Thursday, March 26, 2015

Egypt Centre, Swansea: Shsh....secrets (Harpocrates and initiation rituals!)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Shsh....secrets (Harpocrates and initiation rituals!)

The figure to the right has his finger to his mouth. This is Horus the Child, or in Greek, Harpocrates (from the Egyptian Hor-pa-khered literally Horus the Child). You can recognize children in ancient Egyptian depictions by their hair (the side-lock of youth) and by the finger placed against the lips. Indeed, the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for a child showed a child with finger to lips. 

Our copper alloy statuette here right (W1375) has both these characteristics. BUT, the Greeks misunderstood why Harpocrates had his fingers to his lips and reinterpreted him has a god of silence (and secrets).

In the last blog post I explained that Sekhmet was sometimes used in Theosophical rituals. Well, it seems Harpocrates was also used in modern rituals, and all because of the Greeks associating him with silence and secrecy. If you google, you will find, for example, that he appears in initiation rituals in Golden Dawn societies.

Those Greeks had a lot to answer for!

A little bit more about this object: It is 13 cm high, and would have been a votive offering.

The Centre has several other items relating to Harpocrates. Click here to investigate.

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