Friday, 17 June 2011

Calendar Entry #18: Procession of Sopdu, the warrior + Feast of the Beautiful Reunion

We continue our journey through the Cauldrons Calendar feast/festival/holidays.

Procession of Sopdu, the Warrior

Relief of the funerary temple of Sahure of Sopdu
5th dynasty of Egypt - Egyptian museum of Berlin
As I posted yesterday, Sirius (the brightest star in the night sky) was deified in ancient Egypt taking on many forms, one being Isis-Hathor.  In its god-form, Sirius is known as Sopdet (feminine) or Sopd (masculine).   Originally Sopdu was the name for the scorching summer heat, leading Egyptians to view it as war-like and therefore, the subsequent deification of this heat as Sopdu, the war god.  As the heat arrived shortly after the heliacal rising of Sirius, Sopdu was seen as being the progeny of Sopdet.

Due to the rising of the sun (and thus the heat) in the east each day, Sopdu is associated with the east, which also happens to be where his cult was centred the most.  As a war god he is portrayed as a warrior, and said to guard Egypt's borders.

Sopdu has been mentioned in the Pyramid Texts and a representation of him was found on an Abydos ivory tablet owned by Djer of the First Dynasty.

Feast of the Beautiful Reunion

Sacred barque of Hathor -
Bas relief in hypostyle hall, temple of Edfu, Egypt
Hathor and Horus’ pairing in ancient Egyptian mythology was the reason for a long festival known as the Feast of the Beautiful Reunion.  This festival highlighted the marriage of Hathor to Horus, which started with Hathor journeying from her temple in Dendera to the temple of Horus in Edfu, some 180km away.

The procession started 14 days before the new moon where the Goddess’ statue would have been carried on a barque stopping at the temples of the towns between Dendera and Edfu.  This allowed the common people to join in on the festivities.  Worshippers could be involved with some of the ceremony, leave offerings, pray to the deities or even ask for some divine guidance.  This would have involved an ‘oracle’ who the worshipper would approach with a question.  The questions were posed to allow a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.  The oracle would ‘consult’ with the deity.  The answer would come with something like a nod or lean of the statue.  For example, forward for ‘yes’ or backwards for ‘no’.

Hathor was said to travel south to Edfu, where she would stay for two weeks while the marriage was consecreated in the temple of Horus.  When she arrived at Edfu the Horus statue would welcome her (carried by priests and other officials) but before they went ashore they would take a quick detour to the Mound of Geb, where the two statues would be placed on a shrine/altar area where the Opening of the Mouth ritual would be performed.

No comments:

Post a Comment