovered writing and became more organized in  their agriculture and  herding practices. However, as I have noted previously,  Egypt was the only culture that evolved a  male God/female Goddess spiritual Balanced spirituality as well as a  logos/muthos Balanced consciousness. 

That Balance was achieved and maintained for thousands of years right up through the Dynastic period. It is to my mind one of the glories of Egyptian spirituality.

The Semitic Mother Goddess culture of  the Levant  never achieved that kind of Balance,  the most extreme example of this being the eventual Hebraic belief in one male God. Semitic cultures in the Levant remained polytheistic, but with a strong emphasis on the male Gods.  As we know now, the  one male God spirituality of the Hebrews eventually replaced all those Semitic polytheistic religions. 

They were on the wrong side of history, and when they went down, so did their beliefs in reincarnation. There was no place for it in the Hebraic,  one male God spirituality, or what Wikipedia calls the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The reasons for this exclusion of reincarnation are unclear, yet according  to Wikipedia, the only religions that do not believe in reincarnation of some sort are a "majority of sects within the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam .." Here is the full Wikipedia page on Reincarnation

Assyrian Genie  Enki.
But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself again. Let me get back to our shaman,  River Mother, at the time she is entering the 6000 B.C. Nile delta with her powerful  African/Nubian Mother Goddess beliefs in the soul's immortality and reincarnation.  

Those beliefs were extraordinary when compared, for example,  to the early Hebrew male-God dominated conception of an afterlife, because the early Hebrews   saw the afterlife as a dim, half-life in which the soul was essentially dead. It mirrored a belief that when life ended, everything ended. Things weren't much better in for the other semitic tribes in the Levant. 

We can assume their beliefs were similar to those of the  ancient Mesopotamia culture (Assyrians, Babylonians, Sumerians) who believed that humans were meant to serve the Gods and that humans, upon dying, achieved a sort of dismal immortality in the underworld. It wasn't as bad as the Hebrew belief, but it wasn't much better either. Chaim Potok speaks about this in his remarkable history of the Jews, Wanderings.

Sumerian   God Shedu
Those formal Mesopotamian and Hebrew  beliefs, of course,  were still thousands of years away for the pre-Hebraic Levantic tribes of 6000 B.C., but those  beliefs must have had very early beginnings.  I would call those beliefs very hard-headed views of the afterlife  because it is a view that basically says the dim afterlife  humans experienced  wasn't even worth talking about.

Such  a bleak, unforgiving view of immortality must have come from a view of life that was almost existential: what you see is what you get. I also see it as being more a male view of life than a female one.

I think it is easy to see from all I've said about this dim view of human immortality   held by the Pre-Hebraic and other Semitic tribes of the Levant/Nile delta c.6500 thru 3200 B.C. that it was not something they held in high regard. 

The African/Nubian Mother Goddess beliefs in reincarnation, on the other hand, granted everyone a very desirable form of immortality through reincarnation. You might very easily call it a female or mother's view in its life-enhancing generosity. 

What I see happening is that  the African belief in reincarnation brought by River Mother to the Nile delta was met head on by these hard-headed views of the afterlife of the immigrating Semitic  tribes. Yet these two beliefs must have  co-existed (perhaps  uneasily or perhaps quite easily, it is hard to say)  for millennia until the act of writing  and highly organized agricultural  communities came into existence. 

These two events are intimately related and are always coterminous with the rise of  male-God spirituality. With that rise, Dynastic Egypt evolved and that  male-God spirituality eventually became became more dominant than the older Proto-Egyptian/ Mother Goddess spirituality. 

For reasons I'll go into later,   when the male Egyptian Gods became more dominant than the Mother Goddesses c. 3200 B.C.,  immortality became the sole property of  the Gods and Goddesses. The Nubian Mother Goddess belief in universal immortality simply  wound up on the cutting room floor as the formal Dynastic Egyptian religion began to be spliced together.  The same thing happened to the Nubian idea of reincarnation, which also must  have been seen as a form  of universal immortality. It simply didn't fit into the rising  male-God spirituality whose  central belief was that only the Gods and Goddesses lived forever. 

sophisticated agriculture 
This abandonment of the Nubian Mother Goddess concept of universal immortality  (and reincarnation)  in favor of only divine immortality was also  undoubtedly very heavily influenced  by the need for  an immortal,  living God/King  to maintain  order over a vast, highly sophisticated agricultural society. 

I should also add that there was always  a Nubian/African spiritual belief that held that the Divine World in the starry heavens was a copy of earthly life, even if it was not held to be as attractive as earthly life (which is why reincarnation was also a part of that Nubian/African spirituality). 

This belief in a connection between earthly and divine life also became central to Dynastic Egyptian spiritual thought because Dynastic Egyptians sought to always align earthly life with the Divine world by imitating the Divine World whenever possible. This alignment was the primary way in which  muthos thinking  co-existed and complemented the logos thinking of literate Dynastic Egypt. 

By the way, one of the most impressive representations of that muthos imitation  is the entire Giza pyramid complex, right down to the last brick. I suggest you read Bauval's The Orion  Mystery to get all the details of the incredible synthesis of muthos and logos thinking  behind this religious complex. Although Bauval doesn't go into the preliterate origins of the Dynastic Egyptian belief that the soul's journey  to the afterlife required psychic assistance  from the living if it was to be successful, it is clear to me that this was one part of the Nubian/Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess beliefs that did come forward into Dynastic times.

These African/ Nubian beliefs (and the psychic practices surrounding them) eventually became a formal part of the Dynastic Egyptian  spirituality  that we see in the Pyramid Texts, which are concerned with the difficult psychic journey the soul of the dead  Pharaoh had to make to become one with the immortal Osiris in the stars. 

Where it got really tricky was how pass  the immortality of that dead Pharaoh to his successor (who would normally be his son.) This involved a very specialized and very roundabout kind of reincarnation in which the God Horus (the son of Isis and Osiris incarnates himself into the new Pharaoh after  the dead Pharaoh's soul has become  one with the immortal Osiris/Orion.

Isis and Osiris essentially become stand-in parents of the new Pharaoh  because  Horus (their son incarnates himself  into the new Pharaoh thereby  making him a  living God. 

This is one reason why Isis is always shown as the Mother of the new Pharaoh. There is another even more  important reason that I went into much earlier, and that is that Isis in these depictions is more correctly a symbol that all authority comes from the Mother. Again, Balance.  At any rate, here is the equation you need to understand:

Large, sophisticated agricultural society = invention of writing = advent of logos consciousness = rise of male God spirituality =  need for immortal King/God = rise of a muthos/logos theology surrounding the death and rebirth of the Living God/King.
The equal sign here should be read to mean that one term implies the next term (either forward or backward).

If you need any help in understanding  these linkages you should be aware of these facts: almost all writing started with the writing of numbers (for counting.) The alphabet came later. Numbers are used to record crop yield, crop storage, crop trading, crop division, crops planted. The Living God Pharaoh is there to make sure everyone is reading from the same page and if they're not, the Living God Pharaoh is there to make sure they get on the same page tout suite. Got it? 

So there's a nice little evolutionary package that I've just made up for you. In real life, however, it didn't happen quite that way. It was a lot more complicated and a great deal messier. 

The fact is we can no more take what we know of  early preliterate Proto-Egyptian spiritual beliefs and trace their evolution into what we  know about Dynastic Egyptian religious beliefs in 2500 B.C. than we can take the teachings of Jesus and trace their evolution into the beliefs and practices of the Holy Roman Catholic Church of 1500 A.D., when it was at the height of its powers. 

In both cases, we have to be content with finding the smashed, cut-up, discolored Jesus nuts that made it into the final loaf of baked Roman Catholic cake. This is something  I have tried to do with Egypt. 

Let me also say that those assiduously spelled out, formal religious beliefs in Dynastic Egypt  c.2500 B.C. (or Roman Catholic Europe c. 1100 thru 1300 A.D.)  may or may not have any relation  to what was actually believed in the streets. 

An example of this in our own Western culture can be found in  the Roman Catholic Church of 1100 thru 1300 A.D. which could very easily be compared to the Dynastic Egyptian Religion of 2500 B.C. in the sheer complexity of its domination of religious thought and practice. It is no secret that the  Church's male-dominated theology made little to  no room for the divine feminine principle.

Yet so intense  was the worship of the Virgin Mary among the general population that from 1097-1245 A.D. entire cities pooled their resources and labor for years on end to erect monumental, masterfully-designed, gaudily-colored cathedrals that Henry Adams described as doll-houses for the Virgin. 

In other words, the Church was completely out of step with the general population when it came to the need for a female Deity so the people simply  took the matter into their own hands. 

This, I believe was somewhat the same situation with regard to the formal Dynastic Egyptian belief in divine immortality as the only immortality. Earlier,  I went into some of the reasons behind this  belief in the case of the Pharaoh, as he was held to be a living God. 

I have no doubts that this belief had the complete backing of the priestly class, but I find it hard to believe that the general population went along willingly with this restriction on immortality. I say this because the African belief in general immortality and reincarnation must have been central to  Nubian/Proto-Egyptian spiritual thought. Beliefs like that don't die easily, or if ever. Reincarnation was especially appealing to Africans because although the afterlife was seen as a safe and  somewhat pleasant mirroring of this life, it was never valued as much as this life.

I believe, just as in the case of the Virgin Mary and the Roman Catholic Church of 1100 thru 1300 A.D.  there existed in Dynastic Egypt of 2500 B.C the formal view of immortality and the popular view. 

That this was indeed the case can be seen from the fact that   the formal Dynastic view of immortality being confined to the Pharaoh was later expanded first to nobles and later to the general population as long as they had the means to afford the funerary rites. Ah, Property! Where forever art thou!
Field of Reeds
Two last comments. The first is that the afterlife in the Dynastic Egyptian theology changed around 2000 B.C. when  afterlife began to be viewed as a similar to this life but much more pleasant. 

It was  called the Field of Reeds and was seen as a sort of Paradise.  This seems to me  a roundabout way  of finally accommodating  the popular African/ Nubian belief in reincarnation, (which  offered  the dead the prospect of a more vibrant existence by allowing them to come back into this life, which the Africans have always seen as much more lively than the afterlife). The Field of Reeds concept went the African belief one better by giving the dead a more vibrant existence in the afterlife itself.  

My second comment is that the funerary rites, spelled out in great detail in the various Pyramid Texts, would seem a direct outgrowth of such rites in the African/Nubian spiritual traditions. Again, I have to stress that such rites would have come about because of the extensive, ongoing  psychic  observations of death and   the soul's journey  after death that began in preliterate Nubian/Proto-Egyptian  times and continued well into Dynastic times. It is this muthos practice that I see as one of many existing in partnership with the logos-driven practices of Dynastic Egypt.

Muthos links to the stars 
In one case, the partnership resulted in the creation (L) of the Dynastic Giza Pyramid complex being astronomically aligned (inside and outside) so as to correspond with the journey of the Pharaoh's soul to its final home in the Osiris/Orion constellation. 

It provided an earthly muthos stage, which imitated the heavens so as to assist the Pharaoh's soul  in its psychic journey  to become one with Osiris/Orion. The Giza pyramid also contained  a secondary muthos stage to  assist his successor in receiving the incarnation of Hourus,  thereby making him the new living God Pharaoh.

Robert Bauval takes an entire book (The Orion Mystery) to lay out the proof of this alignment. I suggest you read it from cover to cover and keep re-reading in until you grasp the scope of this muthos/logos partnership. 

One thing that Bauval doesn't go into, because it is outside  his area of interest, is that this muthos/logos  imitation of the heavens (where the Gods and Goddesses reside as stars) was not just to ensure  that Kufu  became one with Osiris, but to also say to the Gods and Goddesses that Kufu understood their will, their intent. 

Let me repeat again what I said earlier:  Muthos knowing is a way of saying to the Gods and Goddesses: "We hear your song,  O most dark and beautiful, and we are returning it in the only way we know: the way you have shown us." My purpose in mentioning this Dynastic spiritual expression of Kufu is to indicate how muthos and logos thinking co-existed in Dynastic Egypt. Again, Balance in everything was of paramount importance in Egyptian spirituality. 


I want to return to  River Mother and make clear again that my proposed Nubian female shaman of 6000 B.C., should properly be seen as representing the many female Nubian shamans who may have traveled north into the delta as early as 6500 B.C.. 

Each would have carried somewhat the same powerful African/Nubian Mother Goddess beliefs. The same can be said about the prophetic Hebrews who both preceded Jesus and who carried the same essential spiritual message that Jesus did. 

What made Jesus unique and memorable were not only his more powerful psychic/healing abilities but also the confluence of events surrounding his life. I believe the same can be said about my proposed female Nubian shaman I'm calling River Mother.

Yet 6000 B.C. is so far back in the dense fog of preliterate Egypt and Nubia, we have almost no hard knowledge of that time. All we have are a few pieces of pottery and scraps of stone tools. Everything else is an educated guess, based on what we may have gleaned from those digs and our knowledge of other preliterate cultures.  

Because of this I feel quite free in giving River Mother, our proposed Nubian female shaman, a face. The image (L) shows her young face as I imagine it at seventeen, just before she traveled to Giza. 

I have included the Nile in the photograph because it is the great connector that has always linked the Nile Delta and Nubia, also the Sphinx because it has the face of River Mother. Finally, the sun (Ra) is represented because Ra is so intimately linked to the River Mother/Sphinx through the eastward (rising sun) gaze of the Sphinx both in general, and in particular at spring equinox and summer solstice. 

River Mother's journey from Nubia to Giza was undoubtedly by foot and/or  dugouts (there were no pack animals c.6000 B.C.) until they cleared the cataracts north of Aswan, and then by  dugouts rafted together. 

This was also a time period in which the extraordinary acts of heroic men and women began to be repeated generation after generation in the oral story poems that would eventually became the great Egyptian myths. And let us not be dullards on this: some of the people celebrated in those story poems became the great Egyptian Goddesses and Gods. Yes, Virginia, there was a Hercules; just as there was a  Isis

I am going to suggest that River Mother also became one of the Goddesses celebrated in those story poems. Is there any connection between River Mother and Mut, or Nut, or Mafdet or Isis or Ra? If so, what are those preliterate connections? 

Most probably there are, but here we’re in a period that is  all but impenetrable. In cases like this, what must be examined are the later literate description for each of these Goddesses and Gods and see if there are any aspects in them that correlate strongly with my sense of River Mother.  As we'll see soon,  there are strong correlations between River Mother and Mafdet: The Runner,  and Ra, and and surprisingly also with Mut, Nut, Ma'at and Isis.

But right now, I'm going to leave you dangling among all those tempting correlations for a while and give you an equation which pretty much sums up the journey I've just taken you though the Nubian/ Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture that ended with the face of River Mother being carved on the face of the Giza cliff.

First Mother = Mother Goddess = Mut = Nut = Ma'at= MafdetNut = Nubia Spiritual/Psychic Practices = Cat/Cheetah = Soul Obsession = "Veiled" Giza face = Nubian Female Shaman =  River Mother = Carved Giza Sphinx/River Mother Face
The equal sign here should be  read as meaning one term implies the next term (either forward or backward).

I want to again repeat an essential truth about preliterate humans and that is they weren't   really concerned with the thoughts that fill our modern, examining logos consciousness. 

Rembrandt's Aristotle Examining the Bust of Homer just about says it all in this regard. Aristotle (the literate, examining, logos mind) vs. Homer (the preliterate imitative, artistic, muthos mind). Remember, in preliterate cultures, writing didn't exist, nor did its step-children: history, philosophy, science, mathematics, etc.

According to Julian Jaynes, our current logos "examining/explaining" consciousness evolved very quickly about the time when we invented reading and writing (3200 -900 B.C.). One of the art forms through which preliterate  cultures expressed themselves would have been through oral story poems.  

To give you a taste of the magic of these great mythic story poems, and the powerful role they played in these cultures, I have decided to create one. I am not,  however, going to create the story in the form of a poem, as few people are comfortable with poetry today. Rather, I have decided to tell it as simple prose story titled RIVER MOTHER that is told by River Mother herself in very simple language. 

In it, she tells of her life from her birth to her early life as a Nubian shaman and the subsequent prophetic visions that drove her to leave Nubia and become a great prophetic leader in Giza where the people of Giza honored her  by carving her face onto a rocky outcropping on the Giza plateau. You can access the story  at any time by clicking on this link: RIVER MOTHER: The Face of the Sphinx 

My aim in creating this story is to give you a feeling for the artistic, spiritual, and highly psychic nature of preliterate cultures in general and in particular of the Proto-Egyptian preliterate culture that I contend gave birth to the Sphinx c. 6000 B.C.. 

This is something I could never do in a site like this one which is so much concerned with marshaling facts, concepts, dates and the like. What the RIVER MOTHER story represents is what is missing in all archeological and anthropological thought about preliterate cultures, because the scientific method has no way of approaching a mindset so different  from its own. What we are always left with is the dry residue of the logos approach.

Carlos Castaneda, an anthropologist with an itch, recognized this deficiency while he was writing a study of the shamanic Yaqui tradition in northern Mexico and shifted halfway through his project to write a simple story of his actual experiences with such a shaman. 

The final book, called A Different Reality, consisted of a standard academic anthropological analysis accompanied by a simple, yet masterful recounting of his personal experiences. The difference is one of night and day. It was the first book that allowed us to really feel what living in such a tradition was like. It made the Yaqui muthos consciousness real for logos consciousness readers. I hope that my RIVER MOTHER story does somewhat the same thing, i.e., make the preliterate Proto-Egyptian consciousness c.6000 B.C. real for logos consciousness readers. The story can be read by itself or in conjunction with this site and vice versa.

The Five Factors Supporting My Proposal That the Face of the Sphinx Was Carved in 6000 B.C.

As I continue,   you'll find me repeating myself on many of these matters but also going deeper and deeper into them. It's a way I have of looking at things. It's a kind of serpentine motion, like  a snake coiling and uncoiling as it slithers across the ground.  It's  also a very natural, organic way of investigating things. It's the way artistic, intuitive minds actually work, and it should help you to more easily understand some of the new and often difficult matters I'm going to be presenting. So don't be uptight about the motion, just go with the flow. 

Let's start with the above equation first, and in particular the last terms of the above equation:

"Veiled" face = Giza Sphinx /River Mother Carved Face


 My suggestion that the face of the Giza Sphinx is that of a Black African female stands on its own merits. If the face itself doesn't convince you that it is Black African, nor the impressive list of others who agree with me that I presented earlier, nor  my photographic overlay arguments,  you should at least admit it is a probability that isn't trivial.  

As far as it being a female face, you've seen my arguments, the critical one being that the further back in time it was carved, the higher the probability it was that the face portrays a female.  You should also consider using your own eyes. There is an "openness" to the Sphinx's face that says female, and by its sheer size: Goddess. 

It is not a "closed" face of "power" that says male, which is one of the things you can see if you compare it to  the 2700 B.C. sculpted face of Djoser (L), which is anything but open. My related argument that the Sphinx face carving is so crude that it couldn't possible have been done in 2500 B.C. stands on its own merits. If you need more proof, an eyeball comparison of the Sphinx's face to Djoser's face clearly shows that 200 years before the establishment date of the  carving of the Sphinx (2500 B.C.),  good realistic face sculpture was being done.

I will  now offer additional visible proof of the Sphinx being carved earlier than 3000 B.C. by comparing it  to art done in that period. The Egyptian vase to the left is c. 3500 B.C. It shows good artistic design and proportion, and my contention that the preliterate Egyptians understood proportion is key to my theory. 

The vase is one of a handful of surviving pieces. In Part Three, I present a great amount of supporting detail on these surviving pieces. Unfortunately, for periods earlier than 3500 B.C., there is little I can show except what other preliterate peoples have done with monumental sculptures and structures and project backwards from there. 

As I have discussed earlier, the problem of going back in time is always present in regard to investigating preliterate monumental  sculptures and structures: they have no precedents, nor most times even any evidence of a significant preceding artistic tradition. My principal grounds for proposing that the Sphinx face bas relief carving was done in 6000 B.C. are the following  five factors:

1. The  preliterate  characteristics  of the Sphinx face.

2. The indications it is a black female face and therefore most probably from the preliterate Nubian Mother Goddess culture.

3. The female/cheetah proportional similarities of the Sphinx face, again indicating it is from the preliterate Nubian Mother Goddess culture. 

4. The rain wear/weathering indications of geologist Robert  Shoch indicating the Sphinx face  was carved somewhere between 9000 and 5000 B.C.

5. The great tsunami flood of the Nile delta c.6000 B.C. 

Again, many of these factors except 5 could also apply to a possible 4000 B.C., or 5000 B.C. or 4500 B.C. carving, but 6000 B.C. is more probable because of factor 4 and 5.

 Author's Note

Let me also say this about about all other Sphinx theories, both traditional and alternative: there is no solid proof that the Sphinx face is not a black African female (only opinion, and opinion not backed by artistic considerations  of any kind, as mine is).

 End Author's Note

The Meaning of a "Veiled" Face in Preliterate Proto-Egypt


The "Veiled face" is a conjecture meant to answer the question: if the face of a great God-like leader was carved on a rocky outcropping of the Giza plateauin Giza in c. 6000 B.C., what would have caused it to be carved there ? After all, everything was available at that time. Here is my thinking:

A weathered, naturally occurring  face (such as the suggested face to the left) if it were held to be divine, might suggest a possible place to carve if the person to be honored was spiritually connected to the divine, weathered face.  

On the Giza plateau, it seems evident that there was a naturally occurring rocky outcropping or mound, sometimes called a yardang,  that projected upwards from the plateau itself. Such an exposed rock would be subject to weathering, indeed it may have been also shaped by being underwater for millennia prior to the ocean withdrawing.  If such a  "weathered" face existed, I see it as being so vague as to suggest a "veiled" face (a face with a caul) that had been waiting to be unveiled for millennia. 

Thus, if the person's face to be carved was deemed a spiritual extension or "unveiling" of the face, it would most probably have taken place as I have described it.  It would  also be one of the reasons why only the face was carved initially. 

Before I go any further, let me remind you of some facts I brought up earlier. The first is that the people of that Proto-Egyptian hunter/ gatherer culture in the Nile delta were a mixture of Semitic tribes from the Levant to the north, and Black Nubian tribes from the south.

There is considerable reason to believe that after the cessation of the "wild" Nile (10,000 thru 7000 B.C.), the Nile River (and its banks) allowed easy travel and trade by land and water between Nubia and The Nile delta. Similarly, it also allowed Semitic tribes from the Levant to migrate into the delta. The Proto-Egyptian culture  grew out of that intermixing.  

By 6000 B.C., that Proto-Egyptian hunter-gatherer culture was in the process of becoming a rudimentary agricultural culture and by 5000 B.C (if we can trust the very slippery  Book of Kings) it had become very early, Pre-Dynastic Egypt. That early period is sometimes called The Legendary Period (5400 B.C. thru 3200 B.C.). It was still preliterate but now ruled by Pharaohs (Kings).  It was to become the foundation for the literate, Egyptian Dynastic culture that began to form c.3200 B.C.  with which we are all familiar.

  Author's Note

We might compare The Legendary Period in Egypt to preliterate   Mycenaean Greece (c.1600 to 1100 B.C.) which set the foundation for literate Greece coming into being. (799  B.C. onwards.) 

The Trojan war took place around 1200 B.C, and was immortalized in Homer's great oral epic poem, The Iliad, which, according to Herodotus is generally seen as being orally composed sometime around 850 B.C. The Greek alphabet was introduced sometime around 750 B.C.

I should note, however, that although  Mycenaean Greece is considered a preliterate warrior/king culture, we now know  they  had an elementary form of writing  (Linear B) that was used only for trading and transaction recording purposes. This is a good example of a preliterate culture on the edge of literacy.

 End Author's Note

 Preliterate Nubian /Proto-Egyptian
Psychic / Spiritual Practices

Most times, I've considered the Proto-Egyptian culture of 6000 B.C. and earlier to include influences from the hunter-gatherer culture in the Upper Nubia, but when I wanted to emphasize its black African roots, I've termed it African/Proto-Egyptian or Nubian/Proto-Egyptian. 

In 6000 B.C., neither Egypt nor Nubia was the desert it is today. It alternated betwen heavy rainy periods with lush vegetation and periods of complete desertification. During the rainy periods, the Nile delta and the land bordering the Nile river up to and including Upper Nubia (1st thru 3rd cataracts) was lush and fertile.  

Preliterate peoples don't have the barriers we have in spiritual matters. They easily accepted the divinities of other cultures if they found them spiritually attractive. It was no big deal. It just happened.  

This mixing and adoption is what I believe happened in our Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture c. 6500 thru 3200 B.C.. Not only did the Semitic and Nubian races mix but their social and  spiritual practices mixed as well. I am going to suggest that it was the gradual adoption of the Nubian spiritual practices by this mixed Proto-Egyptian culture  that ultimately laid the groundwork for:

1) The appearance in 6000 B.C. of a prophet/leader like River Mother

 as well as

 2) The possibility that the inhabitants of the Nie delta  would recognize her as God-like under the correct circumstances.

If you need a counterpart for this, there is none better than the situation of Jesus. The prophetic work of his predecessors laid the groundwork for his acceptance as messiah.
I'm going to lay some more groundwork for this being the case for our River Mother, and there's no better way to start than by taking another look at our ever-increasing equation:

First Mother = Mother Goddess = Mut = Nut = Ma'at= Mafdet  = Nut = Nubia = Cat/Cheetah = Spiritual/Psychic Practices =  Soul Obsession = Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother 
The equal sign here should really be read that one term implies the next term (either forward or backward.)
To give you an idea of the River Mother's background, let me take just the beginning of our equation:  First Mother = Mother Goddess = Mut = Nut = Ma'at= Mafdet 
My intent here is to make clear the ancient connection between the Mother Goddesses of preliterate Nubia and  the Mother Goddesses of our proposed Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture (6500 thru 3200 B.C.). I'll have to work backwards from literate Dynastic Egypt to do some of this.

No one knows what the names of these Goddesses were in preliterate Nubia c.6000 B.C. The names may have "sounded like" what they eventually "sounded like" in literate Egypt, which is usually the case, but no one really knows. 

Therefore I am going to refer to them by their known literate names. There is no doubt in my mind that ancient preliterate Nubia was the source of the primal Goddesses that came to exist in the preliterate Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture of 6000 B.C., as well as in preliterate, pre-Dynastic Egypt (4500 thru 3200 B.C.) and  also  in  literate Dynastic Egypt (3200 thru 30 B.C.).

European Mother Goddess
Riane Eisler tells us that all preliterate cultures were in the Mother Goddess stage. Most archeological evidence points that way, but it simply makes sense that the preliterate Mother Goddess cultures would be especially strong in Africa, which we now know was the origin of the human race. This would mean, of course, that the First Mother was black African. 

This leads me to suggest that  the Semitic Mother Goddess cultures from the Levant eventually adopted the more powerful Nubian spirituality.

By "more powerful" I simply mean that both the Nubian shamans and the psychic practices they used to access the various Goddesses were recognized as superior. They were able to access deeper regions of the Other World (or in Jungian terms, the collective unconscious). 

If you have a hard time understanding this, you only have to think how  African music absorbed the  waltzes, madrigals, hymns, folk songs, etc, that were brought here by English settlers. This absorption resulted in the Blues, Jazz, Bebop, Swing, Rhythm and Blues, Funk, and Rap that dominate our musical landscape. If you think this is too facile a comparison, you're wrong.  

Out of this African/Proto-Egyptian Mother Goddess culture also came a long line of Nubian Female Shamans. This includes not only the shaman I've been calling River Mother, but a long line of Nubian female shamans who preceded her in this migration of Nubian spiritual practices.

The photo to the left shows a nineteenth century Nubian female shaman, but if you exchanged the cotton robe and veil for animal hides, the resemblance would be similar except the robe around the body would be probably be only a loin cloth or skirt. The Nubian shamans c.6000 theu 3200 B.C. were generally female rather than male because females in  Mother Goddess cultures were more likely to have performed that function.

 Author's Note

Females continued to perform a prophetic/psychic function in many cultures (e.g. Greece) long after they had become male-God dominated, literate cultures, as we see with the Oracle of Delphi.

 End Author's Note


I see River Mother as being in that same female shaman tradition, but, again,  I also see her being superior to her predecessors in the same way Jesus was superior to the prophets who preceded him. Although she was most probably not alone in psychically acquiring different aspects of the Mother Goddesses, my sense is that she acquired those aspects more completely. This is what I  mean by: 

Mut =  Ma'at= Mafdet  = Nut = Nubia = Cat/Cheetah = Spiritual/Psychic Practices =  Soul Obsession = Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother


I would liken this psychic acquisition to Jesus' assertion that he was the Son of Man, which is a biblical term for the son of God. What Jesus was asserting (in Jungian terms) was that his own psyche, or soul, had psychically acquired some aspects of God. "Acquire" is perhaps not descriptive enough of what took place. Let me clarify this by saying that River Mother (and Jesus) were born with these psychic aspects in a limited way and used their psychic journeys to further enlarge them, i.e.,  to become psychically "inhabited"  by certain aspects of the various Gods (or collective unconscious if you will).

What is also acquired in these psychic journeys is  the experience of an order beyond the world of time and space we live in. Sometimes that acquisition is called the knowledge of a superior reality, a knowing. 

It was this knowing that was instinctively recognized by others, and made them follow Jesus and Buddha. And, I suggest, our River Mother. I should add that these type of psychic journeys can be very dangerous if the person undergoing them is not prepared for what he will encounter.

I don't think this acquisition was unique to River Mother as a shaman, but if we want to explain why she became the face of the Sphinx and the shamans who preceded her didn't, I am going to suggest (among other things) that she was psychically more developed than her predecessors. 

Yet we also have to see her becoming the face of the Sphinx as being due to the fact she was a strong natural leader. Someone that others would instinctively follow. That is not a common mix for shamans. Moses, for example, was extremely developed psychically, but needed Aaron to help him lead. Joan of Arc on the other hand, combined both qualities, but was not as psychically developed as Moses.

To psychically acquire aspects of the Mother Goddesses would not have been a matter of conscious acquisition. It's not done that way.  It would have been a matter of a "hunger" in the shaman's soul that could only be satisfied by psychically opening oneself to that Goddess (or psychic archetype in Jungian terms). 

It would have been the psychic equivalent to me wanting to consciously acquire the speech mannerisms of someone I admired. This would be done by my mimicking them. The mimicking itself, however, is not really a conscious activity. It's instinctive. If your "hunger" is great enough, it will simply happen of its own accord.

My acquisition of speech mannerisms, of course, is a relatively harmless one compared to  acquiring aspects of a psychic archetype, as this is done by a conscious journeying into the unconscious, or Other World, as preliterate peoples called it. In other words, you enter the realm of the unconscious as in a dream, but you are conscious, not dreaming. Because you are conscious, it is a  journey that can be filled with dangers, including insanity and death. It is not for the weak of heart, especially when dealing with powerful psychic archetypes.

In the case of the River Mother, she would turn her psychic "hunger" towards say, Mut. Mut still exists as a psychic archetype of The Mother in all of us, as she is a part of our human collective unconscious, but in River Mother in 6000 B.C. the Mut archetype would be especially present and powerful, being of both sexes and the creator of everything in the heavens and earth. You might call her the prime "face" of the Mother Goddess for Nubians. She would be somewhat the equivalent of God in Genesis.

Such a psychic encounter, in which the psychic traveler would not have the normal protection of the fully conscious mind (as we do when we are conscious in the everyday world), can be so overpowering as to result in insanity or death.  One of the founders of the Hebrew Kabbalah, which was focused on mystically experiencing God, tells of this happening to some initiates who were not properly prepared for the experience. Think of a really bad screaming nightmare multiplied by a factor of thousands. Your heart would stop if you were not properly prepared.

The prize, however, for those who were properly prepared, however, was the psychic acquisition of some aspects of that God/Goddess.  If that puzzles you I suggest you read up on the phenomena of Jesus' transfiguration. This psychic event, in which Jesus appeared clothed in light with Moses and Elijah, was witnessed by the Apostles and is reported in the Gospels. This phenomena however is not limited to Christ. The light that shone from Moses face ( usually shown as "horns" of light) after receiving the Ten Commandments from God is another example.

There are occurrences of it throughout history, usually takin the form of the transfigured person experiencing a reality of beauty and truth that is beyond the world of time and space. This is essentially what Buddha speaks of as Nirvana. I believe it was this kind of psychic breadth and strength as well as her strong qualities as a leader that made River Mother different from her predecessors. Like Jesus she would have been seen as God-like. And like Jesus, that quality would have attracted followers.

Let me list the Goddess-like psychic aspects I see her acquiring before and after she left Nubia for Giza. From Mut (L)  she would have acquired a sense of herself as the Primal Mother. The one who not only gave birth to life but who conceived life itself.  In River Mother's case however, what she acquired was a psychic sense of being an originator: of being capable of creating a new spiritual path, a new spiritual life. Jesus had somewhat the same sense of himself.  

From Nut (above, R) she would have acquired a sense of being the protector of all human life. This would be important to her as a leader. Jesus had somewhat the same sense of himself. Think of his portraying himself as the Good Shepherd.

From Ma'at (R.) she would acquired a sense of herself as a purveyor of Truth and Balance. Truth and Balance  were the  two essential spiritual values of the Nubian/ Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture of 6000 B.C..  Without their active presence, the tribes instinctively sensed they would be helpless against the Serpents of Disorder and the  Chaos they would bring. Again, Jesus had somewhat the same sense of himself and indicates it by  saying: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

From Mafdet  (L) she acquired a sense of herself as a protector (and enforcer) of Balance and Truth.   Again, Jesus had somewhat the same sense of himself. You can see it  in his banishing of the money changers from the Temple. 

But there is something much larger that I see River Mother acquiring from Mafdet. An animal/human Goddess like Mafdet is a very early Goddess, and very powerful, in that she combines both human and animal knowing and capabilities.

That is a very potent psychic combination, especially for someone like River Mother who was both leader and shaman, i.e.,  someone who had to perform successfully both in this world and the Other World.  For a shaman and leader like River Mother, I see the savage yet principled Mafdet to have been the Mother Goddess closest to River Mother's sense of who she was and who she would become.  
If we think of Mafdet in modern Jungian terms as a powerful psychic archetype capable of enlarging River Mother's sense of herself as both leader and shaman, it is easy to see why River Mother would have been attracted to the savage yet principled Mafdet as her ally and Patron or Protector. 

Let us  think of their relationship for a moment as River Mother would most likely have thought it: a relationship in which she and Mafdet were mutually and intensely attracted to each other. Then we can begin to see that the term  Lovers would not be far off the mark in describing the emotional texture of such a relationship. 

Odysseus and Athena
If you need some help in seeing what I'm talking about, think of the always wise and conniving   Goddess Athena and her constant assistance of the wily Odysseus (L) in his long journey homeward.   Odysseus was constantly testing people and situations to determine  how he should proceed. Athena, who was also a manipulator, but being a Goddess, was  able to see more clearly though events and people. Athena  was constantly at his side, assisting him to make sure he succeeded.  They had a natural attraction to each other, again almost like lovers. Athena's own words in the Odyssey say it best:

"Two of a kind, we are, contrivers, both. Of all the men alive you are the best in plots and story telling. My own fame is for wisdom among the gods - deceptions too.... I that am always with you in times of trial, a shield to you in battle" (Odyssey 240)

Of all the Goddesses, it is clear to me Mafdet would have been the largest influence in  River Mother's psychic growth. because Mafdet's nature fit most closely  River Mother nature (and needs) as a leader and shaman.

It is unclear to me if  Isis (L) developed out of River Mother, or if River Mother became a part of an early version of Isis, as Isis doesn't have the primal characteristics of the other early African Mother Goddesses, i.e., those whose names begin with "M", the Mother sound. 

At any rate, it is likely that a shaman such as River Mother would be married and have children and would therefore also have a sense of herself not only as mother but also as  wife (and possibly sister),  which can be taken many ways, perhaps even as an ambivalence towards a conventional marriage, which would be somewhat natural for such a powerful woman.

Isis with baby Pharaoh
One example of that kind of ambivalence and power can be seen in what Isis did  after she put Osiris back together after his brother Seth had chopped him to pieces. The only part missing was his penis, which Isis fashioned out of the Nile mud and then brought Osiris back to life by copulating with his reconstructed body, the issue of that mating being Horus. Osiris then disappears into the underworld to reign over the ream of the dead and the reign of Horus begins. 

The wise onlooker would also note that although Horus (a male God) is depicted as rising to power, it is Isis who makes it possible and it is Isis who remains by his side. Again, this is  an indication of the surviving influence of the Mother Goddess. As such, Isis is often depicted as sitting on the throne holding the baby Pharaoh to whom she has symbolically given birth. So I also see River Mother, like the later Isis, having  a sense of herself as Throne Mother, i.e., the empowering Mother Goddess from whom all authority issues.

 Author's Note

Isis seems a later  Goddess who is more attached to the Dynastic  aspects of Egypt  than the Proto-Egyptian culture in that she is the wife (and sister) of  Osiris and the mother of Horus, one of whose roles was to  reincarnate himself as the future Pharaoh. 

I sometimes think of Isis as a Mother Goddess bridge between Pre-Dynastic and Dynastic Egypt. Finally, I should add that Isis is a particularly complex Goddess whose following spread into the Greco/Roman world. She is also seen as the precursor of Mary, mother of Jesus.

We also have to consider the possibility that Isis may also have grown out of Ishtar or  Inanna, who were powerful Mother Goddesses brought into the Nile Delta by immigrants from the Levant. 

End Author's Note

pyramid texts
Before I continue discussing the nature of the psychic/ spiritual practices of Nubian Proto-Egypt, I want to step aside for a bit and say that, according to Robert Bauval, there is considerable opinion among eminent Egyptologists that the Pyramid Texts originated in the preliterate Proto-Egyptian period, despite the fact that they were discovered in a pyramid belonging to the literate Dynastic period. 

Specifically,  the Pyramid Texts were discovered uncorrupted on the walls of pyramids of the 4th and 5th Dynasties and by general consensus constitute the oldest body of literature about the religious and  funerary practices of Dynastic Egypt.

Robert Bauval
Here again, although there is considerable philological evidence of a very early origin, establishment archeologists keep backing away from giving a  time period for that origin, and are thus in the curious position again of not wanting to bell the cat, as they are with so many aspects of Egypt that clearly have a preliterate origin. 

Bauval likens it to scholars saying that Christianity originated in the 4th century A.D. (when the gospels were published) when it is abundantly clear that Christianity flourished in the preceding centuries. And that Christianity, I might add, had very long Hebraic and Pre-hebraic roots.

At any rate, it is clear to me that the Pyramid Texts  had very early Nubian origins as oral story poems  and existed for millennia in much the same way as the oral story poems of the preliterate Hebraic tribes existed for millennia before they were eventually selected and edited and transcribed into the Torah (Book of Moses). 

I believe that the origin of the Pyramid Texts went way back to the shamanic practices of the African /Nubian hunter-gatherer tribes of 6000 B.C. and earlier. They surely didn't come from the Semitic immigrants from the Levant, who had absolutely no interest in the afterlife. With all that said, let's take a look at another part of our equation:

Cat/Cheetah =   Soul Obsession = Spiritual/Psychic Practices= Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother

I'd like to say something about the three last terms of the equation first: Spiritual/Psychic Practices =   Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother
The combined term "Spiritual/Psychic Practices" is my way of emphasizing the psychic nature of Proto-Egyptian spirituality, a spirituality that was inextricably entwined with Nubian shamanic  practices.
The psychic nature of Proto-Egyptian spirituality is at the heart of the Mother Goddess culture of 6000 B.C. 

Unless you accept that, you're missing what preliterate and literate Egypt were all about, and for that matter, what this site is all about and why someone like our proposed River Mother could have come to play such a critical role in Giza and Nile delta.  

If this is hard for you to understand, think of Joan of Arc and her voices, and how she held the armies of France in the palm of her hand. This is the kind of power I see River Mother  having. It was the key to her leadership.  
OK, that's enough for now. Hopefully what I have said has given you a better grasp  of the kind of spiritual leader I see River Mother as being.  Right now, I'm going to something unusual here by shifting gears so fast you may wonder why you signed on in the first place. Poets are prone to these kinds of shifts, however, so relax and enjoy the ride.  

First, let's take another look at our ever-changing equation:

First Mother = Mother Goddess = Mut =  Ma'at= Mafdet Nut = Nubia = Spiritual/Psychic Practices  = Soul Obsession= Cat/Cheetah = Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother  = "Veiled" face = Giza Sphinx/River Mother  Carved Face 
The equal sign here should really be read that one term implies the next term (either forward or backward.)

I told you earlier  that the above equation pretty much summed up our Part One  journey through  the preliterate Nubian culture c.6000 B.C. and the Proto-Egyptian culture that occupied the Nile delta. Hopefully that journey gave you a good feel for the characteristics of preliterate cultures and in particular the Proto-Egyptian culture.  I have found, however,  that getting a real grasp of what it felt like to be a preliterate human is very difficult for most people because our  values and interests and  most especially the way our minds perceive the world are so different. 

What I have done, therefore, beside writing RIVER MOTHER: The Face of the Sphinx, is create a special section of excerpts from some of my other writings and some of those of Psychic/Scholar Alice Hickey that will hopefully help you understand what it felt like to be a preliterate human.  My thoughts, then,  about Preliterate Proto-Egypt should make much more sense.

Most of the excerpts from my writings are  from my book  Alice Hickey: Between Worldas well as its On-line Appendix, which is a journal of my detailed thoughts about literate and preliterate consciousness that I used in writing Alice Hickey: Between Worlds  . 

The remainder of the excerpts are from the writings of Psychic/Scholar Alice Hickey. My own writings are distinguished by my somewhat unique  sense of what preliterate cultures were like. This grew out of an affinity I acquired for the preliterate artistic process. That affinity  is not an intellectual one, but  quite visceral, having developed from my discovery some years ago how to spontaneously compose oral poems in the manner of preliterate poets.

This is essentially a form of channeling in which the conscious mind surrenders completely to the Muse, or creative unconscious, just as preliterate poets did. There is no preconception, no thinking, no conscious effort involved. I call this contemporary version of preliterate oral poetry, SOULSPEAK. You can see some visual versions I call Dreamstories  on Video SOULSPEAK.  You can hear some examples of this on SOUNDCLICK under the name, The Many Voices of SOULSPEAK

As unlikely as it may seem to some (and I include in this most contemporary poets) is the fact that once you surrender completely to the Muse,  an oral  narrative poem will form on your  lips all by itself. This is a modern equivalent of what  Homer means when he says, “Sing Muse and through me tell the story …” 

What I have learned from this process is especially relevant because preliterate humans were essentially artistic (imitative) in nature, and all of their art (song, masks, oral poetry, dance, drawing, sculpting) was created from the unconscious, or as they would say, from visions and voices from the Other World. Artists like myself are pretty much create our art in the same way. The only difference is that preliterate peoples were better at it.

                                                     Author's Note

Because the writings below have been excerpted from their original context, I have clarified each excerpt where necessary with red italicized insertions.  

I should also add that the form of many of  these excerpts is that of a story. These stories vary in their artistic depth, but they will hopefully give you something of a muthos view of the various things I have been describing in this blog in a logos way.

I realize that many interested in alternative views are extremely logos-minded and want only meat and potato facts, so that the muthos idea of learning a truth from a story may not be that atractive.

My suggestion is to give it a try. Stop thinking and approach these stories much as would have as a child.  You'd be surprised about the subtlety of such an approach. You'll also get a gut feeling for what muthos conscioiusness was really like for preliterate people.

End Author's Note


The excerpt below (Excerpt 19. Conscious And Unconscious) is from my Appendix to ALICE HICKEY. It discusses the relationship of our conscious and unconscious minds. In essence, this relationship has not changed since we first appeared on the earth as Homo sapiens some 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. I believe, however, that there is a difference in their relative strengths. 

Although scientists agree that early humans were just as intelligent as we are, I believe their unconscious minds  were much stronger than their conscious minds and were constantly breaking through into consciousness with voices and visions. 

For us, today, exactly the opposite is true. Our waking conscious minds exert such a powerful control  over the way we see the world that many of us have no idea that our  unconscious minds exist as a much different, but equally intelligent part of us. Jung was the first to show us this in a scientific way.

This modern disbelief in the existence and power of the unconscious mind is one of the obstacles preventing our understanding early humans correctly, and especially,  the preliterate Nubian culture c. 6000 B.C. and the Proto-Egyptian culture that occupied the Nile delta c. 6000 B.C..

 Excerpt 19. Conscious And Unconscious
(From the   On-line Appendix to Alice Hickey: Between Worlds)

All of our conscious thoughts and words and pictures mean nothing to the unconscious—only the feelings those words and pictures produce in us. Feelings are the lingua franca between our conscious and unconscious minds. In our everyday life, the unconscious is constantly speaking to us through feelings. 

Those feelings can be powerful, or precise, or weak and everything in between. But they are always visiting us. It could be as a feeling to be fair. Or to kill. Or to love. Or all three at once. Our unconscious feelings rise and fall in their ability to direct our conscious decisions. Yet we are always under their influence.

My own sense of the relationship of the conscious to the unconscious mind is of the surface of a lake to all that is below it. All we see is the glittery, ever-changing surface, but those surfaces are always being influenced by

something more powerful beneath the surface. Something we never see.

When we have a transcendent experience, what is really happening is that we (our conscious minds) are witnessing some part of the unknowable (our unconscious minds) that we, in turn, make into something (a poem, a vision, a prophecy) that mirrors the feeling of that transcendent experience.

Here is a dual way of looking at that event: a Visitor from the Other World (or an archetype from the unconscious) manifests itself as a feeling that transcends time and place and the storyteller (the instinctive narrative  intelligence within us) responds by creating something (a story or vision) in time and space that mirrors that feeling but  also adds ours ( i.e., the feeling of being human) to it, which is a special feeling,  a feeling made glittery with time. (This is covered in detail elsewhere in the Appendix, but suffice it to say that the unconscious is always hungry for the feeling of time, something lacking in its world.)

The important thing to realize is that the lingua franca between the two realms is feeling, not the story or vision or whatever. The story or vision is merely the trace in the atomic cloud chamber.

That is the way the universe wants to flow: from the world of feeling to the world of time to the world of feeling. The Gods speak and we respond. But that is no longer important to us. We are no longer interested in following the way of the soul, of participating in its dance. We want our freedom. But we have paid a large price for it. We have disconnected ourselves from our souls (our unconscious). Or so we think. Despite our current turning away from participating with the soul as a gateway to the Other World, the soul continues on its own stubborn, magnificent journey.

We can attempt to avoid the transcendent moments that occur when we commune with the soul, and we may be successful. It is becoming relatively easy today. We ignore true prayer, true poetry, true art, any true communion with the soul. We have learned to stop feeling who we truly are. But we can be surprised. Ask anybody whose been abducted by aliens.

We may succeed in escaping direct contact with the soul, but it never stops knocking on our door. The soul feeds us every moment of our waking lives through feelings that press against the wall of consciousness like silent whispers. When we meet the soul half way and honor it by surrendering to it and responding, thereby completing the cycle of feeling, a harmony is established between self and soul. That is why we should be doing it: it roots us in our deepest humanity. 


The excerpt below from my Appendix to ALICE HICKEY (Excerpt 20. Cultural Knowing) may be helpful in helping you understand why our knowledge of the Egyptians (both Preliterate and Literate) is  often mistaken and sometimes dead wrong. 

This is partially due to the fact that so little evidence of what the Egyptians were up to has survived from those times. The major obstacle to our understanding, however, lies in the fact that the interests of those cultures (both conscious and unconscious) are incredibly different from our own. Yet our theorists are constantly  trying to interpret ancient Egypt  from our modern scientific world view. This is a huge mistake and the cause of much of our confusion about ancient Egypt.

 Excerpt 20. Cultural Knowing

(From the   On-line Appendix to Alice Hickey: Between Worlds)

Our solid memories are anything but that: they are changing right under our feet and we never know it. But what does that say about our stories back to the beginning of time? We are standing on quicksand is what it says. Not only our personal stories, but our cultural stories as well. And the invention of writing, or any type of permanent recording, as helpful as it is in giving some kind of stability to our collective memories, hardly solves the problem.

Think of the fragments of Greek classics that survived into the Middle Ages so that they could be rediscovered, translated, studied. What didn’t survive, however, was the living culture, the individual and cultural interest that created those works. So we have the words of Homer and Aristotle, but in many cases we don’t really understand what they were saying. Aristotle’s interest is missing. The Greek culture’s interest is missing. To really understand the classics, we have to slip into those interests as though they were our own. It is impossible. We create a story; but it is always tainted by our own interests—interests we can never slip out of anymore that we can slip into those of Homer.

Still, we are brave. We do the best we can. We argue about the stories we have created concerning Homer’s two great poems. Some arguments are recognized as superior to others and become a part of our knowing. But fifty years later, our cultural interests may judge those same arguments to be meaningless. It goes on and on. It doesn’t matter that Homer is on the page, and tells the same story over and over. Our changing interest changes how we understand Homer. We have somehow convinced ourselves that our understanding of many ancient cultures is quite solid, but it is more like Swiss cheese.

For example, if it weren’t for the fact that that we have many things in common with the ancient Greeks (an interest in democracy, a love of athletics, an intense curiosity), we really would be standing on quicksand

trying to understand them. If anyone has any doubt about this, Auden has a wonderful essay on how truly different ancient Greek thought and culture was from ours.

One example of a particular piece of quicksand we are standing on would be our currently accepted understanding of the ancient Egyptians. It’s a very small part of our knowing, so the fact it may be completely wrong doesn’t endanger us that much. My own intuitive sense of the Egyptians is that they were a soul-driven culture with which we have almost nothing in common. They were a puzzle even to the Greeks of their time who were consumed by reason and the polis. The Egyptians may as well as come from Mars.

All this is way of suggesting that sooner or later, we have to walk away from the illusion of sureness and safety that our communal knowing gives us.


The following excerpt from The Appendix to ALICE HICKEY (Excerpt 40. Muthos and Logos) should be helpful in enlarging your understanding of the concepts of Muthos and Logos as forms of consciousness.

Excerpt 40. Muthos and Logos

(From the   On-line Appendix to Alice Hickey: Between Worlds)


We have advanced enough in our current thinking to understand that all myths were initially oral story-poems based on real events, and that some of them . . . eventually took on an imaginative life of their own and became the spiritual lifeblood of those cultures.

If we look at the early Greek word for the concept of knowledge, or truth, we find it is muthos, which means story, indicating that the great story-poems of those cultures were seen as the source of knowing. Later, as the Greeks became literate, the concept of knowledge was seen as being imbedded in the word logos, which meant word or language, and specifically the written word and the institutions of Reason that grew up around it, which explains why our word logic is derived from logos.

In that critical evolution of the term for knowing from muthos to logos, we can easily detect the great change in consciousness that was taking place.

I think that it’s clear from this evolution of the word for knowledge that in very early myths we are looking at non-rational sources, the unconscious if you will, because that is how such stories were formed. Early humans would explain their myths by saying that the Gods, the Muse, spoke to them, but today we also know that those poems—which is what those myths are—were also triggered by something in the physical world. That is not only true for the myths about Moses and Abraham and Achilles, who were real people, but also the myths about specific animals and, of course, the myths about the First Mother.

In other words we know that the myths were not acts of pure imagination, formed out of nothing. We know that because we know poetry always has one foot in this world and one foot in mystery. Just as there was an Achilles, there was also a First Mother—and the story poems celebrating her became the Mother Goddess myths we have today.


One of the most puzzling aspects of the social evolution of the human race is the world wide replacement of relatively benign, cooperative, Mother Goddess cultures with male-God cultures of domination and empire around the time writing was invented and more formal agricultural communities came into being.

Lest you get the idea that these Mother Goddess cultures smacked of Betty Crocker in long white gowns, you need to be updated. They were indeed cooperative, but had their savage side  as recent studies have shown. The difference was that the savagery was local (between neighboring tribes) and quickly over. There were no long wars of Empire that went on endlessly  in the later male God cultures.

For a good look at the Mother Goddess, here is an excerpted portrait taken from Alice Hickey: Between Worlds (Chapter 46, I Visit Graves.)

Excerpt from Alice Hickey: Between Worlds (Chapter 46, I Visit Graves.)


One thing that might indicate the intensity of the Mother Goddess within early, preliterate cultures as compared to, say, the Mother Gods within our own culture (like the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God), would be the fact that the Mother we’re talking about is both a Mother from Heaven, and a Mother from Hell and everything in between.

Besides being the Mother who is the Source of all Life, this is also the Mother with a Thousand Arms and a Thousand Weapons.

The Greeks have supplied us with a highly detailed, albeit indirect picture of how much the Mother Goddess was feared in their many references to women being the irrational, passion-driven enemies of reason, which the newly literate, super-logical Greeks saw as the very essence of the soul. It seems that for all their advances, the Greeks lived in a very real fear that their new literate, logical consciousness might collapse under the potential fury of the remnants of their preliterate Mother Goddess culture.

One illustration of this can be seen  in the various tales of Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great, and how her serpent-driven Dionysian practices drove both Alexander and Philip—two men who weren’t afraid of anything—straight up the wall. Olympias, a Greek princess from the Northern barbaric kingdom of Epirus who traced her semi-divine lineage back to Hercules, and who is sometimes pictured as being red-haired and of Celtic heritage, is an historic figure who is a pretty fair embodiment of the Mother Goddess. She was proud, beautiful, sexy, ruthless, mothering, controlling, murderous, loving, envious, life-giving, you name it. You didn’t mess with Olympias.

Here is Graves’ own description of the Mother Goddess:

‘ . . As Goddess of the Underworld she was concerned with Birth, Procreation, and Death. As Goddess of the Earth she was concerned with the three seasons of Spring, Summer, and Winter: She animated trees and plants and ruled all living creatures. As Goddess of the Sky she was the Moon, in her three phases of New Moon, Full Moon, and Waning Moon . . . But it must never be forgotten that the Triple Goddess . . . was a personification of primitive woman--woman the creatress and destructress. As the New Moon or Spring she was girl; as the Full Moon or Summer she was woman; as the Old Moon or Winter she was hag.’

I’m sure Graves would agree it didn’t stop there. All of the attributes of the Mother Goddess were a constant subject of praise, including her sexuality. Some research I did into Celtic preliterate traditions turned up a Roman account of a Celtic chief fornicating in public once a year with a white mare, undoubtedly a living representation of the White Goddess.

Not exactly saying the rosary, is it? What’s more, unless the mare was very small, like a small Shetland pony, the chief must have had to stand on a box, or an altar of some kind in order to consummate the act. The disproportionate size of the participants is, again, a good indicator as to how dominant the Mother Goddess was.

If you still have some doubts as to how deeply engrained Mother Goddess worship was in preliterate cultures, I suggest you mull over the scene between the chief and the mare for a while. While you’re doing that, here’s something else to ponder: while he was fornicating with the mare, what was the chief thinking—or even more a propos our early consciousness—would the chief have been thinking at all?”


Those who would like to go  deeper into this, should read  Riane Eisler’s  The Chalice and the Blade, which Princeton Anthropologist Ashley Montagu called,” .. the most important book since the Origin of the Species." It focuses on this transition from a partnership society (Mother Goddess Cultures) to a male dominated society (Male Gods) that took place, according to Eisler, approximately 6,0000 years ago (4000 BC.).

She describes how preliterate cultures (hunter-gatherer and early agricultural) were by their nature sharing. Those sharing cultures, which lasted for tens of thousands of years, survived, though barely, into historical times (around 4,000 B.C.) and were characterized by a worship of the divine feminine (Mother Goddess), the Mother being represented by the Chalice. 

Around 4,000 B.C. (which is also about the time writing and formal agricultural communities first appeared) those cultures were replaced with the beginnings of the patriarchy in which we live today. (See Julian Jaynes for a related look at this change.) According to Eisler, the forces that overthrew the Mother Goddess cultures worshipped not life and creativity, but death and destruction; in short, the Blade. Click here for  Wikipedia on Eisler.

As you might expect from a poet, my own take on this transition runs more into the workings of the soul and and in particular the collective soul (or collective unconscious.) It is spelled out in the excerpt from my Appendix to ALICE HICKEY below (Excerpt 48. The Waning of the Female Spirit).

Excerpt 48. The Waning of the Female Spirit

(From the   On-line Appendix to Alice Hickey: Between Worlds)

It is evident from what Graves and others have discovered—that early humans saw the Female Spirit, the way of the mother, as the source of life. I would also suggest that early humans also viewed it as the source of a good life. After all, it was a spirit that always moved toward creating and protecting life. It recognized the wholeness of things. So why then did the change occur?

One metaphorical way of answering that question, but not the only one by any means, is to say that the women saw that the men weren’t keeping up, that they were falling behind.

This was not a conscious realization. What moved the women to act was intuitive. They sensed (unconsciously) that while the men might be good for reproduction and hunting and gossip and fighting, that wasn’t going to be good enough if human beings were to become more God-like. (I see this desire to become more God-like as an essential instinctual human desire with deep roots in our collective unconscious.Indeed, it may have had roots in our animal state and been the mysterious, blind impetus for us evolving into humans) 

The women also saw that the men were incapable of living in the intuitive way women did, that for the race to become more God-like, the men would have to have another way, something they could hold on to.

That’s when the female spirit began to surrender to the male spirit. It waned. When that happened, a change in consciousness began to occur, a change that allowed the men to catch up, but in their own way.

This is not to say that women capitulated to the wants of men. It has nothing to do with a conscious decision on the part of women to play a subservient role. We are not really talking here about men and women here anyway, but a re-balancing of the male and female spirits, the psychic energy that drives all Creation. (I see the Male and Female Spirit as something like the Yin and Yang of Chinese Philosophy.)

Like Eve’s seemingly intelligent, courageous choice that unfortunately led to the unintended consequence of her (and Adam’s) expulsion from Paradise, the women (of the Mother Goddess cultures) may have consciously perceived a move towards the male spirit as a positive move, as indeed it was. Whatever surrender occurred was on an instinctive, unconscious level. It is the unintended consequences of that surrender that we are suffering from some 4000 years later.


One of the things that makes the Dynastic Egyptian religion and spirituality unique is its male/ female, logos/muthos balance.

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia on Yin (female) and Yang (male). The balance between the two was essential to the ancient Chinese and may help you also understand why somewhat the same kind of male/female balance was so important to the Egyptians.

In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin-yang used to describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world; and, how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley. Yin (literally the 'shady place' or 'north slope') is the dark area occluded by the mountain's bulk, while yang (literally the 'sunny place' or 'south slope') is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed.

Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime.

Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.[9]

Yin and yang applies to the human body. In traditional Chinese medicine good health is directly related to the balance between yin and yang qualities within oneself.[10] If yin and yang become unbalanced, one of the qualities is considered deficient or has vacuity.

To have a more complete understanding of Yin and Yang, you should read the entire Wikipedia article:


The excerpt below is from Alice Hickey: Between Worlds (Chapter 35: Alice Hands Me a Notebook).  I have excerpted the entire chapter as way of giving you a good sense of  her approach and her thinking on several preliterate topics that will hopefully widen your understanding of preliterate cultures, as indeed it widened mine to the point that I adopted much of it.

Chapter 35: Alice Hands Me a Notebook

Alice had never said anything to me about our visit to Jane, so one day I asked her what she thought. I expected her to say something about Jane’s competitive, almost combative attitude, but she didn’t. That didn’t surprise me. She had a way of recognizing someone’s essence and then bearing in on it to the exclusion of almost everything else. The fact that someone might have a habit of picking his nose wouldn’t have bothered her in the least—something I can attest to from personal experience. She simply ignored the warts. I think that happened when she met Jane. She immediately recognized her as a rare intuitive.

It must have been what made her suddenly show up at the black Baptist church. I can only imagine those pale gray eyes peering out of a sea of singing black faces. It was clear she went there to meet Jane, but how she had ever figured out she was in a choir, let alone in that particular black church, was beyond me. Whatever it was that brought her there, it was clear she must have been extremely interested in what I had told her about Jane.

Alice told me the psychic world and physical world were almost one and the same for Jane, that they were barely separated. “That’s the way it used to be,” Alice said to me, “but most of us can’t experience the two worlds that way anymore. We’ve become too thinky, just like Jane says. I liked Jane’s story about the first man being a woman. I’m surprised you haven’t picked up on it more than you have.”

“Wait a minute! I’m the one who told you about it. Besides, I never really thought of it as a story. I always saw it as a kind of proclamation.”

“That doesn’t disqualify it,” she shot back, and then she suddenly switched gears and said, “Justin, I want you to take a look at one of my journals, something I wrote some time ago, way before we began to talk.”

She handed me a large, black and white marbled notebook, the kind I’d used in grade school. My mind suddenly flashed back to a glimpse I’d had of her living room. We were out driving one evening and she asked me to stop off at her house—for just a second she said—and I remember her quickly opening the front door and reaching in for something and then just as quickly closing it, but I also remember seeing books everywhere, stacked from floor to ceiling, and then, off to the side, a wall that contained hundreds, maybe thousands of black and white marbled notebooks. They seemed almost surreal, like a schoolboy’s dream. And now, suddenly, here was one of them, dated: Journal, December 2000 /January 2001.

When I got back to my car and began thumbing through it, the first thing I noticed was her handwriting. Elegant would be the word, but very precise—no extravagant flourishes. And then I noticed there were no corrections. No erasures. No cross-outs. No mistakes for the entire hundred pages or so. It made me pay attention. I paid even more attention when I realized how close much of our thinking was. It was almost as if we had been living on opposite sides of a mirror.

Here are some excerpts:

The First Man Was A Woman.

December 8, 2000

The first human was most probably a woman. Even from Darwin’s limited perspective it would make sense, because it best answers the question: which sex would be the most likely to best initially carry on the human gene: male or female? I’m not talking about the mating process, but the ensuing process of caring for the young. It is what occurs after mating that is crucial.

The first human being female would give the human gene a better chance of surviving. The female instinctively protects her young, teaches them. The male doesn’t. He walks away. It’s as simple as that. Sometimes the male even kills the young. Even in the Bible, which is a very late male-spirit shaping of earlier myths, there are tacit admissions of the first human being a female. Why the Bible still contains those admissions is a bit of a mystery, but it is clear that the Hebrews who wrote the Book of Moses were scrupulous in incorporating the older female-driven myths. That’s why the early books are like loaves of bread dotted with small raisins of the Female Spirit. A casual glance never reveals the raisins, but it’s a different story when you take a good bite. The raisins are everywhere.

The raisin you’ll taste first is that Eve is much more animated than Adam in Genesis. That raisin says to me, as it has to many others, that Eve was the first human. There is a reason Adam says nothing in Genesis whereas Eve can’t stop talking. She is clearly smarter, more curious, more disposed to individual action. This assertiveness and talkativeness may have come over from earlier oral myths about the First Mother and then laid on top of the Hebrew’s later creation myth in which Eve is subservient, a mere rib of Adam.

Thus Eve acquires many of the attributes of the First Mother, who in early preliterate cultures would have been seen as the one in control, the one with plans, the one who would have intuited there was something better. It is ironic (and yet fitting) that this overlay of First Mother attributes would be used to blur the shift from the old, Female Spirit consciousness to our new male spirit consciousness. Eve may have given all the wrong reasons in Genesis for wanting to become more Godlike, but her instincts were correct, because those instincts brought about a new consciousness, the one we have today, which is indeed a more Godlike consciousness. But it is also one that has become unbalanced, too concerned with the life of the self at the expense of the soul.


In very early tribal cultures, the Creator God was seen as female, or both sexes, but seldom as solely male. The extremely obese female figurines archeologists have found in some preliterate sites are also an expression of that primordial mother: the First Mother. Some think they are fertility figures, and in some sense they are, but I doubt that fertility was ever directly associated with a woman being clinically obese.

I also doubt that early tribal peoples, or later preliterate agricultural peoples, ever had enough food to get that fat, so the figurines are definitely a metaphor, not an actuality. I believe they are metaphors for a larger than life female—the First Mother. Tribal peoples knew the animal world, and one aspect of it they knew as well as any was the bee world, and most especially the grotesque size of the queen bee, the mother bee. One bee mothering all bees: many out of one—the First Mother.

Let’s say the First Mother lived on long enough not only to mate, but to mate many times, perhaps for as long as three or four generations. Is there any doubt that her human offspring would see her as the giver of all human life?

The later, more elaborate, preliterate celebrations of the Mother Goddess were a natural outgrowth of the initial, powerful story those children must have created about their primordial mother. We might call that initial story the Mother of All Stories, because it contained the seeds of all the stories to come: the stories of birth, love, sex and death and all their endless permutations and combinations.

If we just for a moment imagine ourselves one of her human children sitting at her feet alongside some of her non-human children, we would know, even as children, that we were different, and would attribute that difference to her. She would be seen as having the power to bestow human life, or to not bestow it. The Giver and Taker of Life.

That is the stuff of an overwhelmingly powerful myth. Our Primordial Mother must have also mated with her male human offspring, perhaps even preferred it. So we have Mother as Lover to add to an already heady mix.

Robert Graves has a great deal to say about this in The White Goddess, which is what he calls the Mother Goddess. He contends the Goddess dominated preliterate cultures, and that the celebrations of her power as Mother, Lover, Creator and Destroyer of Life can be detected across cultures in the scraps of transcribed poetry that have survived into literate times.


The Nature of Creation

January 27, 2001

Unlike Genesis, which contains the seeds of Western scientific and philosophical thought (in that it sees creation as a specific event in time), the creation myths of the Australian aborigines depict creation as an ongoing event….The Australian aborigines have always been trying to tell us that creation is continuous, but in order to understand their myths we first have to see that the Australian aborigines are, or were, a very pure remnant of that early migration out of Africa 40,000 years ago, which is about the time the aborigines arrived in Australia.

Thus we could say the aborigine myths contain the essential spiritual concepts of the African Mother Goddess cultures of 40,000 B.C. They are also living myths maintained by the aborigines themselves and not scholars, so outside of changes brought about by internal forces, they provide the clearest window we have into that otherwise very foggy time.

There is no Big Bang for the aborigines, no Genesis, no specific beginning, no onetime affair. The aborigines access and understand that ongoing creation—The Dreaming—not through thinking, or reasoning, but by entering it in their lucid dreams. In light of this, you can see why the anthropologist’s desire to stay on the outside and take notes is the wrong way to understand the aborigine’s view of Creation. The only way to really understand it is to actually enter the psychic world. This is the way the aborigine understands The Dreaming: by becoming a part of it. That kind of empathetic knowing has always has been associated with the Female Spirit.


Love and the Female Spirit. January 31, 2001

The essential question is this: if the Female Spirit driving early preliterate cultures was considered a superior one for becoming more Godlike, why did the female spirit wane and the male spirit wax? It seems to me this is one of those times when earth moved heaven and heaven moved earth, and in this case, earth moving heaven meant we sensed we were not fulfilling our deepest instinct of becoming more Godlike.

Naturally, both men and women felt this, but because of the nature of the Female Spirit, it is also only natural to conclude it was felt more strongly by women. There are, of course, other theories why this cultural change took place, among them advances in agriculture, herding and metal smelting. While I see these as contributing to the change, I also see them more as a result than a cause of the change. The change to Male Spirit-driven cultures happened because of a change in the nature of the spiritual energy driving those cultures.

Spiritual forces aren’t handled well by science. They don’t fit easily into scientific thinking. Nevertheless, they can’t be ignored. We have to face the fact that spiritual concerns were by far the dominant driving force in all prehistoric cultures—and not growing more cabbages per acre. To get the complete picture, we should factor in those bread and butter concerns, but we have to keep our eye on the dominant interest of preliterate humans, which was becoming more Godlike.

That concern, that interest, is very mysterious. A more contemporary way of describing it would be something like mothers wanting a better life for themselves and their children, but that’s not quite right either, because it is beyond all that. It may manifest itself in saving up to get themselves a bigger house and Johnny and Sally a college education, but at its deepest level, it is aimed at helping themselves and their children to become men and women who are more Godlike. And what is driving that concern is a special, form of love. It is at the very core of the Female

Spirit. I call it Primal Love.

Maybe the best way to approach what I mean by Primal Love is to ask: what does it mean to love someone in a normal man/woman sense? It means I want to be who I am, but I also want to become that other person. Plato says our souls were split at some stage of our preexistence and that when we love it is because we have found our other half, and when we do, we experience love as becoming whole.

A mother’s love drives a mother to advance and protect her children. I see that love as being deeper than romantic love or paternal love or altruistic love or any of the other loves we’ve put in specimen jars over the millennia. You could say it’s a mother’s love that moves a mother to run in front of a speeding car and kill herself in order to save her child.

There is something else, however, at work in the case I’ve just stated, something even deeper than a mother’s love. Schopenhauer clarifies this for us by having a stranger run in front of the car to save the child, so the mother’s love is absent. Schopenhauer says what makes the stranger act is an instantaneous, transcendent recognition that we are one.

I would go one step further, however, and say that the stranger is also driven by a transcendent recognition that we are worth saving—that humans have a unique place in creation, that we aren’t mere atomic flotsam, biological accidents, happenstance animals.

That sense of our special place in creation is driven by our instinctive love of the divinity within us. That is what Primal Love is. It is all but hidden from us in our everyday life. It cannot be consciously beckoned or directed. When it rises to protect or honor that divinity, it can be both powerful and unpredictable in the way it displays itself.


The Female Spirit, like the Male Spirit, also contains the seeds of its eventual waning. In the case of the Female Spirit, the Primal Love that is a part of its energy—and our energy—also makes self-sacrifice possible, maybe even inevitable. When I sometimes indicate that preliterate women sacrificed themselves by allowing themselves to become subservient in the new Male Spirit-driven cultures, I don’t mean to imply that their sacrifice was a conscious one.

It never rose to that level. Women undoubtedly sensed they were moving in the right direction, as indeed they were, because both sexes did become more Godlike. Like Eve, however, the women never foresaw the unintended consequences of a Male Spirit-driven culture. Those consequences are what we are living with today.

The more dominant the Female Spirit becomes, the more Primal Love wants to make us, and everything we touch, more Godlike, although it doesn’t matter how we consciously conceive of God, or even if we believe in God. It is always there on an unconscious level, driving the human race forward in all its manifold complexity and it is absolutely out of our control. All we can do is experience it.

What makes this deep, instinctive Primal Love so complex is that it not only drove St. Francis to become who he was, it also drove Hitler to become who he was. Both experienced it as becoming more Godlike. This occurred because Primal Love doesn’t distinguish between the God of Abraham and the God of Jesus or the God of Mohammed.

I think it is better when attempting to grasp the nature of Primal Love to think of God in a more primal way. If we conceive of God as the totality of light and dark, we are closer to what I call Primal Love. We may think we are ruled by reason, but our desire to become more Godlike is an unfathomable, deeply rooted, amoral instinct of immense power. If we are able to follow that instinct with an intense purity, we may even be able to tap into some part of the utterly unknowable, and, depending on who we are, come back either bathed in light—or bathed in darkness, or both.


The last excerpt below is from Alice Hickey: Between Worlds (Chapter 49: Alice and the First Mother). The give and take of this conversation between me and Alice does what any good story will do: communicate the truth of what is being discussed on many levels. It is the best poetic exposition of the First Mother I know of, and will again widen your understanding of other Mother Goddess cultures.

Chapter 49: Alice and the First Mother

Alice had been particularly helpful in unwinding the labyrinth of The White Goddess and relating it to the myth. We were sitting in Starbucks one day when she said to me, “It’s a shame that Graves didn’t look at the Mother Goddess in Jungian terms, because it would have given him a useful structuring tool. God knows he could have used it. 
          "Archetypes form the way we see and know and act. We have no control over them. From Jung’s point of view, the Mother archetype is one of the most powerful archetypes in the collective unconscious. Under the right conditions, its effect upon our behavior and perceptions can be staggering. You have a mother, don’t you?”

“What kind of questions is that? Of course I have a mother. She’s been dead for some time though.”

“She may be dead, but she’s still with you. And so is her mother. And so is every other mother. Jung saw the Mother archetype as embodying all of our collective perceptions of the mother since time began.”

“You mean back to the First Mother—the one in Africa that everyone’s DNA points to?”

“That’s as good a starting point as any. It may go back to our animal mothers. But let’s not quibble. It’s our collective perceptions of the First Mother. Now add in the thousands and thousands of other mothers who came into being over the millennia. While you’re at it, add in the Mother Goddess, Graves’ White Goddess.”

“But that’s a psychic mother, not a physical mother.”

“Since when are you so picky? The psychic entity we call the Mother Goddess developed out of the physical mothers. That’s what an archetype is: a psychic entity that creates itself around our perceptions. It may even exist before our perceptions. The Mother Goddess, the White Goddess, is one aspect of the Mother archetype, but a very large aspect. In preliterate times, you could say they were one and the same.

     "Archetypes are nothing more than psychic representations of collective memories. Why and when they are formed and how they are formed is a mystery, yet they play a critical role in how we see and act in the world. You can think of them as “human” instincts that developed to supplement our basic animal instincts, such as those associated with hunger and sex.

      "One more thing—those archetypes sometimes take form and enter our consciousness to assist us. Why this happens and how and why they take a particular form is also a mystery, but they always come in a form that is comprehensible to us —a figure, a luminous presence, a voice. Got it?”

 “Got it. You know, Alice, Graves says the Muse—the Poetry archetype—is another, later name for the White Goddess. Something tells me he’s right about that, but I can’t put my finger on why.”

“Why shouldn’t it be true? There's no reason why the Poetry archetype—the Muse—wouldn’t be associated with the Mother archetype. It was the First Mother who told the first stories—who was the first witness. Right?”

“Right. But how does she get to be the Muse?”

“The Muse is an archetype that must have developed very early, right along with the Mother Goddess archetype. I think you’re right in saying that the Muse began as an internal modification of the directive voices early humans heard. Those early directive voices, by the way, were most probably those of the Mother Goddess. I also can’t help but think that the ‘more human, storytelling’ voices we experienced in that internal modification also incorporated the essential nature of a mother’s stories to her children, because our memories of those stories would have been such an essential part of the Mother Goddess archetype. After all, there is nothing more critical to human development than a mother telling stories to her children—and then encouraging them to tell those stories back—and listening to those stories to make sure the children understood what was said…That’s about it on archetypes. What I really wanted to knock around with you was the First Mother’s first story. Any ideas?”

“Not really,” I replied.

“It’s a toughie, isn’t it? I suspect it was about something of immense importance to her—perhaps the day she discovered she was different. Not smarter than her animal companions, or a better hunter, or a stronger fighter, but different in a whole new way. So here’s the question—what happened that made her realize she was different?”

“I have no idea.”

“Come on Franklin. Live a little.”

 “Well, she’d look the same as everybody else, so she wouldn’t know she was different until something happened that made it evident, but I have no idea what.”

“Franklin, I’m embarrassed at how thick you can be. Wake up and listen to your mother Alice—it happened when she tried to tell the others her first story and they didn’t understand a thing she was saying. I’ve had that experience with you several times by the way.”

“Keep rubbing it in Alice.”

“Oh, stop being so dramatic—you’re a regular Streisand, you know that? Listen to me—imagine the First Mother is 12 years old—old enough to mate and hunt. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s feeling something the others don’t.”

“And what is that?” I shot back.

“A mysterious—and extraordinary—longing for something, but she doesn’t know what that something is. Nor can she tell those around her what she’s feeling, can she now?”

“No. She can’t.”

“And why is that, Justin?”

“OK, OK, knock it off, will you Alice? It’s because she doesn’t know how to

describe that entirely new feeling, let alone why she’s feeling it. She doesn’t know yet that the mysterious longing she is feeling is pulling her towards a momentous step—reaching back into memory and creating a story.

        "She doesn’t know yet that she is capable of creating a story, or even what a story is. Nor does she have any way of knowing that she will be released from that longing as soon as she opens her mouth. She doesn’t yet know that unlike her animal brothers and sisters—who can only howl and bark and yelp—that she can step out of time and create a story—a little world describing what is happening to her.

     "But she’s not completely lost. She does know something. She intuitively senses that the mysterious longing she’s feeling is related to the mysterious, invisible interest in her she’s been feeling for years.

      "It’s a very different kind of interest, though. It’s not the killing interest of an animal stalking her, or the rising sexual interest of a male in the group. It’s something like the interest of her mother, and she finds herself drawn to it, but she doesn’t know how to get to the source of that interest. It’s invisible. Do I have to go any further?”

“No, of course not; she’s become aware of the Listeners,” Alice replied, “but she has no name for them yet, only a sense of something invisible that is interested in her feelings in and of themselves. (The Listeners are a psychic entity introduced by the Myth. You might think of them as our sense of God before  God existed in our minds.) I think you were right when you told me the Listeners represent the animal consciousness we left behind when we acquired human consciousness. How did you put it? When we became conscious, our animal consciousness became our unconscious. We could feel its presence, its interest in us, but we couldn’t see it or touch it.”

“I don’t know why,” I replied, “but I’ve always imagined the creation of human consciousness as a split, a tearing apart, something like the internal cell modification and division you see in cancer, with some part of our animal consciousness becoming human consciousness, and the other part becoming what we call our unconscious.

          "I see the split as happening very quickly. Our first consciousness 
may have been very weak compared to our unconscious, but what keeps coming to me is that all the basic mechanics were there, and by that I mean the ability to witness, to observe and report, to make stories. I don’t see that evolutionary jump as a gradual biological process over millennia.

          "I have no way of proving this of course—it’s simply a very strong

intuition. While it’s very likely that our early consciousness with its ability to

witness was extremely tentative and fragile—most probably we were continually slipping back into our old animal consciousness and then re-emerging from it—I see our basic ability to create stories as coming into existence with all the elements intact. Partial witnessing doesn’t make any sense—at least to me.

          "Our ability to witness—to create narrative worlds out of memory—is

such an unprecedented evolutionary jump that all our evolutionary theories pale before it. How it occurred—and why it occurred—is simply a mystery. Seeing it as a series of accidental, partial leaps over millennia doesn’t necessarily make it any less mysterious. If anything, it makes it more mysterious because witnessing is made up of such a complex continuum of reflexive interactions.”

“I hate to tell you this Justin, but if a scientist heard us talking like this, picturing the first human coming into being fully intact and suddenly telling stories, they’d go ape, if you’ll excuse the pun. Things don’t happen like that, they’d tell you, they happen gradually, step by step.”

“That’s because they’re prejudiced towards a tedious kind of truth, whereas we’re prejudiced towards a miraculous kind of truth. Besides, we’re talking about a simple conceptual model. We’re not trying to rewrite evolutionary theory. Einstein used the same simplified, conceptual thinking to help him get a gut feel for the nature and effects of relativity.

       "He used to imagine there was nothing in the universe except him riding on a broomstick next to a beam of light. Then he’d let his mind wander as to what would happen to him (and the broomstick) as he approached, maybe exceeded, the speed of light. His was not a “real” picture of the world anymore than ours is, but it helped him to get to the essence of the situation. If that kind of thinking was good enough for Einstein, it should be good enough for us.

           "Yet no matter how witnessing actually did evolve, just how
mysterious and unique it was can be seen in the fact that it has never been duplicated in any way whatsoever by any other biological form. There’s nothing that even remotely approaches it. Some people will tell you that animals can tell stories—such as the so-called “stories” the buzzing, wiggling bees tell each other regarding the location of new pollen.
         "Unfortunately, it’s always the same story, told the same way except for the wiggled direction to the pollen. There is no variation in structure or tone, no imagined world, no sense of triumph or sorrow. It’s not a story—it’s instinctive, specialized communication as to the location of prey. Let me put it this way—no animal ever wiggled or barked or squeaked, ‘Once upon a time,’ or anything close to it. 

           "I know I’m ranting, but I hate the way human evolution is treated

nowadays. To put witnessing in the same basket as fins becoming fingers is to be blind to the true magnificence of what it means to be human. I know most people think my suggestion that our witnessing came into existence full-blown like Topsy is crazy, but we have to remember our first witnessings weren’t John Updike stories. They were probably something like: ‘I saw him I was sad,’ and even that might be stretching it. But they were stories, no matter how crude they might seem by our standards.

       "The myth suggests the same thing about witnessing, but it is very slippery as to how, or why, our ability to witness evolved. The myth simply tells us—without giving any of the details—that our becoming aware of the Listeners was coterminous with the emergence of our human consciousness: ‘When the Listeners came / we changed. / We became Witnesses.’

     "From that point in time we were able to express ourselves in a startling new way—not by simply declaiming our immediate emotions, which is what animals do, but by stopping time: by reflexively reaching into memory and creating a story—a little world—that reflected how we feel.”

“You know, Franklin, what keeps coming to me is that our two minds must have worked together from the very beginning—almost as if in the process of tearing away, they spread tendrils into each other to stop the splitting from going all the way. That way, the two minds could feed each other. If they hadn’t, human evolution might have stopped dead in its tracks. The conscious mind by itself isn’t much. It’s just the surface of a very deep lake. We would have been easy prey for just about anything.”

“The Witnesses Log says something about that, Alice. It says our conscious and unconscious minds—the Witnesses and the Listeners—are bound to each other by unknowable promises. I can’t help thinking the promises involved some kind of agreement between the two that they would never leave each other. The tendrils you sensed may represent that.”

“I’m sure of it, Franklin, I also keep getting that if those tendrils are ever

completely sundered, if the promises are ever broken, it would be the end of the human race as we know it. The villain would most likely be the conscious mind, wouldn’t it? After all, human consciousness is a very ingenious baby. If we ever found a way of completely isolating ourselves from the unconscious, we’d find ourselves in the worst nightmare imaginable. We’d be completely lost. The unconscious is the gateway that allows us to know what is true, or beautiful, or honorable, or hateful. We’d be paper figures blown about by uncontrollable winds. We’d have no anchor. We’d be worse than animals.”

She looked at me for a moment like she was momentarily lost. “You know, I forgot what we were talking about.”

“It was about the First Mother’s first story.”

“Oh, right. What do you think it was?” she asked.

“It was about her being different from her brothers and sisters, remember?”

“But how do we really know that was her first story?”

“Alice, we’re making this up, remember? Historical accuracy isn’t the point.”

“I know we’re making it up, Mr. Fine Hairs—Oh was Jane right about that—but the fact of the matter is the first story could have been about something else entirely.”


“Relax, Franklin—I’m still feeling my way. You know, despite your merciless crushing of those poor bees, there are some very credible people who wouldn’t agree with you. They’re sure animals can tell stories because of that gorilla in Atlanta who can link together sounds or symbols to say things like, ‘Kinko hungry for banana.’”

“I know—but Kinko’s not making stories Alice. Kinko is simply expressing her present hungry state. A story is much different. A story begins—This happened, or Once upon a time. It means stepping out of the present and reaching back into memory to create a little world—a story—a miraculous narrative linking of symbols that expresses our feelings about something.

         "You might say Kinko is something like we were when the myth says ‘We were like moss on the mountainside/ waiting for the sun.’ I bet if Kinko had her way—and not her trainer’s way—she’d rather point to the banana—or grab it.”

“Wait a minute, Franklin—I have it. The First Mother’s first story had to do with hunting!”
“Alice, please…”
“I’d have given anything to have heard it!”
“Alice, for Christ sake, what is it with you? Calm down.”
“I am calm. But you’re right—we really don’t have any way of knowing what the first story was. So let’s just say it was about her awareness she was different. She must have lifted out of herself—Heaven blazing into her head as you like to say—in creating that story.”
“No doubt about it; and you know, Alice, it may have been done entirely with her existing animal vocabulary. But who knows, maybe entirely new sounds and gestures came to her, because we’re in the midst of such a mysterious act that anything could have happened. Right?”
“But that’s not the important thing, is it Alice?”
“Oh you’re are a sly one, you are. You almost got me there, using my own words to knock me.”
“Alice, have you been drinking again?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“OK, OK, you’re right. It isn’t. What I was trying to say was that the really
important thing was no one understood her. Her story would have been
completely unintelligible to her animal siblings. It would be like me talking to Jane’s dog. What she had done was beyond her understanding—the sounds and gestures she had always known had somehow allied themselves with memory and arranged themselves to create something entirely new: a story—a little world with a beginning, middle and end.
    "It just happened. She wouldn’t have been aware of any of this, only that she had done something entirely new, something that had released her from that intense longing and moved her to an ecstatic state. If she understood anything, it was that the she had somehow created that ‘little world’ within herself. And here’s the other important thing: she sensed she could recreate it, add to it, anytime she wanted to, because it was hers.
     "She must have been as terrified and ecstatic as she had been in her first mating—and completely confused as to why the others had walked away. After a number of tries, she would have given up, completely baffled, almost crazy that what made sense to her and lifted her into ecstasy was incomprehensible to the others. You know, I sometimes get that feeling when I read my poetry at bookstores.”

“Of course you do, you little darling. But it’s really the same thing isn’t it? You said so yourself—that our very first stories, our very first words, were poems— that they rose unbidden out of the unconscious in a moment of ecstasy.”
“I can’t see it happening any other way. In a way, Emerson thought so too. He sensed that the act of poetry begot language. ‘Language is fossilized poetry,’ is the way he put it.
     "You know what, Alice? I was just picturing the First Mother retelling her story over and over about her knowing she was different—and getting absolutely nowhere—and then one day looking out of the corner of her eye and seeing some younger male, maybe a son, looking back at her with a gleam of recognition. Isn’t that eerie?”

“It would have been one glorious day, Franklin, because what you’d be looking at is Eve and Adam, in that order, don’t you think? In time, there would be more and more gleams. Is there any doubt that story would have been told over and over to other humans as they were born? And is there any doubt that eventually that same story—that first genesis story—would be repeated over thousands of ensuing generations?
          "Think of it: because of her you were a human being, a storyteller, a
witness, and not an animal. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that these stories would eventually give rise to a much richer Mother Goddess archetype— one that would also include her as storyteller—as Muse.”

“You know, Alice, what I hadn’t realized—until you put it all together for me just  now—is that those first stories about the First Mother knowing she was different—that she was the creator of the human race—was also the soil out of which the Mother Goddess archetype and the Muse archetype eventually grew. It also explains why the Muse has always been intuitively sensed as a female, don’t you think? It verifies Graves’ thesis that the Mother Goddess and the Muse were once one and the same.”

“To tell you the truth,” Alice replied, “I’ve always felt Graves hit the nail right on the head. I could feel it. Then one day, after you spoke to me about the Muse’s ‘more human’ voice, I imagined I was at the very beginning of the human race, before there were any Gods, and there was only the First Mother and her young offspring. Some would have been human, some not. In the very beginning, it would have been like that because she would have had to mate with an animal.
     "I realized then that one of the ways the First Mother would have been
perceived by her offspring would be as the One who told her children stories, who knew the truth and, most especially, who always listened to their responses to see if they understood—to see if they were human or animal.”

“Jesus, Alice, that's goddamn eerie.”
“Isn’t it though? You know what else?”
“I’m tempted to make one of those equations you’re so crazy about.”
“What equations?”
“Like the one you showed me to explain Jung’s statement that God, the
unconscious, and the soul are terms describing essentially the same thing. I remember you showing it to me one day. It was quite impressive. You wrote it out like this,” and here she scribbled out on a piece of paper: 
God =Soul = Unknowable = Unconscious"

“It’s the mathematician in me. I can’t help it.”

“I must be losing my mind to even do this,” Alice quipped, “but I had a dream I should be communicating with you in ways you’d understand more easily. You know, the way a mother will break down complicated things like sex, so her kids will understand it without freaking out about daddy’s big one?”

With this she started cackling so wildly tears came to her eyes. When she finally came back down to earth, I asked, “Alice, are you OK?”

“Sure, I’m fine. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, nothing, really; I just thought you were having a nervous breakdown, that’s all.”

“That was last week. I’m fine now. 
Anyway I know you really liked that diagram I drew for you about GOD and the Other World. Remember? It was the one with the two lines? It really cleared things up, didn’t it?”
“It was extremely helpful, if that’s what you mean.”
“Of course that’s what I mean, you little darling. Well, here’s another one, but more the way you like it.”

She scribbled out a long equation:

the First Mother = the Mother Goddess = the Muse = the Perfect Listener = the White Goddess = the Way of the Mother

“Sometimes you amaze me Alice.”
“By the way Alice, whatever you’re on, I’d like some. Will fifty cover it?”

I thought she’d never stop cackling. Starbucks all but cleared out. I could still hear her as I drove away.



 Preliterate Nubian /Proto-Egyptian
Psychic / Spiritual Practices, continued

OK, so much for the Excerpts. Let's  continue on with the second term of  our  equation:

Cat/Cheetah =   Soul Obsession = Spiritual/Psychic Practices= Nubian Female Shaman = River Mother

Soul Obsession

This  term of the equation, Soul Obsession, is critical because it defines the spiritual heart of both the Proto-Egyptian culture and the later literate Dynastic Egyptian culture. I believe the source of this Egyptian Soul Obsession was   the  intense interest  of then African/Nubian  Mother Goddess culture in the soul and the Spiritual/Psychic Practices  it used to guide and observe the soul in its journey from death to the afterlife to rebirth. For sure, it didn't come from the Levant.

The African/Nubian  interest in the  rebirth of the soul, however,  did not continue into Dynastic times, only an  interest in the soul's afterlife and immortality, which in Dynastic times was confined to the soul of the Pharaoh. As I discussed earlier, all of the preliterate Semitic tribes  coming into the Nile delta area from the Levant c. 6000 B.C. had little interest in the afterlife compared to the intense interest of the Nubian tribes migrating into that same area.

It seems clear to me that the  African/Nubian  Mother Goddess culture's  interest in immortality was eventually severely limited in Dynastic Egypt to the person of the Pharaoh. I believe this was partially due to those Nubian beliefs  coming into contact with the beliefs of the immigrating Semitic tribes,  and in particular  the preliterate, Pre-Hebraic tribes. It  is unclear to me exactly why immortality was eventually limited to the Pharaoh, but part of it had to be the dim view of the afterlife held by the Pre-Hebraic tribes, a view that was pretty much shared  by all  the Semitic tribes of the Levant. 

The Pre-Hebraic tribes, like the later literate Hebrews, held that only the Gods were truly immortal, i.e, the human afterlife was one of bare existence to the point they had little interest a personal  afterlife and immortality. This Pre-Hebraic attitude was buttressed by the fact that the Pharaoh's immortality seems to have evolved out of the need for an all-powerful king to oversee and manage the growing agricultural efforts of the Proto-Egyptians. There was no better way to do that than to begin to see the king as immortal, i.e., a God.  

As for the Nubian interest in general reincarnation, there was no place for that in the Pre-Hebraic spiritual thinking, something that  has remained true for the Hebrews and all of the religions that evolved out of  the Hebrew religion. It simply wound up on the cutting room floor as the spiritual foundation of Dynastic Egypt was being spliced together. 

I am going to digress a bit here, and go deeper into the background of the Hebrews and in particular the preliterate, Pre-Hebraic  tribes  who migrated into the the Nile delta area c. 6000 thru 3200 B.C..  By doing this, I think it will become evident why the meeting of the  preliterate, Pre-Hebraic tribes and the preliterate Nubian tribes in the Nile delta formed a Proto-Egyptian culture whose spiritual concepts became the foundation for the spirituality of Dynastic Egypt with  its distinctive logos/muthos, male/ female Balance.

 Author's Note

The migration of Semitic and Nubian tribes into the Nile delta I see as taking place in two phases. The first is a 2000 year period c.6500 thru 4500 B.C., with the second being 4500 thru 3200 B.C.. The latter period is most probably the period in which Proto-Egypt began to roughly resemble Dynastic Egypt and I sometimes refer to it as preliterate Pre-Dynastic Egypt. 

It was during the first 2000 year period that I believe the Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture began to take root first through the intermixing of migrating hunter/gatherer tribes from Nubia and the Levant. Around 6000 B.C., the same migrating tribes from the Levant began to introduce rudimentary  farming and herding to the delta.  

As for any other peoples who  may have been living in the delta prior to 6500 B.C., the latest science tells us that the intense, furious  Nile flooding caused by  the  melting of ice caps in the surrounding African mountains during the period from 10,000  thru 7000 B.C. made the Nile valley and delta literally uninhabitable, except for a small area south of the the second cataract, which I see as the home of River Mother. 

While there seems to be no archeological evidence yet of any habitation in the Nile delta until 6000 B.C., I believe that migration from both the Levant and Nubia was taking place into the fertile Nile Delta as early as  c.6500 B.C. by hunter/gatherer tribes. We haven't discovered any evidence of it, however, and indeed may never discover it because those hunter/gatherer tribes leave little to no evidence of  their existence.

Another reason for there being no evidence of occupation of the Nile Delta until c.6000 B.C. is the effect of the tremendous tsunami caused by the eruption of Mt. Aetna c.6000 B.C.. This tsunami virtually wiped out the Nile delta, erasing whatever slim evidence there may have been of very early immigrants. At any rate, the Nile delta  was most likely first inhabited c.6500 B.C. by migrants from both the Levant and Nubia. 

It seems evident then that the 2000 year intermixing (c.6500 thru 4500 B.C.)  of those Nubian and Semitic tribes migrating into the Nile delta   eventually evolved into a genetic base of African/Semitic characteristics that  were distinctive enough to genetically distinguish the  people of Proto-Egypt (and eventually Dynastic Egypt) from their surrounding neighbors. A very good, detailed  site on the prehistoric cultures of Egypt that pretty much backs up these contentions can  be seen by clicking here.

Finally, I believe that in  4500 thru 3200 B.C., the Nile delta Proto-Egyptian culture began to resemble an elementary, preliterate version of Dynastic Egypt, with the rise of kings and extensive agricultural and herding practices. By this time I also believe that the culture had evolved a set of orderly spiritual/psychic beliefs beliefs that were to become the foundation for the spirituality and religion of Dynastic Egypt. 


End Author's Note

The Spiritual Influence of Pre-Hebraic Tribes Migrating into the Nile Delta  

Let me sum up what I believe took place  in the Nile delta c.6500  thru 3200 B.C.:  

A highly disorganized but extremely powerful Nubian hunter/gatherer spirituality centered around immortality met an equally  spiritually-driven but more organized Pre-Hebraic herding/ trading   culture with little interest in immortality but an intense spiritual interest in the relationship between man and the Gods.
It is my belief that this mixing eventually evolved into the spirituality of Dynastic Egypt with  its distinctive logos/muthos, male/ female Balance. The mechanics of this evolution aren't immediately apparent, but I believe that looking beneath the surface will reveal some of the factors fueling those mechanics. Here are some of the factors  involved:

1) The preliterate Nubians possessed a powerful spirituality centered around immortality and reincarnation as well as the psychic practices they used to observe and assist the soul  in its journey from death to the afterlife to rebirth. I also believe these spiritual/psychic beliefs and practices were not highly organized, being essentially the beliefs and practices of individual shamans that would make their way from tribe to tribe by word of mouth and were always in a state of flux. 

2) As far as we can surmise, the polytheistic, preliterate Pre-Hebraic tribes were essentially wide-ranging (border-crossing) herders and traders. There may have been other tribes in the Levant who filled this description, but I believe the Pre-Hebraic tribes had something else: a disposition  for critical, orderly thinking that not only guided their nomadic (and often dangerous)  way of life as herders and traders  but also guided their spirituality. 

Although the preliterate, Pre-Hebraic tribes  saw life in a muthos way, as did all preliterate peoples, I also believe that by 6500 B.C. they were already on the edge of logos consciousness. We have to remember that logos consciousness always seeks unity in its explanations of the world, whereas muthos consciousness is content with many.

Thus an emerging logos consciousness is the only way to realistically explain the Hebrew's sudden establishment of a completely revolutionary monotheistic religion in 1500 B.C. that was figuratively light years ahead of all the religions that surrounded it. If I were to  compare their spiritual and religious development  to a foot race, it is not an exaggeration to say that the Hebrews had already crossed the finish line while all the other Semitic tribes were still getting  into  the starting blocks. 

More to the point, vis a vis the evolving Proto-Egyptian spirituality, I see the intermixing of the Semitic and Nubian tribes also bringing about a more orderly way of thinking about the powerful but  relatively unorganized Nubian spiritual/ psychic practices. I believe that out of this eventually came the extensive funerary spiritual/psychic practices we see formalized a few thousand years later in the written Pyramid Texts that surfaced in the pyramids of the Fifth Dynasty, but which philologists assure us  have a much earlier,  preliterate origin. 

In saying this,  I realize I am putting forth two politically incorrect prejudices: that the Nubian/Africans were highly disorganized and the Hebrews sharp thinkers. However,  everything in the history of these two cultures points in that direction, both then and now. We also have to remember that the Hebrews were not the secular  rationalists most are today, but were just as spiritually driven and just as polytheistic as the Nubian tribes they encountered in the Nile delta. 

Like all preliterate cultures, both of them were capable of accommodating each other's beliefs very easily. This is because the muthos mind easily accommodates  conflicting ideas. The logos mind does not, and  always seeks  to resolve conflicting ideas.  It wants one explanation, not many. One God, not many

That conflict between muthos and logos consciousness is a heady mix and I  see it as the essential fuel driving  Pre-Hebraic spiritual development right up through the time of Moses and his monotheistic spirituality. 

Let me take a leap backwards  here, and add that I also believe the intense spiritual interest in the nature of  God (and the human/ God relationship)that we see in the preliterate story  of Abraham (c.2000 B.C.) was also  present in a nascent form in the much earlier  preliterate, polytheistic Pre-Hebraic tribes.  

I also believe, as I've said earlier,  that the Pre-Hebraic tribes not only possessed a  muthos consciousness but also a nascent form of logos consciousness. That is indeed a heady combination. In other words, they had a jump on their neighbors.  This isn't supposed to happen,  but I stand by it. Science likes  a kind uniform genetic progress across the board, but it's simply a prejudice on the part of science that keeps being shown for what it is: a prejudice. 

This is why I believe Abraham's  budding monotheistic spirituality  didn't come out of nowhere, but had  long, preliterate roots because the logos mind wants one  God, not many. We can see evidence of those same roots   again some 500 years later around 1500 B.C. in the undoubtedly related monotheistic beliefs of Akhenaten  and Moses. 

Much of this Part Two  deals with the Nubian/Hebrew/Egyptian spiritual intermixing  both in literate and preliterate times and its eventual influence on Dynastic Egyptian spirituality (and Hebrew spirituality for that matter). 

That intermixing, as I've laid it out, was extremely deep to say the least, and one extreme example of that intermixing lies in the Moses/ Akhenaten matter. 

Yet, outside of noting the similarity between the two, I shied away from going into it in depth because I had never come across a well-reasoned explanation of how they could or might have been the same person (which always made the most intuitive sense to me vis a vis explaining the intermixing) until I came across  Mats David Ranaxe's  video on this matter, where  he does seem to make that claim they are one and the same. 

Ahmed Osman, the Egyptian historical novelist, makes a very convincing case that they are indeed the same person in Moses and Ahkenaten.

Both presentations are excellent, well thought out and presented, so much so that  I suggest the reader look at them to see  Moses and Akhenaten  in an entirely new light, i.e., to see the time of Moses/ Akhenaten as a point in time where the intermixing of  Hebrew and Egyptian spirituality and thought became almost total. One example of this is that Akhenaten's grandfather was decended from Pre-Hebraics who had migrated into Dynastic Egypt.   .

I should add (that to my poet's intuition), Moses and Akhenaten have always seemed one and the same, and is based on the  strange sculptural portrayal of Akhenaten (as a sleepy-eyed, male/ pregnant female) which falls very close to the  Biblical prose portrayal of Moses as an extremely psychic person (the only prophet to see God directly) who was also a physical mess (he needed the physical support of his brother Aaron to hold up his arms). 

Also we shouldn't get hung up on Akhenaten physically leading the Hebrews against the Cannanites.  I see him as a symbolic leader. After all, Aaron  (and Joshua)  were there to do the dirty work. All we have to remember is that Moses/Akhenaten  wasn't allowed into the Promised Land. Got it?

This brief excursion into the matter of Moses/Akhenaten is to further suggest that the Dynastic Egyptians and the Pre-Hebraics were intermixed to a significant degree and that Moses/Akhenaten was probably only the tip of the iceberg, with Hyskos being another tip, and that the actual depth of the iceberg trailed back to preliterate Proto-Egypt.  These "tips" always have deep roots. They don't appear out of nowhere. 

But let me get back to the matter at hand. As disposed to the questioning of the nature of the divine as the Pre-Hebraic tribes must have been, we see none of this questioning  in the preliterate African/Nubian spirituality, which remained essentially constant and accepting of the divine order as they had always held it to be. That spirituality persists to this day in Africa, (despite the inroads of Islam and Christianity) where there remains an intense spiritual interest in  immortality, reincarnation and the psychic practices  used to  assist the soul  in its journey  to the afterlife to rebirth. 

So here's the question. Outside of my contention  that the Pre-Hebraic tribes of 6500 thru 3200 B.C. had a nascent logos consciousness, is there any historical evidence that they had a penchant for critical, orderly thinking beyond that of the other tribes of the Levant who were also migrating into the Nile delta c.  6500 B.C.. The approach I am going to take in gathering that evidence may distress some,  but I believe    we can obtain that evidence by back-engineering what we know of their later preliterate beliefs from the time of Abraham on.

There are some modern Biblical scholars who believe that the story of Abraham was fabricated to help raise the spirits of the Hebrews exiled in Babylon (587-541  B.C.). This may be so, but the integrity of the writers of the Bible still leads me to believe that we can take their description of Abraham's character, journey and the divine revelations he receives as metaphorically true if not totally factually true

What I mean by this is that the story was most probably created out of fragments of transcribed oral poems about the first stirrings of the Hebrew God. With that caveat, let me say that one of the things we see  in the story of the Pre-Hebraic, preliterate, wealthy herder/trader called Abraham (c.2000 B.C.) is that a sophisticated herder/trader class had developed.  They were by nature still herders and traders, but they weren't scraping out a living. They moved in style. So much style, it seems, that despite  the Pharaoh having an enormous  empire to govern, he couldn't help but notice  Abraham's  arrival in Egypt with  his beautiful wife Sarah.

 Author's Note

This story of Abraham and the origin of the Hebrews gives me an opportunity to compare the Bible's story of the origin of the Hebrews c. 2000 B.C.,  with my own theory that around 6500 B.C., Pre-Hebraic hunter-gatherer tribes from the Levant began migrating south into the Nile delta where they encountered Nubian hunter-gatherer tribes migrating north into the same fertile delta. I see those encounters eventually resulting in the formation of a Proto-Egyptian race and culture that over time evolved into the Dynastic Egyptian race and culture. 

As I have mentioned elsewhere, those Semitic Pre-Hebraic tribes most probably didn't see themselves as "Hebrews", just as the other Semitic tribes in that area didn't see themselves as "Syrians" or "Lebanese". I do believe, however, that they already had distinct characteristics that would make them identify themselves  thousands of years later as Hebrews or Syrians. 

If the story of  Abraham was  fabricated to help raise the spirits of the Hebrews exiled in Babylon (587-541  B.C.), it wasn't a willy-nilly fantasy. Ur, the city Abraham supposedly came from, was just south of Babylon, the center of the Sumerian empire, and close to where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers come together. This is the area where the Garden of Paradise was located according to oral tradition, something that has been supported by recent archeological finds. Thus, the area Abraham supposedly came from was rich with  Pre-Hebraic tradition.

The irony of this,which couldn't have been lost of the Bible Writers if they indeed did fabricate the story of Abraham sometime after the Exile, was that Ur was a part of the Sumerian Empire that had conquered the Hebrews and destroyed the Temple in 587 B.C..  

The fact that Abraham is shown as a very wealthy herder and trader in Sumeria around 2000 B.C. doesn't mean that in earlier times Pre-hebraic herders weren't wandering through that area as well as the Levant. For  a group of herders know as "border-crossers" they probably wandered throughout the entire Fertile Crescent and the areas beyond it.

The time when Abraham suppodedly left Ur, around 2000 B.C., was also, I believe,  a time when those  wandering, herding Pre-Hebraic tribes in the Levant  began to see themselves as a distinct group: the Hebrews.

I see the evidence for this in the fact that archaeologists have detected the first scraps of a Hebrew hieroglyphic language around 2000 B.C.. It is evident that this early Hebraic language evolved out of their  exposure to Egyptian literacy. It is also around this time that we see both Egyptian, as well as Biblical, evidence of Joseph  rising to power in Egypt. 

Thus literate,Dynastic Egypt seems to have been a catalyst  in the development of the Pre-Hebraic tribes as a group to be reckoned with. You might say that the Pre-Hebraic tribes wandering thru the Levant and Dynastic Egypt began to "arrive" around 2000 B.C., just as in the story of Abraham, the "arrival@ of the Pre-Hebraic tribes is signified  by Abraham leaving his home in Ur as a wealthy herder/trader accompanied by large herds and servants. 

This catalytic effect may also have happened in Sumeria, but the lack of stories about Sumeria and the many stories about Egypt in the Bible lead me to believe that this was not the case. As to why Ur was chosen as a point of origin by the Bible Writers, I suspect the literate, montheistic Bible Writers wanted to distance themselves from polytheistic Egypt at this time, and although Sumeria was also polytheistic and the cause of the Hebrew exile, Ur may have seemed a  better point of origin due to its association with the Garden of Paradise: Adam = Abraham.  

Thus, it is at this point, around 2000 B.C., that my theory and the Biblical story of Abraham merge, in the sense that they both account for the "arrival" of the Pre-Hebraic culture as one to be reckoned with. 

If we continue to assume that the story of Abraham was contrived, then the sizable number of Pre-Hebraic peoples who later became enslaved (or employed) by the Egyptians c. 2000 B.C., were not the actual progeny of Abraham, but the Pre-Hebraic herding tribes in the Levant who were drawn to Dynastic Egypt. 

If I am correct about Dynastic Egypt (3200 thru 30 B.C.) evolving out of a preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture (6500 thru 3200 B.C.) created by very early Pre-Hebraic tribes and Nubian tribes merging in the Nile delta,  then another point of irony is that the later c.2000 Pre-Hebraic tribes were enslaved (or employed) by a Dynastic Egyptian culure that was partially composed of their distant Pre-Hebraic ancestors who, with the immigrating Nubians, had formed the Proto-Egytptian culture (6500 thru 3200 B.C.) 

This ironic relationship also helps explain the continuing fascination of the Pre-Hebraic tribes with both the preliterate Proto-Egyptians and the literate Dynastic Egyptians: they were "distant cousins." 

The story of the Exodus, which I believe is a story about a real event, even if it is distorted, tells us that once out of Egypt, Joshua fights a series of bloody battles that recapture  the promised land (Canaan). Recent archaeological studies, however, show this to be questionable. One or two of the highland cities mentioned in the Bible as  being conquered by Joshua do show evidence of warfare, but the remainder of the cities show no evidence of warfare whatsoever. Rather all the evidence points towards the fact, that for the most part, tribes from the lowlands of Canaan simply took over from a disintegrating ruling class.  

I believe that these tribes were the Pre-Hebraic  tribes who took over Caanan had been in the Levant all along and had not migrated into the Nile delta to create the Proto-Egyptian culture. The archaeological evidence supports me somewhat in this, because it suggests that the type of homes established in the highlands by these lowland tribes had Pre-Hebraic characteristics. So it seems that although Joshua did indeed fight a few battles to gain a place for those Hebrews escaping from Egypt, there were other Pre-Hebraic tribes already living in Canaan. 

It is from this point on that I believe the Biblical stories pretty much reflect the historical path of the emerging Hebrew/monotheistic culture. 

End Author's Note

Perhaps I can best explain the nature of this emerging Hebrew/ monotheistic culture, and how absolutely unique it was,  by letting you take a look at something I wrote about it in Chapter 37 of ALICE HICKEY: Between Worlds. 

The excerpt begins with my telling Alice that I had come to believe that an ancient Hebrew spirit had a hand in the creation of the Myth that came to me in 2000. (For a written version of the Myth see Chapter 4: The Myth in ALICE HICKEY)

Excerpt from Chapter 37: I Uncover the Myth’s Hebraic Connection

I decided it was time to show Alice a journal entry I had made a few years earlier. It was about the Hebrew’s conception of God. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the entry was to lay the groundwork for uncovering the Hebrew spirit involved in the creation of the myth. I pulled out my laptop so Alice could read the entry: 

One of the first things that occurred to me after the myth came to me was that a Hebrew spirit was involved—but I was never able to go beyond that. If there was such a spirit, it remained hidden. 

One thing that did become evident to me as I began studying the history of the Hebrews was the audacity and originality of the Hebrew God. It amazed me. The Book of Genesis presented a radically new vision of the relationship between humans and the unknowable. 

To paraphrase Joan, that radical vision was in every way a ‘new Bible’. It was light years ahead of its time—so much so that it seems to have literally come out of nowhere. 

Every other culture had a cyclical vision of life in which nothing ever changed and in which there were a bewildering number of animal, human and anthropomorphic Gods utterly unpredictable in their treatment of humans.

In the Hebrew vision, there was one, eternal, all-powerful God who was the creator of everything out of nothing—no mud, no mother earth, no other gods. It was a vision that erased the entire preliterate divine universe in one bold stroke. There was more though. The Hebrew God may have governed heaven and earth, but He was interested in only one thing: the Hebrews and their advancement. 

This was not a cyclical vision, but a directed one—one that would be acted out on the stage of history because God’s continuing behavior was bound by the conditions of a contract—a covenant. That aspect alone would have stupefied the Greeks. The fact that the Hebrew’s behavior was also bound by that same contract doesn’t lessen the audacity of the idea. 

Jung believed that the changing Judaic/Christian conception of God over the past 4000 years has been intimately related to our conscious development. With that in mind, one way to explain the Hebrew’s radical vision is to suggest that when our new consciousness began to tentatively take hold throughout the world, the Hebrews, for some unknown reason, took a huge leap into that new self-reflective, examining consciousness—and out of that aggressive, extremely capable, examining consciousness eventually came their startling conception of God. 

The same huge, inexplicable leap into the new consciousness also happened to the Greeks. Thus we see them suddenly using their new examining consciousness to create science, philosophy, mathematics, history, art, you name it. 

The Hebrews, however, applied their new examining consciousness to only one thing: the divine. The result is a very curious Hebrew God—one who is eternal and powerful beyond any previous conception of divine power (everything out of nothing) and yet one who is extremely parochial in His interests. 

Jung equated the unconscious mind with God. If we accept that equation, it’s possible to describe the early Hebrew mind as one that combined a very well developed, examining consciousness with an extremely powerful, almost uncontrollable unconscious. 

The powerful, uncontrollable unconscious that the Hebrew’s modern consciousness had to deal with was the same one preliterate humans had lived with for thousands and thousands of years, and had learned to accommodate in a much different way with a much different consciousness. Jung says there isn’t a better record of the clash between that uncontrollable unconscious and our modern consciousness than the Bible. 

All the emerging literate cultures were faced with that same dilemma: having to somehow accommodate that unconscious. Most did it very slowly by balancing between their old and new consciousness. However, the two cultures that had taken a huge leap into their modern, examining consciousness, the Greeks and the Hebrews, paid a stiff price for their glory. 

I’ve indicated the Hebrew predicament. As for the Greeks, it’s clear that a very dark, savage, irrational streak ran just underneath their polished logic and art. There is no better illustration of this than the fear and anxiety Olympias’ Dionysian ecstasies struck in the heart of Phillip and Alexander—two men who were otherwise afraid of absolutely nothing.

The Greek and Hebrew experience made it absolutely clear that our new examining, rational consciousness was a world-beater—one capable of taking on anything, even the unknowable. The fact that it took 4000 years for that to happen in our overall Western culture shouldn’t surprise us. That is how long it took for our new examining consciousness to partially absorb and tame the incredible power of our lingering preliterate unconscious. 

Alice looked at me with the strangest expression on her face and said, “That’s a mouthful, Justin.”

“I know. You probably think I’m nuts.”
“No—but you are being a bit too simplistic, not to mention theoretical. The actual transition of the Hebrews from a preliterate state to the startling vision expressed in Genesis was extremely problematic. It wasn’t an easy road—and it didn’t happen overnight..."

End Excerpt

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