Thoth - The Magician’s Magician
Titles: Lord of the Sacred Words
Symbols: ibis, baboon, writing palette and reed pens, crescent moon
Cult Center: Hermopolis
The most popular and enduring of all the gods, Thoth has been responsible for keeping Egyptian magic in the forefront of learning since the collapse of the empire. Although in the later Dynastic period he was merely labelled the 'scribe of the gods'. Some stories place him as a son of Ra, others say that Thoth created himself through the power of language. He is the creator of magic, the inventor of writing, teacher of man, the messenger of the gods (and thus identified by the Greeks with Hermes) and the divine record-keeper and mediator.
Thoth [E=Tahuti,Tehuty or Djehuty]
Patron of: knowledge, secrets, writing, and scribes
Appearance: A man with the head of an ibis holding a scribe's palette and stylus. He was also shown as a full ibis, or sometimes as baboon.
The magician's magician since he is endowed with complete knowledge and wisdom. He invented all the arts and sciences, astronomy, soothsaying, magic, medicine, surgery and most important of all - writing. As inventor of hieroglyphs, he was titled 'Lord of the Holy Words'; he was the first of magicians and compiled books of magic which contained 'formulas which commanded all the forces of nature and subdued the very gods themselves'. He appears to be long-suffering and is usually called upon to sort out the chaos created by the rest of the pantheon.
It was this power that earned him the name Tahuti - three times very, very great - which the Greeks translated as Hermes Trismegistus. He is identified as a lunar deity [E=Aah-tehuti] and his sacred animals are the ibis and the baboon. His chief festival was celebrated on the 'nineteenth of the month of Thoth', a few days after the full moon at the beginning of the Egyptian New Year. He was later identified with Mercury but should never be under-estimated, especially his role within the Primitive Path. He is associated with Hod on the Tree of Life and The Magus in the Tarot, his colour being amethyst the symbol of mystical power.
Thoth is considered a lunar deity and is often depicted wearing the lunar crescent on his head. There is a story told of how Thoth won a portion of Khonsu's light. Thoth was worshipped widely throughout all of Egypt, his cult center was Hermopolis.
Feast of Thoth.
Day 19 of Dhwty in the season of Aket (Inundation)
(6th August, depending on how calendar is calculated)
A happy day in heaven in front of Re, the Great Ennead is in great festivity. Burn incense on the fire. It is the day of receiving. It is the day of going forth of
Prayer or divinatory time: dawn.
Prayer or Invocation
Such was all-knowing Tahuti [Thoth], who saw all things,
and seeing understood,
and understanding has the power to disclose
and to give explanation.
For what he knew, he graved on stone;
Yet though he graved them onto stone he hid them mostly...
The sacred symbols of the cosmic elements
he hid away hard by the secrets of Osms
... keeping sure silence,
that every younger age of cosmic time might seek for them.
(Kore Kosmu -G SR Meade translation]
I have just been reading The Wisdom of Ancient Egypt by Joseph Kaster (originally published in 1968), anyway the chapter I was making some notes on concerned the Pyramid Texts and the story of Osiris (I should add that it was a compilation of spells or groups of spells rearranged to tell the story). There was a section that dealt with the assigning of Osiris in his place in the genealogy of the Gods, and Thoth was listed as one of the brothers of Osiris. In a footnote it said that it was one of the few references to Thoth as a brother of Osiris and an accomplice of Set.
[Thoth aids Set against Osiris]
Behold what Set and Thoth have done, your two brothers, who knew not how to weep for you!
Set, this your brother is this one here, Osiris, who is made to endure and to live, that he may punish you!
Thoth, this your brother is this one here, Osiris, who is made to endure and to live, that he may punish you!
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Symbol of Upper Egypt
The flowering lotus was the symbol of Upper Egypt. The flower is firmly linked with the rising and the setting of the sun, and thus to the sun god and the story of creation. The lotus motif is a frequent feature of temple column architecture.