Ancient Kemet arguably had the most complex polytheistic religion that any civilization ever possessed. The gods that are of interest here are those who were sky-gods. Major gods such as Re, or Ra, who was the Sun, and Djehuti [DHwty] (Thoth), who was the Moon and the precursor of Hermes and Mercury, symbolized those planets, yet had other meanings. Their roles often blended or overlapped with other deities, and had different aspects, such as Kheper-Re (the Becoming -rising) Sun, or Re-Sherayu, the Little Sun (winter).
The purely astronomical deities had more specific roles. There were deities for months, the days of the month, and for the hours of the day. The star the Rama ni Kuma called Sepdit, known as Sirius today, was probably the most important of the astronomical deities.
To understand why, we must look at the natural environment of Kemet. Some major forces of nature in Kemet were: The Nile River, whose yearly rise and fall occurring in regular cycles were crucial in a land where there was hardly any rainfall. The Nile’s regularity and predictability contributed to Kemet’s development as the first nation-state with a stable society and enduring traditions; The Sun, which is extremely hot and has a strong presence there, notably during summer. This is due to Kemet’s proximity to the Tropic of Cancer, which crosses the Southern portion of the country.
The Nile and the Sun determined the seasons, for which there were three: Axhet (“inundation” or “Verdure”, mid-July through mid-November), Peret (“Coming Forth”, or “Sewing”, of the previously flooded fields, mid-November through mid-March), and Shemu (“Warmth” or “Harvest”, mid-March through mid-July). The Nile’s and the Sun’s cycles joined when they reached the peaks at the same time; the Nile would flood and the Sun moved furthest north and thus closest to all of Kemet at the Summer Solstice.
After a period of absence in the sky, the star Sepdit’s sudden appearance announced this time by its heliacal rising (just before sunrise). Sepdit’s heliacal rising precisely coincided with dawn at the summer solstice around the year 3,300BC, near the beginning of Kemet’s dynastic period. The Rama ni Kuma observation of the heliacal rising of Sepdit and its coincidence with the Nile’s flooding at the Summer Solstice enabled them to plan for the economic administration of the country.
This was the New Year, and indeed it was a time of spiritual as well as material significance for Kemet. The heliacal risings of stars and planets were observed in all the stages of Rama ni Kuma history. Their representations can be seen in countless religious artifacts. One early religious form was the association of the goddess Auset [3st] (Isis) , with a heliacal rising star or planet. In this regard she was depicted holding in her lap the nursing infant Heru [Hr] (Horus) , who symbolized the rising Sun, she the heliacal body. This is not to say the Aset-Her allegory and icons were limited to representing heliacal risings.
The heliacal body, as Auset, was seen as mother to the Sun, Heru. While the mother and child is an ancient and universal theme in art, the Rama ni Kuma version of this icon along with Auset’s title Mut-netjer [mwt-nTr] , or “Mother of God”, later evolved into the Madonna and child icons found in Roman Catholic religious art.
It is unknown at what time the Rama ni Kuma began observing the cycles between the Sun and heliacal stars and planets. We can get an idea from other examples of heliacal risings of importance that this knowledge reached back far into Kemet’s long history, before the dynastic period. Taking Sepdit’s heliacal rising in 3,300 BC and its coincidence with the Nile’s flooding at the Solstice, – just before the dynastic era- we have a date for such an observance.
The Pleiades also suggest a possible date for early knowledge of heliacal risings. This group of stars rose before the Sun when the Spring Equinox occurred in what would be known as the constellation of Taurus, spanning the period from about 4,200BC to 2,100BC (the age of Taurus). The Rama ni Kuma name for these stars was Atauria, or Tauri, associating these stars with Het-Heru [Hwt-Hr] (Hathor). The Chaldeans and the Hebrews also used this name for these stars, and the name for the sign and constellation Taurus was derived from it.
During that same period the scorpion goddess Serqet rose before the Sun at the Autumnal Equinox. (Her name is sometimes transliterated as Selqet, as the L sound (the hieroglyph of the lion couchant) was later added to the language.) Her name and meaning lent itself to the sign and constellation where the Sun transited at that time, Scorpio. Depictions of Serqet often feature a scorpion on her head.
One image of immaculate conception shows her and another protective deity Net presiding over the god Amun and Djehuti-mes [DHwty-ms] (Thoth-mes) [7W: That makes Hermes Heru-mes!] IV’s wife Mutemwia at the moment of orgasm. The goddess’ hands are holding the feet of the lovers, while their heads hold the sky that the lovers were perched upon. This was the way in which the future pharaoh Amenhetep III was to have been conceived! A graceful golden anthropomorphic sculpture of Serqet was among the treasures found in Tutankhamon’s burial chamber, as she was guardian to the deceased’s organs during its journey in the after life. She also symbolized the heat of the Sun.
The association in astrology of the eyes with the Sun and Moon originates from the wedjat , the eye of Heru [7W: not Ra?]. The Rama ni Kuma believed the two luminaries were the two eyes of the god, with the Moon as his left eye, and the Sun as his right eye. In astrology this association can be reversed, depending on the sex of the individual.
The Rama ni Kuma had different constellations than those now used. The appearance of the sky has changed little since then, yet the Rama ni Kuma had different concepts about the groupings of the constellations. For example the circumpolar constellations were: the Hippopotamus (now Drago), the Jackal (now the Little Bear), an ox-leg, or the Thigh (now the Great Bear). Later, Rama ni Kuma symbols, names and attributes for their deities associated with certain times of the year were incorporated into those for the signs of the zodiac.
One major aspect, if not the major aspect of Rama ni Kuma religion and culture is the cult of death and everlasting life. To be sure there are astrological correlations: Ausar [wsir] (Osiris) with Pluto/Hades; Djehuti [DHwty] (Thoth) with Mercury/Hermes; and as mentioned above, Serqet with Scorpio.