Role of Numbers in Ancient Kemet (Egypt)
Posted: August 08, 2002
An analysis by
Dr. Kwame Nantambu
Under the philosophical and spiritual teachings and belief system of ancient Kemet(Egypt), numbers played a significant role. This is contrary to the sometimes derogatory, negative, ahistorical and Eurocentric interpretation that are given today.
For example, in ancient Kemet, the number seven represented completion. Thus, the Euro-Christian Holy Bible says that Almighty God rested on the seventh day after the completion of creation. The seventh day of the week, Sunday, is now regarded "a day of rest from servile work."
Let us also recall that in ancient Kemet, Son was synonymous with Sun. so this A.D. Euro-Christian religious belief concept of the Son of God is nothing but derivative of the original Afrikan-Kemetic spiritual belief system.
In ancient Kemet, there were also seven cardinal principles/virtues of Goddess Ma'at to achieve human perfectibility. These principles are Truth, Justice, Balance, Order, Compassion, Harmony, and Reciprocity.
In addition, the Greeks who were the students of Afrikans teachers in ancient Kemetic Temples, "were given and education in the seven Liberal Arts, which became the prototype for the later Greek and Roman (and current world-wide) education systems". These seven Liberal Arts courses were Grammar, Arithmetic, Rhetoric, Dialetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music.
In Biblical times, there are thus "seven deadly sins of the bible," viz, Sloth, Lust, Anger, Pride, Envy, Gluttony, and Greed. There is also the "seven pointed star," where all seven points are equidistant, radiating seven currents of force that represent seven principles of human existence.
This ancient Afrikan belief system gave rise to the seven Hermetic principles, which are the foundation of Hermetic philosophy. These principles are the Principle of Mentalism, The Principle of Correspondence, The Principle of Vibration, The Principle of Polarity, The Principle of Rhythm, The Principle of Cause and Effect, and The Principle of Gender.
Hence, it need occasion no great surprise that in 1965, an Afrikan-American professor, Dr. Maulana Karenga, created the Afrikan-centered celebration of Kwanzaa based on the doctrine of Kawaida. This Nguzo Saba (Kwanzaa) celebration lasts for seven days from the 26th December to 1st January. Its primary raison d'etre is "to give thanks and to make a joyful noise in a meaningful and traditional way."
The seven principles of Kwanzaa are:
1. Umoja (Unity)
2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
3. Ujima (Collective work and Responsibility)
4. Ujamaa ( Cooperative Economics)
5. Nia (Purpose)
6. Kuuma (Creativity)
7. Imani (Faith)
Kwanzaa indeed solidifies and perpetuates our ancient Afrikan spirituality.
In addition, the Afrikan spiritual belief system cities seven Stages/Ages of Man in the completion of his life cycle. They are Infancy, Boyhood, Youth, Manhood, Middle-age, Old-age, and Senility. And every human being possesses seven senses; they are Hearing, Touch, Sight, Taste, Smell, Intuition, and Clairvoyance.
In ancient Kemet, our Afrikan ancestors believed in the nine inseperable parts of the soul. According to Dr. Kwabena F. Ashanti is his Rootwork and Voodo in Mental Health, (1997) these parts are:
(1) The Ka -the abstract personality of the individual to whom it belongs, Possessing the form and attributes of a human with power of movement omnipresence, and ability to receive nourishment. Equivalent to what we call the shadow image.
(2) The Khat - the mortal concrete personality, the physical body.
(3) The Ba- the heart-soul, which lives in the Ka and sometimes beside it, to supply the Ka with food and air. Capable of metamorphosis.
(4) The Ab- the heart, the physical life in humans, spiritual, rational and ethical. Associated with the Ba(heart-soul). In the Egyptian Judgment Drama, it undergoes examination in the presence of the God Osiers, the great creator and judge of the dead.
(5) The Kaibit-the shadow. Also associated with the Ba, from which it
receives its nourishments. Has the power of movement and omnipresence.
(6) The Khu-spiritual soul that lives forever. A heavenly being, closely associated with the Ba.
(7) The Sahu- the spiritual body in which the Khu or spiritual soul dwells. The moral nature of mental and spiritual qualities is united to form new powers that man has the choice to use for good or evil.
(8) The Sekhem- the power or spirit of the vital force in humans. Lives in the heavens with the spirit of Khu.
(9) The Ren- the name of an individual, the essential attribute for preservation of a being. The ancients believed that in the absence of a name, individual ceased to exist. The quality of a name, therefore, was very important.
In addition, Egyptians were also "the first to identify the Gods of order and arrangement in the universe." This Ennead of ancient Kemet consisted of nine gods. They are:
(1) Shu, the God of air;
(2) Tefnut, the Goddess of Moisture;
(3) Geb, the God of Earth; and
(4) Nut, Goddess of the sky; universe
These Gods gave birth to
(5) Osiris, the God of omnipotence and omniscience;
(6) Isis, the wife of Osiris, the female principle;
(7) Seth, the God of evil, opposite good;
(8) Nephthys, wife of Seth, and
(9) Atum(Atom), the creator God of Gods.
In ancient Kemet, "in keeping with the nine inseparable parts of the human soul, a child is not given a name (Ren) until it was nine days old." This ancient Kenetic spiritual ceremony is now called "Baptism" in the Euro-Christian religious ceremony.
In addition, it need occasion no great surprise that a mother (mom) carries her baby in her womb for nine months before delivery/birth and the fact that today a cat has nine lives.
There were also nine cardinal Principles of Righteousness or being right in ancient Kemet. They were as follows:
(1) Right intentions
(2) Right thought
(3) Right speech
(4) Right effort
(5) Right action
(6) Right living
(7) Right reality
(8) Right understanding
(9) Right wisdom
Under the philosophical and spiritual teachings of the ancient Egyptian (Kemetic) Mystery System, the number thirteen represented transformation, resurrection, rebirth and a new life. So in the B.C. era, originally, there was nothing negative, scary, shameful, or unlucky about the number thirteen.
Its use has only been bastardized in today's cynical, ignorant world, belief systems and modus vivendi. Furthermore, under the ancient Egyptian secret Brotherhood, commonly known today as Freemasonry, the number thirteen had special meaning and significance with regard to the establishment of complete freedom of worship, governance, social order and esoteric philosophy.
The fact of the matter is that all the early U.S. Presidents were Masons steeped in the teachings and philosophy of the ancient Egyptian Mystery System. These individuals then transferred all the positive aspects of the number thirteen to rule, govern and protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the United States.
First, when the U.S. Constitution was signed on 17 September 1787, thirteen out of the forty signatories were freemasons. Second, the independence of United States falls on 4 July 1776. This date was timed by Masonic "Founding Fathers" to coincide with the astrological sign of Cancer-which also ruled ancient Egypt. Now, the fourth of July follows exactly thirteen days after the Sun enters the sign of Cancer during the summer solstice beginning 21 June and 4 July. Thus, the United States was founded on ancient Egyptian (Kemetic) spiritual principles and belief. In the year 1776, we have seven plus six, which makes thirteen.
The "Founding Fathers" of the United States did not arbitrarily select the Fourth of July 1776 as Independence Day. In the tradition of Kemetic spiritually, philosophy and belief systems in the B.C. era, the 4 July 1776 then gave America a new life, a rebirth, a transformation and resurrection from its status as a colony of Britain to that of a new sovereign, independent, nation-state.
On the whole then, Masonic lodges, based on the principles concepts and belief system of number thirteen were introduced in American colonies in 1738. The Boston Masons organized the "Boston Tea Party" at the Green Dragon Tavern, described by Daniel Webster as "the headquarters of the American revolution."
Paul Revere was a master Mason as was every general officer in the U.S. revolutionary army starting with Joseph Warren, Grand Master of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge and the first to die at Bunker Hill. Two thousand more Masons were among officers of all grades, including George Washington's aide-de-camp, who fought in this battle. Of the fifty-six signatories of the Declaration of Independence, fifty were Masons including its prime author, Thomas Jefferson.
In the colonies, the practice of Freemasonry, was the only institution in which leaders of different colonies could meet on common ground. Founded on universal principles, i.e., the brotherhood of man, the immortality of the soul and the existence of a supreme spiritual being, which came out of ancient Kemet,in the B.C. era, the Mason Lodge in early America became a sanctuary in which each man could not meet on an equal plane.
In Virginia, when members of Alexandria's Mason Lodge 22 declared themselves independent from the foreign jurisdiction, the named George Washington "First Master of their Lodge". And when peace finally came, Robert Livingston, Grand Master of New York's Grand Lodge, administered the oath of office to George Washington as the first president. And at George Washington's burial on his estate at Mount Vernon, six of the pallbearers and three of the officiating clergymen were Masons.
One by one, Washington's Masonic brethren cast upon his coffin the ritual of the ancient Egyptians Osirian symbol of the resurrection of the spirit. Freemasons decided to raise a Tekhenu, the phallic symbol of the God Ausar (Osiris as the Greeks were later to call him) in Washington's memory. Proposed in Congress be Mason John Marshall of Virginia, the Tekhenu was built from granite and marble blocks. At the Tekhenu's dedication in 1884, Speaker of the House, Robert C. Wintrop, regretted that Americans did not have the skill the Egyptians had and could not build the 600-foot Tekhenu from one single slab of stone.
Mason John C. Palmer declared that the monument symbolized human society which consisted of people whose minds were enlightened with divine truth, their hearts radiant with discovering the joy of pure love, and their souls cherishing (like ancient Egyptians worshipers of Osiris) the hope of immortality.
Third, it is no accident, that at independence, there were thirteen colonies. Fourth, if one were to look at a U.S. one dollar bill, one will discover with amazement that there are thirteen layers of the pyramid-which was built by Afrikans in the B.C. era and not by putative aliens from out of space or "tanned Europeans" and the Great Seal of the United States has thirteen layers. Fifth, the thirteen amendment gave the slaves a new life, a rebirth, transformation, and resurrection from their status as slaves to that of "free-men".
Sixth, in courtroom proceeding s under any legal system in the entire world, there are twelve members of the jury plus the one judge, which gives a total of thirteen participants.
And Finally, the Euro-Christian Holy Bible says that there is no record of Jesus from age thirteen until age thirty. Well where was he? Why did Jesus leave home at this age "to be about his father's business"? Why didn't he choose to leave home at sixteen or seventeen years of age? Did Jesus know about the spiritual teachings of the ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) Mystery System and that's why he had to leave home at that celestial age? Where did Jesus go at age thirteen to be educated so that he can be resurrected and transformed?
The number fourteen was also significant in ancient Kemet. This is associated with the "Osirian Drama". The story/mythology is as follows: Set/Seth (the God of evil) was jealous of his brother Osiris (the God of the dead, underworld and resurrection) who was receiving all the praise and glory. In his rage, Seth cut Osiris' body into fourteen parts and distributed them all over Kemet.
However Osiris' wife, Ist/Isis transformed herself into a bird and flew all over kemet in search of the body parts of Osiris. Ist only found thirteen parts. The missing part that she was unable to find was Osiris phallus/penis.
The myth says that it was eaten by the fish in the Nile River. Ist then made an artificial penis with mud and water from the water from the Nile. She was then able to impregnate herself and thus give birth to a Son called Heru, whom the Euro-Greeks renamed Horus, and Catholics now call Jesus.
In other words, Ist created a new life consistent with the spiritual concept of number thirteen and this spiritual phenomenon of ancient Kemet is called the "Immaculate Conception" or "Virgin Birth" in the Euro-Christian religion today. In addition, at Easter Christians/Catholics all over the world, celebrate the "Fourteen Stations of the Cross," which is a direct religious derivative of the ancient Kemetic spiritual "Osirian Drama".
This artificial penis that Ist created was originally called the Tekhenu by the ancient Afrikan Kemites; it was later called the Obelisk by the Greeks when they occupied Egypt 332 B.C. to 30 B.C.; and the Washington Monument in Euro-America in the modern A.D. era. Moreover, on 19 May 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt with 328 ships,175 scholars and 35,000 soldiers he was so overwhelmed and totally annoyed at the massive monuments he saw that were built by Afrikan people that he ordered his soldiers to blow off the nose of the Horem Akhet (called the Sphinx by the Greeks). But his soldiers had to fire twenty-one shots in order to blow the nose off the Sphinx: hence, the origin of the "Twenty-one gun Salute" that is performed at Arlington Cemetary in the United States.
As an addendum, Spirituality represents a direct connectedness/inter-relatedness with nature, the cosmos, universe and that spiritual God-force, Amum-Ra, "the giver of life"; it is this ancient Afrikan
god who was born on 25 December.
Religion represents the deification of a people's cultural experience, politics and political power control intent. Hence, the reason why in ancient Kemet, under the spiritual belief system and way of life, the Afrikan-Kemites were judged by the "42 Negative Confessions", "42 Declarations of Innocence" or "42 Admonitions of Ma'at." They were 42 in number because there were 42 "Nomes" (called districts/states today) in Kemet at that time. Today, however, under the religious belief system and way of life of Euro-Christianity/Catholicism, Christians are judged by the "Ten Commandments".
The fact of the matter is that in the B.C. era Afrika was known as the "land of the spiritual people"; but as a result of the European supremacy, Afrikan peoples have been transformed into a religious people.
Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").
Dr. Nantambu is an Associate Professor, Dept. of
Pan-African Studies, Kent State University, U.S.A.
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