From The Ancient Kemetic Roots of Library and Information Science
By Itibari M. Zulu
A Library: A Literature
An obvious axiom in any discussion of libraries is that one must first have a literature in order to have a library. In this regard, Kemet was rich: (1) the Egyptian language is the oldest written (via hieroglyphics) language in existence (McWhirter, 1982, 166); (2) evidence of a literature is present in the library of Akhenaton (Amenhotep/Amenophis, IV) which contains numerous clay tablets/books in cuneiform writing representing diplomatic correspondence between Amenhotep III, Akhenaton’s father, and nation‑states subject to Egypt (Metzger, 1980, 211); (3) the Palermo Stone, a book of annals of Kemet mentioning Seshait (Seshat/Sesheta) as the goddess of libraries, writing, and letters (Richardson, 1914, 58‑60); and (4) the text of the Precepts of Ptah‑hotep, one of the first (c. 4000 B.C.) philosophical compositions (composed 2,000 years before the Ten Commandments of Moses and 2,500 years before the Proverbs of Solomon), engraved in stone (Nichols, 1964, 33‑34).
Hence literature in ancient Kemet was common and varied in its form. Sometimes it was on papyrus and at other times it was carved/engraved in stone (c. 2700 B.C.) on the walls of temples (library‑universities), pyramids, and other monuments (Nichols, 1964, 32). Fortunately, works written in stone have survived, to provide unequivocal evidence of an extensive Kemetic tradition.7 Continue reading
The Prophecies of Hermes (Tehuti)
Pure philosophy is spiritual striving, through constant contemplation to attain True Knowledge of Atum the One –God. But, speaking now in prophecy, I say that in times to come, no one will pursue philosophy with single-mindedness and purity of heart. Those with a grudging and ungenerous temperament will try and prevent men discovering the priceless gift of immortality. Philosophy [Spirituality] will become confused, making it hard to comprehend. It will be corrupted by spurious speculation. It will be entangled with bewildering sciences like arithmetic, music and geometry.
The student of pure philosophy studies the sciences not as fanciful theories, but as devotion to Atum – because they reveal a universe perfectly ordered by the power of number; because measuring the depth of the sea and forces of fire and magnitude of physical things leads to a reverent awe at the Creator’s skill and wisdom; because the mysteries of music bear witness to the unsurpassed talent of the Supreme Artist who has beautifully harmonized all things into a single Whole, suffused with sweet melodies. Continue reading
By J. Hill
Tehuti (Thoth, Djehuty, Tahuti, Tetu) was one of the earlier Egyptian gods. He was popular throughout Egypt, but was particularly venerated in Khnum (Hermopolis Magna) where he was worshipped as part of the Ogdoad. As the power of his cult grew, the myth was rewritten to make Tehuti the creator god. According to this variant, Tehuti (with His head in the form of an ibis, one of his sacred animals) laid an egg from which Ra (Atum, Nefertum, or khepri) was born.
Other myths suggest that Tehuti created himself through the power of language (in an interesting parallel to the phrase in the Gospel according to St John “in the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”). His song was thought to have created eight deities of the Ogdoad (the gods Nun, Heh, Kuk and Amun and the goddesses Nunet, Hauhet, Kuaket and Amaunet).
The moon and the sun were initially thought of as the left and right eyes of Heru (Horus). Continue reading
A very well known image of Tehuti, the ibis headed Black man.
Name in Medu Neter
Major spiritual center: Khmun
Symbol: The papyrus scroll
Parents: None, thought to be self created, around the same time as Ma’at
Consort: Ma’at, Seshat
Tehuti (also Djehuti), the lord of Khemmenu, self created, to whom non had given birth, is the Neter responsible for teaching the world to write and record information with the Medu Neter system. From many Funerary texts, it’s known that Tehuti was the Neter of all the arts and sciences, that he was the “lord of books,” and the “scribe of the Neteru”, and “Mighty in speech”.
From the Pyramid Texts it’s known that Tehuti was in service to deceased kings. His service was eagerly awaited by the by the souls waiting to join the realm of the Ancestors. People waited for him because it was with him that Ma’at weighed their heart against their past actions. Continue reading
Heh and Hauhet, Deities of Infinity and Eternity
By Caroline Seawright
The ancient Egyptians [KMT] believed that before the world was formed, there was a watery mass of dark, directionless chaos. In this chaos lived the Ogdoad of Khmunu (Hermopolis), four frog gods and four snake goddesses of chaos. These deities were Nun and Naunet (water), Amun and Amaunet (invisibility), Heh and Hauhet (infinity) and Kek and Kauket (darkness).
The water stretched infinitely off in all directions, as ever lasting as time itself. Heh and Hauhet came to symbolise infinity. After time began, Heh and Hauhet came to symbolise limitless time, and long life.
The frog or human headed god Heh (Huh) was one of the original eight gods of the Ogdoad of Khmunu Continue reading
…shades of night.
“The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, Continue reading
Male Nkisi Figure with Strips of Hide, held at the Brooklyn Museum, CC
Nkisi (plural minkisi, zinkisi or nkisi [n- concords with mi-] according to dialect). The term nkisi is the general name for a a spirit, or for any object that spirit inhabits. It is frequently applied to a variety of objects used throughout the Congo Basin in Central Africa thought to contain spiritual powers or spirits. The term and its concept have passed with the enslavement of Africans into the Americas, especially South America (in Palo Mayombe the spirits of nkisi are often called “[…]”).
The current meaning of the term derives from the root, *-kitį- referring to a spiritual entity, or material objects in which it is manifested or inhabits in Proto-Njila, an ancient subdivision of the Bantu language family.
In its earliest attestations in Kikongo dialects in the early seventeenth century it was spelled “mokissie” (in Dutch), as the mu- prefix in this noun class were still pronounced, and was reported by Dutch visitors to Loango as referring both to a material item and the spiritual entity that inhabits it. In the sixteenth century, when the Kingdom of Kongo was converted to Christianity, ukisi (a substance having characteristics of nkisi) was used to translate “holy” in the Kikongo Catechism of 1624. Continue reading