Thoth Introduces When It Rained in Egypt:

The Boat of Ra and the Serpent of Chaos

Atum and the Tone of Creation

Ma'at, Neter of Truth

 

(THOTH's opening narration begins in total darkness. MUSIC: low sustained tone of D on crystal singing bowl; sound fades as THOTH speaks.)

THOTH:

 

In the beginning of life in the realm of the Gods, before we walked among you and taught humankind the arts of riding the time of the river and living in the green of the Earth, before there were birds and running beasts and fishes, the sole power who ruled what you see was Ra, Lord of the Sun.

 (Faint yellow light appears at one edge of the space, gradually brightening into a suggestion of sunrise, then the light clarifies into a KHU image of RA in flight, followed by another image of RA standing in in the BOAT of HEAVEN with other Neters. As the boat moves RA's figure increases in size, and the other figures grow smaller. Crystal bowl tone shifts to E.)

 

 

THOTH:

This is how you have always seen Him: sailing each night through the Land of Darkness, standing at the front of the boat, blazing each day from His arc in the sky, shedding His light, watching the river, yes, like a hawk, for any new move or shadow, any sign of change. You see the usual dignitaries on deck, the myth of universal order. The real story was that like the head of almost any organization, Lord Ra-- and all life, honor and praise be unto Him -- was almighty, but not quite all-happy. He was nervous about sharing His power, and seemed to feel that any other Neter who grew healthy and strong was out to cut His wings, or sink His boat, or work some other wrong.

 

I should know. I'm His younger brother. I had to fight at first for every breath, until I found more subtle ways to free my will. Fortunately for me, for all of us, Ra was mighty in vision but deliberate in action. He could be led into decisions that he might regret later by other minds that were less sweeping than his, but faster. This may sound strange. Can anything possibly be swifter than the rays of the sun? Yes. Only one thing. Thought is the only thing that is faster than light. My gift was quickness of mind.

(THOTH KHU image, showing him in the form of a white crested ibis, fades in.)

 THOTH:

My name is Djehuti. For our purposes in this story I go by the simpler name Thoth. I was the first royal official ever to be economical with the truth when talking with the King. Why did I have to do this, even at the risk that Ra would burn me black and hurl me all the way over the horizon, into the jaws of the Serpent? To tell you this, we have to start before the beginning, when there was no land or sky, when everything was in the coils of Apop, of Chaos.

(SOUNDS of wind, rushing water, earthquake as THOTH KHU vanishes. LIGHTS suggest a black, roiling ocean as THOTH Actor enters the Space, wearing his Ibis mask at first, then removing it to speak again. As he speaks the CHAOS SOUNDS intensify, LIGHTS darken and accelerate roiling wave effect.)

THOTH:

This is one way we see the world: as an egg or a delicate ball held in the coils of a great black Snake who loves to eat. If we--that is, divine and human beings--live in truth, the Serpent stays under the line where the Sky meets the Earth. But if we violate truth, then Apop flexes his rage and the ground shakes. The head rises, the jaws are huge, the black breath a whirlwind. At the beginning, it was like this, everywhere, all the time. Then the ideas of stillness and order, of safety and light, began to form in the Creator's mind. He spoke the sound that first made peace, and pinned the Serpent where he cannot break the world as long as the Sun stays on his course through the Sky. The sound of Creation is:

ENSEMBLE:

Om! (Repeat) Ah! (Repeat) Ah Om! (Repeat, then pause) Atum!

(As ENSEMBLE chants the first Om, the wave effect of LIGHT recedes and SOUNDS fade. As the Ah chant begins, LIGHTS fade up, and ENSEMBLE walk through AUDIENCE, inviting them to join. Chant accelerates again on Ah Om and becomes rhythmic, accentuated by small bells. On Atum, there is a brilliant flash of light, concentrating gradually into the ATUM KHU.)

THOTH:
Atum was the first active, shaping energy to emerge from Nun, the Abyss, the timeless mystery that could not issue anything from itself, but could only wait for the creative decision, the sound and the sweep of the hand to come from another. The moment Atum took action--and his name is like your word "atom" because he charged the dark broth of matter to take action as myriad forms of life--all things were defined and ready to be born. All the Neters, all things that move, all the sea and teeming green could now appear when their living space was ready.

The first divine idea to form in Atum's mind was Truth, the goddess who would take form as my wife. It still amazes me that Atum did not covet her for himself. I am eternally happy that Atum felt so perfectly complete that I got to be the first male ever to be amazed by his luck in love.

MA'AT: (OFF) Please!
THOTH: (To CELEBRANTS:) Would you like to meet my exquisite half, my -- (MA'AT KHU appears) -- ahhh. I thought so.
MA'AT: I am called Ma'at. All blessings to you, and all the lives you touch. I hope you enjoy the speech of my lover here, my beak of delight at the pink of dawn.
THOTH: How is the story so far?
MA'AT: Accurate. Sincere. It could put on some speed.
MA'AT KHU vanishes and MA'AT enters. She addresses the CELEBRANTS:
You may have some questions. Why do I appear like this in the body of a woman while my husband wears the head of a bird, at least in public, and may even appear costumed as a baboon? Do the people who first envisioned us really worship cats and dogs, crocodiles and beetles? Not exactly. We see in all these beings the wing and the eye and the heart of the One Divine Spirit. This is how the world as we see it now began:

 

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Copyright 2007 Dan Furst