I’ve thought at length about the possible origins of my character. She emerged as a result of a writing challenge entered a while ago (Sue Vincent’s #writephoto); and was called the Alchemist’s daughter until an appropriate name was found. Amunet was chosen as my heroine emitted a sense of “otherness” that necessitated further investigation. For that I needed to revisit ancient Egyptian creation myths. There wasn’t any conscious effort to mould her into a representation of wisdom and mystery. Like many other characters, she developed from gut feelings and nebulous images in the mind. These creations become significant over time, being echoes of lost histories. If we’re receptive to their voices they can be encouraged to tell us their stories. This seemed the most sensible approach to take.
To be honest this character’s an enigma to me. I stare at her from my position in the present and wonder at the nature of adventure we’re participating in. Amunet appears to be forming the basis of a bigger project, something I’m getting excited about.
I suppose we should now journey to the beginning of all things in my character’s universe. A time before time existed in a formless space:
The Ogdoad in The Hermopolitan Creation Myth
Amunet belongs to one of the Ogdoad (group of Eight), who are four pairs of ancient Egyptian deities thought to be the oldest of all gods. A statement made by other creations myths of that land about their gods! Regardless, these beings represent primeval elemental powers existing before creation of the world. The four male gods are frog headed, and their female counterparts snake headed:
- Amun (Male) and Amunet (Female) represent invisibility.
- Kek (M) and Keket (F) are darkness.
- Heh (M) and Hehet (F) are infinite space.
- Nun (M) and Nunet (F) are the primeval waters.
The world they inhabited was shrouded in silence and darkness, if you can imagine a place consisting of nothingness you’ve done well. I don’t always manage to.
When the waters of chaos retreated they revealed the first land. It was the sacred Mound upon which the Cosmic egg was laid by either an Ibis (sacred to Djehuty) or a goose, called the Great Cackler. In another variation of the myth the darkness was pierced by the light of the child Ra who rose from the depths of Nun in a lotus. This creation myth focusses on the mystery of creation out of non-being to being. Something that has fascinated and perplexed me since childhood.
These powers are part of a group of deities indigenous to the ancient centre of Khemenu (“The Town of the Eight”), named Hermopolis Magna by the Greeks. The other deities are a hare and baboon. This place was the cult centre of Djehuty (Thoth) from early dynastic times, and with his arrival at Khemenu these deities were absorbed into his mythos. Two in particular retained their status though, the Hare goddess Wenet and the baboon god Hedj-wer. Wenet was the totem animal of the 15th or Hare Nome (administrative division) of Upper Egypt, so it may have been difficult to obliterate her presence. As for the baboon god, he was worshipped here from pre-dynastic times and became closely associated with Djehuty as one of his manifestations. From here we briefly face the divinity that is Djehuty.
Djehuty and the Symbolism of Eight
It’s appropriate that the spirit of Djehuty pervades my heroine’s life. He is after all the Master Alchemist, God of Wisdom and Magic, oversees the arts, and sciences. In fact ruling all intellectual pursuits. Djehuty is also said to have invented hieroglyphs. The number eight embodies his essence perfectly as it symbolises harmony, balance, and cosmic order. It’s also the number of perfection, infinity, abundance, and power.
So far, so good. Amunet therefore contains within herself perfect knowledge and Being. She’s the Priestess sitting in front of the Veil obscuring the Greater Mysteries of Life and Beyond; and also Divine Fire clothed in material matter, hidden, waiting. She contains potential within herself, of greater things. That’s what so fascinating about her, as she represents the hidden potential within all of us. The ability to bring to light the invisible aspects of our natures and the Cosmos. That’s why She Walks in Light.