Amarna Sexuality - Deep Throat Speculation

 

A discussion of the Goddess Nut, who swallows the sun at night and gives birth to it in the morning:

This iconography painted on the ceilings of 19th dynasty kings and funerary papyri, rendered the Goddess’ mouth as the evening horizon and her vagina as the morning horizon. The sun itself is a separate entity from the embodiment of the Sun God Atum who 'created' Nut and married her.  That union, however, did not work.  First of all, Atum did not need a female partner.  He was the product of what Tom Hare calls a ’phallocentric’ culture in his book, ReMembering Osiris.  Atum simply masturbated and from the drops of his own semen created the other gods, goddesses and all other creatures of the earth.  But there was a drawback to his method.  Even though Atum fell in love with the Goddess Nut, he never actually mate with her.  It was the other deities like Geb, the earth god and Thoth, the god of wisdom, who mated with Nut and engendered the next generation of mythological deities such as Osiris and Isis.  Because of their obvious differences, in that Nut is the Goddess of the night sky, we would have to view Atum as the God of daytime.

We can project this ancient myth to c. 1375 B.C.E.  The context in a powerful Egyptian empire ruled by Amenhotep III (18th dynasty).  He is so powerful, in fact, that he rules exclusively through diplomacy, not the force of arms! With such power comes a great sexual appetite that singles out Amenhotep III as a lion with a hundred wives, and a constant stream of foreign princesses flowing into Egypt through his bedroom.  He was known to keep a harim where each girl had her own sexual specialty. 

Tragedy also hit Egypt’s Sun King:  his first-born son, Prince Thutmose, died, probably before he was twenty.  That catapulted the King’s second son, Prince Amenhotep, into early co-regency and into a fascinating 17 year long reign that has preoccupied both Egyptologists and occultists for over a century.  It is his sexual heritage that we will examine here, because the young King seemed to have a grasp on symbolism that is ripe with sexual imagery.  Within a year of having been crowned, he re-named himself Akhenaten, turning from the accepted state religion, the worship of the composite god Amun-Ra, to 'Aten'.

We must begin with the meaning of his name, Akh-en-Aten.  ‘Akh’ is generally taken as a ,,, ‘He who is beneficial.’  Aten is the visible sun-disk.  The letter ‘n’ is  the preposition ‘to’.  But if the ‘Aten’ is a deity, then Akhenaten is ‘he who is beneficial to the Aten.’  But ‘akh’ can also be a noun, an effective or beneficial ‘spirit’ that is almost exclusively used in the plural as ‘akhu’.  Another meaning of ‘akhu’ is “Horizon Dwellers.”

Returning to the Goddess Nut arched over the earth, she represents the night sky.  Funerary iconography shows the sun entering her mouth at sunset, and being re-born from her vagina at sunrise.  The evening and morning horizons are also called akhu, or, to be grammatically correct, the dual form, ‘akhty’.  If the two horizons serve as entry and exit point for the sun, on the body of a goddess, the 'akhty', would be the pheromones around the mouth and the genitals?  Two sets of activities we can attribute to Akhenaten will provide evidence that not only sexual imagery but also a complicated set of sexual rituals back up this possibility.

One set of evidence comes from the city Akhenaten had built in the fifth year of his reign.  Although he had no way of seeing an aerial view of the land, the desert wall formed the ancient Egyptian symbol of ‘akhket’, or ‘horizon’ around his new city.  Astoundingly, Akhenaten called the place Akhet-Aten:  the horizon of Aten.  The same desert wall is broken almost exactly in the middle of its arc, and the opening leads into a 15 kilometer long wadi, or valley, at the end of which Akhenaten had constructed tombs for himself and his family.  His noblemen constructed their tombs on both sides of the entrance to this wadi.

Ancient Egypt intertwined a culture of fertility for the land and for the female of every species with a social structure based on male penetration.  Manifestations of this social order reached into their iconography.  Accordingly, one Egyptological researcher suggested that Akhenaten’s genius lay in observing that the 'light' of setting sun penetrates the Wadi every evening, past the 'akhu' tombs of his noblemen on either side of the Wadi opening and into the waiting mouth of the Sky Goddess Nut!  In turn, morning sunrise, or the rising of the Aten, comes from the ‘end’ of this wadi

The iconography of the sun entering Nut's mouth and being reborn from her vagina does not appear in any of the tombs before the Ramessides! And right here, in his distinctively new capitol city, this symbolism is a ‘natural’, central feature of everyday life.  That is the first evidence that Akhenaten is the author/creator of some interesting celestial/worldly sexual phenomena.

The reason I think young Amenhotep IV was able to dream up sexual imagery like that is because his father was already practicing various sexual excesses with various women, each of whom had her own sexual specialty. I also don't believe for a moment that sexuality was done in private: it had to be part and parcel of riotous musical and dancing celebrations. The clue lies in the 'Bes' and 'Hathor' legged tables at the workmen's village at Deir el Medina where several of these tables, often named 'beds', were found in the middle of a room. These table/beds were too small for sleeping and too big for toiletry, but just right for certain sexual acts/rites with dancers, musicians, clappers, drummers and singers parading around the room and in and out onto the courtyard.

We have a rich tradition from ancient Egypt with itinerant musicians and dancers moving from festival to festival. Amenhotep III and Akhenaten may have taken the customs of the common folk to another ritual level. If Akhenaten was the 'dreamer' that so many attribute to him, then he took this celebratory sexuality to the next, abstract or representational level.

If Akhenaten was blind, which I suspect he must have been from looking at the Aten (the sun’s disk) several times a day, then his sense of smell would have been all the keener. He would have noticed the 'scent' of sexuality, that it served as an incentive, a turn-on, an 'akh'.

There is another dimension to Akhenaten’s sexual imagination and I suspect not very far from the true state of things at his Karnak Temple complex during the first five years of his reign, and later at Akhet-Aten (Amarna).  This other dimension is the fact that the Egyptians knew enough anatomy that Nut, the Sky-goddess, could not become pregnant with the sun at night through her mouth! So the iconography of the sun going through the night-sky may or may not necessarily be an impregnation and birth process. It may just as well be a brainchild of Akhenaten as an evening and morning orgasm releasing 'light'. 

That process, of course, is different from the usual scene of Geb, the Earth-deity, lying on the ground helplessly poking his erect phallus into thin air while Nut is arched over him patiently waiting.  Rather, Akhenaten’s scenario points to Nut and Atum in a circle, night linked to day, each with the mouth to the other's genitals.  It is this oral-genital contact that forms the morning and evening 'horizon' the ancient Egyptians called Ra-Hor-Akhty.  Akhenaten’s father, Amenhotep III, had called himself Ra-Hor-Akhty and eventually Akhenaten used that epithet for himself.  If we look at this concept of the sun at either horizon as a sexual symbol, then we can see the clue to the meaning of 'Aten':  it had to be the orgasm resulting from the oral-genital contact between the sun and the sky every morning and every night.

While they were still at Karnak during the first five years of their reign, Akhenaten and Nefertiti styled themselves after Shu and Tefnut, another technically intertwined couple.  This fact would have left a still living Amenhotep III with the Ra-Hor-Akhty epithet, another argument for coregency between father and son.  It is only after Amenhotep III died that Akhenaten ceased modeling Shu and assumed the name Ra-Hor-Akhty.

The great problem with this interpretation arrives when Akhenaten drops the Ra-Hor-Akhty epithet and starts to regard himself as the Aten itself.  Is that when he goes totally blind and begins to see his own orgasms as an internal flash or ball of light?

An Egyptological researcher has noted that the ‘akhw’ “dwell on the horizon, the place where the natural and supernatural world meet. For the Egyptians, natural and supernatural do interpenetrate each other at many points. The sunrise and sunset horizons are only two of them."

According to this, ‘akhw’ are the pheromones around the genitals (natural) and around the mouth (supernatural), and their interpenetration consists of the various sexual acts performed with them.  The genitals are sunrise, because that is where the Goddess Nut gives birth to the sun every morning;  the mouth is sunset because that is how the Goddess Nut swallows the sun every night.

The sun itself, as Ra, is the energy that passes both into Nut and out of Nut as the Goddess of the night sky, the orgasmic energy of her male counterpart as he ejaculates into her mouth at night, and Atum has to be her male counterpart, perhaps as Ra-Atum, the morning personification of the sun, as he licks Nut’s vagina and swallows her juices in the morning.

In the Benben Chapel at Karnak, we have an example of how Akhenaten and Nefertiti put to practice this celestial iconography.  The word itself, ‘bnbn’, means a ‘phallus’ and applies to any phallic stones, such as obelisks.  Eventually it comes to mean the pyramidion at the top of an obelisk, the ‘benben stone’.  Akhenaten shamelessly built a Benben Chapel in the midst of the Amun edifices at Karnak, and dedicated it entirely to Nefertiti.  Such a building would have been a direct affront to the priests of Amun-Ra who carefully differentiated between their male-oriented temples to Amun-Ra and designated a separate precinct to his consort, the Mother-goddess, Mut (pronounced with a long ‘oo’ sound).  Amun-Ra, even though he usurped the eternally erect phallus of an earlier deity, Min, mated only once a year with his consort Mut!  It was into this sexually arid milieu that Akhenaten introduced a sexually charged chapel.

Based on the mythological scenes of the astronomical ceilings of later kings, we can recreate the activities of these two young, hormone driven youngsters.  Akhenaten was perhaps 16 when he was crowned co-regent, and the Benben chapel would have been finished and ready to use a year later.  Nefertiti could have been a year younger than he.   

Because the Benben Chapel was Nefertiti’s ‘playground’, she would have initiated the appropriate rituals. In the ancient world, sunset began the new ‘day’.  This concept of when the day begins is still traditional in Judaism and Islam.  Accordingly, at sunset Nefertiti would lead Akhenaten onto the Chapel’s altar and perform oral sex on him.  She would bring him to orgasm and swallow his semen.  

They would return to the Benben Chapel in the middle of the night for the ‘Conception of Horus’ ritual.  This ritual appears at the Osiris Temple of Sety I, the father of Ramses the Great at Abydos, as well as the Ptolemaic Temple of Dendera dedicated to Hathor, the Goddess of Fertility and Love.  The myth shows Osiris mummified, having been murdered by his brother Seth, with Isis descending upon him in the form of her mascot, a kite, a genus of falcon.  Isis had said her magical sayings and had revived Osiris who magically grew a new penis.  His original penis was cut off by his murderous brother and thrown into the Nile River where the fish immediately ate it!  Isis was such a powerful magician that Osiris not only grew a new penis, but it loomed erect under the descending kite.  We have a scene completely the reverse of the later Leda and the Swan, where it is the Greek god Zeus, who descends on a beautiful woman and rapes her.  A millennia or two before the Greek myths were even formed, it was the Egyptian Goddess Isis who descended upon the erect phallus of her husband Osiris.  She would be impregnated and bear him a son, Horus.

In the middle of the great Karnak Temple complex, in a small, intrusive chapel, Akhenaten played the role of dead Osiris.  Nefertiti played the role of Isis:  she mounted her prone husband, sat on Akhenaten's erect phallus in order to conceive the sun.  There is both a word-play here in English, and a concept-play in ancient Egyptian.  By symbolically conceiving the sun, Nefertiti and Akhenaten had also hoped to conceive a son who would take the throne eventually.  It turns out that they had conceived six daughters, but no sons.  On the conceptual level, the Crown Prince was called Horus, after the son of Isis and Osiris, and the mascot of Horus was the falcon.  In turn, the falcon was also the symbol of the sun.

Finally, Akhenaten and Nefertiti would return to the Benben Chapel for the sunrise ritual.  This time Nefertiti would lie on the altar and Akhenaten would bring her to orgasm with his mouth and tongue, thus symbolically helping to give birth to the morning sun, just as Atum-Ra would have to assist the Goddess Nut in order to bring the morning sun into existence.

For a pair of spoiled Egyptian youngsters who were used to the King's strange sexual preferences and excesses, this scenario is not at all out of line or beyond belief! Their sexual activities would have blended in with the fertility-driven rites practiced throughout the land of the Nile.  Their variation on the theme, the oral-genital contact, would have been anathema only to the priests of Amun-Ra, the very people Akhenaten wished to outrage.  We can only assume that he had succeeded.


Nov. 23, 2001
  Revised January 19, 2004