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SUGGESTIONS AND PERVERSIONS OF
I. SACREDNESS OF BLOOD AND OF THE HEART.
APART from, and yet linked with, the explicit proofs of the rite of blood-covenanting throughout the primitive world, there are many indications of the rootidea of this form of covenanting; in the popular estimate of blood, and of all the marvelous possibilities through blood-transference. These indications, also, are of old, and from everywhere.
To go back again to the earlier written history of the world; it is evident that the ancient Egyptians recognized blood as in a peculiar sense life itself; and that they counted the heart,—as the blood-source and the blood-centre, the symbol and the substance of life. In the Book of the Dead, the deceased speaks of his heart-or his blood-fountain-as his life; and as giving him the right to appear in the presence of the gods: "My heart was my mother; my heart was my mother; my heart was my being on earth; placed
within me; returned to me by the chief gods, placing me before the gods " [in the presence of the gods]. In the process of embalming, the heart was always preserved with jealous care;2 and sometimes it was embalmed by itself in a sepulchral vase. It was the heart as the life, which is the blood-that seems to have been put into the scales of the divine Judge for the settling of the soul's destiny; according to all the Egyptian pictures of the judgment. Throughout the Book of the Dead, and in all the sacred teachings and practices of the ancient Egyptians, with reference to human life and human destiny, the heart is obviously recognized as the analogon of blood, and blood as the analogon of life. Moreover, the life, which is represented by the blood and by the heart, appears to be counted peculiarly the gift and the guarded treasure of Deity, and as being in itself a resemblance to, if not actually a part of, the divine nature.5
1 Egypt's Place, V. 188.
2 This is illustrated by Ebers, in his romance of "Uarda;" where the surgeon, Nebsecht, finds such difficulty in obtaining a human heart, in order to its anatomical study. See, also, Birch's statement, in Egypt's Place, V., 135, and Pierret's Dict. d'Arch. Égypt., s.v. "Cœur.”
Ibid., III., 466, note 3.
3 Anc. Egypt., III., 472, note 6. 5 In the Book of the Dead, Chapter xxxvi. tells "How a Person has his Heart made (or given) to him in the Hades." And in preparing the mummy, a scarabaeus,—a symbol of the creative or life-giving god -was put in the place of the heart. (See Rubric, chapter xxx., Book of the Dead; Anc. Egypt., III., 346, 486; also, note in Uarda, I., 305 f.).
GUARDING THE HEART.
Even of the lower animals, the heart and the heart's blood were counted sacred to the gods, and were not to be eaten by the Egyptians; as if life belonged only to the Giver of life, and, when passing out from a lower organism, must return, or be returned, only to its original Source.
When the soul stands before the forty-two judges, in the Hall of the Two Truths, to give answer concerning its sins, one of its protesting avowals, as recorded in the Book of the Dead, is: "Oh Glowing Feet, coming out of the darkness! I have not eaten the heart;" In my earthly life-course, I have not committed the sacrilege of heart-eating. Yet, of the sacrificial offering of "a red cow," as prescribed in the Book of the Dead, " of the blood squeezed from the heart, one hundred drops," make a portion for the gods. In one of the tombs of Memphis, there is represented a scene of slaughtering animals. As the heart of an animal is taken out, the butcher who holds it says,—as shown by the accompanying hieroglyphics, "Take care of this heart; as if that were a portion to be guarded sacredly. "Keep thy heart with all diligence [or, as the margin has it, " above all thou guardest"]; for out of it are the issues of life." It may, indeed, have been from the lore of Egypt that
1 Egypt's Place, V., 14.
Anc. Egypt., II., 27, note.
2 Ibid., V., 283.
4 Prov. 4: 23.
Solomon obtained this proverb of the ages, to pass it onward to posterity with his stamp of inspiration.
It would even seem that the blood of animals was not allowed to be eaten by the Egyptians; although there has been a question at that point, among Egyptologists. Wilkinson thinks that they did employ it in cooking;1 but this is only his inference from a pictured representation of the blood being caught in a vessel, when an animal is slaughtered for the table. On the other hand, that same picture shows the vessel of blood being borne away, afterwards, on uplifted hands; 2 as it would have been if it were designed for a sacred libation. Again, the other picture, reported by Birch as showing the butcher's care of the heart, represents the blood as "collected in a jar with a long spout"; such as was used for sacred libations.3 It is evident that blood was offered to the gods of Egypt in libation, as was also wine.1 Indeed, the common Egyptian word for blood ( senf) is regularly followed by the determinative of outpouring (*). The word tesher, " red," is sometimes used as a synonym for senf; in this case (and in this only) the determinative of outpouring is added to
1 Anc. Egypt., II., 27, 31; III., 409.
2 Ibid., II., 32, Plate No. 300.
3 Ibid., II., 27 note I.
4 Comp. Ibid., III., 409, 416 f.
THE TALE OF THE TWO BROTHERS. 103
the hieroglyphics for tesher. Moreover, among the forty-two judges, before whom the dead appears, he who is "Eater of Blood" comes next in order before the "Eater of Hearts"; as if blood-eating, like heart-eating, were a prerogative of the gods.
If proof were still wanting that, in ancient Egypt, it was the heart which was deemed the epitome of life, and that the heart had this pre-eminence because of its being the fountain of blood-which is life-that proof would be found in "The Tale of the Two Brothers "; a story that was prepared in its present form by a tutor of the Pharaoh of the exodus, while the latter was yet heir presumptive to the throne. This story has been the subject of special study by De Rougé, Chabas, Maspero, Brugsch, Birch, Goodwin, and Le Page Renouf. It is from the latter's translation that I draw my facts for this reference.2
Anpu and Bata were brothers. Bata's experience with the wife of Anpu was like that of Joseph in the house of Potiphar. He was true, like Joseph. Like Joseph, he was falsely accused, his life was sought, and his innocence was vindicated. Then, for his better protection, Bata took his heart out from his body, and put that in a safe place, while he made his home near it. To his brother he had said:
"I shall take my heart, and place it in the top of 1 See Egypt's Place, V., 254. 2 Rec. of Past, II., 137-152.