Monday, November 5, 2012

Totems HelpTrace the Relationship of the Horite Clans

Alice C. Linsley

Totems can be used by anthropologists to trace ancestry, clan affiliations, and marriage ties. Most totems of biblical clans are animals, and to understand their symbolism we must place these animals in their natural habitats of Africa and Arabia.

Animal totems are found associated with many African clans. In Kano, Nigeria we find animal totems for the Gusii clans. The Abagirango's totem is the leopard (engo); the Ababasi totem is the zebra (enchage); the Abasweta, Abagetutu, Abanyaribari and Abamachoge have the baboon (engoge); and the Abanchari's totem is the hippo (engubo), which corresponds to the constellation Draco

Animal totems can be used to trace marriage and blood ties. The animal totems of the Israelite clans present a productive area of investigation to round out the picture provided by analysis of the kinship data.

For example, the totem of David’s clan was the lion and the lion appears to have connections to the clan of Nahash (serpent totem). Nahash was the father of Shobi, Abigail and Zeruiah (II Sam. 17:25). David had a sister named Abigail and a wife named Abigail. These may have been the same person.

It is also possible that Abigail, the “daughter of Nahash”, was David's patrilineal cousin bride. If this is the case, taking Abigail as his second wife signaled David's intention to rule. Ascending to the position of ruler required taking a second wife, which for the Horite Hebrew was usually a patrilineal cousin. (See the Marriage and Ascendancy Pattern of the Horite Hebrew.)

The lion was the totem for the clan of Judah. Jacob refers to his son Judah as a Gur Aryeh גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה, which means "young lion" (Gen. 49:9). The totem of Shobal's clan was also the lion fierce in it youthful strength (young lion). Shobal was one of the Horite chiefs named in the Genesis 36 king list.

Using Totems to Trace Clans

Clans took both planets and animals as their totems. The animal totem of the clan of Hamor (one of David’s “great men”) was the wild donkey, the totem of the tribe of Issachar. Hamor was a descendant of Jacob by Leah and was related to the Horite Hebrew listed in Genesis 36. Genesis 36:24 makes the association between the Horite Anah and the wild donkey.

The Horites of Genesis 36

Animal totems are evident in the names listed in the Genesis 36 diagram. These include Zibeon (the hyena), Aiah (the kite), Akan (the roe), and Dishan (the gazelle). Dishan was the father of Aran (the wild goat). The totem of the clan of Caleb was the dog. 1 Chronicles 2:55 says that Caleb's sons were Kenites. Kenaz was a son of Eliphaz by Timna, daughter of Seir, a Horite Hebrew ruler-priest (Gen. 36). Caleb or Kelev means dog. The Canaan Dog (Kelev) was a symbol of the warrior. The Hebrew word for warrior is Gid'on (Gideon). This allusion to the dog clan is found in Judges 7:4-7.

Another Horite Hebrew animal totem is Cheran (the lamb). Such a large number of animal names among the Horite Hebrew suggests a totemic organization of the Horite ruler-priest clans.

Celestial Totems

In the ancient world, animal totems often served as symbols for planets, stars, or constellations. The dog-faced baboon (Papio hamadryas) was brought to Egypt from Nubia and was trained as a pet in noble households. It was associated with the Sun due to its habit of screeching at the first break of dawn. In ancient Egyptian paintings, baboons were shown with the solar orb on their heads and sometimes riding in Re’s solar boat.

The baboon is not a totem of the tribes of Israel as this creature was not a native of Arabia. However, the baboon totem was familiar to the Nilotic Horites and the baboon appears on one of the canpoic jars that held the organs of the Nilotic rulers. The Nilotic Horites were devotees of Horus and the baboon was one of the four manifestations of Horus, along with the falcon, the jackal, and the divine Man.

Baboons on Ra's solar boat facing the scarab.
All are overshadowed by the Sun, the symbol of the Creator.

Among some Horites the equivalent totem was probably the lion’s mane shown as the circle of the sun. This suggests that Judah was the central tribe around which the other totems cycled in a progression that paralleled the celestial bodies.

There is a further suggestion of this in Numbers 2 where each "house" is to camp under its "dgl" which certainly doesn't mean banner or flag. It probably means celestial totem or heavenly covering.

The animal totems often appear on the astronomical ceilings of the tombs of ruling Egyptians such as Senenmut and Seti I. Senemmut was an astronomer.

Senenmut astronomical ceiling c. 1500-1400 BC

The connection between cattle horns and Horus' mother Hathor is shown in the following panel. The Y shape of the horns is a solar cradle and designates divinely appointed rulers among the Horites: Yaqtan (Joktan) who was Abraham's first born son; Yishmael (Ishmael), Yitzak (Isaac), Yacob (Jacob), Yosef (Jospeh), Yetro (Jethro), Yesai (Jesse, Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus), etc. 

Hathor amulet found at Hazor in Israel.

The sun resting on Hathor symbolizes divine overshadowing by which she conceived Horus. Hathor is a type of the Virgin Mary who conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38). Hathor's totem was the long-horned cow and she is show with the solar orb resting in the horns as a sign of divine overshadowing.

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)

Dr. Leser writes as follows:

The ceiling is divided into two sections representing the northern and the southern skies. The southern - upper part shown in the picture above - is decorated with a list of decanal stars, as well as constellations of the southern sky belonging to it like Orion and Sothis (Sopdet). Furthermore, the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury and Venus are shown and associated deities who are traveling in small boats over the sky. Thus, the southern ceiling marks the hours of the night.

The northern - lower part - shows constellations of the northern sky with the large bear in the center. The other constellations could not be identified. On the right and left of it there are 8 or 4 circles shown and below them several deities each carrying a sun disk towards the center of the picture. The inscriptions associated with the circles mark the original monthly celebrations in the lunar calendar, whereas the deities mark the original days of the lunar month (after Meyer, 1982).

The astronomical ceiling is divided along its east-west axis by a text band composed of five registers. The central line which is wider than the other four registers bears together the titles of Hatshepsut and some titles as well as the name of Senenmut....."

Note the bull at the top and the baboon at the bottom.

Ceiling of the tomb of Seti I (c. 1300 B.C.)

Here animal totems and their astronomical relationship are shown, with the Sun and Horus as a Falcon at the the top center. Horus perches on the horn of the celestial bull, a Messianic image. Horus also rests on the celestial lion, the constellation of Leo, and the animal totem of the tribe of Judah. The dog-faced baboon is seen at the far right.

Related reading: Totemism in the Old Testament; Sky Bull Eaten to Gain Immortality; Horite Mounds; The Lion and Judah

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