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Bata Becomes A Pharaoh


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Man Reaches for the Gods.

In the complexities of the relationships between humans and gods, mythmakers sometimes move humans toward godliness. Their storytelling efforts take varying forms. In some cases, a person is influenced through his life by the gods, and in certain cases he moves into a state in which he is both human and god, a suggestion that he has successfully navigated the deepening chasm between mortality and immortality. In the language of storytelling, the human in some way touches God, or God becomes a part of him, and so he reaches for that lost unity for which he passionately yearns.

(Egypt) In an ancient Egyptian myth, a man, with the active guidance of the gods, moves to the status of pharaoh, a being who has god in him. When Bata refuses to be seduced by his brother Anpu's wife, she accuses him of wronging her. Bata must flee Anpu's wrath. Ra creates a body of water to separate the brothers, and Bata, protesting his innocence to his brother, severs his penis and throws it into the water. Bata then goes into an acacia forest. The gods, pained because of Bata's loneliness, create a wife for him. But because he has emasculated himself, he cannot consummate the relationship. He informs her that his soul is in a flower at the top of an acacia tree. His wife leaves him, marries a pharaoh, and tells her husband where Bata's soul can be found. The flower is found, destroyed, and Bata dies. Anpu, having killed his wife for her false accusation of Bata, finds his brother's body, and, with the seed from the flower that had contained his soul, gives him life. Bata is now transformed into a great ox, and he reveals himself to his wife at the palace of the pharaoh. The wife has the pharaoh kill the ox. When the ox is slaughtered, drops of blood grow into two great persea trees, and again Bata reveals himself to his wife. She has the pharaoh cut the trees down. When they are felled, a chip from one of the trees enters the mouth of the wife, and she becomes pregnant. A son, Bata, is born to her. When the pharaoh dies, Bata takes his place, becoming pharaoh; he judges his wife, and brings his brother to live with him. The various transformations of Bata, within the context and under the influence of the woman created for him by the gods, lead him from mortality to immortality, lead him to union with God.

Subjects: Religion.


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