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in the collective memory
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The awaited return of the most obvious seasonal signal
The "brilliant" sectors of the sky
An assembly of sacred images

Figures portrayed
by stars in the night,
by nature "dramatic" figures

Why make reference to
seasonal stars.
Measuring time in "moons"

When lunar imagery is combined
with stellar imagery to compose a "mythical cinema"

The human condition
and its development
in the collective memory


French version


Passing on knowledge before writing,
ideograms and mythology

We can understand why the transmission of acquired knowledge has been a constant preoccupation of one culture after another during so many millennia. This knowledge was essentially passed down through oral tradition, using the voice, supporting gestures and a rhythm appropriate for memorization. However, as mentioned above, the Paleolithic calendar on the small bone plaque found in the Abri Blanchard shows that before the invention of writing, oral tradition was accompanied by visual signs that ranged from simple incisions to sculpture and painting. This repertory of rich representations of complex thought push back the frontier of ideographic expression by thousands of years.

It is precisely this repertory that we posit as the source of a large number of prestigious mythical images. We have seen this in relation to Imgid, the Sphinx, Pegasus, the Centaur, etc.
Egypt is the particularly well-endowed heir of this tradition. The elegance of its hieroglyphs and engravings bloomed from an understanding of how to translate and condense the most complex concepts. The image of Taweret, WRt "The Great One" is a striking example, and merits a brief pause for closer inspection.

A Celestial Power like Hera/Junon, Taweret, the Great One, is venerated as the protector of lactation and care for early infancy, watching over each infant. As a Sidereal Power, she reigns on each side of the coffin, on the Book of the Dead, on Astronomical ceilings, she is the sovereign of the Passing of the Year, which is also the Birth of the New Time. On the celestial map called the "Dendarah Zodiac" she is in her proper place in the middle of the sky, near Cassiopeia (the Chair), equidistant from the Orion-Taurus group and the Scorpio-Sagittarius group, the two points where she cuts across the Zodiac, she being the Milky Way.

Ta Ourt la grande

How can a single drawing translate a large variety of aspects of this entity that is the very core of fundamental beliefs?

In this case, she is the River of Heaven and force in action: she has the body of a hippopotamus, the power of the river. As a cosmic entity, she is the creature of Life and the River of Milk: the hippopotamus has the belly and breasts of a pregnant woman. The Galaxy seems to cut the heavens in two parts: she holds a great cutlass. In her waves are found the souls of creatures overtaken by death: she has a crocodile on her back, the famous "false sleeper" of the Nile who suddenly snatches its victim down into the depths of the river (a river punctuated with stars to signal its symbolic and celestial character). However, cosmic existence has no end: the composite figure drawn in this manner is the hieroglyph Ankh, the knot of the cycles always renewed. This leads us to understand that this earthly death that frightens us so much is no more than an appearance. An ingenious graphic detail is added: the Great One solidly grips crocodile jaws in her closed hand, a new affirmation of belief in eternal Life. How could we help but admire the rich expression of this "comic book" style language?

Ta Ourt et lune Isi-Sôthis

As lifestyles change and ancient beliefs are replaced by new beliefs, and forgotten. The complex meaning of these figures becomes incomprehensible. In our manuals of mythology they become "monsters". At best, we remember that they have some relationship to life and death. Already in Herodotus’ time it was said that a hippopotamus caused the death of Menes, the first and founding Pharaoh. This is a good example of a short-sighted view that prevailed in recent interpretation of wall paintings uniquely as images of animals and "hunting accidents"…

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