Two

One thing that crops up consistently in Egyptian religion is its relentless duality.

Note: not dualism, that good vs. evil corruption of Christianity’s most popular heresy (Manichaeism). Duality.

Sometimes it seems that everything comes in pairs. The iconography is full of doubles – the Double Crown (Sekhemti, according to Wikipedia), the Two Lands, the sedge and the bee, the papyrus and the lotus, Wadjet and Nekhebet, the desert and the fertile valley. Deities, too, come paired – the great Rivals, Heru and Set, Whose struggle defines much of the mythology we have; the twinned form of Hetharu and Sekhmet, two goddesses become one become two, both with a love of the beauty of ma’at, one turned to celebration, the other turned to avenge upon those who would mar that beauty; any of a number of married Powers Whose union is expressed in the presence of a child, two become three.

The ancients looked at the line of the horizon and saw the double back of Aker, the lions of Yesterday and Tomorrow. They saw the mother Sky and the father Earth. They saw day and night. They saw the seen world, and knew of the unseen.

These twins – sometimes siblings, sometimes lovers, sometimes rivals, sometimes partners, sometimes simply forces in the natural world set up so perfectly that the prevailing winds blow south against the Nile’s northward flow – are the balances of cosmic forces. Perhaps to the ancients that old riddle of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object would be answered, “Ma’at” – for Egypt itself was at the heart of hundreds of such different balanced forces, which left it, as they thought, made perfect, and perfectly in need of maintenance, because with so many pairs, proper balance is a fiddly matter.

An ancient text speaks of prior-to-the-cosmos with the phrase “Before there were two things.”

That twoness is there at the beginning, intrinsic, that Thelemite paradox of 0=2.

For creator to create, there must be the Creator and that which is Not The Creator: two things. It is in recognising the not-self that the self is realised. Two things.

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2 thoughts on “Two

  1. Aubs Tea says:

    Last night, I read this prior to going to bed. Then, I pulled out Red Land, Black Land and guess what was discussed?

  2. kiya_nicoll says:

    Well, Red Land, Black Land. Does what it says on the tin!

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