In my path inside the whole of Egypt for twenty years, a tree always caught my attention and I've never even dared to touch it because it inspired me such respect mingled with astonishment... a tree becoming quite rare today, but that in Egypt has impressed me without knowing why exactly because its dimensions are often modest today and its aspect is humble and discreet, even if it is thick... The sacred sycamore of Saïs in Egypt still there.
|The sacred sycamore of Saïs in Egypt still there|
But then one day, I had to give a lecture about the small temple of Hathor of Memphis, now semi buried, and where only very few people have access, so I went there, and then I realized "on the terrain" that the sycamore was definitely very important since I still could find two specimen planted in both southern corners in the remains of the small temple, as it is recommended in ancient texts for the building of sacred sites. This small temple as I have shown in my lectures was totally surrounded by water in the past, representing the primordial island, the shelter island in case of flood and in honor of the goddess Hathor, who in fact, it is less known, is also called "the lady of the Flood"... the last refuge of the "Lady of Life"...
|Both Southern Sycamores in HMemphis Hathor temple Photo@AntoineGigal
Both sycamores in the south corners of the temple of Hathor at Memphis represented: the two divine sycamores of "heaven and earth": one representing Hathor giving birth to life and another: Hathor "giving back to birth souls", one would look far and deep with its roots in the desert sand to the water of life and the other caught the dew and rain as water from the sky ...
|Hathor temple in the past|
This tree ended even to populate my dreams and the wind rustling in his little foliage came as a refrain in my days. I longed to decipher more about its mystery, its calm and warm protection it offered ... So I decided to focus more on its roots. I then deepened the mysteries of the goddess tree Het-Het- mistress of the sycamore of the South: "nbt nht rst", a form of Hathor. I began to know the secrets of the tree of life whose fruit gave a sacred and divine beverage that the priests drank during the course of the sacred mysteries, a drink that was supposed to make you wise as a tree of wisdom and give you immediately an incredible knowledge... the drink of the "instantaneous know"...
|Hathor offering the water of life from the sacred sycamore|
It was fascinating to discover little by little in my hieroglyphic readings all the attributes of the sycamore... I also remembered that when it was possible the ancient Egyptians tried to get a coffin made of sycamore wood: the "Khat en Ankhu " made of this tree of life, so that the dead can be taken into the arms of the mother of all life he represented to reborn forever...
|The sycamore fruits in the tomb of Usehet in Thebes|
|Tomb of Osiris covered with the sacred Sycamore of the mound|
Sycamore was known anyway as a caregiver tree, and especially protective and there was an obvious reason for this: first, it can grow in areas inundated by water, it grows where other trees can not push it, it is completely resistant to water and its timber in case of extreme necessity can make a boat that will always be protected from moisture and waves... the best refuge in case of flooding. On the other hand "Nehat", the sycamore name is written with the hieroglyphics of the tree, the bird and the reed hut. Sycamore alone represents the sacred mound, the island refuge, the shelter temple during the floods of the Nile and big flood... there is not a thing more worthy! But there is still more about it ...
|The sacred sycamore tree with Hathor inside offering the water of life 19th dyn|
The sacred enclosure of the Sycamores seem to have existed in Saïs, Memphis, Heliopolis, Luxor on a land specially delimited by the obliquity of the sun at certain times, a place where only the pure priests could approach the An-Auhi: the sacred sycamore in the enclosure: Nahi... the enclosure of silence where these trees of exception grew. The priests with the Pharaoh came there to pray and to speak to the divinity, as if in this site, these trees were the extraordinary megaphones to God... one of the very few places where direct communication without interference with the divine was possible. Also only high priests could cut a sycamore tree after a complex ritual for several days to remove only into the length of its trunk 16 Tau, 16 Auhi Tan, 16 crosses of life, 16 Ankh personification of life and to be offered only to persons who were said to be of "just voice" the purest ones able to use the right words, everytime...The true tree of justice...
Text by Antoine Gigal - April 2014