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'THE MIDNIGHT SUN'
CONTENTS

PREFACE
(click here to read the full text: Preface)

CHAPTER 1: COSMIC TIME
In this opening chapter, Alford draws upon the pioneering work of Egyptologist Jan Assmann to describe the aims of Egyptian religion and the principles by which those aims were achieved. The Egyptian cosmos, he explains, was a perpetual motion machine, designed to function for 'millions upon millions of years'. The central idea was that the sun-god and the pharaoh would maintain the cosmic order (maat) by re-enacting the events of creation that took place at the first time (zep tepi). Eternal repetition (neheh) of these magical events would result in the eternal endurance (djet) of the cosmos.

CHAPTER 2: THE COSMOS
The aim of the book is to decipher the origins of the Egyptian cosmos. But a necessary first step is to describe that cosmos. In this chapter, Alford draws upon the oldest texts to build up an unusually detailed picture of the cosmos, emphasising its geocentric nature and the earth-like landscapes of its mysterious realms. The realms studied comprise the earth, the primeval ocean, the duat, the akhet, the field of reeds, the field of offerings, the sky-ocean, the sun, moon, and stars, and the milky way. An overview is provided by way of diagrams which illustrate how the sun-god and the transfigured kings circulated through the sky and the netherworld.

CHAPTER 3: THE CREATION
The Egyptians had many different creator-gods and several different versions of the creation myth. In this chapter, Alford provides an overview of all the creation myths, including the rarely reported account of the Primeval Ones and the Great Lotus from the temple of Edfu, and discusses the common themes, the apparent inconsistencies, and the gaps in the narrative. Most importantly, he challenges the solar interpretation that has been placed upon the creation myths. The supreme god of Egypt, he argues, was not the sun-god but the creator-god.

CHAPTER 4: POWER IN THE EARTH 
Egyptology asserts that the myths of creation by an earth-god, e.g. Ptah, were the exception, not the rule. However, in this chapter Alford proposes that the opposite was true. Atum and Kheprer, he argues, were chthonian powers, while Geb the earth-god was also a creator-god. In addition, the Edfu tradition placed the earth and the earth-god at the centre of creation. Drawing on Eve Reymond's study of the Edfu texts ('The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple'), Alford argues that the earth and the earth-god experienced a traumatic crisis from which it and he recovered, and that this 'death and rebirth' triggered the creation of the cosmos. Taking Reymond's thesis a step further, he proposes that Osiris personified this process, as did earlier forms of this dying-and-rising god. The enduring myth of Osiris's dismemberment and reassembly would therefore be an allegory for the death and rebirth of the primeval world. Alford closes the chapter with a masterly reinterpretation of the union of Re and Osiris in the netherworld - the mystery of 'the midnight sun'.

CHAPTER 5: GOD AND THE GODS
One of the great mysteries of ancient Egypt was the relationship between God and the gods. While God was held to have created the gods, they in turn were held to have created him! In this chapter, Alford introduces us to the principle of body-soul duality and argues that the reciprocal relationship between God and the gods makes sense when viewed as an allegory for the death and rebirth of the cosmos.

CHAPTER 6: RAISING THE SKY
How did the sky and the celestial bodies come into being? In this chapter, Alford argues that contrary to the consensus view (championed by James P. Allen in 'Genesis in Egypt') creation was an expansive process, centred on the earth and its chthonian waters. The sky-ocean, the sun, the moon, and the stars were all created by a process of separation from a terrestrial centre.

CHAPTER 7: KING OF CREATION
The pharaoh was an embodiment of the creator-god and his primary task was to re-enact the events of creation in order to rejuvenate the cosmos. This much is well known. But Alford goes further, arguing that when the pharaoh died and 'became Osiris' he re-enacted the death and rebirth of the creator-god, and that when he asended from the netherworld to the sun, the moon, and the stars he re-enacted the god's creation of the cosmos. In this chapter, Alford demonstrates how the rituals and myths described in the Pyramid Texts make perfect sense when viewed as a re-enactment of creation. By reconstructing the king's journey from the earth to the celestial fields, it becomes possible to fill in the gaps that have hindered our understanding of the creation myth.

CHAPTER 8: OPENING THE MOUTH 
One of the most important rituals in ancient Egypt was the opening of the mouth, which was performed upon the statue of the creator-god and the mummy of the deceased king. In this chapter, Alford argues that this splitting open of the mouth re-enacted the splitting open of the primeval earth at the time of creation. He also suggests that the various myths of the creator-god creating the cosmos by means of his mouth - by speaking, spitting, or sneezing - reflected the same idea.

CHAPTER 9: THE DAY OF THE STORM 
The spirit of the reborn king often ascended to the sky amidst an earthquake and a storm, and a storm also features in the myths of the wars of the gods. In this chapter, Alford argues that this was no ordinary storm but a storm of creation. The quaking of the earth and the trembling of the sky signified the moment when the sky was forcefully separated from the earth.

CHAPTER 10: SPLITTING THE IRON 
The king's ascent into the sky involved a splitting and traversing of iron, while he also came to sit upon an iron throne. In addition, the sky was said to contain iron and the mouth of the king's mummy was opened by an adze of iron, which was made in the image of the northern stars. In this chapter, Alford examines these and other references to iron and concludes that iron was blasted from the earth into the sky at the time of creation. In an addendum, he suggests that iron meteorites were worshipped in Egypt because they were regarded as remnants of the material of creation.

CHAPTER 11: THE BULL OF THE SKY
The king's emergence from the netherworld into the sky was sometimes compared to the charge of a bull, and it was even suggested that he had raped his own mother Nut, who took the form of a cow. The bull was also connected with the erect pillar, which had phallic symbolism. In this chapter, Alford decodes various bull-related myths and mysteries: the so-called Cannibal Hymn; the cult of the ka-mut.ef (the bull who raped his mother); the conjugations of Geb and Nut; Atum's emergence in the form of the high hill and the benben stone; and Atum's emission of Shu and Tefnut. In so doing, he provides further evidence for the cataclysm at the heart of the Egyptian creation myth.

CHAPTER 12: THE FIERY EYE
One of the most important icons in Egyptian mythology was the fiery Eye - the so-called Eye of Re, or Eye of Horus. In this chapter, Alford demonstrates how the myths of the Eye fit the template of a geocentric, expansive, cataclysmic process of creation. He distinguishes clearly between the Sole Eye - an epithet of the Great Goddess - and the two eyes - the sun and the moon, and reconstructs the myth by which the former gave birth to the latter in a cataclysm. There are intriguing hints, he suggests, of a physical process behind the appearance of the sun and the moon in the sky.

CHAPTER 13: HORUS AND SETH
One of the most important dualities in Egyptian civilisation was that of Horus and Seth, the rivals who fought for control of the Two Lands. Modern theories abound as to the significance of this conflict, but it most likely allegorized the emergence of order from chaos at the beginning of time. In this chapter, Alford explains how the battle of Horus and Seth erupted from the netherworld into the sky in line with the process of creation, how their sexual union led to the birth of the sun and the moon, and how their ultimate reconciliation was designed to maintain the order of the cosmos for ever. He also proposes an innovative theory for the unification of the Two Lands.

CHAPTER 14: THE ONE AND THE OTHER
In this chapter, Alford offers a definitive solution to the thorny issue of whether Egyptian religion was a monotheism or a polytheism. He also offers insights into how the Egyptians understood the first cause, or divine spark, of creation.

CHAPTER 15: PYRAMIDS AND TEMPLES 
Egyptology has never been able to agree upon the symbolism of the true pyramid, although it has identified the divine temple (in the late period) as a simulacrum of the creation. In this penultimate chapter, Alford makes a compelling case that the pyramid too was a simulacrum of creation, but of the cosmos in its initial stage of coming-into-being (as opposed to the temple which symbolised the cosmos in its final stage of coming-into-being). He also explains how the rituals performed at the pyramids and in the temples were designed to rejuvenate the cosmos and cause it to endure for ever. The creational symbolism of these buildings, together with the restorative nature of the rituals, explains for the first time, from an orthodox perspective, why the pyramids and temples of Egypt were endowed with extraordinary scale and precision.

CHAPTER 16: THE TOMB OF KHUFU
The Great Pyramid contains several unusual chambers, the purpose of which has long been the subject of controversy. Egyptologists believe that the uppermost chamber was the tomb of Khufu, and that his mummy was stolen from the granite sarcophagus which still remains in that room. Alford, however, rejects the idea that the king was buried at a height of 140 feet in his pyramid, since it would have contradicted the fundamental rule 'the body to earth, the spirit to the sky'. Applying his new creational interpretation to the Great Pyramid, Alford argues that the sarcophagus contained iron meteorites - the seed of the creator-god - and that Khufu's tomb was concealed beneath the monument in a secret network of caves, where it remains undiscovered to this day. He urges the authorities to open the secret entrance which he has found.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

NOTES (47 pages)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

DETAILED ANALYTICAL INDEX (20 pages)

Copyright Notice

'These pages are the copyright of Eridu Books 2004. The images and diagrams are the copyright of Alan Alford or of other photographers, where indicated. Eridu Books welcomes the reproduction and dissemination of these pages, in original, unaltered form, for non-commercial purposes, but permission must be sought for any other usage, other than 'fair dealing' quotations.'

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