Aker was an ancient Egyptian earth god, the deification of the horizon, where the eastern and western horizons of the Underworld met. He welcome the dead Pharoah into the underworld. Aker aids the forces of light by binding and chaining the serpent when Ra passes through the underworld. In his role as a protective deity, twin lion statues representing Aker were placed at the doors of palaces and tombs to protect against evil spirits, a practice adopted by both the Greeks and Romans.
Apep (Apop, Apopis, Apophis, Apepi, Aapep)
Apep [also known as Apophis], a terrifying great sea-serpent, is one of Egypt’s most noted dragons. Apep lay in wait in the Egyptian underworld to ambush the sun god, Ra, who had to voyage through it each night ready to rise again. Apep would viciously attack the boat Ra was in as he crossed the sky during the day, and when there was an eclipse, it was believed to be due to Apep swallowing the vessel whole. Despite Apep’s menace, he never gained complete victory over his eternal enemy. However Apep was also never believed to have been fully vanquished. The reddening of the sky at dusk was said to demonstrate that the serpent had been overcome by the sun’s strength. (The Gods Osiris and Atum, from the Tomb of Nefertari.)
A serpent god. Afu Ra [the sun god] had his boat pulled by twelve gods through Ankh-neteru’s body, entering the tail and exiting the mouth. This results in Afu Ra being transformed into Khepera, the ancient god associated with the creation of the world.
During the third millennium B.C. he was described as a fiery serpent. He would have caused an inferno that would have destroyed all of the gods had he not been thwarted by the Egyptian King.
A a servant of Ra, Nehebkau was an Egyptian serpent with human arms and legs. It was the great serpent upon which the world rested, and is sometimes represented with a man’s body and holding the eye of Horus. Nehabkau was known to guard the entrance of the Underworld and accompanied the sun god on his nightly journey through it as well. Although Nehebkau began as a mischievous serpent dragon that the gods could not trust, Ra tamed him and he became one of the helpers to the dead. His key role was to protect the Pharaoh in the afterlife.
Ouroboros, a “tail eater” dragon, constantly holds its tail in its mouth. It represents the cycle of life, death and rebirth, leading to immortality symbolizing the cyclic Nature of the Universe – that creation comes forth of destruction, and life out of death First discovered in Egypt as early as 1600 BC, Egyptians worshipped Ouroboros, as Sata, (Satan) or “Tuat”, on whose back the sun god rose through the underworld each night.
In Greece, it is the symbol of the universe and eternity. The serpent biting its tail is found in other mythological cultures as well, including Norse myth, where the serpent’s name is Jormungand. (Left: Ouroboros: Ancient Alchemy by Abraham Eleazar. c. 1735.)
The Ouroboros often symbolizes self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things such as the phoenix which operate in cycles that begin anew as soon as they end.
Set (or Seth)
The demon of death and evil, characterized as “a strong god (a-pahuti), whose anger is to be feared.” The inscriptions call him “the powerful one of Thebes,” and “Ruler of the South.” He is conceived as the sun that kills with the arrows of heat; he is the slayer, and iron is called the bones of the Greek dragon Typhon.
Hunted animals are consecrated to Set; and his symbols are the griffin (akhekh), the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the swine, the tortoise, and the serpent âpapi (in Greek “apophis”) who was thought to await the dying man in the domain of the god Atmu who represents the sun below the western horizon.
As a cruel Egyptian dragon, Set chased The Divine Boy.
The Uraeus (Horus)
Horus was a fierce and proud ancient Egyptian god. He was the son of Osiris, the god of air and the Earth, and the goddess Isis. Horus grew up in secrecy determined to avenge the death of his father. When he grew up, Horus challenged Seth. The violent fight, where Horus lost one eye, lasted until the assembly of the gods decided to intervene and declare the throne to Horus. Seth was ordered to replace Horus’ eye. But to honor the memory of Osiris, Horus offered the recovered falcon-eye to his father, and covered his wound with a divine serpent, Uraeus. (Image: Tribal Eye of Horus.)
Ever since, the serpent has been considered the emblem of the Egyptian pharaohs.
An Egyptian winged serpent guardian in the form of a cobra sent by Osiris to protect Pharoah and control the Nile.
The cobra goddess was the patroness of Lower Egypt. Wadjet was part of the Osirian myths and was always viewed as a protector of Egypt, depicted as a woman with a cobra head or as a cobra about to strike at the nation’s enemies.
Wadjet (Wadjyt, Wadjit, Uto, Uatchet, Edjo, Buto) was one of the oldest Egyptian goddesses. Her worship was established by the Predynastic Period, but did change somewhat as time progressed. She began as the local goddess of Per-Wadjet (Buto) but soon became a patron goddess of Lower Egypt. By the end of the Predynastic Period she was considered to be the personification of Lower Egypt rather than a distinct goddess and almost always appeared with her sister Nekhbet (who represented Upper Egypt). The two combined represented the country as a whole and were represented in the pharaoh´s “nebty” name (also known as “the two ladies”) which indicated that the king ruled over both parts of Egypt. The earliest recovered example of the nebty name is from the reign of Anedjib of the First Dynasty.
In the Pyramid Texts it is suggested that she created the first papyrus plant and papyrus swamp. Her link to the papyrus is strengthened by the fact that her name was written using the glyph of a papyrus plant and the same plant was the heraldic plant of Lower Egypt.
The twentieth century’s great scholar of occult and esoteric ideas, Manly P. Hall was a Mason, and nurtured a lifelong interest in the secret fraternal order, making it the focus of one of his earliest and best-loved books, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry. In this celebrated work, he examines the ethical training required of a Freemason, and the character traits a Mason must “build” within himself. Hall’s 1923 volume is now reset and made available exclusively in this new edition, along with the author’s two further classics on Masonry:
- Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians (1937) explores the roots of Freemasonry in the initiatory temple rites of Pharaonic Egypt;
- Masonic Orders of Fraternity (1950), a short history that chronicles the reemergence of Freemasonry in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It surveys the lives of Masonry’s modern architects and the secretive organizations that immediately preceded the brotherhood.