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INTRODUCTION TO TOA , LESSON 2
Summarize the plot of the Aset and Ra myth
The myth of Aset and Ra comes directly from the Turin papyrus which has been translated by Sebai Maa. In this myth greater insight is obtained into the nature of Aset and Her transformation from mortal consciousness to immortal Divine consciousness.
Ra is the Creator God from which all the Gods and Goddesses emanate. Each Divinity was assigned a Divine purpose to maintain Cosmic order. The Cosmic Neteru were Shu and Tefnut, the eldest, followed by their offspring Geb and Nut who in turn gave birth to Asar, Aset, Set, Nebethet, and Heru Ur. When Ra created people from His tears, He ruled as King over human beings. Because people were created from the tears of Ra, they had the gift of living for a long period of time, thus becoming arrogant, believing they no longer needed Ra who was growing old and drooling.
Ra grew tired of ruling over people and turned His throne over to His eldest son Shu. Eventually Shu turned the throne over to his grandson Asar, who was righteous and wise, along with Aset who acted as Asar’s coregent and consort. To better relate to the human experience, Asar and Aset did not rule as a God and Goddess, but as human beings. Aset became knowledgeable in all of the lower mysteries, i.e. the healing sciences, agriculture, architecture, warfare, government, love-making and procreation, etc.
With all of Her accomplishments Aset began to reflect on life and became disappointed and disillusioned, realizing that life was fleeting so what was the point? She wondered if there was something that was abiding. Upon this realization Aset began to repudiate the illusion of worldly desire and, instead, pursue the Gods and Goddesses, as well as Enlightened personalities (Akhu Shepsu). Ultimately Aset aspired to become a Goddess, not only of Heaven but also of the Earth. In short, Aset’s intention was to reestablish Her original Divine status, while she was still alive on earth, in a righteous manner.
Aset asked Herself if She could achieve immortality by knowing the true name of Ra. She approached Ra that She might ask Him His true name. Ra answered Her by saying that he was the Divinity who created Himself, the Creator of Heaven and Earth through the breath of life—Creator of fire, the gods and goddesses, men and women, cattle, reptiles and so on. But Aset was not satisfied with His answer and thus devised a plan to make Ra tell Her his real name.
Ra’s spittle fell to the earth when he drooled and Aset created a special serpent (taffy shepsy) made from Ra’s spittle and earth in the shape of a harpoon. She carefully placed the serpent in the path that Ra would travel, and as He passed by the serpent struck Him with a poisonous sting. Ra was taken ill and placed on a bed by the gods and goddesses who did not know how to treat the poisonous venom. Aset approached Ra and asked Him, “what manner of His own creation rendered Him so ill?,” knowing that one who comes in contact with the serpent (taffy shepsy) will not be able to move.
Ra cried out in agony and Aset told Him She could heal Him of the illness, but He needed to tell Her His real name. In pain and suffering, near death, finally Ra agreed to give Aset His true name, telling Her that She must come into His body. Upon this Aset utters words of power (hekayu) to expel the poison forth from Ra’s body and bring forth the Eye of Heru. Ra lived and the poison died. Through Her great words of power (urt hekayu) and antet begag (unrelenting pursuit) Aset received the true name of Ra and Lady Aset became Goddess Aset. Dua Aset! Htp.
For you, what are the important insights you have gained so far from Aset’s saga and Her relationship with Ra?
I took my time with this particular lesson because the spiritual implications are so deeply profound. One of the main insights that I gained was how essentially effective the hieroglyphs were to realizing the more subtle meanings within the myth. They seemed to add a dimension that is missing in the alphabetical texts, bringing the very words to life. I duly appreciate the meticulous care taken to translate the hieroglyphs, combined with the accompanying slides to illustrate the myth of Aset and Ra.
Basically, this is the story of the aspirant when they begin to ask the question “is this all there is to life?” This is, of course, the Divine intuitional Wisdom that all human beings possess and confront sooner or later in their lifetimes. The real question is how far will one go to pursue the Truth? Aset was willing to shake the Heavens, though She be a mere mortal according to the myth. In the grander scheme of things, however, Aset knew she was much more, as do aspirants who seek out their higher consciousness.
I think the most important insights that I gained were the symbolic references that were not previously clear to me prior to the video lectures on the myth of Aset and Ra. I have often asked myself why Aset chose to obtain the name of Ra in the manner of poisoning Him with a serpent that was fashioned from His spit?! Why even use a serpent shaped like a harpoon? Why not offer a more pleasant means, such as a drink?
In his video lecture, Lesson 2 TOA, Part 3, Sebai illuminated that the spittle of Ra combined with the earth was a metaphor for bringing together mortality (earth) with eternity (spittle of Ra) to fashion a harpoon (symbol for Uaa, meaning One) in the form of a serpent (arat sekhem – serpent power). Thus, we come up with the “taffy shepsy,” meaning serpent (taffy) Divine, exhalted (shepsy). Further, in the same video lecture, it refers to the symbol of the serpent coiled 3 ½ times to represent the levels of consciousness with the half turn symbolizing transcendence. This relates directly to how the Life force (sekhem) is developed in an accumulated energy spiral fashion. To quote Sebai Maa, “serpent power causes energy centers to evolve and with it ego consciousness.”
It all makes perfect sense now that the instrument of choice for Aset to obtain Ra’s true name was the taffy shepsy. The harpoon shape of the serpent represents “the one-pointed flow of the mind towards Divine consciousness.” Since these insights have come to light, I have added a visualization to my meditation in which I am Aset hurling the taffy shepsy to pierce through worldly illusion. The myth of Aset and Ra is full of spiritual goodies and insights yet to be revealed. Htp.
What are the main take aways from the Aset and Ra myth, the important teachings to remember from the audio lecture?
The audio lecture in TOA Lesson 2 supports the previous video lectures in content. What stood out to me in this particular discourse was the point blank statement, “The world will never be perfect.” This was the realization that Aset came to after all of Her seemingly wondrous worldly accomplishments. It made me reflect back to a time in my life when I had achieved the career I had always dreamed of, working as a museum professional. It was not a year into my career when I started to feel a sense of disappointment and “now what?” I can remember getting down on myself, thinking what an ingrate I was to feel this way about a job that many people would kill for. This made me feel even worse.
I could completely empathize with Aset in this myth, who was a Queen with myriad accomplishments yet still asked the “now what?” question. I didn’t realize it then, but there was nothing wrong with me, rather it was the imperfect world that I was trying to find perfection in. The other statement that hit home in the lecture was “The mind isn’t a perfect instrument.” Why do these statements stand out? The main reason is because they are in opposition to everything that we have been spoon fed in modern society. We have been led to believe that if we master the lower mysteries, math, science, etc. our minds can perfect the world and make it a better place. Yet, we still have crime, war, poverty, pollution, death, and most importantly ari because the worldly mind is flawed by ego.
These are the very reasons that Aset aspired to something higher, directing Her mind toward listening to the teachings, reflecting on the teachings, and meditating on the teachings. This makes Aset the ultimate role model for the aspirant. The practice of the Sheti disciplines is what ultimately led Aset to seek the essence of Ra and break the “triad of consciousness.” The message in the myth is clear—leave the world to the worldly minded and seek out that which is beyond time and space, beyond even the gods and goddesses by going to the source. Following the path of Aset will “lead to instant revelation of Her true form.”
One other poignant insight that was revealed in the audio lecture was the true nature of the gods and goddesses. They do not exist beyond time and space, but are manifestations of Creation in time and space. Sebai Maa asserted “Gods are higher forms of human beings—not enlightened beings.” We share the same Divine essence with the gods and goddesses, who serve the purpose of sustaining nature, but as human beings we have the unique capability to move beyond nature as demonstrated in the myth when Ra revealed His true name to Aset—not even known by the gods and goddesses.
As human beings we also have the capability to act beneath animals when we act with ego consciousness, therefore the human condition is complex. Nebethet, Sebai Maa explains, represents what it means to be human at its best—when health is good and we are feeling good in our humanness. Set, on the other hand, symbolizes desire in the human state which leads to greed, jealousy, lust, anger, etc. (a.k.a. the fetters of Set). Thus, when we consciously align ourselves with Aset we endeavor to aspire toward excellence, in the human experience, and beyond toward Enlightenment.
Htp, Shems Heryt