In many instances of pharaohs from Egypt, there is a serpent depicted as emanating from the persons ‘third eye’; in between the eyes in the middle of the forehead.
This symbol of the snake emanating from the forehead actually had a name in ancient Egypt, and was referred to as Uraeus. Not only did the Uraeus symbolise the royalty and sovereignty of the pharaohs, it was also actually said to be a protector – a representative of the goddess Wadjet who was actually depicted as the cobra. On the left is a pendant depicting this Uraeus: a solid golden disk displaying the Egyptian cobra with a sun disk upon its head. This was found inside the pyramid of Senusret II who ruled around 1897 BC.
Here we have an Egyptian wall of hieroglyphic art – the specifics or place of which I am not quite certain at all. This is showing us the uniting of the human and the non-human. A two-headed serpent which has the body of a man; on both sides of this figure we see depicted boats which are meant to symbolise ‘worlds’. This could be a depiction of Nehebkau, that which binds two parts of the human soul together (Ka and Ba). These two parts of the soul are bound together, along with the rest of it, after death which could suggest this figure being a guardian of the underworld – this would also explain the two boats beside him or it. IF these are alchemical metaphors (physical or spiritual), then most all paintings or religious depictions of a figure with the head of an animal and the body of a man would have to be reanalysed with this conclusion in mind… it is quite a jump that which I’m not quite ready to make just yet, at least until I’ve considered the vast horde of information described in this way.
To see the Greek and Egyptian mythos’ combined so intricately in this limestone carving on the left featuring the heads of Isis and Dionysus with the bodies of snakes (date unknown) gives much credence to this idea.
Here on the right we have a 1860 CE reproduction of a drawning of a leontocephaline (worship of the god Mithra in Zoroastrianism but also takes the form of the Hellenistic deity Aion) found at the mithraeum of C. Valerius Heracles and sons, dedicated 190 AD.
“[Aion] changes the burden of old age
like a snake who sloughs off the coils
of the useless old scales,
in the swells of the laws [of time].”
~ Nonnus 5th cent. CE,
native of Egypt
From Athanasius Kircher’s Obeliscus Pamphilius,
Interpretatio Noua & Hucusque Intentata Obelisci Hieroglyphici, 1650.
Engraving by Pierre Miotte 1640-1660, engraver, born France?
To me this looks like one of many depictions of the ancient Greek god Serapis. Manly P. Hall, in his The Secret Teaching of All Ages, links this god to the initiation rites of Eluesis.
This is a depiction of Atum and the snake Apophis. Egyptians deified Apophis as the opponent of light and truth; the embodiment of chaos.
Atum is labelled as (quoted from Wikipedia): ‘the ‘complete one’ […] the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle’.
Here we can decipher it means the human or the god, whom is completed, is he who is the man who holds in place things of light and truth and order.
Of course this all connects with the ancient symbol of the Ouroboros – the snake eating itself, representing the all-encompassing aspects of the universe. You can see more information regarding this at another blog post specifically detailing the Ouroboros here: including an ancient Egyptian depiction of this very symbol.
Ex voto tablet
More on the serpent later…