Egypt has held a fascination for many people over the centuries. A lost civilisation resurrected by a handful of archaeologists from our more recent past, uncovering the secrets of an ancient world which has still not completely given up all of it’s historical treasures yet. I just love the magical and mystical of this ancient land, with its own unique religion and hierarchy social structure. Egypt just screams to be explored and written about in endless historical non fiction and fictional books. And I’m no different, turning to this archaic and hidden world to explore the supernatural world of my Beyond Series of novels.
One of my favourite deities is Anubis. Depicted as half human half canine or dog. The Anubis was the protector of death, an connected to the embalming and rebirth of the corpse. When I was developing my series, I just thought Egyptian dieties would work well as my were-wolves in Demon Lupus – Second Book in The Beyond Series , who only become immortal when they creat their first ‘pup’. They could also take on the form of the Egyptian God, Anubis. The history of my supernatural creatures in my series are very closely connected to Egypt and their various deities.
Madinat Habu Temple has some of the best preserved frescos with the original paint used, so you can get a great idea of just how bright and colourful the temples were. This is a photo of a ceiling that is depicting The Goddess Isis and her feathered white wings of protection. As a goddess of health, marriage and wisdom, she is also represented as a sycamore tree, cobra, vulture, or in human form she carries the Ankh, a symbol of life and wearing either a throne shaped crown or a sun disk in a set of cow horns (symbol of Hathor Goddess)
This was one of the first wondrous sites I saw of Egypt as we boarded our boat for the week long cruise along the Nile, starting from Luxur and heading down to Aswan, then back again. These are Falooka sail boats at sunset, little fishing boats, which I did sail on later on the trip. But this view is just so awesome, Ithink. I could look at this photo all day long and conjure up stories of this mystical land.
The first day we headed out to Karnak Temple in Luxur and at the back of the temple was Hatshepsut’s Obelisk. She was the primary wife of Thutmose II and reigned jointly with her husbands son Thutmose III, who was conceived by a secondary wife. When he was made Pharaoh as a young child she took over leadership of Egypt and was considered the most successful female Pharaoh. This gets complicated now as the Royal Dynasties liked to ‘keep it in the family’, so Hatshepsut was the first daughter and classed as the Kings Daughter by Thutmose I primary wife – Thutmose II (who became her husband and Pharaoh) he was also Thutmose I child, but was born to a secondary wife. So I guess Hatshepsut figured she was more entitled to the throne than her ‘half-brother-husband and her step-son-nephew!! Incest was rife and it gets better as we travel through the dynasties. This is the tallest standing Obelisk in the world.
This is the temple dedicated to Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri. I love the idea of a Queen depicted as a Goddess and the incestual relationships behind closed doors from the major part of the Egyptian population. A subject I wanted to explore in my first book of the Beyond Series – Didikai Witch in which the coven of Romanian Gypsies closed their castle gates to the rest of the world. Instead of the inbreeding and creating anomalies and disfigurements it made the bloodline and powers stronger until the clan created a super-witch in the form of Amethyst.
This is Rameses II paying homage to Isis who was the first daughter of Geb, god of Earth and Nut, goddess of the Sky. She married her brother Osiris and was instrumental in his resurrection when he was murdered by his brother Set. She used her magical powers to restore Osiris’s body parts back together as they had been separated and flung around the world to prevent him having an afterlife, which was incredibly important to the Egyptians. She represents the mother of Gods, birth and immortality, which I thought very apt for my immortal creatures in The Beyond Series
Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple built in Ptolemaic dynasty, 180-47 BC it has an unusual, symmetrical ‘double’ design that meant there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu and the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris, also known as Horus the Elder.
Lion Goddess Sekhmet at Hatshepsut Temple. She was a warrior goddess whose breath created the desert. As a solar deity she was considered the fiercest goddess of war, love, fire, dance and medicine. I loved looking at the feline deities like Sekhmet and Bast or Bastet, from Egypt for my Lycan Cat Pride in Lycan Lamia – the fourth book in The Beyond Series as the deities are all half human, half animal, I thought it was a great way to explain the beginning of the immortal supernatural race on Earth and the religion and society that developed around worshipping them thousands of years ago.
Karnak Temple of Amun entrance lined with hundreds of Lion Headed Sphinx statues that along the main road from this temple at Luxor (in ancient times known as Thebes). The Royal road ran from Coptos to Syrene (Aswan) cutting through this Karnak temple.
Abu Haggag Mosque is situated on some ruins of part of the Karnak Temple. The mosque was actually built on top of the ruins before the Ancient Egyptian Temple was discovered under the earth and sand in the late Nineteenth Century.
A Sufi Shaykh, Abu Haggag is classed as Luxor’s main saint and lived in luxor for much of the ninety years of his life. Although building on such an important historical site was be frowned upon today, I still like the idea of past and present religions being built on the same site.
At the Kom Ombo Temple there are lots of these mummified crocodiles dedicated to the God Sobek, God of Nile, Military, Army and fertility. Sobek was a violent, but protective God and although I haven’t yet written about a were-crocodile I do love the idea and would like to research further into various predatory creatures who could be half human. Something to watch out for I think.
The Kom Ombo Temple was used mainly by the Ptolemy Dynasty who weren’t Egyptians at all and were in fact Romans behaving like Egyptians so that the populace would accept their rule. On this fresco It depicts Horus with Ptolemy VIII who married his Sister Cleopatra II and later his niece and daughter of Cleopatra II and his other brother Ptolemy VI. I hope that makes some sense, but you can see how incestuous the ancient civilisations were and amazed there weren’t more birth defects, but I’ve read before there was a lot of madness amongst the Royal Romans!
There is so much for me to write, I’ve decided to do this blog over several instalments so tune in next time for the next exciting chapter.