God of the Month: Thoth

Thoth

Thoth is the Egyptian God of Wisdom and Learning. He was one of the earlier Gods worshiped in Egypt, particularly in Khnum. He was eventually re-written as the creator God due to his popularity. These particular stories say that he laid an egg while in the form of the ibis, and that egg hatched Ra. Other myths say that Thoth created himself through his powers in language, along with his one of his consorts, Ma’at. His songs created the eight other gods of the Ogdoad, the group Thoth is most associated with. In the tales, he is most known for how he used his wisdom to help the other Gods. Thoth was able to help Isis when Set murdered her husband Osiris by using his wisdom and knowledge. He was also able to help Horus by driving a poison out of his body, and later helping him gain his throne. He was even able to create the first mummy, and then resurrected Osiris.

Thoth is associated with the moon because the myths write that he healed Horus’ left eye, which represents the moon. He illuminates the darkness as the sun vanishes. Thoth and Ma’at were said to stand at either side of Ra on his journey across the sky. Ra eventually retired from his duties on Earth, and he told Thoth he wanted to create a Light Soul in the Duat, and the Land of the Caves. He appointed Thoth to rule over those regions and keep track of who was living there. Thoth became Ra’s representative in the afterlife, helping to pass judgment on the dead. He was also the scribe of the Underworld, working in the Hall of Ma’at. He maintained the library of scrolls with Seshat, another Goddess he is often paired with. They were well matched, as Seshat invented writing, and Thoth taught writing to mankind.

Thoth always carries a quill and scroll, and was often credited by early Egyptians as the inventor of writing. He is said to have actually written The Book of the Dead, and invented different magical and hermetic arts. The Egyptians believed there were tales written in a sacred text called The Book of Thoth, and that a person who read it could become a powerful magician. This book was known as one that the book the god of wisdom had written himself, containing all the secrets of the universe. It brought pain and tragedy to those who read it, cursing anyone with the knowledge. There were many people who believed that the Book of Thoth may be hidden in a secret chamber of the Great Pyramid, perhaps on emerald tablets. Now, the Book of Thoth is actually a common name for the Tarot deck. Thoth attends most ceremonies, but the most important ones for him are the judgment of the dead. He sits on the balance that weighs hearts to determine their lightness. He then reports whether or not the heart is at equilibrium.

Thoth is usually portrayed with the head of an ibis in Egyptian art. The curve of the ibis beak is reminiscent of the crescent moon, another way of connecting Thoth to it. However, sometimes he is shown as a dog headed-baboon figure, or as a man with a face of a dog headed baboon. This was a creature often seen at dawn by Egyptian people, described as greeting the sun. As Thoth was a lunar God, he would greet Ra, the Sun God, in a similar way each day.

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-Shannon Tricia

shannontricia.wordpress.com

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