Saturday, November 13, 2010

Afro-Asiatic Rulers and Celestial Archetypes

Alice C. Linsley

Mircea Eliade wrote extensively on the ritual nature of primitive societies. He noted that annual feasts/fasts and ceremonies were patterned after celestial archetypes and corresponded to events in the heavens such as the solstices and the equinoxes. The same can be said for social structures such as government. While Eliade explored ruler archetypes across many cultures (sometimes comparing apples and oranges), this essay explores the pattern of the ruler only among the ancient Afroasiatics by exploring cognates from Afro-Asiatic languages.

According to the linguist Christopher Ehret, traditional Afro-Asiatic religion was originally henotheistic. Henotheism is belief in a supreme creator God with lesser assisting semi-divine powers in a hierarchical ranking, like a pyramid. While each community was headed by a hereditary ritual leader, each clan had guardians from among the lesser powers (along the line of guardian angels).  In ancient Egypt these powers were represented by animals and insect totems and/or plants. Only one power was represented as a man - Horus - who was called the "son of God" and who was served by a caste of royal priests called "Horites."

Ehret refers to the ritual priests among the Kushites as the '*wap'er'.  They were accorded significant political authority alongside the ruler. The *wap'er presided over the rituals directed toward the High God and acted as the intercessor and prophet of the God. These are the ruler-priests, called har-wa and sarki in ancient Egypt.

Dr. Dan Kashagam, General Secretary of the African Unification Front, explains that Africans had various terms that referred to the different offices of government. A king in ancient Kush titled 'Ko' or 'Nesu Biti', a female Head of State was Gore, a female Head of Government was Kandake, a diplomat was Akiki, a governor was Peshto etc. These institutions were fully developed and already in use by 3,800 BCE... along with very sophisticated state and parliamentary protocols that defined responsibilities of the leaders and the citizens towards each other.

The most famous name for a parliament in Africa is the word "Pharaoh". The word actually translates "great house", a common African expression for a senate or national parliament. Variants of the phrase might be Lesser House - to indicate a provincial parliament. The term pharaoh does not refer merely to a physical building, or a dynastic line, although it may have had dual meaning in later centuries. The actual term for king in ancient Egyptian is nesu biti."

It is to Ko for king and sa for great that we must turn now.  In the following list of cognates, we note how the K and Sa frequently appear in the Afro-Asiatic languages.

malku - king (Ugaritic)
melek - king (Hebrew)
sar - king (Sumerian)  Sar-gon is related to the Chadic word for king - gon lere.
sa-ra - son of Ra or Ra is great (Egyptian)
sarru - king (Babylonian/Assyrian)
sarki - ruler-priest (Chadic and Sudra of India and Nepal)
bo kor - king (Kushitic)  Ko or qo was an honorific suffix for rulers, as in Sheba-qo and Tahar-qo.
kan or khan - male leader, where the Bible derives the word Kain, for the first ruler.
kandake - female leader, spealled Candace in English Bibles.
ko - king  (Kushite/Egyptian)

Dr. Kashagam mentions the term Nesu biti, another reference to king. However, it refers specifically to the ruler of a united kingdom comprising the Upper Nile and the Lower Nile. Nesu biti contains the signs for sedge and bee.  Sedge was the symbol of the Upper Nile and the bee was the symbol of the Lower Nile. The titles Nesu biti and Sa Ra ("Ra is great") appear together in cartouches and point to the celestial pattern which the ancient Egyptians believed that their king exemplified on earth. The Ko was the deified ruler. These Kushite rulers are called "sons of God" in Genesis 6:1-2. They ruled over two lands which is why they wore a double crown. The Kushite rulers united the peoples of the Upper and Lower Nile to one another and united the peoples to the deity Ra (Re).

Christians will note that the celestial archetype applies to Jesus Christ, and is manifested in a pronounced way at his baptism at an ancient Afroasiatic river shrine called Nim-Ra, meaning the "waters of Ra." Rivers among Abraham's Kushite ancestors represent numerous celestial archetypes. The ancient Egyptians were great sky watchers.  They observed that the Pole Star (Vega or Wa'gi in Arabic) and the Sun were sometimes visible at the same time on opposite sides of the Nile. This was an auspicious connection. The Nile would have been considered the place of meeting, a sacred center.

Likewise, the clan of Manasseh held land on opposite sides of the Jordan. On the west side Manasseh and Ephraim were considered of the "house of Joseph." On the east side, Manasseh (M-nasheh) and Gad (Gd)were a confederation of the "house of Jacob." Joseph represents the Hamitic/Kushitic/Egyptian heritage of the people. As the Biblical anthropologist Susan Burns points out, "Joseph is the patriarch of the ceph tribes. Ceph is suph (papyrus)." Jacob symbolizes the Semitic/Aramaic/Mesopotamian heritage of the people, symbolized the gd ha-nasheh, the sinew which was touched by the angel of the Lord.

Susan Burns writes, "This sinew is called gid ha'nasheh in Hebrew. The sciatic nerve begins at the heel of the foot and travels up the back of each leg to the base of the spine. This nerve is enclosed in a protective sinew that is common to all mammals. When the angel touched his own thigh, the thigh of Jacob was damaged. The connection Jacob had with his angel was located in the gid or sciatic nerve."

There is a relationship between nasheh and nahushtan, the bronze serpent on Moses' rod. Reeds, sinews, veins, lightening and rivers are like serpents. It is easy to see how prehistoric man might have thought of lightening as God's serpent. Where it struck there was a connection between heaven and earth. That place would be considered the sacred center, just as the Nile was the sacred center between the Pole Star and the rising sun, and the Jordan was the sacred center between M-nasheh/Ephraim and M-nasheh/Gad.

In the older Proto-Saharan languages spoken by Abraham's Kushite ancestors N at the end of the word designates 2.  Appa is father, but appan means fathers. At the beginning of the word N designates 1 and refers to the deity, as in the Egyptian ntr - god/deity. The original root for vein, river, serpent, sinew and lightening was NS. The S originally would have been a pictograph of a serpent or anything serpentine. It also indicates "great" and can mean "Man" (Egyptian - sa), and throne (Proto-Saharan es or is). NS suggests connection between heaven and earth, or between deity and man. The serpent was a sacred symbol to the Kushites, especially to the metalworking clans such as the Hittites who called themselves NS (Nes).

Manasseh was divided because Joseph's other son was of the House of Potiphar and probably stayed in Heliopolis. This is consistent with the marriage and ascendency pattern of firstborn sons among Abraham's Horite people. The firstborn of the ruler's half-sister wife ascended to the throne of his biological father. So Isaac ascended to the throne of Abraham. The firstborn son of the ruler's cousin/niece wife ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. So Joktan, Abraham's firstborn son by Keturah, ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. Joktan the Younger was the progenitor of the Joktanite Tribes of Arabia.


  1. The West Kushitic "bo qor" is very interesting. Bokker is Hebrew for "morning" and also is derived from the same root as "blessing". I think it may also be cognate to "boots" which is what Greek speakers called the Plowman constellation but cannot confirm that.

  2. That's an interesting connection. The ruler-priest rose early to face the rising Sun and offer the blessing. The Sun Blessing (Birkat Hachama)is still said by Jewish rabbis every 28 years.


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