Your Monkee Heritage; Baboons and Thoth

Your Monkee Heritage; Baboons and Thoth

India and East Asia are not the exclusive holders of Monkee mythology; South America and Africa have their own tales of our people. The wisest of the Egyptian gods, was called Thoth (also known as Tehuti), the baboon and ibis god of the moon. Thoth was the god who overcame the curse of Ra, allowing Nut to give birth to her five children, with his skill at games. According to Egyptian Mythology, when Ra retired from the earth, he appointed Thoth and told him of his desire to create a Light-soul in the Duat and in the Land of the Caves, and it was over this region that Ra appointed Thoth to rule, ordering him to keep a register of those who were there, and to hand out just punishments to them. Thoth became the representation of Ra in the afterlife, seen at the judgment of the dead in the “Halls of the Double Ma’at”. It was he who helped Isis perform the ritual that brought Osiris backs from the dead, and who he who drove the magical poison of Set from her son, Horus with the power of his magic. He was Horus’ supporter during the young god’s deadly battle with his uncle Set, helping Horus with his wisdom and magic. It was Thoth who brought Tefnut, back to heaven to be reunited with Ra; she had left Egypt for Nubia after an argument with her father. Originally, Thoth was considered a god of creation, but was later thought to be the one who civilized hue-mans, teaching them civic and religious practices, writing, medicine, music and magic. It was Thoth who was thought to have taught men the mode and pronunciation of his writing for prayers and magic spells could fail if not intoned correctly. He was known as the master of magic. The magical powers of Thoth were so great, the Egyptians had tales of a “Book of Thoth”, which were said to allow one whom read the sacred text to become the most powerful magician in the world. The Book which “the god of wisdom wrote with his own hand” was a deadly book that was said to bring nothing but pain and suffering to thee whom read it, despite finding the “secrets of the gods themselves” and “all that is hidden in the stars”. Thoth was typically depicted as an ibis headed man or as a full ibis, or at times with the face of a baboon and the body of a man or, again, as a baboon. The ibis had a crescent shaped beak, linking the bird to the moon. The baboon, on the other hand, was a night animal that was seen by the Egyptians who would greet the sun with chattering noises each morning just as Thoth, (the moon god), would greet Ra, (the sun god), as he rose each day.


The baboon was also much admired in Egypt for its intelligence and also for its sexual lustfulness. Baboon feces were an ingredient in Egyptian aphrodisiac ointments. The baboon held several positions in Egyptian mythology. The name of the baboon god Baba, who was worshipped in Pre-Dynastic times, may be the origin of the animal’s name. As Thoth was a god of the moon, his baboons were often shown wearing the crescent moon on their head. Baboons carried out Thoth’s duties as the god of measurement when they were portrayed at the spout of water clocks, and on the scales which weighed the heart of the deceased in the judgment of the dead. The baboon had several other funerary roles. Baboons were said to guard the first gate of the underworld, In Chapter 155 of the Book of the Dead, four baboons were described as sitting as the corners of a pool of fire in the Afterlife. One of the Four Sons of Horus had the head of a baboon and protected the lungs of the deceased. By the Late Period, titles such as “Priest of the Living Baboon” or “Priest of the Osiris-Baboon” were held by individuals who served gods in the court of the sanctuaries that had the form of baboon statues. They also looked after the sacred temple monkeys. The sacred troops of baboons functioned in small groups; much like the Armada does today. The most widely known are those from the Memphis, and Ptolemaic texts from the Necropolis at Saqqara, and confirms that a colony was kept in the temple of Ptah “under his Moringa-tree” in the valley. There may have been a dozen or so in the colony at any one time. One of these would have been singled out as an oracular and given the name, “the face of the baboon has spoken”. The deified baboon first appears at Tuna el-Gevel as “Osiris-Baboon, justified”, with no individual name. The first time a personal name appears for a baboon was on a piece of linen from the 26th or 27th Dynasty. Hence, from the beginning of Egyptian history through at least the beginning of the Christian period, baboons held a very consistent and important role in ancient Egyptian religion, in many different aspects, from demon to protector. They became associated with a number of the most important Egyptian gods, as well as the king.

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