In Deference to the Dutch Historian of Religion, Bruno Hugo Stricker
ABSTRACT: The Dutch historian of religion, Bruno Hugo Stricker, has been studying Egyptian mythology since 1940 and can show that this ancient culture tries to understand the development of a baby in the womb of its mother as a basis to comprehend the origin of the world. In the center of the Egyptian mythology is the Sun God Ra who is swallowed every evening by the sky goddess Nut and in the morning is reborn through her vulva. The books of the netherworld describe the adventures and dangers he lives through in the body of this goddess. Every morning Ra has to attack the biggest of his enemies, the serpent Apophis, whom he defeats by cutting off his head-the naval cord is severed. Microcosm: the baby is born; macrocosm: the sun rises blood-red above the horizon.
For over 10 years I have been working on Sumerian and Babylonian mythology in order to trace its prenatal and perinatal roots. By chance, in a footnote, I came upon the name Stricker. I discovered that since 1940, this Dutch Historian of Religion has been exploring the mythology of the Egyptians from the same point of view.
In the course of my research, I had concentrated on reading the mythology of all very advanced civilizations from ancient China to Aztec. More recently, I had been focused on the stories of the gods of still-living cultures. Truthfully, I had always kept a respectful distance from the Egyptian's mythology because they have so many stories about all their godly figures-and there are a staggering variety of these figures. However, important indications, intimations and implications can be found in their books about the netherworld and from all the inscriptions on all of the temples. In the course of time, out of those thousands of fragments, figures must have spontaneously crystallized in our minds. There are many contradictions about these myths. Actually, the Osiris myth does not have an Egyptian origin; this version was passed down from Plutarch. I confess I did not really understand Egyptian mythology. It remained strange to me. Yet, it is exactly about this mythic clutter that Stricker has written De Geboorte van Horus (The Birth ofHorus) in five volumes comprising 770 pages. There were 8,500 footnotes in his Dutch language which I could not understand at all.
For a long time, I have been absorbed in the writings of the English psychoanalyst Francis Mott, who interpreted his patient's dreams through the background of their pre- and perinatal experiences. Prebirth is the decisive period of human existence which pervades and colors the rest of life. But, if those experiences during pregnancy are of such fundamental importance, how does a grown-up dream of being a baby in the womb? This is one of the central questions in Francis Mott's work. His answer was quite simple. In our dreams, the embryonic or fetal self occurs as light, fire or brightness. This reflects fetal sensation during gestation and the nucleus of a subsequent self. As early as the 1950s and 1960s, Francis Mott demonstrated that all the old god-figures were in some way related to light. Either their head or body was surrounded by a shining brightness, a halo, or there was an indication of fire in their names. Thus, for Mott, all the old godfigures are symbolic representations of what a baby experiences prenatally wrapped within the mother's womb.
In Egyptian mythology, the Sun God Ra stands at the center. There are many books written about the netherworld, such as The Amduat, The Book of the Gates, The Book of the Caverns, or The Book of the Earth, just to mention the most important ones. In these books of the netherworld, you can read what the dead king, the Pharaoh, can expect to encounter in that world. The Pharaoh himself desires to become the dead Osiris so that he can daily traverse across heaven in the bark (boat) of the sun in the company of Ra, the Supreme God. …